As the White House announced May 15 that acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller would resign in the wake of revelations that the tax agency had targeted conservative groups, news has surfaced that the tax-exempt status of prominent Christian organizations had also been targeted.
Fox News reported that while President Obama announced the resignation of Miller, what he conveniently left out was the fact that, according to an official close to Miller, the IRS head was “set to resign the position of acting commissioner as of early June.” The anonymous official told Fox that Miller was planning to leave the IRS entirely a “couple of months later, regardless of the current controversy.”
Fox reported that the convenient way in which Miller was being ousted was “not mentioned by the president as he announced Wednesday evening Miller was resigning. Obama spoke following a meeting with Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and other top department officials in which they reviewed a highly critical inspector general’s report on the practice. The report concluded poor management allowed agents to improperly target Tea Party and other groups for more than 18 months, starting in 2010.”
In his statement Obama declared that “Americans have a right to be angry about it, and I’m angry about it.” The president claimed that his administration would enact “new safeguards to make sure that this kind of behavior cannot happen again.”
Even as the president was assuring the American people, more revelations were coming out about the extent of the targeting of organizations that could be broadly categorized as opposing the Obama agenda. Among the organizations the IRS investigated and audited were the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) and the 180-year-old Baptist newspaper the Biblical Recorder, published by the North Carolina Baptist State Convention. The IRS reportedly also targeted the humanitarian relief group Samaritan’s Purse. Both it and the BGEA are run by Franklin Graham, son of famed evangelical preacher Billy Graham.
In the run-up to last year’s presidential election, the BGEA took out ads in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and other newspapers encouraging Christians to vote in line with biblical values. Shortly after the ads were published, both the BGEA and Samaritan’s Purse were notified that they were being audited by the IRS.
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