There is bi-partisan outrage over the widening scope of the revelation that the powerful Internal Revenue Service has been targeting groups said to be conservative for the past couple of years. But the IRS target list was much wider than that, and the agency’s treatment of these groups and citizens is both shocking and disturbing.
Even the president said so. That NBC News article asks five very good questions, most of which are as yet unanswered.
The president’s claims of not knowing what the IRS was doing until he heard it in the news was surreal, but so is this whole drama. By the time he addressed it, the president said “if this is true…” when it was actually admitted to by the IRS the previous Friday. He’s got some catching up to do. Like what the IRS was putting these groups through in information gathering, such as records of all direct and indirect communications that group had made.
“‘Direct and indirect communications’ is profoundly chilling of First Amendment rights, ” said David French, senior counsel for American Center for Law & Justice, which has been representing 27 conservative organizations met with IRS inquisitions. “It’s so vague as to be impossible to comply with.”
They wanted to know everything about all members of the organization, present and past employees and their relationships. They wanted documentation of any interaction with the press, any, whether interviews, press releases or letters to the editor, among others. Read the whole post itemizing only some of the unbelievable and harassing demands of the federal agency, with screen shots of their menacing forms.
At first, it was allegedly Tea Party and other conservative groups singled out for this harsh treatment. Then others started coming to light. This pro-life group claimed they were targeted.
Shinn launched Cherish Life Ministries, a separate organization, to offer help to a coalition of churches that supports mothers struggling with unexpected pregnancies, promotes abstinence and advocates for an end to abortion in the community, state and nation.
“Our goal is to assist churches, organize and support a life ministry in defense of life and help function as an outreach to people struggling with unwanted pregnancies in the local community,” the site states.
Education materials are offered.
But Shinn said the IRS contacted him regarding his application for nonprofit status, and was told he didn’t qualify.
“The representative was telling me I had to provide information on all aspects of abortion, I couldn’t just educate the church from the pro-life perspective,” he said. “Every time I pressed her on this issue and asked her to clarify her position, she would state that it wasn’t what she was saying, and then, she would repeat it almost the same way.”
And it went on.
On to a prominent Catholic professor who was afraid to share her experience publicly until now.
In the midst of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal, individuals and groups, alike, are continuing to come forward with ever-startling allegations. On Wednesday, Dr. Anne Hendershott, a devout Catholic and a noted sociologist, professor and author, exclusively told TheBlaze that she believes she may have been one of the IRS’s targets.
According to Hendershott, the IRS audited her in 2010 and demanded to know who was paying her. While they did not ask directly it seemed as though the agent wanted to know about the leanings of these particular organizations.
It all started with a phone call she received at her home in May of that year — a call during which Hendershott was told she would be audited. A letter that followed on May 19, 2010 solidified the IRS’s request to meet her in person two months later in July. While IRS investigations are certainly not uncommon occurrences, the professor believes that the situation surrounding hers was more-than-curious.
“The IRS calls my house and says … ‘I just wanted to let you know that we’re going to be auditing your business’ and I said ‘My businesses?’ and he said, ‘You know the expenses you take off for writing,” the academic recalls.
Her story gets more and more bizarre as it goes, but that call should have been a flag. The IRS does not call to notify people of their scrutiny. It comes in a letter. But that’s a small detail in such an onslaught of information coming to light about what that agency has been doing to people for years.
This all came out, by the way, just after the congressional hearing on Benghazi, another growing scandal for this administration. Former senator Fred Thompson is one of many voices calling for a special committee to investigate. Attention on that hasn’t gone away, but it has certainly been diverted by that IRS revelation.
As this breaking news continued getting breaking updates, other breaking news broke in on it to reveal more scandals. Like the Justice Department seizing phone records from the Associated Press, without the AP knowing about it.
The Associated Press on Monday said the U.S. government secretly seized telephone records of AP offices and reporters for a two-month period in 2012, describing the acts as a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into news-gathering operations.
AP Chief Executive Gary Pruitt, in a letter posted on the agency’s website, said the AP was informed last Friday that the Justice Department gathered records for more than 20 phone lines assigned to the agency and its reporters.
“There can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of The Associated Press and its reporters,” Pruitt said in the letter, which was addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder.
And this has all continued to grow.
There’s so much to say about this breach of public trust, the breach of federal powers and authority and of constitutional rights. There’s much to say about responsibility and transparency, which the American people were promised in this administration. And about its odd habit of disclaiming any knowledge of these things until they hear it from the press.
But sometimes comedians find a pithier way to say things, like The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart did here.
And citizens who take to the Facebook forum to express their concerns. Like this man, after hearing enough about the abortionist’s ‘house of horrors’ and the government scandals rolling out on the heels of that abortion trial verdict.
“I don’t want revenge, I want justice. Justice in the Benghazi case, justice for SEAL Team 6, justice in the IRS scandal, justice in the Gosnell case, justice for all the babies killed in their mother’s womb. I want the truth to prevail. I am so tired of the lying, cheating and stealing. What has happened to our humanity? I know who wins in the end, but how bad does the battle have to become before we get there?”
It seems pretty bad right now to a lot of people. But the good news is, it’s coming to light.