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May 17, 2013

Who Could Have Predicted This?

"I am outraged that anyone would follow my example":

Was the White House involved in the IRS's targeting of conservatives? No investigation needed to answer that one. Of course it was.

President Obama and Co. are in full deniability mode, noting that the IRS is an "independent" agency and that they knew nothing about its abuse. The media and Congress are sleuthing for some hint that Mr. Obama picked up the phone and sicced the tax dogs on his enemies.

But that's not how things work in post-Watergate Washington. Mr. Obama didn't need to pick up the phone. All he needed to do was exactly what he did do, in full view, for three years: Publicly suggest that conservative political groups were engaged in nefarious deeds; publicly call out by name political opponents whom he'd like to see harassed; and publicly have his party pressure the IRS to take action.

Mr. Obama now professes shock and outrage that bureaucrats at the IRS did exactly what the president of the United States said was the right and honorable thing to do. "He put a target on our backs, and he's now going to blame the people who are shooting at us?" asks Idaho businessman and longtime Republican donor Frank VanderSloot.

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At the White House, President Obama addresses the IRS scandal, May 15.

Mr. VanderSloot is the Obama target who in 2011 made a sizable donation to a group supporting Mitt Romney. In April 2012, an Obama campaign website named and slurred eight Romney donors. It tarred Mr. VanderSloot as a "wealthy individual" with a "less-than-reputable record." Other donors were described as having been "on the wrong side of the law."

This was the Obama version of the phone call—put out to every government investigator (and liberal activist) in the land.

Twelve days later, a man working for a political opposition-research firm called an Idaho courthouse for Mr. VanderSloot's divorce records. In June, the IRS informed Mr. VanderSloot and his wife of an audit of two years of their taxes. In July, the Department of Labor informed him of an audit of the guest workers on his Idaho cattle ranch. In September, the IRS informed him of a second audit, of one of his businesses. Mr. VanderSloot, who had never been audited before, was subject to three in the four months after Mr. Obama teed him up for such scrutiny.

The last of these audits was only concluded in recent weeks. Not one resulted in a fine or penalty. But Mr. VanderSloot has been waiting more than 20 months for a sizable refund and estimates his legal bills are $80,000. That figure doesn't account for what the president's vilification has done to his business and reputation.

Meanwhile the 501(c)4 application of Organizing for Action, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Barack Obama Perpetual Campaign, seems to have escaped the white-hot scrutiny of the IRS:

President Obama’s successful campaign apparatus is converting—for a second time—to an ongoing advocacy organization. After the 2008 campaign, the well-oiled Obama machine reformed as Organizing for America, a component of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The first OFA became a tool for organizing support for President Obama’s major first term agenda initiatives. In the aftermath of the even more successful reelection campaign, there will be a new OFA—a 501(c)(4) called Organizing for Action.

... OFA’s initial slate of board members is straight out of the Obama reelection campaign, including Jim Messina, Stephanie Cutter, Robert Gibbs, Julianna Smoot, and soon, David Plouffe. It is very separate from the leadership of the Democratic Party. It could be that OFA represents the Obama team’s limited faith in the Democratic Party or perhaps an analysis that something is needed to pressure Democrats to stay in line behind the president’s second term agenda.

The Obama campaign reportedly has an e-mail list of between 12 million and 13 million names, the basis of a remarkably powerful independent organization. The collection of Obama campaign loyalists in OFA suggests the creation of a group that, whatever its commitment to a political agenda, may be as responsive to Obama as it is to progressive politics.

The new OFA leadership pledges that the organization will not accept donations from lobbyists, but who needs lobbyists to front for corporate special interests when corporations can make unlimited donations on their own? As a 501(c)(4), even if the leadership makes commitments to disclosure, OFA can still be a politically allied social welfare organization camouflaging the unlimited corporate donations unleashed by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Given OFA’s leadership by former Obama campaign staffers, how likely is it that OFA will be able to take the organization through small “d” democratic governance processes in any direction other than one supported by Messina, Plouffe, and other campaign operatives promoting the president’s agenda?

Posted by Cassandra at May 17, 2013 08:41 AM

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I didn't order anyone to do anything, I just asked who would rid me of this turbulent Tea Party?

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at May 17, 2013 09:45 AM


Posted by: Texan99, B.A. (Fine Arts) at May 17, 2013 10:46 AM

But that's not fair, of course. When you support greenhouse solutions, it's not political, it's just true.

Posted by: Texan99 at May 17, 2013 10:47 AM

This is why I despair. I imagine myself sending something like this to my liberal friends. If at all possible, they will find a reason not to believe it. If they have to believe it, they will find a reason why "everybody does it so what's the big deal". If they can't, despite all their attempts, convince themselves that everybody does it, they will decide that it's really okay because - to paraphrase T99 - it's not political, it's just that "the other guys" are wrong/bad and "our guys" are right/good.

