Time: Tue Jun 24 10:42:10 1997
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Date: Tue, 24 Jun 1997 10:36:05 -0700
To: (Recipient list suppressed)
From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]
Subject: SLS: News on our friends at the IRS (fwd)

>Just how political has IRS become? 
>             At least 20 groups
>             critical of Clinton targeted 
>             By Joseph Farah and Sarah Foster 
>             Copyright 1997 
>SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- At least 20 non-profit organizations "unfriendly" 
>to the Clinton administration have faced Internal Revenue Service audits 
>since 1993, a survey by the Western Journalism Center, one of the groups 
>targeted, has found. 
>Coincidence? Many conservative leaders and attorneys familiar with IRS 
>practices laugh at that suggestion. Groups of all sizes and purpose are 
>currently under audit, have gone through the process or are threatened 
>with it -- from large, well-known organizations such as the Heritage 
>Foundation, Citizens Against Government Waste and the National Rifle 
>Association to small, local pro-life and patriot groups. Even the two 
>most popular conservative magazines -- American Spectator and National 
>Review -- are feeling the inquisitorial wrath of the IRS. 
>Though officially no one at National Review will even confirm the audit, 
>sources close to the journal say the audit is the first in the 
>magazine's history. 
>"We're not talking about an attack on conservative philosophy, per se," 
>says attorney William Wewer, a specialist in nonprofit law. "Clinton 
>doesn't care about ideas. He cares about power and he's using the most 
>feared enforcement tool in the government to attack people who are 
>opposing him politically. He's using government to achieve personal 
>political goals." 
>The IRS denies any political motivations for its choices. Yet not a 
>single prominent public policy organization friendly to the Clinton 
>administration has apparently been targeted for audit in the same 
>period, according to two random samples and research into the non-profit 
>community. Many tax-exempt organizations are, however, loath to discuss 
>such matters because of its potentially devastating impact on 
>fund-raising efforts. 
>According to Wewer, who represents about a thousand charities, the 
>groups singled out include many which have challenged the Clinton 
>administration in a "high-profile fashion." 
>"Every one of our clients who is under audit has taken on the Clinton 
>administration vigorously, usually through a direct mail campaign," he 
>says. His observation applies to most of the groups so far identified. 
>For example, there was the American Policy Center and its "Fire Jocelyn 
>Elders" campaign in 1993. In addition to a request for contributions, 
>would-be donors were asked to mail an enclosed card to President Clinton 
>demanding prompt dismissal of the former surgeon general. About six 
>months ago, the group was notified that it was being audited. 
>"The idea that someone can write to them and say 'I don't like their 
>politics, so go investigate them' is outrageous," says APC President Tom 
>The IRS claims it is increasingly dependent on these "citizen 
>complaints" and maintains the ongoing investigation and audit of APC is 
>simply normal routine checking. Wewer dismisses that idea as "bogus." 
>"I know of many citizen complaints that never get acted on," he says. 
>"I've filed several myself against organizations that were promoting 
>terrorism -- some of the extreme green groups and animal rights groups. 
>Nothing was done, not even when I laid out the entire case for them." 
>Then there's the strange case of the newly formed Wisconsin non-profit
>Fortress America. Just last November the group received its 501(c)4 
>tax-exempt status -- a classification that entitles the organization to 
>engage in some lobbying and political activities. A month later Fortress 
>America sent out a fund-raising letter that was critical of Hillary 
>Clinton. In January, two IRS agents began investigating the group. 
>Fortress America is so new it hadn't even filed its first tax return, 
>hence, no actual audit was possible. Washington attorney Alan Dye, who 
>represents the targeted group, says he can't recall being involved in a 
>case where the IRS began investigating an organization before an audit 
>was even begun. 
>"The coincidence of this occurring within 30 days of a negative letter 
>about Hillary Clinton is pretty striking," Dye observes. "If the IRS 
>doesn't mean to be biased, they're doing everything they can to make it 
>look like they are." 
>Another IRS target was Amy Moritz Ridenour's National Center for Public 
>Policy Research. The group played a prominent role in the political 
>defeat of the Clinton health-care plan in 1993 and 1994, focusing public 
>attention on Hillary Clinton's role withe the president's advisory task 
>force and its secret meetings. In 1995, the group was audited. The group 
>also challenged the first lady's access to classified information, 
>secured without a security clearance. The group called for congressional 
>hearings to determine guidelines about such unprecendented clearances. 
>By IRS standards, the group's ordeal was brief -- about two weeks. At 
>one point during the examination, Ridenour asked the IRS field agent why 
>the group was targeted. The disturbing answer: "You probably made 
>someone mad." 
>"Now why would he say, 'probably'?" Ridenour wonders. "You'd figure he'd 
>say oh, it's just a routine audit, even if that weren't true. To me it 
>shows there's an assumption at the IRS that decisions [like who gets 
>audited] are made for political reasons. It must be part of the 
>The Western Journalism Center shared a similar experience. When an IRS 
>field agent began asking questions about the content of the group's 
>work, the motivations for investigative reporting about White House 
>scandals and suggesting that the center should be reclassified from an 
>educational 501(c)3 status to a 501(c)4, group's accountant protested. 
>"Look," said Thomas Cederquist, the IRS auditor, "this is a political 
>case and the decision is going to be made at the national level." Asked 
>what he meant by that statement, Cederquist repeated it. Only recently, 
>months after the center went public with accusations that the audit was 
>politically inspired was Cederquist replaced as the lead investigator on 
>the case. 
>None of this is surprising to Wewer who has been involved in 
>conservative political activism for 33 years. 
>"They're trying to destroy the very warp and woof of what makes us work 
>as a country," he said. "The democratic system is a robust system, but 
>it can be very fragile when it comes to this type of attack." 
>In response to the Western Journalism Center's story of apparently 
>politically motivated IRS audits broken last fall in the Wall Street 
>Journal, Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation began an investigation. 
>Hearings are set to begin some time next month and a final report will 
>be issued in September. 
>Last February, IRS Commissioner Margaret Milner Richardson, a long-time 
>political ally and friend of the Clintons and a self-described 
>"yellow-dog Democrat," announced she was stepping down from her post to 
>pursue other interests. The New York Post, however, suggested in an 
>editorial that the revelations of politically motivated audits may have 
>been a central factor in her decision. No replacement for Richardson has 
>yet been named. 
>             Joseph Farah is executive director of the Western 
>             Journalism Center.
>             Sarah Foster is a center associate. 
>             Copyright 1997. All rights reserved. 
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>->  Posted by: "Brian Mosely" <bmosely@hotmail.com>

Paul Andrew Mitchell                 : Counselor at Law, federal witness
B.A., Political Science, UCLA;  M.S., Public Administration, U.C. Irvine

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