An important aspect of the IRS targeting that is beginning to get some attention, from Rush and IBD among others, is how it tilted the political playing field in 2012.
While lefty organizations were getting easy passes from the IRS, any number (Over 500 is one estimate now.) of tea party organizations and other organizations unfavored by the Obama regime, were being delayed, surveilled, threatened, and harassed by the IRS.
This served to make it more difficult for tea partiers to be involved in the 2012 elections in an organized manner. Time and effort was wasted dealing with the IRS. Some contributions were more difficult to get and even lost without the requested 501(c)(4) designations. (I’m not expert on current advertising regs and policies, but perhaps it also made it more difficult to get ads out there?) Some tea party organizers were so stressed and intimidated by the harassment that they gave up and lowered their profile. One example:
Jennifer Stefano of Philadelphia was so intimidated by the IRS that she closed her Tea Party down:
"In the documents that were sent to me, if you did not tell the whole truth by not putting all your personal information out there by Facebook, by Twitter, of your personal relationship with candidates and parties ... it could be considered perjury and perjury carried jail time," Stefano, 39, told ABC News.
"That was frightening and that's why I shut it down. I shut my group down."
These effects were compounded by the fact that many tea party groups were and are led by those getting more politically involved in 2009 or later. These are concerned citizens, not political veterans. And they don’t have a phalanx of lawyers on call like more established political organizations. They hardly have the resources and experience to do battle with predatory Feds.
And that makes the predations that much more despicable. I’ve tweeted that I want people in prison, high-up people. And I meant it.
The way the IRS and the Obama regime has acted in this is not unlike how tyrants such as Hugo Chavez (R.I.H.) act. They use government, through bureaucracy, threats, intimidation, and more, as a weapon to make it difficult for opposition to act in the political sphere. They tilt the political playing field (and then use election fraud if needed, but don’t get me started on that).
Our Founders put the First Amendment in the Constitution in part to prevent such government abuses. And what the IRS and the Obama regime has done in targeting tea party groups among others is an egregious violation of the First Amendment. And, by the way, it did no doubt affect the 2012 elections . . . as intended.