Turns out all those crazy conservatives and Tea Party kooks who thought the government was out to get them, were correct. It has come to light that the IRS targeted conservative and Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny prior to the 2012 election. As early as 2010 a unit in the IRS was looking at “patriot” and Tea Party groups, but in 2011 the criteria for IRS intimidation broadened, according to Fox News.
But it shows that list of criteria drastically expanding by the time a June 2011 briefing was held. It then included groups focused on government spending, government debt, taxes, and education on ways to “make America a better place to live.” It even flagged groups whose file included criticism of “how the country is being run.”
By 2012 groups that educated people on the Bill of Rights and Constitution, or sought to limit the government were added to the list. While the IRS initially claimed that the practice of increased scrutiny on conservative groups was initiated by low level employees, documents show that conservative groups were specifically targeted on official IRS guidelines, while liberal groups were absent.
The alleged targeting of conservative groups was uncovered before the election, but the IRS’s recent admission of targeting the groups has grabbed headlines. In August I wrote about Tea Party groups being targeted by the IRS, receiving documents that asked for lists of donors, and other invasive questions which the IRS is not authorized to ask. The IRS sent a letter to many Tea party organizations requesting a list of donors, telling them to name their volunteers, and saying they needed to list board members along with information on those who have or are planning to run for public office. Other IRS requests involved the submission of hundreds of documents just two weeks before the filing deadline, and requests for information about Tea party event speakers and party affiliation. The requested data was not legitimately allowed to be collected by the IRS, and liberal groups were not targeted, even though tax exempt Media Matter has been caught colluding with the DOJ.
The IRS is also accused of leaking confidential financial information that Mitt Romney donated $10,000 to National Organization for Marriage. The leak was posted on the Human Rights Campaign website, and the President of HRC was named a national co-chair of the Obama re-election campaign. Read the full article here, which includes discussion on how the leaks could discourage donating to conservative groups, for fear of being exposed and abused by the media. That happened to at least one major Romney donor before the election.
Frank Vandersloot was one of 8 Romney donors that the Obama campaign picked out and accused of being bad people. The Daily Caller Reports:
Two months later, the IRS informed VanderSloot he and his wife were going to be audited, Strassel reported. Two weeks after that, VanderSloot was notified by the Labor Department that it was going to “audit workers he employs on his Idaho-based cattle ranch under the federal visa program for temporary agriculture workers,” reported Strassel.
The IRS is being used as a weapon against political enemies, and it is time people know the truth. It turns out that conservatives were in fact unfairly targeted for audits and treated in a way as to discourage donations and membership. Incidents like these can begin to explain why many conservatives have the “they are out to get me” attitude; because sometimes the government is out to get conservatives. When corruption like this is exposed, how can people blame conservatives for being skeptical of government actions, including their real reasons for trying to implement gun control? And the political winds could change in an instant, meaning liberals should be just as outraged that specific groups were targeted, and intimidated in such a way that harmed their organizations. Simplifying the tax code could be a good step to help stop politicians from hiding behind the IRS when trying to batter their opponents.