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…
"First they came for Fox News, and they did not speak out — because they were not Fox News. Then they came for government whistleblowers, and they did not speak out — because they were not government whistleblowers. Then they came for the maker of a YouTube video, and — okay, we know how this story ends. But how did we get here? Turns out it’s a fairly swift sojourn from…[more]