Is Obama the most corrupt President in US history?

The hashtag #RELEASETHEMEMO and #OBAMAGATE have been doing the rounds on social media following the revelations of a new FISA abuse report which is alleged to detail massive corruption by the Obama DOJ and FBI. In the dossier, which has not been made public, it is reported that the Obama admin used the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act to spy on members of the Trump administration such as Carter Page.

The justification for this abuse of FISA is said to stem from the Fusion GPS dossier which was funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC. People who have seen the report have said that the contents will “shock the conscience of a nation” and will make Watergate “look like child’s play.” Some are saying this will be one of the biggest scandals in American history.

Barack Obama will certainly come in for major criticism for the contents of this report. Some have equated the tactics used by the Obama administration when it comes to the abuse of FISA as something that would be more at home in Stalinist Russia or in the halls of the KGB or FSB. This however is not the only apparently corrupt action that has been undertaken by the Obama administration. During Obama’s time on office there were many incidents which took place to lead some to believe that Obama was the most corrupt president in US history.

One of the most shocking incidents of political subversion by the Obama admin was the seemingly politically motivated targeting of Conservatives by the IRS. Back in 2013, the Inland Revenue Service revealed it had began to scrutinize certain groups more thoroughly who were applying for tax-exempt status. Under United States federal tax law, specifically Section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code U.S.C. 501, certain types of nonprofit organizations are exempt from having to pay federal income tax. These groups include political action groups.

Beginning back in March 2010, groups that were mainly conservative began to be targeted by the IRS when it came to applications for tax-exempt status. The methodology used by the IRS included targeting groups with certain words in their names, such as Tea Party, Patriots and Israel. Employees of the Cincinnati, Ohio office of the IRS developed a list known as the “Be on the lookout” list which included groups applying from tax-exempt status with these words in their names.

Other criteria which was included on what to look out for were “groups that advocated or lobbied for making America a better place to live.” Other criteria included “groups that questioned the integrity of federal elections, advocated education about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, or had statements in the case file that criticized how the country is being run.” Over a two-year period the IRS placed on hold the processing of these groups application on hold. Although none of the groups were outwardly denied at during this time, only 4 had their applications granted. During this same time, groups with names such as “progressive, liberal or progress” had their applications granted with no increased scrutiny.

When these revelations became public, then Attorney General Eric Holder ordered an FBI criminal probe into the allegations. In January 2014, FBI director James Comey (yes, that James Comey) said that the FBI had found no evidence of “enemy hunting” by the IRS. In 2015, the Justice Department declared no criminal charges would be filed over the matter.

The list of controversies goes on under the Obama administration. One of the biggest sources of controversy during his tenure was the Benghazi attack. On September 11, 2012, on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Islamic militants linked to the Ansar al-Sharia group attacked two government facilities in Benghazi, Libya. During the attack on the American diplomatic compound,  U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith were killed.

Then on 4:00 am on September 12th, militants attacked a CIA annex about one mile away with mortars, resulting in the deaths of CIA contractors Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty and injuring 10 others. Barack Obama and his administration received widespread condemnation in the “House Benghazi” report which was released in 2016. It was found that the Obama admin knew that terrorism was behind the attack, but instead chose to alter the narrative by suggesting the blame lied with a ongoing protest about a video which was released called “The Innocence of Muslims” which triggered protests across the Middle East.

Hillary Clinton also suggested publically that the video was to blame for the death of the servicemen, but in an email to her daughter she wrote “Two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an al Qaeda like group.” The next day she came out and said that the administration was working on “determining the precise motives to this attack.” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said there was no evidence of a pre-meditated attack on the locations in Benghazi. The narrative around the motivations for the attack were blamed solely on the video, while evidence revealed in this report found that this narrative was contrary to the facts. Many have speculated that Obama and Clinton used this to cover up the failure of Obama’s foreign policy and that any mention of a terrorist attack would jeopardize Obama’s chances of re-election in the forthcoming Presidential race that fall.

Another scandal during Obama’s time in office is that which has become known as the “Fast and Furious” scandal. Operation Fast and Furious was a sting operation that was led by the ATF, beginning in 2006 and ending in 2011. The aim of the operation was to allow gun dealers to sell bulk purchases of firearms illegally in the hope of tracing the weapons back to Mexican cartels with the hope of arresting them. During the operation, it is thought that 2,000 guns were sold, but only 710 have been recovered. The tactic raised questions among many involved including the co-operating gun dealers and ATF field agents. Although some purchasers were indicted, no high ranking Mexican cartel figures were apprehended during the sting. The guns that were sold have also been estimated to have been used in the murder of 150 Mexican civilians and in the death of  United States Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry who was killed in December 2010.

Obama appeared on Mexican TV channel Univision in 2011 and denied that he had any knowledge of Operation Fast and Furious. In the same year, Attorney General Eric Holder testified before House Judiciary Committee that he was unaware who approved the operation. During the following investigations, Attorney General Eric Holder was held in contempt after a recommendation was made by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. This related to 1,300 pages of documents that Holder didn’t turn over to the committee. President Obama used his executive privilege to stop the documents from being released. This was the first time he did so during his presidency. This action sparked rumours of a cover-up over the Fast and Furious operation. In 2012, Eric Holder became the first sitting member of the Cabinet of the United States to be held in criminal contempt of Congress by the House of Representatives for refusing to disclose internal Justice Department documents in response to a subpoena.

In a report which was released on July 31st 2012, it was found that Fast and Furious resulted in a “change in strategy” from the Obama administration. In following reports it was found that Eric Holder did not know about Fat and Furious before early 2011. The Obama administration had its fair share of controversies, as do many Presidential reigns. But this latest allegation of the abuse of FISA warrants to spy on US citizens along with other controversies would make the legacy of Obama one that will not be looked over fondly by any neutral observers, never mind his political opponents. When people think of presidential corruption they might be inclined to think of Richard Nixon and Watergate, but Obama had his own fair share of corruption allegations against him to make it possible to count him in the same breath as any other name you can mention. If this report documenting FISA abuse is as shocking as some are claiming it to be, some might be asking the question: Is Obama the most corrupt president in US history?

Picture from nbcnews.com

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