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IRS Admits Targeting Conservative Groups During 2012 Election 719

Posted by timothy
from the absolute-power-and-absolute-abuse-of-power dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A recurring theme in comments on Slashdot since the 9/11 attacks has been concern about the use of government power to monitor or suppress political activity unassociated with terrorism but rather based on ideology. It has just been revealed that the IRS has in fact done that. From the story: "The Internal Revenue Service inappropriately flagged conservative political groups for additional reviews during the 2012 election . . . Organizations were singled out because they included the words 'tea party' or 'patriot' in their applications for tax-exempt status, said Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups. In some cases, groups were asked for their list of donors, which violates IRS policy in most cases, she said. 'That was wrong. That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate. That's not how we go about selecting cases for further review,' Lerner said . . . 'The IRS would like to apologize for that,' she added. . . . Lerner said the practice was initiated by low-level workers in Cincinnati and was not motivated by political bias. . . . she told The AP that no high level IRS officials knew about the practice. Tea Party groups were livid on Friday. ... In all, about 300 groups were singled out for additional review. . . Tea Party groups weren't buying the idea that the decision to target them was solely the responsibility of low-level IRS workers. ... During the conference call it was stated that no disciplinary action had been taken by those who engaged in this activity. President Obama has previously joked about using the IRS to target people." So it's not how they choose cases for review (except when it is), and was not motivated by political bias (except that it was). Also at National Review, with more bite.
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IRS Admits Targeting Conservative Groups During 2012 Election

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  • If your group is (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 10, 2013 @07:19PM (#43690401)

    If your groups is named after the most famous tax revoult in the history of the country I would expect the tax man to pay special interest to it.

    • by cold fjord (826450) on Friday May 10, 2013 @07:50PM (#43690685)

      If your groups is named after the most famous tax revoult in the history of the country I would expect the tax man to pay special interest to it.

      That tax revolt was against the previous regime (the British Empire), not the current government (United States of America). The Tea Party advocates for legislative reform of the tax code and containing spending, not revolts against the government. This is clearly a case of abuse of authority by a government agency intervening in the political process for the benefit of the current administration. You've got a pretty big evidentiary burden if you want to try to justify that.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by hedwards (940851)

        That's true. However, organizations with those kinds of names are likely to be engaged in political activity which should render them ineligible for tax exempt status.

        The fact that the IRS has permitted the LDS and Catholics to get away with using tax exempt resources to campaign does not mean that the IRS should be required to let everybody do it. It means that the IRS needs to do a better job of enforcing the code.

        There do appear to be some abuses of power here, but keeping an eye on organizations likely

        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 10, 2013 @08:36PM (#43691111)

          That's true. However, organizations with those kinds of names are likely to be engaged in political activity which should render them ineligible for tax exempt status.

          The fact that the IRS has permitted the LDS and Catholics to get away with using tax exempt resources to campaign does not mean that the IRS should be required to let everybody do it. It means that the IRS needs to do a better job of enforcing the code.

          There do appear to be some abuses of power here, but keeping an eye on organizations likely to be engaged in political activity isn't wrong.

          do you mean just like teachers unions?
          mike

          • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Friday May 10, 2013 @09:07PM (#43691321) Homepage Journal

            do you mean just like teachers unions?
            mike

            Mike, you can engage in political activity and still be a 501c3 or 4, but it can't be your primary activity.

            An organization whose primary activity is political cannot be a non-profit according to those statutes. I'm sure even you would admit that the various teachers' unions are not primarily political organizations. Not as long as they are negotiating contracts, representing members, etc. There are a LOT of teachers in the US and the teachers' unions are very busy even in non-election years. You might be surprised to learn that there are lots of parts of the country where the locals do absolutely no political work at all.

            Try this exercise: look up a few organizations that have the name "tea party" and/or "patriot" in their name and see how many of them meet the same criteria.

            • by Obfuscant (592200) on Friday May 10, 2013 @09:35PM (#43691459)

              Mike, you can engage in political activity and still be a 501c3 or 4, but it can't be your primary activity.

              If only those two were the only ways of being tax exempt. A political organization can be tax exempt if its primary activity is a tax exempt activity. Here: [irs.gov]

              The exempt function of a political organization is influencing or attempting to influence the selection, nomination, election or appointment of an individual to a federal, state, or local public office or office in a political organization. The election of Presidential or Vice-Presidential electors is also part of the exempt function of a political organization. Activities that directly or indirectly relate to or support an exempt function are exempt function activities.

              I'd say the Tea Party meets that requirement.

          • by Shavano (2541114)
            Unions are not tax-exempt.
            • Unions are not tax-exempt.

              Yes they are. Most labor unions are 501(c)5 organizations [wikipedia.org]. They are required to report and pay tax on any political contributions, but otherwise do not pay income tax.

        • by cold fjord (826450) on Friday May 10, 2013 @09:28PM (#43691425)

          However, organizations with those kinds of names are likely to be engaged in political activity which should render them ineligible for tax exempt status.

          I see. So you want government officials to make judgments based on the name of the organization instead of what is on the application? Instead of what they actually do? Interesting. Probably not a good idea though.

          The fact that the IRS has permitted the LDS and Catholics to get away with using tax exempt resources to campaign does not mean that the IRS should be required to let everybody do it.

          Under the law you can advocate for policy. If you don't like that, you try to change the law, not use the government to disadvantage your political opposition.

          There do appear to be some abuses of power here,

          That seems remarkably restrained. I think your eyesight is likely diminished by the targets of this being political groups you oppose . . . what what's a little overstep by the government if the outcome is agreeable, eh?.

          But allow me to correct you - the IRS has admitted that it was wrong, over the line. They aren't hedging, why are you?

          You find nothing truly troubling in the following?

          The IRS’s Tea-Party Targeting [nationalreview.com]

          . . . perhaps most troubling, those tea-party organizations were sent letters of inquiry demanding information that would seldom if ever be demanded of any other applicant in the process. The IRS demanded lists of donors, names of spouses and family members, detailed information about political views and associations — all of that “under penalties of perjury.” Many applicants dropped out of the process. The questions were remarkably invasive: For example, the IRS demanded to know not only whether political candidates participated in public forums conducted by the groups, but which issues were discussed, along with copies of any literature distributed at the forum and material published on websites. (The IRS has been less forthcoming with its own materials related to this investigation.) If the organizations collected dues, the IRS demanded to know how much they were. It demanded everything down to the résumés of employees. The inquiry was not limited to members of the organization, its executives, or its directors, but included even their family members: The IRS demanded to know — again, under penalty of perjury — whether any of their family members might be thinking about running for office. Its demand for the names of all donors — and all recipients of grants — is in violation of IRS policy. . . more [nationalreview.com]

          --------

          but keeping an eye on organizations likely to be engaged in political activity isn't wrong.

          That wasn't the job of the people at IRS involved in this, so yes, it was worng. Or do you want random government officials "volunteering" to keep the voters in line? You know, just until after the election is over? Or, hey, if it works, why stop? (You won't complain if the shoe is on the other foot, will you?)

          If you still just can't quite bring yourself to identify this as a big problem, I'm tempted to suggest some supplementary reading material.

        • by kenh (9056) on Saturday May 11, 2013 @12:43AM (#43692601) Homepage Journal

          There do appear to be some abuses of power here, but keeping an eye on organizations likely to be engaged in political activity isn't wrong.

          The IRS requesting donor lists was illegal, yet they did it and the mainstream media ignored the complaints because...because...why?

          Lerner said the practice was initiated by low-level workers in Cincinnati and was not motivated by political bias. . . . she told The AP that no high level IRS officials knew about the practice..

          Really? This is something that a low-level employee can do on their own, without any of their superiors being aware of it? Then again, it was low-level employees that decided to initiate a gun-running operation into Mexico and low-level employees that denied the Consulate in Benghazi additional security in the face ot increased threats, so why not? The press has accepted this pitiful excuse before, why not this time?

      • by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Friday May 10, 2013 @08:24PM (#43690999)

        If your groups is named after the most famous tax revoult in the history of the country I would expect the tax man to pay special interest to it.

        That tax revolt was against the previous regime (the British Empire), not the current government (United States of America). The Tea Party advocates for legislative reform of the tax code and containing spending, not revolts against the government. This is clearly a case of abuse of authority by a government agency intervening in the political process for the benefit of the current administration. You've got a pretty big evidentiary burden if you want to try to justify that.

