From Uncle Sam to Uncle Scam
When President Obama delivered the keynote at Ohio State's graduation last weekend, who knew how ironic his words would be? "Unfortunately," he told the class of 2013, "you've grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that's at the root of all our problems... They'll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices."
Well, turns out, the voices were right. Only now, the tyranny is no longer lurking around the corner--it's officially arrived. In an unfolding government corruption scandal that may very well eclipse Watergate, the IRS is finally admitting what some congressmen suspected all along: that the administration was using the agency as a hired thug to punish and silence conservatives.
The conspiracy, which started as early as 2010 and may have affected as many as 500 conservative and Christian groups, used the IRS to antagonize organizations seeking non-profit status. Unlike liberal organizations, which, in USA Today's words "got a pass," the IRS demanded reams of sensitive--and often irrelevant--information from tea party, religious, and conservative groups to intimidate or otherwise frustrate the President's opponents. According to Politico, agents asked shockingly private questions, ranging from donors lists (which were later leaked), Facebook posts, and media interviews to minutes from board meetings, résumés of officers, tweets, political blog posts, and even a list of student trainees.
At the Waco Texas Tea Party, Toby Walker says the IRS even ordered her to provide "transcripts of radio shows where her group had mentioned political candidates by name"--a project that would have cost the organization $25,000 to complete. In Tennessee, an attorney sent chills down readers' spines when he told reporters that the IRS had asked him for a list of any students he had mentored or planned to mentor. "Can you imagine my responsibility to parents," asked the founder of Linchpins of Liberty, "if I disclosed the names of their children to the IRS?"
In the Christian community, several established organizations were also targeted, including Franklin Graham, whose two North Carolina charities came under sudden scrutiny after he and his father, Rev. Billy Graham, published pro-marriage and pro-family election ads. In a letter to President Obama, the Grahams explain that an IRS agent visited both groups in October to conduct a surprise tax "review." National Organization for Marriage was another target, as their confidential documents were released to the Human Rights Campaign--whose then-president was a chairman for Obama's re-election campaign.
The abuse is so widespread that some of the White House's cheerleaders in the media are piling on about the deep roots of the administration's crookedness. For once, the cumulative effects of Fast and Furious, Solyndra, and Benghazi are starting to pull back the curtain on the lack of integrity and honesty in this White House. Now, thanks to this latest IRS outrage, Americans everywhere will have to wonder if they're being targeted for their political views and activities--in a constitutional government that depends on their participation! If we want to eliminate the IRS as a tool for political corruption, then it's time to revisit the debate about an alternative form of taxation. Concentrating power in the IRS hasn't grown the American economy. In fact, the only thing it seems to have accomplished is breeding a mobster mentality that threatens U.S.freedom.
"The fact is," President Obama told the crowd at OSU, "all too often the institutions that give structure to our society have, at times, betrayed your trust." No one knew how profound that betrayal was. Now that we do, it's our duty to ensure it stops.
ObamaCare Can Be Taxing to Your Health!
A disgraced IRS and an angry public may be the perfect storm the GOP needs to finally tear down the President's unpopular health care law. Tomorrow, the House is scheduled to vote on its third ObamaCare repeal in three years--a move that could gain new traction now that the agency charged with enforcing the law is embroiled in scandal. As part of the President's signature law, the IRS was set to undergo a massive expansion, as thousands of agents would have to be hired to enforce and write the regulations for the health care bill. With 47 changes to the tax code in the law, the Wall Street Journal warns that ObamaCare gives the agency unprecedented power to audit health care in addition to Americans' 1040s. "Putting the IRS in charge of a political program inevitably makes the IRS more political," the editors write--a scary thought considering the persecution conservatives have already experienced at the agency's hands.
House leaders have a tremendous opportunity to leverage this outrage against the health care law. A repeal vote is positive step, but the real opportunity will come by using their power of the purse. When the House takes up the continuing resolution (CR) to continue funding government, they can deal the most punishing blow to ObamaCare by defunding it.
German Home Schoolers Get a Lesson in Liberal Hypocrisy
If anyone knows what it's like to be singled out by the Obama administration and targeted, it's the Romeike family. While illegal immigrants stream into the country unchecked, the Justice Department seems unusually interested in deporting a German homeschooling family, who--until recently--had been granted asylum. Unfortunately, that all changed when a Board of Immigration Appeals, in partnership with the DOJ, ruled that the family must return to Europe. The Romeikes fled to the U.S. when German officials threatened to take custody of the children if the parents continued homeschooling them. Three years later, the Justice Department is arguing that a law banning homeschooling doesn't constitute religious persecution, and, as such, the family should be shipped back home.
Yesterday, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, upholding the Obama administration's decision to deny permanent asylum. Our friend Mike Farris, who heads up the Home School Legal Defense Association, has vowed to appeal the ruling, insisting that he will keep fighting to keep the family here in the U.S. "[W]e are in God's hands," Uwe said, which may be the safest place of all, given this administration's hostility toward religious freedom!
** The most powerful argument for keeping the Boy Scouts' policy may be from the Scouts themselves! Don't miss these compelling stories from young men who've benefited from the BSA's firm foundation.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.