This practice has recently been employed against several conservative bloggers by those on the far left. It was combined with harassment of their families and employers sufficient to force some into hiding.
"Swatting" is not the only form of harassment to which government may be put by the unscrupulous. There are yet blunter instrumentalities that can be aroused. Here is an example:
- An Obama campaign website, "Keeping GOP Honest," calls out eight private citizens backing Mitt Romney as "wealthy individuals with less-than-reputable records." One of them is named Frank VanderSloot, owner of Melaleuca Inc..
- Within days, a former law clerk (on the Democratic side of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations) asks for court records regarding Mr. VanderSloot's divorces, as well as records of cases involving Melaleuca. He is later found to be working for a firm that does oppo research. Remember, VanderSloot is a private citizen. He's not running for office. Character assassination doesn't change votes here, it can only be intended to deter others from speaking without approval.
- Shortly after the Obama campaign website's attack, VanderSloot is made subject of an IRS audit.
- Two weeks later, Mr. VanderSloot is told that the Department of Labor will be doing an audit of workers he employs on his Idaho-based cattle ranch.
"Swatting" is a crime for obvious reasons, the perpetrator must lie to authorities to solicit the response and, if successful, he puts lives at immediate risk. "IRSing" by public innuendo is legal. It requires no overt lies. Indeed, it seems to require no activity beyond the suggestion that specific donors to your political opposition are disreputable. If certain list-keeping authorities appear to act independently on such allegations, who is to say those authorities are politically motivated? Who is to say it's government that's unscrupulous? No lives are immediately at risk, it's merely the principle that government operates fairly and without favor put in jeopardy. We know that that is of little consequence to the present administration.
When the IRS and Labor Department are the actors instead of your local police SWAT unit, the perpetrator is some politically motivated bureaucrat, protected by the state. Which is worse? And before you answer, recall that the IRS is hiring over 10,000 new enforcers to deal with the tax that is Obamacare.
The bullet points above were drawn from stories by Kimberley Strassel at the WSJ:
Strassel: Trolling for Dirt on the President's List and
Strassel: Obama's Enemies List—Part II