        At the time, the "previous regime" was still the current regime, and the Boston Tea Party was a message from the taxpayers of that regime to their overseas overlords that if they wanted to levy taxes, they'd darned well better allow the locals some say-so in the process. The general revolt only came after the Crown refused to take the hints.

        The majority of the modern-day self-identifying Tea Partiers don't show much understanding of that motivation. At best, they complain about "wasteful" taxation, at worst, what they really want is no taxation at all (just keep yore dam commie socialist gummint hands offa mine Social Securrity!)

        Holding that sort of attitude doesn't exactly make the tax people think warmly about you, needless to say.

        Nonetheless, targeting people based on their political positions is wrong, regardless of their philosophy.

      • by Shavano (2541114) on Friday May 10, 2013 @11:15PM (#43692181)
        The tea party also supports candidates which is a taxable activity. If you do that, your group is not tax exempt.
    • I call it "profiling".

    • by Shavano (2541114) on Friday May 10, 2013 @11:14PM (#43692177)

      If your groups is named after the most famous tax revoult in the history of the country I would expect the tax man to pay special interest to it.

      Not to mention that

      political parties cannot be tax exempt organizations

      . So using "party" in your group's name or any of its application documents in any sense that suggests politics ought to evoke particular scrutiny.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 10, 2013 @07:20PM (#43690409)

    irs.gov 127.0.0.0

  • Accountability (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 10, 2013 @07:24PM (#43690433)

    Why is there no accountability for government workers?

    Someone broke the law, even criminally so I might add. People should get fired over this, and criminal charges filed. At the very least this is a serious breach of privacy and trust.

    • Re:Accountability (Score:5, Interesting)

      by darkmeridian (119044) <william@chuang.gmail@com> on Friday May 10, 2013 @10:09PM (#43691693) Homepage

      You didn't read the article. By definition, the IRS couldn't have gone after their political rivals because political groups are not allowed to have non-profit status. That's the entire cause of this kerfuffle. The law forbids non-profits from having a political goal. The IRS saw "Tea Party" and "Patriot" in the names and just assumed those groups were political in nature. That's stupid and lazy, but not necessarily evil or criminal. BUT if you think that "Tea Party" and "Patriot" groups are inherently political, and therefore discriminated against by the IRS on that basis, then you're actually agreeing that the IRS did the right thing by targeting them as political groups!

      • Re:Accountability (Score:4, Informative)

        by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Saturday May 11, 2013 @08:09AM (#43694049)
        You might want to look into 527 organizations [wikipedia.org]. They are explicitly political, non-profit organizations. The claim is made that the organizations targeted were 501(c)4 organizations, which the article says may participate in political activities as long as it is not their primary activity. One such organization is Moveon.org (you know the organization that was formed to attack those who called for Bill Clinton's impeachment for lying under oath). I hardly see how "Tea Party" and "Patriot" in the name necessarily makes an organization more political than Moveon.org. In addition, the things which the IRS asked for were above and beyond that which would have told them whether the organization was primarily involved in political activity or if other social welfare activities took up more of its time and resources.
  • Was there reason to suspect improper practices? We've been having a lot of problems in Canada with the Conservative Party (currently the party in power.) Is this a follow up on previous known practices?

  • by techno-vampire (666512) on Friday May 10, 2013 @07:27PM (#43690461) Homepage
    ...it was stated that no disciplinary action had been taken by those who engaged in this activity.

    What else would you expect? Did you really think that the people who did this were going to discipline themselves? What I would have expected was that disciplinary action had been taken against the people responsible. And, I'll add, I'm sure that whoever did this would have ended up in hot water if they'd targeted groups that supported President Obama.
    • she told The AP that no high level IRS officials knew about the practice

      The high level IRS officials should know what practices are going on under their supervision and watch . . .

      That's their job as managers and executives . . . isn't it . . . ?

      • Yes. Of course. However, they can't be everyplace, looking over everybody's shoulder all of the time. They can only do so much. And, of course, the low level agents who (it's claimed) were responsible probably knew better than to let their bosses know about it. Not just (or mostly) to give them plausible deniability but because they understood that their boss can't forbid something they don't know is happening.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 10, 2013 @07:27PM (#43690467)

    Surely they had no issue with the enhanced audits if they had nothing to hide.

