Some folks have suggested that the Obama Administration ordered the IRS to apologize for targeting conservative groups for harassment as a way of distracting attention from the Benghazi coverup.
Maybe. But if that’s the case, the Administration may have let the wrong cat out of the bag. Even some previously stalwart Obama backers have suddenly begun to realize the nature of the beast they’ve been serving.
MSNBC “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough admittedly is billed as “conservative,” but he’s at best left of middle. He and his co-host Willie Geist, who usually roll over for the Administration’s spin on gun control and other issues, have jumped on the IRS’s admission that it targeted Tea Party and patriot groups for bureaucratic harassment.
“There’s been many overblown claims of tyranny and abuse of power from the government over the last few years. We’ve heard those. We’re coming for your guns — that kind of thing,” Geist said. “This is tyranny. If this is the government, a nonpartisan agency coming after specific groups, this time it’s real.”
Even couched in the requisite “crazy conservatives” bashing, the statement is remarkable for anyone on MSNBC.
That the Administration desperately needs cover from the Benghazi story is obvious, as even the New Yorker has set down its snifter of brandy to opine that “for a long time, it seemed like the idea of a coverup was just a Republican obsession. But now there is something to it.”
But the anointed distraction, the IRS scandal, is growing legs of its own, with congressmen calling for hearings.
And now, there’s evidence that the IRS may have been targeting not just Tea Party and patriot groups, but Jewish organizations as well for “investigation.”
According to the Jewish Press, in 2010, when the IRS’s anti-conservative maneuvering began, the Jewish advocacy group Z Street was driven to sue the IRS over what it says is illegal delays in its application for nonprofit status.
During the course of its battle with the IRS, Z Street alleges, it was informed by an IRS agent that its group was singled out for special treatment because the organization was connected to Israel. Further, they were told that Israel-related organizations were being sent to “a special unit in the D.C. office to determine whether the organization’s activities contradict the Administration’s public policies.”
According to the Jewish Press, another organization, purely religious in nature and not involved with Israel politics, was sent an intrusive questionnaire from the same IRS office implicated in the targeting of Tea Party conservatives. The questionnaire demanded to know “whether [it] supports the existence of the land of Israel,” and ordered the group to “describe [its] religious belief system toward the land of Israel.”
According to an audit report by the IRS Inspector General, the agency not only cast its net for the Tea Party and patriot groups but for any group that criticized the government or stated a goal to educate the public about the Constitution.
This all fits in with the Obama Administration’s unspoken cross-agency policy of attacking conservative Christians and Jews, military veterans and anyone who supports Israel. It’s a policy that began almost immediately when President Obama took office.
It’s all old news to those who have been on the receiving end of the Administration’s “special” treatment. But as the general revulsion at the IRS’s behavior crosses party boundaries, it may finally become news to the rest of America.