Posts tagged ‘Lois Lerner’
Written by Allen West on June 7, 2016
URL of the original posting site: http://www.allenbwest.com/allen/what-the-irs-just-revealed-should-start-a-wave-of-outrage
Just imagine if this had been a Republican presidential administration these past seven years. The media would have been all over it like white on rice. However, for some very apparent reason, the liberal progressive media has dismissed or ignored scandals, faults, issues of deception, lies, abandonment of Americans to die, and tyrannical unconstitutional actions. Now the IRS has finally revealed its nefarious actions to us all – and it’s far worse than we thought.
As reported by the Washington Times, “More than three years after it admitted to targeting tea party groups for intrusive scrutiny, the IRS has finally released a near-complete list of the organizations it snagged in a political dragnet.”
The tax agency filed the list last month as part of a court case after a series of federal judges, fed up with what they said was the agency’s stonewalling, ordered it to get a move on. The case is a class-action lawsuit, so the list of names is critical to knowing the scope of those who would have a claim against the IRS. But even as it answers some questions, the list raises others, including exactly when the targeting stopped, and how broadly the tax agency drew its net when it went after nonprofits for unusual scrutiny.
The government released names of 426 organizations. Another 40 were not released as part of the list because they had already opted out of being part of the class-action suit. That total is much higher than the 298 groups the IRS‘ inspector general identified back in May 2013, when investigators first revealed the agency had been subjecting applications to long — potentially illegal — delays, and forcing them to answer intrusive questions about their activities.
Tea party and conservative groups said they were the target of unusually heavy investigations and longer delays, Edward D. Greim, the lawyer who’s pursuing the case on behalf of NorCal Tea Party Patriots and other members of the class, said the list also could have ballooned toward the end of the targeting as the IRS, once it knew it was being investigated, snagged more liberal groups in its operations to try to soften perceptions of political bias.
Sixty of the groups on the list released last month have the word “tea” in their name, 33 have “patriot,” eight refer to the Constitution, and 13 have “912” in their name — which is the moniker of a movement started by conservatives.
Another 26 group names refer to “liberty,” though that list does include some groups that are not discernibly conservative in orientation. Among the groups that appear to trend liberal are three with the word “occupy” in their name. And then there are some surprising names, including three state or local chapters of the League of Women Voters — a group with a long history of nonprofit work.”
There should be a wave of incredible outrage all across the nation knowing this has occurred. Lois Lerner should not be sitting back enjoying a nice six-figure tax payer-funded pension. Now, imagine if this were a Republican administration and the preponderance of these groups were liberal progressive? There’s no doubt t the manner of stories would be incessant and rampant — much like Abu Ghraib. It must be accepted that the liberal progressive left will leverage the power of the federal government against the common American citizen.
After the 2010 midterm election cycle President Obama and the left knew there was no way they could allow for a constitutional conservative grassroots movement to go forward. So they came up with the treacherous scheme of using the tax collection agency to undermine the effort. In other words, the president of the United States turned the government on his own people — well, I suppose we’re not his own people. We still have to hear about the breaking and entering of Watergate, but mum’s the word on something as horrific as this.
And if President Obama wasn’t aware of this, then someone needs to explain to us who is in charge of the federal government — namely, this episode. Yes, I would concur that much lies at the feet of the modern-day Rasputin, Valerie Jarrett. But, Obama can’t come up with some “plausible deniability” excuse. I suppose he also had no idea Ben Rhodes was lying about the Iranian nuclear deal or creating a false narrative about the Benghazi incident. And yes, I will continue to address Benghazi since four Americans no longer walk this earth — while those who abandoned them still do.
We may not know the full extent of the tyranny of the Obama administration until years afterwards. However, we should be careful about turning this country over to another tyrant.
I have to admit, I just don’t hear much discussion, reference, and quotes by the remaining three presidential candidates regarding the Constitution and individual rights. I’m not talking about populist messaging. I want to know how we shall restore this Constitutional Republic to its standing and regard for individuals and their right to petition the government for redress of grievances.
This is a very serious issue and it needs to be addressed — this should be a critical item to bring to the awareness of the American people. We truly do not need to be talking about someone’s individual court case. The fact that the Internal Revenue Service has released a list of groups that they targeted should not go unnoticed. This is a critical message point. And the liberal progressive left must be forced to admit if they do or do not consent to this type of abhorrent behavior.
It can no longer be dismissed as having never happened. What America do we live in that an agency can produce a target list? And it would be interesting to see the exact dates for each group when they were first targeted — I bet that would be rather revealing.
Here we thought we lived in a free country. Sadly it seems the last seven years have been anything but.
– The Washington Times – Tuesday, July 28, 2015
The IRS sent one of its intrusive scrutiny letters to a nonprofit group in order to throw up a smokescreen and prevent the group from complaining to Congress about poor treatment, according to one of Lois G. Lerner’s apparently lost emails, which were recovered by auditors and released by an interest group Tuesday.
Judicial Watch, which sued to force the production of the Lerner emails, said the emails confirm that Ms. Lerner, the central figure in the targeting probe, and her colleagues were aware of the sensitive nature of the cases but appeared to hide details of the massive backlog they were amassing as they held up hundreds of tea party and conservative group applications for nonprofit status.
The IRS turned over 906 pages of emails July 15 to Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest law firm, ahead of a Wednesday court hearing. Judicial Watch concluded that the emails were part of the messages Ms. Lerner lost in a computer malfunction, and released them Tuesday. “This material shows that the IRS’ cover-up began years ago,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch. “We now have smoking-gun proof that top officials in the Obama IRS unlawfully harassed taxpayers just to keep them from complaining to Congress about IRS’ targeting and abuse. No wonder the Obama IRS has had such little interest in preserving or finding Lois Lerner’s emails.”
The Lerner emails have become almost as big a scandal as the initial targeting. Ms. Lerner, who was head of the division that scrutinized the tea party applications until she retired while under investigation in 2013, suffered a computer hard drive crash that cost potentially thousands of emails that should have been part of the record. The IRS took routine steps to try to recover the emails but reported that it was unable to do so.
But the agency’s independent inspector general said it was able to find the messages easily on backup tapes stored at remote locations — and that the IRS never bothered to look for those tapes, even as it was telling Congress that all possible routes for message recovery had been exhausted.
According to the new emails, Ms. Lerner and her colleagues were aware of the growing outcry among nonprofit groups that they were being delayed. In one Nov. 3, 2011, exchange between Ms. Lerner and Cindy Thomas, a program manager in the Cincinnati office that was handling the cases and was involved in a back-and-forth with Washington, the IRS admitted to having hundreds of cases stacked up and awaiting action. Afraid of congressional pressure, Ms. Thomas ordered one of the inquiry letters to be sent, just to prevent one of the organizations being held up from complaining. “Just today, I instructed one of my managers to get an additional information letter out to one of these organizations — if nothing else to buy time so he didn’t contact his Congressional Office,” she wrote in the email released by Judicial Watch. Ms. Thomas said she feared a judge would get involved soon and order the IRS to move the applications more quickly.