    • by houghi (78078)

      Surely they had no issue with the enhanced audits if they had nothing to hide.

      Not sure if funny or insightful.

      • by atriusofbricia (686672) on Friday May 10, 2013 @08:24PM (#43691001) Journal

        Surely they had no issue with the enhanced audits if they had nothing to hide.

        Not sure if funny or insightful.

        Neither given the implication that Tea Party members would somehow be in favor of intrusive government action in other areas, which they are not in general.

        Doubly so if the allusion was towards TSA 'enhanced' stuff, support of which would seem to be nigh incompatible with Tea Party philosophy.

  • by Guinness Beaumont (2901413) on Friday May 10, 2013 @07:28PM (#43690475)

    It's hard to believe.

    Not that the IRS would do this, that's a gimmie. Or that they'd lie to cover it up, throw some small-time employees under the bus and try to wash their hands of it, we expect that. What's hard to believe is that there will be any real changes past the initial scandal.

    The righty groups are already so marginalized in public opinion that most people will look at this article and rather than actually have any issue with the actions of the IRS, they'll feel horrified that the Tea Party was right on something that was already discarded as conspiracy theory. Like a crazy uncle that will never shut up about the time he called it.

    Case in point: If this happened to anyone else the outrage would be unquantifiable. But because the systemic harassment of political affiliations only targeted conservatives we will see a whole lot of rationalizing, and IRS apologists. That's the real story.

    • by Lord Kano (13027) on Friday May 10, 2013 @07:46PM (#43690645) Homepage Journal

      You're half right.

      It's not because Tea Party groups are fringe elements. It's because the average American is only outraged when they are told to be by the mainstream media. The same media that gives Obama the glory-hole treatment every week isn't going to direct people to be upset about the unfair treatment of the opposition.

      LK

  • Tea Party groups were complaining about this in February of 2012.

  • Why would IRS workers and the Taxed Enough Already Party not get along?

  • Insensitive? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Intropy (2009018) on Friday May 10, 2013 @07:35PM (#43690533)

    It was insensitive? Does the IRS think that the issue is that they insulted a particular group by singling them out? That's what it would have been if you'd just called them mean names. Actually using your authority as part of the government to target them is bit worse than "insensitive."

  • on a serious note (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AdmV0rl0n (98366) on Friday May 10, 2013 @07:43PM (#43690617) Homepage Journal

    I have a question...

    Maybe more than one..

    Under Bush, lotta crying, moaning, and bleeting from the people. Seems now the same people who did this are or have been involved in;

    Cold blodded murder of enemy combatants (Bin Laden could have been taken. He was simply assasinated..) - remember the pictures of a soldier doing this under Bush? all hell let loose. Wot, now its ok cos the pres says so?

    Illegal bombardment of other nations land, and illegal operations and flights over other nations airspaces. Drone use today is at an all time high..
    Gitmo still seems to be open..
    Still in Afganistan, and ever more so in Afpak.

    Seems to me that the President and friends is getting a very big free pass on a lot of activities.
    And some stuff is new, like drones over the US and further assassinations of unwanted or disliked individuals.

    Whatever the background, the IRS should be politically independant and not a tool to be aimed at opponents.
    I'm not American. But I have to say that in recent years it seems a lot of mud gets thrown. The republicans and tea party folks are accused of living in their own bubble. And I think thats true. But have to say, the other side is in its own bubble, and its not getting better. In fact, its getting really quite bad.

    The President is murdering civilians. And he's issuing orders to kill people. And he seems to have no check or balance. Seems dem press are giving free rides. Doing so isn't proving loyaltly to their beliefs or so called values.

    When 3000 Pakistani's die from drone strikes, will it turn to a Pearl Harbour for Pakistan?
    More than anything else, put aside the politics, these policies and ideas are not more effective than Bush, or better than Bush. The current work isn't effective in even the medium term. Short term, maybe the US gets some people. But whole villages are being turned. Its winning hearts and minds, but not for the US. This is not going well. It may seem like it is on the surface, but thats all.

