J. D. Heyes
June 23, 2013
As bad as it was that the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative and Tea Party groups filing for tax-exempt status, it appears now that the IRS wasn’t the only federal agency doing so.
According to June 4 Fox News report, the Environmental Protection Agency – itself used by successive administrations to harass and punish Americans – was also targeting conservative groups:
The allegations concern the [EPA], which is being accused of trying to charge conservative groups fees while largely exempting liberal groups. The fees applied to Freedom of Information Act requests – allegedly, the EPA waived them for liberal groups far more often than it did for conservative ones.
‘This cannot be tolerated’
The report said the allegations are now under investigation by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, as well as the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the latter of which has been extra busy lately, given the ever expanding number and scope of Obama Administration scandals.
“I don’t think it is fair at all. It is not fair to the American taxpayer – the American taxpayer should expect and demand that the EPA treats everyone equally in regard to these requests,” Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, told the news network. “This cannot be tolerated. As we see more federal agencies with this kind of bias, it is and should be a concern for all of us.”
Such institutional bias is routine, however, because it is ingrained in most of the federal bureaucracy, according to research by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, itself a conservative think tank based in Washington, D.C., especially when it comes to deciding which groups have to pay a fee and which of them do not.
Christopher Horner, senior fellow at CEI, says liberal groups tend to have their fees for documents waived nine out of 10 times – though conservative groups tend to have to pay document fees just as often.
“The idea is to throw hurdles in our way,” Horner told Fox News. He went onto say that he decided to examine the fee structure after the EPA repeatedly turned down his group for waivers.
“In 20 cases of ours, since the beginning of last year, we were expressly denied, or denied by them simply refusing to respond, in 18 out of 20 cases,” Horner said.
EPA – We didn’t do that’
“Earth Justice was batting 17 out of 19, the Sierra Club was the worst, at 70 percent granted, 11 out of 15. You add up some other groups and we found that 75 out of 82 groups granted, because these are the groups that the EPA has decided are the favored groups,” he said.
Of course the EPA denies any favoritism, but the agency’s obsession with progressive “green” issues belies its political bent.
Bob Perciasepe, the EPA’s acting administrator, said to the House energy panel May 16 that “our policy is to treat everybody the same,” and that the agency is considering pursuing an investigation. Only considering; so don’t expect much.
“The Office of Inspector General received from the Environmental Protection Agency the official request to look into this matter just over a week ago, so the request is currently under review by the OIG at this early stage,” the EPA said in a statement.
Next up: Health care reform
Horner remains unconvinced. He says fees or outright denials for information are tactics used by government agencies to thwart groups in which senior leaders disagree politically or to keep certain information from being made public.
“This is no different than denying a group that you don’t agree with … whether you are the IRS or the EPA, their tax-exempt status,” said Horner. “You’re talking about essentially making or breaking them, or at a minimum, snuffing out their ability to pursue their objectives.”
Have you noticed a trend here? All of these abuses are being committed by tenured bureaucrats who believe in a big, all-powerful federal government. Doubt me? Then why aren’t we hearing stories about how federal agencies are getting smaller and less intrusive?
Still think health care reform should be a government function?
Sources for this article include: