It appears the targeting of conservative organizations and individuals by the IRS may not to be limited to delays in reviewing their tax-exempt status.
Dr. Ben Carson is a retired neurosurgeon who gave a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in February 2013. In that speech, Dr. Carson shared his views on taxation, education, health care, and the growing trend that being politically correct seemed to be more important than the freedom of speech.
Dr. Carson’s speech gained attention at the time because many observers considered the views expressed in his speech to be politically conservative and counter to those of President Obama. President Obama was seated only a few feet away from Dr. Carson during his speech.
National Prayer Breakfast Speech Gains Political (and IRS) Attention
After the speech and the political attention it gained, Dr. Carson noted he did not intend for his comments to have such political impact and his comments were not meant to single out President Obama or any single politician but rather bad habits of the nation’s political leaders in general.
“There are a number of policies that I don’t believe lead to the growth of our nation and don’t lead to the elevation of our nation,” noted Dr. Carson. “I don’t want to sit here and say all of [President Obama’s] policies are bad. What I would like to see more often in this nation is an open and intelligent conversation, not people just casting aspersions at each other. I mean, it’s unbelievable to me the way people act like third graders. And if somebody doesn’t agree with them, they’re this and they’re that and, you know—it comes from both sides. And it’s just so infantile.”
On Thursday, Dr. Carson revealed that the IRS audited his real estate shortly after giving the National Prayer Breakfast in February.
“I guess it could be a coincidence, Dr. Carson noted. “But I never had been audited before and never really had any encounters with the IRS. But it certainly would make one suspicious because we know now the IRS has been used for political purposes and therefore actions like this come under suspicion.”
Dr. Carson noted that the IRS found no issues in their audit.
Dr. Carson’s Revelation Heightens Calls to Continue IRS Investigation
Melanie Sloan, the leader of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, noted the timing of the IRS’ audit of Dr. Carson was concerning.
“I have not been particularly persuaded in the past with the IRS targeting of the tea party groups,” noted Sloan. “But this one seems a little odd. This certainly raises questions that I assume someone will begin to investigate.”
The IRS has been embroiled in a scandal since May in which they delayed the application for tax-exempt status by many Tea Party and other conservative organizations. IRS leaders, including Lois Lerner who announced the investigation into the matter, originally blamed rogue IRS agents in one of their field offices. However, investigation by the Department of Justice and congressional committees found from e-mails that Lerner and other IRS leaders in Washington were directing those in the field office and were reviewing the results.
Dr. Carson, 62, announced his retirement as a neurosurgeon in March 2013. In July, Dr. Carson began writing a weekly column for The Washington Times.
Mark has been a contributor to legal web sites related to bankruptcy, tax, and criminal law since 2011. He has an Accounting degree from Texas A&M University.