Editor’s Note: This commentary by Personal Liberty’s Wayne Allyn Root was originally published on October 25, 2012. In it, Root discusses how the Internal Revenue Service has been bullying him for more than two years. He said then, that he believed the IRS’s intense focus on his personal finances was directly related to his conservative political activism.
Hello. I’m Wayne Allyn Root for Personal Liberty. Before I even begin my video commentary today, I’d like to read you a major part of the Articles of Impeachment that Congress leveled at President Richard Nixon:
He (Nixon) has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavored to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposes not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.
My commentary this week is a personal story. It’s as personal as you can get. You see, I am on Barack Obama’s enemies list. I believe Obama is employing the same tactics as President Nixon. If so, he should meet the same fate: Congress should investigate and, if proven true, impeach Barack Obama for violating the Constitutional rights of American citizens.
Here’s my personal story. I’ve gone through an almost two-year ordeal with the IRS which, I believe, was triggered by my vocal criticism of the Obama Administration. Americans need to hear this story of a small-business owner — not a billionaire — with an unblemished tax record for 30 years suddenly facing this kind of harassment, persecution and intimidation.
If a President of the United States can go after me personally because he doesn’t like my political beliefs, then no one is safe. Today, it’s me; tomorrow it could be you. It doesn’t matter if the President is Republican or Democrat. This cannot be allowed to happen to anyone, regardless of his party or his beliefs.
But it is happening. I’ve done my own personal investigation, and I’ve found a pattern of abuse. This is happening all across America. Our Commander in Chief is a bully. Just like in the old Soviet Union, he’s using the power of the IRS and other government agencies to punish his political opposition and to try to intimidate and silence his critics.
It’s time for Congress to get involved. It’s time for Congressional hearings to determine if this is a widespread pattern of abuse. If this is a pattern of Obama using government to destroy his opposition, to destroy people’s lives, whether it is billionaires or small-business owners like me, Obama and his henchmen must be held accountable. The government of the United States has no right to persecute its citizens for political purposes.
This all started in 2008 when I became the Libertarian Vice Presidential nominee and was campaigning across America. I informed audiences that I was Obama’s college classmate, class of ’83 at Columbia University. I told audiences what I thought Obama’s goal would be as President. I predicted he’d follow the strategy taught by two former Columbia professors, Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven.
I predicted that Obama would promote policies that would damage the economy and bankrupt the business community, so as to cause doubts about capitalism — to shake our faith in the current system. I predicted that he’d accomplish all that by overwhelming the system with spending, addicting a record number of Americans to entitlements, exploding the debt, demonizing business owners and then trying to convince the masses to redistribute wealth (with massive tax increases).
Sound familiar? It’s all happened exactly according to plan. My prediction was on the money (excuse the pun).
Over the past four years, my opinions critical of the Obama Administration appeared in newspapers across the country and many of the Internet’s most popular conservative websites (like Personal Liberty and FOX News), reaching tens of millions of Americans. I made frequent television appearances on networks like Fox News and CNBC and thousands of appearances on talk radio — always criticizing Obama and his anti-business, anti-capitalist policies.
Obviously, this caught the attention of Obama and his socialist cabal that was hell-bent on destroying capitalism — and anyone who got in the way. Obviously, Obama’s dirty tricks Chicago hit squad decided to intimidate and distract me, in the form of an unsettling call from the IRS.
In January of 2011, an IRS agent called my home and left a message. Without waiting for a response, he immediately called my accountant. We were both shocked at how eager and excited he sounded to get started. My accountant told the IRS agent that he had my “power of attorney” and he was to speak only with the accountant from this point forward.
Guess what this overzealous IRS agent did next? He immediately called me again.
My accountant remarked that in 30 years of dealing with IRS audits, he’d never heard of an IRS agent starting an investigation with a phone call to the taxpayer, then the taxpayer’s accountant and then the taxpayer again. The IRS always sends a letter asking the taxpayer to call them. That was the tipoff something was out of the ordinary. My conversation with the IRS agent seemed odd as well.
