Yes, Conservative Groups Were Purposely Targeted

A website called Tpnn posted a story today featuring a picture of the memo sent from Lois Lerner that began the IRS attack on Tea Party Groups.

This is the memo:

irsloislernerThis memo brings the administration into the targeting of Tea Party groups. It will be interesting to see if the mainstream media picks this up.

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The Timeline On The IRS Scandal

On Thursday Kimberley Strassel posted an article at the Wall Street Journal detailing the evolution of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp has sent a letter to the Justice Department requesting a criminal probe of Lois Lerner.

Ms. Strassel points out that Lois Lerner may have felt justified to target conservative groups based on the rhetoric of leader Democrats rather than direct orders from the White House.

The article lists what may be some of the root causes of the IRS attacks:

As the illuminating timeline accompanying the Camp letter shows, Ms. Lerner’s focus on shutting down Crossroads GPS came only after Obama adviser David Axelrod listed Crossroads among “front groups for foreign-controlled companies”; only after Senate Democrats Dick Durbin, Carl Levin, Chuck Schumer and others demanded the IRS investigate Crossroads; only after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched a website to “expose donors” of Crossroads; and only after Obama’s campaign lawyer, Bob Bauer, filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission about Crossroads.

The article goes through a timeline and details various attacks on conservative groups. It also notes the difficulty various investigative committees had in getting the information they requested in the investigation.

The article concludes:

In 2012, both the IRS and Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings were targeting the group True the Vote. We now have email showing contact between a Cummings staffer and the IRS over that organization. How much more contact was there? It’s one thing to write a public letter calling on a regulator to act. It’s another to haul the regulator in front of your committee, or have your staff correspond with or pressure said regulator, with regard to ongoing actions. That’s a no-no.

The final merit of Mr. Camp’s letter is that he’s called out Justice and Democrats. Mr. Camp was careful in laying out the ways Ms. Lerner may have broken the law, with powerful details. Democrats can’t refute the facts, so instead they are howling about all manner of trivia—the release of names, the “secret” vote to release taxpayer information. But it remains that they are putting themselves on record in support of IRS officials who target groups, circumvent rules, and potentially break the law. That ought to go down well with voters.

It may be time to abolish the IRS and institute a consumption tax.

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If The Major Media Doesn’t Report It, Voters Might Not Know It Happened

A major news story broke yesterday, and Fox News Special Report was the only evening news show that covered it.

Newsbusters reported last night:

In a major new development in the IRS scandal, House Republicans voted on Wednesday to send a criminal referral to the Department of Justice for former IRS chief Lois Lerner. FNC’s Special Report with Bret Baier devoted a full story to the vote by the committee chaired by Congressman Dave Camp, but none of the three broadcast network evening newscasts covered the vote.

The letter sent to Attorney General Eric Holder stated that “findings” from the Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Republican Camp, “suggest that Lerner may have violated multiple criminal statutes.” The letter went on to add that “the Committee asks that you pursue this evidence.” The three networks ignored this letter, however, although CBS and ABC talked about Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspirations.

It was also reported at Townhall.com that Lois Lerner’s staff had given information on True The Vote to Representative Cummings’ staff. True The Vote is one of the organizations targeted by the IRS. Representative Cummings had denied that charge, but a number of emails have surfaced.

The article further reports:

Other developments in the letter were ignored by the networks as well. Republicans accused Lerner of talking about taking a job with President Obama’s advocacy group Organizing for Action – while she was investigating non-profit applicants as the IRS head.

The IRS is not and should not be a political organization. We  have two choices–either put honest people in control of the IRS or abolish the IRS. Otherwise the IRS will simply become a weapon to be used by whichever party is in power against the opposition party. That is not what America is about.

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An Obvious Problem With The House Oversight Investigation Into The IRS Scandal

Katie Pavlich posted an article at Townhall.com today that may explain why the House Oversight Committee was having so much trouble getting information on the IRS targeting of conservative groups prior to the 2010 election. It seems that there was someone on the Committee who was undermining the investigation.

The article reports:

Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa, along with five Subcommittee Chairmen are demanding Cummings (Democratic Ranking Member Elijah 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.”

Evidently Lois Lerner, former head of tax exempt groups at the IRS, was feeding Cummings information about True the Vote, one of the groups the IRS was targeting. Cummings was not sharing this information with the Committee.

The article reports:

On January 31, Paz (Holly Pazl Lerners’ deputy) 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.

It is becoming very obvious that some of the Democrats in Congress have forgotten not only their Oath of Office, but also their basic ethics. The actions of Representative Cummings are truly deplorable. It is becoming obvious that his intention was to end this investigation before it began. I hope that Congressman Issa will continue his search for the truth and that the people who attempted to use the IRS for political purposes will be brought to justice.

 

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What IRS Scandal?

CBN News is reporting today that the Justice Department has refused to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS Tea Party targeting scandal.

The article reports:

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz had requested that the Justice Department assign a non-partisan special counsel to the case, rather than relying on the Obama administration to investigate itself.

But Obama DOJ appointee Peter J. Kadzik recently wrote to Cruz, telling him a special counsel was unnecessary.

Kadzik said  that a special counsel is only “appointed when an investigation or prosecution by the Department of Justice would present a conflict of interest…such that the public interest would be served by such an appointment.”

