Republican Leaders Fight Back Against IRS Power Grab

weRepublicans are fighting back against proposed new IRS rules that they say would make formal the tax agency’s infamous crackdown on Tea Party groups that oppose the Obama agenda, stripping them of their free speech rights during election cycles.

“Every American needs to know about this abuse of power,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) said in a recent speech on the Senate floor. “Let me be clear: What the administration is proposing poses a grave threat to the ability of ordinary Americans to freely participate in the Democratic process.”

The new rules, first unveiled around Thanksgiving when no one was paying attention, would prevent so-called 501c4 advocacy groups from participating in certain kinds of political activity. Such nonprofit organizations would be prevented from communicating with voters about candidates or political parties within 60 days of a general election.

On the House side, Speaker John Boehner (Ohio), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), Dave Camp (Mich.), and Hal Rogers (Ky.) have signed a letter asking newly minted IRS chief John Koskinen to kill new proposed regulations dating from November that they say are intended to silence conservative groups.

On the Senate side, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Minority Whip John Cornyn (Texas), John Thune (S.D.), Orrin Hatch (Utah), and Richard Shelby (Ala.) also signed the letter that suggests Koskinen would be perceived as a puppet of the Obama White House if he didn’t pull back from the regulations. In the Obama era IRS officials have been accused of spending an inordinate amount of time at the White House and getting far too cozy with top administration figures.

“It is our view that finalizing this proposed rule would make intimidation and harassment of the administration’s political opponents the official policy of the IRS and would allow the Obama administration to use your agency as a partisan tool,” the lawmakers said in the letter.

“This would be a serious error, especially in the light of the recent track record of intimidation at the IRS. It would also cement your reputation as someone who is unable or unwilling to restore the public’s faith in this important agency.”

Although Koskinen, who was sworn in as IRS Commissioner on Dec. 23, said he did not participate in drafting the rules, he has refused Republican demands to block their implementation.

“Everyone can make comments about our draft regulations as they are now,” Koskinen said in testimony before a House Ways and Means subcommittee last week.

“There will be a public hearing,” he said. “There will be numerous occasions for people to bring any information that they would like, or perspectives, about those regulations forward before they are finalized. And they’re not going to be finalized in the near-term future,” he added, noting that the administration had received 21,000 comments on the regulations.

According to FreedomWorks, the proposed IRS guidelines would restrict the political activities of tax-exempt 501c4 organizations, expand the already unchecked discretionary power of the IRS, and institutionalize the agency’s targeted harassment of conservative and libertarian nonprofits in the Obama era.

These “draconian IRS regulations … would make it virtually impossible for tea parties that want to participate in the political process to do their business,” said Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks.

“They’re going after conservative groups, they’re going after libertarian groups, and they’re going after citizen groups that want to organize people based on the values of the constitution; based on the ideas of freedom and have an impact on the political conversation. If that sounds familiar, what they’re doing is formalizing the same persecution, the same targeting that we saw coming out of the IRS leading up to the 2012 election.”

What most of the news coverage of the sordid IRS saga misses is that Democrats are angry about Republican-friendly nonprofits. They are upset that nonprofits that oppose Obama are allowed to exist at all. They use specious arguments to justify the Obama administration’s increasingly naked repression of its domestic political enemies.

Democrats correctly view Tea Party groups, that is, right-wing populist groups, as an existential threat to the Left. These nonprofits tend to be Republican-leaning organizations and they have been successful so far in derailing, or at least slowing, parts of President Obama’s ongoing transmogrification of America.

Democrats don’t want any conservative nonprofits to enjoy tax-exempt status. Such nonprofits are all working against the Left, standing in the way and preventing America from becoming a leftist utopia.

Using the IRS to hurt right-of-center groups is fair game, according to left-wingers. President Obama can’t even bring himself to admit that what happened at the IRS was corrupt.

In an embarrassing television interview that aired Super Bowl Sunday, Obama lied shamelessly to save his skin in the horrendous IRS targeting scandal that could yet cost him the presidency. There was “not a smidgen of corruption” in the IRS saga, Obama told an incredulous Bill O’Reilly in the on-air mendacity marathon as he smeared Fox News Channel and blamed the network, instead of his own misdeeds, for his deepening political woes.