That email exchange did confirm that IRS employees in Washington were deeply involved in making decisions about the nonprofit groups’ cases. The IRS initially blamed the Cincinnati office for the glitch.
President Obama last week blamed the targeting scandal not on poor management but on “crummy” legislation he said Congress passed that gave his employees confusing instructions, and on funding cuts. He said the IRS wasn’t able to do its best work as a result. “Congress has passed a crummy law that didn’t give people guidance in terms of what they were trying to do. They did it poorly and stupidly,” Mr. Obama told “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart.
A number of the 906 pages of emails released to Judicial Watch are redacted, with the agency citing the “b5” exemption under the Freedom of Information Act, which allows the government to withhold information deemed to be part of the agency deliberative process. The IRS claimed other pages that were withheld contained sensitive taxpayer information — including what appear to be published news articles.
On Monday, Republicans on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform called Mr. Obama to oust Ms. Lerner’s successor, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, for obstructing the targeting investigation.
Chairman Jason Chaffetz, Utah Republican, said Mr. Koskinen gave assurances that the IRS would save email that was key to the investigation at the same time the emails were being destroyed. “The reality is what he said was false. He repeatedly made false statements,” Mr. Chaffetz said at a Capitol Hill press conference, where he was joined by more than a dozen fellow Republicans from the committee. “Mr. Koskinen should no longer be the IRS commissioner,” said Mr. Chaffetz. “Mr. Koskinen failed in his duty to preserve and produce documentation to this committee.”
The IRS defended Mr. Koskinen. “The record is clear that the IRS and Commissioner Koskinen have been cooperative and truthful with the numerous investigations underway. The agency has produced more than one million pages of documents in support of the investigations, provided 52 current and former employees for interviews and participated in more than 30 Congressional hearings on these issues,” the agency said in a statement.
The IRS inspector general has concluded that the agency did in fact target conservative and tea party groups for intrusive scrutiny, and the Justice Department is still conducting a criminal investigation into the targeting.
Mr. Chaffetz noted that 24,000 potential emails were destroyed after the materials were under subpoena and after the agency’s chief technology officer issued a preservation notice ordering employees not to destroy anything. The chief technology officer later told the committee that he was “blown away” that backup tapes were destroyed 10 months after his preservation notice.
Researched and Posted By Bob Cusack – 02/10/15
URL of the Original Posting Site: http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/232249-feds-wont-release-irs-targeting-documents
The Obama administration is refusing to publicly release more than 500 documents on the IRS’s targeting of Tea Party groups. Twenty months after the IRS scandal broke, there are still many unanswered questions about who was spearheading the agency’s scrutiny of conservative-leaning organizations. The Hill sought access to government documents that might provide a glimpse of the decision-making through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The Hill asked for 2013 emails and other correspondence between the IRS and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). The request specifically sought emails from former IRS official Lois Lerner and Treasury officials, including Secretary Jack Lew, while the inspector general was working on its explosive May 2013 report that the IRS used “inappropriate criteria” to review the political activities of tax-exempt groups.
TIGTA opted not to release any of the 512 documents covered by the request, citing various exemptions in the law. The Hill recently appealed the FOIA decision, but TIGTA denied the appeal. TIGTA also declined to comment for this article.
Will anyone be charged?
In its written response to The Hill, TIGTA cited FOIA exemptions ranging from interagency communication to personal privacy. It also claimed it cannot release relevant documents “when interference with the law enforcement proceedings can be reasonably expected.” Yet, congressional Republicans say there is no evidence of any prosecution in the works, and media outlets have indicated that the Department of Justice and the FBI have already determined that no charges will be filed. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) notes that eight months after Lerner was held in contempt of Congress for not testifying at two hearings, the matter has not yet been referred to a grand jury. The contempt citation is in the hands of Ronald Machen, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia who was appointed by President Obama.
Asked for comment on the administration’s FOIA response to The Hill, Jordan said, “It’s par for the course. We’ve had a difficult time getting information from the IRS and the Department of Justice.” Jordan, a senior member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has held numerous hearings on the IRS scandal.
Last week, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said the IRS recently delivered 86,000 pages of new documents to the panel. Hatch added, “These documents … were given to us without notice or explanation roughly twenty months after we made our initial document request [on the targeting].”
Republicans in both the House and Senate are stepping up their investigations of the IRS. They have criticized the IRS and TIGTA for not informing Congress about the Tea Party targeting before the 2012 presidential election. GOP lawmakers say the administration has largely stonewalled them, while Democrats have called the probes “a witch hunt.”
Who knew what when?
The crux of the GOP’s IRS targeting investigations is: Who knew what when?
On Friday, May 10, 2013, Lerner famously planted a question at an American Bar Association (ABA) conference where she acknowledged “inappropriate” handling of tax-exempt applications in 2012. Lerner, who has since said she did nothing wrong, released the news before the TIGTA report came out the following week.
The Obama administration considered several other options on how to release the information, including an April conference at Georgetown University and an April 25, 2013, Ways and Means subcommittee hearing. Then-Treasury chief of staff Mark Patterson told Republican investigators that he informed the White House about the IRS plan to disclose the targeting “so that the White House wouldn’t be surprised by the news.” Soon after Lerner’s comments attracted national attention, White House officials acknowledged they knew about the report but didn’t tell Obama about it. Lew told Congress he first heard about the IRS matter at a “getting to know you” meeting with TIGTA chief J. Russell George in March 2013. But he said he didn’t learn the full extent of the findings until the media reported Lerner’s remarks at the ABA meeting.
Lew served as White House chief of staff before succeeding Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in 2013. Republicans on Capitol Hill are considering asking Geithner questions later this year on what he knew about the IRS’s targeting.
Weekly activity reports
TIGTA sends the Treasury secretary “weekly activity reports” on what it is working on. These reports, which are common in the executive branch and obtained through a FOIA request, serve as a “heads up” to Cabinet heads from inspectors general. They include categories such as “potential or expected press stories,” “upcoming hearings” and TIGTA reports that are awaiting public release. From January through early May 2013, TIGTA referenced 25 reports that were subsequently issued in the weekly activity reports to Lew. But the agency’s most explosive report was not included in any of these weekly memos. It is unclear why, though a government official pointed out that Lerner spoke about the targeting at the ABA conference before TIGTA released its report. Her comments likely accelerated the Treasury Department’s clearance process.
Regardless, TIGTA officials briefed IRS and Treasury officials in 2012 and 2013, according to TIGTA memos provided to Congress. On May 30, 2012, TIGTA informed then-IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman and his deputies that criteria targeting Tea Party groups “were being used. …” Jordan said neither the IRS nor TIGTA informed the Congress at that time — less than six months before the 2012 elections. He also pointed out Shulman didn’t correct his March 22, 2012, testimony to the Ways and Means oversight subcommittee where he said “there is absolutely no targeting” of Tea Party groups.