After the scandal broke, the Obama administration appointed a major Obama campaign donor to investigate the IRS instead of an independent prosecutor.

The article concludes:

The American Center for Law & Justice agreed, saying the Justice Department’s decision not to appoint an independent prosecutor “contributes to a troubling and growing pattern of obstruction.”

“An independent prosecutor – with no political agenda – is truly needed to uncover the origin and depth of this unconstitutional targeting scheme. By rejecting this request, the Justice Department puts politics ahead of the rule of law,” Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ, said.

“Sadly, in the discretion of the attorney general, Eric Holder has chosen to reject the bipartisan tradition of the Department of Justice of putting rule of law above political allegiance,” Cruz also said.

Unfortunately we currently have no justice in the Obama Justice Department.

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Somehow The New York Times Missed This

Yesterday The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform released its report on Lois Lerner’s role in IRS targeting.

These are the highlights of the report (The link above provides a link to the entire report. The highlights include page numbers):

Key Document Based Highlights (documents and testimony in appendix):

  • Tea Party “itching for a Constitutional challenge:” Lerner and her colleagues, after being under public pressure from President Obama and other Democrats, engaged in an e-mail exchange about how they could showcase their scrutiny of a Tea Party applicant for public disclosure, despite rules protecting the secrecy of unapproved applications.  The conversation turned to the possibility of a court case – if a Tea Party applicant would challenge the IRS ruling.  On this, Ms. Lerner opined, Tea Party groups would litigate because they are “itching for a Constitutional challenge.” – p. 41
  • Lerner discusses political scrutiny that isn’t “per se political:” In one e-mail exchange that began with a discussion of an article noting, “organizations woven by the fabulously rich and hugely influential Koch brothers,” Lerner told colleagues, “we do need a c4 project next year.”  While she initially says, “my object is not to look for political activity,” later in the exchange she acknowledges that it will examine political activity. “We need to be cautious so it isn’t a per se political project.  More a c4 project that will look at levels of lobbying and pol. Activity along with exempt activity.” – p. 17
  • Lerner broke IRS rules by mishandling taxpayer information:  While Lerner told Congress under oath, “I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations,” e-mails show Lerner handled protected 6103 taxpayer information in her nonofficial e-mail account. In a November 2013 letter from Daniel Werfel, Werfel notes, “We do not permit IRS officials to send taxpayer information to their personal email addresses. An IRS employee should not send taxpayer information to his or her personal email address in any form, including redacted.” – p. 33
  • Lerner planned to retire in October all along: While House Democrats have pushed that Lerner was forced out by the IRS as a result of the TIGTA report; new e-mails indicate that Lerner had planned an October retirement long before TIGTA released its report.  Her paid leave amounted to a paid vacation preceding her retirement – it does not appear that the IRS penalized her in any way for her conduct. – p.  40-41
  • Despite knowing about improper scrutiny, Lerner had IRS blame victims: An IRS document bearing Lerner’s signature shows that in March 2012, despite knowing about improper scrutiny at that time, Lerner reviewed and signed off on a response to Congress that blamed applicants for heightened scrutiny.  “[T]he IRS contacts the organization and solicits additional information when the organization does not provide sufficient information in response to the questions on the Form 1024 or if issues are raised by the application …. The revenue agent uses sound reasoning based on tax law training and his or her experience to review the application and identify the additional information needed to make a proper determination of the organization’s exempt status.” – p. 36
  • Concern Citizens United hurting Democrats:  Lerner believed the Executive Branch needed to take steps to undermine the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.  A senior advisor to Lerner e-mailed her an article about allegations that unknown conservative donors were influencing U.S. Senate races.  The article explained how outside money was making it increasingly difficult for Democrats to remain in the majority in the Senate.  Lerner replied:  “Perhaps the FEC will save the day.” – p. 21
  • Citizens United created pressure for IRS to “fix the problem”:  According to Lerner: “The Supreme Court dealt a huge blow, overturning a 100-year old precedent that basically corporations couldn’t give directly to political campaigns.  And everyone is up in arms because they don’t like it.  The Federal Election Commission can’t do anything about it. They want the IRS to fix the problem.” – p. 20
  • “Multi-Tier Review”:  Lerner personally directed that Tea Party cases go through a “multi-tier review.” An IRS employee testified that Lerner “sent [him an] e-mail saying that when these cases need to go through multi-tier review and they will eventually have to go to [Judy Kindell, Lerner’s senior technical advisor] and the Chief Counsel’s office.”  A D.C. IRS employee said this level of scrutiny had no precedent. – p. 24-25
  • Head of the IRS Cincinnati office’s testimony refutes Lois Lerner and President Obama’s O’Reilly interview assertion that this was all about a “local office”: “[Y]es, there were mistakes made by folks in Cincinnati as well [as] D.C. but the D.C. office is the one who delayed the processing of the cases.” – p. 44

Unless we are willing to live in a country where the laws are made and changed at will by whichever political party is in charge, Ms. Lerner has to be held accountable for her behavior. There is enough evidence against her to move forward with legal action. It is time to do that. Unfortunately, her behavior is typical of the Obama Administration’s disregard for the U.S. Constitution and the law.

