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Ben Carson, family and friends target of IRS harassment for criticizing Obama

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On Monday, Dr. Benjamin Carson, the former director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, said he and his family were targeted by the IRS in retribution for comments critical of Barack Obama, Newsmax reported.

According to Carson, audits and other harassment began in May or June of 2013, just a few months after his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast. Gradually, he added, the harassment expanded to include family members, associates, and his charitable endeavors.

"I’ve been quite -- I would say astonished at the level of hostility that I have encountered," he told Newsmax TV's John Bachman.

"The IRS has investigated me. They said, ‘I want to look at your real estate holdings.’ There was nothing there. ‘Well, let’s expand to an entire [year], everything.’ There was nothing there. ‘Let’s do another year.’ Finally, after a few months, they went away. But they’ve come after my family, they’ve come after my friends, they’ve come after associates," he added.

Until now, Newsmax said, Dr. Carson has shied away from tying the IRS actions to his criticism of Obama, but now he says Americans live "in a Gestapo age" even though they may not realize it.

He also said Congress has to step up to the plate and do its job.

"The reason we have divided government is if one branch of the government gets out of control, starts thinking they’re too big for their britches, you need to be able to have control," he said.

Unfortunately, Congress as a whole has shown little interest in keeping the administration in check, but a handful of conservative Republicans have spoken out.

Carson told Newsmax this is the first time he's ever been audited by the IRS.

He also said the agency has targeted his children, but didn't go into much detail, expressing concern the agency would expand their probe even further.

Newsmax added:

He also said a charitable organization that aids inmates’ children was informed last year, for the first time in recent years, that they would no longer be receiving a $1 million annual grant from the Justice Department.

"This is solely because you were involved?" Bachman asked.

"Correct," Carson said.

He also told Newsmax these acts of retribution take place because Americans refuse to take action.

"We sit there and we say, ‘Oh this is horrible.’ But we don’t do anything. And see, that’s what I’m trying to get our congressional people, our lawmakers – they’ve got to get courage," he said. "Because why would anybody who has an agenda to fundamentally change this nation, why would they stop if no one is opposing them?"

Carson also believes the retribution will continue, but promises he will not be forced into silence.

"The only reason that I haven’t shut up is because in Romans 8 it says ‘If God be for you, who can be against you?’ And I believe in that protection that God gives you," he added.

Carson's experience is "not that different from what many others are experiencing," said GOP lawyer Cleta Mitchell. "It’s quite, quite troublesome and disturbing."

"I have heard this same story over and over and over throughout the last year," she said. "I cannot tell you how many donors to conservative organizations, people who have become active, have said ‘I was never audited until I started giving money to X conservative candidate or cause.’"

Acording to Mitchell, the targeting includes donors to candidates like Mitt Romney and Rick Perry and donors to conservative issue groups.

The IRS has not just limited itself to targeting conservative donors, Tea Party groups or well-known conservatives.

As we reported last November, a cancer patient critical of Obamacare was targeted by the IRS.

Lawmakers have also threatened to unleash the IRS on the NFL over the Washington Redskins team name and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., suggested President Obama use the IRS to silence the Tea Party.

Mitchell said the situation is "pretty scary because the people who are supposed to be the neutral arbiter and law enforcement officials appear to me to be completely in the bag for the administration."

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