The agent let me know that he understood that my accountant had the power of attorney and he was not allowed to speak to me. But he said he just wanted to speak with me once because he was “my biggest fan.” He just had to tell me that he read all of my political columns and often listened to me on the radio. Then, he said he supported my politics and agreed with most everything I said. He said that he personally requested to be my auditor and it was a great “honor” to be auditing me.
I hung up the phone and felt a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach. This was an unsettling conversation. It was clear to me that the IRS agent was trying to imitate “Columbo” (the detective from the 1970’s hit TV show). He was playing a game, trying to win my confidence, let my guard down, to hide a more sinister motive. I immediately thought to myself, “This agent is telling a story to try to throw me off the scent of what’s really happening — an attempt to persecute and intimidate a critic of President Obama, ordered by the Obama administration.”
Soon, my gut instinct was verified. My accountant called to say he’d had several conversations with the IRS agent and something seemed very different from any IRS audit he’d ever handled. This agent clearly had an agenda. He was unreasonable. He disregarded facts. He simply disallowed virtually all of my legal deductions. There was even a debate over my mortgage deduction. Soon, he was auditing a second year. It got worse with each conversation.
My accountant called and said, “Wayne, it is so clear that this IRS agent is out to badly damage you. You must hire a top tax lawyer. This is like nothing I’ve ever dealt with. This is not an ordinary IRS audit. You need legal representation right now.”
Please keep in mind, I’m no billionaire or big shot politician. I’m a small-business owner, home-schooling dad and citizen politician. With my many businesses and careers all struggling in this Obama economy, I was now facing a massive IRS attack, an unaffordable tax bill and huge legal fees to fight it.
Soon thereafter I found out that my accountant of 25 years — one of the finest, nicest, men I’ve ever met in my life — had also just received an IRS audit notice for himself only weeks after mine. Coincidence?
I got the message: This was an attack based on my political views. I researched tax attorneys and found the best one in the country. He agreed to handle my case. He looked over my tax records and assured me that he felt the IRS agent was 100 percent incorrect in his belief that any taxes were due. My attorney was also concerned that a review of the audit revealed a highly and unusually aggressive IRS position.
As such, my attorney immediately changed venue to Los Angeles (where he is based) and appealed the case to U.S. Tax Court in California. After almost 18 months of sleepless nights, lawyer bills I could not afford, accounting bills I could not afford, damage to my marriage and who knows how many years of my life reduced by stress, this past July we won a full and complete victory. Not a dime was owed. All of the IRS agent’s unreasonable and overzealous assertions were thrown out. Case closed. 100 percent vindication. Complete victory.
Except the story isn’t over. It gets far worse. I had five days to celebrate. Five days to feel like my life was mine again, with no cloud hanging over me. Five days to hug my wife, with both of us exhaling and repeating out loud: “No more IRS. No more cloud over our heads. No more legal fees!”
And then the unimaginable happened. My tax attorney called to say: “Are you sitting down? I have bad news. I don’t know what to say, but the IRS just contacted me. You’re being audited again.”
We had just won a complete victory for the years 2007 and 2008 five days before. And now I was being audited again (for the 2009 and 2010 tax years) five days later. In all his many years of practicing tax law, my tax attorney has never heard of such a situation. Ever.
And the new IRS agent treated my attorney the same way: with disdain. He disallowed every legal deduction. It was the same treatment all over again.
Here’s some important personal history you need to know. I have a perfect tax history. Not a single blemish. Thirty years of filing taxes without a problem. I was chosen at random for two audits in my life and came out of both owing nothing — not one dollar. I’ve never been late with a tax bill in my life. I’ve never owed money on a payment plan to the IRS. Nothing. I’m a model citizen and taxpayer.
The odds of this being some random occurrence are zero. People with perfect tax records for 30 years don’t suddenly become an IRS tax target. And certainly not after winning a complete 100 percent victory in U.S. Tax Court only five days before. There is no such thing ever.
And I’m not a billionaire. I’m not wealthy at all. There’s nothing big to go after. This is not just a witch hunt, but a ridiculous waste of taxpayer money. Why would the IRS be persecuting a small-business owner (twice) who happens to be a vocal critic of President Obama?
There’s the answer. The answer is my media megaphone.
