A timeline of tyranny.
Amid the ongoing cascade of stories focusing on abuses by the Internal Revenue Service, a simple historical truth is lost.
At its very core, the Left is about tyranny. Intimidation. The mailed fist.
One can spend endless hours recalling the bloody tyrannies of the French Revolution, or Communism or the Nazis (aka the National Socialists) or, in America, the violence visited by leftist groups from the Ku Klux Klan to this or that labor union to all those 60s radicals who raced around the country in a murderous rage with bombs and bullets.
But what the massive abuse of the IRS illustrates is a tyranny of a different sort. A bloodless yet still quite decided tyranny. A tyranny of the American Left designed not just to chill free speech — although that is a primary goal. What has evidenced itself in the Obama era is a tyranny designed not just to silence dissent, but to deliberately, willfully damage if not ruin outright the reputations and businesses of Americans across the land.
To scare the living hell out of people.
To send the message: do what we say — or else.
One of the horror stories that have emerged in the last year is the tale of Idaho businessman Frank VanderSloot, the million-dollar donor to the Romney campaign. Not only did a onetime investigator for Senate Democrats turn up in Idaho rummaging through the local courthouse for damaging information about VanderSloot’s divorce, VanderSloot quickly found himself targeted by the IRS.
The VanderSloot story, we now know, was not an accident. Some sort of Ripley’s Believe-It-Or-Not twist of fate. What was happening to Frank VanderSloot has been happening all over America in the last five years. In one form or another, almost 500 conservative groups were targeted by the IRS and other federal government agencies. Others, including prominent television and radio hosts, have been targeted for removal from the airwaves by leftist groups seeking to use the combined power of government and pressure on advertisers.
As all of America now knows, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration has conducted an audit — an audit, not an investigation — of the IRS. Included in that audit is a timeline of IRS abuse. That timeline, however, is in reality just a beginning. It addresses itself only to the IRS — and at that names few names and puts nothing into context.
We have put together what might be called a basic “timeline of tyranny.” A timeline that connects the dots of IRS behavior in the Obama administration not just to the specifics of the IG’s timeline, but to other events of a similar nature. Events that set the stage for what was to come, and most importantly events that illustrate the mindset of the American Left when it comes to free speech, to dissent — and how that mindset plays out when married not just to money but to a perceived or very real access to serious government power.
Drawing on the work of, among others, the Wall Street Journal’s Kim Strassel, attorney Cleta Mitchell, Mark Levin’s Landmark Legal Foundation, Jay Sekulow’s American Center for Law and Justice — hat tips to all — what follows is Part One of what we will call a timeline for:
The VanderSlooting of America
June 5, 2008: The IRS is contacted by the leftist group Catholics United to “launch a probe of the Catholic League.” The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, headed by Bill Donohue, is seen by Catholic leftists as conservative. Donohue says:
“The June 5 letter was sent to the IRS by lawyers from Catholics United; it was mailed to Director Marsha Ramirez, director of Exempt Organizations Examinations, and to Lois G. Lerner, director of EO Division.”
“What the IRS did not know was that I had proof who contacted them to launch the investigation: Catholics United, a George Soros-funded Catholic organization.”
August 7, 2008: The New York Times publishes a story (hat tip to the Wall Street Journal’s Kim Strassel) celebrating a left-wing group of Obama supporters called “Accountable America.” The Times says the group will be sending “warning” letters to “10,000 of the biggest donors to Republican candidates and causes.” The purpose, wrote the liberal paper, is to create “a chilling effect that will dry up contributions.” The pro-Obama group’s spokesman said the leftist group was “going for the jugular.”
August 21, 2008: The conservative, 501(c)(4) American Issues Project runs an ad focused on the ties between Senator Barack Obama, the Democrat presidential nominee, and ex-Weather Underground radical leader and bomber Bill Ayers. Obama’s political career began with a meeting in Ayers living room and the two served together on the board of Chicago’s Woods Foundation. Bob Bauer, the general counsel of the Obama campaign contacts the criminal division of the Justice Department, demanding prosecution of the ad sponsors.
September 8, 2008: Obama counsel Bauer writes a second letter, demanding the criminal prosecution of Harold Simmons, a Texas businessman who financed the AIP ad. Bauer demands “certain tax documents” be turned over to the Obama campaign — a right he has under IRS law. But Bauer also sends a letter to AIP demanding confidential information to which the Obama campaign had no legal right.
