I have seen my share of “good ole’ boy” backscratching. It is frowned upon by most people. It has this air of giving someone something that they have not earned or allowing them to get away with something that they should not have done. And, it is something that has always been a part of the American legal system.
So, whether you are let off a speeding ticket because the state trooper was a frat brother of your dad, or it is political favors from the U.S. Department of Justice, this kind of thing happens all the time. But there should be times that this kind of thing begins to scare us. When whole groups of people and political organizations are singled out, we should be scared.
The IRS firestorm erupted more than two years ago with an inspector general’s audit that said IRS agents had improperly singled out Tea Party and other conservative groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status during the 2010 and 2012 elections.
As many remember, these groups were given special attention because they were conservative. These groups held to a particular ideology and, therefore, was scrutinized when applying for tax-exemption. And there was much made about this, but now the case is closed.
The Justice Department announced Friday afternoon that it will not bring criminal charges against Lois Lerner or any other IRS official involved in the targeting of Tea Party groups, in a decision Republicans ripped as a “free pass.”
In a letter to leaders of the House Judiciary Committee, the department said the investigation into the controversy will be closed — and while they found “mismanagement, poor judgment and institutional inertia,” they found “no evidence that would support a criminal prosecution.”
What this means, for most who will judge the history of this event is that though people were targeted, that targeting is not illegal. But how can that be? How can this kind of discrimination take place and it not be illegal? In America, this is not illegal? And this for us should be the scary part. The IRS has now been given a free pass on this kind of behavior. It has essentially said, “If you don’t like what a group stands for, you can look for a way to silence them.”
“What occurred is disquieting and may necessitate corrective action — but it does not warrant criminal prosecution,” Assistant Attorney General Peter J. Kadzik wrote.
This once again reinforces the idea that the American political experiment is failing. We now have a special class of citizen, the public servant. If that person gains a high enough status as a public servant, other public servants will shield them from prosecution. They will simply tell us that they have looked into the incident and found no laws were broken.
And all the while the opposition can make a fuss to distract us, but in the end is either impotent or indifferent.
Mark Meckler, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots and leader of Citizens for Self Governance which is suing the IRS, called the DOJ letter a “whitewash and miscarriage of justice.”
But Democrats held up the findings as evidence that Republicans were on a witch hunt, with Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., ripping GOP colleagues for spending money on “all kinds of investigative rabbit holes.”
The idea that one investigating wrongdoing and illegal actions are on a witch hunt is simply a means to belittle those who wish for true justice. We are now at a political tipping point. If we continue to outlaw law, then we will eventually be a land of lawlessness. And the lawless will rule the land.