"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -- Theodore Roosevelt

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

IRS Targeted Tea Party Because of Anti-Obama Rhetoric

The haloed Obama does not allow for dissent. Woe and audits shall befall all who dare to question the Light-bringer's wisdom.

Which is pretty much a surprise to no one. But everyone watch your back if you dare question the Dear Leader's will.

From the USA Today article by Gregory Korte (h/t Instapundit):

Newly uncovered IRS documents show the agency flagged political groups based on the content of their literature, raising concerns specifically about "anti-Obama rhetoric," inflammatory language and "emotional" statements made by non-profits seeking tax-exempt status. 
The internal 2011 documents, obtained by USA TODAY, list 162 groups by name, with comments by Internal Revenue Service lawyers in Washington raising issues about their political, lobbying and advocacy activities. In 21 cases, those activities were characterized as "propaganda."
Propaganda? Well MSNBC better look out. Oh, that's right! Anti-Obama propaganda... my bad.

The list provides the most specific public accounting to date of which groups were targeted for extra scrutiny and why. The IRS has not publicly identified the groups, repeatedly citing a provision of the tax code prohibiting it from releasing tax return information.  
On Nov. 16, 2011, IRS lawyers in Washington sent a list of cases to front-line agents in Cincinnati, along with comments and guidance on how to handle political organizations.
Tax law experts say those comments appear to show IRS employees trying to apply the murky rules governing political activities by social welfare groups. 
But the American Center for Law and Justice, a nonprofit legal institute that represents 23 of the groups appearing on the IRS list, said it appears to be "the most powerful evidence yet of a coordinated effort" by the IRS to target Tea Party groups. 
"The political motivations of this are so patently obvious, but then to have a document that spells it out like this is very damaging to the IRS," said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the ACLJ. "I hope the FBI has seen these documents."  
Five groups were flagged as having "anti-Obama" materials in their applications or on their websites. 
For instance, the IRS said the website of the Patriots of Charleston contains "negative Obama commentary." Though the IRS didn't cite examples, a November 2011 article on the group's site says: "Obama's and the Democrats' track record of disaster is based upon a combination of their ignorance and their fundamental desire to convert America into a ruling class of wealthy all-powerful elitists and a single class of serfs." 
"The web site, as we explained to them on multiple occasions, is really a blog" that members can submit commentary to, said Joanne Jones, the group's vice chairwoman. "I'm not going to tell you we weren't political. We were to an extent, but we were within the limits of the law. For example, there's one clear-cut issue: We did not endorse candidates." 
"To focus in on somebody saying something anti-Obama," she said, "it's almost like the speech police there. It's disturbing. It's the kind of overreach that leads into Obamacare."

It seems like free speech becomes a bit of a relative thing when attached to government tax exemptions, doesn't it?

I really do not understand why people are not more upset about the Obama Administration harassing political opponents in the lead up and in the very midst of a tightly contested election. Are people really willing to accept all of this now? Are we so jaded and clever that we willingly allow the government to harass  political opponents?

UPDATE: And let us not forget, as The Washinton Times points out, how IRS officials were "acutely aware" that Obama wanted a crackdown on the Tea Party and other critics. The Light-bringer must but only ask, and he shall receive.

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