October 3, 2008: The $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), which has the U.S. government trying to resolve the subprime mortgage crisis, is signed into law by President George W. Bush.
Much to its surprise, the Catholic League recently learned that left-wing activist and billionaire George Soros is the man behind two ultra-liberal Catholic groups, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and Catholics United. Both organizations claim to be pro-life while supporting mostly pro-abortion candidates for public office.
October 23, 2008: Bill Donohue of the Catholic League writes another press release, this one titled “Catholic Left Scandal Mounts.” That same day, Donohue says, he was asked to go on CNN and that
…when Catholics United found out, they contacted the station trying to spike the interview.
The person who did this was the head of Catholics United, Chris Korzen. He said I was not “an authentic Catholic commentator and representative of the Catholic Church,” and that they should either drop me altogether or put me on with Alexia Kelley of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good.
The bid to keep me off TV failed.
November 4, 2008: Senator Barack Obama is elected President of the United States.
November 24, 2008: Bill Donohue is notified by the IRS that the Catholic League is “under investigation for violating the IRS Code on political activities as it relates to 501(c)(3) organizations.” Someone at CNN leaks to Donohue the complaint to the IRS filed by the leftist Soros-funded Catholics United, the group that headed by Chris Korzen. Donohue writes: “The document…matches up extraordinarily well with the IRS complaint of November 24.”
January 16, 2009: Rush Limbaugh goes on his popular syndicated radio show and says:
I hope he fails…. Liberalism is our problem. Liberalism is what’s gotten us dangerously close to the precipice here. Why do I want more of it? I don’t care what the Drive-By story is. I would be honored if the Drive-By Media headlined me all day long: “Limbaugh: I Hope Obama Fails.” Somebody’s gotta say it.
January 19, 2009: Radio talk show host Glenn Beck begins his Fox television program. Over the course of the next two years, Beck will feature exposés and criticisms of President Obama and various White House staff members. The latter include Van Jones, a onetime self-professed Communist and supporter of Mumia Abu-Jamal, a convicted killer of a policeman. Other controversies swirled around Obama White House Communications Director Anita Dunn (Beck had a clip of Dunn praising Mao as “one of my two favorite political philosophers” — the being Mother Teresa) as well as the left wing group ACORN. By March, the Nielsen ratings company says Beck has one of the highest rated shows at the five o’clock hour, repeatedly beating all his competition combined.
January 20, 2009: Mr. Obama is sworn in as the 44th President of the United States.
January 21, 2009: Sean Hannity sits down with Limbaugh and the two discuss the new president and the problems ahead with a liberal president. Neither backs away from roles as Obama critics.
January 30, 2009: IRS union chief Colleen Kelley of the National Treasury Employees Union visits the White House while, she tells the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “he (the President) was signing some executive orders to undo some things the prior administration did.”
February 15, 2009: IRS union chief Colleen Kelley’s interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette appears, in which she says her relationship with the Obama White House is about “collaboration” and “partnership.”
February 17, 2009: The $831 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 — aka the Obama “Stimulus” is signed into law by the President. One hundred seven-seven of 178 Republicans voted against; one did not vote. All but three Senate Republicans (Maine’s Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins and Pennsylvania’s Arlen Specter) vote against.
February 18, 2009: President Obama announces The Homeowners Affordability and Stability Plan, a $75 billion spending program to help up to nine million homeowners avoid foreclosure,
February 19, 2009: CNBC’s Rick Santelli’s spontaneous “rant” about The Homeowners Affordability and Stability Plan, broadcast from the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, calls for a “Chicago Tea Party.” The Drudge Report features the rant and it goes viral, credited with launching the national Tea Party movement that is dedicated to halting the surge in government spending and the expansion of big government. Tea parties begin appearing across the country, begun spontaneously by Americans at the grass roots level.
February 20, 2009: A call for nationwide “Tea Party” protests appears on Facebook.
February 27, 2009: Tea Party protests appear in eight cities.
March 13, 2009: Glenn Beck launches the 9/12 project. The “9/12” date refers to the day after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. The objective is, in Beck’s words: “to bring us all back to the place we were on September 12, 2001…. we were not obsessed with red states, blue states or political parties. We were united as Americans, standing together to protect the values and principles of the greatest nation ever created.”
March 24, 2009: Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto by radio talk host and Landmark Legal Foundation president Mark Levin is released. The book, about “the modern liberal assault on Constitution-based values” and “a federal government that is a massive, unaccountable conglomerate” is an instant bestseller, becoming what Congresswoman Michele Bachmann calls “the intellectual foundation of the Tea Party.”
