Friday, May 17, 2013

Cheetahs Never Prosper!

Tony Perkins
Family Research Council

In all fairness to the IRS, its softball team was named the "Cheetahs" long before this latest scandal! But it seems especially appropriate now, after what many are calling the worst corruption case since Watergate. Leading up to the 2012 elections, the IRS engaged in some of the most vicious ideological censorship in U.S. history, systematically silencing almost 500 conservative groups.

In more than two years (since February 2010), the IRS hasn't approved a single tea party application for nonprofit status. Individuals who had ties to conservative causes were targeted for audits. Donor rolls of entire organizations were leaked to the press. And all of it was done with the agency's full knowledge--if not approval. One by one, the IRS tried to pick off the President's opponents, using one of the most powerful tools in the President's shed: the revenue-collecting arm of the federal government.

Even Democrats seem stunned at the depth of misconduct. Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who called ObamaCare a "train wreck" earlier this month, thinks this is just the tip of the iceberg. "I have a hunch that a lot more is going to come out, frankly," he said on Bloomberg.

Yesterday, his hunch was right. ABC News reported Thursday night that the chief of the IRS's tax-exempt division, the one who oversaw the heckling of Christian and conservative groups, is none other than Sarah Hall Ingram. Ingram, who raked in more than $103,000 in bonuses (probably for her exemplary targeting of right-wing groups), was recently promoted. She now oversees the largest power expansion in IRS history, as head of the agency's ObamaCare program office. That's right. The person who now administers the ObamaCare mandate and penalties, the one enforcing the IRS's 47 new regulatory powers, is a woman with a history of political bullying.

Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) can add that to the reasons why members should support his new bill, "Keep the IRS off Your Health Care Act" (H.R. 2009). Under the legislation, theIRS would be barred from enforcing the health care law. Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) added to the slate of legislative reaction with a measure to ban the discriminatory scrutiny of taxpayers by the IRS and other government agencies. Congressman Randy Forbes (R-Va.), meanwhile, wants to freeze the IRS from hiring new employees to implement ObamaCare. And our friends at the National Organization for Marriage, whose confidential donor lists were leaked in the heat of the election, got a boost when Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) joined House Republicans in calling for an investigation into the criminal activity that would have led to the breach.

Democrats, of course, refuse to be left out of the bill-writing party. But instead of drafting legislation that would address the crises, liberals seem content to make them worse. Senate Democrats are lining up behind a bill that's similar to (and in some ways worse) than the DISCLOSE Act, which would significantly clamp down on groups' free speech rights. And who do they want to tap to police this campaign effort? The IRS! Honestly, you can't make this stuff up! Under the bill, the IRS would be doing openly what it had been doing secretly through tax-exempt applications: regulating political speech. "The IRS, an agency with no campaign finance expertise, would be granted the authority to levy stiff tax penalties and strip nonprofit status from groups that violate--even unintentionally--the bill's provisions."

Like White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, who "dismisses the idea that these are scandals," liberals must be in denial about the enormity of the IRS's wrongdoing. Fortunately, the GOP is not. And if they can harness the momentum, Republicans can finally push for the tax code reform and thatAmerica's been waiting for!