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The IRS Scandal Summed Up In One Paragraph

Yesterday’s Washington Examiner summed up the IRS scandal in one paragraph:

These simple questions – each based on indisputable facts – establish that somebody outside of the IRS told her they wanted the tax agency to “fix” something involving groups seeking 501(c)(4) tax status, that she directed subordinates to begin a (c)(4) project she feared could be seen as “political,” that she viewed Tea Party groups as “dangerous,” and that she ordered that such groups be subjected to “multi-level review.” Those are the four essential points of the IRS scandal: Who ordered the tax agency to get involved, who in the tax agency responded, who they targeted and what actions they took. She cannot answer these questions because, as she herself has claimed, that would be incriminating. Lerner and others must hope Issa doesn’t already have the answers.

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A Short Summary Of The Internal Revenue Service Scandal

Robert Stacy McCain posted an article in the March issue of the American Spectator that summarizes the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal and sums up where we are today. The article reminds us that Tom Perez, now Secretary of Labor,  was head of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division where his key aide Barbara K. Bosserman was chosen to head up the investigation of the IRS’s targeting of Tea Party groups. The first question regarding the investigation of the IRS is, “Why was Barbara K. Bosserman chosen?” Ms. Bosserman’s background is as a civil rights attorney–she does not have a background in tax law. It is also an incredible coincidence that Ms. Bosserman has historically been a major donor to Democrat party coffers.

The article reports:

During a January hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Jim Jordan raised that question with the Justice Department’s Inspector General, Michael Horowitz. In his 12 years of DOJ experience under three different administrations, did Horowitz “ever recall the civil rights division investigating tax law matters?” Jordan asked.

“I don’t recall that during my time,” Horowitz answered.

The article reminds us that conservative political groups who applied for tax exempt status had their applications held up for a year or more. In some cases, organizations were asked for lists of donors and those donors were harassed.

The article points out the media’s role in downplaying the IRS scandal:

The media has been complacent,” said Becky Gerritson of the Wetumpka (Alabama) Tea Party, whose group was one of those the IRS targeted. In a telephone interview, Gerritson mentioned that the traffic-related “scandal” involving New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie had gotten 17 times as much major network news coverage in a single 24-hour period as the IRS scandal had received in the previous six months. From July 2013 through early January 2014, ABC, CBS, and NBC had barely two minutes of coverage to IRS scandal, according to the Media Research Center’s Scott Whitlock.

Even a basic investigation shows that some very fundamental laws were broken by the IRS:

Perhaps the most egregious example of that “climate of hostility” was the illegal release of donor information from the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). Congressional investigators say the source of that leak was an IRS staffer in Lerner’s Exempt Organizations Division. NOM opposes the legalization of same-sex marriage and the IRS leaker, who cannot be named because of confidentiality laws, provided NOM’s donor information to a gay activist, who then gave it to NOM’s arch-enemy, the pro-gay Human Rights Campaign. The illegal IRS leak led to news stories in 2012 identifying GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney as a donor to the conservative group. NOM filed its own lawsuit against the IRS in October, and pointed out that former HRC president Joe Solmonese served as co-chairman of Obama’s re-election campaign. “This is a federal crime,” NOM president Brian Brown said. “Worse, the confidential information contained in the illegally leaked documents included the identity of dozens of our major donors and the HRC used this confidential donor information to harass our donors. This is a chilling set of circumstances that should ring alarm bells across the nation.”

The straw that broke the camel’s back for the conservative organizations targeted by the IRS is the fact that the investigators have only actually interviewed one of two of the organizations that have registered complaints.

The only way the IRS’s abuses of power will be dealt with is if those people impacted by the crimes of the IRS continue to speak out. If the sort of abuse of power is allowed to continue, all of our freedom of speech is in danger.

 

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Sometimes New Rules Won’t Solve The Problem

The National Review Online posted an article yesterday about the recent problems in the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The article reports:

There are two competing models for reforming the Internal Revenue Service’s oversight of the political activities of certain nonprofit organizations: one put forward by the IRS itself, in the form of a regulatory rule change, a second put forward by Representative David Camp (R., Mich.) on behalf of the House Ways and Means Committee. Neither program is sufficient, because neither reflects the reality behind the recent IRS scandal, which was not the result of murky rules or bureaucratic incompetence but rather of what gives every indication of being deliberate misuse of federal investigatory resources for partisan political ends. That there have not been criminal charges in this matter is probably at least as much a reflection of the highly politicized Department of Justice under Eric Holder as it is of the facts of the case. The problem, then, is that both the IRS plan and the Camp plan assume that the IRS ought to be regulating rather than being regulated.

The article points out the in America, the government is prohibited from regulating free speech–yet that is exactly what the IRS has tried to do since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United Decision.

The article at National Review Online reminds us:

No rule change from the IRS — nor Representative Camp’s well-intentioned but wholly inadequate reforms, which amount to a list of minor no-nos such as inquiring about an audit target’s political or religious beliefs — is going to change the fact that the agency is full of highly partisan bureaucrats with a political agenda of their own and an inclination to abuse such police powers as are entrusted to them.

