Different Laws For Different Groups

PJ Media posted an article today about the latest attack on religious free speech.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF)recently released a press release that included the following:

FFRF filed suit against the IRS shortly after the presidential election in 2012, based on the agency’s reported enforcement moratorium, as evidenced by open and notorious politicking by churches. Pulpit Freedom Sunday, in fact, has become an annual occasion for churches to violate the law with impunity. The IRS, meanwhile, admittedly was not enforcing the restrictions against churches. A prior lawsuit in 2009 required the IRS to designate an appropriate high-ranking official to initiate church tax examinations, but it had apparently failed to do so. 

The IRS has now resolved the signature authority issue necessary to initiate church examinations. The IRS also has adopted procedures for reviewing, evaluating and determining whether to initiate church investigations. While the IRS retains “prosecutorial” discretion with regard to any individual case, the IRS no longer has a blanket policy or practice of non-enforcement of political activity restrictions as to churches. 

In addition to FFRF’s lawsuit, IRS enforcement procedures with respect to political activity by tax-exempt organizations have been the subject of intense scrutiny by Congress. As a result, the IRS is reviewing and implementing safeguards to ensure evenhanded enforcement across the board with respect to all tax exempt organizations. 

Until that process is completed, the IRS has suspended all examinations of tax-exempt organizations for alleged political activities. The current suspension, however, is not limited to church tax inquiries. 

The article at PJ Media points out:

Democrats routinely campaign from the very pulpit of majority black churches. It happens every single election cycle. Pastors in those churches regularly push parishioners to support the Democratic Party, to support specific government social policy, and even specific candidates for office.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has not sued to get the IRS to investigate any of that. Its targets are churches that align with the more conservative Pulpit Freedom Sunday movement. That tells us what the foundation and the IRS will really be investigating.

The IRS will be monitoring churches to listen for pastors supporting the right to life, the sanctity and traditional definition of marriage, traditional values in general, perhaps even patriotism. Those are the churches, based on the angle that the foundation lawsuit takes, that will potentially find themselves under IRS investigation.

It appears that there will be one set of rules for conservative churches and one set of rules for liberal churches. What happened to equal justice under the law? Why do only liberal churches have First Amendment rights?

FFRF filed suit against the IRS shortly after the presidential election in 2012, based on the agency’s reported enforcement moratorium, as evidenced by open and notorious politicking by churches. Pulpit Freedom Sunday, in fact, has become an annual occasion for churches to violate the law with impunity. The IRS, meanwhile, admittedly was not enforcing the restrictions against churches. A prior lawsuit in 2009 required the IRS to designate an appropriate high-ranking official to initiate church tax examinations, but it had apparently failed to do so. 

The IRS has now resolved the signature authority issue necessary to initiate church examinations. The IRS also has adopted procedures for reviewing, evaluating and determining whether to initiate church investigations. While the IRS retains “prosecutorial” discretion with regard to any individual case, the IRS no longer has a blanket policy or practice of non-enforcement of political activity restrictions as to churches. 

In addition to FFRF’s lawsuit, IRS enforcement procedures with respect to political activity by tax-exempt organizations have been the subject of intense scrutiny by Congress. As a result, the IRS is reviewing and implementing safeguards to ensure evenhanded enforcement across the board with respect to all tax exempt organizations. 

Until that process is completed, the IRS has suspended all examinations of tax-exempt organizations for alleged political activities. The current suspension, however, is not limited to church tax inquiries. 

- See more at: http://ffrf.org/news/news-releases/item/20968-ffrf-irs-settle-suit-over-church-politicking#sthash.rEhbLVZy.dpuf

FFRF filed suit against the IRS shortly after the presidential election in 2012, based on the agency’s reported enforcement moratorium, as evidenced by open and notorious politicking by churches. Pulpit Freedom Sunday, in fact, has become an annual occasion for churches to violate the law with impunity. The IRS, meanwhile, admittedly was not enforcing the restrictions against churches. A prior lawsuit in 2009 required the IRS to designate an appropriate high-ranking official to initiate church tax examinations, but it had apparently failed to do so. 

The IRS has now resolved the signature authority issue necessary to initiate church examinations. The IRS also has adopted procedures for reviewing, evaluating and determining whether to initiate church investigations. While the IRS retains “prosecutorial” discretion with regard to any individual case, the IRS no longer has a blanket policy or practice of non-enforcement of political activity restrictions as to churches. 

