Heritage's Hans von Spakovsky: It's Time to Investigate the IRS


Hans von Spakovsky is a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation's Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and writes in FoxNews:

"...Somehow, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a gay advocacy group, got its hands on Schedule B of the tax return filed by the National Organization for Marriage (NOM)—a conservative values organization that has sparred with the administration and liberal groups over homosexual marriage. The HRC – soon followed by scores of left-leaning publications, magazines, and blogs like the Huffington Post and Mother Jones – published the confidential document that revealed the names, contact information, and donation amounts of anyone who had given over $5,000 to NOM.

NOM has called for immediate investigations by the Justice Department and the Treasury Department’s Inspector General to determine how HRC gained possession of this document.

The posted documents contained original, official IRS markings that could only have come from individuals within the agency. Disclosing this confidential information by anyone at the IRS is a felony, punishable by fines of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment for up to five years. Printing or publishing the schedule is also a crime, similarly punishable, which means that the HRC (and the Huffington Post) are potentially in deep legal trouble.

...Freedom of association (a basic Constitutional right) and the rule of law (a necessity of free and fair government) are being eroded by these underhanded, Chicago-style tactics. But for the ideological zealots within the federal government and their allies in left-wing advocacy groups, black letter law is apparently just another obstacle to re-election or to attacking one’s public policy opponents.

The IG and the DOJ need to undertake their investigations with utmost seriousness, swiftness and impartiality. And they should bring criminal indictments against anyone inside or outside of the IRS found to be responsible for these abuses of federal tax power. This kind of behavior is simply unacceptable, for it threatens the liberty and freedom of Americans who want to participate in the political process.