Idaho businessman Frank VanderSloot, who donated to Mitt Romney’s campaign, wound up in April 2012 on an Obama campaign website list of eight “less than reputable” people who donated to the eventual Republican presidential nominee. Twelve days later, someone delved into his divorce records, a tactic used to discredit Mr. Obama’s opponents in Democratic primary campaigns in Chicago.
In June, as The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel notes, “the IRS informed Mr. VanderSloot and his wife of an audit of two years of their taxes. In July, the Department of Labor informed him of an audit of the guest workers on his Idaho cattle ranch.” In September, the IRS slammed him with yet another audit.
In July 2011, Drew Ryun, a former Republican National Committee staff member, applied to the IRS for nonprofit status for a conservative website called Media Trackers. After being told several times the application was under review, Mr. Ryun took a different tack in September 2012. He made Media Trackers a project of Greenhouse Solutions, a pre-existing group whose permanent status was pending.
Presto. “Within three weeks, Greenhouse received permanent nonprofit status from the IRS, and the IRS approval was transmitted to us from its Cincinnati office,” Mr. Ryun told Yahoo News. “Do I think we benefited from what many think is a liberal-sounding name? Absolutely.”
The lesson is clear, as it has been for budding journalists and college students with leftist professors since the 1960s: Keep your faith and your beliefs to yourself until you’ve reached a certain level of success. Even then, shut up — or else.
If you’re a group seeking nonprofit tax status, it probably wouldn’t hurt to work the name “Obama” into your organization’s title.
Robert Knight is senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a columnist for The Washington Times.