In addition to FFRF’s lawsuit, IRS enforcement procedures with respect to political activity by tax-exempt organizations have been the subject of intense scrutiny by Congress. As a result, the IRS is reviewing and implementing safeguards to ensure evenhanded enforcement across the board with respect to all tax exempt organizations. 

Until that process is completed, the IRS has suspended all examinations of tax-exempt organizations for alleged political activities. The current suspension, however, is not limited to church tax inquiries. 

- See more at: http://ffrf.org/news/news-releases/item/20968-ffrf-irs-settle-suit-over-church-politicking#sthash.rEhbLVZy.dpuf

The Internal Revenue Service And ObamaCare

Yesterday Kim Strassel posted an article at the Wall Street Journal entitled “The ObamaCare-IRS Nexus.” It is subscriber content, but if you google the title, you can read the entire article.

The article details the role of the IRS in the implementation of ObamaCare and the questionable steps the agency has taken in that implementation.

The article reports:

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Halbig that the administration had illegally provided ObamaCare subsidies in 36 insurance exchanges run by the federal government. Yet it wasn’t the “administration” as a whole that issued the lawless subsidy gift. It was the administration acting through its new, favorite enforcer: the IRS.

And it was entirely political. Democrats needed those subsidies. The party had assumed that dangling subsidies before the states would induce them to set up exchanges. When dozens instead refused, the White House was faced with the prospect that citizens in 36 states—two-thirds of the country—would be exposed to the full cost of ObamaCare’s overpriced insurance. The backlash would have been horrific, potentially forcing Democrats to reopen the law, or even costing President Obama re-election.

The White House viewed it as imperative, therefore, that IRS bureaucrats ignore the law’s text and come up with a politically helpful rule. The evidence shows that career officials at the IRS did indeed do as Treasury Department and Health and Human Services Department officials told them. This, despite the fact that the IRS is supposed to be insulated from political meddling.

It gets worse. The article tells us that in late summer of 2010, after ObamaCare was signed into law, the IRS assembled a working group—made up of career IRS and Treasury employees—to develop regulations around ObamaCare subsidies. The early group followed the text of the law and declared that subsidies were for exchanges established by the States.

The article explains what happened next:

Yet in March 2011, Emily McMahon, the acting assistant secretary for tax policy at the Treasury Department (a political hire), saw a news article that noted a growing legal focus on the meaning of that text. She forwarded it to the working group, which in turn decided to elevate the issue—according to Congress’s report—to “senior IRS and Treasury officials.” The office of the IRS chief counsel—one of two positions appointed by the president—drafted a memo telling the group that it should read the text to mean that everyone, in every exchange, got subsidies. At some point between March 10 and March 15, 2011, the reference to “Exchanges established by the State” disappeared from the draft rule.

…To summarize: The IRS (famed for nitpicking and prosecuting the tax law), chose to authorize hundreds of billions of illegal subsidies without having performed a smidgen of legal due diligence, and did so at the direction of political taskmasters. The agency’s actions provided aid and comfort to elected Democrats, even as it disenfranchised millions of Americans who voted in their states to reject state-run exchanges. And Treasury knows how ugly this looks, which is why it initially stonewalled Congress in its investigation—at first refusing to give documents to investigators, and redacting large portions of the information.

Congratulations. We have become a banana republic. The law is what the political party in power says it is. The IRS is an organization to be used to silence and suppress political opposition. The use of the IRS for political purposes was the second article in the Articles of Impeachment against Richard Nixon.

A Federal Appeals Court Rules On Subsidies

NBC News is reporting today that a Federal Appeals Court in Washington, D. C., has ruled that  that the Patient Protection and  Affordable Care Act, (ObamaCare), as written, only allows insurance subsidies in states that have set up their own exchanges. This ruling invalidated an Internal Revenue Service regulation that allowed subsidies in all 50 states. Thirty-six states did not set up the exchanges required by ObamaCare, so the federal government set up exchanges in those states. The court ruled that the federal government may not pay subsidies for insurance plans in those states.

The article reports:

Today’s decision reaffirms that the administration cannot rewrite the health law that was passed and it stops the Internal Revenue Service from doing the same,” said Andrew Kloster of the conservative Heritage Foundation. “The statute is clear in the Affordable Care Act that the subsidies are to be directed only to states that elected to set up insurance exchanges.”