TIGTA’s FOIA practices have come under criticism before. In the fall of last year, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia admonished the agency for its use of FOIA exemptions. Cause of Action, a nonprofit group that has sued TIGTA, announced in December that the agency declined to fork over more than 2,000 documents related to a FOIA request. Judicial Watch, another group that has sued the Obama administration on FOIA, said in December that the DOJ withheld 832 documents pertaining to meetings between the IRS and the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section and Election Crimes Division. Some of the documents that The Hill requested were released to Judicial Watch last year after a judge ruled in favor of the conservative group’s lawsuit.
Lerner, who pleaded the Fifth Amendment before Congress, has given a lengthy interview to DOJ officials.
Many have described the Obama departure from the 70-year-old bipartisan postwar foreign policy of the United States as reminiscent of Jimmy Carter’s failed 1977–81 tenure. There is certainly the same messianic sense of self, the same naïveté, and the same boasts of changing the nature of America, as each of these presidents was defining himself as against supposedly unpopular predecessors. But the proper Obama comparison is not Carter, but rather Warren G. Harding. By that I mean not that Obama’s scandals have matched Harding’s, but rather that by any fair standard they have now far exceeded them and done far more lasting damage — and without Obama’s offering achievements commensurate with those that occasionally characterized Harding’s brief, failed presidency.
The lasting legacy of Obama will be that he has largely discredited the idea of big government, of which he was so passionate an advocate. Almost every major agency of the federal government, many of them with a hallowed tradition of bipartisan competence, have now been rendered either dysfunctional or politicized — or both — largely because of politically driven appointments of unqualified people, or ideological agendas that were incompatible with the agency’s mission.The list of scandals is quite staggering. In aggregate, it makes Harding’s Teapot Dome mess seem minor in comparison.
There is now no Border Patrol, at least as Americans have understood the agency whose job was enforcing federal immigration statutes. It died as an enforcement bureau sometime in 2013, not long after the reelection of Barack Obama, in a way that it could not have before the election. Instead, in Orwellian fashion, at a time of plague and terrorism abroad, it is now the Border-Crossing Enabling Service, whose chief task is facilitating the illegal entry of thousands from Latin America and Mexico, largely to further the political agenda of the Obama administration, contrary to the law, the will of Congress, and the wishes of the majority of the American people. Mention the phrase “immigration law” or “Border Patrol,” and Americans sigh that neither any longer exists. Yet such a perversion of the mission of a federal agency for political purposes has become thematic of this administration. Perhaps the end of border enforcement is emblemized best by Obama’s own uncle and late aunt, who in open defiance broke federal immigration law and did so with impunity, resided illegally in the United States, broke various state laws, and ended up either on public assistance or mired in the U.S. judicial system.
No one quite knows how to deal with the deadly threat of the Ebola virus. We can assume, however, that the Obama administration’s policy will be predicated foremost on some sort of predetermined ideological concern. Unlike many European countries, the United States still allows foreign nationals from countries with pandemics of Ebola to enter the country freely. What the administration has so far told us about Ebola — that a case here was unlikely, and then, after it happened, that probably only a handful of people had been exposed — was almost immediately proven false.
If this seems a harsh judgment, consider the policy of restricting flights to and from foreign countries because of national-security concerns. During the controversial Gaza War, the FAA ordered U.S. airlines to suspend flights to Ben Gurion Airport — the best protected airport in the world — supposedly because of a rocket that exploded in the general proximity of the facility. Hamas claimed the step as a psychological victory and proof of the efficacy of its strategy of targeting Israeli civilian centers, and as further evidence of growing U.S. anger at Israeli war conduct. In contrast, the FAA has not shut down flights to and from African countries in which Ebola has reached pandemic status. Which threat — a deadly virus or a stray rocket — posed the greatest danger to the American public? Perhaps if infected Liberian nationals send their child to Sidwell Friends, radical changes in FAA policy will follow; or, in contrast, if Israel had been gripped by an Ebola pandemic, then Americans might have been allowed to fly in and out of Ben Gurion.
The combination of Lois Lerner’s taking the Fifth Amendment and Barack Obama’s characterizing the IRS’s partisan targeting of conservatives as involving not a “smidgen” of corruption sum up the current status of the tax agency. So far no one has been held accountable for the corruption. Most Americans now assume that any high-profile political activity or contribution deemed inimical to the Obama administration will earn an audit or at least additional IRS scrutiny — a Machiavellian gambit that has discouraged contributions to conservative candidates. The agency that relies on voluntary tax compliance now holds taxpayers to standards of transparency, record-keeping, and honesty that it cannot itself meet. That too will be a lasting legacy of the Obama administration.
Eric Holder has politicized the Justice Department in a way not seen since the scandals of Nixon appointee John Mitchell. Holder’s prior ethical lapses – notably, as deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration, the disreputable eleventh-hour pardon for fugitive (and Democratic contributor) Marc Rich — were well known. But in less than six years, he has managed to trump them. Holder was held in contempt by Congress for withholding subpoenaed documents about the Fast and Furious scandal, and he editorialized on pending criminal cases, such as the Trayvon Martin and the Ferguson cases. He arbitrarily chose not to enforce existing laws, whether elements of Obamacare or immigration statutes. He was forced to pay back the government for using a Gulfstream to junket to the Belmont Stakes with family and friends. He sought to try terrorists in civilian courts, and he demonized the idea of Guantanamo, which earlier, when it was politically expedient, he had praised. He caricatured his critics and made race essential rather than incidental to his tenure (e.g., “my people,” “nation of cowards,” and the false charges of racism against critics of the administration) in a way that would have gotten anyone else fired. Had any other attorney general monitored reporters’ communications as Holder did those of AP reporters, and, even more so, James Rosen, he would also have been summarily dismissed. Even the media will not be able to prevent Holder’s legacy from being seen as one of the Justice Department’s no longer enforcing the law without prejudice, but instead choosing haphazard compliance in order to advance partisan ideas of social justice.
Emails Prove that IRS Head Ignored “Dirty Money” from Liberal Unions While Persecuting Conservatives!
Read more at http://lastresistance.com/7114/emails-prove-irs-head-ignored-dirty-money-liberal-unions-persecuting-conservatives/#zxHU0xdBeJ7FsMc0.99
Posted on September 2, 2014 by Onan Coca
The official at the center of the IRS tea party scandal once dismissed complaints that labor unions were not reporting millions of dollars in political activities on their tax forms, according to an email obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
At the time of the email, Lerner was the Director of Exempt Organizations at the IRS.
Lerner wrote, “We looked at the information you provided regarding organizations that report substantial amounts of political activity and lobbying expenditures on the DOL Form LM-2, but report little to no political expenditures on the Form 990 filed with the IRS.”
“We believe this difference in reporting does not necessarily indicate that the organization has incorrectly reported to either the DOL or the IRS,” Lerner concluded.
Don Todd, the deputy assistant secretary of the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) at the time the email was sent, confirmed seeing Lerner’s email and remembering similar complaints at the time. OLMS oversees labor union financial disclosures within the Department of Labor.
“The laws never been enforced,” Todd told The DCNF (The Daily Caller News Foundation). “The IRS was telling us it would cost more to enforce the law then they would collect.”
