Obama and the Chicago Way: Intimidate, silence and destroy 'enemies'

Obama’s Chicago-style government generated the AP and IRS scandals, with more surely to follow Photo: AP

WASHINGTON, May 28, 2013 ― “We are going to punish our enemies and we are going to reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.” ― President Obama


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There are two main concepts embodied by Chicago style politics: First, punishing political enemies in order to silence them and make examples out of them so others who agree with them remain silent; and second, rewarding political friends in return for their campaign contributions and votes in order to encourage others to act similarly.

The approach is to do whatever is necessary to silence or destroy enemies and exalt friends so that other people will know how they should act. They must learn to expect swift and severe repercussions for disobedience.


SEE RELATED: President Obama, the Chicago Way, and the First Amendment


This term has developed because of the unmatched and outrageous corruption that has always permeated the political environment in Illinois, and Chicago specifically. For example, four out of the last seven governors of Illinois went to federal prison, and between 1976 and 2010, there were 1,531 arrests of public officials in the federal district dominated by Chicago. This is far more than in any other similarly sized city.

This is exactly how Obama and his inner circle of Chicago politicians have been running the U.S. government since he got into office. This approach to governance has produced the AP and IRS scandals, with others before those and more certain to follow.

The IRS (with over 90,000 employees) and the federal tax code (over 73,900 pages long) are the perfect instruments for a dictatorial government to use to attack its political enemies. The tax code is so complex that it can be used to pursue and destroy any individual or group successfully. If the back taxes and fines don’t finish the job, the massive legal and accounting fees in addition to the destruction of the enemy’s reputation in the business world should be enough to silence the rest of the opposition.  


SEE RELATED: IRS, Obama, and plausible deniability


For example, Frank VanderSloot, an Idaho businessman who donated one million dollars to the Romney campaign, says that immediately following his donation he was personally audited by both the IRS and the Labor Department. In addition, his business was audited by the IRS and he was investigated by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. That comes to a total of five federal investigations. In legal fees alone, Mr. VanderSloot spent over $100,000 fighting these audits. The IRS didn’t issue any fines or back taxes, but they sure sent a message to him and others like him: Stay silent or we will silence you.

​Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) has initiated an investigation into the IRS’ treatment of Romney supporters in his home state. 

​In addition to going after individual citizens for practicing constitutionally protected political speech,  the IRS tax exempt division has been targeting conservative groups that have applied for non-profit status under section 501 (c) 4.

The only requirement under the tax code to qualify as a 501 (c)(4) group, or a “civic service non-profit,” is that at least 50 percent of the group’s actions must benefit “social welfare.” The rest of the activities can be political if they so choose. “Social welfare” is very liberally defined and can include activities such as voter registration drives, under 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(4)(A). The IRS is allowed to ask certain questions to verify that groups are in compliance with the statute, but the inquiries are very strictly regulated.  

​In March of 2010, the same month the Democrats finished ramming the healthcare bill down the American people’s throats, the division of the IRS that processes tax exempt organizations started using a BOLO (“be on the lookout”) list. This list included any organization with any of the following words in its name: “tea party,” “conservative,” “patriot,” or “constitution.” 

​USA Today reports that before March of 2010, both tea party and progressive or liberal groups were having no problem getting 501 (c) (4) approval. Then, all of a sudden, beginning in March of 2010 not one conservative group was approved for the next 27 months, until the Treasury Inspector General’s investigation heated up, and it was too late for those groups to make an impact on the 2012 presidential election. At the same time, Progressive and Liberal groups were having no problem getting approval.

​For example, the Barack Obama Foundation, founded by President Obama’s brother, got approval in an unprecedented 28 days

King Street Patriots, a tea party group in Houston, Texas, is still fighting for approval after more than three years and three audits by the IRS and Labor Department as well as audits from the EPA and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. The IRS even requested every tweet and Facebook post the president of the group ever made.

​So far, it has been determined that over 500 conservative groups were targeted and affected by this practice. The Obama Administration has blamed this on “a few low level employees” in a Cincinnati IRS office. It has now been shown that at least 140 people at the IRS were involved in, and knew of, the illegal targeting of conservative groups.  

