Beyond the Rhetoric
By Harry C. Alford
I clearly remember election night 2008. America had just crossed a major milestone. The nation that oversaw the biggest legacy of human bondage since the days of the Egyptian Pharaohs was about to evolve into a first world nation with a Black elected president. My household was overjoyed. Tears were streaming down all our faces. That joy was emulated by people in almost every nation in the world. The joy lasted a few months. The feeling that “A Change is going to Come” like the lyrics of Sam Cooke’s classic, started to fade away.
Disappointment is an understatement about the following years. I know my heart was broken. The betrayal was more than immense. It was like a “bone crushing” vice upon what we expected to be hope and change. What would happen during the next eight years would be a virtual orgy of deceit, fraud, abuse, and betrayal of our trust. Not from some hideout or hidden place removed from sight of the human eye. It evolved from the highest semblance of power and government. The White House would become the think tank for scrupulous plans and delivery of malfeasance.
One of the biggest schemes concerned the everyday functions of the Internal Revenue Service. The very precious principle – Freedom of Speech – would be challenged. Organizations wishing to be managed under the tenets of nonprofit status would be put through a partisan test. Organizations with a conservative approach would be harassed, fined, and threatened with denial of their rights. Progressive organizations like the new Clinton Global Initiative would have no problems in getting approved for their 501©-approved status. Organizations with names like “Tea Party,” “Patriots” or making statements supporting conservative approaches to subjects such as education, taxes, religion, etc. would find themselves treated negatively by the IRS.
The conservative caucus of Congress began investigations, hearings, testimonies, etc. about the alleged abuses and discriminatory treatment by one of our largest federal agencies. The IRS was arrogant, in fact, cocky about the whole matter. Even President Obama would publicly deny any wrong doing. He said on national television on a Super Bowl Sunday during an interview with Bill O’Reilly that there was “not a scintilla of scandal or corruption with our IRS.” It would be later proven that there was a massive effort by principals of the IRS management to oppress and bring harm to certain groups of conservative thinking.
Groups began to fight for their freedom of speech. Lawsuits would amass and start the long court process. What ended was the TRUTH! Our U.S. Department of Justice, under a new administration, has made its conclusion. Just last week, it was formally announced: “But it is now clear that during the last administration, the IRS began using inappropriate criteria to screen applications for 501© statuses. These criteria included names such as “Tea Party,” “Patriots” or “9/12” or policy positions concerning government spending or taxes, education of the public to “make America a better place to live” or statements criticizing how the country was being run. It is also clear these criteria disproportionately impacted conservative groups.”
“As a result of these criteria, the IRS transferred hundreds of applications to a specifically designated group of IRS agents for additional levels of review, questioning and delay. In many instances, the IRS then requested highly sensitive information from applicants, such as donor information, that was not needed to make a determination of tax-exempt status.”
This massive class action concerning at least 469 plaintiffs has finally been settled. The exact amount of damages was not publicly disclosed but it went into the many millions of American tax dollars. The biggest tragedy is that none of the guilty operators in this scheme have been prosecuted. But the truth is now known: It has been proven and documented in a federal court of law that the federal government agency, the IRS, violated the freedoms and rights of American citizens. It was illegal and damaging. Whether or not the vicious schemers and operators in this abuse will be punished remains to be seen.
Thus, one of the biggest scandals in the history of our nation has just been documented. Our grandchildren will be reading about this in their civics classes just like we did concerning the infamous “Teapot Dome” scandal early in the 20th century.
This may be the biggest example of “Scandal and Corruption” that went on throughout the Obama Administrations. There are, at least, two dozen more and history will not erase their existence. Let us discuss a dozen or so of the other examples of scandal and corruption.
Mr. Alford is the Co-Founder, President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce®. Website: www.nationalbcc.org Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.