The IRS Targets Political Opponents Under Both Liberal and Conservative Administrations

Liberals and Conservatives Agree that the IRS Engages in Political Witch Hunts

Liberal website Mediaite and conservative Ron Paul agree on one thing …

The IRS targets political opponents under virtually every administration.

Mediaite reports:

The indispensable libertarian journalist James Bovard pointed out in the Wall Street Journal this morning that since its inception, the IRS has often used its enormous power and information-gathering skills for explicitly political ends.

Bovard explained how President Franklin D. Roosevelt, often revered as a hero by political progressives, used the tax collecting agency to pester those who opposed his enormous expansion of the federal government under the New Deal. During his three-and-a-half terms as president, the Roosevelt IRS took swings at anti-New Deal publishers like William Randolph Hearst and political rivals like prominent Republican Andrew Mellon and radical populist Huey Long.

Naturally, the fun didn’t end there. Another beloved president, John F. Kennedy later “raised the political exploitation of the IRS to an art form,” Bovard wrote, by launching an Organizations Audit Project that specifically targeted right-leaning groups like the American Enterprise Institute and the Foundation for Economic Education.

Bovard notes how Republican President Richard Nixon later picked up where Kennedy left off: “More than 10,000 individuals and groups were targeted because of their political activism or slant between 1969 and 1973, including Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling (a left-wing critic of the Vietnam War) and the far-right John Birch Society.” In the 1990s, Bill Clinton‘s IRS was found to have audited many conservative groups that were named in a White House report on groups and individuals critical of the Democratic president.

Was this current administration the next big culprit in line? Nope. Salon’s Alex Seitz-Wald points out that Obama’s predecessor, Republican George W. Bush, oversaw a great deal of IRS political harassment of left-leaning groups that criticized the administration. Progressive churches were targeted for their “political” sermons against the Iraq War while conservative pro-Bush churches were left alone under the same rules. Bush’s IRS also deliberately targeted Greenpeace, the NAACP, and other progressive NGOs.

During the Bush era, Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) was one of the very few Republicans to call for an investigation into the fishy auditing practices of the IRS ….

Ron Paul writes:

What do you expect when you target the President?” This is what an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agent allegedly said to the head of a conservative organization that was being audited after calling for the impeachment of then-President Clinton. Recent revelations that IRS agents gave “special scrutiny” to organizations opposed to the current administration’s policies suggest that many in the IRS still believe harassing the President’s opponents is part of their job.

As troubling as these recent reports are, it would be a grave mistake to think that IRS harassment of opponents of the incumbent President is a modern, or a partisan, phenomenon. As scholar Burton Folsom pointed out in his book New Deal or Raw Deal, IRS agents in the 1930s where essentially “hit squads” against opponents of the New Deal. It is well-known that the administrations of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson used the IRS to silence their critics. One of the articles of impeachment drawn up against Richard Nixon dealt with his use of the IRS to harass his political enemies. Allegations of IRS abuses were common during the Clinton administration, and just this week some of the current administration’s defenders recalled that antiwar and progressive groups alleged harassment by the IRS during the Bush presidency.

The bipartisan tradition of using the IRS as a tool to harass political opponents suggests that the problem is deeper than just a few “rogue” IRS agents—or even corruption within one, two, three or many administrations. Instead, the problem lays in the extraordinary power the tax system grants the IRS.

The IRS routinely obtains information about how we earn a living, what investments we make, what we spend on ourselves and our families, and even what charitable and religious organizations we support. Starting next year, the IRS will be collecting personally identifiable health insurance information in order to ensure we are complying with Obamacare’s mandates. [For background, see this and this.]

The current tax laws even give the IRS power to marginalize any educational, political, or even religious organizations whose goals, beliefs, and values are not favored by the current regime by denying those organizations “tax-free” status. This is the root of the latest scandal involving the IRS.

Obviously, the fact that “everyone does it” is no defense. No one should do it … And anyone who does should be prosecuted.

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  • wunsacon

    Not to take away from the general thrust of the article. But, consider this take on the current scandal:

    • Time4Dogs

      Good. Glad to hear that traditional businesses can survive the hits of Big Government, and the phoney government-promoted global warming issue that is meant to promote their own special “green” business interests. If you think Big Government is your protector you are very naive.

      • wunsacon

        >> If you think Big Government is your protector you are very naive.

        It’s not our protector in large part because the plutocrats (im)mobilize you into opposing legislation and regulatory action that oppose their interests. Divide and conquer.