In 2006, the year leading up to Lerner’s email, the national headquarters for the AFL-CIO reported no direct or indirect political expenditures with the IRS on their 990 form, leaving the line 81a blank;
That same year, the AFL-CIO reported $29,585,661 in political activities with the Department of Labor.
Also in 2006 the Teamsters Union reported no political expenditures with the IRS while at the same time reporting $7,081,965 with the Labor Department.
Again in 2006, Unite-Here reported no political activity with the IRS and $1,451,002 with the Labor Department.
In 2005, the National Education Association also reported no political expenditures with the IRS while at the same time reporting $24,985,250 with the Labor Department.
Labor union political spending overwhelmingly benefits Democrats. Todd told The DNCF Lerner may have been playing favorites. Lerner has been accused of singling out tea party groups applying for tax-exempt status
Lerner acknowledged in the 2007 email, “The definition of political campaign activity required to be reported on Form LM2 coincides with the definition of political campaign activity expenditures required to be reported on Form 990.”
But she did offer some possible reasons for the discrepancies. “The Form LM-2 does not separate this reporting from the reporting of lobbying expenditures,” she wrote. “Furthermore, even if section 501(c)(5) labor organizations were required to report their lobbying expenditures, the amount required to be reported on Form LM-2 includes activity, such as attempting to influence regulations, that is not required to be reported as lobbying, as the IRS limitations apply to legislative lobbying.”
Lerner conceded, “Having said that, we did see some instances that raised concerns and we referred that information to our Dallas office to determine whether examination is warranted.” It does not appear any further investigation was conducted.
The Bush administration mandated more detailed disclosure requirements for labor unions, but they were relaxed by the Obama administration’s Labor Department.
About Onan Coca
Onan is a graduate of Liberty University (2003) and earned his M.Ed. at Western Governors University in 2012. Onan lives in the Atlanta area with his wife, Leah. They have three children and enjoy the hectic pace of life in a young family. Onan and Leah are members of the Journey Church in Hiram, GA. Catch him at http://www.eaglerising.com
Lois Lerner And Fellow IRS Official Announced Targeting At 2010 Conference Before Both Of Their Emails Went Missing
8:50 AM 07/01/2014
Ex-Internal Revenue Service (IRS) official Lois Lerner spoke at a 2010 government conference where Lerner’s underling Nikole Flax announced the new IRS program scrutinizing groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Both Lerner and Flax experienced “computer crashes” that led to the permanent deletion of their , according to the IRS, which said it cannot hand over their emails to congressional investigators on two House committees.
Both Lerner and Flax briefed fellow government bureaucrats on the new targeting at the conference, where Lerner appeared at a workshop called “Will the IRS Come Knocking?”
Flax announced the new program scrutinizing groups at the Washington Non-Profit Legal & Tax Conference at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C. from February 18-19, 2010. At the time, Flax worked under Lerner in the Exempt Organizations office.
Lerner gave a luncheon speech at a morning session featuring workshops entitled “Current Developments Affecting Exempt Organizations” and “Will the IRS Come Knocking? What You Need To Know About IRS Audit Plans And Practices For Tax Exempts,” which was moderated by Washington lawyer and former IRS exempt director Marcus S. Owens. Lerner served as “government faculty” for the conference, according to a program obtained by The Daily Caller.
Flax, a frequent White House visitor, announced that 155 new employees were recently added to the Exempt Organizations office, and said that 100 of these employees would be working in the examinations office to audit nonprofit groups. Flax also announced the addition of new Washington-based “tax law specialists” to work on private-letter rulings for groups that would need renewal of their charitable tax-exempt status.
“They basically have to start over,” Flax said about groups coming up on a newly imposed three-year deadline for charitable tax status. “In the interim period, there obviously will be tax issues.”
The IRS began flagging tea party in February 2010, the month of the Washington conference.
“The Conference addresses all issues of relevance to non-profit organizations, including the latest developments. The focus is also on practical information that can be put to use with an immediate impact,” according to a promotional description of the event. Rooms at the conference valued at $479 per night were available to government employees on a group plan at $239.
Flax went on to serve as chief of staff to IRS commissioner Steven T. Miller.
Flax made 31 visits to the White House between July 12, 2010 and May 8, 2013, according to White House visitor logs. Flax’s visits started in the early days of the IRS targeting program and ended just two days before the IRS scandal broke on May 10, 2013. Flax met twice in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building with Jeanne Lambrew, a top adviser to President Obama who exchanged confidential information on conservative groups with Lerner.
Posted by Irish Joe Harrison on Jun 25, 2014
I usually stay away from issues I feel are being over-covered; no sense in beating a dead horse. However, I’ve been watching the IRS scandal unfold and I’ve noticed some things the media and pretty much everyone else is leaving out. I can only assume the general public is not aware of these issues and it’s very critical that we become educated.
First of all, everyone should know that the IRS is THE most powerful, unchecked law enforcement agency in the country. Yes, that’s right, they are a law enforcement agency and yes their field agents are armed just like any other federal agent would be. This of course would explain the rumors you’ve heard of the IRS buying up ammunition. Here are some facts you need to know.
The agency can seize all of your assets, freeze your bank accounts, even put liens on every bit of your property. Here’s the scary part…there is no due process here. They don’t need a warrant, they don’t need to jump through any legal hoops, it can be done simply with keystroke by any agent looking into your file. It’s completely at their discretion and you would have absolutely no legal recourse.
Ok, that one may not shock you, but this should…any field agent can come to your home, enter without permission, whether you’re there or not, conduct a search, seize anything they deem appropriate and once again, there is NO due process. They don’t need a search warrant, no legalities to deal with, nothing but the discretion of the agent and once again, you would have absolutely no legal recourse. That means you could be sitting in your living room watching TV and the door could open and IRS agents could come in and take your TV, or anything else they wanted for that matter. There would be nothing you could do about it. Of course they don’t make habit of this, I’m sure they would prefer that no one knew they had the ability to do so, but they do, and it’s all perfectly legal.
Now I don’t think that there’s anyone in the country who believes this story about the lost emails. I mean really, most of us have had at least one catastrophic computer crash, either at home or work, and have not lost two years of emails. The idea that we would believe this is simply insane. As a former investigator I can tell you there is only one reason for a person to plead the 5th, and that reason is that they are guilty of something. There is no doubt that there’s corruption in the agency…period. The question is, how widespread is it? How far up does it go? How far will they go to cover it up?
Our government is one of precedent. That means that if they get away with this cover up, they’ll do it again, and again, and again, and it will be accepted because the precedent has been set.
No matter what your political affiliation, this should scare the pants off you. This time it was conservatives, but what about next time? If you’re a liberal or a Democrat who is getting some satisfaction out of the targeting of conservatives, be careful what you wish for, political winds change rapidly. What will you do when there’s a conservative in the White House and YOU become the target? It’s sure to happen sooner or later and the precedent will already be set.