In fact we now know that officials at the highest level of the Obama administration had been conspiring for years, plotting a Chicago thug-style knee-capping of conservative opposition groups.

A congressional hearing revealed last week that the IRS was planning to justify unfairly targeting nonprofit anti-Obama groups as early as 2012, long before a government watchdog exposed the depth of the targeting.

The smoking gun came in the form of an email from Treasury Department tax policy attorney Ruth Madrigal to several IRS officials including the infamous Lois Lerner who invoked the Fifth Amendment’s non-incrimination privilege to avoid coming clean during a high-profile congressional inquiry.

“Don’t know who in your organizations is keeping tabs on c4s,” Madrigal wrote, referring to the tax-exempt Tea Party groups recognized under section 501(c)(4) of the federal tax code, “but since we mentioned potentially addressing them (off plan) in 2013, I’ve got my radar up and this seemed interesting.”

Congressional tax-writing chief Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) said Madrigal’s missive meant that new rules were not being developed as a “remedy to the target[ing]” that took place in 2011 and 2012. “I’m pretty sure [off-plan] means ‘hidden from the public,’” said Camp, who is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Investigators still haven’t interviewed many conservative groups that were denied tax-exempt status while their liberal counterparts sailed through the nonprofit status-granting process.

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  • Steeloak

    The list of High Crimes and Misdemeanors grows daily. When the great reckoning comes it will be devastating for Obama and his toadies in the Democrat party.

    • ranchdancer

      and exactly when will that come about….2020>30>40….Republicans for the most part are spineless, afraid to upset the apple cart causing a constitutional crisis…..

      • Steeloak

        Watch what happens after the 2014 housecleaning. There will be a lot more Ted Cruzs and Rand Pauls in Washington.

        • ranchdancer

          fingers crossed and praying…this country is in serious trouble…..heading over a cliff if a big change doesn’t come in 2014

  • truebearing

    When are Republican leaders going to start calling this what it is? A coup! They need to stop beating around the bush and cowering under their euphemisms and neutered language. It is a coup, dammit, and it needs to outed as such.

    Speaking of neutered, it is time to yank Boehner’s worthless a*s out of the Speaker’s chair and replace him with someone with some brains and courage. Start defunding the IRS. Defund the EPA. Defund the Labor Department.

    • mo up in the northeast

      thank you. YES!

    • PatriotInk

      On “replacing Boehner…”

      Trey Gowdy comes immediately to mind…

  • Vlad Lenin

    If these “leaders” can’t get it done… the only solution is revolution.

  • mo up in the northeast

    When will someone begin the articles of Impeachment? Clinton, Nixon did far less. Do Hillary and Valerie have THAT much dirt on repubs? For crying out loud, do they think the Executive Orders in which Obama takes over the food supply in the event of an “emergency” (created by Jarrett) will sit around and collect dust. Dictator, doggone it, Dictator!

    • kilfincelt

      If Republicans take the Senate in the 2014 election and maintain their numbers in the House then impeachment proceedings should begin immediately against Obama and Holder. The whole Justice Dept. should be canned and subject to criminal investigation. The tax code should be simplified and laws put in place that require equal treatment then most of the IRS employees should be fired including the new head.

    • Berceuse

      His assassination of Awlaki alone justifies impeachment. As much as I despised Awlaki and cheered his death, like it or not he was a U.S. citizen entitled to due process. To have deprived him of life and liberty without that due process is the highest possible “high crime” punishable by, at a minimum, impeachment.

      But there won’t be any impeachment, of course. Too many Americans still obligingly and unthinkingly lap up Obama’s Orwellian swill with great alacrity. As with any tyrant, he made his power grab with the consent of a sufficient percentage of the subjected. There can now be no uprising until the inevitable human misery that he is inflicting reaches critical mass and even the willingly indoctrinated turn on him.

      • kikorikid

        “like it or not” Awlaki did receive Due Process. He recieved
        Substantive Due Process. He was found to be a field
        operative of Al-Queada, a sworn mortal enemy of the
        United States. Subpoeana Ducus Tecum does not have
        any efficacy if the party is located in a hostile foreign
        nation. Question: Why do those in your camp insist
        that this is important. Awlaki was traitorous to the core.
        Your second paragraph is delusional at a minimum.
        Where did you get your conclusion that nothing can be
        done until “the willingly indoctrinated turn on him”.
        Nobody is asking your permission and we aint waitin
        until you get tired of being whipped. You have been
        indoctrinated to believe your master is infallible.