That’s why this story is so chilling. If this is allowed to stand, then anyone who has an opinion that government or a politician doesn’t like is at risk of being persecuted, harassed, intimidated and ruined. Free speech is at risk. Today, it’s me; tomorrow it could be you — even if you’re just a small-business owner.
Remember the famous lesson of the Holocaust?
“In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade
unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.”
I’m one of several who have come forward to call attention to this dangerous pattern of political persecution going on under Obama, but I’m betting that this is happening all across America to Republican and conservative critics and donors.
We know from media reports that virtually every Tea Party in the country is under IRS attack — not just simple harassment. The IRS is asking frightening questions, such as demanding the names of all members, donors and even speakers at Tea Party events. Are all of these critics of Obama being targeted for IRS persecution because of their ideological beliefs? And what are they doing with the names of Tea Party speakers? Let me give you two guesses: attacking them with IRS audits or attacking them with IRS audits?
We know Sheldon Adelson, the biggest GOP donor in America, is suddenly under Justice Department investigation. Coincidence? He calls it a “smear campaign” orchestrated by the Obama Administration.
Steve Wynn is another outspoken critic of Obama and a major GOP donor. He has been quoted as calling Obama the most anti-business President of his lifetime. Wynn says every business owner he knows is frightened by Obama. Days ago, it was disclosed in the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Wynn, too, is under Federal investigation. Coincidence?
I’m sure the lawyers of billionaire CEOs like Adelson and Wynn have told their clients to no longer criticize Obama publicly. This is how Obama plays the game — like the Mafia. He learned it from politicians in Chicago. This is how you silence your critics.
I have had numerous conversations with high-profile friends who contribute to the GOP or are GOP bundlers, and they are also being audited by the IRS. One of my neighbors is a big GOP fundraiser and bundler, and he’s being attacked by the IRS. Several friends of mine know wealthy donors who received an IRS audit notice only weeks after making major contributions to Romney. One such donor has even gone public. His name is Frank VanderSloot. Just a few weeks after giving $1 million to Romney, he came under attack from both the IRS and the Labor Department. Coincidence?
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell even recently accused Obama of using “Nixonian” tactics to target and silence Republican donors.
How many more victims of this Obama witch hunt are out there? I’m betting after my story comes out, thousands of GOP politicians, donors, Obama critics and conservative talk hosts come out of the woodwork to say that they, too, are under IRS attack. This is no coincidence. This can’t be an isolated incident. This is a pattern of abuse. It’s happening right now, right here in America under Obama.
It’s time for all of us to speak up now, before Obama is re-elected and we lose the right to speak out. Free speech and political expression are endangered in Obama’s second term. It is time for Congressional investigations. It is also time for Congress to pass a law that no Administration has the right to order the IRS to attack critics. It is time to reign in our government. It is time to demand an end to government witch hunts ordered by powerful politicians. It is time to shine the light of day on government attempts to intimidate and silence political opponents.
When President Nixon was found to be playing dirty tricks and targeting political opponents, the media screamed loudly about oppression, persecution and political intimidation and cried out for criminal investigations. Where is the media this time? It is time for the media to get outraged and demand Obama be held accountable, just as they did with Nixon.
Let me state this clearly. The IRS isn’t the problem. The IRS is filled with mostly good people, trying to do their jobs. They are just like you and me. But when they get a call from high above, from the office of the President of the United States or a close friend of the President, then they are fearful for their jobs. My outrage is toward President Obama and his henchmen. This is so wrong on so many levels.
But the bad news for Obama and his political mobsters is that they picked on the wrong guy. Not only have I never had a problem with the IRS in my life, I’m willing to do everything in my power to call out this political attack for what it really is. It is time for you to join me in asking questions about the harassment being aimed at critics of the Obama White House. It’s time for Congressional investigations.
I am on Obama’s enemies list. Next, it could be any one of us. It could be you. This cannot be allowed to go on in the United States of America.
I’m Wayne Allyn Root for Personal Liberty. I pray that none of you ever have to go through what I’ve been through for the past 22 months. No matter what your political party. No matter what your beliefs. Not in America. This cannot stand.
See you next week. Same time, same place. God Bless.