March 28, 2009: Four days after the release of Liberty and Tyranny, the first Mark Levin book signing in Tysons Corner, Virginia is mobbed (as seen here). The book becomes a standard at Tea Party rallies, waved aloft by protestors.
April 15, 2009: Tea Party protests erupt in 800 cities across the country, with rallies attended by Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. The protests are covered extensively by Fox News and talk radio. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi attacks the Tea Party as “astroturf” sponsored by “some of the wealthiest people in America….”
April 16, 2009: The Weekly Standard reports that a senior aide to House Democrats is circulating a memorandum saying “Tea Partiers Are Racist, Nazi, Gun Nuts.”
April 29, 2009: President Obama, in an appearance at a town hall meeting in Missouri, makes his first comment on the rising Tea Party movement. Obama criticizes protesters by saying “let’s not play games and pretend that the reason (for out of control government spending) is because of the recovery act.”
May-August 2009: The Tea Party gains political strength with hundreds of protests across the country.
June 4, 2009: Alexia Kelley joins the Obama Administration. The Catholic News Agency reports the story this way:
Washington D.C., Jun 4, 2009 / 02:31 pm (CNA).- Alexia Kelley, Executive Director of “Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good,” one of the pro-Obama Catholic organizations that strongly supported the appointment of the former Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has been named Director of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships for the HHS.
Kelley co-founded Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good (CACG) in 2005 and co-authored with Chris Korzen, “A Nation for All: How the Catholic Vision of the Common Good Can Save America from the Politics of Division.
By early 2011, Kelley is deputy director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Note: the co-author of White House staffer Kelley’s earlier book is Chris Korzen, the man Bill Donohue now says was responsible for trying to bump Donohue from a CNN show in favor of Alexia Kelley. Kelley’s friend Korzen is also, again according to Donohue, the man who filed a complaint on Donohue’s group with the IRS.
September 12, 2009: The Taxpayer March on Washington, organized, among others by Glenn Beck’s 9-12 Project and the Tea Party Patriots, attracts hundreds of thousands in a march to the U.S. Capitol.
September 30, 2009: Federal Communications Commissioner Michael J. Copps , following a lunch with a liberal interfaith coalition, delivered the liberal United Church of Christ’s Everett C. Parker Ethics in Telecommunications Lecture at the Riverside Church in New York City. Mr. Copps is perhaps best identified as he was in the Nation magazine when he authored a March 20, 2008 article there as “a Democratic member of the FCC and a former assistant secretary of commerce in the Clinton Administration.”
October 12, 2009: Obama White House Communications Director Anita Dunn, the wife of Obama campaign counsel Bob Bauer who in 2008 filed criminal complaints against the conservative American Issues Project with the Justice Department, goes on CNN to declare Fox News “a wing of the Republican Party.” A campaign to “delegitimize” Fox News begins.
October 16, 2009: Sixteen days after FCC Commissioner Copps’ trip to New York — UCC members are informed by the UCC Office of Communications that the UCC is participating in a new group called So We Might See, and is filing a request for the FCC to “open a notice of inquiry into hate speech in the media.” A check into funding sources reveals the group to be partially funded by George Soros through the Media Democracy Fund.
UCC members are asked to sign this petition. Seven denominations are joining in this effort: They are: the United Church of Christ, U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops, the Islamic Society of North America, United Methodist Communications, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and “several other faith groups.”
The petition specifically cites Rush Limbaugh by name. The formal title of this is the: “Petition for Inquiry into Hate Speech in the Media and Request to update report on The Role of Telecommunications in Hate Crimes.”
Linked on the electronic media package are videos supplied by the left-wing Media Matters accusing Fox’s Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck, as well as CNN’s Lou Dobbs, of hate speech. Support is also solicited to remove Lou Dobbs from television and intimidate sponsors of Glenn Beck’s TV show into pulling their advertising.
October 18, 2009: “White House senior adviser David Axelrod said Sunday that the Fox News Channel is ‘not really a news station’ and that much of the programming is ‘not really news.’”
