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