My article from the June 25, 2014 issue of FrontPage magazine:
The Mounting Proof of an IRS Cover-Up
By Matthew Vadum
More proof the Obama administration is covering up the political persecution it inflicted on its conservative political enemies through the Internal Revenue Service emerged yesterday as a federal official accused the White House of breaking the law by hiding emails.
Whenever the records, including emails, of federal agencies are destroyed — whether intentional or inadvertent — the law requires that the National Archives be notified. But that did not happen when the computer hard drives of a former IRS official and six of her IRS subordinates allegedly crashed in 2011, destroying records of emails now at the heart of a congressional corruption probe.
“They did not follow the law,” Archivist of the United States David Ferriero said of the IRS during testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
It has also been revealed that the IRS suspiciously backed out of a circa 2005 contract with an email storage contractor named Sonasoft mere weeks after Lerner reported losing personal files and before other IRS officials allegedly experienced hard drive crashes as the Tea Party-targeting investigations got underway.
As Investor’s Business Daily explains,
Timing is everything, the saying goes, and sometimes the timing of events is also very curious, as in the case of the lost emails of Lerner and at least six other officials at the very same time the IRS canceled its contract to back up and preserve those emails as required by federal law.
Lerner’s computer supposedly crashed in June 2011, an alleged event the IRS concealed from the American public and congressional investigators for two years.
This event, which cannot be verified because her hard drive has since been destroyed and recycled, occurred just 10 days after House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp first wrote a letter asking if the IRS was engaging in targeting of nonprofit groups.
Sonasoft runs ads stating the company provides “Email Archiving Done Right” and “Point-Click Recovery.” In a 2009 tweet it bragged: “The IRS uses Sonasoft to back up their servers, why wouldn’t you choose them to protect your servers?”
Why not — indeed.
Under hyper-partisan, left-wing Democrat Lois Lerner, the tax-exempt organizations branch singled out for harassment the heroic Catherine Engelbrecht, leader of the Houston-based good government group True the Vote. Earlier this year the IRS revoked the charitable status of Manassas, Va.-based Patrick Henry Center for Individual Liberty, because it disseminated criticism of Democrats Hillary Clinton and John Kerry a decade ago. In recent years the federal agency also subjected conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status to heightened scrutiny, harassment, and extended processing delays that may have hindered their activities during the previous election cycle.
It is the latest outrage from the Obama administration which has been on a vindictive rampage in recent years, using the feared tax collection agency to vex and annoy its political enemies, especially those associated with the Tea Party movement.
Republicans say the White House has been less than helpful in efforts to investigate the IRS scandal. “They haven’t done a damn thing to get to the truth of what happened,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said yesterday.
The hearing yesterday followed a previous hearing the night before at which lawmakers unloaded on the increasingly arrogant IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, questioning him aggressively. The normally mild-mannered Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) excoriated Koskinen for his bad attitude in testifying before the congressional panel. On Friday Koskinen set the stage for conflict. He angered lawmakers when he told them at that hearing that the IRS had nothing to apologize for in the missing Lerner emails scandal.
Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) told Koskinen a Monday hearing: “We have a problem with you and you have a problem with credibility.”
At a hearing yesterday, Koskinen told Issa that he had honored his vow to the panel to give it all of Lerner’s emails, adding it is impossible to recover the emails lost in 2011.
“If you have a magical way for me to do that, I’d be happy to hear about it,” a sarcastic Koskinen told Issa.
“I’ve lost my patience with you,” Issa shot back.
Yesterday’s hearing came as the IRS admitted it illegally provided the confidential tax return of the National Organization for Marriage to that group’s left-wing arch-enemy, the Human Rights Campaign, which favors same-sex marriage. The IRS has agreed to pay $50,000 in damages to NOM.
Unauthorized disclosure of confidential tax information is a felony that can lead to a five-year term of imprisonment, but Eric Holder’s Justice Department never got around to filing criminal charges in the case.
“We’re delighted that the IRS has now been held accountable for the illegal disclosure of our list of major donors from our tax return,” said NOM Chairman John D. Eastman. “We urge other groups that have suffered similar problems with the IRS to keep pressing until they, too, are fully vindicated.”
The egregious IRS leak allowed the HRC in February 2012 to post online NOM’s 2008 tax return and the names and contact information of NOM’s major donors, including Mitt Romney who became the Republican presidential nominee later that year. Making that normally confidential information public allowed progressive activists to harass and intimidate NOM’s donors, just as they had done in the wake of California’s Proposition 8 that affirmed traditional marriage in 2008. The most prominent victim of leftist venom was former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich, who was forced out of his post because he dared to donate $1,000 to the “pro” traditional marriage side in the Prop 8 battle.
Left-wing activists call this kind of in-your-face harassment “accountability,” an Orwellian euphemism to be sure. Accountability actions focus on harassing and intimidating political enemies, disrupting their activities, and forcing them to waste resources dealing with activists’ provocations. It is a tactic of radical community organizers, open borders fanatics, and union goons. Taking a cue from Herbert Marcuse, they want to shut down, humiliate, and silence those who fail to genuflect before their policy agenda.
Even worse, it is fair to say that under President Obama, the IRS has become a de facto branch of the Democratic National Committee, launching partisan attacks on those who stand in the way of the Left’s agenda.