It's that last that confounds me. The first two approaches are understandable (confirmation bias, social belonging, etc.); the last is not. The absolute willingness to jettison process in favor of outcome and the utter inability to understand how dangerous that is (for "their" side in the future if nothing else) drives me to drink (or, more often, chocolate). These are intelligent, decent people. I start off asking myself how they cannot see this and often end up wondering if I'm the one who's crazy.

Posted by: Elise at May 17, 2013 11:19 AM

I start off asking myself how they cannot see this...

Because people in .gov are good and noble and do what they do for the good of the country. These are just honest well meaning mistakes that happen from time to time.

Let a corporation do something even half as bad though, and *that's* indicative of the corrupting power of the filthy lucre and the CEO should spend the rest of his life in jail.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at May 17, 2013 04:33 PM


The IRS compiling lists of conservatives for extra scrutiny before granting tax-exempt approval was merely "insensitive" but not political.

A lender compiling lists of blacks for extra scrutiny before granting loan approval would be criminally racist discrimination.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at May 17, 2013 04:38 PM

The hypocrisy is blinding. This scandal will have legs for (at least) two reasons:
- *everyone* fears, and most hate, the IRS. Even libs know this kind of abuse can cut both ways
- it is so obviously politically motivated that even some lib pundits are rolling their eyes at IRS/White House claims that 'it was only low level career employees in a local office'

This is the kind of issue that demands an Independent Special Prosecuter . . .
heh heh heh . . .

Best Regards

Posted by: CAPT Mike at May 17, 2013 11:40 PM

Liberals will still forgive Obama for an IRS abuse such as this. They have been bending over backwards trying to spin this as being somehow the fault of the Republicans. Just as Sen. Boxer tried to lay the Benghazi disaster at the feet of the Republicans for not passing Obama's initial ridiculous budget. Analytical chop logic that could only come from a true die hard Liberal.
At any rate, the question that bugs me is; why has the media allowed this farce to go on for so long?
Make no mistake, had Obama and Co. not been caught red handed trying to spy on the AP, none of the other abuses would have made it to page one at most outlets.
I blame the Media for the culture of cover up marginalization that has allowed Obama to get away with so many abuses over the years. Had they been objective and simply done their jobs this never would have gotten to this point.
The media couldn't care less about the IRS putting the screws to some Tea Party groups. they probably were hoping it would eventually blow over. However, when the DOJ came secretly skulking around in APs backyard for 2 months it suddenly spooked them all.
They're the biggest hypocrites.

Posted by: Joatmoaf at May 18, 2013 01:25 PM

IRS abuse? "Overlook this transgression"

I've gone out and looked at various news items about this "abuse" and the comments our Democrat fellow citizens think, and I will tell you that a good number of "Democrats" are rooting on Obama and the IRS to get after "teabaggers" and "right-wing nuts" that dare to oppose our President or to disagree with him.

And they are certainly glad the cult-nut Mormon Romney wasn't elected, and are glad that Obama and his believers did what was necessary to defeat them.

Blame the Media? They are rooting them on too. And if the AP got a little out of line in supporting the Democrats, well the Obama Regime was right in trying to figure who wasn't toeing the party line.

Posted by: Don Brouhaha at May 18, 2013 03:28 PM

Long time no see Don.
Yes blame the media (in part) because they were actively participating in Bam Bams cover ups since before he was elected.
For instance do you remember this ?


Not many were even aware of it due to the media white wash. Had the same thing happened to Romney he would have quickly been disqualified from running.

Posted by: Joatmoaf at May 18, 2013 06:55 PM

Because people in .gov are good and noble and do what they do for the good of the country. These are just honest well meaning mistakes that happen from time to time.

That's certainly an attitude I've seen in my liberal friends and I actually have a certain amount of sympathy for it. Any large organization is going to make mistakes from time to time. I don't say I agree with that attitude but I understand it.

The attitude I despair of, however, is not one that says "this is forgivable because mistakes happen from time to time" but one that says "this is forgivable because, although it may technically be illegal or may look bad or be hard to explain, it's really okay since the people it was done to are bad actors and we have to do whatever is necessary to keep them from doing nefarious things".

It's the "national security justifies almost everything" argument applied to fellow citizens on the opposite side of the political divide.

Posted by: Elise at May 18, 2013 07:28 PM


Posted by: Texan99 at May 20, 2013 10:39 AM

Joatmoaf! How are you? :)

Posted by: Cassandra at May 20, 2013 12:19 PM

An interesting discovery that will no doubt be *lost in translation* as quickly as possible, I'm sure.
Have patience or be prepared to refresh the page as it is getting a lot of traffic today.

Posted by: DL Sly at May 20, 2013 01:02 PM

Cass, I am well. So are you I see. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Joatmoaf at May 20, 2013 07:08 PM