- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 3, 2000

What do Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, Elizabeth Ward Gracen and Juanita Broaddrick have in common? The obvious answer is a regrettable association with Bill Clinton. Now, it seems they share a new bond. Miss Flowers, Mrs. Jones, Miss Gracen and, most recently, Mrs. Broaddrick have all been hit with an Internal Revenue Service tax audit. Coincidence? After nearly eight years of Clintonite corruption, it strains credulity to think so. Certainly, Mrs. Broaddrick doesn't regard the audit as a bolt from the blue. And so, on her behalf, the tenacious legal foundation Judicial Watch this week asked the Inspector General of the Treasury Department to investigate the IRS decision to audit Brownwood Manor, Inc., a nursing home Mrs. Broaddrick owns.

The audit the first in her career, Mrs. Broaddrick says extends to her individual tax returns for tax year 1998. That year, of course, made history with Mr. Clinton's impeachment, but was also notable in Mrs. Broaddrick's life for being the period during which she weighed whether to speak on the record to NBC's Lisa Myers about being sexually assaulted in 1978 by then-Arkansas gubernatorial candidate Bill Clinton. "I guess they're trying to prove that we were paid off in some way," she told Newsmax. com, a conservative internet magazine. "It's ridiculous." Also worth noting is that the April 6 audit notification Mrs. Broaddrick received from the IRS came four months after Judicial Watch sued the White House on Mrs. Broaddrick's behalf for violating her privacy rights by keeping FBI and other government files on her, and using them to damage her reputation.

Coincidence? "I do feel like there's certainly a connection to me coming forward," she told Newsmax.com. "How can this be a coincidence?" In fact, the Broaddrick audit seems to fit what Judicial Watch chairman Larry Klayman calls a "a pattern of political retaliation." After all, during the past seven years, not only have four of Mr. Clinton's inconvenient, and inconveniently vocal, women been audited, but others, too, have become IRS targets, from the White House Travel Office's former director, Billy Dale, to the Western Journalism Center (among over 20 other conservative groups).

Still, just because the Clinton administration seems to be engaging in business as usual doesn't explain or justify the barely disguised yawn with which the media have greeted what looks like a punitive audit directed against a private citizen for speaking out against the president. Think about it: Not so very long ago, President Nixon's efforts to use the IRS against his perceived enemies was deemed one of the most reprehensible abuses of power during the entire Watergate scandal. And his efforts weren't even successful.

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