Time: Wed Oct 01 12:49:12 1997
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Date: Wed, 01 Oct 1997 12:42:48 -0700
To: (Recipient list suppressed)
From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]
Subject: SLS: "A year in the life of the IRS" (fwd)
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit

>>Wednesday, October 1, 1997 
>>A year in the life of the IRS 
>>A year ago this month, I broke the story of the Internal Revenue
>>Service’s striking pattern of auditing individuals and organizations
>>politically troublesome to the Clinton administration. The article,
>>published in the Wall Street Journal, revealed the way my own
>>organization, the Western Journalism Center, was harassed and abused by
>>the agency and listed some of the other groups targeted. 
>>I knew it was a big story the day it hit. But, only a year later, after
>>several congressional investigations, the resignation of IRS
>>Commissioner Margaret Milner Richardson, the closing of the case against
>>the center, a “60 Minutes” expose and a media and political pile-on
>>against the agency, is it becoming clear just how big it was. It could
>>well represent the first nail in the coffin of the IRS. 
>>A year ago, the Heritage Foundation, National Rifle Association,
>>Concerned Women of America and Oliver North’s organization were all
>>still fighting their own individual battles with the IRS. Not one of
>>those groups would confirm for me, on the record, that they were even
>>being audited. Nonetheless, I was able to corroborate that they were and
>>that other conservative organizations, such as Christian Coalition and
>>the American Family Association were having their own difficulties. 
>>I also pointed out that, nearly two years earlier, my center was the
>>only news organization targeted in a White House Counsel’s Office memo
>>on how to deal with administration scandals. I explained that the IRS
>>seemed less concerned with our bookkeeping procedures and fund-raising
>>techniques than with the focus of our investigative reporting work. I
>>also related the experience of one of our major donors who was told by
>>then-Cabinet Secretary Hazel O’Leary, now under investigation herself,
>>that if he gave any more money to the Western Journalism Center his
>>federal contracts would be in jeopardy. 
>>Only a month later, the White House’s long-time preoccupation with the
>>center became even clearer with the disclosure, again by the Journal, of
>>the administration’s 331-page “Communication Stream of Conspiracy
>>Commerce” report, which placed my group at the beginning of what it
>>called a “media food chain” that nourished scandal stories beginning to
>>appear in the establishment press. The report, regarded widely
>>throughout the media as “Clinton’s enemies list,” contained a five-page
>>biography of me -- the only journalist in the country so targeted In
>>January, I announced that the center would turn the tables on the IRS --
>>that we would begin investigating them. We began reporting taxpayer
>>horror stories. Five months later, the IRS closed the books on our case
>>and opened an internal investigation of its own field agent. 
>>By February, Richardson was calling it quits. By March, the Joint
>>Committee on Taxation was announcing an investigation into the
>>“political audits.” 
>>I always believed that our case represented a “smoking gun” connecting
>>the White House with the use and abuse of the IRS. I was told as much by
>>congressional staffers investigating the matter, as well. 
>>But Congress, as it so often does, dropped the ball. No testimony was
>>ever taken by the joint committee. No witnesses were ever deposed. No
>>documents were ever subpoenaed. In other words, the White House was let
>>off the hook. 
>>Had Ronald Reagan or Richard Nixon been in the White House, impeachment
>>proceedings would be over by now. After all, using the IRS as a
>>political attack dog is one of the ultimate forms of presidential abuse
>>of power. Even Nixon never succeeded at it -- though he tried. 
>>Look at what has happened since Congress fumbled in its oversight
>>We now know of at least 20 non-profit organizations unfriendly to the
>>Clinton administration that have been victims of IRS scrutiny. Former
>>White House travel director Billy Dale was audited shortly after being
>>fired at the urging of Hillary Clinton. Patricia Mendoza was audited
>>within a month of yelling, “You suck!” at Clinton during a campaign stop
>>in 1996. Kent Masterson Brown was targeted for an audit within a month
>>of suing to open Mrs. Clinton’s secret health care task force to public
>>But the piece de resistance came just last month when homemaker Paula
>>Jones announced she had received an audit notice days after rejecting a
>>settlement of her sexual harassment suit against the president. However,
>>I don’t blame Bill Clinton alone for Mrs. Jones’ audit. It was literally
>>invited by congressional inaction over the previous 12 months. 
>>Is it even conceivable that the IRS and White House would have taken
>>such a political risk if Congress had shown some backbone and
>>investigated the pattern six months earlier? I don’t think so. And if
>>Congress doesn’t get serious about investigating these abuses now, they
>>will only become more routine, more blatant and more chilling in the
>>Congress needs to stop its IRS show trials that result in the suspension
>>of mid-level managers and start exposing and attacking the root problem
>>-- a problem which continues to reside in taxpayer-supported comfort at
>>1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. 
>>Joseph Farah is Editor of the internet newspaper WorldNetDaily.com and
>>Executive Director of the Western Journalism Center, an independent
>>group of investigative reporters. 
>>                    Send e-mail to Joseph Farah . 
>>             ©1997, Western Journalism Center

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