This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, October 26, 2015:
The key foundational principles upon which the American Republic is built include “checks and balances” and an “informed electorate” made up of moral citizens who care about their country and their freedoms. The Encyclopedia Britannica explains that the three powers of government – executive, legislative, and judicial – are separated in order “to prevent actions by the other branches,” which, if combined, define tyranny. In the United States, states are squared off against the national government as another check and balance.
John Adams said, however, that the Constitutional limitations work only “for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
The letter from the Justice Department (executive branch) to the chair and the ranking member of the House Committee on the Judiciary (legislative) is a perfect example of one of the branches investigating itself and declaring itself clean and pure and innocent of all wrongdoing. Or at least sufficient wrongdoing that would merit criminal prosecution. Writing about its conclusion of its two-and-a-half year investigation into the Internal Revenue Service (executive branch), Peter Kadzik, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department:
We took special care to evaluate whether [former IRS Director of its Exempt Organizations Unit] Ms. [Lois] Lerner had criminal culpability.
The need for scrutiny of Ms. Lerner in particular was heightened by the discovery and publication of emails from her official IRS account that expressed her personal political views and, in one case, hostility towards conservative radio personalities.
We therefore specifically considered whether Ms. Lerner’s personal political views influenced her decisions, leadership, action, or failure to take action with respect to tax-exempt applications, or any other matter.
We found no such evidence.
Mistakes were made, according to Kadzik, along with the usual miscommunications, dithering, delaying, stalling, inter-agency squabbling, and CYA behaviors that are to be expected in a 90,000-employee agency necessary to protect turf, but nothing chargeable under criminal statutes. Wrote Kadzik:
In order to bring criminal charges, we must have evidence of criminal intent….
A criminal prosecution … would require proof that an IRS official intentionally discriminated against an applicant based upon viewpoint….
We would have to prove that such actions were undertaken for the very purpose of harassing or harming applicants….
Our investigation found no evidence that any IRS employee acted with criminal intent.
Kadzik characterized the harassing and delaying of applications by conservative groups for tax exempt status as simple “mishandling,” but nothing deliberate or intentional:
The IRS mishandled the processing of tax-exempt applications in a manner that disproportionately impacted applicants affiliated with the Tea Party and similar groups, leaving the appearance that the IRS’s conduct was motivated by political, discriminatory, corrupt, or other inappropriate motive.
However, ineffective management is not a crime.
The Department of Justice’s exhaustive probe revealed no evidence that would support a criminal prosecution. What occurred is disquieting and may necessitate corrective action – but it does not warrant criminal prosecution.
Tell that to the Coalition for Life of Iowa, for example, which was asked to “Explain how all of your activities, including the prayer meetings outside of Planned Parenthood offices, are considered educational … please explain in detail the activities at these prayer meetings … please provide the percentage of time your group spends on prayer groups as compared with other activities of [your] organization.”
Tell that to groups that were routinely asked highly intrusive questions by the IRS, some of which were impossible to answer, and others which were highly offensive. Documentation demands included “any contracts or training material” the groups might have exchanged with the Koch foundations, what books its members were reading, what they had posted on social networking websites, names of donors and how much they contributed, and whether or not they were considering running for public office.
When House Speaker John Boehner first learned of the scandal, thanks to the Inspector General’s report back in May, 2013, he said, “My question isn’t about who’s going to resign. My question is who’s going to jail over this scandal?” Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said: “We should not only fire the head of the IRS … but we’ve got to go down the line and find every single person who had anything to do with this and make sure that they are removed from the IRS and the word goes out that this is unacceptable.”
Those questions can now be answered: no one was fired, one was retired, and two resigned. Period.
A better question might be asked: is anything likely to change at the IRS because of this investigation? The question answers itself. Two months ago the Government Accountability Office reported that not only has nothing substantially changed at the IRS but that the risk of being targeted for political reasons has actually increased.
Still another question that should be asked is this: If forces inimical to freedom take over all three branches of the government, how well are those checks and balances going to work? And if the electorate is neither “well-informed” nor “moral,” thanks to the absence of a meaningful religious belief system, what are the prospects that freedom will be successfully passed on to the next generation?
What Kadzik’s letter really is, is a green light for the IRS, along with other agencies, to continue their harassment of political enemies, knowing now that they will be free of any chance of criminal prosecution, no matter how egregious their behaviors.
Washington Times: Feds clear IRS, Lois Lerner of criminal behavior in tea party scandal
Background on IRS targeting scandal
Fox News: Let’s not forget about the IRS scandal
Justice Dept.: No criminal charges for ex-IRS official
Political Outcast: DOJ Lets Lois Lerner, IRS Off the Hook
Wall Street Journal: U.S. Won’t Prosecute Former IRS Official Lois Lerner
GAO Says IRS Ripe for Unfair Audits
Definition of checks and balances
No, the IRS is not an “Independent Agency”