    • You are out of your mind if you think Bin Laden could have been taken alive. If you think we should have not run the mission, that is one thing. But it could not have been run any other way. And for the record I would have prefered for Bin Laden to stand trial.

      The President did try to close Gitmo, I think we have to give him a lease a B for effort.

      But the cross boarder attacks are an issue. just not a simple issue.

  • by trims (10010) on Friday May 10, 2013 @07:50PM (#43690687) Homepage

    First off, I do think it was politically motivated, at least in the extent that someone decided to do something that would be looked favorably on the higher-ups. That's not OK, and people should get fired for it.

    However, do note that what they are discussing here is auditing 503(c).4 organizations, to make sure they were complying with the regulations.

    That is, these organizations are supposed to be engaging in NON-POLITICAL activities, for which we give them the benefit of being non-profit (and, making donations to them tax deductible).

    There's been an explosion of 503(c).4 organizations over the past 4 years (after the Citizen's United decision), and a large number of them have been funded from "right-wing" sources. These organizations have been very lax about filing the proper paperwork about their donors, and in fact, have been downright secretive. And many of them are engaging in activities that very much skirt the line (if not cross it entirely) of political advocacy. The quantity of money (and number of organizations) engaged in this kind of shadowy advocacy/political support is very seriously tilted towards right-wing sources.

    The fact is this: if you want to engage in political activity, then fine. Government can and should not have any say about your content. But if you want to get tax-free benefits, then there's a certain set of rules that you MUST play by, and claiming that this is suppressing Free Speech because we won't give you the benefit while you violate the rules is sophistry.

    All 503(c).4 organizations need more scrutiny. I'm pretty sure that the IRS was engaging in the equivalent of racial profiling here, with the added notion of pleasing some political higher-ups. But at the end of the day, if those 503(c).4 organizations were breaking the law, then it's hard to say the IRS wasn't doing it's job by auditing them.

    • by clonehappy (655530) on Friday May 10, 2013 @08:30PM (#43691059)

      But at the end of the day, if those 503(c).4 organizations were breaking the law, then it's hard to say the IRS wasn't doing it's job by auditing them.

      I agree for the most part, except for the fact that they weren't breaking the law!

      From the following link, the IRS investigator Lerner had to say: "150 of the cases have been closed and no group had its tax-exempt status revoked..."

      They "apologized" [chron.com]. Well isn't that sweet?

      • by Alsee (515537) on Saturday May 11, 2013 @12:48AM (#43692629) Homepage

        except for the fact that they weren't breaking the law!

        From the following link, the IRS investigator Lerner had to say: "150 of the cases have been closed and no group had its tax-exempt status revoked..."

        Wow, you deserve some sort of award for that brazen quote mining. And what are the words you cut out with that dot dot dot?
        "150 of the cases have been closed and no group had its tax-exempt status revoked [dot dot dot] though some withdrew their applications."

        It sounds like some groups were attempting to break the law (perhaps due to ignorance or error in what non-profits are permitted to do), and withdrew their tax-exempt-applications when IRS investigations caught their violation. Although at the moment we have no indication whether or not Tea Party groups were among those withdrawing tax-exempt claims.

        -

    • All 503(c).4 organizations need more scrutiny.

      That category needs to be abolished, because it's ridiculous to say they can engage in politics as long as they "mostly" do something else. I'm not excusing what was done, but 503(c) is ridiculous.

  • If you are an American and this doesn't bother you, then I hope some group of yours gets targeted by the IRS next.

    "First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.
    Then they came for the socialists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a socialist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.
    Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me."

    The "low level" people who did this should be fired immedia

  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Friday May 10, 2013 @08:04PM (#43690847)

    This should seriously worry you. Remember that anything used against one side can be used against the other.

    Want liberal groups harassed by the IRS? Or should we do something about protecting political speech and preventing federal agencies from being used partisan chess pieces.

    How can we trust the FBI or the CIA if we assume they're loyal to a political party and not the American people and the law?

    This is non-functional.

    • Want liberal groups harassed by the IRS?

      It's already happened. Nixon used the IRS to harass 'radical' groups he didn't like. Obama threatened to do the same (in jest). That's why this situation doesn't look very good for him, even though it's unlikely he was involved.

      • I didn't mean to imply this was the first time. Rather that it is a shared threat to all factions.

