4

The Dog Ate My Tax Receipts Act

 

 

The latest twist in the IRS scandal is the IRS claim that Lois Lerner’s hard drive failed and thus her e-mails for the time span during which the IRS was targeting conservative groups can’t be supplied to Congress.  The crash allegedly conveniently occurred ten days after the House Ways and Means Committee Chairman made his initial inquiry about allegations that the IRS was targeting conservatives.  Then the IRS revealed that the hard drives of six other IRS officials also failed and thus their e-mails also can’t be turned over to Congress.  When Congress subpoenaed the hard drives, since the recovery of data on crashed hard drives is a mundane tech task done countless times each day  in this country, the IRS revealed that the hard drives had been destroyed as part of the recycling program of the IRS.  I have been an attorney now for 32 years, and little shocks me as a result, but the bald faced and brazen lying of the IRS, combined with probable destruction of evidence, does.  This of course from the agency that requires that all the rest of us maintain meticulous records of our financial lives for years on end, and woe unto us if we do not do so.  Thus I heartily endorse this proposed piece of legislation:

WASHINGTON — Taxpayers who do not produce documents for the Internal Revenue Service will be able to offer a variety of dubious excuses under legislation introduced by Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX 36) a week after the IRS offered an incredibly dubious excuse for its failure to turn documents over to House investigators.

“The United States was founded on the belief government is subservient and accountable to the people.  Taxpayers shouldn’t be expected to follow laws the Obama administration refuses to follow themselves,” said Stockman.  “Taxpayers should be allowed to offer the same flimsy, obviously made-up excuses the Obama administration uses.”

Under Stockman’s bill, “The Dog Ate My Tax Receipts Act,” taxpayers who do not provide documents requested by the IRS can claim one of the following reasons:

1.         The dog ate my tax receipts
2.         Convenient, unexplained, miscellaneous computer malfunction
3.         Traded documents for five terrorists
4.         Burned for warmth while lost in the Yukon
5.         Left on table in Hillary’s Book Room
6.         Received water damage in the trunk of Ted Kennedy’s car
7.         Forgot in gun case sold to Mexican drug lords
8.         Forced to recycle by municipal Green Czar
9.         Was short on toilet paper while camping
10.       At this point, what difference does it make? Continue Reading

1

IRS Scandal: The Harassment of Pro-Lifers Continues

 

 

Incredible.  Even after the exposure of the IRS targeting pro-life groups, go here to read about it, the IRS is continuing to target pro-life groups:

 

August 1, 2013 – Chicago)  Today, the Thomas More Society has submitted an updated second memorandum to Congressman Aaron Schock (IL-18) of the House Committee on Ways and Means, detailing additional evidence of continued IRS targeting of pro-life organizations. Despite claims by the Obama Administration that the harassment has ceased, the Society produced over 230 pages of documentation showing that the federal government is still interrogating pro-life groups beyond the scope of its legal authority, infringing upon these organizations’ First Amendment rights of assembly, free speech, and religious liberty.

“Despite claims to the contrary, the IRS continues to target and harass pro-life and conservative charities, illegally questioning their religious activities and withholding their tax exemptions,” said Peter Breen vice president and senior counsel of the Thomas More Society. “We have now produced irrefutable evidence of six clients whose First Amendment rights were trampled upon by the IRS because of their position upholding the sanctity of life. Even after public disclosure of this wrongdoing, the Obama Administration’s IRS has refused to cease its illegal activity. We will continue to aid Congress in its investigation until those responsible are brought to justice and the IRS is made to respect every American’s constitutional rights.”

Since the Thomas More Society disclosed evidence in May showing IRS harassment of three pro-life groups, the Society has been contacted by numerous additional organizations seeking legal counsel related to IRS issues. Three of these entities, Cherish Life Ministries, LIFE Group, and Emerald Coast Coalition for Life are highlighted in today’s memorandum as having experienced illegal targeting by the IRS.

