On Tax Day, an honest, fair IRS chief remembered....
Last month Randolph Thrower, the first IRS commissioner under President Richard Nixon, passed on, age 100, having been what hitherto I would have called an oxymoron--an "IRS hero." His NY Times obituary recalls honorable, courageous resistance to White House pressure to make the IRS a tool for harassing administration opponents:
The end came in January 1971, after Mr. Thrower requested a meeting with the president, hoping to warn him personally about the pressure White House staff members had been placing on the I.R.S. to audit the tax returns of certain individuals. Beginning with antiwar leaders and civil rights figures, the list had grown to include journalists and members of Congress, among them every Democratic senator up for re-election in 1970, Mr. Thrower told investigators years later.
He was certain the president was unaware of this and would agree that “any suggestion of the introduction of political influence into the I.R.S.” could damage his presidency, he said.
Mr. Thrower received two responses. The first was a memo from the president’s appointments secretary saying a meeting would not be possible; the second was a phone call from John D. Ehrlichman, the president’s domestic affairs adviser, telling him he was fired.
Nixon's attitude was in fact the opposite of what Thrower believed:
In White House tapes and memos released in later years, Nixon described the situation differently. “May I simply reiterate for the record that I wish Randolph Thrower, commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, removed at the earliest feasible opportunity,” he wrote on Jan. 21, 1971, five days before the White House announced that Mr. Thrower was stepping down.
That May, as the administration continued to look for a successor to Mr. Thrower, Nixon made clear what kind of I.R.S. commissioner he wanted. “I want to be sure he is a ruthless son of a bitch,” he was recorded as saying, “that he will do what he is told, that every income tax return I want to see I see” and “that he will go after our enemies and not go after our friends.”
No wonder Thrower came to dislike the president. Honor the man for a life well-lived.
Bottom Line. The "everybody did it" defense is NOT available to anyone in the Obama administration involved in the abuse of IRS power to harass political opponents. Yet the mainstream progressive press did not rise to the occasion and go after Team Obama with a fraction of the enthusiasm displayed going after guilty Nixon. Nor did it do so, for that matter, with the innocent Mitt Romney in 2012 & the equally innocent Sarah Palin in 2008.
This pernicious favoritism represents far more than mere media bias; it signifies contemptuous betrayal of the mainstream press's oft-repeated proclamation that it reports the truth without fear or favor.
Letter from the Capitol, LFTC, Conservative Politics