Thank God for Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George. His investigation of what turned out to be the IRS abuse scandal may well have saved the Constitution and the nation.
For his fair and impartial investigation into the Internal Revenue Service’s abuse of Americans who dissent from President Obama’s agenda, Democrats have called for an investigation of him. George should not be investigated, but perhaps the Democrats who want him investigated — Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Matt Cartwright (D-PA) — should be. Their call for an investigation of the investigator might constitute interference with the ongoing investigation of the IRS abuse scandal. That would be obstruction of justice, in what may turn out to be the most widespread and damaging scandal in American history.
The implications of today’s email disclosure are stunning and terrifying.
Lois Lerner intended to use her position atop the IRS’ tax exempt approval office to coordinate the prosecution of political speech. The Department of Justice under Attorney General Eric Holder had at least tentatively bought into that. The Federal Elections Commission was being roped in as well. Lerner’s emails prove that beyond doubt.
Democrats in Congress were involved. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) appears to have led the anti-constitutional attack on free speech in the House. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) led it from the Senate.
Two days before Lerner was forced to publicly disclose the scandal, she was moving forward with an insidious plan to stamp out conservatives and Tea Party activists’ ability to organize and raise money, by working with the IRS commissioner’s office and the Department of Justice. At the same time, there was no plan for any government crackdown on groups who agreed with President Obama. The traffic was entirely one-way. It was nakedly political, and everyone involved knew it. They also had reason to believe that they would succeed, or they would not have engaged in it. DOJ would serve two roles: Prosecute conservatives, and protect the bureaucrats who were pushing those prosecutions.
Was there a full-fledged plan to use the full power of the federal government to take the abuse, delay and invasive questioning of conservatives to a new level after President Obama’s re-election? Was there a plan to criminalize the mere act of being a conservative activist? Was there a plan to drum up false charges of “lying” on applications in order to put conservatives in jail?
Lois Lerner’s communications with the Justice Department strongly suggest that there was. The disclosure provides strong, compelling evidence that Obama’s re-election had emboldened many, including government bureaucrats like Lois Lerner, to believe that they could move forward unchallenged to criminalize Americans for exercising their constitutional rights.
I also believe that the players in this scam had identified a target to single out, harass, investigate, silence, destroy, and send to prison. Her name is Catherine Engelbrecht.
Lerner’s email on March 27, 2013, suggests that there was an idea moving within the bureaucracy to hit one or just a few Americans, and prosecute and imprison them, to scare others out of political engagement.
“One IRS prosecution would make an impact and they wouldn’t feel so comfortable doing the stuff,” Lerner wrote to IRS staff. “So, don’t be fooled about how this is being articulated – it is ALL about 501(c)(4) orgs and political activity.”
It was all about conservative 501(c)(4) orgs. Liberal groups were left entirely alone. This was to be a leftwing reign of prosecutorial terror.
Engelbrecht founded True the Vote in 2010 and filed for tax exempt status with the IRS that year. She was subjected to invasive questioning while Lerner’s IRS group held up her investigation. Soon thereafter, several executive branch agencies descended on her, her family and her business. The ATF, OSHA, the FBI all harassed her. OSHA fined her $25,000 for minor violations.
Fast forward to 2012. True the Vote is going strong, despite the IRS holding up its tax exempt application. It is making a difference. States are adopting voter ID and other election integrity improvements. Local groups are organizing to receive True the Vote’s poll training. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and his staff communicate with Lerner at the IRS, in what now appears to be a fishing expedition to find something — anything — to use against Engelbrecht.
Why Engelbrecht? True the Vote is not the largest activist group out there, and it is not partisan. It advocates election integrity legislation and it trains people to help ensure that our elections are fair and free from corruption. As such, it backs measures like voter photo ID. Voter ID is supported by about 70% of the American people. It’s not controversial, despite the left’s efforts to make it so.
Many Democrats including President Obama oppose such measures. Holder’s DOJ has even sued Texas to stop its voter ID law.
Rep. Cummings sought dirt on Engelbrecht and True the Vote not just to discredit it, and thereby halt election integrity legislation. It’s now clear that the next step, after re-election, was to turn activism for election integrity itself into a criminal offense. Not directly, of course. Congress would pass no law banning anyone from advocating for election integrity or voter ID or anything. But destroying Engelbrecht would serve the same end. No one would dare stand up for her if she faced prison. No one would dare step up and organize the next True the Vote election integrity group on the national level.
So let’s look at True the Vote’s “crime,” and how the Democrats intended to punish Engelbrecht and what it all means.
There was a plan by Democrats, in Congress and infested in the government bureaucracy, to use Barack Obama’s second term to destroy freedom of speech and the right to dissent, through prosecution and the fear of prosecution. Lerner’s emails disclosed today prove that. Only Russell George’s unstoppable disclosure forced her to shut it down and issue a modified, limited hangout to control the damage that was about to be done to her, the IRS and possibly the entire Democratic Party and the Obama White House. Lerner pleaded the Fifth Amendment to protect herself, and many others.
The purpose of the plan that Lerner was moving on was to stifle dissent and give Democrats total control of Congress in 2014, giving President Obama full control of all of government for his last two years in office.
Alongside that plan, was a plan to destroy anyone who advocated for election integrity legislation, legislation which gained steam and widespread passage at the state level after the 2010 mid-term elections. What this tells us is that the Democrats, at least some Democrats, fully intended to weaponize government against dissent while it watered down election law and used lawfare via the Justice Department to damage and even remove state-level election law improvements.
Criminalizing conservative activism was about consolidating the Democrats’ 2012 gains and winning back the House in 2014. Destroying voter ID by whatever means Democrats deemed necessary was about 2016. There’s only one reason to make it easier to commit election fraud. You only do that if you intend to commit election fraud.
And after that? Well, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) wants a law abridging the freedom of the press. And there’s always another tragedy to exploit to attack the Second Amendment.