Once in a blue moon, it is a worthy exercise of due diligence, to simply point out specific incidences of government sponsored, political intimidation that is now on the rise. Remember the reports earlier this year of the political intimidation coming out of the IRS against donors and supporters of Republican candidates? Government agencies used enforcement powers to harass, delay non-profit certification, or scare off donors to conservative groups such as the Tea Party.
Well, political intimidation by the Left and the government apparatus they control, never went away; it just changed venues.
Political Intimidation as campaign tactic
Scott Walker is the Governor of Wisconsin. He won election several years ago running on a platform of reforming public sector collective bargaining, lowering taxes and eliminating the State’s budget deficit. He was elected to office, succeeded at all three efforts and then fought off a recall engineered by public sector unions in his State.
Now, as his re-election campaign nears, a special prosecutor has been appointed in Wisconsin that has hit dozens of conservative groups with subpoenas demanding documents from the 2011 and 2012 campaigns. Wisconsin’s “John Doe” law prohibits targets of subpoenas from disclosing information about the subpoena, but the Wall Street Journal reports that several individuals have come forward about their subpoena. Information has also surfaced that the investigations began in the Milwaukee County Assistant District Attorney’s office, but no one will confirm that information or take credit for appointing the special prosecutor.
Growing, government sponsored political intimidation is by no means isolated to the IRS or Wisconsin. In California, the Fair Political Practices Commission has become hyper active in the area of political intimidation. The agency has filed 250 cases against lobbyists, lawmakers, and others and recently won more than one million dollars from one conservative group over its failure to disclose PAC donors from Arizona. Recent legislation has given the FPPC the power to garnish wages and seek other punishments; using these new powers, it has released the names of more than 200 people who have been fined, but not paid the fines.
The key point here, as it was in the IRS scandal and Mr. Walker’s current situation, is that political intimidation tactics need not prove guilt. The charges themselves, the threat of an investigation, and the requirements to provide back documentation to government regulatory or law enforcement agencies to refute the charges are often enough to scare away potential candidates and/or supporters of candidates before an election. Winning the election is the goal; a conviction may only be icing on the cake.