October 21, 2009: IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman meets with President Obama in the Oval Office, as recorded this way (bold print for emphasis) on the White House visitors log:
Shulman, Douglas Potus 10/21/2009 10:00
Description: Econ PDB
Meeting Room: Oval Office
Note: During the recent House congressional hearings, Shulman was said to have visited the White House 118 times. Other than the meeting listed above with the President, he is frequently listed as meeting with Sarah Fenn, seen here in this 2011 photograph of a White House corridor leading to the Oval Office and listed as “special assistant to the deputy chief of staff.” At the time the White House deputy chief of staff is listed as Obama aide Jim Messina. In 2012, Messina is the Obama re-election campaign manager.
October 22, 2009: The White House bans Fox News from the White House Press Pool before an interview with Obama “Pay Czar” Kenneth Feinberg.
November 10, 2009: After more protests across the country in the rest of September, all of October and early November, the last three recorded Tea Party protests of 2009 occur in Augusta and Brunswick, Georgia, and Beaufort, South Carolina.
November 11, 2009: CNN’s Lou Dobbs, the target of a liberal effort to force CNN to “Drop Dobbs,” announces he will end a 30-year career with the network effective that night.
November 13, 2009: Bob Bauer, the Obama campaign counsel who demanded tax documents from Obama opponents and contacted the Criminal Division of the Justice Department to recommend prosecution of the sponsors of an anti-Obama ad, is appointed White House Counsel to replace the outgoing Greg Craig. Bauer is married to White House Communications Director Anita Dunn. Dunn, a frequent target of Glenn Beck, resigns from her White House post on November 30.
December 3, 2009: Colleen Kelley, the President of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) which endorsed Obama in 2008, attends a White House Christmas party with other labor activists as the guest of President and Mrs. Obama. In 2008, the NTEU, which represents IRS employees, gave 96% of its money (NTEU raised a total of $641,950) to Democrats.
December 9, 2009: President Obama issues Executive Order 13522, which is specifically designed to “allow employees and unions to have pre-decisional involvement in all workplace matters” — including the IRS as represented by the NTEU.
January 8, 2010: Fox News reports that:
Last year, the “tea party” movement succeeded in capturing national headlines with its boisterous anti-government protests. This year, based on what’s on the calendar for the start of 2010, tea party activists and affiliated groups are looking to gain even more influence and momentum.
The first major event of the year is set for Jan. 20, when tea party activists plan a national strike marking the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s inauguration.
January 21, 2010: The U.S. Supreme Court issues its decision in Citizens United, ruling that “a provision of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act prohibiting unions, corporations and not-for-profit organizations from broadcasting electioneering communications within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary election violates the free speech clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.” There is an uproar on the Left, with the New York Times writing angrily:
The Supreme Court has handed lobbyists a new weapon. A lobbyist can now tell any elected official: if you vote wrong, my company, labor union or interest group will spend unlimited sums explicitly advertising against your re-election.
January 27, 2010: President Obama delivers his State of the Union message and attacks the Supreme Court for its ruling in Citizens United. Says the President:
Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. They should be decided by the American people, and that’s why I’m urging Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to right this wrong.
Television cameras show Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito silently replying: “Not true.”
March-April 2010: “The (IRS) Determinations Unit began searching for other requests for tax exemption involving the Tea Party, Patriots, 9/12, and I.R.C. (Section) 501 (c)(4) applications involving political sounding names, e.g., ‘We the People’ or ‘Take Back the Country.’” Source: IG Report. Page 30.
Around March 1, 2010: “The (IRS) Determinations Unit Group Manager asked a specialist to search for other Tea Party or similar organizations’ applications in order to determine the scope of the issue. The specialist continued to complete searches for additional cases until the precursor to the BOLO (Be On the Look Out) listing was issued in May 2010.
Determinations Unit personnel indicated that they used the description Tea Party as a shorthand way of referring to the group of cases involving political campaign intervention rather than to target any particular group. The specialist used Tea Party, Patriots, and 9/12 as part of the criteria for these searches.”
Source: IG Interview. Page 31.
March 16-17, 2010: “Ten Tea Party cases were identified. The Acting Manager, Technical Unit, requested two more cases be transferred to Washington, D.C.
“Not all of the ten cases had Tea Party in their names.”
Source: IG Report of IRS E-Mail. Page 31.
March 20, 2010: During the health care debate, Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) and Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), allege that they were verbally assaulted by Tea Party protesters hurling the “N-word” at them as they walked out of the Cannon House Office Building during a “Kill the Bill” rally.
March 27, 2010: Andrew Breitbart offers a $100,000 reward to be given to the United Negro College Fund if anyone can produce video proof of the Tea Party racism at the much-filmed event at which Carson and Lewis were present. No one comes forward, but the charge of racism is widely spread in the liberal media.