The memo details the recent experience of several pro-life organizations applying for 501(c)(3) charitable recognition and reveals blatant bias on the part of the IRS agents assigned to process those applications. Repeatedly these pro-life groups were harassed with questions about time spent in prayer at abortion facilities and told that they must educate and advocate on abortion from both sides of the issue. Two groups were also falsely denied their tax exemption status by IRS agent Mrs. R. Medley who claimed they didn’t qualify under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code. All three groups’ tax exemptions were delayed 13-16 months with IRS supervisors, including Lois Lerner, singling out their applications for further review by an “exemption organization specialist.” While Thomas More Society attorneys have intervened and secured relief for two of these three organizations, one organization – Emerald Coast Coalition for Life – still remains in limbo. Continue Reading

3

IRS Scandal: Holly Paz

Holly Paz, a former IRS Supervisor in Washington has some interesting things to say:

A Washington-based IRS supervisor acknowledged she was personally involved in  reviewing Tea Party applications for tax-exempt status as far back as 2010, Fox  News confirms — a detail that further challenges the agency’s initial claim  that the practice of singling out those groups was limited to a handful of  employees in Ohio.

Congressional sources confirmed to Fox News that Holly Paz, who until  recently was a top deputy in the division that handles applications for  tax-exempt status, told congressional investigators she reviewed 20 to 30  applications. Some requests languished for more than a year without  action.

The account undercuts the narrative that senior officials only learned of the  practice after it had already started in the Cincinnati office.

Details of Paz’s role were first reported by The Associated Press. Still, Paz  provided no evidence that senior IRS officials ordered agents to target  conservative groups or that anyone in the Obama administration outside the IRS  was involved.

Instead, Paz described an agency in which IRS supervisors in Washington  worked closely with agents in the field but didn’t fully understand what those  agents were doing. Paz said agents in Cincinnati openly talked about handling  “tea party” cases, but she thought the term was merely shorthand for all  applications from groups that were politically active — conservative and  liberal. Continue Reading

4

IRS Scandal: Our Nomenklatura

Nomenklatura

In the old Soviet Union and its Eastern bloc satellites, those who administered the country through the vast byzantine bureaucracies that sprang up were referred to by dissidents as the nomenklatura.  In Marxist terms they were a privileged class, living off the work of others, ruling them and using their positions for their benefit and to attack those who oppose them.  Jay Cost wonders if we have not developed such a system in the US:

 

 

More reforms would follow over the years, giving rise to the (supposedly) apolitical bureaucracy that we have today. Indeed, the professionalization and autonomy of the bureaucracy was a prerequisite for the modern liberal state, which claims moral legitimacy through the disinterested application of “scientific” principles of management. It wouldn’t have been possible if the percentage of political appointees had not been scaled drastically downwards between the Civil War and the Great Depression.

That is how America ultimately addressed the principal-agent problem of the bureaucracy: We would hire only qualified people, free them almost entirely from politics, and insist they employ this new “science” of administration.

But is this solution still satisfactory? Today there is one member of Congress for approximately every 5,150 civilian members of the executive branch. How can the people’s representatives possibly keep track of all those bureaucrats? And if they cannot keep track, what is to stop the worst fears of Andrew Jackson from being realized? His “rotation in office” did not turn out to be a salutary alternative, but that does not negate his critique of the status quo. A bureaucracy that is too insulated from the people runs the risk of antirepublican corruption, regardless of whether it is staffed by “gentlemen” or those with master’s degrees in public administration.

The targeting of conservative organizations by the Internal Revenue Service suggests that this risk is not insignificant. Career bureaucrats there—presumed to be above politics—unduly went after Tea Party groups, effectively denying them their constitutional right to equal protection, for years. All the while, Congress did nothing. The agency’s inspector general failed to blow the whistle in a  timely fashion. The media overlooked the many transgressions. And now, the bureaucrat in charge of the division, Lois Lerner, has lawyered up, taken the Fifth Amendment, and thus will slow the investigative process to a crawl.

