Banana republic update: Obama donor selected to lead IRS probe
At this point, all you can do is sit back and watch the fun. Soon President Obama will be giving press conferences wearing sunglasses and an ersatz military uniform covered with phony medals. From the Washington Times:
The Justice Department selected an avowed political supporter of President Obama to lead the criminal probe into the IRS targeting of tea party groups, according to top Republicans who said Wednesday that the move has ruined the entire investigation.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa, California Republican, and regulatory affairs subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican, said they have discovered that the head of the investigation is Barbara Kay Bosserman, a trial lawyer in the Justice Department who donated more than $6,000 to Mr. Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns, as well as several hundred dollars to the national Democratic Party.
“The department has created a startling conflict of interest,” Mr. Issa and Mr. Jordan said in a letter sent Wednesday and reviewed by The Washington Times. “It is unbelievable that the department would choose such an individual to examine the federal government’s systematic targeting and harassment of organizations opposed to the president’s policies.”
I’ve just received an email from a Mr. I. Montoya, who says he doesn’t think the word “unbelievable” means what Reps. Issa and Jordan think it means.
Say, would everyone in the media be OK with Chris Christie appointing one of his ardent supporters and donors to investigate the Bridge-gate scandal?
The Justice Department said it isn’t allowed to consider a career lawyer’s political leanings when doling out assignments and that it would violate an employee’s constitutional rights if he were penalized on the job for making legal political contributions.
“It is contrary to department policy and a prohibited personnel practice under federal law to consider the political affiliation of career employees or other non-merit factors in making personnel decisions,” said spokeswoman Dena Iverson.
Yes, it would be a bit of a Constitutional problem to forbid government employees, or even just those charged with conducting these investigations, from making political donations, although Lord knows the Left has no problem trampling over the Constitutional rights of everyone else, for far less sensible ends. But the idea of tapping an avowed political partisan to investigate one of the paramount examples of partisan power abuse in American history is ridiculous. Are there no qualified investigators available who were not substantial Obama donors?
It wasn’t just one check for six thousand clams, either. Bosserman made 12 different donations to Obama for America, plus one to the Obama Victory Fund, and two separate donations to the Democratic National Committee. Hey, whatever happened to Obama for America? Oh, that’s right: they mutated into “Organizing for Action” and swiftly obtained exactly the sort of tax exemption that was denied to Tea Party groups, because the latter weren’t “non-partisan”enough.
The letter from Issa and Jordan also accuses the FBI of “blatant lack of cooperation” with the House Oversight Committee, which “may rise to the level of criminal obstruction of a congressional investigation,” because every time House Oversight asks for documents related to the IRS scandal, the FBI says they can’t release anything while their investigation is ongoing. “Ongoing investigations” are the delaying tactic that has put many an Obama scandal safely on ice until the media can begin dismissing it as old news nobody cares about any more.
In this particular case, the FBI itself has been implicated in the Administration’s persecution of a Tea Party group called King Street Patriots. The FBI says it investigated the group after a member said something about starting a revolution and spent time at a firing range (oh, the horror!) and was perturbed to discover the address this individual provided to King Street Patriots proved to be incorrect. You know, the Beatles wrote a whole song about starting a revolution. Maybe the FBI should check up on Paul McCartney.
The Washington Times notes that King Street Patriots organizer Catherine Engelbrecht, who has been hassled by so many Obama Administration officials that her house should qualify as a federal agency headquarters building, recalls the FBI’s encounter with her group a bit differently. And funny thing…. the Bureau’s paperwork agrees with her.
In a heavily redacted copy of one of the FBI’s contact reports, which Ms. Engelbrecht obtained, the FBI makes no mention of the individual Mr. Kelly said the agency was investigating. Instead, the report lists the contact as part of “community outreach.”
Ms. Engelbrecht said the FBI made a half-dozen inquiries over the course of a year. She said she also fielded inquiries at her business from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; faced an audit by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of Engelbrecht Manufacturing; and underwent an IRS audit of her personal tax returns.
Dissidents like Ms. Engelbrecht and her colleagues can expect plenty more “community outreach” from our Leviathan State in the future, because the IRS has been busy scribbling new rules that would give it even more latitude to harass groups that it thinks “do not promote social welfare.” That definition will, of course, easily stretch to include everyone who has a problem with the efforts of the glorious State to address social welfare through confiscatory taxation, out-of-control deficit spending, and hyper-regulation. Those who support the expansion of government, on the other hand, should have little trouble proving their bona fide commitment to “social welfare.” Why do you hate “social welfare” so much, dissident?