This issue shouldn’t fall along party lines. We must get to the bottom of this scandal one way or another. We should also put legislation in place limiting the power of the agency. To have a single government agency with so much power is just too threatening to the American way of life. They’ve gotten away with it so far by keeping it quiet, keeping YOU from knowing just what they’re capable of. It really has to be stopped.
Keep in mind that this corrupt, all powerful agency, will now also be in charge of the healthcare of the entire nation.
Hopefully the cat’s out of the bag for the IRS now and through this scandal we’ll put a stop to them before it’s too late, but I have my doubts. I fear this goes all the way to the top and very little will come of it.
Well, on that note, sleep tight tonight, your government is in control
he can to destroy the country that is. This President has gone out of his way to make sure not only just a few of his Socialist policies ruin us, but that his whole time in office is dedicated to the destruction of the United States as we know it.
From supplying terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, and countless other Islamic Jihadists in N. Africa, the Mid-East, Indonesia, and Europe with billions of dollars in weapons, billions in financial aid, and actual military help, to purposely busing and flying in hundreds of thousand illegal aliens per day via Homeland Security.
This President expects his agenda of anti-Americanism to continue with breaking our economy and with the EPA’s anti CO2 regulations, which are based on guess work from UN climate organizations and not concrete scientific evidence.
We also have the countless scandals which amount to crimes perpetrated by this President. From Benghazi to the IRS situation, where Conservatives are targeted by the IRS for their voices of opposition to the Administration, we now have a Socialist Dictator in office who has declared war on any American who stands with the Constitution as the rule of law.
We now have the dirtiest most corrupt President ever to hold office, making Richard M. Nixon look like the most honest President we ever had, when comparing the two. At least Nixon loved America; Obama hates the very core of American values of which make us great.
A President, who loves his country, would not aid enemies who have only our destruction in mind. Yet, Obama has made his whole foreign policy about helping terrorist organizations gain control of countries.
Last year, in Obama’s quest to aid Al Qaeda and other terrorist factions fighting in Syria by wanting to bomb the Assad regime, we now see these same Islamic factions taking over Iraq via all the aid in arms, money, and military training we did supply them. It stands to reason that Obama does not want to help the Iraq government since his vision was to see Islamists take power across the Mid-East in the first place.
Obama and John Kerry have done everything possible to damage beyond recognition the friendship the US has had with key allies such as Israel and Russia. Today, we stand in opposition to Israel because of Obama’s agenda to transform the Mid-East into a region completely run by terrorist organizations, labeling Israel as an oppressive state and doing everything possible short of cutting ties with them altogether.
The Benghazi cover up is clear to anyone who has been following US foreign policy. This Administration has to keep these events swept under the rug since it was the very terrorist organizations the Obama Administration is supporting who are responsible for killing Americans on that day.
Because of the massive opposition to the Obama Administration’s desire to grant Amnesty to millions of Illegal Aliens, the President has given orders for all Border Patrol agents to stand down and has Homeland Security busing and flying hundreds of thousands of Illegals into the US daily from Central America with the help of the drug cartels.
The recent Federal land grab in New Mexico is also part of the Obama strategy in creating a flood of illegal immigrants.
So, now, instead of having hundreds cross our southern border each day, we now have thousands getting a free ride here daily.
Aside from all of this, we are supposed to believe the IRS lost some two years of Lois Learner’s E-Mails. In light of the massive domestic spying by the NSA, CIA, and other clandestine organizations on American citizens, we know this isn’t a problem since these organizations do have these E-Mails.
‘I don’t believe you!’: Paul Ryan levels blistering attack against IRS boss over ‘lost’ emails explanation
Published June 20, 2014
“This is unbelievable,” Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., angrily told Koskinen. That’s your problem. Nobody believes you.”
Koskinen responded, “I have a long career. That’s the first time anyone’s said I don’t believe you.”
“I don’t believe you,” Ryan shot back again.
Koskinen set a defiant tone during his testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee, telling lawmakers he felt no need for the agency to apologize amid accusations of a cover-up in the targeting scandal of conservative groups. Republican lawmakers had demanded the emails between Lerner and other government officials – including at the White House – be turned over to determine whether there was a coordinated effort to stymie conservative groups prior to the 2012 elections.
“I don’t think an apology is owed,” he said. “We haven’t lost an email since the start of this investigation.”
“I don’t believe you.” – Rep. Paul Ryan, R- Wisc., to IRS commissioner
GOP lawmakers are furious after learning a week ago that many Lerner emails from a two-year period supposedly have disappeared. Committee Republicans now say that the IRS may have known about this for months, and that the agency may have lost emails from another six employees.
“The IRS in charge of hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ information. And you’re now saying your technology system was so poor that years’ worth of emails are forever unrecoverable?” Camp charged. “How does that put anyone at ease? How far would the excuse ‘I lost it’ get with the IRS for an average American trying to file their yearly taxes who may have lost a few receipts.”
The tone and exchanges between lawmakers and the commissioner frequently became heated.
Rep. Carl Levin, D- Mich., stood up for the IRS Friday and likened the investigation and calls of a cover-up to a political witch hunt brought on
by Republicans who he claims will try “to tie the problem to the White House” and will “keep up this drumbeat until the November election.”
During the testy exchange between Ryan and Koskinen, Levin tried to intervene.
“Will you let him answer the question?” Levin asked Ryan.
Ryan responded angrily, “I didn’t ask him a question!”
Levin chided his colleagues that, “witnesses deserve some respect.”
Earlier this week, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said he’s been told that Lerner’s hard drive was simply destroyed.
“They just got rid of it,” he told Fox News. “It really looks bad and I’ve got to say it looks like a cover-up to me.”
Hatch and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., are leading a bipartisan investigation in the Senate Finance Committee into the targeting scandal, separate from the House Ways and Means probe.
House and Senate Republicans, though, have common questions for the commissioner and the rest of the agency.
Hatch fired off a letter to Koskinen on Thursday voicing concerns that he met with him on Monday, yet the commissioner and his staff did not mention that emails from six other employees might be missing.
Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of the investigation, invoked her Fifth Amendment right at least nine times to avoid answering lawmakers’ questions. According to an audit by the Treasury Department inspector general for tax administration, Lerner did not learn that IRS staffers were improperly reviewing applications of Tea Party and other conservative groups for tax-exempt status until weeks after her computer crashed.
The IRS said last week it became aware of the missing emails in February of this year. The IRS did not know whether the other computer crashes have resulted in lost emails as well. It will also not say how often its computers fail and lose data.
The lost emails are raising questions even by the government’s records officer. In a June 17 letter to the IRS, Paul Wester Jr. asked the agency to investigate the loss of records and whether any disposal of data was authorized. Wester, the chief records officer at the National Archives and Records Administration, was responding to the IRS’ June 13 disclosure of Lerner’s lost emails.
Wester’s letter did not address the lost records of six other employees that the IRS disclosed that day. Wester said the IRS is required to report its finding within 30 days. Federal agencies are supposed to report destruction of records — whether accidental or intentional — to the National Archives “promptly” after an incident.
The IRS said that after Lerner’s computer crashed in June 2011, technicians were not able to retrieve data from her hard drive.