White House counsel was made aware of this investigation weeks prior to this information becoming public but decided it was not important enough to inform Obama about. Obama stated that he found out about the illegal activity going on in his executive branch when he read about it in the newspaper

​Most of the people at the IRS involved in the trampling of the Constitutional rights of those who disagreed with the administration were not appointed by Obama, so why wouldn’t they speak up about the targeting? In a Chicago style political machine, the government worker owes his job and his standing to his political boss, who in this case was appointed by Obama. The workers don’t have to be told how to act, because they want a promotion and they see that when other workers step out of line, they get erased, while the good lap dogs get promotions. Incentives work.  

​Gregory Hicks, one of the main whistleblowers on the Benghazi cover-up, and the man who is mainly responsible for coordinating the rescue of the American civilians who survived the terrorist attack in Benghazi has learned this lesson the hard way.

Hicks was a 22 year employee of the state department who had never had one bad review and had spent the previous 16 years at a consulate somewhere as the number two or three man in charge. He was told not to talk to the Republicans in Congress. When he violated the administration’s orders by talking to a U.S. Representative, something Foreign Service Officers have always done when asked, he was immediately demoted to a desk job and had his pay drastically cut. No wonder no other people on the ground in Benghazi will speak with Congress. They got the message. Stay silent or we will break you.

​Obama used his second most frequently used weapon, the federal criminal code, against another one of his enemies, Fox News.

James Rosen, the Fox News journalist who reported some alleged confidential information that he received from an undisclosed State Department employee regarding North Korea’s plan to complete nuclear tests in response to newly passed UN sanctions, experienced unprecedented harassment intended to make him and Fox News follow orders.

The Obama Administration had requested that the media keep this information about North Korea concealed for a certain amount of time; Rosen did not listen.

The Deptartment of Justice, overseen by Attorney General Eric Holder, went to a federal court and claimed that Rosen was a criminal co-conspirator under the Espionage Act of 1917, and requested an unlimited warrant to search his private emails, phone records, and more. The intrusion went so far as to gain access not only to Rosen’s personal email accounts and phone records, but also those of his parents!

Five other Fox News journalists have said that they have had their personal emails and phone records subpoenaed by the Justice Department as well.

In response to another instance of disobedience, the Department of Justice subpoenaed two months of phone records from the Associated Press. The Associated Press unknowingly had at least 20 phone lines tapped for over two months, and the recordings were all subject to review by the Deptartment of Justice.

In comparison, The New York Times leaked that President Obama has a “kill list” of terrorists he intends on going after in the Middle East. The Washington Post leaked that the United States and Israel were behind the Stuxnet virus that attacked Iran’s nuclear system. Of course, the administration did not prosecute or investigate their lapdogs at the New York Times or the Washington Post.

The President of the AP says that the Obama Administration has successfully scared off many of his sources, who are sure to soon receive a letter from the IRS. But, not to worry, the administration will get to the bottom of this. Obama has asked Eric Holder to investigate Holder’s own illegal activities at Justice and to report back to him within one month. We shouldn’t expect any strong indictment of Eric Holder from Eric Holder.  

The overall message these scandals send to individuals and small groups considering getting into politics is, if you get involved in politics, and if your views are conservative, government can and will destroy you as it pleases.

The IRS and AP scandals indicate that the means utilized in order to reach the Obama Administration’s desired ends are irrelevant. As long as the desired end is ultimately realized, the administration will do whatever is necessary to get there, including silencing or destroying anyone who stands in their way. Welcome to Chicago on the Potomac. It will only get worse from here.


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James Richard Edwards

James R. Edwards is a medical malpractice defense attorney in Houston, Tx. He obtained a Bachelor’s degree from LSU (Geaux Tigers!) in Psychology and subsequently went on to attend the University of Houston Law Center. James became interested in politics in law school because of the consistent and oppressive disgust and revulsion shown by the staff and Professors for the Constitution and for America in general. He is a tireless advocate for federalism and minimizing the impact the federal government has on all of our lives. 

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