It is becoming very obvious that the Obama administration is deliberately using the IRS and other federal agencies to attack its political enemies. As the Internal Revenue Service targeting scandal broadens and new accounts surface of organizations being harassed by the FBI, OSHA and the EPA, a clear pattern is emerging.
CBS News recently reported the ordeal of Catherine Engelbrecht, the Texas businesswoman who founded Houston-based True The Vote.
True The Vote is a non-profit organization that encourages and trains individuals to take an active role in the electoral process, through educational outreach, voter registration and election-monitoring activities. The organization holds values similar to the Tea Party and aggressively pursues reports of voter-fraud.
Once True The Vote applied for tax-exempt status in 2010, it drew the attention of, not just the IRS, but several other federal agencies. Over the next six months, according to Engelbrecht, she was subjected to a personal audit and two business audits, in addition to being visited by the IRS. Within the same period of time, she was the subject of six domestic terrorism inquiries from the FBI. Her equipment manufacturing company was subjected to inspections by Texas environmental quality officials, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and the U.S. Department of Labor.
According to the CBS report, each of these agencies claimed that their inspections of Engelbrecht’s company were routine. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality told CBS that they had acted after receiving a complaint. they added “…we were not directed to investigate Engelbrecht Manufacturing by any federal agency or any other agency.”
In the meantime, the IRS requested more information from True The Vote, regarding its application for tax-exemption. There was not just a single request, however; the IRS made such a request five times. Engelbrecht claims to have spent over $100,000 on attorney and accounting fees. Three years later, True The Votes’s application is still on hold. An IRS official advised Engelbrecht that the application had been “forwarded to the Washington, D.C. office for additional review” and was “waiting for a response.”
In a separate case, an anti-abortion group was informed by the IRS that, in order to maintain its tax-exempt status, it must refrain from picketing Planned Parenthood offices.
In 2011, the world-famous Gibson guitar maker was raided by armed agents from the Department of Justice (DoJ). Manufacturing was shut down. Gibson has been a target of repeated harassment by the DoJ, which claims that it uses illegally harvested wood in the manufacture of its guitars. No charges have been filed against Gibson. The wood in question, claims the DoJ, was illegally harvested in Madagascar, although when federal agents raided Gibson’s plant, they confiscated wood that had been imported from India. According to an article in NPR, Gibson denies the allegations. The company states all of its purchases from Madagascar have complied with U.S. and Malagasy law and that they have provided documents that affirm this. In addition, Gibson says, it stopped using wood from Madagascar in 2009.
How is the Gibson story relevant? Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz, had recently made donations to Republican politicians Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn) and Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn).
There are currently a number other cases coming to light, involving harassment of Conservative groups, ‘patriot’ groups, pro-life and groups that campaign against same-sex marriage, as well as business-people who donate to the Republican party or to Conservative-leaning non-profits. CBS News spoke with John Pomeranz, an attorney who represents liberal organizations seeking tax-exemption. He told CBS that he finds some of the IRS requests of tea party groups “new” and “very troubling,”. He said he doesn’t recall getting similar demands for his liberal clients.
With so many cases emerging, involving a number of different government agencies, it is becoming clear that there is an agenda behind the targeting. It is also becoming clear that these are not the actions of “low-level employees” – the administration’s favorite new scapegoat. Rather, is obviously a centrally coordinated policy and can be coming only from the executive branch. For the Obama administration to use the IRS and other federal agencies to attack the President’s political enemies should be as troubling to Liberals as it is to Conservatives. There can be no doubt that, had all these scandals arisen during George W. Bush’s Presidency, Liberals, Democrats and the mainstream media would be using the word “impeachment” with staggering frequency.
Written by Graham J Noble