I Got You Abe
Gary Sinise and Jon Voight have starred in plenty of dramas -- and now they're living one, courtesy of the IRS. For years, the duo (along with Kelsey Grammer) has been the face of Hollywood's conservative resistance, even going so far as to form a sort of underground support group. With people from across the entertainment industry, Sinise set out to make "conservative actors" less of an oxymoron. Although the group isn't politically-affiliated, they pride themselves on supporting our troops and traditional American values. Nine years later, the organization, Friends of Abe, is 1,500 members-strong -- and growing. Sinise has tried to keep his network under wraps, an effort to protect members in a fiercely liberal industry.
But so far, the biggest threat of retaliation isn't Hollywood -- it's Washington, D.C. Desperate to keep its iron grip on Hollywood, the Obama administration is using any means necessary to choke off the opposition -- including its favorite weapon, the IRS. For months, the agency has tried to trip up Abe's tax-exempt application, using the same kind of harassment the agency is (in)famous for. No one's ever accused the government of being efficient, but two years is a little extreme for processing paperwork.
Unfortunately, that seems to be the average waiting time for tax-exempt requests for groups like Sinise's, who happen to lean right. Instead of sending the documents through the usual channels, the IRS unleashed a full-scale investigation of "Friends of Abe," using mafia-like tactics to get a hold of the group's confidential member list. In what most insiders call a highly "unusual request," the agency demanded access to Abe's security-protected website and then grilled leaders about its activities. Jeremy Boering, the organization's executive director, insists "Friends of Abe has absolutely no political agenda. It exists to create fellowship among like-minded individuals."
The IRS even poured over the list of conservative speakers at Friends of Abe events, implying that nonprofit groups couldn't associate with political leaders. (Something FRC and other 501(c)(3) groups do on a regular basis). But in President Obama's IRS, the only rules that matter are the ones the administration rewrites. Although plenty of conservatives are outraged at the treatment Sinise and others have gotten, there isn't much motivation for the IRS to clean up its act -- especially after the announcement that agents won't be prosecuted for the criminal targeting they already committed!
While the IRS carries out the President's political vendettas, the internet lit up with the news that the FBI nabbed another thorn in the White House's side: conservative filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza. The man behind 2016: Obama's America, the second-highest grossing political documentary of all time, was arrested and indicted for campaign fraud this week. D'Souza, who was gearing up for the release of another film, America, is accused of making illegal contributions to a U.S. Senate candidate. And while we don't know all of the details, it certainly smells like another case of selective prosecution. If Dinesh is found guilty, he faces as many as two years in jail, where the Obama administration knows it would be next to impossible to release any more politically-damaging projects. Coincidence? You decide.
Cold and Wendy Conditions in Texas Gov Race
If Texas's Wendy Davis (D) is looking for supporters in her gubernatorial run, she can count out the disabled vote. The rabid pro-choicer isn't exactly making inroads with the state's undecideds after her supporters openly mocked Attorney General Greg Abbott's paralysis in a shocking video caught on tape by James O'Keefe. The footage shows Davis visiting her Battleground Texas offices where she thanked campaigners for their help. "I really wonder how this is going to work out since he's in a wheelchair since and most of the slogans are 'Stand with Wendy,'" one staffer is seen saying in the video. "First of all he's not good looking, he doesn't speak very well, he doesn't have a good personality and he's in a wheelchair," another woman is heard saying as someone laughs loudly in the background.
For Davis, the scandal couldn't come at a worse time. With this latest bombshell, the Left's pro-abortion darling, who was already trying to dig herself out of the pile of lies she told about her background, isn't exactly the picture of compassion and empathy the party is trying to paint her as. Davis's credibility was already suspect, as reporters called her out for inventing a more inspiring personal story than the facts suggest. "My language should be tighter," Davis lamented. "I'm learning about using broader, looser language."
Unfortunately for her campaign, that lesson has yet to sink in to the staff, whose comments about Abbott couldn't have been more offensive. Greg was only 26 when a tree injured his back and made it impossible for him to walk. Since then, he's used the tragedy as a motivation to defend the vulnerable -- whether they're in the womb or a wheelchair. "Some people think it's easy to write off the lives of the disabled or the different," he's said. "But every day, God reminds us that all life has value, no matter what the form." If only Davis and her campaign understood that.
Share and Schaerr Alike
You know the Utah marriage amendment is in good hands when the Left is racing to smear the man defending it. Gene Schaerr, who just left a prestigious job at Winston & Strawn, agreed to represent Utah in the Super Bowl of state marriage amendments. Groups like the pro-homosexual Human Rights Campaign (HRC) are already intimidated by Schaerr, whose experience makes him one of the greatest threats to their agenda in the states.
In a piece slamming the new counsel, HRC claims that "Schaerr's entire motivation for taking this anti-equality case is to impose a certain religious viewpoint on all Utahns -- and that's wrong." (Pot-kettle anyone?) They continued, "When you become an attorney, you take an oath to uphold the Constitution, not any particular religious doctrine." Who is HRC to talk about upholding the Constitution? The entire organization cheered when Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring promised to ignore his state's constitution advance same-sex "marriage."
HRC took particular offense to Schaerr's goodbye email. He told his colleagues that he accepted the job "so that I can fulfill what I have come to see as a religious and family duty: defending the constitutionality of traditional marriage." Like other liberal ideologues, HRC wants conservatives to do something it's proven incapable of: compartmentalizing their personal and professional lives.
In the Washington Post, UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh took HRC to task for its hypocrisy. It "strikes me as badly wrong, and indeed deeply unfair to religious believers. Lawyers decide to take cases based on their personal moral values all the time. Lawyers decide to take government cases based on their personal moral values, and indeed seek out certain government jobs based on their personal values. Pro-gay-rights lawyers might choose to take pro-gay-rights cases based on their personal moral values -- including ones that seek to impose a certain moral viewpoint, such as that embodied in various anti-discrimination statutes, on all citizens."
This viewpoint is progressing among the progressives, as they immediately disqualify any viewpoint emanating from an orthodox Christian faith is in the public square. Gene Schaerr thinks freedom should apply to everyone, including the 66% who cast their votes for natural marriage. And if the Left's reaction is any indication, Utah's case is in good hands.
** If you're in the Tucson area, join me this Sunday, January 26 at New Life Church of God (330 West Nebraska Street), where I'll be preaching the 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. services. For more details, click here.
*** How should Republicans handle the inevitable ObamaCare implosion? Find out in a new Investors Business Daily piece from FRC's Ken Blackwell, former FRC senior fellow Ken Klukowski, and David McIntosh.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.