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Watergate 2.0 -- why the IRS scandal is far worse

Posted by on May. 19, 2013 at 1:59 PM
  • 46 Replies
4 moms liked this


In the wake of one of the worst abuses of government power in recent history, many are rushing to frame the Internal Revenue Service scandal as simply an attack on conservative activists. That view risks creating a partisan political football and misses a fundamentally scarier abuse that exceeds the scandals of Watergate or any other prior government abuse.

The IRS has admitted that since May 2010 it targeted grassroots-conservative organizations that had applied for tax-exempt status, unfairly subjecting them to rigorous scrutiny due to their political leanings. 

Such groups were told they were required to comply with IRS requests, no matter how absurd, in order to obtain non-profit status. Some were ask to provide book reports, names of family members, family members’ political affiliations, lists of donors and more. A report issued by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration this week begins to highlight the extent of misbehavior.

The fact remains that for years the IRS used its power to discourage and intimidate Americans.

Following the admission, many have accused the IRS of misusing and misrepresenting its power for political advantage, and it’s true that silencing – or at least handcuffing – conservatives in the run-up to the 2012 election could very well have made an impact. 

But this abuse extends far beyond the last or next election and strikes at the very core of the people’s relationship with their government.

The Washington Post’s editorial board wrote that, “A bedrock principle of U.S. democracy is that the coercive powers of government are never used for partisan purposes.” 

In her apology, Lois G. Lerner, IRS director of exempt organization, insisted that the extra scrutiny was not politically motivated. The narrow focus on partisanship as the primary point of controversy is dangerous. This is not first and foremost a partisan issue.

It doesn’t matter whom the IRS was targeting or what specific beliefs they held: the fact remains that for years the agency used its power to discourage and intimidate Americans from speaking out against what they viewed as bad policies, stifling the First Amendment right of every citizen to hold government accountable. 

The president says he was not aware of the problem. If so, then the state of our freedom is far worse than any of us has imagined – the gray suits are in place and already taking over.

Pundits have compared the current scandal to Watergate, but this one, frankly, is worse. 

When the abuses of Watergate – which included misuse of the IRS to launch audits against Nixon’s enemies - were discovered, they stopped and the perpetrators were brought to justice.

We don’t yet know just how high the knowledge of the IRS practice reached, but it’s already clear that a broad element of the agency – including those with the power to stop it – knew about this blatant violation of basic constitutional rights for years and did nothing to stop it.

Despite Ms. Lerner’s statements to the contrary, it’s clear the IRS has been using its power for years to discourage and intimidate Americans from participating in their right to hold government accountable.

This abuse of power and “unequal treatment under the law” is truly chilling, and must not be brushed away with apologies or toothless inspector-generals’ reports. 

It demands a rigorous congressional investigation and severe punishment of the power-drunk bureaucrats who carried it out. 

No government agency must be allowed to abuse its powers so blatantly and get away with it. The freedom Americans hold so dearly is at stake. 

We must demand that government account for its actions.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) rightly captured the problem in a written statement when he said, “this shameful abuse of power transcend partisan differences. This should not be dismissed as just another conflict between left and right; it is a conflict between the federal government and the American people.” 

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) noted, “What’s just as concerning is the expansive role this agency is charged to take in enforcing ObamaCare. An agency that has admitted to engaging in such corrupt, political activities has no place assessing or monitoring Americans’ personal health information.” 

Finally, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said, “The First Amendment cannot and should not be renegotiated depending on which party holds power… I am determined to hold the IRS accountable for these unjust acts.”

We, the people, must demand that congressional leaders and the Obama administration get to the bottom of this issue and remove not just the responsible parties but the threat to our freedoms.

The IRS’s actions are the stuff of Third World juntas, not the greatest constitutional republic in human history. 

It is unacceptable for a government agency use its power to intimidate American citizens into silence. FreedomWorks has been warning of this for years. 

We must stop this abuse of government over the governed and ensure this never happens again to any segment of the American population, regardless of their political leanings.

Matt Kibbe is the president of FreedomWorks and author of the "Hostile Takeover: Resisting Centralized Government's Stranglehold on America."

Minnow Slayer

by on May. 19, 2013 at 1:59 PM
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Replies (1-10):
-Celestial-
by Pepperlynn on May. 19, 2013 at 2:04 PM
3 moms liked this


Quote:

We, the people, must demand that congressional leaders and the Obama administration get to the bottom of this issue and remove not just the responsible parties but the threat to our freedoms.

LMAO! This is a hoot. its been going on for decades, but yea lets wait till..oh fuck it, never mind. this shit is tiring.
LAHnTAH0812
by Bronze Member on May. 19, 2013 at 2:05 PM
No replies? Seriously ?
katy_kay08
by on May. 19, 2013 at 2:07 PM

The IRS should be rigorously reviewing all political groups that apply for tax exempt status to insure their mission actually meets the standard for not having to pay taxes.   Left leaning groups have been targeted and right leaning ones should also insure they meet the standards set.  

As for Paul citing the 1st Amendment how does reviewing applications for tax exempt status limit their 1st Amendment rights? 


LAHnTAH0812
by Bronze Member on May. 19, 2013 at 2:07 PM
1 mom liked this
There's one
katy_kay08
by on May. 19, 2013 at 2:08 PM
1 mom liked this

it's Sunday it was less than 10 minutes from the time it was posted until people replied.  

Are you going to sit and count replies or talk on topic?  

Quoting LAHnTAH0812:

There's one


katy_kay08
by on May. 19, 2013 at 2:10 PM

from the other post



Quote:

“If the targeting wasn’t targeting, if the targeting wasn’t based on philosophy, how come only conservatives got snagged?” Roskam confidently asked.


“They didn’t, sir,” Miller responded. “Organizations of all walks and all persuasions were pulled in. That’s shown by the fact that only 70 of the 300 organizations were tea party organizations, of the ones that were looked at by TIGTA [Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration].”



LAHnTAH0812
by Bronze Member on May. 19, 2013 at 3:05 PM
There's 2.


Quoting katy_kay08:

it's Sunday it was less than 10 minutes from the time it was posted until people replied.  

Are you going to sit and count replies or talk on topic?  

Quoting LAHnTAH0812:

There's one



trippyhippy
by Gold Member on May. 19, 2013 at 3:14 PM
6 moms liked this

I am replying just to see if you can count to three.

katy_kay08
by on May. 19, 2013 at 3:29 PM
1 mom liked this

counting doesn't seem to be your strong suit.  

Quoting LAHnTAH0812:

There's 2.


Quoting katy_kay08:

it's Sunday it was less than 10 minutes from the time it was posted until people replied.  

Are you going to sit and count replies or talk on topic?  

Quoting LAHnTAH0812:

There's one




LAHnTAH0812
by Bronze Member on May. 19, 2013 at 3:31 PM
1 mom liked this
There's 3.


Quoting katy_kay08:

counting doesn't seem to be your strong suit.  

Quoting LAHnTAH0812:

There's 2.





Quoting katy_kay08:

it's Sunday it was less than 10 minutes from the time it was posted until people replied.  

Are you going to sit and count replies or talk on topic?  

Quoting LAHnTAH0812:

There's one






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