        • Berceuse

          We’ll set aside your fundamental lack of understanding of U.S. Constitutional law for a moment, because I want to focus on your second point. Impeachment is a political process. The reality is, not enough Americans would support it right now for the GOP to attempt it. If you disagree, please explain why it hasn’t happened yet, and why no one is even close to initiating the impeachment process. As for your reference to my “master”…WTF are you talking about? I voted against Obama in ’12 and am in favor of impeachment, as I noted in my post…the very post you seem to have completely failed to comprehend. (Quick question: Do you struggle with declarative English?)
          As to your first point, no one said anything about a deposition. Again, WTF are you going on about? The president specifically ordered the assassination of a U.S. citizen — by name — absent any sort of trial or warrant of any kind…an unprecedented move in our nation’s history. Of course Awlaki was a traitor — what part of my post did you fail to grasp when I said I despised him? But our Constitutional rights do not stop at the border. If you think they do, you, my friend, are the delusional one.

          • NAHALKIDES

            I appreciate your passion, but the fact is the authority of our civil courts and marshals do stop at the U. S. Territorial border: outside U.S. territory, we can’t arrest or try anyone. Obama has done many terrible things, but in this case he acted within the scope of his authority as CINC.

            This country is at war, and enemy combatants, whether lawful or unlawful, are legitimate targets. Not only did Obama possess the authority to kill Awlaki, the lowest private soldier in the U.S. Army did so also! By that I mean that if a U.S. soldier sights an enemy combatant, he is at liberty to raise his rifle and shoot him. This is not an “execution” in the legal sense, it’s merely a legitimate exercise of the war power. And that will be so as long as the AUMF remains in affect.

            Awlaki was not subject to arrest, but he was located in a zone of combat, making his targeting perfectly legal. Now had he been strolling down a street in Chicago’s Hyde Park (Obama’s neighborhood), that would have been another matter – he would have been subject to the jurisdiction of the Federal Courts, and thus arrest rather than attack would have been the correct procedure.

          • Berceuse

            I respectfully disagree. Key points:

            1) Yes, the government’s authorities are limited offshore…but our Constitutional rights are not.

            2) The “enemy combatant” designation was created in the post-9/11 fervor. Nowhere in the Constitution is the government authorized to deprive a citizen of his inalienable rights except by due process.

            3) Awlaki was killed in Yemen, a nation with which we were not at war. No one had the right to assassinate him. This includes the low-level private you described. In fact, except in a time of direct hostilities, a soldier is permitted to kill no one, foreign or otherwise, much less a fellow citizen.

            4) Of course, had Awlaki constituted an immediate threat at a time of hostilities, military or law enforcement action would have been justified. None of those conditions existed.

            5) The country is not at war.

            6) Even if we were at war, the argument that the government can kill citizens because they are deemed (by whom? Why, the government, of course!) to be enemy combatants is deeply flawed. It allows the government to kill anyone anywhere without a trial, arrest or even a warrant. What difference would it make if the target were in Yemen or France or Kansas?

            Therefore, to me, a president who draws up a secret hit list of U.S. citizens who have not only not been convicted of a crime but not even charged…then orders their execution, one by one, without judicial oversight as they sit quietly in their homes in non-combat areas…

            …Yeah, that’s an impeachable crime.

          • NAHALKIDES

            2) “Enemy combatant” is a very old term, as is “unlawful combatant”. They were not the inventions of G. W. Bush. Awlaki is both – an enemy combatant, engaged in acts of war against the U.S., and unlawful to boot.

            3) Islamic terrorists are technically stateless. We are at war with them wherever they may be found. This war is both actual, in the sense that it’s taking place, and legal, since the AUMF is still the law of the land.