This is actually the problem with the law–it has been rewritten as we go along. Mandates have been postponed, the stay-in-your-home provision for the elderly has been dropped altogether, and exemptions have been handed out left and right. It will be interesting to see if another Executive Order promptly makes its appearance.

One of the effects of ObamaCare (intended or otherwise) is the redistribution of wealth–it takes affordable healthcare away from those who already had insurance–some rates have gone up as much as $7,000 or $8,000 per year for people not eligible for subsidies, and provides subsidies for people with lower incomes (without demanding income verification). In one state, people whose incomes were well above the poverty level were eligible for subsidies, but one wonders if those subsidies will decrease after ObamaCare is fully operational.

It will be interesting to see if this decision stands–it will wind up in the Supreme Court.

 

How To Avoid Finding The Truth

This is a recording of Catherine Engelbrecht, the head of True The Vote, being interviewed on a radio station about the investigation into IRS targeting of conservative organizations. The recording is posted at YouTube.

The bottom line in what Ms. Engelbrecht is saying is that neither the FBI or the Justice Department has interviewed her or anyone from True the Vote about the fact that they were targeted by the IRS. It might be a good idea to remember that when President Nixon tried to use the IRS against his enemies, the IRS told him to go pound sand. Unfortunately the organization has forgotten that its first responsibility is to the citizens of America–not the politicians.

The only people making progress in the investigation of the IRS are True the Vote and Judicial Watch. That is a sad commentary on our government.

Further Information On The Internal Revenue Service Court Appearance

Yesterday the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) appeared in Federal Court to explain why Lois Lerner’s emails are missing (see rightwinggranny.com). Fox News reported on the results of that hearing.

The article reports:

A federal judge has ordered the IRS to explain “under oath” how the agency lost a trove of emails from the official at the heart of the Tea Party targeting scandal. 

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan gave the tax agency 30 days to file a declaration by an “appropriate official” to address the computer issues with ex-official Lois Lerner. 

The decision came Thursday as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, which along with GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill has questioned how the IRS lost the emails and, in some cases, had no apparent way to retrieve them. 

The IRS first acknowledged it lost the emails in a letter to senators last month.

It was revealed during that hearing that a Treasury Department inspector general is looking into the matter.

The article reports:

The lawyer representing the IRS, Geoffrey Klimas, argued that any further discovery in this case might impede the IG‘s investigation. 

Sullivan seemed leery of that argument and also asked that the IRS official speak to that subject in the explanation the agency submits. 

Further, Sullivan ordered that the IRS official explain how Lerner’s files may be recovered through “other sources.”

It is interesting to me that the lawyer representing the IRS would cite the IG’s investigation as a reason to stop the discovery aspect of this case from proceeding. This excuse has been used before by the Obama Administration to block investigations of misdeeds by the Administration.

 

The Media May Have Missed This

Tom Fitton at Judicial Watch is reporting that Judicial Watch is continuing its efforts to hold Lois Lerner and the Internal Revenue Service accountable for their attack on conservative political groups.

I received an email from Judicial Watch today that included the following information:

The IRS will have to appear in federal court today after a federal judge ordered the agency to appear in response to our request that the IRS be required to explain to the court, to Judicial Watch and to you and the American people — what happened to Lois Lerner’s emails that they recently told Congress were “lost” but failed to notify Judicial Watch or the court about it.

U.S. District Court
Civil Docket for Case #:1:13-cv-01559-EGS


Date:        Thursday, July 10
Time:        11 a.m. ET
Location:  Courtroom 24A
U.S. District Court
333 Constitution Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C.

These emails could be critical to getting to the bottom of the IRS scandal where Tea Party and other conservative group applications were illegally delayed by the IRS.  In addition, Lois Lerner had communicated with Department of Justice officials to see if it was possible to prosecute these groups!

You may remember, it was a Judicial Watch lawsuit that first uncovered “smoking gun” evidence that broke wide open this scandal.  And once again, Judicial Watch is causing action that is bringing the IRS before a court of law to explain their actions. 

Judicial Watch is doing the job Congress seems to have forgotten how to do.

 

The Threat Of Conservative Groups

There is a reason the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) targeted conservative groups. There is also a reason that many establishment politicians in both parties have not necessarily given their full efforts to the investigation of the IRS. When an investigation of this sort takes years, it is a pretty good bet that someone does not want the investigation to succeed.

