Image via People’s Cube
It’s all coming apart at the seams. Hubris leads one to think that it wouldn’t happen. As Vandehei and Allen put it:
Obama’s aloof mien and holier-than-thou rhetoric have left him with little reservoir of good will, even among Democrats. And the press, after years of being accused of being soft on Obama while being berated by West Wing aides on matters big and small, now has every incentive to be as ruthless as can be.
This White House’s instinctive petulance, arrogance and defensiveness have all worked to isolate Obama at a time when he most needs a support system. “It feel like they don’t know what they’re here to do,” a former senior Obama administration official said. “When there’s no narrative, stuff like this consumes you.”
The scandal at the IRS has been uncovered. Conservatives groups find that their applications for tax exempt status are delayed and accompanied by numerous and the most ridiculous of questions. Bryan Preston:
This is how you respond to a bully.
When Marion Bower decided to start her tea party organization in 2010, she didn’t know that it would take nearly two years for the Internal Revenue Service to approve her request for tax-exempt status.
The Ohio woman also did not expect that providing information about the books her group read would be part of the application process.
“I was trying to be very cordial, but they wanted copies of unbelievable things,” Bower told ABC News today. “They wanted to know what materials we had discussed at any of our book studies.”
She ultimately sent one of the books, “The Five Thousand Year Leap,” promoted frequently by Glenn Beck, to the IRS official handling her tax-exempt request in Cincinnati. She also sent a paperback copy of the Constitution.
“They wanted a synopsis of all the books we read,” Bower said. “I thought, I don’t have time to write a book report. You can read them for yourselves.”
What possible justification could the IRS have for requesting to see lists of the books that Americans read?
This administration needs to stop iffing around. Every use of the “if this happened…” looks more and more like the White House knows far more than it’s letting on, and has some reason to continue casting doubt on what is now a confirmed story.
How confirmed is the IRS abuse? The FBI is now investigating it.
There is no “if” here.
WASHINGTON — In February 2010, the Champaign Tea Party in Illinois received approval of its tax-exempt status from the IRS in 90 days, no questions asked.
That was the month before the Internal Revenue Service started singling out Tea Party groups for special treatment. There wouldn’t be another Tea Party application approved for 27 months.
In that time, the IRS approved perhaps dozens of applications from similar liberal and progressive groups, a USA TODAY review of IRS data shows.
As applications from conservative groups sat in limbo, groups with liberal-sounding names had their applications approved in as little as nine months. With names including words like “Progress” or “Progressive,” the liberal groups applied for the same tax status and were engaged in the same kinds of activities as the conservative groups. They included:
• Bus for Progress, a New Jersey non-profit that uses a red, white and blue bus to “drive the progressive change.” According to its website, its mission includes “support (for) progressive politicians with the courage to serve the people’s interests and make tough choices.” It got an IRS approval as a social welfare group in April 2011.
• Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment says it fights against corporate welfare and for increasing the minimum wage. “It would be fair to say we’re on the progressive end of the spectrum,” said executive director Jeff Ordower. He said the group got tax-exempt status in September 2011 in just nine months after “a pretty simple, straightforward process.”
• Progress Florida, granted tax-exempt status in January 2011, is lobbying the Florida Legislature to expand Medicaid under a provision of the Affordable Care Act, one of President Obama’s signature accomplishments. The group did not return phone calls. “We’re busy fighting to build a more progressive Florida and cannot take your call right now,” the group’s voice mail said.
It began in March 2010. And what happened just before that? This did
Obama took the most astonishing step of castigating the Supreme Court during the 2010 State of the Union address.
President Obama took the apparently unprecedented step of assailing a Supreme Court decision in his speech last night, saying, “with all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign corporations – to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people, and that’s why I’d urge Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that corrects some of these problems.”
Obama has called for a Constitutional Amendment to overturn the Citizens ruling.
In response to a question about the president’s position on money in politics, Obama wrote, “Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn’t revisit it). Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight of the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change.”
He decided it was “bad for our democracy.”
Asked what problem in the political system he’d solve if he had “unlimited powers,” Obama responded that the amount of money his campaign, the Romney campaign and the Super-PACs were spending was “ridiculous,” and he blamed Citizens United, saying it was wrong as a matter of constitutional law and “bad for our democracy.”
Obama has engaged the SEC to help throttle Citizens:
Shareholders in publicly traded corporations have a right to know if their investment is being spent on political campaigns. And voters have a right to know what interests are trying to persuade them. But three years after the U.S. Supreme Court opened the floodgates for American corporations to pour money into campaigns, the transparency it urged in that same decision does not exist. A proposed rule before the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission offers the best hope yet that publicly traded corporations will have to fully disclose donations to political organizations.
It’s notable that since the 2010 ruling in the Citizens United case, few publicly held corporations have donated to super political action committees, which are regulated by the Federal Elections Commission and require disclosure of contributions. Instead, corporations have sent hundreds of millions of dollars to tax-empt groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Karl Rove’s Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, the American Gaming Association or the National Retail Federation, all of whom engage in political activity on behalf of candidates but are not subject to the same PAC disclosure standards.
The proposed SEC rule would end that charade and require publicly traded corporations to reveal how they spend shareholder money for political purposes.
The timing of the onset of targeting conservative groups is just too convenient. Obama made good on this promise:
Well, what we’re going to have to do is continue to make progress on the economy over the next several months. And where Congress is not willing to act, we’re going to go ahead and do it ourselves. But it would be nice if we could get a little bit of help from Capitol Hill.
(Emphasis added to make sure you didn’t miss it)
It has even been revealed that the White House was “aware” of the program and did nothing.
It seems very clear that this is all about Obama’s own program to impair Citizens if he cannot overturn it. Delaying the applications of Tea Party and conservative groups and their targeting by the IRS has a chilling effect on free speech and that was undoubtedly the goal.
This is absolutely unacceptable. He’s supposed to be the President of all US citizens, not just those who worship him. He’s supposed to uphold the Constitution, not choose which laws he wants to uphold. He’s supposed to protect the rights of all of us. But he’s got an agenda to fundamentally change this nation and no Constitution is going to get in his way.
This needs to be pursued rigorously. I do not believe this was the work of “low level employees.” At the very minimum this was about dampening free speech during the 2012 election.
It’s very clear that Obama is seeking to impair Citizens. Barack Obama took an oath to uphold the Constitution. That means he is tasked to uphold the law of the land and like it or not Citizens is the law of the land. He ought to be impeached for his efforts to subvert the law of the land- the failure to uphold his sworn oath.
And the deplorable Janet Napolitano has made clear that it is the policy of this regime to enforce the laws they choose to enforce:
During her testimony on the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano declared that she, President Barack Obama and other political officials at the top of this administration have the authority to decide which laws to enforce, and which ones to ignore.
It is intolerable. It is lawless. It is dictatorial.