President Obama. (Larry Downing/Reuters) President Obama. (Larry Downing/Reuters)

Encouraged by the lack of a public backlash, an uninquisitive press, cover from the White House and an eager-to-please bureaucracy, the Democrats are boldly counting on the IRS to be their political and policy enforcer.This statement isn’t an overreach by the “vast right-wing conspiracy” or a phony crisis created by hecklers (like me) on the right — it goes back to the early stages of President Obama’s reelection campaign. Remember the case of Romney supporter Frank Vandersloot? Before the 2012 campaign, he was publicly accused of having a “less-than-reputable record” by Team Obama and then found himself the target of IRS and Department of Labor audits. This was just one example of an individual who was persecuted because of his donation to a pro-Romney super PAC, but it served as a sufficient warning and no doubt had a chilling effect on others who were inclined to support the Republican nominee for president in 2012. And we now know that while this was going on, the IRS was actively suppressing conservative organizations seeking tax-exempt status because they opposed the president and the Democrats’ policy positions.

Lois Lerner, the government official at the center of the IRS scandal, took the fifth amendment in a high-profile congressional hearing, then quietly retired from the agency with a taxpayer-funded pension. She hasn’t been heard from since. The Obama administration has gone into overdrive since the scandal broke to avoid any accountability, with the president famously telling Bill O’Reilly of Fox News only a few weeks ago that there was “not even a smidgen of corruption” in the IRS targeting of conservative groups. Comically, this is still an active and ongoing investigation by the Obama Department of Justice, so you would think the president wouldn’t be able to come to that conclusion quite yet. Of course, no one in the administration can comment on an active and ongoing investigation, so it is the perfect cover for self-preservation and is reassuring to those doing the Democrats’ bidding in the IRS and elsewhere.  Let’s also remember that the Justice Department’s farce of an investigation into the IRS targeting scandal is now being led by trial lawyer and Obama donor Barbara Bosserman. It’s so brazen, I almost admire their audaciousness. In politics, gall pays off.

And don’t forget, it is the IRS that is now tasked with enforcing the Democrats’ penalties against businesses who do not conform to the latest Obamacare changes, in addition to their pursuit of individuals who are not in compliance with their law. Last week, we learned President Obama unilaterally gave the IRS the mandate to monitor the thinking and attitude of any business that might be trying to circumvent the negative impacts of Obamacare, and punish them accordingly. And presumably the punishment isn’t limited to civil fines, but includes criminal perjury charges as well.

Anyway, the blatant use of the IRS as the Democrats’ cat’s paw has clearly taken root within individual Democratic campaigns. An article in The Hill quotes several vulnerable Senate Democrats — such as Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) — who are openly demanding the IRS increase their intimidation of organizations that may oppose them. Obviously, the Democrats expect more from their team members at the IRS in the months leading up to the 2014 elections.

While the IRS goes after individuals and small businesses as ordered by the White House, there still hasn’t been any punishment for those who unjustly pursued Frank Vandersloot. Lois Lerner has disappeared from the headlines after Democrats protected her, and the IRS “investigation” is led by a friendly Obama donor. All this has led Democrats facing election in 2014 to feel emboldened to complain openly about the IRS not doing enough as an organ of the Democratic Party. Maybe I’m a paranoid Republican, but you don’t have to be a conspiracist to see that there is an ominous pattern emerging of the IRS being involved on behalf of the president’s political interests.

Follow Ed on Twitter: @EdRogersDC

Ed Rogers is a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991.