One of the groups targeted by the IRS was True the Vote. I first became aware of True the vote and its founder, Catherine Engelbrecht, in September 2010 (rightwinggranny.com). The group’s effort was directed toward ensuring that the voting in Harris County, Texas, included only people who were entitled to vote. They have continued their efforts to ensure the integrity of American elections.

Breitbart.com is reporting today that True the Vote has gotten involved in the recent Republican primary held in Mississippi. Republican establishment candidate Thad Cochran defeated conservative Chris McDaniel in a primary run-off election. Mississippi voting laws state that a person who voted in the Democrat primary election this year is not eligible to vote in the Republican run-off election. There are some real questions as to whether or not that law and other voting laws were enforced.

The article reports:

“All we are asking is that the MS State Republican Party follow the law; allow their designated county representatives to inspect the poll books and ballots, give them the review time they are permitted by law, and allow them to uphold their responsibility to MS voters,” True the Vote president Catherine Engelbrecht said in a statement about the suit. “True the Vote has been inundated with reports from voters across Mississippi who are outraged to see the integrity of this election being undermined so that politicos can get back to business as usual. Enough is enough.”

True The Vote wants the federal judge to order the state party and Secretary of State’s office to allow independent verification of the election results to ensure there were no “illegal votes.” Such votes could come as fraudulently cast absentee ballots—the runoff saw a massive spike in absentees over the primary a few weeks earlier—or by Democrats who voted in the June 24 GOP primary runoff after having voted in the June 3 Democratic primary. Other potentially fraudulent votes could come from Democrats voting in the Republican primary who don’t intend to support the Republican they voted for on June 24 in November’s general election, though intent is difficult to prove. There are further allegations of vote-buying surfacing this week.

This is the establishment Republican party fighting for its life against the Tea Party. Because the establishment Republican party has become almost indistinguishable from the Democrat party, they are losing votes as people are looking for an alternative party. Stay tuned.

The Internal Revenue Service May Still Be Held Accountable

It’s very frustrating to watch the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) avoid producing any information that might shed light on exactly what happened with the tax exempt requests from conservative groups. The dog-age-my-homework excuse is getting rather lame. First Lois Lerner’s emails from the crucial period disappeared, then six of her co-workers’ emails disappeared, and last week it was discovered that some Environmental Protection Agency emails had disappeared. There seems to be a growing black hole for government emails.

However, yesterday’s Washington Examiner reported that Judicial Watch is pursuing justice in the IRS case.

The article reports:

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Emmett G. Sullivan quickly granted a motion filed earlier today by attorneys for Judicial Watch seeking a courtroom status conference “as soon as possible to discuss the IRS’s failure to fulfill its duties to this court under the law, as well as other ramifications of this lawsuit.”

In its motion, the non-profit watchdog noted that the IRS publicly acknowledged loss of Lerner emails to and from individuals outside of the agency early in February 2014.

Then on Feb. 26, the tax agency provided its first production of documents in response to a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed in October 2013.

No mention was made in that production of the lost Lerner emails, even though the original Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit filed in May 2013 specifically sought them.

Judicial Watch further noted that “although IRS had knowledge of the missing Lois Lerner emails and of the other IRS officials, it materially omitted any mention of the missing records” in an April 30 status update on its document production.

…The tax agency could also face court sanctions or even criminal proceedings if Sullivan is not satisfied with the government’s explanation.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said “the IRS is clearly in full cover-up mode. It is well past time for the Obama administration to answer to a federal court about its cover-up and destruction of records.”

I wish Congress had the backbone to hold the IRS accountable, but since they don’t, Judicial Watch will gladly do it for them!

The Initial Case Against The Internal Revenue Service

As the investigation into the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) continues and the Democrats continue to obstruct the investigation, there is one part of the investigation that is finished.

Scott Johnston at Power Line reported yesterday that under a consent judgment entered earlier this week, the IRS agreed to pay $50,000 in damages to the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). The IRS released the donor list of NOM to a gay rights group that opposed the legislation NOM was supporting.

