by Tom Fitton 21 May 2013, 5:06 AM PDT
In my experience, the term “BOLO” is a law enforcement term short for “be on the lookout” for criminals and suspects on the run. But for the Obama IRS, BOLO meant, literally, “be on the lookout” for citizen groups who might be opposed to the Obama agenda.
First, we know that the “independent” IRS purposely stonewalled the approval of non-profit applications from “Tea Party” and other conservative groups that were seeking tax exempt status. As reported by CNN:
Among the criteria used by IRS officials to flag applications was a "Be On the Look Out" list, or a BOLO, which was discontinued in 2012, according to the report. The criteria on the BOLO included:
Whether "Tea Party," "Patriots" or "9/12 Project" was referenced in the case file.
Whether the issues outlined in the application included government spending, government debt or taxes.
Whether there was advocating or lobbying to "make America a better place to live."
Whether a statement in the case file criticized how the country is being run.
Whether it advocated education about the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
And how bad was the stonewalling? Epic. Over the course of 27 months, not a single Tea Party type organization received tax exempt status. This was no political witch hunt, says the IRS. So why is it that liberal groups had their applications approved in as little as nine months?
And it was not simply a matter of lengthy bureaucratic delays. Conservative groups were subjected to an unprecedented amount of scrutiny, draining both time and resources. Politico explains:
A Politico review of documents from 11 tea party and conservative groups that the IRS scrutinized in 2012 shows the agency wanted to know everything--in some cases, it even seemed curious what members were thinking. The review included interviews with groups or their representatives from Hawaii, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas and elsewhere.
They were asking for a “U-Haul truck’s worth of information,” one conservative organization the Waco Tea Party told Politico.
We also know that the IRS targeted conservative donors with painful audits. For example, consider the case of Frank VanderSloot, who made a sizable donation to a Romney-connected organization. Shortly thereafter, after an opposition research firm dug through Mr. VanderSloot’s divorce records, the IRS subjected the conservative donor to three audits in four months. Mr. VanderSloot had never been audited previously and now faces $80,000 in legal fees.
The IRS also reportedly “leaked” confidential tax information on conservative benefactors, such as Charles and David Koch, of Koch Industries, who are important donors to a number of constitutional government groups. And they did the same to conservative organizations as well. For example, as reported by Breitbart.com, one of Obama’s campaign co-chairmen leaked the tax records of our pro-traditional marriage friends at the National Organization of Marriage to a homosexual activist who also happened to be an Obama campaign supporter. There were also illegal leaks of taxpayer information (of conservatives) to the leftist publication ProPublica.
And what was the purpose of this all-out assault? Was this simply a case of retribution against enemies? No, this was much bigger than political payback.This was a systemic, and concerted effort to squash the Tea Party movement, the most organic and powerful political movement in recent memory, during election season. This was about campaign politics.
This is a scandal for the ages. Reports are that nearly 500 groups were targeted. The Obama IRS jihad against conservatives had the effect of suppressing the First Amendment-protected activity of virtually the entire Tea Party movement as Obama was seeking reelection. If you want to know how an election is stolen in plain sight, this is how.
Of course, per usual, the finger pointing has begun. But there is no question in my mind that all fingers should be pointing to the top of the White House food chain. As the Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel points out: “Mr. Obama didn't need to pick up the phone. All he needed to do was exactly what he did do, in full view, for three years: Publicly suggest that conservative political groups were engaged in nefarious deeds; publicly call out by name political opponents whom he'd like to see harassed; and publicly have his party pressure the IRS to take action.”
The president took to the airwaves this week to feign angry indignation about the IRS targeting his enemies, while denying any knowledge whatsoever of what his administration had been up to. I am not surprised that Obama is pretending, in careful language, not to know about the worst abuse of power by a presidential administration in a generation. Let’s call it Obama’s Nixonian “I’m not a crook” moment.
Why do I believe that Obama knew exactly what his Internal Revenue Service was up to (besides it being in the news for the last two years)? Because of the record of Steven T. Miller--the man Obama first hired and has now pretended to fire as acting commissioner of the IRS.
Make no mistake about it. When Obama appointed Miller head of the IRS, the president should have known what he was getting. Before becoming acting commissioner, he had been the commissioner of the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division of the IRS, where, according to the IRS faux folksy website, “Steve oversaw the administration of tax law relating to employee plans, tax-exempt organizations and various government entities.”
Perhaps the description should more accurately have read “oversaw and undermined the administration of tax law relating to...tax exempt organizations.” At Judicial Watch we know this well because, very early on, we were one of the many conservative organizations and Clinton critics that Miller’s tax exempt branch subjected to politically-inspired audits.
As the Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard reported in his “Washington Secrets” column, “Steven T. Miller, the acting IRS commissioner who managed the division that has admitted targeting anti-Obama Tea Party groups, was one of several agents who investigated anti-Clinton organizations including Judicial Watch during that Democrat's administration, according to court documents and interviews.”
As I relate in my book, The Corruption Chronicles, when Judicial Watch complained about the audit and its political nature, an IRS official told us, “What do you expect when you sue the President?”
Miller was one of the IRS officials who oversaw the invasive audit of Judicial Watch even while conceding that the audit "had created at least the appearance of a problem." It seemed every time we complained about the audit, Miller’s bureaucrats expanded its scope until it covered seven years’ worth of records!
So, now we find that Miller, despite this record of being a top official partly responsible for the last wave of IRS abuse during the Clinton years, was rewarded by Barack Obama with the top position at the IRS. Given our well-publicized experience with him, it is no surprise to me that Miller was content to allow this illegal IRS harassment of Obama’s hit list--and the subsequent cover-up.
As I say, Obama pretended to “fire” Miller this week, an empty gesture considering the fact that Miller had already planned to leave--and, in fact, will be running the IRS for several more weeks. It was an attempt by the president to show command of a situation that continues to spiral out of control.
In fact, Thursday night we learned courtesy of ABC News that the woman in charge of the IRS office during the Tea Party attacks is now running the Obamacare IRS office!
The Internal Revenue Service official in charge of the tax-exempt organizations at the time when the unit targeted tea party groups now runs the IRS office responsible for the health care legislation.
Sarah Hall Ingram served as commissioner of the office responsible for tax-exempt organizations between 2009 and 2012. But Ingram has since left that part of the IRS and is now the director of the IRS’s Affordable Care Act office, the IRS confirmed to ABC News today.
These IRS abuses are one more example of how the Obama administration is off the rails and out of control.
News is breaking by the moment. As Democratic Senator Max Baucus said during an interview with Bloomberg’sCapital Gain, “I have a hunch that a lot more is going to come out.”