The article concludes with comments about Representative David Camp’s proposal to fix the IRS:

But his proposal falls short in that it assumes that the IRS is a proper and desirable regulator of political speech. It is not. It is not even particularly admirable in its execution of its legitimate mission, the collection of revenue: Its employees have committed felonies in releasing the confidential tax information of such political enemies as the National Organization for Marriage and Mitt Romney, and the agency itself has perversely interpreted federal privacy rules as protecting the criminal leakers at the IRS rather than the victims of their crimes. The Camp bill, thankfully, would address at least that much, but it would still leave the IRS in charge of determining whether its employees were playing politics with audits and decisions. The IRS does not inspire confidence as a practitioner of self-regulation, much less as a regulator of political speech.

We need honest people in Washington. Until we have that, I am not convinced that any amount of laws will make a difference.

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The Timeline Of The IRS Scandal

This article has two sources, an article posted in the Wall Street Journal yesterday and an article posted by Scott Johnson at Power Line today. Both articles printed the timeline of events surrounding the IRS’s attempt to curtail the free speech of groups that opposed the Obama Administration.

One of the most telling events on the timeline is from the Wall Street Journal article:

• Feb. 11, 2010: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) says he will introduce legislation known as the Disclose Act to place new restrictions on some political activity by corporations and force more public disclosure of contributions to 501(c)(4) organizations. Mr. Schumer says the bill is intended to “embarrass companies” out of exercising the rights recognized in Citizens United. “The deterrent effect should not be underestimated,” he said.

All of this was in response to the Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case, which allowed corporations to make political donations. This ruling finally leveled the playing field–the unions had been contributing massive amounts of money to political campaigns for years. (See rightwinggranny.com). The actions of the IRS were an attempt to undo the leveling of the playing field that occurred with the Citizens United decision.

Please follow one of the links above to see the timeline. It paints a picture of a genuine attempt to limit free speech in America.

The President may or may not have given any direct orders regarding the use of the IRS to limit free speech, but the ending paragraph of the Wall Street Journal article truly sums up what happened:

In 1170, King Henry II is said to have cried out, on hearing of the latest actions of the Archbishop of Canterbury, “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” Four knights then murdered the archbishop. Many in the U.S. media still willfully refuse to see anything connecting the murder of the archbishop to any actions or abuse of power by the king.

Unfortunately we are dealing with a President who chooses to act more like a king than a president.

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More IRS Abuses Are Coming To Light

On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal posted an article about the IRS targeting conservative groups for audits. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp has stated that the committee’s continuing investigation has found that the IRS also singled out established conservative tax-exempt groups for audits. That is not a surprise when you consider the harassment that donors to conservative causes underwent during the run-up to the 2012 election. As I have previously mentioned, my husband and I were audited for the first time in 45 years. The auditors found nothing, but it took them almost a year to find nothing.

The Democrats in Congress are currently attempting to pass laws that would severely limit the free speech of conservative organizations. Under the new guidelines the Democrats are seeking, the voter guides showing the voting records of candidates would be considered unlawful political activity by organizations that have traditionally distributed them.

The article includes the current spin the Democrats are using to attempt to hide what they are doing and what they have done:

“Instead of this prestigious committee using its broad jurisdiction to address critical issues that confront us, it has been consumed by a tireless effort by Republicans to find political scandal, regardless of what the truth holds, as they look toward the November election,” said Rep. Sander Levin (D., Mich.).

He also chided Republicans for seeking to delay the regulations, noting that “what really remains hidden are donors to groups pouring millions of dollars into campaign advertising.”

The new IRS regulations proposed by the Democrats are a threat to free speech. If they are enacted, most Americans will only hear one side of any political issue.

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We Have A New Crime

Yesterday the Washington Post posted an article about President Obama’s latest “I have a pen and a phone” moment. The President changed the provisions of ObamaCare so that employers with between 50 to 99 employees who don’t already offer health insurance to their employees have until 2016 to comply with the shifting Obamacare requirements. (Notice that this is after the 2014 mid-term elections.) However, there is a caveat on this exemption for businesses with less than 100 employees.

The article reports:

And the fine print of the latest announcement from the Administration is worse than the terrible headlines. This rule includes a provision that says you have to have the right motives for having a certain number of employees to be in compliance with Obamacare. Bear with me, that’s right: You must certify to the IRS – under the threat of perjury – that the reasons for your employee head count have nothing to do with your opposition to or avoidance of Obamacare. This president doesn’t just selectively enforce the law as he sees fit; now he is actually inventing new crimes.  It’s jaw-dropping that if you fall below 100 employees, the burden will be on you to prove that you meant no disrespect to Obamacare.  I can’t wait to see the video of the first Democrat who tries to defend this new threat of prosecution within Obamacare.  In fact, look for the White House to fix this and somehow drop this provision altogether.  It’s completely indefensible.

I disagree with the idea that this provision will be dropped. President Obama has done so much that is indefensible at this point, his making up a new crime as he goes along will probably not get a lot of attention. I suspect most companies who had slightly over 100 employees have already cut their workforce below 100 to avoid the worst of ObamaCare.

Until someone has the gumption (there are a number of other words I could have used, but this blog is rated G) to stand up to President Obama and say that what he is doing is unconstitutional, we will probably continue down this road.

The article concludes:

On the one hand, Republicans are blasted for wanting to repeal Obamacare, and the Democrats and their allies routinely remind us it’s the so-called “law of the land.”  But the president can amend the law, ignore the law and now even create new ways to prosecute you if you try to avoid its burdens, and the Democrats all fall in line.

