Yesterday was a significant day in the IRS abuse scandal. The scandal evolved from being about pesky delays in IRS exemption applications to a government conniving with outside interests to put political opponents in prison.
Emails obtained by Judicial Watch through the Freedom of Information Act reveal Lois Lerner cooking up plans with Justice Department officials to talk about ways to criminally charge conservative groups that are insufficiently quiet.
Larry Noble, a law professor now with the Soros-funded Campaign Legal Center, was cited in the emails as someone agitating to jail conservatives who “falsely” report on IRS forms that they are not engaged in political speech. Lerner talked about setting up meetings with Justice Department election lawyers who wanted to talk about making Noble’s dreams a reality — this after Senator Sheldon Whitehouse raised the idea of criminal charges for conservatives who are not sufficiently quiet, charges that they falsely completed an IRS tax exemption form.
Their theory is a favorite among speech regulators in the Soros-funded left and academia. It goes like this: “Too much speech is bad (unless unions do it.) Groups who talk about things leftists find uncomfortable are necessarily political and thus should never have 501(c) tax exempt status. Criminally charge any group that said on their IRS tax exempt form that they were not political if they say things the left finds uncomfortable. Get Eric Holder’s Justice Department on the case.”
The emails obtained by Judicial Watch reveal this is essentially what was going on behind the scenes at the IRS, DOJ, and with outside leftist interests.
The emails, so far, only name a few of the speech regulators involved. But there are many who don’t appear in the latest document dump that give life to the cause of limiting the First Amendment.
Hans von Spakovsky, a former commissioner on the Federal Election Commission, is intimately familiar with the scope and power of the speech regulators. He said: “Ever since I came to Washington, I’ve been shocked at the liberal politicians like Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, advocacy groups like Democracy 21 and Fred Wertheimer, and government bureaucrats at the FEC and the Justice Department who want to use the power of government to censor their opponents. They hate the First Amendment and would fit right into the Soviet Union.”
All roads in the IRS scandal run through Citizens United, the Supreme Court case that sent the speech regulators into a frenzy when it allowed private citizens to spend money to express their views without government regulation. Even President Obama attacked Citizens United in a State of the Union address. Justice Samuel Alito mouthed his opinion about Obama’s truthfulness during the speech.
Citizens United, in timing and substance, was the genesis of the IRS scandal.
So who are the speech regulators seeking to impose government limits on the exercise of the First Amendment?
Like bats in the belfry, they tend to congregate online at University of California at Irvine Law Professor Rick Hasen’s election blog.