In May, more than two months after the IRS discovered the emails were missing, the IRS assured Camp that it would provide all applications from groups seeking tax-exempt status in 2010 and 2011, including all files, correspondence and internal IRS records related to them. Camp had asked for the records in May 2012.
It’s similarly unclear why the IRS didn’t attempt to recover the emails from backup servers in June 2011, especially since Lerner told an IRS computer technician in a July 2011 email, “There were some documents in the files that are irreplaceable.”
Shawn Henry, the FBI’s former cyber director, said technicians should have been able to retrieve data from the servers around the times the computers crashed.
“If they knew there was a problem in 2011,” said Henry, now president of CrowdStrike, a security technology company, “they could have or should have been able to recover it.”
The IRS was able to find copies of 24,000 Lerner emails from between 2009 and 2011 because Lerner had sent copies to other IRS employees. Overall, the IRS said it was producing 67,000 emails to and from Lerner, covering 2009 to 2013. The agency said it searched for emails of 83 people and spent nearly $10 million to produce hundreds of thousands of documents.
At the time that Lerner’s computer crashed, IRS policy had been to make copies of all IRS employees’ email inboxes every day and hold them for six months. The agency changed the policy in May 2013 to keep these snapshots for a longer, unspecified amount of time. Had this been the policy in 2011, when at least two of the computer crashes occurred, there likely could have been backups of the lost emails today.
The chief executive for an email-archiving company, Pierre Villeneuve of Jatheon Technologies, said most public and private sector organizations keep emails for several years, not six months, because of financial regulations and inexpensive computer storage.
The IRS has said technicians sent Lerner’s hard drive to a forensic lab run by the agency’s criminal investigations unit. But the information was not recoverable, a technician told her in an Aug. 5, 2011, email.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
15 Jun 2014
On Sunday, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) called for a special prosecutor to investigate the mysterious missing emails from former IRS charitable organizations head Lois Lerner between January 2009 and April 2011. The IRS announced that the emails had gone missing on Friday, prompting House Ways and Means Committee chairman Dave Camp to fume, “There needs to be an immediate investigation and forensic audit by Department of Justice as well as the Inspector General.” Cruz went further, tweeting out a call by Ron Fournier of National Journal for a special prosecutor.
The IRS’ activity is surely criminal, under 26 US Code Section 7212 and 5 US Code Section 7323. As I write in my book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration, “the IRS and the Obama administration violated both the Hatch Act and the ‘omnibus’ provision of the Internal Revenue Code.”
But here’s the reality: the DOJ will not investigate, and the Obama administration will never sanction a special prosecutor. In March, Eric Holder denied Cruz’s request for a special prosecutor on the IRS issue. Which means that, as usual, the executive branch is entirely unanswerable for its crimes.
The Obama administration knows that. Which is why the administration has no problem whatsoever abusing its power to grant access to the United States to Mexican gang members. As the Washington Times reported today, “Border Patrol officials are swamped by the number of minors crossing illegally into the United States and frustrated that they can’t turn away known Mexican gang members.”
This is a purposeful attempt by the Obama administration to shift the 2014 election conversation to immigration, as opposed to Obamacare – and the designed humanitarian crisis has been purposefully created, in violation of law, to give President Obama the supposed moral impetus for unilateral executive action, as I wrote back in early April.
The Obama White House’s decision not to prosecute or deport the so-called DREAMers – illegal immigrants between the ages of 16 and 30 who arrived as minors in the United States – did not constitute an exercise of prosecutorial discretion. It was pure obstruction of justice. As I write in the book:
The Obama administration’s obstruction of justice has been most egregious with regard to enforcement of federal and state immigration law….Nothing in the Constitution gave Obama the authority to allow selective prosecution of different types of illegal immigrants. If he wanted to push immigration reform, he could have done it throughout his presidency.
So, if the Obama administration routinely engages in illegal activity – which it does – what’s the solution? It isn’t to plead with Eric Holder to suddenly start policing himself, especially given the fact that Holder is probably the lead criminal in the administration. And it isn’t impeachment, given that the entire Obama administration is honeycombed with criminality, and that impeachment has been used a grand total of 19 times by the House and only 8 Senate convictions have ever been reached – one every three decades or so.
The answer is to devolve authority to the people of the United States to sue members of the executive branch under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970. We must become, as the Supreme Court put it regarding RICO, “‘private attorneys general’ on a serious national problem for which public prosecutorial resources are deemed inadequate.” The executive branch is the “serious national problem.” We are the solution. Want to do something about it? Call your congresspeople and push them to amend RICO to allow private suits against the executive branch.
Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the new book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro
WASHINGTON — The IRS appears to have been caught red-handed breaking federal law in its zeal to criminally prosecute conservatives for their political activities.
The House Oversight Committee has revealed the IRS sent the FBI a database containing more than a million pages of confidential taxpayer information that is protected by federal law.
Attorney General Eric Holder’s Department of Justice, or DOJ, is now admitting the FBI should never have had that data in the first place.
The information was delivered just weeks before the 2010 elections to the FBI, after a conversation between Richard Pilger, an official with the Justice Department’s Election Crimes Branch, and former IRS Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner, a central figure in the scandal.
“At the very least, this information suggests that the IRS considered the political speech activities of nonprofits to be worthy of investigation by federal law-enforcement officials,” wrote Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, in a letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.
The lawmakers are demanding more information from the IRS chief after their discovery that the agency transmitted 21 disks, constituting a 1.1 million page database of information from 501(c)(4) tax exempt organizations, to the FBI in October 2010.
“The IRS apparently considered political speech by nonprofit groups to be so troublesome that it illegally assisted federal law-enforcement officials in assembling a massive database of the lawful political speech of thousands of American citizens, weeks before the 2010 midterm elections, using confidential taxpayer information,” wrote Issa and Jordan.
Reaction was swift and scathing on Capitol Hill and among the grassroots.
“This is absolutely shocking and appalling,” high-powered Washington attorney Cleta Mitchell told WND.
“That the IRS was seeking to assist in criminally prosecuting citizens groups for exercising their free speech rights is beyond horrifying. This is America – not 1930′s Germany or 1950′s Soviet Russia,” said the lawyer who represents several tea-party groups targeted by the IRS.
The real criminals are in the White House said Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, who told WND, “This is yet more evidence of criminal activity by the Obama administration. It’s also proof ‘campaign finance reform’ is just a way for government to target citizens who express dissenting views.”
He added, “Under Obama there is increasingly no difference between the State and the Party. Democrats view government’s central role as one of suppressing dissent.”
Catherine Engelbrecht knows a thing or two about being targeted by the federal government, having had an entire alphabet soup of federal agencies come knocking on her door after she helped found, and then led, True the Vote and King Street Patriots.
Even though the Englebrechts had spent two decades of running a business without any interest from federal agencies, once she applied for tax-exempt status for her grassroots groups, the Texan was suddenly audited by the IRS and ATF, received multiple visits by OSHA and ATF, and even was visited by the ranking Democrat on the Oversight Committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md.
