Is the IRS scandal the worst political scandal in American history? I say “yes.”

Internal Revenue Service

When it comes to the IRS’s ongoing, repressive behavior against conservative groups, you’re likely to hear different verdicts:  The hard Left says, of course, that this is a molehill that the Republicans are scandalously trying to turn into a scandal.  (The New York Times perfectly exemplifies this line of thinking.)  Others on the Left admit incompetence, but refuse to assign moral blame.  Conservatives are willing to assign moral blame but think that no one really cares.

I believe that everyone should care because what we’re seeing now is a new type of scandal in American history, and the biggest crime a sitting administration has ever committed against the American people.  I wrote about it at Mr. Conservative, although the headline there focuses on the IRS’s probing into people’s prayers.  (Thinking about that, its worth remembering that Queen Elizabeth I, who ruled in an age when church and state were one, refused to “make windows into men’s souls.”  The IRS is not so doctrinally picky.)

Anyway, here’s the post I wrote for Mr. Conservative:


There’s been a lot of debate swirling amongst the pundits lately. Is the Watergate cover-up worse than the Benghazi cover-up or vice versa? Is the only scandal that matters the Justice Department’s decision to tap Associated Press phones, because that’s the only one that the media will care about? What did Obama know and when did he know it?

Ignore all that. The absolute worst scandal that’s emerged lately, and the worst administration scandal in American history is the IRS scandal. Why? Because you, the People, became the targets of a comprehensive federal government effort to stifle dissent, one made using the government’s overwhelming and disproportionate policing and taxing powers.

All of the other scandals, going back to Andrew Johnson’s post-Civil War scandals, Warren G. Harding’s 1920s Teapot Dome scandal, Nixon’s Watergate, Reagan’s Iran-Contra, and Clinton’s Oval Office sexcapades have actually been narrowly focused acts of cronyism, garden-variety political chicanery, or personal failings. It’s been insider stuff.

The IRS scandal, by contrast, is a direct attack on the American people. Right now, Progressives throughout America are pretending that this scandal doesn’t matter: “Obama wasn’t involved.” “Tea Partiers had it coming because they’re all corrupt.” “Obama would have won the election anyway.” “It was just a coincidence that the only groups that had their applications scrutinized, sometimes for years, were politically conservative. It means nothing that, when one group changed its name to sound Progressive, its application was approved in only three weeks.” “This is just a bureaucratic snafu.” “It’s a few rogue agents in Ohio.”

Those who offer these excuses are either morally flawed themselves or delusional idiots. Pastor Martin Niemoller, who once supported the Nazi party, finally and famously figured things out after World War II:

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Catholic.

Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.

Once a government gets the bit between its teeth and starts targeting special interest groups, that is the end of freedom, not just for those first groups targeted, but for everyone.

Okay, that was the throat-clearing. Now it’s time to add the latest chapter in the long list of examples showing that the IRS engaged in a politically motivated witch-hunt against people who don’t toe the Progressive/Democrat party line:

The Thomas More Society (a Catholic organization) says that an IRS office in California ordered a group called “Christian Voices for Life of Fort Bend County, Texas” to detail the meaning and content of the prayers they offered. That was not an isolated event. IRS agents demanded the same information from “Coalition of Life of Iowa,” which was required to explain what went on at the group’s prayer meetings.

When Rep. Aaron Schock (R., Ill.) asked outgoing IRS commissioner Steven Miller whether these were appropriate questions, Miller didn’t even have the courage to say “no.” Instead, he said meaninglessly that “It pains me to say I can’t speak to that one either.”

Here’s thumbnail sketch of just a few of the other politically-motivated attacks the IRS has made against American citizens. We can expect many more revelations to come:

1. The IRS official who over saw the agency’s effort to stifle political dissent is now in charge of enforcing ObamaCare, which will account for up to one-sixth of the American economy.

2. The IRS gave confidential financial documents from conservative non-profit organizations to a far-Left political activist group.

3. The IRS (which will police ObamaCare) stole 10 million medical records, including the records for all California judges.

4. The IRS blocked applications for or otherwise harassed almost 500 conservative non-profit groups – and there’s every reason to believe that this number will continue to rise.

5. The IRS insisted that, for a pro-Life group to obtain tax-exempt status, it would have to promote abortion.

6. The IRS has been mining Facebook for private data about people who dissent from Obama’s party line.

7. The IRS tried to force a conservative non-profit education group to turn over the names of students (mostly minors) who benefited from its services.

