After years of court battles, an early victim of the politicized Internal Revenue Service finally gets a little satisfaction, as the agency admits wrongdoing and ponies up a settlement for handing confidential information on the National Organization for Marriage over to same-sex marriage activists. From today’s NOM press release:
“It has been a long and arduous process to hold the IRS accountable for their illegal release of our confidential tax return and donor list, which was ultimately given to our chief political rival by the recipient,” said John Eastman, NOM’s chairman and a member of the ActRight legal Foundation team that brought the lawsuit against the IRS on NOM’s behalf in October, 2013. “In the beginning, the government claimed that the IRS had done nothing wrong and that NOM itself must have released our confidential information. Thanks to a lot of hard work, we’ve forced the IRS to admit that they in fact were the ones to break the law and wrongfully released this confidential information.”
NOM said that an investigation revealed that its 2008 tax return and list of major donors was released to Matthew Meisel, a gay activist in Boston, MA. Email correspondence from Meisel revealed that he told a colleague that he had “a conduit” to obtain NOM’s confidential information. While testifying under oath in a deposition in the litigation, Meisel invoked the 5th Amendment against self-incrimination and refused to disclose the identity of his conduit. Documents obtained during the litigation prove that Meisel then provided NOM’s tax data to the Human Rights Campaign (whose president was a national Co-Chair of the Obama Reelection Campaign). The information was also published by the Huffington Post.
“While we are very pleased that the IRS has been exposed as being responsible for this leak of our confidential information to our political opponents, we believe the IRS may still be hiding information from the American people,” Eastman said. “We have called on the Attorney General to grant Matthew Meisel immunity from prosecution so that we can force him to disclose the identity of his conduit . We urge the Congress to explore this issue with the appropriate government officials. It’s imperative that all those who have engaged in corrupt practices and illegal acts in the IRS be identified and held accountable.”
After watching the current IRS commissioner (and loyal Democrat donor) pull his neener-neener routine in front of Congress, followed by Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings sobbing over the persistent investigation of a scandal he was a key player in, I’m more convinced than ever that this crap will never stop unless the IRS as we know it is dismantled. The temptation to abuse the powers it has been given is too great; the consequences for getting caught are too small. Does anyone think a $50,000 settlement, funded by the U.S. taxpayer, is going to scare the next Party operative at Internal Revenue away from handing a bit of juicy information over to his favorite left-wing activist group? How much closer does everyone think we are to serious, life-altering consequences for the vote-suppression specialists at the Tax Exempt Organizations unit, or the cover-up artists who dragged the investigation out for years?
As Mark Steyn put it today, “One of the darker trends of the Obama era has been the remorseless convergence of the Democrat ideologues and the punitive bureaucracy.” The ideologues have great power to insulate the bureaucrats from the consequences of abusing their power for political purposes. The media’s not terribly interested in blowing a whistle on any of it, not when the Party supported by ninety percent of reporters is involved. This will happen again, unless We the People stop it, once and for all. You can make book on it.