If you read one (non-Spectator) article this morning, make it Jillian Kay Melchior’s latest piece over at NRO. Melchior interviews a Texas woman named Catherine Engelbrecht, who, after filing with the IRS for tax-exempt status for two Tea Party groups, was harassed by the IRS…and the FBI and ATF and even OSHA:
In July, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration paid a visit to Engelbrecht Manufacturing while Bryan, Catherine, and their children were out of town. The OSHA inspector talked with the managerial staff and employees, inspecting the premises minutely. But Bryan says the agent found only “little Mickey Mouse stuff, like, ‘You have safety glasses on, but not the right kind; the forklift has a seatbelt, but not the right kind.’” Yet Catherine and Bryan said the OSHA inspector complimented them on their tightly run shop and said she didn’t know why she had been sent to examine it.
Not long after, the tab arrived. OSHA was imposing $25,000 in fines on Engelbrecht Manufacturing. They eventually worked it down to $17,500, and Bryan says they may have tried to contest the fines to drive them even lower, but “we didn’t want to make any more waves, because we don’t know [how much further] OSHA could reach.”
Apparently those “few bad apples” in Cincinnati who the left keeps blaming for the IRS scandal were also wielding omnipotent control over other government agencies.
We already knew this went well beyond the IRS trying to deal with a (nonexistent) surge of new tax-exempt applications. Tea Party groups were completely denied tax-exempt status for 27 months. Sensitive IRS applications were inappropriately leaked to left-wing news outlets. But Melchior’s article suggests something much more extreme than a renegade IRS: a concerted attempt across several government agencies to wage war on the Tea Party.
Now can we please get that special prosecutor?