I am a maven of coincidence.
One of my former colleagues calls me a "bon vivant" of news. When news happens some how I usually find some bizarre connection to it whether through a close friend, family, or myself.
But recently I couldn't help but note the irony when looking at the IRS targeting conservative groups.
Let me preface this by saying I do believe this is only coincident, that said it is a weird coincident. Recently I was audited by the IRS for tax year 2010, long story short- I took the wrong tax credit.
The irony comes when you examine what I was doing professionally in 2010. In 2010 I was seeking my masters degree at Providence College while working full-time producing the Helen Glover Show on 920 WHJJ.
The show is arguably one of the more conservative shows in the state and on the program every week on Wednesday, Helen had a segment where she would interview the head of the Rhode Island Tea Party who at the time was Colleen Conley. The "tea time" segment was largely popular with Helen's audience.
I moved on from that job in 2011 to pursue a career in journalism and branch away from "talk."
Much to my surprise, I was audited for the 2010 tax year. That said, I'm sure I was flagged for the tax credit but during, and after the audit I realized what a nightmare the IRS can be.
I don't break rules, I'm a law abiding citizen, I pay my student loans and credit cards, so when it came to an IRS audit I was completely panicked. Because of the big "audit," I can feel the pain of the individuals who were actually targeted.
The IRS and even the thought of an audit are down right frightening. If you haven't kept good financial records- good luck! An audit exasperates a huge amount of time and resources. For a person to face such scrutiny not because they were tax dodging, or hiding money, but because of their political ideology is nothing short of cruel.
Using the IRS to intimidate is a clear insult to our country's founding values. It is an egregious attack on our liberties as United States citizens, and the founding fathers would be rolling over in their graves to see such abuse. Democrats and Republicans agree that whoever was responsible for "targeting" specific groups and people should be held responsible.
A few times in American history individuals have used Government resources to targeted political opponents. No one will forget Richard Nixon's enemy's list which was exposed in the national "Watergate" scandal. Nixon used the Internal Revenue Service as away to go after "enemies" including reporters and political opponents.
In the 1950's U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy used what is now known as "McCarthism" to intimidate political opponent and restrict government criticism. As a result thousands of educators, union members, and entertainers were targeted and put on "black lists" so that they could not obtain employment. McCarthy didn't use the IRS, he used the FBI but he still hit people where it hurt- the wallet.
McCarthism and Watergate were bleak times in American history when the people were betrayed by their own government. The IRS targeting specific individual's because of political ideology rises to a similar standard.
In a large country with thousands of ‘players' at work it is only to be expected that somebody will get carried away, after all "power corrupts." The real question is how we as a country and how our government handles this situation and the investigation into the IRS's actions.
It is the handling of the situation and whether anyone is held accountable for this situation that will mold the American perception.
If there are no consequences it will show that the government can be used to persecute individuals at no cost however, if there are major consequences it would show that the American people will not let their liberties be compromised.
Only time can answer this question but lets hope that all those in government remember why they were elected and make the choice to stand up for the United State's founding principles and demand accountability.
Dee DeQuattro is the assignment desk manager and digital news coordinator for ABC6. She studied politics and communications and holds a master's degree from Providence College. Follow her on twitter @deedequattro and log on to ABC6 .com for her latest in depth coverage of politics and news.