While packing for our recent trip to London, I went to our unread bookshelf – the place where we track acquired but not yet read books. I spotted The Intimidation Game written by Kimberly Strassel. Since we will be seeing Ms. Strassel in September as she releases a new book, I thought it a suitable time to read this one.
Given that it is a public policy book from 2016, I thought it might be dated. It is completely relevant to today. The concept of the book is that the Left is using various means to suppress free speech and using the government as the means to do so.
A substantial portion of the book deals with the three-plus-year attack on the formation of perfectly legal entities that would be used to organize people to express their rights of free speech against their government and its elected representatives. This is one of the most fundamental concepts of our country and our freedoms.
I am sure you remember the sordid Tea Party affair from 2010 to 2013. Ms. Strassel meticulously details what occurred and the lies that were told. Yes, there was a unit in the Cincinnati IRS center responsible for processing nonprofit applications. At the time they handled about 52,000 applications a year. These entities fall into various categories under the IRS code 501 (c). We usually think of operations like The Salvation Army or the American Red Cross where you can make donations and they are tax deductible. These are known as 501 (c)(3) for the subsection of the code allowing these entities to operate. There is a myriad of other subsections for different purposes.
Entities targeted in a broad-based campaign coordinated with the Department of Justice and the Federal Election Commission applied under code section 501 (c) (4). One may make a contribution that is not tax-deductible, but neither is the income taxable to the entity.
The IRS (headed by the infamous Lois Lerner) created a special list where she centralized approval of certain groups (between 150 to 300) where she did not care for their politics. Lerner is a hardcore Leftist and did not hide it in communications. She organized the harassment of these applicants with unprecedented procedures including multiple requests for information containing hundreds of questions. Many of the questions were illegal. Since most of the applicants were what we call “ordinary citizens” they had no clue that what was being done was unique.
Why is this so instructive? This behavior is being repeated again and again. Lerner lied to Congress. IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman lied to Congress. Obama may not have outright lied to the American people, but he certainly intentionally misled them and organized the entire scheme. Then there were the various Democrat senators who demanded action by the IRS against these entities, then ran to microphones once the scandal broke and told of their disgust of the entire affair, led by Chuckie Schumer. Yet no one paid a price for these illegalities.
Does this sound familiar? The exact same thing happened with the actions of the FBI in the Russian hoax case. At least some of those FBI people have been moved out, but none went to jail. Some like Andrew McCabe are commentators on CNN and MSNBC.
When professional reporters were brought in to evaluate the government’s suppression of free speech on Twitter (as well as other social media sites), government coercion was disavowed. They were simply “suggesting.” And again no one was fired.
Why does this continue to occur? First and foremost, our federal government is way too large and impossible to control. When 2024 Republican candidates speak of cutting down the government, they are attacked as hysterics by the Democrats and the legacy media. Second, most governmental employees centered in Washington are of one political persuasion – Democrat. That is evidenced by DC suburban voting and every study of where their political money goes. They want a bigger government no matter what it accomplishes.
There could be a break here. The whistleblowers in the Hunter Biden investigation — Gary Stapley, Joseph Ziegler, and the others who are providing information — have made clear there was a cover-up at higher levels. David Weiss, the US Attorney in charge of the case and now Special Prosecutor, is clearly lying because once the whistleblowers came forward, he gave murky answers to easy questions. At least someone has come forward to tell the truth even at the risk of their career.
These illegalities will continue unless we demand changes. People displaying improper, if not illegal, actions are paying no price. They believe the government is more important than the people of America. Unless we make changes, you could be the next one intimidated. Be afraid, be very afraid.
As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.