When the FBI finally fires up its criminal investigation of the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups, there is one person the special agent in charge better be sure to interview — former White House Counsel Robert Bauer. The FBI may discover the whole IRS mess leads through the land of campaign finance “reform” and an obsession with speech regulation, an obsession shared by Bauer.
Any criminal investigation identifies for further scrutiny those with motive, opportunity, and means, and Bauer deserves no quarter from FBI investigators on those three counts.
Without any doubt, crimes were committed by IRS employees, not the least of which was the fact that IRS employees disclosed confidential information from IRS forms to the political enemies of the groups seeking tax-exempt status.
For example, Cindy Thomas, the Cincinnati unit manager for exempt organizations at the IRS, illegally released the tax applications of nine separate conservative organizations to the left-wing group ProPublica. The IRS claims that Thomas’ illegal release of private tax information was an “accident,” but the excuse is absurd.
Thomas wasn’t the only IRS employee leaking the tax information of conservative groups to their enemies. Pro-marriage groups found their confidential information in the hands of gay marriage advocacy organizations.
The FBI can start by finding out whether Thomas and her fellow IRS travelers in fact released the private information. If the FBI says Thomas cannot be prosecuted because she claims it was an accident, then Congress needs to step in and impose mandatory minimum prison sentences for any IRS employee that releases private information, accidental or not.
The bigger question the FBI must get to the bottom of is who hatched the policy of targeting Tea Party groups that led to these crimes? For that they should turn back to Robert Bauer.
Robert Bauer had the motive to direct IRS policy against Tea Party groups. He is a longtime opponent of First Amendment freedoms and an advocate of government-speech regulation. He also can’t stand the work the Tea Party is conducting to monitor and eradicate voter fraud, work the Republican Party and national campaigns have utterly failed to perform.
During the 2008 election, while representing the Obama campaign, Bauer sent a threatening letter to the Justice Department demanding criminal investigations of people who had the audacity to speak about voter fraud. Bauer even singled out Sarah Palin in the letter. Anyone who “developed or disseminated” information about voter fraud, to Bauer, deserved the heavy boot of a criminal investigation. Read the letter; it reveals a nasty, thuggish, and lawless attitude toward political opposition.
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