Did Threat From 7 Progressive Senators Start IRS Scandal?
A little over a year ago, Rees Lloyd, a former California civil rights attorney who now lives in Portland, wrote a piece on the blog of conservative radio host, Victoria Taft. The title was ‘Obama, Merkley Pressuring IRS to Target Tea Party?‘ For conservative Oregonians, that’s a great question. After a short intro about Nixon’s ‘enemies list’, Rees wrote, “…it now appears the liberal/progressive regime of President Barack Hussein Obama – with the active participation of Oregon’s liberal/progressive junior Sen. Jeff Merkley — have caused the IRS to launch increased investigations of Tea Party organizations holding IRS 501(C)(4) tax-exempt status.”
Again, this was a year ago. Most engaged conservatives are aware that this made news back then, but here in Oregon, Merkley’s involvement was swept under the very blue rug of our state.
Lloyd wasn’t the only person questioning the actions of Merkley and friends in relation to the IRS, and with good reason. Merkley was among a group of Democrat senators who ‘suggested’ in a letter to the IRS Commissioner that the IRS “impose strict cap on political spending by nonprofit groups”, vowing “legislation” if the agency doesn’t act. At the time, Colleen Owens of the Richmond Tea Party pointed to specific section of the letter that suggested the senators were concerned about groups that “are improperly engaged in a substantial or even a predominant amount of campaign activity”. Owens wondered if perhaps the senators wanted the IRS to investigate Media Matters and their collusion with the White House? Maybe ACORN? Certainly those two fit their criteria, right? Yet for some reason, the seven liberal progressives didn’t demand those investigations.
The letter figures into a denial from Sen. Merkley in a Friday article titled ‘Sen. Jeff Merkley is dragged into controversy surrounding IRS scandal on tea party groups‘. The article contends that the IRS scandal is being used to harm innocents with the claim that “the latest mess involving the IRS threatens to singe anyone who can possibly be tied in”. Similar claims are showing up in the comment sections of articles all over the web about the scandal; e.g., ‘Republicans are using the ‘incident’ to wrongly harm the president’, etc.
Merkley says in the article the charges “don’t carry any weight” and that he and his fellow Democrats were only trying to keep “wealthy interests” from abusing the tax code to hide their political contributions.
Uh-huh. Hmm, the IRS must have included one or two liberal groups in addition to all the Tea Party groups, right? Nope, none–which Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) was able to get IRS fall-guy Steven Miller to admit.
Owens reminds us that ACORN (now running under new names after being popped for corruption) “received not only hundreds of thousands of taxpayer funds but also received some $800,000 from the Obama campaign in 2008. ACORN used it, in part, to submit untold numbers of fraudulent voter registrations for the Democrat Party. That resulted in prosecutions for election fraud.”
Closer to home last year, Lloyd asked if Merkley was “calling for IRS to investigate Portland State University, the taxpayer-supported institution which has provided facilities to the so-called “Occupiers” for preparation of materials for its takeover of public streets and parks in deprivation of citizens and its assaults on Portland businesses?” Of course he didn’t. Plain and simple, only conservative groups were in their crosshairs.
It will be interesting to see which liberals will feign dismay and anger at the IRS. So far, most of the liberals who have spoke out try to be shocked and appalled but can’t hide their real feelings. Take Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) at Friday’s hearing, “I mean, this is wrong to abuse the tax system.” Yeah, you tell ’em, Mr. Ethical! After that scathing analysis, he went on to write an article that said the scandal was a “manufactured crisis to gain a political advantage” and that it wasn’t “politically motivated”…Earlier this week, Karl Rove wrote a piece for The Wall Street Journal and warned this might not be limited to the IRS and might involve high ranking Democrats who pressured the IRS to conduct witch hunts and threatened legislative action. I wonder who he was talking about? No need to guess, he named them. Rove also wrote, “In September 2010, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus wrote to IRS requesting that the agency survey major nonprofits involved in political campaign activity for their possible “violation of tax laws.” Did I mention that Baucus is leading the IRS investigation? The best quote on the Rove article was furnished by Melanie Sloan, executive director of liberal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. She said Rove’s claims were “patently ridiculous,” and added, “Asking the IRS to investigate 501(c)(4)s is not the same as starting a witch hunt.” ‘Investigate’? I can only hope she was joking.
A year later with the evidence becoming overwhelming, we know that the IRS was targeting the Tea Party, 912 Project and many patriotic groups seeking tax-exempt status. They were doing a heck of a lot more than ‘investigating’ or just ‘making it difficult’ to obtain 501(c)(4) status. One group was actually asked for the ‘content of their prayers’!
As for me and the other 50 or 60 conservatives in Oregon, we’ll be sitting back and hoping that Merkley doesn’t get away with such an obvious lie. But, it’s doubtful our senator and the others–Senators Charles E. Schumer, Michael Bennet, Sheldon Whitehouse, Tom Udall, Jeanne Shaheen and Al Franken–are the least bit worried. As for Rees Lloyd, he stands by his year-old article and has no doubts about the intention of the letter. “Merkley was writing about the tea party people,” Lloyd said Friday, “and anybody who didn’t know that is living in the bottom of a well.”