A House Oversight and Government Reform Committee memo suggests that IRS scrutiny of the tea party movement – egged on by liberal media – helped Obama win reelection in 2012.
A new House Oversight and Government Reform Committee “interim memo” on the IRS scandal suggests that media coverage of the tea party movement as “dangerous” and full of “rage” pushed IRS agents to scrutinize conservative groups unfairly.
But could such collusion to target groups with the words “tea party” or “constitution” in their names – a program that the IRS acknowledges was a mistake – have chilled political speech to such an extent that it cleared the way for President Obama’s victory?
As it was, Obama won the popular vote by 5 million votes in 2012 over challenger Mitt Romney, while carrying 332 Electoral College votes to Mr. Romney’s 206.
But what has become clear to many conservatives is that federal agencies going back to 2010 appeared to openly champion liberal causes by, for example, putting on special conferences to show black churches how to express political opinions without losing their tax-exempt status, all the while stonewalling tea party groups with questions ranging from queries about religion to personal relationships.
At the very least, writes the Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto this week, “Barack Obama’s reelection deserves to be listed with an asterisk in the record books. We know only that he did win with the help of a corrupt IRS. And if indeed the election was stolen, many in the media were complicit in its theft.”
The IRS has apologized, several officials lost their jobs, President Obama has assured Americans that the IRS doesn’t target people for their political beliefs, and Congress is investigating.
Lois Lerner, who is on leave from the top spot at the IRS’ tax exempt unit, has pleaded the Fifth Amendment – her right to not incriminate herself. Meanwhile, some of the central figures in the scandal have sought out high-profile Washington counsel as Republican-led House committees grind away at the truth.