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August 30, 2000

 

Woman who questioned Gore now faces IRS inquiry
By Bill Sammon
THE WASHINGTON TIMES

 

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     The woman who sharply questioned Vice President Al Gore at a town-hall meeting about Juanita Broaddrick's rape accusation against President Clinton has become the subject of an inquiry by the Internal Revenue Service.
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     "I find it very suspicious," said Katherine Prudhomme, who subjected Mr. Gore to several long, uncomfortable minutes of questioning about the Broaddrick case in December. "I feel like I'm being harassed."
     Mrs. Prudhomme said she was notified of the IRS inquiry on Aug. 18, one day before she delivered a long-planned speech about Mrs. Broaddrick outside Hillary Rodham Clinton's Senate campaign headquarters in New York.
     After the speech, she walked into the headquarters and gave a videotape of Mrs. Broaddrick's NBC interview to a campaign aide, asking that it be forwarded to Mrs. Clinton.
     Although the IRS did not initiate a formal audit of Mrs. Prudhomme, the tax agency has demanded expense forms pertaining to her daughter's schooling in 1998.
     "My taxes are far too simple for them to audit me," she told The Washington Times. "So they said I owe them $1,500 if I don't come up with these forms from my child's school that I sent in two years ago and that they must have lost. It doesn't make sense."
     Mrs. Prudhomme, a homemaker in Derry, N.H., is doubly suspicious because in June she accused the IRS of auditing Mrs. Broaddrick's nursing home business "for political reasons."
     The accusation was contained in an op-ed newspaper column that also questioned audits of Paula Jones, Gennifer Flowers and Elizabeth Ward Gracen, all of whom have accused Mr. Clinton of sexual affairs or advances.
     "We certainly don't target people" for political reasons, said an IRS spokesperson who asked to remain anonymous. "The IRS strictly adheres to a standard of reviewing cases only when there are questions involving tax law. No other factors enter into our procedures."
     Gore spokesman Jano Cabrera said: "We have nothing to do with the IRS or its activities."
     The Prudhomme case recalls the case of Glenn and Patricia Mendoza, who were attending a festival in Chicago in July 1993 when they encountered Mr. Clinton, who staged an impromptu visit to shake hands with voters. Mrs. Mendoza was the first person the president approached, but she refused to shake his hand.
     "You suck, and those boys died," Mrs. Mendoza told Mr. Clinton, referring to the June 1993 truck-bombing at a U.S. barracks in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 U.S. servicemen.
     After the president departed, the Secret Service apprehended the Mendozas, who were accused of unruliness. They were arrested by Chicago police and later investigated by the IRS. After the tax agency's inquiry was publicized by The Times, the IRS dropped the matter, blaming it on a "computer error."
     Yesterday, Mr. Mendoza said he was not surprised that Mrs. Prudhomme has been targeted.
     He said he sympathizes with her plight because IRS secrecy makes it impossible to prove the tax agency is motivated by reasons of politics rather than finance.
     "Nobody believes you — that's the hard part," he said. "It sounds like you're a nut case. And so they're really in a quite unique position to keep doing this to people."
     In an effort to find concrete evidence of political motivation, Mrs. Prudhomme has enlisted Judicial Watch, a conservative legal foundation that has long been a thorn in the Clinton-Gore administration's side.
     Yesterday, Judicial Watch invoked the Freedom of Information Act in requesting any documents pertaining to Mrs. Prudhomme that might exist in the offices of Mr. Gore, Mr. Clinton, the IRS, the Secret Service and the FBI.
     "We blanketed everybody," said Judicial Watch chairman Larry Klayman. "There's an eerie symmetry here in that our client, Juanita Broaddrick, gets a tax audit after she sues the White House."
     The Clinton-Gore IRS has targeted the National Rifle Association and numerous conservative organizations and individuals who have crossed the administration.
     The audits sparked the first congressional inquiry of accusations of political abuses by the IRS since the Nixon era, although the tax agency has steadfastly denied political motivations.
     Mrs. Prudhomme, a self-described "rape survivor," flummoxed Mr. Gore during the town-hall meeting by asking him if he believed Mrs. Broaddrick's claim that Mr. Clinton once raped her. Last year's interview of Mrs. Broaddrick by NBC's Lisa Myers electrified the nation, 80 percent of whom told pollsters they believed her story.
     "My question to you is not a question about you being a presidential candidate, but a question to you as a husband, a father and a student of Christianity," Mrs. Prudhomme told the vice president. "When Juanita Broaddrick made the claim, which I found to be quite credible, that she was raped by Bill Clinton, did it change your opinion about him being one of the best presidents in history?
     "And do you believe Juanita Broaddrick's claim?" she added. "And what did you tell your son about this?"
     "Well, I didn't know what to make of her claim, because I don't know how to evaluate that story," Mr. Gore replied. "I didn't see the interview. . . . What show was it on?"
     Mr. Gore went on to defend his boss.
     "Whatever mistakes he made in his personal life are, in the minds of most Americans, balanced against what he has done in his public life as president," he said. "I'm taught in my religious tradition to hate the sin and love the sinner. I'm taught that all of us are . . . prone to the mistakes that flesh is heir to."
     Mrs. Prudhomme was employed at a musical instrument factory in 1998, although she currently spends her time home-schooling her daughter.

 

     

 

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