Whether the scrum surrounding the alleged targeting of conservative groups by the IRS is the next Watergate or simply one of many “phony” scandals depends largely on one’s political persuasion. Regardless, in an editorial on Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported on a new wrinkle that involves the SEC, and had a clear bias towards believing the charges.
“Senior Republicans on the House Oversight Committee recently wrote to new SEC Chairman Mary Jo White to report on disturbing events that occurred under her predecessor [Mary Schapiro], and to request agency documents,” the paper said.
Reps. Darrell Issa, R-Calif.; Jim Jordan, R-Ohio; and Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., say that documents they already have “indicate that the SEC has been under immense pressure from elected officials and special interest groups as part of a government-wide effort to stifle political speech.” They further note that the pressure has largely succeeded in “moving the commission closer to using its authority to regulate public securities markets as a backdoor way to limit the political speech of the same types of groups targeted by the IRS.”
One way to discourage groups critical of the government is for the IRS to sit on their applications for tax-exempt status while applying the normal review process to groups friendly to the White House, The Journal noted.
Another way is to have the SEC discourage public companies from supporting independent organizations, “while applying no such regulation to labor unions.
“Corporations tend to support groups on both the left and the right, whereas unions are more reliably liberal. If businesses are limited in the public debate, it’s a big win for Democrats.”