In a stunning abuse of power, the IRS has been targeting the donors to conservative political organizations for audits, according to a report by the Washington Free Beacon. The documents released via a Freedom of Information Act request as part of an investigation by Judicial Watch show that the agency specifically singled out individuals who gave to groups with words and phrases like "tea party" in their name for audits.
This is a continuation of the scandal that began in 2013, in which the agency targeted the groups themselves. At that time, Lois Lerner took most of the heat for the targeting, with officials claiming it was an isolated incident that didn’t go any higher up. Clearly, that was not the case.
The fact that this sort of thing goes on in our government is an outrageous assault on our most basic liberties. America was founded on the idea that we should be free to express our political opinions without the government punishing us for them. This was an important distinction to draw from previous autocracies, where dissent from the ruling class could land you an indefinite stay in cold, dark cell. It has not yet gotten that bad in America, but the idea of using government power to to intimidate, bully, and harass those of us who think that the government has grown too large and oppressive, apart from proving our point, should offend any American who values the freedom of expression guaranteed by our Constitution.
This scandal has been brewing for two years now, and still nothing meaningful has been done. Lois Lerner no longer works at the IRS, true, but a low level official falling on her sword to protect her superiors is no longer an acceptable solution. We have to send a message that this sort of corruption will no longer be tolerated in the land of the free.
The IRS has spent much of the last two years attacking conservative non-profit groups. Apart from the continuing targeting scandal, there was also a proposed regulation that would have effectively destroyed the ability of non-profits to conduct political organizing. The IRS is supposed to do one thing – collect revenue, not serve as an attack dog for the Democrats against any and all political opposition.
The IRS continues to justify its status as the most hated of all government agencies.