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Team Obama’s dirty war against conservatives

Team Obama’s dirty war against conservatives

Kimberley Strassel makes in important point today at The Wall Street Journal, taking apart the defense that the IRS was warranted in targeting conservative groups seeking 501(c)(4) status because of the Citizens United decision.  Strassel documents how people close to and involved in the Obama campaign sought to pressure the government to target conservatives years before the Citizens United decision.

Conservatives Became Targets in 2008:

The White House insists President Obama is “outraged” by the “inappropriate” targeting and harassment of conservative groups. If true, it’s a remarkable turnaround for a man who helped pioneer those tactics.

On Aug. 21, 2008, the conservative American Issues Project ran an ad highlighting ties between candidate Obama and Bill Ayers, formerly of the Weather Underground. The Obama campaign and supporters were furious, and they pressured TV stations to pull the ad—a common-enough tactic in such ad spats.

What came next was not common. Bob Bauer, general counsel for the campaign (and later general counsel for the White House), on the same day wrote to the criminal division of the Justice Department, demanding an investigation into AIP, “its officers and directors,” and its “anonymous donors.” Mr. Bauer claimed that the nonprofit, as a 501(c)(4), was committing a “knowing and willful violation” of election law, and wanted “action to enforce against criminal violations.”

AIP gave Justice a full explanation as to why it was not in violation. It said that it operated exactly as liberal groups like Naral Pro-Choice did. It noted that it had disclosed its donor, Texas businessman Harold Simmons. Mr. Bauer’s response was a second letter to Justice calling for the prosecution of Mr. Simmons. He sent a third letter on Sept. 8, again smearing the “sham” AIP’s “illegal electoral purpose.”

Also on Sept. 8, Mr. Bauer complained to the Federal Election Commission about AIP and Mr. Simmons. He demanded that AIP turn over certain tax documents to his campaign (his right under IRS law), then sent a letter to AIP further hounding it for confidential information (to which he had no legal right).

The Bauer onslaught was a big part of a new liberal strategy to thwart the rise of conservative groups.

Strassel then goes on to document how the new liberal targeting strategy played out in the years prior to Citizens United.

And this history exposes the left’s hollow claim that the IRS mess rests on Citizens United. The left was targeting conservative groups and donors well before the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling on independent political expenditures by corporations.

If the country wants to get to the bottom of the IRS scandal, it must first remember the context for this abuse. That context leads to this White House.

That’s certainly part of the dirty war against conservatives.

But the dirty war also has included secondary boycotts of conservative speakers and groups organized by Media Matters, Color of Change and similar well-funded liberal entities.  Those boycotts were not mere expressions of disagreement, but attempts to deprive conservatives of platforms on and through which to express speech, whether a radio show, a cable news station, or a 501(c)(4) organization.

None of these can be viewed in isolation.  For 5 years we have endured wide-ranging attempts to suppress conservative political speech.  The IRS scandal is just one part of it.

Update:  A reader writes:

Note as well that Bob Bauer’s wife is the, ahem, interesting Anita Dunn.


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Henry Hawkins | May 24, 2013 at 11:50 am

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sunshine-y day.

    orion3 in reply to Henry Hawkins. | May 25, 2013 at 10:45 am

    I disagree with the IRS matter being referred to as a scandal. It is policy. O and his minions are left wing quasi-Marxist authoritarians, and are pursuing their agenda accordingly. They are waging an all-out bureaucratic war on average law-abiding citizens, seeking to deprive them of their individual rights under the First Amendment. Reread Orwell’s 1984 to see where this is all going.

average josephine | May 24, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Thanks for pulling this up front.

How are the AP/Rosen scandals, and the IRS targeting of 501c4s, the same?

If a tree falls in the forest, and no reporter will report it,

any American citizen can go, take a picture of the fallen tree, and post the picture online.

An American citizen can form a 501c4 to solicit donations to buy the camera to take the picture, because the citizen is sure that it is important for other citizens to know that the tree fell, even if no reporter will report it.

What the Obama campaign was trying to do since 2008, to its opponents on the left and on the right, was to shut them up using the FEC and the IRS. Once in power, it could also use the DOJ to keep the media in line to make sure nobody tells anybody about fallen trees.

The 501c4s are an end-run around the media, which stopped performing its role as watchdog, which will not bark, and for mostly ideological reasons, not by reason of subpeona or search warrant.

The 501c4s are a means to raise money to buy your own watchdog to bark.

Exactly, the IRS scandal was only one part of the Obama war against conservative speech. Still after all these revelations and protestations that the administration was “unaware” we see the same intimidation continue. Just the other night the key topic in an OFA call stressed the “need to make being a climate denier like being a birther.” The President had the audacity to continue that theme in a graduation speech this morning. Unbelievable.

    GrumpyOne in reply to Mary Sue. | May 24, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    Yes, the anointed one is now attempting to deflect, obfuscate, justify the continuance of all of failures of the past.

    The most telling of all these is his claim that the “war on terror” is winding down and Al Queda is just about gone, that it is proper to send detainees from Gitmo to Yemen despite a proven recidivism rate of over 25%.

    Just thinking of what could go wrong makes my head spin..

    Radegunda in reply to Mary Sue. | May 24, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    The OFA is giving new respectability to “birthers” with that comparison …

In 2009, Arbitron introduced a new method for counting the number of listeners radio programs attract. This more accurate measure showed some surprising results: “While the PPM system has already been implemented in a number of major cities, New York was forced to abandon it after a one-month trial last year resulted in collapsing Hip Hop numbers and a surge for conservative news talk radio.”

Naturally Andrew Cuomo, then New York’s Attorney General, launched an investigation in Arbitron’s presumed bias. Can’t be any other reason for their findings, right?

