Dr. Ben Carson Blasts 'Gestapo' IRS Tactics
Monday, February 10, 2014 06:57 PM
By: David A. Patten
Dr. Benjamin Carson, the former director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital who is considered a possible GOP contender for the 2016 GOP nomination, told Newsmax TV on Monday that he and his family have been personally targeted by the IRS in retribution for his frank critique of President Obama’s policies at the February 2013 National Prayer Breakfast.
Carson said audits and other harassment began in May or June of 2013 and gradually expanded to include family members, associates, and his charitable endeavors.
"I’ve been quite I would say astonished at the level of hostility that I have encountered," Carson said in an exclusive interview with host John Bachman on "America’s Forum" on Newsmax TV.
"The IRS has investigated me. They said, ‘I want to look at your real estate holdings.’ There was nothing there. ‘Well, let’s expand to an entire [year], everything.’ There was nothing there. ‘Let’s do another year.’ Finally, after a few months, they went away. But they’ve come after my family, they’ve come after my friends, they’ve come after associates."
Carson received the presidential Medal of Freedom from former President George W. Bush in 2008. Previously, he has stated that he was audited by the IRS under unusual circumstances but has shied away from drawing a direct link between his opposition to the president’s policies and the IRS audits.
"You know," Carson told Newsmax TV, "we live in a Gestapo age, people don’t realize it. But what I say is the Congress has to, at some point, step up to the plate. The reason we have divided government is if one branch of the government gets out of control, starts thinking they’re too big for their britches, you need to be able to have control."
Carson said the audits, which began a few months after his remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast, marked the first time he had been audited in his life.
He also said a charitable organization that aids inmates’ children was informed last year, for the first time in recent years, that they would no longer be receiving a $1 million annual grant from the Justice Department.
"This is solely because you were involved?" Bachman asked.
"Correct," Carson replied, adding: "…They’ve come after my children in terms of their employment and things like this."
Carson declined to elaborate specifically on how his family had been affected.
"It is very disturbing," he said. "I don’t really want to go into the details too much, because I don’t want them to further go after these organizations, charities, children etc.
"Because the problem right now is we as a society are just letting them do this. We sit there and we say, ‘Oh this is horrible.’ But we don’t do anything. And see, that’s what I’m trying to get our congressional people, our lawmakers – they’ve got to get courage. Because why would anybody who has an agenda to fundamentally change this nation, why would they stop if no one is opposing them?"
Pressed as to whether he feels he and his family were targeted out of retribution, Carson replied: "And probably will continue to do so. And this is what we have to stop.
"We cannot allow it," he continued. "The only reason that I haven’t shut up is because in Romans 8 it says ‘If God be for you, who can be against you?’ And I believe in that protection that God gives you."
Carson’s interview comes in the context of explosive testimony on Capitol Hill last week. It included charges by GOP super lawyer Cleta Mitchell that the IRS targeting — which singled out groups whose names contained words like "tea party" and "patriot," and sidetracked their applications for intensive review — continues against conservative organizations.
The conservative American Center for Law and Justice is pursuing a lawsuit on behalf of 41 grass-roots plaintiffs who were affected. ACLJ officials tell Newsmax many of those groups still have not received a ruling from the IRS on applications that date back as far as December of 2009.
Late last year, the IRS unveiled proposed new rules that would substantially limit the activities that "social welfare" organizations, such as those regulated by section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue code, would be permitted to engage in. Those regulations may be adopted later this year, and conservatives feel they add insult to injury by further limiting their activities.
Mitchell told Newsmax on Monday afternoon that Carson’s experience of suddenly being audited after taking a more active role in conservative politics sounds similar to the complaints of targeting that she’s received from many other conservatives. She called Carson’s experience "pretty scary."
"I have heard this same story over and over and over throughout the last year … as I’ve traveled and spoken all across the country," she says.
"I cannot tell you how many donors to conservative organizations, people who have become active, have said ‘I was never audited until I started giving money to X conservative candidate or cause.’"
She tells Newsmax the targeting includes Romney donors, Perry donors, and donors to conservative issue groups.
Mitchell says Carson’s experience "is not that different from what many others are experiencing. It’s quite, quite troublesome and disturbing."
Until recently Mitchell had resisted calls for Congress to request a special prosecutor, because the investigator would be designated by Attorney General Eric Holder, who himself has been at the center of several controversies involving the administration.
But Mitchell tells Newsmax she has changed her mind since learning Holder had appointed DOJ trial attorney Barbara Bosserman, who has donated over $6,700 to President Obama’s election campaigns and to the Democratic National Committee in recent years, to head the DOJ’s investigation into the handling of conservative organizations’ applications for non-profit status.
"The problem is the IRS is being allowed to just stonewall the investigation [of] the targeting of conservative groups," said Mitchell, who represents several grass-roots conservative organizations that have been affected.
She added: "It’s pretty scary because the people who are supposed to be the neutral arbiter and law enforcement officials appear to me to be completely in the bag for the administration.
"And the IRS appears to me to be doing exactly what Dr. Carson has said is happening. I think he’s exactly right. I hate to say it, but I agree with him. I’ve had too many people across the country say the same things to me. It’s just not possible that it is a coincidence. It’s not statistically possible.
"Suffice to say that I think that what Dr. Carson is describing is an experience that … far too many other Americans have had in the last four years," she said.