In politics, one of the worst things you can do is to deny the obvious and defend the indefensible.  Well, the president is putting the Democratic party in the unenviable position of trying to do exactly that.  If it were nine days instead of nine months before the next election, maybe they could pull it off.  But Obamacare is failing in its original purpose of providing insurance for the uninsured, it unnecessarily burdens American families and businesses, and now the White House has opened the door to prosecuting those they deem to be insufficiently committed to Obamacare. When will the nightmare end?

Because I am on Medicare, I don’t have to deal directly with ObamaCare (other than the money it has taken away from Medicare and the Death Panels, which are real), but I pity anyone who runs a business or needs health insurance. ObamaCare is probably the worst mess I have ever seen the government come up with, and there have been a few.

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A Victim Of IRS Targeting Speaks Out

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted a story today about the testimony recently  given by Catherine Engelbrecht before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Some of Mrs. Engelbrecht’s testimony is reported in the article:

In nearly two decades of running our small business, my husband and I never dealt with any government agency, outside of filing our annual tax returns. We had never been audited, we had never been investigated, but all that changed upon submitting applications for the non-profit statuses of True the Vote and King Street Patriots. Since that filing in 2010, my private businesses, my nonprofit organizations, and family have been subjected to more than 15 instances of audit or inquiry by federal agencies.

* In 2011, my personal and business tax returns were audited by the Internal Revenue Service, each audit going back for a number of years.

* In 2012, my business was subjected to inspection by OSHA, on a select occasion when neither my husband nor I were present, and though the agency wrote that it found nothing serious or significant, it still issued fines in excess of $20,000.

* In 2012 and again in 2013 the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms conducted comprehensive audits at my place business.

* Beginning in 2010, the FBI contacted my nonprofit organization on six separate occasions – wanting to cull through membership manifests in conjunction with domestic terrorism cases. They eventually dropped all matters and have now redacted nearly all my files.

The story continues:

I also refuse to let a precedent be set that allows Members of Congress, particularly the Ranking Member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, to misrepresent this governing body in an effort to demonize and intimidate citizens. Three times, Representative Elijah Cummings sent letters to True the Vote, demanding much of the same information that the IRS had requested. Hours after sending letters, he would appear on cable news and publicly defame me and my organization. Such tactics are unacceptable. It is for these reasons that immediately after this hearing I am filing a formal complaint with the House Office of Congressional Ethics and asking for a full investigation.

If we as Americans continue to elect people who engage in this sort of behavior, we will all eventually pay the price. This is a direct attack on someone who was attempting to insure that an election was honest, and they were attacked by the government. Is that the country we want to live in?

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Question Of The Day

On Monday, Fox News reported on President Obama’s interview with Bill O’Reilly:

Obama addressed concerns over Benghazi, the launch of HealthCare.gov and the IRS, during the interview Sunday before the Super Bowl. He adamantly rejected the suggestion that the IRS was used for political purposes by singling out Tea Party groups seeking tax exemption.

“That’s not what happened,” he said. Rather, he said, IRS officials were confused about how to implement the law governing those kinds of tax-exempt groups.

“There were some bone-headed decisions,” Obama conceded. 

But when asked whether corruption, or mass corruption, was at play, he responded: “Not even mass corruption — not even a smidgen of corruption.”

The question of the day (and it is not an original question) is, “if there was not a smidgen of corruption, why did Lois Lerner take the fifth rather than testify before Congress?”

Yesterday Scott Johnson at Power Line posted a letter from William Henck, a man who has worked inside the IRS Office of the General Counsel as an attorney for over 26 years. I am not going to post the letter as it is very long, but I strongly suggest that you follow the link to Power Line and read the letter. It is chilling.

Scott Johnson also posted a story at Power Line today about Cleta Mitchell, who he describes as the most dangerous woman in America. Ms. Mitchell is the Washington attorney who represents several clients victimized by the criminal misconduct of the IRS over the past four years. A video of her testimony before Congress on Thursday is included in the article. She is smart and articulate–she does represent a danger to the Obama Administration. Please watch the video to see why.

The IRS scandal is dangerous to America. It means that whichever party is in power in Washington can use the IRS to target its enemies. This is an impeachable offense, and any administration that engages in this behavior should be faced with the threat of impeachment.

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More Mischief By The Obama Administration

The Daily Caller posted a story today about the plan to put new rules in place that would silence conservative grass roots organizations before the 2014 election.

The article reports:

The Obama administration’s Treasury Department and former IRS official Lois Lerner conspired to draft new 501(c)(4) regulations to restrict the activity of conservative groups in a way that would not be disclosed publicly, according to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

The Treasury Department and Lerner started devising the new rules “off-plan,” meaning that their plans would not be published on the public schedule. They planned the new rules in 2012, while the IRS targeting of conservative groups was in full swing, and not after the scandal broke in order to clarify regulations as the administration has suggested.

The article explains:

Ways and Means chairman Rep. Dave Camp blasted the off-the-record plan during a hearing Wednesday with IRS commissioner John Koskinen, and called for the administration’s newly proposed 501(c)(4) rules to be halted until criminal investigations into the IRS targeting scandal are complete.

“If Treasury and the IRS fabricated the rationale for a rule change it would tend to raise questions about the integrity of the rule-making process,” Camp said.