As for those who say that the whole IRS affair becomes irrelevant if no one can prove that Obama is not directly involved, that’s completely wrong. Of course, if the president was involved, it shows that he is the most corrupt, tyrannical leader in American history, and that every branch of the executive division in our government has been tainted and must be cleaned out. And as far as Obama is concerned, if he wasn’t involved, he is a man too incompetent and weak to hold the job of national chief executive.

But think about what it means if Obama wasn’t involved, and the IRS, an agency that has the power to destroy every person in America, did all of this on its own initiative. What we’re seeing in that case is the fall-out of a complete Leftist takeover of American institutions. We will have become a tyranny by bureaucracy (in no small part due to the fact that federal agencies are heavily unionized, and always with a Leftist slant), with the entire federal government irredeemably corrupt.

Here’s one last thought for you about an American president who, wittingly or unwittingly, presided over the single worst scandal in American history:

On May 5, at Ohio State University (the same state in which the IRS scandal was headquartered), Obama gave a speech that was viewed then as yet another in the endless list of examples showing Obama painting his political opponents as loony paranoids:

Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems; some of these same voices also doing their best to gum up the works. They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave and creative and unique experiment in self-rule is somehow just a sham with which we can’t be trusted.

Reading those same words now, it’s clear that, like the rattlesnake’s warning, Obama was previewing the reality of a Leftist government’s total control over the people who have naively consigned themselves to its care.

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  • Libby

    The IRS also initiated audits on and revealed tax information about individuals who had either spoken out against Obama or donated to Mitt Romney. Note that Obama was singling out some of these donors by name as part of his campaign – targeting them, Hera are a few examples:
    Shortly after Frank Vandersloot was identified by Obama as one of Romney’s wealthy supporters he was was subjected to two Internal Revenue Service audits — one focusing on his personal finances, the other related to his business interests — and a Labor Department audit of one of his businesses:
    White House advisor Austan Goolsbee divulged private tax information regarding Koch Industries to reporters at an August 27 on-the-record background briefing on corporate taxes:
    Prof. Anne Hendershott, a sociology professor who wrote about Obamacare in the WSJ and various small Catholic publications was audited:
    J. Christian Adams, DOJ whistle-blower on the Black Panthers case dismissal was audited:
    Wayne Allyn Root, Obama’s Columbia classmate, Libertarian VP candidate in 2008 and outspoken critic of Obama was audited in 2011:

  • Spartacus

    Of course he knew: he either ordered or approved it.
    Most tellingly, he Clintonized his answer about what he and his West Wing pals knew and when they knew it, and any bright third-grader knows what that means.  But even without that tacit admission, it is not reasonable to assume that a number of top-level IRS bureaucrats went rogue and ordered such a politically explosive breach of law without orders from the top.  Forget duty, honor, and country: if only for self-preservation, they wouldn’t have dared do this on their own.  That said, we can expect as much of a paper trail leading back from the IRS to the White House as there was linking Al Capone to bootlegging and prostitution.  (It always comes back to Chicago, doesn’t it?)
    This thing is a double-edged sword.  On the one hand, it is a beautifully tangible example that we can touch, feel, show to unbelievers, and reference in shorthand when trying to make the case for all of the corruption that has been going on all along.  On the other, if there aren’t terrible consequences for these clowns as a result, and if it is met with anything approaching apathy, it will become a precedent.  And then they will come for the other groups, and no one will speak out.

  • JKB

    Is it a scandal? It is just that attacks on political opponents became so common in the government some forgot they shouldn’t do it overtly.  
    It will be a scandal if the American people realize how large and how oppressive their government has become.  But this isn’t an Obama scandal, well yet, but it is a scandal that employees of the federal government do not operate in a non-partisan manner and will use their office against their perceived enemies.  This really isn’t news to any conservative who has worked in the DC bureaucracy.  It is not overwhelmingly surprising but still a bit of a shock to see how far the infection has spread outside DC.  
    But it is the worst in terms of scope.  Seems like someone in every Congressional district was harassed.  It is the worst in that it came from the very heart of the federal government.  Tax collection is at the very core of government, at the very center of its ability to do violence to the citizen.  

