From Publishers Weekly
As historian Andrew (Lyndon Johnson and the Great Society) shows in this dense study, during the 1960s and '70s the White House used the power of taxation to attack enemies-and reward friends-with relative impunity. President Kennedy, for example, started an "Ideological Organizations Project" that used the IRS to challenge the tax-exempt status of (and thus choke off the funding from) such right-wing opponents as the John Birch Society. Johnson often promised tax favors to wealthy individuals who could deliver votes. But these abuses pale in comparison to the corruption of the Nixon administration, which used the IRS to persecute people on the president's notorious "Enemies List." At Nixon's request, the IRS launched audits and investigations of a host of real and imagined opponents, including the Jerry Rubin Foundation, the Fund for Investigative Journalism (which funded Seymour Hersh's reporting on the My Lai massacre) and the Center for Corporate Responsibility. The basic intent, Nixon aide John Dean wrote, was to "use the available federal machinery to screw our political enemies." Though known to Watergate prosecutors, these abuses went largely unreported in the mainstream media because they weren't sexy enough for the general public. That, unfortunately, is also the problem with this book. The minutiae of IRS procedures, combined with an incredibly large cast of characters (mostly bureaucrats), makes it less than gripping. Andrew nonetheless presents an important and serious study of one of the least understood agencies in the federal government.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
“Power to Destroy
is a shocking analysis of how political influence has corrupted the IRS, and how the agency's own crusade for secrecy hides its operations from public scrutiny, even from congressional committees responsible for overseeing its activities.” (American Free Press
“Andrew provides a noteworthy historical account of the possibility of using administrative agencies in abusive ways and demonstrates the need to be dilligent against government violation of individual civil liberties.” (P. Fisher CHOICE
“Written by a distinguished historian and political liberal...citing a wealth of freshly uncovered documents...new evidence.” (Insight
“Sizzling good stuff such as this...will keep many readers moving along through Andrew's pages.” (Kirkus Reviews
“Political dynamite.” (The Washington Times
“Powerful, trenchant, and ultimately wise.” (Stanley I. Kutler)
“In this illuminating and shocking work, John Andrew knocks down the wall shielding the IRS from public scrutiny.” (Shelley Davis)
“Stunning and fascinating...based upon mind-boggling research and presented with the balance and insight that marked all of Andrew's work.” (Lewis L. Gould)
An invaluable portrait of a renegade government agency seldom studied by researchers...kudos. (John Sbardellati Journal of Cold War Studies