...New IRS commissioner Koskinen said that the rules should “put to rest all of the issues surrounding applications for tax-exempt status.”

But Madrigal’s email to Lerner proves that the regulations were being developed long before the IRS needed to publicly put anything “to rest.”

At least 292 conservative groups were subjected to unfair targeting between 2010 and 2012, against six liberal groups that were allegedly given similar treatment.

Regardless of which side of the political spectrum you side on, this should be chilling. The changes in the law will allow whichever party is in control of the executive branch to use the IRS to silence the speech of their opposition. This is not what America is about. Unless this ends now, the American people will never again get to hear both sides of a political campaign. That is frightening.

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Another Security Problem With ObamaCare

Yesterday the Washington Free Beacon posted an article expressing concern about the software in ObamaCare.

The article states:

U.S. intelligence agencies last week urged the Obama administration to check its new healthcare network for malicious software after learning that developers linked to the Belarus government helped produce the website, raising fresh concerns that private data posted by millions of Americans will be compromised.

The intelligence agencies notified the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency in charge of the Healthcare.gov network, about their concerns last week. Specifically, officials warned that programmers in Belarus, a former Soviet republic closely allied with Russia, were suspected of inserting malicious code that could be used for cyber attacks, according to U.S. officials familiar with the concerns.

The article reports that last year there was an Internet data “hijacking” involving Belarusian state-controlled networks. Belarus is a dictatorship aligned with Russia.

The article further reports:

David Kennedy, head of the security firm TrustedSec, said the Obamacare website was not designed well and has “a lot of security flaws.”

One major concern is that the system connects the healthcare network to other sensitive U.S. government networks, including the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security.

“That makes it a treasure trove for hackers,” Kennedy said in an interview, adding that a major concern would be cyber attacks from sophisticated state-sponsored adversaries.

The threat of “backdoor” access points is a particular worry. The Chinese military-linked Huawei Technologies is suspected of using that technique in its network equipment, Kennedy said.

HHS technology officials recently contacted him about the security vulnerabilities and indicated the department is interested in taking measures to mitigate the security flaws.

White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden has stated that the Belarusian software was “recalled by the intelligence community shortly after it was issued.”

To me, this is just another reason to avoid the ObamaCare website. Lately, I tend not to believe a lot of what White House spokespeople are saying.

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Hoping That The American Voters Are Either Stupid Or Forgetful

Yesterday the Daily Caller posted a story about the interview that Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly did with President Obama.

The interview included the following exchange:

The president also refused to acknowledge that the IRS illegally targeted tea party groups in the run-up to the 2012 election. “Absolutely wrong,” he said when O’Reilly broached the subject. “These kinds of things keep on surfacing, in part, because you and your TV station will promote them… We’ve had multiple hearings on it!”

“So you’re saying there was no corruption there at all?” O’Reilly asked.

“Absolutely not,” the president replied. “There were some bone-headed decisions out of a local office.”

“But no mass corruption?” O’Reilly persisted.

“Not even mass corruption,” a visibly-annoyed Obama replied. “Not even a smidgen of corruption.”

This is a very interesting contrast to a story filed by NBC News on May 13, 2013, which stated:

A partial draft report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration — obtained by NBC News — shows that top officials knew about the targeting nearly a year before then-IRS Commissioner Douglas H. Shulman, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, testified to Congress in March 2012 that no singling out of conservative groups ever occurred.

The House Ways and Means Committee announced after the president’s remarks that it will hold a hearing on the alleged targeting on Friday, May 17. Acting IRS Commissioner Steve Miller and J. Russell George, the Inspector General who headed up the IRS report, are expected to testify.

And the IRS confirmed Monday night that Miller was informed in May of last year that “some specific applications were improperly identified by name and sent to the [IRS] Exempt Organizations centralized processing unit for further review.”

In a statement earlier Monday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the president is “concerned” about the reported conduct of “a small number of Internal Revenue Service employees.”

The investigation into the IRS is being done by a major Democrat party campaign donor.

On January 17 2014, Fox News reported:

Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that the FBI did not expect to file any criminal charges in connection with the IRS’s admitted, systemic, multi-year targeting of conservative nonprofits for improper scrutiny.

To be clear, the FBI made this decision without interviewing even a single one of the American Center for Law and Justice’s 41 targeted clients. And we’re not alone. Other Tea Party attorneys report their clients weren’t interviewed either.

Put simply, the FBI leaked its conclusions in a criminal investigation without even interviewing the victims of the potential crime.

So there was no crime. That conclusion was reached without interviewing any of the people who were targeted. This is the equivalent of refusing to interview a robbery victim and then claiming that since you did not interview the victim, there was no robbery.

Is the American voter that stupid? We will find out in November.

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Silencing The Opposition Before 2014

I have written a number of articles about the IRS and the Justice Department targeting of conservative groups and their donors. It seems to be a way of life under the Obama Administration. (Use the search engine at the top of the page if you are curious to see who has been targeted and when.)  Evidently Governor Cuomo has decided to follow the example being set by the White House.

NewsMax is reporting today that James O’Keefe, founder of Project Veritas, a group based in New York has been served a subpoena by the Board of Labor asking for every single financial transaction over the last three years.

