The Obama administration would like us to believe that President Obama has had nothing to do with the IRS targeting conservative groups for scrutiny not applied to liberal groups. But as Kimberly Strassel pointed out in her WSJ column this morning, Obama’s campaign was targeting conservative groups back in 2008. It wasn’t just conservative groups either. They also went after liberal groups supporting Hillary Clinton and John Edwards during the primary.
Bob Bauer, who was general counsel to the campaign, and later became general counsel for the White House, demanded that the Department of Justice prosecute the American Issues Project for running an ad showing Obama’s ties to domestic terrorist Bill Ayers.
AIP gave Justice a full explanation as to why it was not in violation. It said that it operated exactly as liberal groups like Naral Pro-Choice did. It noted that it had disclosed its donor, Texas businessman Harold Simmons. Mr. Bauer’s response was a second letter to Justice calling for the prosecution of Mr. Simmons. He sent a third letter on Sept. 8, again smearing the “sham” AIP’s “illegal electoral purpose.”
Also on Sept. 8, Mr. Bauer complained to the Federal Election Commission about AIP and Mr. Simmons. He demanded that AIP turn over certain tax documents to his campaign (his right under IRS law), then sent a letter to AIP further hounding it for confidential information (to which he had no legal right).
The Bauer onslaught was a big part of a new liberal strategy to thwart the rise of conservative groups. In early August 2008, the New York Times trumpeted the creation of a left-wing group (a 501(c)4) called Accountable America. Founded by Obama supporter and liberal activist Tom Mattzie, the group—as the story explained—would start by sending “warning” letters to 10,000 GOP donors, “hoping to create a chilling effect that will dry up contributions.” The letters would alert “right-wing groups to a variety of potential dangers, including legal trouble, public exposure and watchdog groups digging through their lives.” As Mr. Mattzie told Mother Jones: “We’re going to put them at risk.”
Read the whole thing. The read Joel Pollak’s piece at Big Government recalling some other dirty tricks the Obama campaign pulled, which are eerily similar to what the IRS subsequently did to tea party and other conservative groups. To say this was all done without the knowledge, approval or consent of Obama is to suspend disbelief, as Hillary Clinton might say. But then, what did we expect to come out of the corrupt Chicago political machine? It just moved its HQ to Washington, DC.