On Sunday Kimberly Strassel posted an article at the Wall Street Journal detailing some aspects of the current Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal. Ms. Strassel reminds us that leadership comes from the top. President Obama didn’t have to be directly involved in the increased IRS scrutiny of conservative groups–he simply had to set the tone.
The article states:
Mr. Obama didn’t need to pick up the phone. All he needed to do was exactly what he did do, in full view, for three years: Publicly suggest that conservative political groups were engaged in nefarious deeds; publicly call out by name political opponents whom he’d like to see harassed; and publicly have his party pressure the IRS to take action.
One of the Democrat talking point on this scandal is that it is the result of the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court in 2010. What that decision did was to allow corporations, associations, and political groups the same privileges in election campaigns that unions had enjoyed for years. The decision essentially leveled the playing field. Unions had been legally pouring money into campaigns for years whether their members supported the candidates they were supporting or not. The Citizens United decision meant that corporations would also have that right. It is interesting to note that corporations generally have a Board of Directors they have to answer to–unions are answerable only to their own leadership–the ones making the donations.
Ms. Strassel reminds us how the Obama campaign treated Idaho businessman and longtime Republican donor Frank VanderSloot:
Mr. VanderSloot is the Obama target who in 2011 made a sizable donation to a group supporting Mitt Romney. In April 2012, an Obama campaign website named and slurred eight Romney donors. It tarred Mr. VanderSloot as a “wealthy individual” with a “less-than-reputable record.” Other donors were described as having been “on the wrong side of the law.”
This was the Obama version of the phone call—put out to every government investigator (and liberal activist) in the land.
Twelve days later, a man working for a political opposition-research firm called an Idaho courthouse for Mr. VanderSloot’s divorce records. In June, the IRS informed Mr. VanderSloot and his wife of an audit of two years of their taxes. In July, the Department of Labor informed him of an audit of the guest workers on his Idaho cattle ranch. In September, the IRS informed him of a second audit, of one of his businesses. Mr. VanderSloot, who had never been audited before, was subject to three in the four months after Mr. Obama teed him up for such scrutiny.
This leads me back to the title of this article and to Ms. Stassel’s conclusion:
The IRS is easy to demonize, but it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It got its heading from a president, and his party, who did in fact send it orders—openly, for the world to see. In his Tuesday press grilling, no question agitated White House Press Secretary Jay Carney more than the one that got to the heart of the matter: Given the president’s “animosity” toward Citizens United, might he have “appreciated or wanted the IRS to be looking and scrutinizing those . . .” Mr. Carney cut off the reporter with “That’s a preposterous assertion.”
Preposterous because, according to Mr. Obama, he is “outraged” and “angry” that the IRS looked into the very groups and individuals that he spent years claiming were shady, undemocratic, even lawbreaking. After all, he expects the IRS to “operate with absolute integrity.” Even when he does not.
I need to go on the record again as saying that I do not believe President Obama should be impeached. I believe that he has encouraged overreach by government agencies and misdeeds by supporters, but I don’t believe he should be impeached. President Obama has had enough Chicago experience to know how to avoid leaving his fingerprints on any questionable activity–an impeachment would simply divide the country and accomplish nothing.
So what do we need to do? If the mounting scandals bother you, get involved–in either party. There are good men in both parties–find one you can support and get to work. Every candidate needs people to mail things, hold signs, make phone calls, or simply show up at rallies. If you want to see integrity brought to Washington, become part of the process.