An astounding 15 audits or inquiries, in all.
Engelbrecht told WND, “The discovery that Lois Lerner provided the Elections Crimes Branch of the FBI with 1.1 million pages of documents is shocking, but the fact that the IRS and FBI have withheld this smoking gun evidence for over a year demonstrates this Administration’s continued contempt for Congress, and the law.”
She continued, “Lois Lerner obviously hoped this information would encourage the FBI to prosecute conservative groups on the Administration’s enemies list.”
Jenny Beth Martin, president and co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, told WND, “This is further evidence of how the Obama administration sought to criminalize free-speech as early as 2010. The more we learn about this IRS targeting of individuals and groups, the more we see it is rotten to the core.”
Rep. James Lankford, R-Okla., who is is a member of the Oversight Committee, told WND, “Records associated with tax collection are to be kept secure and should never be used for political purposes. Now, it’s clear right before the 2010 election the IRS transferred documents outside their jurisdiction for purposes unrelated to tax collection.”
“We cannot allow this administration to overstep the law or put the private information of the American people at risk for political purposes,” he concluded.
“It also shows how important it is that Congress keep asking questions until we learn the truth of this outrageous abuse of power by the administration,” added the leader of a national grassroots coalition with more than 3,400 locally organized chapters and more than 15 million supporters nationwide.
The Oversight Committee learned of the database earlier this month only after interviewing DOJ’s Pilger, who had discussed with Lerner the possibility of prosecuting tax exempt organizations that engaged in political activity.
In an e-mail dated Oct. 5, 2010, Lerner asked Pilger about his formatting preference for “the disks we spoke about.” Pilger forwarded Lerner’s e-mail to an FBI agent, writing, “This is incoming data re 501c4 issues. Does FBI have a format preference?” He then responded to Lerner, “Thanks Lois – FBI says Raw format is best because they can put it into their systems like excel.”
A livid Issa and Jordan noted, despite an intensive investigation of targeting, the IRS had not disclosed to congressional investigators that Lerner had sent a massive database of tax exempt organizations to the FBI for scrutiny.
“We were extremely troubled by this new information, and by the fact that the IRS has withheld it from the Committee for over a year,” wrote Issa and Jordan to IRS Commissioner Koskinen. “We were astonished to learn days ago from the Justice Department that these 21 disks contained confidential taxpayer information protected by federal law. We ask that you immediately produce all material explaining how these disks were prepared and transmitted to the FBI.”
“Don’t hold your breath waiting. Police States move slower than normal bureaucracies.” JB
The letter continues, “Despite two Committee subpoenas, the IRS has not produced material relating to these 21 disks and all associated information. … The subpoena [to the IRS] created a legal requirement on you, as the Commissioner of the IRS, to identify and produce all subpoenaed material in an expeditious manner. Your choice to withhold this highly relevant material obstructs the Committee’s ongoing oversight obligations – especially when this information implicates violations of federal law.”
The letter requests the IRS immediately provide a full and complete explanation as to why information about the disks was withheld, all documents and communications related to the creation and transmittal of the disks, and communications between the IRS and any other agency related to the 21 disks.
A series of emails from ex-IRS official Lois Lerner, who twice refused to answer questions from Congress about her targeting of conservative groups, reveals she was in contact with Eric Holder’s Department of Justice about prosecuting those organizations, according to the Washington watchdog group Judicial Watch.
“These new emails show that the day before she broke the news of the IRS scandal, Lois Lerner was talking to a top Obama Justice Department official about whether the DOJ could prosecute the very same organizations that the IRS had already improperly targeted,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton Wednesday.
Fitton said the IRS emails show the Department of Justice is now implicated and conflicted in the IRS scandal.
“No wonder we had to sue in federal court to get these documents,” he said.
The IRS has admitted creating special hurdles for conservatives opposing President Obama’s policies as they tried to acquire tax-exempt status leading up to the 2012 election. Among the hurdles were a demand to know the content of a group’s prayers and a promise not to protest the abortion business Planned Parenthood.
Now Judicial Watch has gone to court to get copies of the emails, which includes a May 9, 2013, message indicating the IRS planned to meet with the Department of Justice over whether to prosecute groups that “lied” about their political activity.
Judicial Watch said a new batch of internal IRS documents show Lerner, who has been referred to the full House of Representatives for a vote on contempt of Congress charges, “communicated with the Department of Justice about whether it was possible to criminally prosecute certain tax-exempt entities.”
The documents reveal an email from Lerner to Nikole C. Flax, at the time the chief of staff to acting IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller.
In it, the discussion focused on prosecuting nonprofits.
“I got a call today from Richard Pilger Director Elections Crimes Branch at DOJ … He wanted to know who at IRS the DOJ folk s [sic] could talk to about Sen. Whitehouse idea at the hearing that DOJ could piece together false statement cases about applicants who ‘lied’ on their 1024s –saying they weren’t planning on doing political activity, and then turning around and making large visible political expenditures. DOJ is feeling like it needs to respond, but want to talk to the right folks at IRS to see whether there are impediments from our side and what, if any damage this might do to IRS programs,” Lerner wrote. “I told him that sounded like we might need several folks from IRS.”
Flax responded: “I think we should do it – also need to include CI [Criminal Investigation Division], which we can help coordinate. Also, we need to reach out to FEC. Does it make sense to consider including them in this or keep it separate?”
Judicial Watch said the documents show Lerner then passed the issue to attorney Nancy Marks, who was then supposed to set up the meeting with DOJ. Lerner also decided that it would be DOJ’s decision as to whether representatives from the Federal Election Commission would attend.
Judicial Watch explained Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., had asked why the DOJ and IRS “have not prosecuted 501(c)(4) groups that have seemingly made false statements about their political activities.”
“As I mentioned yesterday – there are several groups of folks from the FEC world that are pushing tax fraud prosecution for c4s who report they are not conducting political activity when they are (or these folks think they are). One is my ex-boss Larry Noble (former General Counsel at the FEC), who is now president of Americans for Campaign Reform. This is their latest push to shut these down. One IRS prosecution would make an impact and they wouldn’t feel so comfortable doing the stuff.
“So, don’t be fooled about how this is being articulated – it is ALL about 501(c)(4) orgs and political activity,” she wrote.
Lerner seemed to be calling for the prosecutions even though she admitted in another email that they weren’t allowed under the law.
“Whether there was a false statement or fraud regarding an [sic] description of an alleged political expenditure that doesn’t say vote for or vote against is not realistic under current law. Everyone is looking for a magic bullet or scapegoat — there isn’t one. The law in this area is just hard,” she wrote.
The watchdog group said: “In an email to an aide responding to a request for information from a Washington Post reporter, Lerner admits that she ‘can’t confirm that there was anyone on the other side of the political spectrum’ who had been targeted by the IRS. She then adds that ‘The one with the names used were only know [sic] because they have been very loud in the press.’”
Another email from an aide specifically draws to Lerner’s attention “Tea Party Organizations,” the “Tea Party movement” and “Tea Party Patriots.”