The article reports:

NOM’s statement on the settlement is posted here. The statement quotes NOM chairman John Eastman: “In the beginning, the government claimed that the IRS had done nothing wrong and that NOM itself must have released our confidential information. Thanks to a lot of hard work, we’ve forced the IRS to admit that they in fact were the ones to break the law and wrongfully released this confidential information.” Hmmmm.

That sounds strangely similar to what is happening in Washington in the investigation of the IRS’s targeting of the Tea Party.

The article at Power Line concludes:

Reminder: The charge that Richard Nixon “endeavored” to misuse the IRS made its way into the second of the three articles of impeachment voted against him by the House Judiciary Committee. Nixon’s efforts to misuse the IRS were futile. They went nowhere. Nixon and his henchmen desired the IRS to “screw” their political opponents, but their efforts were a pathetic failure.

Nixon henchman Jack Caulfield astutely complained that the IRS was a “monstrous bureaucracy…dominated and controlled by Democrats.” As we have come to see, Caulfield was on to something. By contrast with Nixon’s failures to misuse the IRS, the IRS has very effectively “screwed” Obama’s political opponents, and we have yet to learn what the president knew and when he knew it.

Question Of The Week

We have all watched the IRS and its ‘the dog ate my homework’ defense of its failure to produce the documents Congress is requesting. This lack of cooperation resulted in the ‘Question of the Week’ being asked in the Congressional hearings.

As reported by The Blaze:

‘At What Point Does It Become Obstruction of Justice?’: Jim Jordan Angrily Grills IRS Head Over What He Waited Two Months to Do

That is the question.

Would You Believe This Story Even If You Trusted The Person Who Told It?

Yesterday the Daily Caller reported that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had cancelled its contract with email-storage contractor Sanosoft just weeks after ex-IRS official Lois Lerner’s computer crashed and shortly before other IRS officials’ computers allegedly crashed (and coincidentally about the time Congress began looking into the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups).

The article reports:

But Sonasoft’s six-year business relationship with the IRS came to an abrupt end at the close of fiscal year 2011, as congressional investigators began looking into the IRS conservative targeting scandal and IRS employees’ computers started crashing left and right.

Sonasoft’s fiscal year 2011 contract with the IRS ended on August 31, 2011. Eight days later, the IRS officially closed out its relationship with Sonasoft in accordance with the federal government’s contract close-out guidelines, which require agencies to fully audit their contracts and to get back any money that wasn’t used by the contractor. Curiously, the IRS de-allocated 36 cents when it closed out its contract with Sonasoft on September 8, 2011.

Lois Lerner’s computer allegedly crashed in June 2011, just ten days after House Ways and Means Committee chairman Rep. Dave Camp first wrote a letter asking if the IRS was engaging in targeting of nonprofit groups. Two months later, Sonasoft’s contract ended and the IRS gave its email-archiving contractor the boot.

I suppose there exists a universe in which Lois Lerner’s emails just happened to be unavailable as soon as the Congressional investigators wanted them and the IRS is telling the truth, but I don’t think too many people live there. This is what a cover-up looks like. Congress can either appoint a Special Prosecutor (one who is not connected with or afraid of the current Justice Department) or they can be seen as absolute gutless wonders. I really don’t think there is a third choice.

The Mystery Of The Missing Emails Continues

Reason.com reported yesterday that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had a contract with Sonasoft, whose trademark states, “Email Archiving Done Right.”  The contract began in 2005.

The article reports:

The extent and exact details of the service that Sonasoft provided to the IRS aren’t clear. But the company advertises its email archiving solution as “ideal for small and medium businesses, government agencies, school districts, nonprofit organizations using Microsoft’s Exchange Server.” And a document posted on its website describing its services says that its system “archives all email content and so reduces the risk of non-compliance with legal, regulatory and other obligations to preserve critical business content.”

Stay tuned.

What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) the-dog-ate-my-homework scandal just keeps getting more interesting. CNS News is reporting today that the IRS told the White House in April about the missing e-mails. Congress was finally told in June.

The article reports:

“The IRS knew in February, or maybe even in March, and Treasury and the White House knew at least in April — but Congress and the American people didn’t find out until June. Were you purposely not telling us?” House Ways and Means Chair Dave Camp (R-Mich.) asked Koskinen. “Were you purposely not revealing this to the American people?”

…Camp told the committee he received a letter from the White House two days ago, telling him that the Obama White House learned about the missing Lois Lerner emails in April and was informed by the Treasury Department.

