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June 7, 2013

What, Me Worry?

Joe Charlebois

"Why should I worry about the news coming out of Washington, D.C.? After all isn't it just Republicans and Fox News trying to harm the President Obama because they lost the election?" (Thoughts from a low information American voter)


The better informed and concerned Americans on either end of the political spectrum are aware that administration officials are thwarting the rule of law and are refusing to cooperate fully, or be openly, honest about their responsibility for abuses in power.


Congressional leaders, regardless of party affiliation, are incensed that civil liberties are being ignored and that the abuse of this administration's departments and agencies are intent on expanding power at the price of freedom.


Abuses have not only included the illegal use of Internal Revenue Service employees to target groups seeking tax-exempt status prior to the 2010 and 2012 elections, but also the use of FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) approved data collection of all Verizon customers calls; use of armed drones to assassinate those deemed enemies of the state by the president; use of wiretapping the offices of the Associated Press as well as those of Fox News' James Rosen and his parents.


In 2010, prior to the midterm elections that would give the Republicans a landslide victory, President Barack Obama went on Univision to implore his Spanish speaking audience to “…punish our enemies, and we’re gonna reward our friends…” The president wasn’t referring to Al Qaeda.


No matter the context of the president’s remarks – in this case it was his 2010 remarks on immigration reform – one can easily see how the administration not only sees its political opponents, but over the last few years we see how they “punish their enemies.”


It may be harder for the White House to explainthat IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman – who visited the White House a reportedly 157 times – wasn’t aware of the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status. Even with the fact that the IRS is involved in the implementation of Obamacare, what exactly do you discuss with the IRS commissioner 157 times with the president’s campaign officials in the room? According to reports Mr. Shulman visited the White House more times than any one, even any cabinet member.


Originally the administration had stated that it was the work of two rogue agents in the Cincinnati office of the IRS. Further they stated that on their own these agents were responsible for the creation of applications that included some questions that were clearly unconstitutional. They also charged that these same agents were responsible for delaying any approval of these applications.


The testimony of the “rogue” agents from the IRS’s Cincinnati office before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee seems to confirm that it not only was it Washington that led the targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups for detailed scrutiny, but it was Washington that was interested in the information on several of the applications. Not only does this overstep legal bounds, but it certainly delayed or stopped the opponents of the president from joining the 2010 and 2012 election campaigns.


The IRS scandal is just one of many that this administration is involved with, but the role that the IRS plays in the lives of every American, and its impending role in the implementation of Obamacare, puts us all at risk of abuse of power.


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