Judicial Watch launched its federal Freedom of Information Act requests and eventual lawsuit after a May 14, 2013, Treasury Inspector General report revealing that the IRS had singled out groups with conservative-sounding terms such as “patriot” and “Tea Party” in their titles when applying for tax-exempt status.
The Treasury report found: “Early in Calendar Year 2010, the IRS began using inappropriate criteria to identify organizations applying for tax-exempt status to (e.g., lists of past and future donors).”
The campaign, which critics believe traces to the highest levels of government, stretched on for months and “delayed processing of targeted groups’ applications” preparing for the 2012 presidential election.
Lerner was director of the IRS branch that dealt with applications for tax-exempt status at the time, although she later left amid calls to remove her.
Congress now is reviewing its work with Lerner, since she refused to testify in May 2013 before the House Oversight Committee and again during another hearing just weeks ago.
WND reported recently when a member of Congress revealed the IRS also mounted Big Brother-type surveillance of groups that already were authorized to operate at the time.
The confirmation from Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., chairman of the House Ways and Means committee, came days after WND reported the IRS even today sends small exempt organizations to a major progressive think tank to have tax information processed.
In a statement first released in the Wall Street Journal, Camp said his committee’s ongoing investigation discovered the federal government singling out established groups “for audits.”
“We now know that the IRS targeted not only right-leaning applicants, but also right-leaning groups that were already operating as 501(c)4s,” Camp said. “At Washington, D.C.’s direction, dozens of groups operating as 501(c)4s were flagged for IRS surveillance, including monitoring of the groups’ activities, websites and any other publicly available information.”
Camp’s committee was to oppose IRS plans for a raft of new regulations that would target the speech rights of those right-leaning organizations, by determining that efforts such as candidate forums or voter information drives would be designated as “political” speech and therefore banned.
Camp said those rules “are a blatant attempt to legalize and institutionalize targeting by the IRS, and are designed to put conservative groups out of business. It is no wonder the IRS tried to develop this rule behind closed doors and out of the public’s view.”
“I want to be perfectly clear – this committee will fight any and all efforts to restrict the rights of groups to organize, speak out and educate the public, just as unions are allowed to do so,” he said. “We will get to the bottom of this, and I expect the IRS to produce – quickly – the outstanding documents the committee has requested.”
WND reported that those small exempt organizations are directed by the IRS itself to file confidential tax information through the Urban Institute, whose chief is linked to the Center for American Progress, the source for many of Barack Obama’s ultra-progressive agenda items as president.
Cleta Mitchell, a top Washington attorney, told WND: “If true, this is a violation of federal law. And since most of the tea-party groups have annual revenues of [$50,000] or less, this would redirect their filings to a group whose mission is fundamentally at odds with tea-party organizations.”
Mitchell said federal law “strictly prohibits the disclosure of confidential taxpayer information to persons outside the IRS.”
“It is a felony to disseminate the information,” she said.
“Surely this cannot be happening. Surely,” said Mitchell. “This would be well more than a ‘smidgen’ of corruption.”
Mitchell, a partner in the Washington-based law firm Foley & Lardner LLP, is well known for providing expert legal advice to conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.
BREAKING: Emails Show Lois Lerner Fed True the Vote Tax Information to Democrat Elijah Cummings
Katie Pavlich | Apr 09, 2014
Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa, along with five Subcommittee Chairmen are demanding Cummings provide an explanation for the staff inquiries to the IRS about True the Vote and for his denial that his staff ever contacted the IRS about the group.
“Although you have previously denied that your staff made inquiries to the IRS about conservative organization True the Vote that may have led to additional agency scrutiny, communication records between your staff and IRS officials – which you did not disclose to Majority Members or staff – indicates otherwise,” the letter to Cummings states. “As the Committee is scheduled to consider a resolution holding Ms. Lerner, a participant in responding to your communications that you failed to disclose, in contempt of Congress, you have an obligation to fully explain your staff’s undisclosed contacts with the IRS.”
The first contact between the IRS and Cummings’ staffers about True the Vote happened in August 2012. In January 2013, staff asked for more information from the IRS about the group. Former head of tax exempt groups at the IRS Lois Lerner went out of her way to try and get information to Cummings’ office.The information Cummings received was not shared with Majority Members on the Committee.
On January 28, three days after staffers requested more information, Lerner wrote an email to her deputy Holly Paz, who has since been put on administrative leave, asking, “Did we find anything?” Paz responded immediately by saying information had not been found yet, to which Lerner replied, “Thanks, check tomorrow please.”
On January 31, Paz sent True the Vote’s 990 forms to Cumming’s staff.
Up until this point, Rep. Cummings has denied his staff ever contacted the IRS about True the Vote and their activities during Oversight hearings. In fact, on February 6, 2014 during a Subcommittee hearing where Engelbrecht testified, Cummings vehemently denied having any contact or coordination in targeting True the Vote when attorney Cleta Mitchell, who is representing the group, indicated staff on the Committee had been involved in communication with the IRS. This was the exchange:
Ms. Mitchell: We want to get to the bottom of how these coincidences happened, and we’re going to try to figure out whether any – if there was any staff of this committee that might have been involved in putting True the Vote on the radar screen of some of these Federal agencies. We don’t know that, but we – we’re going to do everything we can do to try to get to the bottom of how did this all happen.
Mr. Cummings. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. Meadows. Yes.
Mr. Cummings. I want to thank the gentleman for his courtesy. What she just said is absolutely incorrect and not true.
After the hearing, Engelbrecht filed an ethics complaint against Cummings for his targeting and intimidation of her organization.
Rep. Cummings has described the investigation into IRS targeting of conservative groups as a “witch hunt,” and has tried multiple times to put the investigation on hold.
“These documents, indicating involvement of IRS officials at the center of the targeting scandal responding to your requests, raise serious questions about your actions and motivations for trying to bring this investigation to a premature end. If the Committee, as you publicly suggested in June 2013,’wrap[ped] this case up and moved on’ at that time, the Committee may have never seen documents raising questions about your possible coordination with the IRS in communications that excluded the Committee Majority,” the letter sent by Issa and the Chairmen further states. “As the Committee continues to investigate the IRS’s wrongdoing and to gather all relevant testimonial and documentary evidence, the American people deserve to know the full truth. They deserve to know why the Ranking Member and Minority staff of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform surreptitiously contacted the IRS about an individual organization without informing the Majority Staff and even failed to disclose the contact after it became an issue during a subcommittee proceeding…We ask that you explain the full extent of you and your staff’s communications with the IRS and why you chose to keep communications with the IRS from Majority Members and staff even after it became a subject of controversy.”
The House Oversight Committee will vote tomorrow about whether to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress.
Oversight committee to meet to consider contempt for Lois Lerner
While the last full Oversight hearing resulted in a headline-making back-and-forth between Issa and Democratic Ranking Member Elijah Cummings, the last important Oversight Committee business meeting resulted in the finding that Lois Lerner waived her Fifth Amendment rights.
Committee business meetings are open to and attended by committee members from both parties