These days, the federal bureaucracy is so corrupted with partisanship and the two-tiered system of justice is so obvious that polls show most Americans no longer have any trust in our institutions to apply laws and regulations fairly and impartially. Even more shocking, a Rassmussen survey found that 46% of Americans believe “there is a group of politicized thugs at the top of the FBI who are using the FBI…as Joe Biden’s personal Gestapo.” That includes 64% of Republicans and even 30% of Democrats.
When a federal agency once revered as heroic crime fighters is now viewed by many Americans as the equivalent of Hitler’s goon squad, you know something has seriously gone off the rails. How did this happen?
I would argue that you could trace it back to the IRS scandal during the Obama Administration, famously painted as “scandal-free” by a fawning media that spent eight years studiously ignoring its many scandals. After Obama began raising taxes and increasing debt, grassroots opposition started forming under the name of the “Tea Party” movement, inspired by the patriots who launched the Boston Tea Party.
These groups were very effective in helping the Republicans win back control of the House in 2010 and were increasing and expanding their efforts in the lead-up to Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012. Obviously, Democrats believed they were TOO effective. But they didn’t fully trust their usual tactic of having their lapdogs in the media mock Tea Party members as dumb rubes and smear them as racists (no matter how many black people you could see at Tea Party rallies.) They needed to undermine the movement more effectively.
Enter the Obama IRS.
With their numbers growing, many of these Tea Party groups applied to the IRS for tax-exempt nonprofit status. This should have been a relatively quick paperwork-shuffling task, yet the application process stretched on for month after month. Tea Party group leaders were subjected to outrageous demands for unrelated financial records and lists of their donors, which was none of the government’s business.
This warfare-by-government-paperwork dragged on until after the election, preventing many of these groups from engaging in legitimate democratic activities such as voter registration drives. When Democrats cry about how opposed they are to “election interference” and making it harder to vote, remember that they are pioneers in the field.
The IRS official in charge of this process was Lois Lerner, who was called before a House Committee to explain herself. She issued a long statement declaring her innocence of any wrongdoing, then immediately took the Fifth and refused to answer questions. One could argue that by making that statement, she forfeited her right to invoke the Fifth Amendment, but we’ve learned only too well in recent years that laws don’t apply to well-connected Democrats. This was when we were just learning that and people were still surprised.
When Obama was pressed on this scandal by Bill O’Reilly, he insisted that there was “not even a smidgeon of corruption” at the IRS. It took the election of Trump and new Attorney General Jeff Sessions to perform a real investigation. In 2017, Sessions issued a statement finding that the IRS’ use of political criteria “was wrong and should never have occurred. It is improper for the IRS to single out groups for different treatment based on their names or ideological positions. Any entitlement to tax exemption should be based on the activities of the organization and whether they fulfill requirements of the law, not the policy positions adopted by members or the name chosen to reflect those views. There is no excuse for this conduct. Hundreds of organizations were affected by these actions, and they deserve an apology from the IRS.”
In fact, these groups deserved far more than an apology. Their fundamental right to engage in a political campaign to help determine their own leaders had been undermined for partisan reasons by a federal agency that was supposed to remain impartial. The people responsible for that outrage also deserved punishment, but did they get it? Are you kidding?
Obama was reelected, nobody from the IRS was indicted, and Lois Lerner retired with her full pension. The fact that the people whose rights she helped deny have to pay taxes to fund her pension only added insult to injury.
The IRS scandal was a major example of the corruption of a federal agency, but Obama’s opponents were prevented from exercising their right to participate in the election, so it worked. As former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said when questioned about spreading the lie that Mitt Romney didn’t pay his income taxes for 10 years, “I don’t regret that at all. Romney didn’t win, did he?” At the time, that was so shameless that even the Huffington Post ran an article condemning him.
But the Democrats at the top shared Reid’s “values,” and to them, the IRS scandal wasn’t something to be ashamed of, it was a future blueprint for every federal agency under their control. Today, the Biden DOJ and FBI still proclaim their impartiality, but they no longer even bother hiding their biases or corruption. Democrats who disrupt government proceedings are hailed as heroes who speak truth to power, while Republicans who do the same are thrown in federal prison for years, sometimes after enduring horrific conditions while waiting to find out what they’re going to be charged with.
And if you dare disagree with this Administration’s radical policies, you’re a “domestic terrorist” and a target, and that includes traditional Catholics, concerned parents who speak up at school board meetings, grandmothers praying outside abortion clinics and your great-uncle who likes to wear his red MAGA cap. All “threats to our democracy.”
And all this thick tangle of corruption grew from letting them get away with the IRS scandal during the “scandal-free” Obama Administration. This is why you need to yank weeds out by the roots when they first appear, and not let them grow long enough to spread their seeds.