The IRS started targeting Tea Party members, "Patriots" and similar conservatives starting in 2010.
But the IRS' harassment of conservatives expanded way beyond those groups.
As United Press International reports:
U.S. Internal Revenue Service inquiry of conservative groups included those lobbying to "make America a better place to live," new details emerging about the IRS investigation indicated. That lever goes beyond what the IRS admitted Friday, which was that it targeted groups with "Tea Party" or "patriot" in their names, several media outlets reported Monday, based on draft findings from disclosures to congressional investigators by the Treasury Department's inspector general for tax administration.
At various points over the past two years, the Cincinnati IRS office, which is in charge of evaluating applications for tax-exempt status, focused on groups making statements that "criticize how the country is being run" and those involved in educating Americans "on the Constitution and Bill of Rights," the draft report cited by The Washington Post indicated.
By June 2011 some IRS specialists were probing applications of groups focusing on "government spending, government debt or taxes [and] education of the public by advocacy/lobbying to 'make America a better place to live,'" the report cited by the Journal indicated.
The inspector general's investigation also found the head of the IRS tax-exempt-organizations division knew as early as June 2011 conservative groups were being inappropriately targeted -- several months before Douglas Shulman, IRS commissioner at the time, denied to a congressional committee the agency was targeting conservative groups, the newspapers said
Liberals should not assume that this is the "other guy's" fight.
The targeting of conservatives under a Democratic administration could switch to a targeting of liberals under a subsequent Republican administration.
Congressman Mike Rogers is correct when he says:
I don't care if you're a conservative, a liberal, a Democrat or a Republican, this should send a chill up your spine.
Remember, governments always target the "out" group first, and - if we don't protest - spread the abuse to include everyone.
It is ironic - and downright Orwellian - that the IRS targeted people trying to educate Americans on the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Unfortunately, this is not entirely surprising, given that the Bill of Rights have been fatally wounded by the Bush and Obama administrations, and that liking the Founding Fathers or being “reverent of individual liberty” could get one branded as a potential terrorist.
And the IRS is acting like Big Brother ... spying on our shopping records, travel, social interactions, health records and files from other government investigators. The IRS targeting those who try to educate people about taxes is analogous to the Federal Reserve using web-based counter-espionage to attack critics of Fed policies.
Welcome to modern America ...
Postscript: Those who assume that the Tea Party is made up of a bunch of crazies may be interested in learning that - despite the divide-and-conquer tricks that the mainstream media peddles - the Occupy movement and the Tea Party were originally protesting the exact same things: the malignant, symbiotic relationship between big government and big corporations, and the destruction to our economy caused by the unchecked power of the Federal Reserve.