Then Obama’s FCC set their dogs onto Arbitron as well. “Will Arbitron stand up for truth? Will the advertisers, whose money is being stolen, support greater accuracy? Or is the threat of the FCC so great as to force Arbitron back to the old-fashioned, and now provably wrong, methodology?”

The left CANNOT allow anything that exposes fraudulent statistics that inflate minority influence. And they definitely CANNOT allow anything that shows conservative talk radio has greater support than hip hop ever will.

The full force of leftist-controlled government will be directed at any group, tool, or activity that dares to present an opposing viewpoint.

I don’t believe this story received much attention in 2009. I read about it at the following link (from which the above quotations are taken):

I don’t recall ever reading anything about how the story turned out. Did Arbitron keep using the new and better method, or did it cave to government pressure?

Midwest Rhino | May 24, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Orwell wrote about the Obama camp 64 years ago in “1984”.

Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” was designed to give power to the “have nots”. I’d bet old Saul never imagined his radicals would eventually use the power of POTUS to execute those rather devious tactics.

And from 24 year old (then) Brennan.

Since the press can play such an influential role in determining the perceptions of the masses, I am in favor of some degree of government censorship. Inflamatory [sic] articles can provoke mass opposition and possible violence.

A September 2010 email exposed by wikileaks identifies Brennan as the man behind the witch hunt, and adds: “There is specific tasker from WH to go after anyone printing materials negative to the Obama agenda (oh my). Even the FBI is shocked. The Wonder Boys must be in meltdown mode…”.

Then there was Newt on FOX, saying he had a friend that retired from the FBI after 21 years, saying he felt he was working for the biggest criminal organization in history (or something like that).

Let’s face it… O’bammy is a product of the Chicago political machine and has brought all of those tactics to DC so that we can all share in a true progressive experience.

The only tolerance they practice is that of their base. All others must be dispatch by whatever means available.

Yet, “we” elected him twice!


Once a Neo-Marxist, toss in a HUGE dislike of whites, thanks to named after “daddy” and Marshall-Davis..always a Neo-Marxist.

Don’t forget Gibson guitars…. Donate too much to the opponents of Progs and you too can have over a million dollars of your inventory confiscated.

Folks… It would be a big help if someone would finally point out that the IRS is only following the lead of another federal agency… Homeland Security. How many have already forgotten their OFFICIAL definition of domestic terrorists who should be monitored by law enforcement.

If I was the commissioner for the IRS and saw that the very agency tasked with protecting America from Americans viewed the Tea Party demographics as potential terrorist, why would I not want to do my patriotic duty? And now we want the IRS to be seen as criminals?? If I was a revenue man, I would no doubt believe I was doing my part in the war on terror.

Want to show the IRS scandal is not just a bureaucracy gone amok … Tie it to Napolitano.

IRS criminal scandal? No… IRS; heroes in the new war on terror.

It’s been going on much longer than five years. Leftists were shouting down conservative speakers and rushing the stage and throwing pies in their faces long ago. Did you ever hear of conservatives doing the same to leftist speakers?

Leftists have been trying to shut down conservative talk radio for 20 years at least. The self-proclaimed heirs of the Free Speech Movement don’t actually believe in freedom of speech for people they disagree with. They said that criticizing Bill Clinton was “hate speech” and alleged that it caused the OKC bombing, long before they tried to pin the Tucson shooting on the Tea Parties and Sarah Palin.

Leftists (and that includes most of the institutional Democratic Party) are thugs and bullies who pretend to be protecting the people from thugs and bullies.

have you tried wagging more and barking less?


chilipalmer | May 24, 2013 at 4:16 pm

Citizens United enabled more public union spending which took place in efforts to recall Wisc. Gov. Scott Walker than would’ve been allowed prior to CU. A law prof. wrote a Wall St. Journal op-ed explaining and Althouse blog noted, 6/11/12. Althouse quotes the prof. op-ed about big union spending v Walker: “Little or none of these independent expenditures endorsing a candidate would have been legal under federal law before Citizens United.”

average josephine | May 24, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Jonah Goldberg articulates the problem very well:

If a man can win a senate seat by getting his opponent’s sealed divorced records (in another state) opened, then there is no limit to the dirty deeds people are willing to perform on his behalf.

I’ve noticed that the GOP has made no effort to change the IRS with any new laws or amendments, so the hearings will likely be dog and phony shows. They love that monster as much the Dems do. It’s the love child of both parties.

I was a bit skeptical and cynical about government, but Lois Lerner has reaffirmed my total contempt and lack of respect for these people. I’m not even angry anymore, just disappointed and resigned to be indifferent, since things are much worse than I initially thought. I still had some faith that we had a government that wasn’t as corrupt, bloated, incompetent, idiotic, backward and arrogant as some third world banana Republic regimes. I realize I’ve been mistaken, this one is working hard to be the worse.

I do not expect anything worthwhile or productive coming from this government, and it doesn’t matter who the president is. They all seem to claim to be helpless against the bureaucracy they continue to feed and want to grow even bigger.

So, I expect Leviathan will continue to metastasize until its host body (America) dies.

It’s very clear this is Obama – “Team Obama” could be construed as over-enthusiastic followers of the cult, and some may be, but that’s not the reason for all this.

Obama has always played dirty with his political or ideological opponents, never hesitating to use anything he could get away with to defeat and/or punish them. It’s his M.O., his signature, the one area of consistent accomplishment in his life.

Obama’s fingerprints are all over the whole mess, from Rosen and AP to IRS targeting the Tea Party. And if his people weren’t pulling the strings on the Benghazi cover-up, they were silently watching “Team Hillary” do it.

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