            6) Yes of course the government can kill enemy combatants in a foreign battlefield in wartime! To make this clear, consider the case of the American citizen who joins the German Wehrmacht in World War II. President Roosevelt orders my unit (I’m a private in a U.S. Army Company) to attack the German unit in which this American serves, located in France. Is the President’s order legal, even though we’re not at war with France? Of course it is! On the battlefield, I see this American wearing a German uniform (of course I have no idea who he is) and I shoot him dead. Is my killing of this American without a trial legal? Yes, of course it is!

            I think there’s a lot of confusion on these points because our enemy does not belong to one nation and does not wear a uniform. This latter makes him more susceptible to summary actions, not less, as unlawful combatants are not even entitled to the protections of the Geneva Conventions, which in any case do not protect them from being shot on sight.

            Notice that Obama has not ordered “assassinations” of American citizens on American soil, although I believe he would dearly love to do so. He has stomped on the Constitution in all kinds of ways, but killing enemy terrorists overseas is not one of them.

            Certain civil libertarian types seem to have a strange blind spot about Islamic terrorism. Like it or not, we’re at war with these people, and war is a matter of actualities, not theoretical niceties. They’re trying to kill us here, and we have every right to kill them over there.

          • kikorikid

            When did I say anything about a deposition?
            What you are doing is supporting the “Lawenforcementization” of Global Jihad.
            They, Islamist, are at war with us, the West.
            Jihadist do not recognize soviereign(sp) states,
            only Shariah States. They are not transgressing,
            intentionally anyway, criminal law . They are
            commiting crimes against humanity when they
            indiscriminately blow up a crowd of people. People who are non-combatants, innocents. In short,
            you are naiive and are undermining efforts to
            EFFECTIVELY” deal with Jihadist outside
            our borders. IF, any President starts dropping
            Hellfires on ANYONE within the U.S.. Then
            we stand together until then…

          • Les Nessman

            I thought the pharmaceutical companies quit manufacturing quaaludes a decade ago. Guess I was wrong, or someone had a major stash built up.

          • Les Nessman

            “Lawenforcementization”

            That “word” reminds me of one of the most misunderstood quotes in the history of the US. In ’68, mayor Daley never said, “There will be law and order in Chicago.” He was misquoted. What he really said, was, “There will be lawn order in chicago!” Meaning, people should mow their lawns once a week or more. BTW, ‘luudes are your friend, dude.

  • Berceuse

    I was the target of an IRS audit less than a month after I had sent an email to the White House urging the president to cooperate with his Republican opposition. My email was respectful and polite. Doesn’t matter. Three weeks later I was notified that the IRS intended to seize funds from my bank account, because they (mistakenly) calculated that I had underpaid in 2009. I filled out an amended form, showing, in fact, the opposite — that my 2009 refund was too small. After finally receiving a grudging form letter from the IRS acknowledging that I owed no money…they went in and took $5k from my account anyway. They also reported me to a collections agency, damaging my credit.

    That was a month ago. They say it was just “a mistake” and they will return the money eventually, but I haven’t seen a cent. Meanwhile, I may never be able to sort out my credit score. My bank says they have never seen anything like this. Absolutely true story.

    • NAHALKIDES

      I believe you. The Democrats are capable of anything, and there’s no doubt they’ve been misusing the powers of government to harass their opponents in ways yet undiscovered. Remember, this was the administration that was encouraging people to send the names of Obama opponents to the White House, apparently for inclusion on some sort of “enemies list”.

      The only cure is Conservative control of the government, secession, or revolution. Primary all Establishment Republicans, give them no money – money and votes to Conservatives only.

    • alan c

      I don’t believe your story. Unless you post this info publicly or get a local news station to verify this, I am highly suspicious.

      • NAHALKIDES

        It’s happening, all right. There’s no upheaval principally because the media refuses to report stories like this, believing its job to be to secure Barry’s rightful rule over us rubes in flyover country.

        • alan c

          They reported the IRS scandals. If fox won’t peddle this story, it ain’t real.

          • NAHALKIDES

            The lamestream media has done all it can to bury the IRS scandal, which should be front-page news every day until all the culprits are identified, removed from government, and possibly prosecuted depending on what the law allows. Note the Left line is now that they didn’t do anything wrong, despite Obama’s and Lerner’s previous admissions to the contrary, the IG report, testimony of senior IRS officials, and now a “smoking gun” memo making clear the intent to harass existed long ago.

