President Obama keeps claiming that he had no knowledge of the Internal Revenue Service’s abusive muzzling of conservative groups. That line is hard to swallow given that his Treasury and IRS are back at it—this time in broad daylight.
In the media blackout of Thanksgiving week, the Treasury Department dumped a new proposal to govern the political activity of 501c4 groups. The administration claims this rule is needed to clarify confusing tax laws. Hardly. The rule is the IRS’s new targeting program—only this time systematic, more effective, and with the force of law.
That this rule was meant to crack down on the White House’s political opponents was never in doubt. What is new is the growing concern by House Ways and Means Committee investigators that the regulation was reverse-engineered—designed to isolate and shut down the same tea party groups victimized in the first targeting round. Treasury appears to have combed through those tea party applications, compiled all the groups’ main activities, and then restricted those activities in the new rule.