This does not appear to be an isolated incident, either. Last month, National Review reported that a longtime colleague of Lerner has known for decades that she harbored suspicions of conservative groups. The Weekly Standard has reported that while at the Federal Election Commission, she harassed the Christian Coalition in a similar manner. Far from being reprimanded for this, she was promoted—during a Republican administration, no less! Recent reports, moreover, suggest that the Environmental Protection Agency has been making conservative groups pay Freedom of Information Act fees while waiving them for liberal organizations.

The Declaration of Independence vested all sovereign power in the people alone, while the Constitution established a government to manage that power in a republican fashion. While the people still swear fealty to the founding ideals, they have not put much thought recently into the problems the Founders tackled. As society has become more complex, the government has, too; Americans have not reexamined the structure of government, in an age in which it accounts for more than 20 percent of the national economy, to ensure it still reflects the republican spirit. In fact, there has not been a serious public discussion about the organization of the bureaucracy since the 1880s, even as it has doubled in size many times over. And so today, it is a vast enterprise of millions of workers, with precious little oversight from the people’s elected representatives. Continue Reading

9

IRS Scandal: Agent Sherry Wan Lays Down the “Law” to Pro-lifers

 

The IRS scandal is deepening as a new tape has been released today showing a disturbing phone call the Internal Revenue Service placed to a non-profit organization.

Alliance Defending Freedom, a pro-life legal group, made the audio available today of IRS officials telling a group that provides support to women in abusive pregnancy situations to keep its faith to itself. In the recorded phone conversation, an IRS agent lectures the president of the organization about forcing its religion and beliefs on others and inaccurately explains that the group must remain neutral on issues such as abortion.

ADF is providing legal representation for the group — which did not receive its tax-exempt status until last week after waiting nearly two and a half years after applying for it.

“The IRS is a tax collector; it shouldn’t be allowed to be the speech and belief police,” said Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley. “The current scandal isn’t new but has merely exposed the abuse of power that characterizes this agency and threatens our fundamental freedoms.”

ADF tells LifeNews that, in January 2011, Pro-Life Revolution, which operates from Texas under all three purposes for whcih religious groups can obtain nonprofit status, filed an application for tax-exempt status with the IRS. Four months later, the IRS sent a letter requesting “more information” and an explanation of how the organization’s activities are educational or charitable even though IRS rules specify that an organization need only operate for “one or more” of the three exempt purposes. President of Pro-Life Revolution Ania Joseph nonetheless replied and answered the IRS’s questions.

ADF indicates Joseph received a call from IRS Exempt Organization Specialist Sherry Wan in March 2012.

Wan told her that, in order to obtain a tax exemption, “You cannot force your religion or force your beliefs on somebody else…. You have to know your boundaries. You have to know your limits. You have to respect other people’s beliefs.”

In February of this year, the IRS requested additional information in another letter and attempted to apply a standard for tax exemption to Pro-Life Revolution that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held to be unconstitutional in 1980. Alliance Defending Freedom pointed this out in a letter responding to the IRS, which finally granted tax-exempt status to the organization in a letter received Thursday. Continue Reading

10

IRS Scandal: Union of Party and State

 

Content advisory as to the video, included because I am heartened by Jon Stewart’s outrage in regard to the IRS scandal.

As usual, Mark Steyn gets to the heart of the matter in regard to the IRS Scandal:

When the state has the power to know everything about everyone, the integrity of the civil service is the only bulwark against men like Holder. Instead, the ruling party and the non-partisan bureaucracy seem to be converging. In August 2010, President Obama began railing publicly against “groups with harmless-sounding names like Americans for Prosperity” (August 9th, a speech in Texas) and “shadowy groups with harmless-sounding names” (August 21st, radio address). And whaddayaknow, that self-same month the IRS obligingly issued its first BOLO (Be On the Look-Out) for groups with harmless-sounding names, like “tea party,” “patriot,” and “constitution.”

