Kimberly Strassel has a must-read column at the Wall Street Journal today that explains the context in which the IRS scandal emerged–not just during the Obama administration’s attempt to quash the Tea Party, but in Obama’s efforts to shut down all opposition, both Republican and Democratic, in the 2008 campaign.
Strassel notes that Bob Bauer, the Obama campaign (and later White House) general counsel, wrote letters to the Department of Justice in August 2008 attacking a conservative 501(c)4 called the American Issues Project for running an ad that highlighted Obama’s connection to former Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers. Bauer did not stop there; he also contacted the Federal Election Commission. That same month, a left-wing activist created a 501(c)4 called Accountable America that wasdesigned to intimidate GOP donors.
Earlier that year, Strassel notes, during the Democratic Party primary, Bauer had used the same tactics against a left-wing 501(c)4 that supported Hillary Clinton, and another against one supporting John Edwards. As even Ben Smith, then of Politico and a noted defender of the Obama campaign, noted:
It’s worth noting that this isn’t the first time Bauer has called for criminal investigations and prosecutions into the donors to independent groups critical of Obama, including one supporting John Edwards and another supporting Hillary Rodham Clinton. His words did have the effect of scaring their donors and consultants, but haven’t yet appeared to result in any prosecution.