Let’s compare & contrast Trump’s Ukraine “scandal” to Obama’s IRS targeting scandal and see which is a more grave assault upon America’s sainted democratic institutions.
On Ukraine, Democrats’ worst case scenario is that Trump pursued a one-time political transaction where he would exchange foreign aid for an investigation that might embarrass a potential 2020 opponent.
Now, how about a refresher on the IRS scandal?
In the run-up to the 2012 presidential campaign, the IRS began a coordinated effort explicitly purposed to help Obama’s re-election. The IRS, for example, leaked conservative groups’ confidential tax info to the progressive org, ProPublica.
Internal documents show the IRS, in reviewing applications from conservative groups, described anti-Obama rhetoric as “propaganda.” In addition to having tax-exempt applications intentionally delayed, many of these same conservatives were audited by the IRS.
The campaign also went after Obama’s critics. St. Louis reporter Larry Conners gave Obama a challenging interview about his lavish vacations, and was soon “hammered” with IRS audits. The same happened to author Anne Hendershott, who’d reported on fake Catholic groups that were supporting ObamaCare.
Evidence showed it was broader than just one agency. Catherine Engelbrecht, a Texas businesswoman who criticized the administration, was attacked by the IRS, FBI, OSHA, and even ATF.
Recall, the IRS was not going rogue in targeting conservative groups; the White House and Senate Democrats — during public remarks — explicitly told them to. Emails show the IRS discussed confidential taxpayer information with White House officials during the 2012 campaign.
An Obama staffer divulged information about the Koch Brothers’ tax returns in 2010, indicating even earlier collusion between the White House and the IRS. Emails show the IRS gave Obama’s DoJ 21 disks with 1.25 million pages of taxpayer records.
Contrary to IRS officials blaming a rogue office in Cincinnati, a staffer there said the IRS in Washington was very interested in Tea Party cases. Emails also show the Obama Administration discussed its plan to target conservative groups before the IRS scandal began.
Records show the IRS commissioner had more visits to the White House than any other cabinet member. IRS chief council Wilkins, linked to the targeting of conservatives, visited the White House the day before issuing guidelines on Tea Party groups.
There was also obstruction of justice. Federal law required the IRS to print out Lois Lerner’s emails. It didn’t. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen claimed Lerner’s emails were lost in a 2011 computer crash; a hard drive backing them up was also “recycled.”
An IRS official tasked with spinning Congress on the IRS scandal lost all of his emails in a “computer crash.” The IRS claimed it lost the emails from six other employees in six other computer crashes. An inspector general’s report found the IRS “prematurely” destroyed computer data storage devices.
The IRS said Lerner’s hard drive was “scratched”; when a 3rd party said it could recover the contents, the IRS “shredded” the drive. The IRS also destroyed Lerner’s Blackberry after it knew her computer had crashed.
After Obama was safely elected and Lerner publicly revealed the targeting, at least study came out that argued the IRS targeting scandal altered the outcome 2012 presidential race. Despite this assault on America’s democratic institutions, no congressional Democrat attempted impeaching President Obama.