How easy we forget:Obama’s Dangerous Contempt for the Rule of Law
Whatever the investigation into misconduct at the Internal Revenue Service reveals, we already have all the evidence we need to understand President Barack Obama’s fundamental attitude toward the rule of law. That evidence is right there in the public record, and what it shows is indifference and contempt.
The Constitution gives the president the power to appoint officials to fill vacancies when the Senate isn’t in session. In 2012, Obama made such “recess appointments” to the National Labor Relations Board and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau -- even though the Senate had stayed in session precisely to keep him from doing so.
Obama’s lawyers argued that the Senate wasn’t really in session even though it claimed to be: It was going through the motions to block Obama, but it wasn’t taking up bills or nominations. No previous president had ever tried this maneuver, and an appeals court has just ruled that it was unconstitutional....
The president’s routine violation of the law that he is supposed to uphold isn’t covered in the media as a scandal. It ought to be.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 12:32 PM EDT
When the IRS targeted liberals
Under George W. Bush, it went after the NAACP, Greenpeace and even a liberal church
While few are defending the Internal Revenue Service for targeting dozens of conservative groups, there are two critical pieces of context missing from the conventional wisdom on the “scandal.” First, at least from what we know so far, the groups were not targeted in a political vendetta — but rather were executing a makeshift enforcement test (an ugly one, mind you) for IRS employees tasked with separating political groups not allowed to claim tax-exempt status, from bona fide social welfare organizations. Employees are given almost zero official guidance on how to do that, so they went after Tea Party groups because those seemed like they might be political. Keep in mind, the commissioner of the IRS at the time was a Bush appointee.
The second is that while this is the first time this kind of thing has become a national scandal, it’s not the first time such activity has occurred.
“I wish there was more GOP interest when I raised the same issue during the Bush administration, where they audited a progressive church in my district in what look liked a very selective way,” California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff said on MSNBC Monday.“I found only one Republican,[North Carolina Rep. Walter Jones], that would join me in calling for an investigation during the Bush administration. I’m glad now that the GOP has found interest in this issue and it ought to be a bipartisan concern.”
The well-known church, All Saints Episcopal in Pasadena, became a bit of a cause célèbre on the left after the IRS threatened to revoke the church’s tax-exempt status over an anti-Iraq War sermon the Sunday before the 2004 election.“Jesus [would say],‘Mr. President, your doctrine of preemptive war is a failed doctrine,’” rector George Regas said from the dais.
And it wasn’t just churches. In 2004, the IRS went after the NAACP, auditing the nation’s oldest civil rights group after its chairman criticized President Bush for being the first sitting president since Herbert Hoover not to address the organization.“They are saying if you criticize the president we are going to take your tax exemption away from you,” then-chairman Julian Bond said.“It’s pretty obvious that the complainant was someone who doesn’t believe George Bush should be criticized, and it’s obvious of their response that the IRS believes this, too.”