        So, who’s naive?

        • Time4Dogs

          Your answer is

          1) irrational

          because you did not address the promotion of “green” businesses, Agenda 21 and other big government causes.

          2) naive

          because you foolishly believe that government is a champion of liberty and that Koch and other legitimate businesses aren’t. Silly silly you.

          • Time4Dogs

            The government regulation for which you advocate is the greatest threat to liberty of every person on this planet. Re-read this article if you doubt that for a second.

          • wunsacon

            So, pollution (ozone, lead, PCB’s) in *tiny* amounts hurts no one’s property, life and liberty, which makes it impossible for individuals to protect against it. And it threatens the entire planet when it’s produced by the gigaton. But, somehow that’s not a job for society as a whole — government — to tackle?

            The plutocrats have really worked a number on your brain, to make it so that the concept of limiting pollution becomes “Big Government” in minds such as yours.

          • wunsacon

            >> you foolishly believe that government is a champion of liberty

            Sheesh…No, not really.

            Government is a force multiplier. At least that I’m aware of historically in Western “civilization”, it’s mostly a force multiplier for a small group to rule and exploit the many. Similarly, right now, fossil-fuel-invested plutocrats own businesses with business models that externalize some of their costs (pollution) and “Big Gov” protects that business model for them. These plutocrats have convinced you that leaving those laws alone somehow is “liberty” and changing those laws is “Big Gov”. It’s good marketing on their part.

            Would you like a tri-corner hat when you open a bank account?

    • Rshapiro

      And George Sorus is the Puppet Master for the left. If you get rid of the IRS you will have to change the entire tax structure. There is social welfare as well as corporate welfare as well as farmer welfare all of it is abusive to all of US. Having a flat consumption tax with no deduction will get us all to pay our so to speak pay our fair share and get rid of all of this pitting rich against poor. This will then stop politicians from left or right to go after all of US because they disagree with our political philosophy.

  • amerikagulag

    The IRS is the collection arm for the Federal Reserve; a privately owned bank run by jews. The Federal Reserve is the collection arm of the Rothschilds; a jewish family who owns most of the worlds central banks and controls much of the worlds finances. The IRS is not partisan. It is simply the Rothschilds REPO man! And just like the Federal Reserve Act of 1912, which was passed in the dark of night, during christmas break with congress absent, the income tax act and the establishment of the IRS is of dubious validity. Neither has a strong foundation in law. Both are run by jews feeding their host, the Rothschilds.

    • Mary4freedom

      Exactly right! I say shut down the IRS, The Fed, all those agencies who are not under Congressional oversight. All those who are regulating businesses to extinction and Obamacare which is destroying thousands of jobs or turning full time workers into part time workers. As they overwhelm our whole system financially & emotionally and turn lawbreakers into victims and law abiders into criminals or ‘haters’ as they say, We are all going down.

    • Horoscopo

      ^If this poster is an American I am embarrassed as the US educational system has obviously failed you. The Rotchilds fortune was started by the original patriarch of the family as a money trader in the Jewish ghettos of Frankfurt, the prince of Hesse chose to trade with Mayer Rothchild in the 1700’s. Over the nextt 200 years they parleyed their fortune by diversifying their investments. “The family’s wealth is believed to have subsequently declined, as it was divided amongst hundreds of descendants.[Today, Rothschild businesses are on a far smaller scale than they were throughout the 19th century, although they encompass a diverse range of fields, including: mining, banks, energy, mixed farming, wine, and charities.” Wikepedia The Rotchilds were no different than today’s Walton family amassing the largest family fortune (Walmart) initiated by Sam Walton whose trillions are in vast contrast to the millions that the Rothchilds had at their peak in the 1800s, and today Bill Gates, Carlos Slim and Warren Buffett which each can buy their own continent, together their wealth andresources are endless. Not to mention the Vatican who has their own country are tax exempt and control trillions in assets and real estate holdings, each worl leader makes a pilgramage to kiss the Pope’s ring to get his advice and blessings, that is real absolute power and influence. If those that spent the time regurgitating rhetoric by educating themselves they could also begin the more arduous task of achievement rather than holding the animoisty, frustration and hatreds to those that do achieve

  • Chris

    Check out my mp3 site

  • swimologist

    Nixon didn’t target ANYBODY using the IRS. It’s not in the Articles of Impeachment. He talked about the possibility with aids, never did it. Just another liberal shibboleth destroyed.