  • Ymarsakar

    People are still underestimating the Left to a great degree. This only allows the Leftist alliance for human domination to obtain more power over time. What they’ll do with that power is uncertain at this time. All I know is that it will be evil.
    People thought all of Obama’s bowing shenanigans in 2009 were horrible and what not. I said “you ain’t seen nothing yet”. People thought Obama targeting opponents and Fox News was disgraceful and horrible in 2010 and his Afghanistan military withdrawal was horrible back then, but I said they hadn’t seen anything yet.
    They hadn’t seen anything because they seem to think all these things are scandals and policy problems. If they had even a hint that the source was the evil and not the scandals, they might come to imagine how what they see and know is only 10% of the surface. This is what leaks and bubbles away from the core of the Left. This is what they let you see because they can easily cover it up or propaganda defend it.
    One must certainly ask oneself, if the Left isn’t evil because shenanigans and incompetence weren’t a “serious threat to America” in 2008-2010 given that people didn’t know about Fast and Furious or other things of that nature, what makes people think they know anything about what the Left has been really doing now in 2013?
    in 2015, people will look back and say 2013 was when people didn’t even realize the half of it. In 2013, people will look back on 2008 and say people didn’t know what was going on in America at the time and what the Left had been planning. Layers and layers come off. But people cannot see the true depth, thus they underestimate the Left’s cunning and strategic initiatives, because they cannot imagine the lengths to which evil will work to do them harm. They cannot imagine. They don’t want to imagine it. They don’t want to think it, see it, hear it, or talk about it. It’s easier to pretend the world is a better place than it is.
    Soon enough, very soon, the idea that drones will spy on you will be held as tolerable and socially just. Sometime after that, the concept that drones should bomb and kill insurgents in the US fighting against US L. A. W. S. will become common sense and accepted wisdom. And they will look back on this time, and consider either how naive we all were or how chaotic we were without the iron hand of the Throne.

  • Ymarsakar

    Sooner or later, people will be glad to execute 50% of the bureaucrats to solve the problem once and for all. Because in the future, a mere 50% would be a bargain bin compared to the oceans of blood it would take to correct things after having let it come that far. It will be a bargain.
    In the future, it won’t be enough. Killing 50% of one’s enemies Will Not Be Enough to win. Consider that for a moment.

  • Danny Lemieux

    There is no chance, in my humble opinion, that Obama will be impeached.
    However, worse can happen. He can be frozen, personalized and mocked as a lesson to all that would come after him (the way that John Kerry is being mocked by the Russians and our other enemies…but I digress). Let his legacy be one as a deserved symbol of disgrace in the annals of our Nation’s history.
    And to those that argue, “you can’t do that to our first African American President”, my response is, “it was YOU who made it all about him, a culturally Leftwing white man raised in a Communist community, being black”.
    There are many, many other well-qualified black people for the Presidency. None of them, however, wear the Liberal, Left or Progressive label.

  • Ymarsakar

    Civil War is inevitable.
    People will find that that may be the best thing out of all possible paths though. Won’t that be an ironic riot.

  • skullbuster

    Even if public opinion called for it, Lois Lerner cannot be fired.  Check out the civil service regulations.  If she was politically appointed she could be dismissed, but a civil servant cannot be fired without all of the hoops that need to be jumped through. It takes about three years and a few hundred thousand dollars.  Congress can’t even do it.
    At best she can be suspended with pay.

  • riverlife_callie

    @skullbuster – Lois Lerner may not be able to be fired, but she can sure be arrested. And she should be. As should Sarah Hall Ingram.

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    Every Juan has his Eva. We have the “Won” and Valerie.
    “After we win this election, it’s our turn. Payback time. Everyone not with us is against us and they better be ready because we don’t forget. The ones who helped us will be rewarded, the ones who opposed us will get what they deserve. There is going to be hell to pay. Congress won’t be a problem for us this time. No election to worry about after this is over and we have two judges ready to go.”
    – Valerie Jarrett – Nov. 2012

  • JKB

    That is all well and good, Jarrett’s musings, but his is also the time when other Democrats look to their future.  Obama has accomplished little by his own efforts.  He’s demonstrated no particular aptitude for getting legislation passed or for overseeing the federal government.  
    Now, the argument is that Obama and the Administration, i.e., the “cream of the Democrat crop”, can’t be responsible for the IRS or AP scandals because the government is just to large and unwieldy for them to manage.  That is, we’re not malevolently corrupt, just incompetent.  Worse they are demonstrating no ability or desire to correct the problems.  And, by the way, that whole trust big government it is benign and fair, that is hard to say at the same time you are arguing the Executive can’t manage the government so bad things are done by “low level” employees.
    Instead we get the community organizer.  Someone has hold the IRS responsible.  Apparently, that someone is someone other than those elected to oversee the Executive branch.  Good to know.  
    Every Democrat (and Republican) congressman or senator who tries to justify the IRS abuse is tacitly condoning it.  They are undermining the argument of big government.  Every imposition of Obamacare should be used as an opportunity to remind everyone of the evil of the bureaucracy and the need to keep it on a short leash.  

  • phillips1938

    Brilliant observation Book.  The other comments don’t realize the genius of what you have written.