Mr. O’Keefe is considering relocating to New Jersey because of the harassment he has experienced in New York.

The article concludes:

O’Keefe said among the documents the New York State Department of Labor is demanding to see by next week are general ledgers, journals, caches, pay roll records, checks, stubs, and copies of Social Security returns.

“Like I said, I’m happy to comply with all this stuff, it’s not my first audit, I’ve been audited nonstop for the last three years but it gives us pause. We’ve got to take a step back and look at what’s happening to our country right now,” O’Keefe said.

“I’m a journalist, OK, and I’ve decided to maintain a small nonprofit. When you look at the corruption in the state of New York, when it comes to the pension funds have been robbed and the state university system, all the stuff that’s going on, I wasn’t going to look into these things but now I think I am.

“The American people need to know that they think this is just standard procedure, [but] it’s politically motivated and it’s got to stop.”

James O’Keefe has done a good job of uncovering corruption in our government from ACORN to voter fraud. Any state government that was interested in honest, transparent government should be glad to have his organization in the state. If he is being harassed and driven out of the state, there is probably something in the state that those leading the state do not want exposed. New York needs more of James O’Keefe and less of Andrew Cuomo.

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Using The IRS To Silence Free Speech

Yesterday the New York Times posted an article about an organization formed in Hollywood called Friends of Abe. The group of about 1,500 conservative people in the entertainment industry has applied for tax-exempt status. The group has kept a low-profile in order to avoid the possibility of a conservative black list that would result in their not being hired to work in their industry.

The article reports:

Now the Internal Revenue Service is reviewing the group’s activities in connection with its application for tax-exempt status. Last week, federal tax authorities presented the group with a 10-point request for detailed information about its meetings with politicians like Paul D. Ryan, Thaddeus McCotter and Herman Cain, among other matters, according to people briefed on the inquiry.

The article further reports:

The group is not currently designated tax-exempt, but it behaves as a nonprofit and has almost no formal structure, people briefed on the matter said. The I.R.S. review will determine whether Friends of Abe receives tax-exempt status that would provide legal footing similar to that of the People for the American Way Foundation, a progressive group fostered by the television producer Norman Lear and others. If not, Friends of Abe could resort to the courts, or it might simply operate as a nonprofit, but it would be unable to receive tax-deductible contributions.

I hate to by cynical about this (but I am), but it would be nice if Friends of Abe were treated the same way as People for the American Way. Unfortunately under President Obama, the IRS is as much a political tool as an agency to collect taxes.

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Controlling The Message

Kimberly Strassel at the Wall Street Journal posted an article on Thursday about the IRS and the 2014 election.

The article reports:

President Obama and Democrats have been at great pains to insist they knew nothing about IRS targeting of conservative 501(c)(4) nonprofits before the 2012 election. They’ve been at even greater pains this week to ensure that the same conservative groups are silenced in the 2014 midterms.

That’s the big, dirty secret of the omnibus negotiations. As one of the only bills destined to pass this year, the omnibus was—behind the scenes—a flurry of horse trading. One of the biggest fights was over GOP efforts to include language to stop the IRS from instituting a new round of 501(c)(4) targeting. The White House is so counting on the tax agency to muzzle its political opponents that it willingly sacrificed any manner of its own priorities to keep the muzzle in place.

The article explains that a new rule introduced by the Treasury Department and the IRS during Thanksgiving will recategorize as “political” many of the educational activities that 501(c)(4) social-welfare organizations currently engage in.

The article further reports:

And an IRS rule that purports to—as Mr. Werfel explained—”improve our work in the tax-exempt area” completely ignores the biggest of political players in the tax-exempt area: unions. The guidance is directed only at 501(c)(4) social-welfare groups—the tax category that has of late been flooded by conservative groups. Mr. Obama’s union foot soldiers—which file under 501(c)(5)—can continue playing in politics.

Cleta Mitchell, an attorney who represents targeted tea party groups, has filed a Freedom of Information Act requesting documents or correspondence with the White House or outside groups in the formulation of this rule.

The article reports the response:

Treasury sent a letter to Ms. Mitchell this week saying it wouldn’t have her documents until April—after the rule’s comment period closes. It added that if she didn’t like it, she can “file suit.” The IRS has yet to respond.

The abuse of the IRS is continuing. Unless someone in Congress stands up against it or Ms. Mitchell is successful in her quest for information or her lawsuit, the 2014 election is in danger. If the Tea Party and similar groups are silenced, there will be no one to stand for the Constitution during the 2014 campaign.

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The Only Solution To This Is An Educated Voter Willing To Speak Out

Yesterday the New York Post reported that a leak from the IRS investigation states that the FBI does not expect to file criminal charges in the IRS targeting of conservative groups. As someone who had my taxes audited for the first time ever as a result of the URS targeting conservatives, I object. I really object.

The actions taken by the Obama Administration through the IRS were aimed at limiting free speech during an election cycle. The Obama Administration is currently busy writing a series of laws to make sure conservative free speech will also be squelched in the upcoming election.

Freedomworks reported on January 6th:

“While you were all celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends, the Obama Administration was quietly releasing a new set of draconian IRS regulations that would make it virtually impossible for tea parties that want to participate in the political process to do their business. They’re going after conservative groups, they’re going after libertarian groups, and they’re going after citizen groups that want to organize people based on the values of the constitution; based on the ideas of freedom and have an impact on the political conversation.”

