The following is the third in a series of posts from Number 1 New York Times Best Selling author Jay Sekulow’s new book, “UNDEMOCRATIC: How Unelected, Unaccountable Bureaucrats are Stealing Your Liberty and Freedom.”
On May 10, 2013, I realized that America was changing.
The first email—marked “URGENT”—hit my inbox at 10:17 a.m., just minutes before my radio program goes live on air. The message was simple: Lois Lerner, then the head of exempt organizations at the Internal Revenue Service, had “apologized” to conservative and Tea Party groups for intentionally subjecting them to heightened IRS scrutiny.
My first feeling was vindication. More than a year earlier, dozens of Tea Party and other conservative groups had contacted me, all telling me the same story. The IRS was delaying their tax exemption applications and requiring them to answer—under penalty of perjury—appallingly broad questions, questions that violated the constitutional rights of American citizens.
The IRS delayed at least one pro-life group because the agency subjectively determined that the group’s “presentations make substantial use of inflammatory and disparaging terms and express conclusions more on the basis of strong emotional feelings than of objective evaluations”—as if the liberal nonprofit organizations like Planned Parenthood or the American Civil Liberties Union don’t make arguments “on the basis of strong emotional feelings.”
We took the cases, notified the IRS of our representation, and publicly called on Congress to take action, by holding hearings to investigate IRS abuse. In response, the IRS denied all wrongdoing, and the mainstream media of course backed the Obama administration’s taxing agency, with the New York Times even claiming that in scrutinizing the Tea Party, the IRS was merely doing its job.
But with Lois Lerner’s apology, everything changed—for a few days, anyway. Every major network carried the apology, every major newspaper wrote articles and analyses, and even President Barack Obama went to the White House podium and expressed his deep outrage.
And the IRS’s actions were outrageous. In fact, they were criminal. And, for a time, the Obama administration seemed to agree. Within days of the IRS’s apology, Attorney General Eric Holder declared that the IRS’s conduct was “outrageous and unacceptable” and ordered a criminal investigation.
The conduct of the IRS was, in fact, “outrageous.” Over a period of years, the IRS singled out conservative and pro-life individuals and organizations for extraordinary audits, unconstitutional questioning, years-long delays in processing applications, and selective leaks of private information.
Ultimately, we discovered the IRS went so far as to try to collude with the Department of Justice to prosecute conservatives, to attempt to “piece together” (to borrow a term from an actual IRS email) prosecutions of American citizens without a single shred of evidence or a single specific complaint of illegal activity.
On May 10, we knew only part of the story, but we knew enough to know the IRS was out of control.
When the IRS scandal broke, my phone seemed to ring for days straight. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten as much email before or since. And there was one question that was on everyone’s lips: “What did the president know and when did he know it?”
In other words, the scandal was viewed through the prism of Watergate, the legendary scandal that ended the Nixon presidency, with the assumption that it was only truly “real,” only truly important, if it could bring down the president of the United States.
But I was more disturbed by a different thought, a concern that transcends the current occupant of the White House: What if the IRS—arguably the nation’s most powerful domestic agency—didn’t actually need a presidential directive to engage in its nationwide attack of conservatives? What if the IRS acted largely on its own initiative to target Americans, harass them, audit them, humiliate them, and try to prosecute them merely because the IRS disagreed with their political beliefs?
That is a much larger problem than the corruption of a single agency. That is the corruption of an entire system of government. . . .
The primary goal of my new book is quite simply to educate, to teach you how the United States is actually governed and how that government can impact every aspect of your life. You need to learn how America is actually governed, how your freedom is threatened, and how your tax dollars are wasted or misused by a bureaucracy that is increasingly corrupt and partisan. You are paying for the permanent political class that is disrupting and endangering our constitutional republic.
For the rest of the story and how we can resist illegal abuse, reform our broken system, and restore our Republic, Pre-Order “Undemocratic” NOW. Join the fight to learn more about the crises we face and what we can do about it at UndemocraticBook.com.
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