Another (apparent) Case of Politically-Driven Government Abuse of a Small Business

Catherine Engelbrecht and her husband own a small manufacturing business.

Catherine dared to express political opinions and organize political activities which were not to the liking of the Obama administration and its left-wing allies. Very quickly, Engelbrecht Manufacturing found itself facing inquiries from the IRS and the FBI and OSHA and the ATF.

Read Catherine Engelbrecht’s story here.

Of course, we can’t be sure–and Catherine can’t be sure–that these investigations were politically-motivated. Maybe the aggregate of separate actions by separate agencies was merely a matter of chance. It seems about as likely as being hit on the head by a meteor, but it’s possible.

And it is specifically this impossibility of knowing what is really behind discretionary activities on the part of large and powerful government bureaucracies (absent legal action forcing the agencies to reveal their internal documents and discussions, which most people will not be able to afford) that makes this sort of thing so frightening.

I don’t think any seriously-informed person can doubt that a climate of intimidation is being driven by the Obama administration. Obama has clearly brought some of the toxic aspects of Chicago political culture to Washington with him, and these are added to the end-justifies-the-means philosophy which is a staple of leftism in general.

As long as Barack Obama is in office, I don’t see how anyone can feel reasonably assured of fair and nonpolitical treatment by any federal agency.

Catherine Engelbrecht says the harassment has forced her to seriously reconsider whether her political activity is worth the government harassment she’s faced.

“I left a thriving family business with my husband that I loved, to do something I didn’t necessarily love, but [which] I thought had to be done,” she says. “But I really think if we don’t do this, if we don’t stand up and speak now, there might not [always] be that chance.”

22 thoughts on “Another (apparent) Case of Politically-Driven Government Abuse of a Small Business”

  1. This the” Chicago Way” and the country is finally learning about it. Now that the election is over and Obama has been re-elected, the lefty news media can safely pretend to investigate. I sure hope the House Republican stay on this.

    Darrell Issa is not a guy to mess with although I’m sure his tax returns have been reviewed 100 times. There was a local story here last year that they were trying to attack his business expenses by saying that his office was “a resort area” because a golf course was visible from it. A local reporter went to his office and took pictures from all angles. The golf course is a mile away.

    He’s not my Congressman but I’m proud of him. I think his district is the one that Ron Packard represented. In one of my rare forays into national politics, I was able to help Ron Packard win his seat as a write-in. The first time since the Civil War. I got the AMA and the local medical associations to support him over the hapless party nominee.

    In 1982, Packard lost the Republican primary for United States House of Representatives in a crowded field of candidates to Johnnie Crean by 92 votes.[1] Crean’s character came into issue, with his negative ads and false claim of endorsement by Ronald Reagan, so, after some reluctance, Packard launched a campaign as a write-in candidate. Packard ran a poll which found that voters would vote for him, especially if they knew how to write him in. Packard campaigned with a gigantic pencil as a prop while giving out golf pencils to district residents. An organized effort among fellow Mormons helped the campaign. Packard won the election by 11,000 votes to become the first independent write-in candidate to defeat candidates of both the Democratic and Republican parties.

    Yup: In Congress he was known as a deficit hawk, a critic of legislative “pork”, and opponent of illegal immigration. He was succeeded by Republican Darrell Issa.

    For once the Chicago Way lost. I actually knew Johnny Crean and played golf with him but kept my activity at a low profile.

  2. “Obama has clearly brought some of the toxic aspects of Chicago political culture to Washington with him…”

    That was one of the first things that shocked me: I grew up among liberals who had long denounced Chicago’s corrupt politics. Along came a leftist from that machine and they instantly forgot everything they supposedly knew and valued.

  3. Meanwhile, Catherine says the harassment has forced her to seriously reconsider whether her political activity is worth the government harassment she’s faced.

    We’re probably hearing from only a few of the Obama administration’s victims. The rest either haven’t realized why they were targeted or don’t want to draw more attention to themselves.

    IOW, the Administration’s intimidation campaign against political opponents is working. Publicity from media coverage of the “scandal” serves the Administration’s purposes by convincing Obama opponents and potential opponents that open opposition just isn’t worth it. The only way this isn’t true is if the opponents become politically cohesive and strong enough to neutralize the Administration’s efforts, via Congressional investigations, prosecutions of implicated officials, the defunding of bureaucracies and, ultimately, the election of Administration opponents.