It may be that the strange synchronicity between the president and the permanent bureaucracy is mere happenstance and not, as it might sound to the casual ear, the sinister merging of party and state. Either way, they need to be pried apart. When the state has the capability to know everything except the difference between right and wrong, it won’t end well. Continue Reading

5

IRS Scandal: Becky Gerritson of Wetumpka

Yesterday victims of the IRS targeting of conservative groups spoke before the House committee investigating this attempt to use the IRS as a political weapon.  The most riveting testimony was by Becky Gerritson of Wetumpka, Alabama:

 

“In Wetumpka, we are patriotic Americans. We peacefully assemble. We petition  our government. We exercise the right to free  speech. And we don’t understand why the government tried to stop us.

“I’m not here as a serf or a vassal. I’m not begging my lords for mercy. I’m  a born free American woman. Wife, mother, and citizen. And I’m telling my  government that you’ve forgotten your place. It’s not your responsibility to  look out for my wellbeing and to monitor my speech. It’s not your right to  assert an agenda. Your post, the post that you occupy, exists to preserve  American liberty. You’ve sworn to perform that duty, and you have faltered…

“What the government did to our little group in Wetumpka, Alabama is  un-American. It isn’t a matter of firing or arresting individuals. The  individuals who sought to intimidate us were acting as they thought they should,  in a government culture that has little respect for its citizens. Many of the  agents and agencies of the federal government do not understand that they are  servants of the people. They think they are our masters.  And they are mistaken.

“I’m not interested in scoring political points. I want to protect and  preserve the America that I grew up in. The America that people crossed oceans  and risked their lives to become a part of. And I’m terrified it is slipping  away.

“Thank you.” Continue Reading

9

IRS Scandal: Omerta

 

Addtional evidence from the IRS scandal that the country is being governed currently by gangsters:

IRS employees interviewed during a Treasury inspector general’s audit would not say who ordered them to target conservative groups, the inspector general told members of Congress on Monday.

“We did pose that question, and no one would acknowledge who, if anyone, provided that direction,” Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George said in response to a question from Representative Tom Graves (R., Ga.). George interviewed employees in the IRS field office in Cincinnati as part of his audit, which found that the agency inappropriately targeted conservative organizations seeking nonprofit status. Continue Reading

19

IRS Scandal: 157 Visits to White House

 

 

Hattip to commenter Art Deco who alerted me to this story.  Doug Shulman, the head of the IRS while the IRS was effectively operating as an arm of the Obama reelection campaign, visited the White House at least 157 times during his tenure.  His predecessor in the Bush administration visited the White House once, and compared the IRS to Siberia in reference to its lack of connection with the Bush administration.  Shulman was appointed by Bush in 2008 in spite of Shulman’s history of making political donations to Democrats.

 

Shulman’s extensive access to the White House first came to light during his  testimony last week before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.  Shulman gave assorted answers when asked why he had visited the  White House 118 times during the period that the IRS was targeting tea party and  conservative nonprofits for extra scrutiny and delays on their tax-exempt applications.

By contrast, Shulman’s predecessor Mark Everson only visited the White House  once during four years of service in the George W. Bush administration and  compared the IRS’s remoteness from the president to “Siberia.” But the scope of  Shulman’s White House visits — which strongly suggests coordination by White  House officials in the campaign against the president’s political opponents — is  even more striking in comparison to the publicly recorded access of Cabinet  members.

Go here to The Daily Caller to read the rest.  When queried about his constant trips to the Obama White House here is Doug’s response:

In testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last  week, Shulman cited several reasons for the visits: “The Easter Egg roll with my  kids . . . questions about the administrability of tax policy . . . our budget,  us helping the Department of Education streamline application processes for  financial aid.” Continue Reading