Koskinen said he’s also seen that letter. He said his “understanding” is that someone in the IRS general counsel’s office informed someone in the Treasury Department’s general counsel office “that there was an issue and the IRS was investigating.”

This is amazing. Remember, the White House just recently announced that there were no e-mails between the IRS and the White House. No wonder–they have had since April to find them and get rid of them!

There is so much wrong with the current state of the IRS, including the sharing of confidential taxpayer information about nonprofit groups to the Federal Bureau of Investigation days before the 2010 midterm elections (see rightwinggranny.com). This information included donor lists. This offense is punishable with jail time. It is time to abolish the IRS. It has become a very powerful political tool and needs to go away. We can institute a flat tax or a consumer tax to generate revenue, but the behavior of the IRS and the people involved with it is unacceptable. The IRS has truly become a danger to our freedom.

Asking The Right Questions

Sharyl Attkisson has done an amazing amount of good investigative reporting on the scandals in the Obama Administration. That reporting resulted in her being fired from CBS News, but she is still doing excellent work. On Saturday, June 14th, she posted an article at her website about the emails that were requested by the House Ways and Means Committee that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) claims it has lost. Anyone who has any experience with computers understands that even in computer crashes, data can generally be recovered. This excuse for not complying with a request from a Congressional oversight committee does not hold water.

Ms. Attkisson has suggested a number of questions that should be asked of the IRS.

She suggests a number of questions, but this is the question that would probably get the most interesting results:

I would also ask for those who discovered and reported the crash to testify under oath, as well as any officials who reported the materials as having been irretrievably lost.

A friend of mine who blogs at datechguyblog.com put it this way:

That question suggests that not only political operatives and career bureaucrats would come under oath, but IT guys, computer techs, database and data recovery specialists.

It’s not unusual for a political operative to take a fall in order to be a “good soldier” under the theory that it is easier to get hired by a campaign or put in a government job or a friendly think tank after committing an ethical lapse than to be hired by a campaign or being employed by a friendly think tank after reporting on an ethical lapse.

This however doesn’t apply to the IT department, these guys can often find better work at a better wage outside of government and their expertese and ability to get job is not tied to

It’s one thing to get a political hack to lie under oath or to take a fall to keep himself viable in that world, it’s quite another to get the non political people who have no real skin in the game to be willing to perjure themselves before congress in an attempt to claim incompetence.

These guys simply aren’t going to take the fall for a bunch of political hacks.

The clock is ticking, as soon as the IT guys are under oath the IRS scandal is going to explode and that blast is going to take a lot of people with them.

It is going to be an interesting summer.

Stonewalling As An Art Form

We have had Presidential administrations in the past that were very good at hiding information from the American people, but the Obama Administration has turned stonewalling into an art form.

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article today about the latest wrinkle in the investigation into the misuse of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The article reports:

The IRS has informed the House Ways and Means Committee that it has lost Lois Lerner email messages from January 2009–April 2011. Harkening back to the allegedly accidental erasure of 18 1/2 minutes of critical Oval Office recordings that contributed to Richard Nixon’s resignation from office, the IRS attributes the loss of Lerner email to a computer crash.

Some email survives: the agency retains Lerner email to and from other IRS employees during this period. The IRS claims it cannot produce email written only to or from Lerner and outside agencies or groups, such as the White House, Treasury, Department of Justice, FEC, or offices of Democrat congressmen. Funny how that works.

I know that this has been said so many times it is a cliche, but can you imagine what would happen if this occurred under a Republican President?

While We Have Been Talking About The Prisoner Swap…

The Daily Caller is reporting today that new information uncovered in the investigation of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal shows that Lois Lerner sent confidential taxpayer information about nonprofit groups to the Federal Bureau of Investigation days before the 2010 midterm elections.

The article reports:

The Daily Caller previously reported that Lerner shared confidential taxpayer information on nonprofit groups with high-ranking White House officials Ellen Montz and Jeanne Lambrew in 2012. Lerner was held in contempt of Congress by a full House vote after stonewalling the chamber’s investigation into her improper targeting of conservative and tea party groups between 2010 and 2012.

“We were extremely troubled by this new information, and by the fact that the IRS has withheld it from the Committee for over a year,” House Oversight chairman Rep. Darrell Issa and Oversight member Rep. Jim Jordan wrote in a letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. ”We were astonished to learn days ago from the Justice Department that these 21 disks contained confidential taxpayer information protected by federal law. We ask that you immediately produce all material explaining how these disks were prepared and transmitted to the FBI.”

