- The IG report on the IRS' targeting of conservatives pinpoints it as starting in March 2010.
- In February 2010, a nut named Joseph Stack flew a small plane into the IRS building in Austin, TX. He left behind a manifesto that, among other things, criticized the overly complex tax code. (He also appeared to side with communism against capitalism, but that didn't get as much attention.)
- Pundits such as Frank Rich of the New York Times immediately linked Stack to the Tea Party, albeit without any evidence:
"Stack was a lone madman, and it would be both glib and inaccurate to call him a card-carrying Tea Partier or a ''Tea Party terrorist.'' But he did leave behind a manifesto whose frothing anti-government, anti-tax rage overlaps with some of those marching under the Tea Party banner." (2/28/2010)
- Meanwhile, other liberal pundits like Leonard Pitts were arguing openly that the Tea Party was nothing more than racism against a black President:
Why were the pundits so exercised against the tea party and so fearful of its clout? Because they were losing. Only a month earlier, Republican Scott Brown out of nowhere had won the Senate seat of Teddy Kennedy in Massachusetts, winning the special election for the seat on January 19th. Polls were showing a majority of Americans didn't want to see Obama re-elected.
Losing makes you desperate.
- Desperate enough for Obama to break tradition and openly attack the Supreme Court during his State of the Union address in late January 2010, specifically on the issue of campaign finance reform and the Citizens United decision.
Desperate enough to sic the IRS on your political enemies in the Tea Party?
I think that question answers itself.
Kudos to the WSJ and Kim Strassel for a great article providing still more context of the 2010 move to go after the Tea Party by the IRS.