11

IRS Scandal: the Fifth Amendment, Useful Tools and Sacrificial Lambs

Lois Lerner, director of the IRS Exempts Division while the IRS was treating conservative groups with the same even-handedness displayed by a group of foxes debating the rights of chickens, took the Fifth Amendment, the privilege against self incrimination, before Congress last week.  She did it in an odd way, first making a self serving statement and then taking the Fifth.  I found that passing strange as what is drummed into most defense attorneys about the Fifth Amendment is that you have your client assert the privilege and say absolutely nothing else.  The reason for this is that there is ample case law in criminal cases where defendants have inadvertently waived the privilege because they couldn’t resist the temptation to shoot their mouths off instead of simply asserting the privilege.  As far as I know there is no case law about whether you can waive your Fifth Amendment privilege before Congress by doing so, but a cautious defense attorney would have warned her strenuously against making the “I didn’t do nothin'” opening statement.  I assume that she either got bad legal advice or she got good advice and chose to ignore it.

Of course the atmospherics of Lerner taking the Fifth is disastrous for Lerner and her political string pullers at the White House.  Most people come into contact with the Fifth Amendment when they see video of some gangster asserting the privilege.  Although a court of law or a jury may construe nothing from the assertion of the Fifth Amendment, people who are not judges or serving on juries are perfectly free to make the reasonable assumption that someone would assert the privilege against self-incrimination only when they had good reason to believe they had violated the law.

As she goes under the bus, Lerner perhaps is pondering how she got there.  The explanation for that is simple:  she was a useful tool for the Obama White House in its desperate drive beginning in 2010 to slow the momentum of the Tea Party, a momentum that in 2010 gave the Republicans historic victories in the midterm election and was a mortal threat to the re-election of Obama in 2012.  The IRS was thus a key component in the reelection strategy of Obama by stopping the formation of tax exempt tea party groups and harassing those trying to organize such groups.

In Lerner, the men and women who pulled her strings at the White House found a willing accomplice.  During the Clinton administration, when she was head of the enforcement division of the Federal Election Commission, Lerner developed a well-earned reputation for targeting Republican and conservative groups: Continue Reading

5

IRS Scandal: A Warning

 

 

 

Hattip to CDR M at Ace of Spades.  Once you have governments using their resources against political adversaries the results can be dire indeed.  From the proprietor of the blog War News Update:

I know that this news story is not a defense/war/conflict post …. but many are asking for my opinion …. and so here it is.

While Benghazi is important because 4 Americans died …. and the American people have a right to know
what happen
even though many in Washington and the White House are trying their best to close the book …. it is the IRS scandal that is catching my attention. Even the New York Times is now acknowledging that the White House was aware that the IRS was targeting conservatives back in June 2012 …. but choose

to do nothing about it. As to acting IRS commissioner Steven T. Miller’s testimony today …. it is obvious that he knew what was happening …. but did not care.

I am not an American …. just a Russian national who is now a Canadian citizen looking from the outside in …. and I am just shaking my head. There is something terribly wrong in the U.S. right now …. when the IRS has been politicized to go after a specific political group, it does not take a ‘political scientist and historian’ to know that you are entering a very dark place …. and being one who grew up in such a place (the former Soviet Union) …. trust me on this one …. it is a place that you do not want to find yourself living in.

Politcal scandals come and go, but I think one reason the IRS scandal will resonate is the reaction of some of the left to it.  They have no problem with the IRS discriminating against conservative groups.  Some comments from a Ross Douthat column on the scandal:

 

For the life of me, I do not understand why there was a need for an apology from the IRS. These unpatriotic entities that have all but declared war on the U.S. government, threatened to secede from the union and made not-so-veiled threats against the president of these United States, deserve hyper-scrutiny. The very least that the government should do is scrutinize the taxes of such organizations to make sure their funds aren’t being used to stockpile munitions to overthrown a duly-elected government.

36

IRS Scandal: You Are Going to Love Obamacare!

 

 

This is almost getting farcial.  The IRS bureaucrat in charge of the tax exempt division of the IRS during the persecution of conservative groups is now the head of ObamaCare enforcement for the IRS.

Sarah Ingram

 

The Internal Revenue Service official in charge of the tax-exempt organizations at the time when the unit targeted tea party groups now runs the IRS office responsible for the health care legislation.