  4. The American people vote in election after election to establish a technocracy wherein we are governed by wise bureaucrats, only to discover that the public servants don’t serve the public but serve the thugs the public elects. Having created the institutions of tyranny, who can be surprised they are run by tyrants?

  5. As more and more people realize that no, it wasn’t just a coincidence that suddenly they were getting audited/inspected/reviewed/fined – that it was part of a deliberate policy, and as a reprisal for speaking out politically, I rather think this scandal will be the one with legs, with maybe Benghazi as a second. Not to many ordinary Americans have much to do with the State Department, or the military – but just about all of us have had dealings with the IRS … and written a letter to the editor, called their congress-critter, complained on a blog. This is something that hits on a huge portion of the American public.
    The most passionate political revolutionaries are those of a class who can remember when things were better, and are pissed-off no end at those who are deliberately seeming to make it worse.

  6. Rush was just arguing that the purpose of the bureaucratic abuse is to intimidate Republican donors, and that the IRS scandal, the gun bill and the immigration bill are all about the 2014 elections. He mentioned the abuse of Gibson Guitars (run by a Republican donor), and the closing of GM dealerships owned by Republican donors, as part of the same pattern. He said that the IRS scandal came to light not because the Administration wanted to distract from Benghazi but because they want everyone to know what will happen to them if they donate to Republicans. I suspect that he is correct on all points.

  7. Related: the Department of Justice Inspector General has stated that former U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke leaked a document intended to smear an Operation Fast and Furious scandal whistleblower, John Dodson.

    I expect that a lot more unpleasant things are going to come out in the next few days, as people see the pattern and realize that government harassment they encountered was NOT a random mistake.

    If there are not SERIOUS consequences for those involved in perpetrating the current abuses…firings of high-level officials, criminal prosecution for especially egregious offenders, explicit legislation by Congress to bring rogue agencies to heel….then we are going to see far, far more of this kind of thing in the run-up to the 2014 and 2016 elections.

  8. You understand, I hope, that actual cases of voter fraud are extremely rare. Because of this fact the rights assault on marginal voters is obviously a tactic to suppress voting. This is so widespread that the FBI has taken an interest.

    Hey the photo was enough to crack me up. Brave woman faces down … whatever and stares up into a … I dunno. It is funny.

  9. “IRS scandal a reminder of how I learned about The Chicago Way” by John Kass

    … if you want to understand The Chicago Way of things in Washington these days, with the guys from Chicago in charge of the White House and the federal leviathan, there’s one place you start: You start in Chicago.

    * * *

    I couldn’t understand how we could argue about politics over baklava and watermelon and coffee, but not put it into practice. We could support a political candidacy, we could donate or work for one or another politician that we agreed with. This is America, I said.

    “Are you in your good senses?” said my father. “We have lives here. We have businesses. If we get involved in politics, they will ruin us.”

    * * *

    This was Chicago. And for a business owner to get involved meant one thing: It would cost you money and somebody from government could destroy you. The health inspectors would come, and the revenue department, the building inspectors, the fire inspectors, on and on. The city code books aren’t thick because politicians like to write new laws and regulations. The codes are thick because when government swings them at a citizen, they hurt.

    * * *

    I didn’t understand it all back then, but I understand it now. Once there were old bosses. Now there are new bosses. And shopkeepers still keep their mouths shut. Tavern owners still keep their mouths shut.

    * * *

    And now — with the IRS used as political muscle and the Obama administration keeping that secret until after the president was elected — America understands it too.

  10. The lady who started “True the Vote” was an election judge and the fraud she saw at the polls is what got her interested in voter ID and fraud.

    PenGun, as usual, recites the leftist line without the slightest knowledge except what he reads in the DailyKos and Media Matters blogs.

  11. ” that makes this sort of thing so frightening.”

    Hmm. Now what frightens them? This is thinking that will free you, or begin to..

    ErisGuy got it right. People seem to want a benevolent tyranny. We don’t have one, it’s incapable of passing a budget or managing anything. Certainly not reform. Seriously?

    We certainly have tyranny by all measures of history except the 20th century. Cuz they’re pussies.

    That’s what you’re frightened of.

    At least stop petitioning the tyrant, especially since it’s a bureaucracy.

    Good grief.

  12. “Really Michael, you need actual data to understand how bad it is:

    “A News21 analysis of 2,068 alleged election-fraud cases since 2000 shows that while fraud has occurred, the rate is infinitesimal, and in-person voter impersonation on Election Day, which prompted 37 state legislatures to enact or consider tough voter ID laws, is virtually non-existent.

