By Stephen Z. Nemo
How do we know President Obama is about to leave office? His weaponized Internal Revenue Service announced it will begin processing the tax-exempt application of the Texas Patriots Tea Party, which has been in a state of limbo for half a decade.
It was just one of many such organizations targeted for harassment by the IRS.
After the remarkable success grassroots tea party organizations had in ousting moderate incumbent Republicans in the 2010 primaries – and liberal Democrats in the general election later that same year – Obama’s stalwart supporters feared the grassroots movement could prove far more threatening to the president’s agenda than congressional Republicans.
But as the 2012 presidential campaign was gearing up, tea party groups noticed what seemed to be a coordinated effort by agencies of the federal government to access their donor records, subject their founders to tax audits and crippling legal fees.
A 2013 investigation by the U.S. Treasury’s Inspector General for Tax Administration found the IRS “used inappropriate criteria to identify applications from organizations with the words Tea Party in their names,” which included taking action against groups involved in such nefarious activities as advocating “limiting government” and educating the public “on the Constitution and Bill of Rights.”
In a White House interview with the president, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly attempted to ask a question, “What some people are saying is that the IRS was used… to go after…”
Obama interrupted, “Absolutely wrong… that’s not what happened… these kinds of things keep on surfacing, in part, because you and your T.V. station will promote them… There were some bone-headed [IRS] decisions…”
“But no mass corruption?” asked an incredulous O’Reilly.
“Not even mass corruption,” the president insisted, “not even a smidgen of corruption.”
But emails subpoenaed by congressional oversight committees later discovered tea party targeting was coordinated among Obama-appointed officials at the IRS, Federal Election Commission and Justice Department.
Friday, the Washington Times reported that attorneys for one tea party group received notice from the Justice Department’s Joseph Sergi:
“The IRS has decided that it will process the applications of plaintiffs whose applications remain outstanding, including the application for We the People of Texas (Texas Patriots Tea Party). We will be in further contact regarding the application process once we have heard from the IRS.”
Consider this Obama’s revenge.
Although the media have linked the so-called “birther movement" – that insists Obama is not a native-born American – to the tea party, its tentacles reach back to the failed 2008 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign.
A 2007 memo from Clinton’s chief political strategist Mark Penn noted that among Obama’s weaknesses was his “lack of American roots” and that his “boyhood in Indonesia and his life in Hawaii… exposes a very strong weakness for him – his roots to basic American values and culture are at best limited. I cannot imagine America electing a president during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and in his values… Every speech [you make] should contain the line you were born in the middle of America to the middle class in the middle of the last century… Let’s explicitly own ‘America.’”