The article further explains:

“If that sounds familiar, what they’re doing is formalizing the same persecution, the same targeting that we saw coming out of the IRS leading up to the 2012 election. We need to do something about this. The time frame is very short; they are trying to jam this through the process. If we don’t make our voices heard, they are going to get away with it.”

Concerned citizens can access the IRS comment page through the website www.IRSTarget.com.

The IRS’s deadline for public responses is February 27, 2014.

If you want your freedom of speech in the future, now is the time to make some noise. Our freedom of speech is truly in danger.

 

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The Foxes Are Guarding The Henhouse Again

Breitbart.com posted an article yesterday that included the following letter:

EnlargedLetterI realize that the letter is hard to read; you can find a larger copy at the link above. The bottom line here is simple–the person investigating the mistreatment of the Tea Party by the IRS (Barbara Bosserman, a trial attorney within the IRS’s Civil Rights Commission) is a significant donor to President Obama and Democrat campaigns. It is difficult to believe that Ms. Bosserman will conduct an investigation that will not be influenced by  her politics. It would have made so much more sense to choose someone who was not a political donor. The choice of Ms. Bosserman may be entirely unrelated to her politics, but like so many other things in the Obama Administration, it appears to be a conflict of interest.

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The Chickens Are Coming Home To Roost

This was posted on Facebook by a friend of mine. I have no way of verifying it, but I think it is worth sharing because it is quite possible under the law:

JIM MEIER OSP PROJECT ENGINEER
369 HORIZON DR N. Fort Myers Fl. 33903

RE: OBAMACARE- A comment posted on the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare FB page:
“I actually made it through this morning at 8:00 AM. I have a preexisting condition (Type 1 Diabetes) and my income base was 45K-55K annually. I chose tier 2 “Silver Plan” and my monthly premiums came out to $597.00 with $13,988 yearly deductible!!! There is NO POSSIBLE way that I can afford this so I “opt-out” and chose to continue along with no insurance. I received an email tonight at 5:00 P.M. Informing me that my fine would be $4,037 and could be attached to my yearly income tax return. Then you make it to the “REPERCUSSIONS PORTION” for “non-payment” of yearly fine. First, your drivers license will be suspended until paid, and if you go 24 consecutive months with “Non-Payment” and you happen to be a home owner, you will have a federal tax lien placed on your home. You can agree to give your bank information so that they can easy “Automatically withdraw” your “penalties” weekly, bi-weekly or monthly! This by no means is “Free” or even “Affordable.” Kinda sheds a lot of light on all of the arming and beefing up of arms for all of the domestic departments INCLUDING the IRS now doesn’t it? There’s a war coming folks….

Is this what we want from our government?

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Does The U. S. Constitution Still Matter?

On Monday, Forbes Magazine posted an article about entitled, “President Obama’s Top 10 Constitutional Violations of 2013.” Most of these violations have to do with ObamaCare, but there are a few that do not that are interesting.

The article lists the top 10:

1. Delay of Obamacare’s out-of-pocket caps.

2. Delay of Obamacare’s employer mandate.

3. Delay of Obamacare’s insurance requirements.

4. Exemption of Congress from Obamacare.

5. Expansion of the employer mandate penalty through IRS regulation.

6. Political profiling by the IRS.

7. Outlandish Supreme Court arguments.

8. Recess appointments.

9. Assault on free speech and due process on college campuses.

10. Mini-DREAM Act.

Please follow the link above to read the details of each item. The two items that are most disturbing to me are the misuse of the IRS for political purposes and the recess appointments made while Congress was technically in session. The Obama Administration has shown by its actions that it has little respect for the U.S. Constitution as the basis for our government. I will be very happy when this crew is voted out of office.

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These Are The People Who Will Be In Charge Of ObamaCare

Every time someone threatens to cut government spending, big government types begin screaming that spending is already cut to the bone. Well, if that is true, why don’t we just cut government waste and fraud?

Today The Blaze posted a story about some recent tax refunds mailed out by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The article reports:

The Internal Revenue Service issued $4 billion in fraudulent tax refunds last year to people using stolen identities, with some of the money going to addresses in Bulgaria, Lithuania and Ireland, according to an inspector general’s report released Thursday.

The IRS sent a total of 655 tax refunds to a single address in Lithuania, and 343 refunds went to a lone address in Shanghai.

Again, 343 payments to one address.

There are certain red flags that result in American taxpayers being audited–a change in giving habits, a drastic change in income, and various other things will set off a flag and result in an audit. Doesn’t the IRS software have the capacity to set off a flag if 343 people have the same address? I realize a large apartment building could easily house 343 people, but wouldn’t they have individual addresses? Shouldn’t that many people at the same address raise a question with someone?

Florida is a prime target for identity theft for the purpose of  tax fraud. The article reports:

Among individual homes, one address in Orlando received 580 tax refunds totaling $870,000 last year, the report said. Another Orlando address received 291 refunds totaling $466,000.

The article reports that the IRS has developed a computer program to deal with the problem of identity theft and false tax returns. Let’s hope it is more secure than the ObamaCare website. Meanwhile, let’s see if we can end enough fraud to help with the budget deficit.

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