A handful of people were audited by the IRS after doing some conservative political activism, and therefore, McClatchy's David Lightman and Kevin G. Hall report, the IRS might have targeted them because of their conservatism. The story arrived late in a month of scandal when a growing number of people conveniently claimed that the IRS had audited them because they are conservative — and claimed as much without much more proof than that 1) the IRS had audited them and 2) they are conservative.
"Retired military veteran Mark Drabik of Nebraska became active in and donated to conservative causes, then found the IRS challenging his church donations," McClatchy reports, along with other anecdotes of conservatives having a hard time with the IRS. "[T]hese examples suggest the government was looking at a broader array of conservative groups and perhaps individuals." Without further evidence, these examples don't suggest that. But there has been an avalanche of claims — not just from would-be heroes, but average folk and major pundits — that because conservatives were audited, they were audited because they're conservative.
- New York City strip club owner Sam Zherka says he was investigated by the IRS in 2010, shortly after calling for a local Tea Party. "They're investigating every dealing I've done, since the beginning of time," Zherka says. He claims the FBI is involved, too, and is suing both agencies.
- Rep. Bill Flores suggested to The National Review that he might have been asked for more information about his tax returns because he made inquiries to the IRS on behalf of a Tea Party group in Texas.
- Franklin Graham, president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, told Politico that the IRS asked about his group's political activity because, "someone in the administration was targeting and attempting to intimidate us."
- Former Libertarian Party candidate Wayne Allyn Root said "I am the face of Obama’s IRS attacks," but as Mother Jones' Stephanie Mencimer reports, there were probably other reasons Root was audited. Like that in 2007, Root and his wife reported $215,000 in gross income, but had so many write offs that he claimed his taxable income was just $25,000. In 2008, his gross income was $209,000 but his taxable income was $136,000. Root apparently filed a Schedule C, Mencimer reports, and about 25 percent of all Schedule Cs get audited.
- The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan made a similar claim, saying Romney donor Frank VanderSloot "found himself last June, for the first time in 30 years, the target of I.R.S. auditors." Does that mean VanderSloot was audited in 1982? No doubt he was being persecuted by Ronald Reagan.