Magazine article Insight on the News

IRS Audits of Clinton Critics Need to Be Revisited

Magazine article Insight on the News

IRS Audits of Clinton Critics Need to Be Revisited

Article excerpt

In October 1996, the Wall Street Journal published an article by Joe Farah, the founder of the Western Journalism Center, or WJC, in which he charged that the IRS was conducting a politically motivated audit of his nonprofit organization. He said an IRS agent told their accountant, "This is a political case and the decision is going to be made at the national level." There was other evidence of a political vendetta, including a call from one of the center's big donors who said he had been told by then-Energy Department secretary Hazel O'Leary that he would lose his federal contracts if he continued supporting the WJC. Farah's counterattack eventually was successful. It was discovered that WJC was only one of some 25 conservative nonprofits that were being subjected to IRS audits. Congress became interested, and the WJC audit was ended with the center keeping its tax-exempt status.

But Farah, a veteran journalist, wanted to find out what had triggered the audit. He tried to get a copy of the IRS case file, which was his right, but the IRS refused to divulge it, claiming "government privilege." Farah suspected that meant that the White House was involved. Larry Klayman's Judicial Watch then filed a $10 million lawsuit against the IRS and White House officials on behalf of the WJC. This action produced some dramatic results. On July 20 -- the sixth anniversary of the death of White House deputy counsel Vincent Foster -- WorldNetDaily reported that the Treasury Department had turned over a report that traced the origin of the audit to a fax to the president about a WJC full-page ad that questioned the findings in the Foster-death investigation.

The fax, dated Nov. 9, 1994, was from Paul Venze of Beverly Hills, Calif. The Treasury report written in 1997 stated, "The audit originated from a taxpayer who faxed a letter to the White House expressing his concern over a one-page advertisement paid for by WCJ [Western Center for Journalism, sic] that asked for contributions to investigate (White House deputy counsel Vincent) Foster's death. The fax was forwarded to the EO [Exempt Organizations] National Office and then to the respective Key District Office for appropriate actions." Venze's fax had questioned how the WJC could be tax exempt. He wrote that the ad in the Los Angeles Times seemed "politically motivated and mean. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.