March 30, 2010: Fox and radio host Sean Hannity releases his book Conservative Victory: Defeating Obama’s Radical Agenda During the 2008 campaign, author Zev Chafets would later reveal in a biography of Fox chief Roger Ailes, Obama had revealed a paranoia not just about Fox but specifically about Hannity. Wrote Chafets:
After some pleasantries, Obama got to the point. He was concerned about the way he was being portrayed on Fox, and his real issue wasn’t the news; it was Sean Hannity, who had been battering him every night at nine (and on his radio show, which Fox doesn’t own or control). Ailes didn’t deny that Hannity was anti-Obama. He simply told the candidate not to worry about it. “Nobody who watches Sean’s going to vote for you anyway,” he said.
March 31, 2010: IRS union chief Colleen Kelley visits the White House for a session on Workforce Flexibility attended by President and Mrs. Obama. She says she never spoke to the President. Over the course of the 2010 election cycle, the NTEU will raise $613,633, from its members in “voluntary” contributions, 98% of which will go to Democrats.
April 1-2, 2010: “The new Acting Manager, Technical Unit, suggested the need for a Sensitive Case Report on the Tea Party cases. The Determinations Unit Program Manager agreed.”
Source: IG Report of IRS E-Mail. Page 31.
April 5, 2010: “A Determinations Unit specialist developed a list of 18 identified Tea Party cases during a search of applications. Three had already been approved as tax-exempt. While the heading of the document listing these 18 cases referred to Tea Party cases, not all of the organizations listed had Tea Party in their names.” Source: IG report of IRS E-Mail. Page 31.
June 7, 2010: “The IRS Determinations Unit ‘began training its specialists on emerging issues to watch for, including an emerging issue referred to as Tea Party Cases.’” Source: IG Report, Documentation. Page 32
July, 2010: “Determinations Unit management requested its specialists to be on the lookout for Tea Party applications.” Source: IG Report. E-Mail. Page 32.
July, 2010: Catherine Engelbrecht, an American citizen from Houston, Texas and owner with husband Bryan of Engelbrecht Enterprises, a small manufacturing business, decides to create two Tea Party-style groups: King Street Patriots and True the Vote. Engelbrecht files the required applications to the IRS that grant tax-exempt status.
August 28, 2010: Fox TV and talk radio host Glenn Beck hosts a massive “Restoring Honor” Washington rally calling for Americans to turn to God and celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King. The rally features former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and Dr. King’s niece Alveda King.
September 28, 2010: Sen. Max Baucus, the Montana Democrat who chairs the Senate Finance Committee — which oversees the IRS — sends a three-page letter on Senate Finance letterhead (found here) to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman. Baucus demands: “I request that you and your agency survey major 501(c)(4)” groups for “possible violation of tax laws.” In 2008, Baucus received a $2,500 contribution from the IRS union, the NTEU.
October, 2010: “The (IRS tax exempt status) team of specialists stopped working on potential political cases from October 2010 through November, 2011, resulting in a 13-month delay…” while waiting for assistance from the IRS Technical Unit. Source: IG report, page 12.
October 14, 2010: The liberal New York Times sounds the alarm in liberal quarters with this headline:
Tea Party Set to Win Enough Races for Wide Influence
The story begins by waving a red flag of the coming influence the Tea Party may be achieving through the electoral process:
Enough Tea Party-supported candidates are running strongly in competitive and Republican-leaning Congressional races that the movement stands a good chance of establishing a sizable caucus to push its agenda in the House and the Senate, according to a New York Times analysis.
The Times also writes this notable line, bold print added for emphasis:
Several candidates advocate abolishing the Internal Revenue Service entirely.
November 2, 2010: The Obama administration suffers a massive defeat as 82.5 million Americans turn out in the fall elections, returning the U.S. House to the GOP with a win of 63 seats, the largest since 1938. The GOP wins 6 Senate seats, 29 of 50 governors and 680 seats in state legislatures.
November 3, 2010: The Tea Party victories are headline stories across the country and in the liberal media. The Washington Post headline is typical:
Victories give force to tea party movement
December, 2010: Catherine Engelbrecht of Houston has received a request for a meeting with the FBI, specifically the FBI Domestic Terrorism Unit. The reason? To ask about an attendee at a function of one of her two Tea Party groups, the King Street Patriots.
The end — of Part One of The VanderSlooting of America.
Stay tuned. More to come.