Sarah Hall Ingram served as commissioner of the office responsible for tax-exempt organizations between 2009 and 2012. But Ingram has since left that part of the IRS and is now the director of the IRS’ Affordable Care Act office, the IRS confirmed to ABC News today.

Her successor, Joseph Grant, is taking the fall for misdeeds at the scandal-plagued unit between 2010 and 2012. During at least part of that time, Grant served as deputy commissioner of the tax-exempt unit.

Grant announced today that he would retire June 3, despite being appointed as commissioner of the tax-exempt office May 8, a week ago.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reacted to the revelation in a brief statement late Thursday.

“Stunning, just stunning,” McConnell, R-Ky. stated. Continue Reading

2

IRS Scandal: Enforcer for Planned Parenthood

Al Capone IRS

We’ll  try to cooperate fully with the IRS, because, as citizens, we feel a strong  patriotic duty not to go to jail.
Dave Barry

Ronald Reagan used to say that in his neighborhood the IRS was regarded as a terrorist organization.  I think a more apt current description of it is as an enforcer for various political entities including Worse Than Murder, Inc:

Similarly, the nonprofit Thomas More Society is now alleging that the IRS withheld approval for tax-exempt status from two pro-life organizations because of their demonstrations against abortion provider Planned Parenthood.

In one case, the IRS withheld approval of an application for tax exempt status for Coalition for Life of Iowa. In a phone call to Coalition for Life of Iowa leaders on June 6, 2009, the IRS agent “Ms. Richards” told the group to send a letter to the IRS with the entire board’s signatures stating that, under perjury of the law, they do not picket/protest or organize groups to picket or protest outside of Planned Parenthood. Once the IRS received this letter, their application would be approved…

In another similar case, the IRS withheld approval of an application for charitable tax-exempt recognition of Christian Voices for Life, questioning the group’s involvement with “40 Days for Life” and “Life Chain” events. The Fort Bend County, Texas, organization was subjected to repeated and lengthy unconstitutional requests for information about the viewpoint and content of its educational communications, volunteer prayer vigils, and other protected activities.

Thomas More Society special counsel Sally Wagenmaker calls the IRS authority in these cases is “disturbing.” Continue Reading

13

IRS Scandal: Billy Graham

Billy Graham and the Pope

 

 

Among non-Catholic Christian leaders, there is none that I respect more than Billy Graham.  My sainted mother, and if there was ever a woman more Catholic than the pope it was she, used to watch his crusades on television back in the Sixties.  To me, he has always been a voice crying out in a dark world for Christ.  Lacking the True Faith, he has still been a force for good in this world.  Now retired from day to day management of his organization, he still commands near universal respect in this country.  It therefore takes a special type of stupid to want to pick a fight with him.  That is the cue for the minions of the IRS under the current administration.

In a Tuesday (May 14) letter to President Obama, Graham said the two organizations he leads were notified last September that the IRS would review their records for the 2010 tax year.

The IRS inquiry, he noted, occurred months after the BGEA ran ads in April 2012 supporting a North Carolina amendment that banned same-sex marriage, which passed in May. The BGEA also ran ads last fall urging voters to consider candidates who make decisions based on “biblical principles and support the nation of Israel.”

Graham noted that the ads were bought with designated funds given by ministry donors for that purpose.

Go here to Religion News Service to read the rest.  Here is the text of the letter of Franklin Graham:

Continue Reading

1

IRS Scandal: The Chicago Way

 

One of the interesting things about the IRS scandal is how obvious and ham-fisted the bias against conservative groups was:

 

In February 2010, the Champaign Tea Party in Illinois received approval of its tax-exempt status from the IRS in 90 days, no questions asked.

That was the month before the Internal Revenue Service started singling out Tea Party groups for special treatment. There wouldn’t be another Tea Party application approved for 27 months.

In that time, the IRS approved perhaps dozens of applications from similar liberal and progressive groups, a USA TODAY review of IRS data shows.

