Just as the GOP’s hyperventilation and grandstanding over Benghazi turned up empty, so are their claims that the IRS has been targeting right-wing groups. New reports show that the IRS did apply extra scrutiny to groups with phrases like “Tea Party” in their names…but the agency also applied the same scrutiny to groups with “progressive” or “occupy” in their titles. This backs up an earlier story from The Atlantic which also found that liberal groups had been targeted.
But for some reason we don’t think this will stop right-wing activists from alleging that President Obama directed the IRS to go after political opponents as part of his plans to create an all-powerful, totalitarian government.
The IRS story has made its way into five right-wing conspiracy theories that we don’t expect to go away any time soon, despite being totally ungrounded in reality.
1) IRS May Deny Medical Care To Conservatives
Rep. Michele Bachmann led the way in giving credence to a claim that the IRS, through Obamacare, might attempt to “deny or delay” access to medical care for conservatives. After embracing the WorldNetDaily-inspired conspiracy theory, she told Fox News that the IRS may deny or delay health care “based upon our political beliefs.” Even Rand Paul latched onto the debunked conspiracy theory.
Right on cue, James Dobson’s son Ryan alleged that his father may be denied medical treatments under Obamacare, and Janet Porter said that the IRS may use the reform law to “target individuals on whether or not they have the ability to exist as a live human being” by denying people “lifesaving treatment” based on their “political views.”
2) Obama’s The New Hitler
Glenn Beck reacted to the IRS story by warning that the government could “shut down” and “scoop up” Tea Party members much like how Adolf Hitler persecuted Jews. “This is the way totalitarian states are created,” Beck argued. “We will be remembered as the most evil nation in the history of the world, we will dwarf what Germany did.”
World Congress of Families spokesman Don Feder agreed, maintaining that “Concentration Camp Obama” may “shove you in a cattle car” and take you “‘camping’ in a very real sense” if you are part of the conservative movement, all by “using the IRS as a presidential goon squad.” Todd Starnes of Fox News even pointed to the IRS controversy to claim that conservatives “could be facing a 1930s Germany here,” while End Times radio host Rick Wiles used the IRS as proof that Obama is leading a “modern day Nazi regime” and the “Fourth Reich.”
3) Obama Committed Impeachable Offenses
Naturally, right-wing activists brought impeachment into the debate over the IRS. Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice said Obama may face the same impeachment charges as Richard Nixon as a result of the “misuse and abuse of the IRS.” Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly said that the “IRS scandal is much worse than Watergate” and agreed that “there are many reasons why Obama should be impeached.”
Texas Gov. Rick Perry similarly drew a comparison to Nixon and said that the “scandal” may “reach the level of criminal activity” and reveal “a pattern of abuse of power.” Washington Times columnist Jeffrey Kuhner went even further and asserted that Obama is “ worse than Nixon” and added it to his long list of supposedly impeachable offenses, while Alan Keyes demanded that the GOP’s “cry should be ‘IMPEACHMENT NOW!’” Not to be outdone, Glenn Beck argued that “if there aren’t impeachment hearings” then America is “already operating under tyranny.”
4) Obama Would Have Lost If It Wasn’t For The IRS
Even though conservative outside groups greatly outspent their left-leaning counterparts in the last election, the IRS controversy has led some to allege that conservatives groups were not allowed to get off the ground and that must have been why Obama won his race for re-election.
Janet Porter reasoned that “the elections were affected” because “every Tea Party group and every conservative group…weren’t allowed to exist” or “inform their members of what’s going on and what’s at stake.” John Fund of the Wall Street Journal, a champion of suppressive voter ID laws and voter purges, told Fox News that “the real voter suppression in the 2012 election was done at the IRS” and “suppressed the vote” to the point that it “may have played a role in the outcome of that very close election.”
The American Enterprise Institute’s James Pethokoukis even made the dubious claim that 5-8.5 million voters didn’t vote last year due to IRS actions. Dean Chambers, whose “unskewed” polls predicted Obama’s defeat, claimed he was right all along, alleging that the “systematic and wide-scale suppression of Tea Party and conservative activity and votes, via the IRS targeting of those groups” had “clearly denied Mitt Romney the election that [he] clearly would have won by about the very margin I predicted on November 5 of last year.”
5) Demonic Forces Behind IRS Scandal
Larry Klayman said that “felonious liberal Jews” have used the IRS to attack conservatives to undermine “our proud Judeo-Christian roots and heritage,” but televangelist James Robison took it one step further, arguing that “Satan himself” had a role: “He and his demonic forces are fiercely focusing their fury against God’s kingdom purpose and anyone committed to it. What you are witnessing daily in news reports concerning Washington’s bad practices and policies related to the gross abuse of power by the IRS, along with unconstitutional checks on the free press, reveals satanic intent to take away freedom.” Rick Wiles also saw a demonic role in the IRS pseudo-scandal, stating that the IRS is creating the “Fourth Beat as foretold by Daniel in the Holy Bible.”