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Power to Destroy: The Political Uses of the IRS from Kennedy to Nixon Hardcover – August 16, 2002


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 385 pages
  • Publisher: Ivan R. Dee; 1st edition (August 16, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566634520
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566634526
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 6.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #163,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.

Review

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)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Charles K. Hays-Hays Consulting, Inc. on April 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a book that allows the average taxpayer to see just how corrupt the system of taxation is. The Internal Revenue service has political appointees at the top level who give their allegiance to those that appoint them, not to the citizens of the United States that they collect the taxes from. There are layers of nepotism within the IRS that protects them from scrutiny and allows them to act like the "brown shirts" of Hitler's era. A large portion of the book was about how the IRS, at the request of Kennedy's and Johnson's administrations, as well as the Putman committee in Congress, attacked conservative nonprofit organizations in an attempt to force them either to quiet their opposition to the Liberal Left's attempts to push our country into Socialism.

Sadly, when Nixon came in office, his paranoia caused him to use the framework of corrupt use of the IRS developed by his predecessor, for his own agenda. He developed his enemies list and he obtained secret IRS data on his various opponents n the list, using that information to control their actions.

Dr. Andrew was limited on every avenue of his research by the refusal of the IRS to provide information about their inner workings. Even with the Freedom of Information Act, the IRS redacted large amounts of information to deliberately cover up their actions. I'm sure that he would have exposed much more of the administration attempt to use the IRS as their own "Secret Service" if he had lived to complete the book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Nothing in this book surprised me. The IRS has been a crooked tool of crooked and dishonest politicians since its creation. And that fact is well documented in this book. Anyone surprised about the Obama misuse of the IRS to target his political enemies just has NOT been paying attention. Get this book and get an earlier version with the same name, The Power to Destroy" by Senator William V Roth Jr. and William H Nixon written in 1999 and you will see that nothing has changed. But the second book has a few more real life stories of real lives being totally and utterly destroyed by this nightmare.
And remember, it WILL take you to get rid of this through putting enough new people into Congress and replacing those who had forced us to live with this nightmare all of these year.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The late John Andrew (this book was completed by his widow) uncovered fascinating records of government investigation on political dissidents during the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations. Searching through these president's archives, Andrew uncovered the ideological organizations project of the Kennedy Administration to monitor and combat what they viewed as right-wing organizations in America, following up on the recommendations of the Reuther Memo and the demands of Senator J. WIlliam Fulbright. The Johnson administration continued many of these same methods. An important perspective on the 1960s in America.
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Format: Hardcover
Any who would understand the functions and purposes of the IRS over decades of history and Presidential changes will want to read Power To Destroy, which explores how various projects and government agencies have changed IRS functions over the years. Both parties used the IRS to achieve political goals during the 1960s and 70s: this explains and explores methods and purposes.
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