  • Charles Martel

    I agree with Danny that Obama won’t be impeached. Even if the votes and the will were there to do so, it would have no positive effect. Bill Clinton was able to manipulate public perception of his impeachment as a cheap political trick by his priggish opponents. With that precedent—and the cheapening of impeachment as a means of disciplining an out-of-control executive—Obama would actually benefit from the process.
    I think it’s better to hammer from below, to gnaw away at the toadies and second raters that form much of Obama’s base. Scare the crap out of them by threatening public exposure and humiliation via social media, and put enough heat on Obama’s shadow government to start forcing the many quislings and chicken hearts within to panic and start throwing their own under the bus. The illusion of invulnerability surrounding this government is just that. (Just look at what Captain Pike was able to do when he finally figured out what the Talosians were up to.)
    The press won’t be of much help here. Even a quick perusal of my region’s pre-eminent Islamo-Marxist rag, the San Francisco Chronicle, reveals that Journolist excuses for Obama’s misconduct are being churned out by the bushel. Occasionally the press will be of some assistance, but that will be a lagniappe, not something we can realistically expect. That means making the RINOs in Congress understand that the bad press they will inevitably generate if they go after O’s minions is the price bold men should be willing to pay. The louder the Pravda press screams, the more effective they’ll know they’re being.


    As delightful the thought of impeachment appeals to me, impalement has that Je ne sais quoi that would work just as well. Let the scandals continue to unravel and pull at the threads until the Naked Emperor is truly exposed. Next year brings another mid-term election and I look forward to watching the RINOS and Crypto-Fascists run circles around one another in an effort to hide their exposed bare essentials.

  • Ymarsakar

    “Jarrett’s musings, but his is also the time when other Democrats look to their future.  Obama has accomplished little by his own efforts.  He’s demonstrated no particular aptitude for getting legislation passed or for overseeing the federal government.  ”
    This reminds me of the old 2009 concept that Obama, Democrats, and the Left could not possibly do any permanent damage to the US because they were dumb or incompetent.
    The Left’s strategy does not utilize legislation passed as a goal. If anything, it is only a tolerable means to an end. Not passing legislation is no barrier to their advance in the war.
    It is precisely the fact that Democrats look towards the Left’s vision of Utopia that they will be of one mind, heart, and soul on this war.
    Those that think otherwise, will be dutifully surprised in due time.
    “That is, we’re not malevolently corrupt, just incompetent.”
    Their target population is obviously those Americans that think the Left’s power is not significant if they can’t pass legislation or are i.e. incompetent. If they can make up enough excuses that big government corruption is due to incompetence, not “evil intent”, then things will blow over eventually. After all, one can keep electing incompetent Democrats to office hoping they become more competent over time, but it’ll be a lot harder to keep electing evil people in office hoping they won’t kill too many children and other innocents. This is a means to an end. It’s not their end goal. They don’t really care if Americans think they are incompetent or not.
    “They are undermining the argument of big government”
    When are people going to work to change themselves so that they can accept that the Left’s vision of tomorrow is not big government or democracy to begin with? It is of no particular note whether they undermine the argument for big government. Big government, as always, was never an end in itself for the Left. In many senses, it is merely a smoke veil, mirrors, designed by a stage magician to hide the trick.
    I estimate that we still don’t know more than 10% of what the Left’s really been doing on the strategic level.

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  • Ymarsakar

    “Every imposition of Obamacare should be used as an opportunity to remind everyone of the evil of the bureaucracy and the need to keep it on a short leash.  ”
    While I think that isn’t a bad approach, I also have yet to get an answer on when people are going to be able to change themselves to be able to accept/believe evil even exists. Apart from Republicans, Sarah Palin, Bush, and Personal gun defense wielders.
    The first step to convincing the world that A is true is not in getting one’s neighbor to believe A is true. It is to get oneself to absolutely accept that A is true.

  • Jose

    It looks like the IRS has been collaborating with OSHA, the FBI and ATF to go after certain people.
    How long until Child Protective Services gets called in? 

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  • erisguy

    First they came for the Trotskyites,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist;
    Then they came for the Leninists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist;
    Then they came for the Stalinists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist;
    Then they came for the Maoists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist;
    Then they came for the Castroites,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist;
    Then they came for the Chavistas,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist;
    Then they came for the Shining Pathists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist;
    Then they came for the Khmer Rouge,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist;
    Then they came for the Che Guevaraists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist;
    Then they came for the Jucheans,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist;
    Then they came for the Nazis,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a fascist;
    Then they came for the Fascists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a fascist;
    And then we were free.

  • Ymarsakar

    Jose, people aren’t ready yet. They still need more WACos before they will be able to fight effectively in a war. A few stories like that, is just a pebble in the road of the journey.

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