Luck of the Draw at IRS?

Juanita Broaddrick, whom about 80 percent of Americans believed when she accused President Clinton of raping her (how do you like that poll?), is being audited by the Internal Revenue Service.

Maybe it’s just the luck of the draw. It has to be admitted, the odds of the IRS randomly auditing a woman Mr. Clinton has tried to have sex with are not insubstantial. (Though only about a half-dozen women have publicly accused him of making sexual advances toward them, Mr. Clinton told Monica Lewinsky that he ‘d had sex with hundreds of women, which is why he couldn’t settle the Paula Jones case.)

So in the abstract, it could be a coincidence. Except this is not in the abstract. It’s in the Clinton administration. And under Mr. Clinton, the IRS has audited a mathematically improbable series of the president’s critics.

Indeed, the IRS random audit selection process has led to audits of an impressive array of citizens inconvenient to the administration. These include: Elizabeth Ward Gracen (a Clinton conquest who helpfully admitted that Mr. Clinton did not rape her); Billy Dale (fired in the White House Travel Office imbroglio); Bill O’Reilly (Clinton critic on Fox News channel); Kent Masterson Brown (brought the lawsuit compelling Hillary Rodham Clinton’s health care task force to reveal its members); Paula Jones (wrecked the Clinton presidency).

Paula Jones got her audit letter from the IRS not long after she beat Mr. Clinton in the Supreme Court. Though her victory had forced Mr. Clinton to the negotiating table, the talks had deadlocked over his refusal to apologize. Just a few weeks later, the IRS initiated its audit. Mrs. Jones’ income at the time consisted of her husband’s $37,000 a year salary – the least audited tax bracket. But somehow Paula Jones beat the odds and got herself audited.

Mr. Clinton’s IRS has also audited almost every conservative organization you can name. Among them are the National Review, the American Spectator, the Christian Coalition, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Oliver North’s Freedom Alliance, the Heritage Foundation, the National Rifle Association, the Western Journalism Center, the National Center for Public Policy Research, Fortress America and Citizens Against Government Waste.

There may be still other conservative organizations that have been targeted by Mr. Clinton’s IRS, of course. There is no public record of IRS audits, and organizations that survive on charitable contributions tend not to advertise the fact that the IRS is rifling through their books.

If you think you’ve heard this before, you are probably the proud owner of my book “High Crimes and Misdemeanors,” which details the series of highly suspect audits of Mr. Clinton’s enemies, a.k.a. “witnesses,” through 1998. Though my book came out almost two years ago, it remains an excellent resource for following all current scandals. Like a movie reel that keeps going around and around again, the last years of the Clinton administration keep belching out the same abuses of power, the same indignant protestations of innocence and the same overheated charges of partisanship. Same modus operandi, new victims.

Of course, the politicization of the IRS is a difficult charge to prove to the satisfaction of, say, Lanny Davis. This sort of thing tends not to be memorialized in handwritten notes from the president along the lines of: “Dear IRS Commissioner, Please audit my enemies. Love, Bill.” But at some point, the laws of probability just can’t explain it. Moreover, there were two rather remarkable smoking guns surrounding the audit of Billy Dale, ousted head of the Travel Office.

First, White House Associate Counsel William Kennedy baldly informed the FBI that he intended to use the IRS to put the screws on Mr. Dale – after being rebuffed in his attempt to have the FBI do the same. Mr. Kennedy had called the FBI to demand an investigation of the Travel Office as part of a fishing expedition to substantiate the administration’s claim that the fired employees were criminals. But since the FBI is really not supposed to be randomly investigating U.S. citizens whenever Mr. Clinton needs to smear them, Mr. Kennedy’s demand was met with some resistance.

When the FBI agent who took Mr. Kennedy’s call explained that the FBI needed some basis to investigate, Mr. Kennedy became more insistent. According to the agent, Mr. Kennedy demanded that the FBI initiate an investigation in 15 minutes or he’d call in the IRS. That is according to the White House’s own internal memo investigating the Travel Office firings.

Second, congressional investigators looking into the Travel Office firings discovered a memo about Billy Dale in which the same William Kennedy was quoted saying IRS Commissioner Margaret Milner Richardson was “on top of it.” The memo was written by White House lawyers summarizing Mr. Kennedy’s remarks about the travel office firings.

So, like I say, the Broaddrick audit looks innocent only if completely abstracted from everything we know about Bill Clinton.