At NRO today, Jillian Kay Melchior has a very important story about how the leaders of one of my favorite organizations, what I have described as "the heroic True the Vote" group, have been harassed by not one, not two, not three, but four separate federal agencies that had never before done anything to look even slightly askance at those leaders -- never, that is, until just after True the Vote was formed. The IRS, the FBI, the ATF, and OSHA all have made life miserable for True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht and her husband, Bryan.
The situation escalated in 2012. That February, True the Vote received a third request for information from the IRS, which also sent its first questionnaire to King Street Patriots. Catherine says the IRS had “hundreds of questions — hundreds…[more]
Amid the unfolding IRS scandal, one important lesson remains underreported.
Going forward and from a broader perspective, it’s also one that may prove particularly potent and lasting. Specifically, what the debacle teaches in our ongoing debate over campaign finance regulation and the First Amendment freedom of private association without fear of retaliation or persecution.
Absent that freedom, other rights can be effectively nullified.
In that regard, the U.S. Supreme Court provided enduring guidance with its 1958 decision in NAACP v. Alabama. There, government…
"Chilling effect. That's the term lawyers and judges use to describe the result of government actions that deter people from exercising their right of free speech. There have been plenty of examples in the past 10 days. ... The IRS is assigned a lot of work by the Obamacare law. It will impose penalties on Americans who can afford health insurance but choose not to buy it. ... The IRS was given…[more]
—Michael Barone, Washington Examiner Senior Political Analyst
— Michael Barone, Washington Examiner Senior Political Analyst