Politicizing The Internal Revenue Service

Politicizing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is not a new or original idea. I am sure it has been done in the past in varying degrees, but the Obama Administration seems to have turned it into an art form. They have a slightly less obvious approach–not so much audits, but collecting information on political opponents.

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article yesterday on some past abuses of the IRS by the Obama Administration.

The article at Power Line reports:

In August 2010, Austin Goolsbee, who directed Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board and later chaired his Council of Economic Advisers, gave a press briefing in which he discussed corporate income taxes. In that briefing, he suggested that he had access to confidential IRS data, and falsely accused the administration’s beta noire, Koch Industries, of not paying corporate income taxes.

The article goes on to give the exact quote. The obvious question asked in the Power Line article is, “How did an Obama Administration official obtain confidential IRS tax records?” It should also be noted here that the charges were false. The fact that the charges were false probably doesn’t matter–I am willing to bet that more people heard the false charges than heard that the charges were false.

The article at Power Line concludes:

UPDATE: Also, let’s not forget Obama’s joke, during the first days of his presidency, in a speech at Arizona State University:

I really thought this was much ado about nothing, but I do think we all learned an important lesson. I learned never again to pick another team over the Sun Devils in my NCAA brackets. . . . President [Michael] Crowe and the Board of Regents will soon learn all about being audited by the IRS.

At the time, most people thought he was kidding. But as Glenn Reynolds pointed out at the time, jokes about presidential abuse of power are not funny when they come from the president. With hindsight, more attention should have been paid.

Mary Katharine Ham posted an article at Hot Air yesterday showing exactly what questions organizations containing the words ‘tea party’ or ‘patriot’ were asked. The questions are quite revealing. The American Center for Law & Justice has handled lawsuits by a number of these organizations protesting their treatment, and the article at Hot Air lists specific questions their clients were asked:




Please follow the link above to the Hot Air article to read further questions and compliance instructions. The blame for this has been put on some low-level IRS employees in Cincinnati. As someone who used to work for the government many years ago, I find it hard to believe that low-level employees would take this kind of initiative on their own. At any rate, I wondered why the questions asked didn’t include the political affiliation of the household pets of the boards of directors of the various organizations. It seems as if every other question was asked.


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Two Stories That Need To Be Viewed Together

Reuters posted a story today about the fact that Fannie Mae is has lost $5.1 billion in the third quarter of this year and needs $7.8 billion in federal aid to stay afloat. Meanwhile back at the ranch, Mary Katharine Ham at the Daily Caller posted a story today stating that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to whom taxpayers have already given billions, gave out $12.79 million in bonuses to its executives for meeting modest goals.

My husband works in the private sector. There was a year when he got no raise and no bonus because the economy was bad and the company he works for was trying not to lay anyone off and still stay profitable. I guess my question is how come a company that loses $5.1 billion in three months and is being subsidized by taxpayers is handing out bonuses amounting to $12.79 million.

This is a total misuse of taxpayer money and needs to be stopped. If the company was making a profit and operating on its own money, I would have no problem with any bonuses they wanted to hand out. However, this is taxpayer money and should be spent much more carefully.

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