Ashley Pierce is a political science freshman and Mustang Daily conservative columnist.
My article this week was supposed to be about Captain America, Iron Man, capitalism and conservative values. Unfortunately, the Obama administration decided to become extremely unconstitutional this week and I’ve had to change my plans.
The Obama administration has finally pissed off its greatest supporters and given its opposition physical evidence that the government has stretched far beyond its constitutional power.
This week, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released a statement that a branch in Cincinnati, Ohio had been targeting organizations applying for tax-exempt status that had the words “tea party,” “patriots” or “we the people” in their description. It targeted the groups during the 2012 presidential election term, from late 2010 until 2012.
The IRS blamed workers in Cincinnati for the targeting. The IRS now also claims that, because only a quarter of the organizations set for review were conservative ones, the mistakes were not political.
So, though the IRS looked for organizations using the words that describe only one side of the political spectrum, it’s not political. Not buying it. Groups singled out from that search were reviewed long before given tax-exempt status.
Organizations applying for tax-exempt status must primarily give money the same way non-profits or churches would, in charitable ways. They can still give money to political campaigns, but that can’t be their primary place to give.
Maybe the IRS should have been double-checking such groups to be sure the money was primarily going to charities. But where are the liberal organizations that should have been checked too? Perhaps “99 percent,” “welfare for everyone” or “pro-choice” should have been targeted. But that wasn’t the case.
In fact, the workers who supposedly are at fault for targeting conservatives haven’t even been fired. All that’s been said is that “they’ve faced disciplinary action,” according to NBC News.
The only two people the administration fired over this atrocity are IRS chief Steve Miller and Joseph Grant, commissioner of the tax-exempt division of the IRS. Also when I say fired, I mean Miller is “resigning” and Grant is “retiring.” So, in that sense, zero people have been disciplined over this issue.
Miller didn’t become chief until November 2012, toward the tail end of conservatives being targeted. Miller was also on his way out of the IRS this summer, anyway. The resignation just came sooner than his planned exit.
Grant retiring also does little to make up for the targeting, seeing as how Sarah Hall Ingraham, Grant’s predecessor, had the job from 2009 to 2012. She was there the entire time the IRS targeted conservative groups. While Grant served as deputy commissioner during that time, his retirement simply allows him to take the fall for Ingraham, who has a much better and more important job now.
That’s right folks, Ingraham now oversees the division of the IRS in charge of implementing healthcare reform Obama introduced during his first term in office (aka Obamacare). I could not be any more thrilled with her promotion.
So, the woman who headed the division that either allowed or didn’t catch on to the fact that conservative groups were being targeted is now heading the Affordable Care Act division. The act that so many politicians didn’t even bother to read is now asked to be implemented by not just the now-untrustworthy IRS but by the very woman who headed the division that targeted conservatives.
Regardless of whether she knew it, other high officials knew. If Obama knew, despite current speculation, the fact that a government agency was targeting groups based on their political beliefs is horrifying. Those on the left and right are outraged. Conservatives weren’t just targeted — the constitutional right of freedom of speech was.
Speaking of which, so was freedom of the press in scandal No. 2, when the Department of Justice subpoenaed The Associated Press (AP) employees’ phone records.
The Obama administration has reportedly been taking all of the organizations’ phone records for the past two months, after the AP attempted to publish a story about a bomb plot that had been successfully stopped.
The AP worked with the government and delayed the story coming out until it deemed it safe, but felt the government wasn’t being truthful with the American people. During that time (which happened to be the one year anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death) the government claimed there were no terrorists threats toward America.
Whatever the Department of Justice’s reasons for looking into the AP’s phone records, it should be punished and exemplifies why the federal government can’t get too large and too powerful. Law becomes irrelevant to the highest officials and agencies when government stretches too far.
President Obama claims to be ignorant of both scandals. Maybe he is, but is that even more horrifying? That the president has no idea what’s going on in the agencies he oversees?
As Fox News’ Andy Levy tweeted this past week, “’Guess I’ll turn on the news to see what the government is up to’ — The President of the United States” isn’t comforting.