With all of the scandals being revealed at the present time I can only forsee that the impeachment process will be in the making very shortly. According to reports that I have seen Bill O’Reilly is the latest to utter the “I” word. He was beaten by commentators on another network.
Part 2 in what seems to be a series is the IRS scandal. What did they know and when did they know it. This is a scandal that was not low level and it was not confined to just one office in Cinncinatti (go the Reds – yes I really do remain a fan of the Reds). This is a scandal that was endemic throughout the USA. More than 400 groups were targeted. On top of that the targets include more than the ones previously mentioned as more and more people are coming forward with their stories.
One group that has come forward is an anti-abortion group. The IRS knocked back the application because they will not promote abortion on demand. How ridiculous is that? They stated that politics was 5% of their time per the application. Again, this is an absurdity and it is shameful.
In my country a non-profit organisation covers all groups such as craft groups, model train groups, sporting clubs etc. They are normally not for profit because of the way that they have been set up as Associations and they are covered by specific legislation for incorporation purposes. Taxation is another matter, and most would have tax exempt status because of the nature of their activities, for even where they buy and sell goods, there is very little or no profit margin involved. Sporting clubs such as Leagues Clubs and the RSL clubs are a different category, although they also distribute their profits to help others. From this angle it is difficult for me to comment upon a vastly different system.
What I can comment upon is the intrusive nature of the questions that were asked in an effort to stonewall the granting of exempt status. Those questions were wrong and the IRS had no business asking such questions. Neither is it any concern of the IRS that a Ministry formed to work with churches as an anti-abortion group, should have to promote abortion – that is just wrong in my opinion, totally wrong.
The fact is that the whole exercise has had the impact of chilling the right to freedom of speech. If you really want to know why Obama was so upset over the Citizens United case, then I recommend that you read the decision and look closely at references to the chilling of free speech that was implied, and the basis for at least the decision written up by Clarence Thomas. That decision was all about ensuring that the right to freedom of speech is not chilled because of legislation that is introduced to curb the ability to get funding (in the case of Citizens United they got funding to make a political documentary).
Since the whole thing is systemic, this raises the question of “who’s the boss”? How far up the chain was the order made for the IRS to target conservative groups seeking the exemption status for tax purposes? Already I have seen 2 opinions that firmly state that such orders came from the West Wing. It should mean that the buck stops at the Oval Office… at the very least this was approved by Valerie Jarrett.
There are more and more people coming forward regarding what took place with regard to the IRS probing more than is necessary for groups applying for a tax exempt status.
However, it does seem that the targeting went beyond the IRS with at least one group – True the Vote in Texas. The purpose of True the Vote was to ensure that the voting process was not corrupted. The people who participated were dedicated to the task of ensuring fair elections but it seems that the IRS and other Washington agencies loyal to the Obama Administration wanted to shut them down.
The founder of True the Vote stated that it was not just the IRS that sent questions that were extremely probing about the group. It extended to a lot of excessive scrutiny of herself and her business ventures, not just from the IRS but from several agencies. The whole thing is very chilling. It goes well beyond what was attempted where Citizens United was concerned.
I note here (again) that I do think that the Citizens United case is very relevant where these revelations are concerned. In particular I draw your attention to the reasoning of Clarence Thomas in that case. He was the one who most wrote about the effects of the laws that had been passed and the chilling of free speech.
Not only was it True the Vote that came in for such scrutiny, but it also extended to the Billy Graham Ministries after Graham advised people to use their vote sensibly and be guided by the Bible. For the first time they were subject to an IRS audit. Once again this is an outrageous abuse of power by the Obama Administration.
Then there is the interviewer who was also subjected to an audit because he had asked some awkward question of Obama. That audit could only have been requested from the person who is in the Oval Office as a punishment for daring to question him in that way. It is very chilling to learn of these things.