As applications from conservative groups sat in limbo, groups with liberal-sounding names had their applications approved in as little as nine months. With names including words like “Progress” or “Progressive,” the liberal groups applied for the same tax status and were engaged in the same kinds of activities as the conservative groups. They included:

• Bus for Progress, a New Jersey non-profit that uses a red, white and blue bus to “drive the progressive change.” According to its website, its mission includes “support (for) progressive politicians with the courage to serve the people’s interests and make tough choices.” It got an IRS approval as a social welfare group in April 2011.

• Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment says it fights against corporate welfare and for increasing the minimum wage. “It would be fair to say we’re on the progressive end of the spectrum,” said executive director Jeff Ordower. He said the group got tax-exempt status in September 2011 in just nine months after “a pretty simple, straightforward process.”

 

• Progress Florida, granted tax-exempt status in January 2011, is lobbying the Florida Legislature to expand Medicaid under a provision of the Affordable Care Act, one of President Obama’s signature accomplishments. The group did not return phone calls. “We’re busy fighting to build a more progressive Florida and cannot take your call right now,” the group’s voice mail said.

Like the Tea Party groups, the liberal groups sought recognition as social welfare groups under Section 501(c)(4) of the tax code, based on activities like “citizen participation” or “voter education and registration.” Continue Reading

7

A Public Service Announcement From The American Catholic

 

 

Attention, attention!  All IRS employees who gave “special” attention to conservative groups at the behest of your politicial masters.  You are being thrown under the bus!  I repeat, you are being thrown under the bus!

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Tuesday he had ordered the FBI to open a criminal probe in a growing scandal over the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative political groups for extra tax scrutiny.

Holder’s announcement came about four hours before an inspector general’s report on the IRS portrayed the tax agency as plagued by disarray and “insufficient oversight” during its struggles to review the cases of hundreds of advocacy groups that claimed they should be tax exempt.

The audit, which drew some backlash from IRS officials, also underscored what the agency had acknowledged last Friday: that the IRS had used “inappropriate criteria” for evaluating tax-exempt groups, in part by singling out scores of conservative Tea Party and “Patriot” organizations for increased scrutiny Continue Reading

34

IRS Scandal: Pro-life Groups Were Targets

IRS Scandal

 

On any enemies list compiled by the Obama administration, no doubt pro-lifers would be near the top.  Illinois Review reveals today that pro-life groups were targeted by the IRS:

Were pro-life groups also a target of the staunchly pro-abortion Obama Administration?

Chicago’s Thomas More Society reported first dealing with IRS concerns from pro-life groups as early as 2009.

When the Coalition for Life of Iowa sought tax exemption status in 2009, the IRS sought details about the content of members’ prayers at a Planned Parenthood facility. They also demanded that the group refrain both from activities that could be construed as protesting or picketing by police, and to cease activities that could be seen as confrontational or harassing by abortion-seeking clients.

Thomas More Society said the IRS insisted that “every member of the board of directors of the Coalition sign a statement, under penalty of perjury, that they will not picket or protest or organize others to picket or protest outside of Planned Parenthood.” 

Soon after the unprecedented demands were made, the Chicago-based public interest law firm made the legal challenge on behalf of the Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based group. Shortly thereafter, the IRS backed off and the group was granted 501(c)3 status.

“The IRS must operate within the constraints of law, and it cannot condition the grant of tax exempt status on the forfeiture or surrender of First Amendment rights on the part of any non-profit group or individual American citizens,” Thomas More Society’s attorney Thomas Brejcha commented in a 2009 press release.

But again two years later, Thomas More Society issued a letter to the IRS on behalf of a group called Christian Voices for Life. The IRS made repeated requests for information about the viewpoint and content of the group’s communications, prayer vigils, and other activities, violating the group’s First Amendment rights. Continue Reading

10

Richard Milhous Obama

Richard Milhous Obama

Well, when the President does it, that means that it is not illegal.