        Public institutions must be neutral and impartial or they cannot legitimately regulate all groups.

        If the IRS doesn't clean house then it will have credibility problems when it gets to court.

        Same thing with the EPA etc. If these groups can be demonstrated to be biased then they'll lose legitimacy.

        Its clean up or die.

  • by quantaman (517394) on Friday May 10, 2013 @08:13PM (#43690909)

    "These groups claim tax-exempt status under section 501 (c) (4) of the federal tax code, which is for social welfare groups. Unlike other charitable groups, these organizations are allowed to participate in political activities but their primary activity must be social welfare.
    [...]As part of the review, staffers look for signs that groups are participating in political activity. If so, IRS agents take a closer look to make sure that politics isn't the group's primary activity."

    From that description all the tea party groups, along with the liberal counterparts like moveon.org, shouldn't be tax-exempt because unless I misunderstand them their primary purpose is pretty damn political. Of course you can't enforce the law against only one set of groups but I wonder if the workers aren't being penalized because they were the only ones actually doing their jobs.

    • Look up some of the questionnaires the IRS put together ONLY for the Tea Party groups. They were asking things like "how much money do you plan to take in, four years in the future?" No, that's not a standard question for 501 groups of any sort.

      They also asked for a full list of board members, and all of their family members who might have served on the boards of other organizations, along with any family members who "was, is, or plans to be running for public office."

      They also asked for all contacts the gr

  • by PPH (736903) on Friday May 10, 2013 @08:34PM (#43691097)

    We've got what it takes to take what you've got.

  • by reboot246 (623534) on Friday May 10, 2013 @09:56PM (#43691617) Homepage
    I want to see somebody fired and/or prosecuted. Who did this? Who told them to do it? How high up the chain of command did it go? Who is ultimately responsible? When are we going to see Congressional hearings?

    No, 'sorry' is simply not going to cut it for crap like this. This country is not a third-world dictatorship, even if we do have a President who thinks it should be.

    Heads should roll.
    And sooner rather than later!!
  • by cpotoso (606303) on Friday May 10, 2013 @09:59PM (#43691629) Journal
    Why is that tax-exempt status is granted to organizations that then turn around an pay handsomely to their CEOs et al.? And avoid corporate taxes at that? Why am *I* forced to subsidize someone else's choices when they donate $$ to a tax-exempt organization (be it a church, or tea party nut-bag)? Yes, I am subsidizing your nut-choice because you reduce your taxes (hence increase the proportion of my burden) by donating to that nut-bag organization. IT IS TIME TO END ALL TAX-EXEMPT STATUS, and TO END TAX REBATES TO DONATIONS.
  • by WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) on Friday May 10, 2013 @10:18PM (#43691761)

    You're playing games with the word *they*. They , the offenders- were identified as low level workers. They- the IRS- was not aware of what *they* - the culpable people- were doing.

    So when you say *they* did this, be clear who *they* are. It was not the IRS as an organization, from the top-down. It was low level workers.

    In case you're from Mars- this is frequently how organizations work with Earthlings.

    You can DEPEND on the fact that this has been done in the opposite way to the opposite side before. If this kind of abuse is permitted structurally, then this is not the first time.

    The solution has to be structural, because it's structural problem (which permitted people to do this). The last thing anyone wants is the IRS being used as a tool for personal vendettas. No one wants that and frankly I am surprised that this is not strictly made impossible and frankly I expect them to *make it so*.

    Notice that this tactic of attacking an organization via the deeds iof its lowest workers s very similar to what was done with ACORN. After repeatedly fishing for a low level employee who would act inappropriately on camera, James O'Keefe finally settled for someone who appeared to be acting inappropriately (but who actually called the police after O'Keefe and his confederate left).

    Of course they're going to try to gin this up into a second term killing "scandal" *it goes all the way to the top!!!* * we have the smoking gun!!!*

    It's what they did to Clinton with with Monica Lewinsky. They take as their model what happened to Nixon with Watergate. They have tried this with *every single Democratic President * since Watergate. The difference is of course that Nixon was a genuine crook who genuinely broke the law and genuinely tried to use the power of the government to cover it up and genuinely provoked a Constitutional crisis.

To thine own self be true. (If not that, at least make some money.)

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