America’s #IRS: the true agent of voter suppression?

**Posted by Phineas

Democrats and their Leftist allies in the racial grievance industry have long claimed that efforts to require identification in order to vote, a measure meant to protect the integrity of elections, were really meant to suppress minority voters, even equating them with Jim Crow laws.

We all know this is noxious nonsense, of course, but what if there really was an effort to suppress a particular group’s votes, and what if that effort were carried out not by modern-day descendants of Bull Conner with whips and dogs, but by an arm of the US government using bureaucracy to discourage people from participating in the political process?

And what if it was the IRS?

NRO’s John Fund, who’s written extensively on election integrity matters, explains:

But it now turns out there may have suppression of the vote after all. “It looks like a lot of tea-party groups were less active or never got off the ground because of the IRS actions,” Wisconsin governor Scott Walker told me. “Sure seems like people were discouraged by it.”

Indeed, several conservative groups I talked with said they were directly impacted by having their non-profit status delayed by either IRS inaction or burdensome and intrusive questioning. At least two donors told me they didn’t contribute to True the Vote, a group formed to combat voter fraud, because after three years of waiting the group still didn’t have its status granted at the time of the 2012 election. (While many of the targeted tea-party groups were seeking to become 501(c)(4)s, donations to which are not tax-deductible, True the Vote sought to become a 501(c)(3).) This week, True the Vote sued the IRS in federal court, asking a judge to enjoin the agency from targeting anyone in the future.

Cleta Mitchell, True the Vote’s lawyer, says we’ll never know just how much political activity was curtailed by the IRS targeting. She has one client who wanted to promote reading of the Constitution, but who didn’t even hear back from the IRS for three years – until last Monday, when the IRS informed this client that some questions would be sent.

“I was about to file with the IRS when other tea-party groups started to get harassed,” Pennsylvania activist Jennifer Stefano told Time magazine. “I remember checking with the IRS to see if they wanted the group [Facebook] page or my personal page, and they said ‘All of it.’”

Even if this wasn’t enough to throw the 2012 election Obama’s way (although White voter turnout was way down from 2008 to 2012), Fund makes it clear that many activist groups had their efforts hampered, some to the point of giving up altogether, by the IRS harassment. And the effect of that on get-out-the-vote and voter-education efforts could be substantial.

It’s one of the issues Congress has to address while dealing with this scandal: in addition to targeting Americans for holding “unapproved” political opinions and trampling on their rights of free speech, the IRS’ actions threaten public confidence in the integrity of our elections, themselves.

It’s the Chicago Way taken nationwide.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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