            The story is real. If you can’t see it, it’s because you don’t want to. You think we Conservatives should be muzzled by force, and you might at least have the honesty to admit it.

      • Berceuse

        It happened exactly as I described it. I can’t prove, of course, that the assault from the IRS was connected to my email to Obama. All I can do is note the remarkable coincidence. Never been audited in my life, and now this.

        But I’m curious: All the confirmed news accounts of IRS harassment and other Obama Administration attacks against opponents, and you are skeptical of one more similar story? I don’t live far from the Gibson Guitar Company. Why don’t you drop by their shop and tell THEM you’re skeptical?

  • http://www.clarespark.com/ Clare Spark

    We are seeing the same class problem that marks the historiography on Joe McCarthy: the Northeastern progressive establishment intent on “moderating” the wild men of the South, West and Midwest. See http://clarespark.com/2014/02/05/joe-mccarthy-and-the-warrior-spirit/.
    “Joe McCarthy and the warrior spirit.”Ordinary people are effectively shut out of the political process, but I must ask, why are there any tax exempt organizations allowed to engage in political activities? Moveon.org is also a 501(c)4 organization that aggressively pursues a political agenda. It would be best for “the grass roots” if they depended on donations and labor without allowing far-left liberals the same privileges.

    • NAHALKIDES

      It would be even better if the IRS had no discretionary power to determine who was a tax-exempt organization and who was not.

  • Adheeb

    This is part of the ‘dog & pony show’ that Republicans and Democrats orchestrate. These ‘old boy’ Republicans don’t like the Tea Party and more than do the Dems. Take what you can get out of them but remember, they ain’t no friend of the Tea Party.

  • chuckie2u

    After all the breast beating and whining the Republicans are as much for a strong centralized government as the Democrats. This is about which brand of Socialism wins out. Unfortunately the Democrats have more folks wanting their brand of Socialism than the Republican brand. Republicans have historically turned their noses up over the working and welfare caste which demand more ‘free stuff” and vote accordingly. Lenin and Marx are probably rolling over in their graves over the “free stuff” Democrats.

    • Idl

      Listen as Dems/Repubs shout “Squirrel”!!!

  • danhoch

    @truebearing, I believe right now your idea is the one….start defunding SERIOUSLY the IRS, EPA, DoED, Labor and see what happens when they don’t have the money to operate. I don’t think obama can manufacture money unless he’s seriously going to go against the Constituation/Bill of Rights/whatever; then if he does, it’s IMPEACHMENT time. I’ve ask Boehner why he has not started gathering his members for impeachment, with no reply. I also told him if he doesn’t want to protect America, then get out of the way and let someone else lead the House.

  • Bob

    Tax reform is The Fair Tax. With the Fair Tax the IRS is gone, what more can the American people want. We must demand it because the politicians loose a tremendous amount of power.

  • voted against carter

    This IS a re-do of the “McCain-Fingold Act”.

  • Docs357

    This country has been under siege since he took office. The true plan is to make the white man live in a way he’s not accustom too. To get the more financially affluent to pay for the for the losers who refuse to work refuse to add anything to society. They have been duped into believing they bigger and more controlling the government is the less they will have to do the better they will live. They believe the more immigrants in the country will provide a majority that will keep there lifestyle on a upward trend.
    What they are not aware of when all is said done and this’s once great nation lies in shambles they will no longer be of value to those who have used them obtain their elitists goals if they don’t qualify to serve them they will be of no value

  • Myrtle Linder

    Our country has gone “to the dogs” and they are fulling enjoying their reign of power over the country and enjoying watching us dance to their tune. The question is, how many of us are willing to dance and how many will fight against the take over.

    • Idl

      I’m astounded that there appears to be very little organized opposition to this. I truly believe that it is being retarded and squelched behind the scenes, and we are not told about it by a complicit media. I think it goes much deeper than the IRS bs.

  • mikeh420

    They used to shoot “Revenooers”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Geoffrey-Britain/100003802091841 Geoffrey Britain

    As long as enough elected Congressional democrats hold office, nothing will be done to arrest this assault upon the right with its abuse of the Constitution. The democrat party’s allegiance is NOT to the Constitution but to the left’s ideological agenda. The Constitution itself stands in the way of that agenda and so of necessity, democrats view the U.S. Constitution as an obstacle to their goals.

