That’s why it’s so important that the Obama administration, Congress and the IRS’ own inspector general address the very credible allegations that applications for nonprofit status from groups with ties to the political right were unfairly delayed, or unnecessarily subjected to extra scrutiny with onerous demands for additional documentation.
In spring 2010, the IRS began targeting applicants with names containing “tea party,” “patriots” and “9/12,” a group formed by conservative political broadcaster Glenn Beck. Also targeted were pro-Israel groups. Part of the IRS’s added scrutiny included asking for the groups’ donor lists — a bully-boy tactic clearly meant to intimidate potential donors.
As always seems to happen in these cases, the initial criteria began to broaden to include, according to a preliminary IRS report, “political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding government, educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, social economic reform/movement.”
In other words, if your group has been critical of the Obama administration, watch out!
Obama is on the verge of having his presidency go down in history as the one that copied the tactics of Castro’s Cuba and Chavez’s Venezuela.
The policy of targeting groups with conservative-sounding names became generally public only last week. President Barack Obama said he found out about the actions Friday, by which time the IRS had apologized for “inappropriately” targeting conservative groups. But there was no mention of punishment for those involved. And responsibility for the policy originated at high levels in Washington, according to The Washington Post.
Some on the left are taking a “ho hum” attitude, noting that the IRS commissioner at the time was a George Bush appointee. But what’s likely is that he was kept in the dark by pro-Obama officials elsewhere in the chain of command.
Obama called the revelations “outrageous” and said “there is no place for it.” That’s a good start. There’s no indication — at this point — that he knew what was going on. It was announced Tuesday that the FBI and Justice Department will investigate to see if any laws were broken. We would add a special prosecutor to that list.
The integrity of the Obama administration is now being directly challenged in an unprecedented manner. It is in his interest — and the country’s — to get to the bottom of this scandal ASAP and restore the integrity of the IRS. And it will take more than another CYA investigation by Eric Holder’s Justice Department to achieve that.