Richard Milhous Nixon

With the IRS scandal and the revelation that the current administration has been secretly obtaining phone records of the press, the Obama administration is taking on a distinctly Nixonian flavor, as I experience a feeling of  deja vu from four decades ago.  I am not the only one seeing it.  So does a liberal Democrat Congressman from Massachusetts:

US Representative Michael E. Capuano on Monday said he was troubled by reports that the Internal Revenue Service had aggressively pursued conservative organizations, and called them reminiscient of the Nixon administration.

On the growing focus in Congress on the attacks on the US diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya last year, Capuano said the death of four Americans there raised “legitimate questions.” But he said, based on the information available, he expected the issue to end up becoming “the typical right-left type of nonsense you see on one station, but eventually falls off the others.”

He said the recent reports that IRS targeted small-government groups for extra scrutiny were  in a different category. Asked to discuss the reports, Capuano said that if the accounts were true, “There’s no way in the world, I’m going to defend that. Hell, I spent my youth vilifying the Nixon administration for doing the same thing.” Continue Reading

3

The IRS Scandal: The Hits Keep On Coming

 

It is hard to keep up on the IRS scandal as disclosure followed disclosure today, all damning to the IRS and the administration.  Here is the latest:

1.  Low Level Employees in Cincinnati Internal Revenue Service officials in Washington and at least two other offices were involved in the targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, making clear that the effort reached well beyond the branch in Cincinnati that was initially blamed, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post.

IRS officials at the agency’s Washington headquarters sent queries to conservative groups asking about their donors and other aspects of their operations, while officials in the El Monte and Laguna Niguel offices in California sent similar questionnaires to tea party-affiliated groups.

Go here to the Washington Post to read the rest.

2.  Confidentiality, What’s That?-The IRS released confidential applications of Tea Party groups to Pro Publica, a left wing thinktank.  How do we know this?  Pro Publica told us so today:

The same IRS office that deliberately targeted [1] conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status in the run-up to the 2012 election released nine pending confidential applications of conservative groups to ProPublica late last year [2].

The IRS did not respond to requests Monday following up about that release, and whether it had determined how the applications were sent to ProPublica.

In response to a request for the applications for 67 different nonprofits last November, the Cincinnati office of the IRS sent ProPublica applications or documentation for 31 groups. Nine of those applications had not yet been approved—meaning they were not supposed to be made public. (We made six [2] of those [3] public, after redacting their financial information, deeming that they were newsworthy.)

Go here to Pro Publica to read the rest.

3.  Who Else Knew?-The current acting commissioner of the IRS knew in May of 2012 that Tea Party groups were being targeted.  How do we know this?  The IRS disclosed this today.  Gee, do you wonder why they didn’t disclose this last year?  Continue Reading

9

George Will: How Stupid Do They Think We Are?

1. He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavoured to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposed not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be intitiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.

Article Two, Section One of the Impeachment Articles Against Richard M. Nixon

As Obama begins his process of “twisting slowly, slowly in the wind” news is getting out on the Inspector General of the IRS’s report on the targeting of Tea Party groups and other conservative groups:

At various points over the past two years, Internal Revenue Service officials targeted nonprofit groups that criticized the government and sought to educate Americans about the U.S. Constitution, according to documents in an audit conducted by the agency’s inspector general.

The documents, obtained by The Washington Post  from a congressional aide with knowledge of the findings, show that on June 29, 2011, IRS staffers held a briefing with senior agency official Lois G. Lerner in which they described giving special attention to instances where “statements in the case file criticize how the country is being run.” Lerner, who  oversees tax-exempt groups for the agency, raised objections and the agency revised its criteria a week later.

But six months later, the IRS applied a new political test to groups that applied for tax-exempt status as “social welfare” groups, the document says. On Jan. 15, 2012 the agency decided to target “political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding Government, educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, social economic reform movement.,” according to the appendix in the IG report, which was requested by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and has yet to be released. Continue Reading