    Analysis of the resulting comprehensive News21 election fraud database turned up 10 cases of voter impersonation. With 146 million registered voters in the United States during that time, those 10 cases represent one out of about every 15 million prospective voters.”

    There ya go. Is it time for dueling data?

  13. Journalism schools are reliable bastions of left wing thought. To repeat, the lady who founded “True the Vote” was an election judge who got interested in vote fraud from the stuff she saw at the polls in 2008. She never met Karl Rove.

    My mother was denied the vote in 1996 by a Democrat poll watcher who refused to accept her registration. The voting place was in the lobby of the building in Chicago where she had lived for 30 years. It was in Jesse Jackson Jr’s district where I had grown up before it became 99% black.

    Just another of those rare instances that PenGun knows nothing about. You needed legal ID to get into the Democrat convention but not to vote. Loretta Sanchez was elected by vote fraud in Orange County back in her first race. By 400 votes.

  14. Story on Engelbrecht in the Washington Times today. This is outrageous. It can only be deliberate.

  15. @Pen
    News21? Hahahaha. From their site: Media partners
    The Washington Post,, National Public Radio
    OK, nothing to see here, move along now.

    Listen, pal, I did politics in Chicago and California for thirty years. If you think the amount of vote fraud committed in this country, especially by Democrats, is “infinitesimal”, then you can be nothing other than brain dead. Or a liar.
    People who chat here are neither stupid or gullible. Go waste someone else’s time. Moron.

  16. Catherine Engelbrecht and a lot of other “Chicago Way” victims have legal recourse to recover damages via Civil RICO law suits.

    See my post:

    “When Nixon Meets RICO, Obama’s Real IRS Problem”

    Seeing the FBI, ATF and OSHA dance on the end of the same legal noose as the IRS will be worth the price of admission at the Federal District court when the case is heard.

    Court TV will love it.

  17. PenGun is merely an honest Prog. Hence the just appellation of Tard.

    But they have power. They pretty much wield it as he would, they just aren’t openly GLEE-ful about it.

    @ T/T,

    RICO for the IRS/FBI/OSHA/ATF?

    My Dear Sir. Are you implying that our government are racketeering organized crime?

    Sure Trent. Come the Resolution they’ll be tried.

  18. You are generally “whistling in the dark” and will jump on anything that hurts your perceived enemies. This is why America is doing badly on several levels. If you cannot cooperate at a fundamental level after you have your election you are doomed. All the continuation of this trend will achieve is something approaching the Shiite/Sunni split in the Muslim religion. Then you can fight to the death.

    An honest progressive. Well thank you, I’ll take what I can get. You understand, I hope, progress and retarded are technically opposites.

  19. “All the continuation of this trend will achieve is something approaching the Shiite/Sunni split in the Muslim religion. Then you can fight to the death.”

    Peng. You are way too late. There has been a culture war on in this country for 40 years. The coastal elites hate fly over country, more than they have ever hated anything. The people in fly over country are catching on to this.

    Will it come to shooting? Only if the coastals don’t run out of money first. If it comes to shooting, I think the coastals are toast. They don’t know how to shoot and are not armed. They think that the uniformed services will be loyal to them, as they have been loyal to the government in the past. I suspect that they are wrong. The services (including local police) are recruited exclusively from among the fly-overs because the coastals regard work that is dirty and dangerous as beneath them.

  20. PenGun is quite correct. Voter fraud is infinitesimal. After all, Landslide Johnson won the 1948 primary for Democrat nominee for US Senate by only 87 votes. 87 Votes in the Great State of Texas. That’s all it took. Infinitesimal. :)

    I’m sure that PenGun will be glad to travel down to Venezuela to attest to the integrity of the entire electoral process in Venezuela.

    PenGun: “As far as I know…..”
    Unfortunately, he doesn’t know very much. Which is why I have often called him ignoramus.

    But this time I am not going to waste my time trying to educate this ignoramus. If he wanted to become educated, he would have already become educated. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. In the case of PenGun, our BC Bourbon [who remembers everything but learns nothing], you can’t teach an old ignoramus the desire to learn, because it just ain’t there.

  21. PenGun
    You are generally “whistling in the dark” and will jump on anything that hurts your perceived enemies.

    As Lenin said: “Who? Whom?”

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