    The assault and abuse will become more and more egregious, as the erosion of our Constitutional rights continues.

    There can but be one purpose of the militarization of our police, of the unprecedented arming of the DHS (1.8 BILLION rounds of illegal hollow-point ammo and 2700 light armored tanks) and every other federal institution; that purpose is preparation for armed rebellion.

    There can but be one purpose to the forced retirement of over 200 senior military officers, the institution of a hostile atmosphere toward Christianity within the military, the reduction in military troops and capacity, and the institution of lectures that characterizes conservatives as ‘right wing extremists’ and that purpose is to create a military that will stand aside as the left institutes tyranny.

  • PatriotInk

    Just more evidence that freedom doesn’t require force to live in it, only to keep us from it.

  • Aghrab

    I am a naturalized American that loves this contry. I do not understand why all of suden this administration is acting like an empror, passing laws & regulations that should be the duty of the congress. Has this been the case all the time, and is this the way the forfathers set this democracy? Shudent the lageslative branch of the government be the one to pass the laws? If this is the way this democracy is set, then why are we calling it a democracy.

    • ranchdancer

      It is up to all of us to educate family and friends….government is out of control…..there seems to be no balance or standards for truths within this administration. When the President can unilaterally decide to favor certain groups of citizens above others, we have lost all sight of right and wrong, the entire country loses.

      • Idl

        The other branches of government are supposed to prevent executive overreach. Remember “checks and balances” from civics class? They aren’t doing their job, either from fear of being called “racist” or silent approbation.

    • MLCBLOG

      To answer your question, No. We have never seen anything like it, and it is very alarming. Not since perhaps FD Roosevelt have we seen such usurpation of power and disregard for the Constitution and our way of govt. Shocking.

  • NAHALKIDES

    So the Republican “leadership” signed a letter to the IRS Commissioner. Well, it’s a start, but when it fails as of course it will, what are they going to do then? Do they have the guts to refuse to fund the IRS unless the Democrats agree to a law revoking the IRS’s regulations? The Democrats would likely shut the government down; does the “leadership” have what it takes to fight and win? I think we know the answer.

  • Boots

    The obvious answer is to incrementally start defunding the IRS. House leadership should tell Mr Koskinen that until he reins in the political attacks by the IRS there will be no budget funding the IRS at current staffing levels and cuts of at least the size of the units conducting the harassment of citizens. I’m sure Mr Koskinen thinks he can rope a dope his way through this since Republican leadership is pretty feckless.

  • vladimirval

    The establishment GOP is not the solution, it is part of the problem. For decades they have stood by while the government grew to a unmanageable proportion, necessitating more and more government control and intrusion into our lives. And often they contributed to the fundamental changes to our Republic. If the current GOP leadership does not take a patriotic stand or is replaced, America will end up as a European Style Socialist state at best or a totalitarian dictatorship at worst.

  • Bill Bob Dog Wan

    Where are the four boxes of freedom when you need them. Americans, be they R’s, D’s, I’s or TPer’s will never be out from under the thumb of the government until the IRS and the political process is changed, that is term limits are in place and enforced. If the political proponents what to do the right thing, they’d be beating the drum for term limits and major Tax code revisions.

  • antioli

    Is the IRS attacking any of the so called “Moderate Republican Tax exempts”?

  • tea drinker

    So sick of Obama, he need to be in jail, along with all his followers, his monkey of a wife and by the way screw the IRS, I will roll up my return and shove it up their a##! Seem mean? He is a dictator, its time for us to fight fire with fire

  • dodger4754

    Abolish the lawless IRS…tell your representatives to pass the Fairtax which will repeal the 16th Amendment. For more information: fairtax.org

  • CurmudgyOne

    It’s just a shame that, when so many voices were warning back in 2008 that this kind of thing would happen, nobody listened. “Not here,” they all thought and said. Well, guess what? Complacency, normalcy bias, lack of awareness … call it what you will, but it is the so-called “leadership” that has put us in this mess. We really do need to “clean the swamp” this time.