Via @SissyWillis, Catholic League spokesman Bill Donohue tells the story of how that organization got audited back in 2008. There have been times in the past when I've mocked Mr. Donohue for being somewhat humorless, but I admit that I find it hard to be very humorous about this affair.
Like Professor Anne Henderschott, Donohue had in 2008 written a couple of articles about the political alliances of leftist Catholics-in-name-only, some of whose organizations were funded with Sorosgeld. When he was invited on CNN to speak to the issue, Chris Korzen of Catholics United pitched a fit, demanding that he be replaced with a speaker representing 'real Catholicism' or that he appear with Alexia Kelley of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, a Soros-funded front group whose name would have sailed through the IRS's tax-exempt vetting process that exists under the umbrella of Catholics United. Weeks after Obama won election, Donohue had been informed that the Catholic League was under IRS investigation for violating the political campaining restrictions of a 501(c)(3).
In the end, CNN didn't cave, but here's where it gets interesting: Korzen had "stupidly" let CNN know that his organization was having the IRS investigate Donohue's, and CNN passed that information along to him (leaked!). Among those who signed off on the investigation were Lois Lerner (Acting! EO of Determinations) of the now-famous Roady potted plant question and a Marsha Ramirez (Acting! Director of Exempt Organizations Examinations). Donohue states that the complaint from Korzen's outfit matches up very well with the one forwarded to the Catholic League from the IRS.
Most of the organizations-in-waiting that were squelched by the IRS (sometimes with the collusion of other bureaucracies, as in the case of Romney donor VanderSloot) that we know of were small-time operations with less than $25k on hand, and there were hundreds. But as many pundits have pointed out, Obama's campaign itself (and he is always campaigning) demonized by name 8 deep-pocketed Romney donors via the Acting! President's ridiculously 'independent' and tax-exempt OfA, insinuating that they were shadowy, behind-the-scenes neo-con lever pullers out to buy the presidency. So far, most of the recountings of IRS abuse have focused on the 2010-2012 time frame, but Donohue's case shows that almost immediately upon winning the election the incoming Obama administration found high-level functionaries within the IRS who were willing to do their bidding, perhaps even before they were sworn in.
There are now many articles from the right arguing the 'zeitgeist' thesis, that the rot in the Obama administration starts from the head. You can add to that number John Kass's Chicago Tribune piece from yesterday, covering some familiar territory regarding his extended family's understanding of The Chicago Way, and framing in this case the IRS scandal. While I was on Twitter last night, kicking around this and other issues, a youngster leaped into my timeline to suggest I go to a Salon piece for a "reality check." That Salon piece, by Alex Seitz-Wald, is one of the most specious piles of mendoucheity I've ever read, providing in the several cases it presents of lefty organizations scrutinized by the IRS under the Bush administration no evidence at all of a systematic suppression of such organizations: a lefty church that violated campaign laws was investigated and let go; Greenpeace was ogled for three months at the behest of oil lobbyists and let go, et cetera. The piece deserves a thorough Stephen Hayes fisking.
The example of the church takes up much of the article, and it is instructive. I'm one of those people who thinks that Justice Black long ago went too far in establishing a wall between church and state, when the Constitution posits only a division. The Non-Establishment and Protection clauses of the First Amendment need to be read together. In any case, when Acting! AG Holder provides pre-election counseling to black churches only, there seem to be some equal protection issues at play . . . or, y'know, disparate impact. It is the left that is constantly vigilant to enforce the Non-Establishment clause of the First Amendment at the expense of the Protection clause, and in this case, as presented by Seitz-Wald, it seems that the church in question clearly violated the campaigning injunction as it is construed by leftists such as himself.
In none of the cases he presents do we see the IRS asking for names of boards of directors, educational materials used, names of attendees, transcripts of speeches, Facebook postings, contents of prayers, or any of the other materials that the IRS asked for in many of the cases that have been reported in the instant scandal. The equivalency argument simply doesn't wash here, nor does the 'Citizens United made me do it' defense. To paraphrase Harry Truman, there is hell to pay here, in the form of the truth.
We know that there was targeting. The IRS has already 'apologized' for it, despite the Obama administration's many deployments of 'if/then pre-emptive faux outrage.' And the bias is proveable on statistical grounds (which debunk the talking point that the IRS was handling a flood of wingnut applications), a feature missing entirely from Seitz-Wald's flimsily strung-together tapestry of anecdotes. Salon has never been profitable, despite its 'premium' subscription model, but wonders who funds Politico, which many of us hardly regard as right-wing.
As Caroline Glick points out, the [scandal-plagued Obama] administration's demonization tactics are not limited to domestic-issue targets, either.
UPDATE: Also via Sissy, Kathy Kiely and Diana Jean Schemo at the WaPo that IRS recalcitrance is hindering investigative journalism by independent organizations (ProPublica excepted). And that's a shame, because the Acting! President gets his news the way we do.
UPDATEx2: We noted here the NY Times revelation that Huma Abedin, NY mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner's wife and close confidante of Hillary Clinton, had not disclosed consulting payments she'd earned while still apparently employed as Acting! Deputy Chief of Staff. Last night on Twitter, @slublog asked the salient question whether Ms. Abedin still had a security clearance when she donned the role of consultant. Michele Bachman came in for a lot of grief from certain members of her own party when she took to the floor to point out Abedin's familial ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, but as Walid Shoebat points out, the plot is thickening thanks to another Times disclosure.
UPDATEx3: I'm not going to devote a separate column for this, but, as some of you know, I call Milwaukee my hometown. Here's a look into one zip code. In the 1980s, Wisconsin officials discovered that Illinois welfare department officials were advising Chicagoans receiving benefits to move to Milwaukee, going so far as to defray their bus tickets, even as Mrs. Obama was later employed to send patients away from the University of Chicago to less expensive and less competent neighborhood clinics. Last night, CBS's 48 Hours began a special report on "The War in Chicago."
UPDATEx4: 'Not Evil' Google has some tax troubles, thanks to a whistleblower. I've complained on some occasions about their search results regarding prog-unhelpful topics. William Jacobson has noticed the same.
UPDATEx5: Podhoretz's very good quick take on Scandalpalooza.