In the conservative fever swamps that shroud the Trump era of American politics, there were few greater abuses of power perpetrated by the heinous regime of Barack Obama than the Internal Revenue Service targeting scandal. The May of 2013 disclosure that the IRS had allegedly targeted for “intensive review” the right-leaning political organizations that formed the core of the Tea Party tax revolt in 2009 and “wantonly disclosed confidential documents,” and engaged in other “inappropriate” activity sparked a years-long outcry from libertarian and economic conservatives. It was, as Tea Party Patriots president Jenny Beth Martin insisted on the four-year anniversary of the scandal this past May, “motivated by political animus and caused untold—incalculable, even—devastation to conservatives and to conservative groups.”
“The IRS’s targeting inspired fear and silenced entire groups across the country, as they disbanded and discontinued their work. The targeting was unfair, unconstitutional, and, yes, un-American,” Martin wrote, pointing the finger at the mainstream media for turning a blind eye to the problem. “A free and robust press must, on the one hand, be free of government control and coercive pressures to propagandize, but, on the other hand, must be judicious enough to recognize, and report on, the stories and scandals like the IRS targeting that threaten our liberty.”
Martin is right about one thing: Paying taxes is no fun, and the IRS is a bureaucratic boogeyman, the embodiment of the state’s coercive power that’s so antithetical to the minarchist freedom that libertarians and conservatives often envision. But even though taxation may be theft, the IRS is absolutely an equal opportunity bandit.
That’s the conclusion of a report issued last week by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the IRS’s…