While the Democrats complain that the IRS investigation is endless, the Obama Administration continues to withhold information from the investigators. We have reached a point where our so-called leaders refuse to obey the laws that are supposed to protect our republic. It will be interesting to see if voters consider this behavior in the next election.

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The Internal Revenue Service And Tax Fraud

On Tuesday, Byron York posted an article at the Washington Examiner website about widespread fraud in the Earned Income Tax Credit program.

The article reports:

“The Internal Revenue Service continues to make little progress in reducing improper payments of Earned Income Tax Credits,” a press release from Treasury’s inspector general for Tax Administration says. “The IRS estimates that 22 to 26 percent of EITC payments were issued improperly in Fiscal Year 2013. The dollar value of these improper payments was estimated to be between $13.3 billion and $15.6 billion.”

That’s not pocket change. Remember that these are the people who will administer the revenue part of ObamaCare.

The article explains that the IRS is not making any serious effort to end this fraud:

The new report found that the IRS is simply ignoring the requirements of a law called the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act, signed by President Obama in 2010, which requires the IRS to set fraud-control targets and keep improper payments below ten percent of all Earned Income Tax Credit payouts. “The IRS continues to not provide all required IPERA information to the Department of the Treasury,” the new report says. “… For the third consecutive year, the IRS did not publish annual reduction targets or report an improper payment rate of less than 10 percent for the EITC.”

Let’s eliminate all bonuses paid to IRS employees until this fraud is at least under control. That might cause the IRS to develop some interest in solving the problem.

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Why The Freedom Of Information Act Is Important

Judicial Watch is an organization that has held both Democrat and Republican politicians accountable to the people who voted for them. One of their best weapons used to hold politicians accountable is the Freedom of Information Act. Even when the press has walked away from a story, Judicial Watch keeps looking for information. In the case of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Scandal, their tenacity has paid off.

The Daily Caller is reporting today that Judicial Watch has obtained emails showing that Democrat Senator Carl Levin pressured the IRS to target conservative groups.

The article reports:

Levin, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs’ permanent subcommittee on investigations, wrote a March 30, 2012 letter to then-IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman discussing the “urgency” of the issue of possible political activity by nonprofit applicants. Levin asked if the IRS was sending out additional information requests to applicant groups and citing an IRS rejection letter to a conservative group as an example of how the IRS should be conducting its business.

The article reports that the IRS targeting is easily traceable to Washington, D.C.:

IRS official Holly Paz wrote a July 6, 2010 email to Washington-based IRS lawyer Steven Grodnitzky “to let Cindy and Sharon know how we have been handling Tea Party applications in the last few months.” Grodnitzky replied to the email, confirming that the Washington-based Exempt Organization Technical unit (EOT) was designing the targeting in the nation’s capital.

“EOT is working the Tea party applications in coordination with Cincy. We are developing a few applications here in DC and providing copies of our development letters with the agent to use as examples in the development of their cases,” Grodnitzky wrote.

“Chip Hull [another lawyer in IRS headquarters] is working these cases in EOT and working with the agent in Cincy, so any communication should include him as well. Because the Tea party applications are the subject of an SCR [Sensitive Case Report], we cannot resolve any of the cases without coordinating with Rob,” Grodnitzky wrote.

“Rob” is believed to be then-IRS director of rulings and agreements Rob Choi, who was based at the agency’s Washington headquarters, according to Judicial Watch.

This use of the IRS for political purposes by whichever party is in power will continue unless it is stopped in its tracks now. I strongly recommend that you email your Representative and your Senators and tell them that you want those who used the IRS for political purposes held accountable. Otherwise, this will be the new normal.

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Holding Government Officials Accountable

On Thursday, I posted an article (rightwinggranny.com) showing the likelihood of being audited by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) if you gave money to a Tea Party group. Basically, one in ten Tea Party donors were audited compared to a rate of slightly more than one in a hundred for the general population. Obviously, there is a problem here. Congress has been trying to find out who ordered the audit of Tea Party donors and who is responsible for using the IRS as a political weapon. The investigation has been stonewalled by the White House and the Justice Department every step of the way. Yesterday the U.K. Daily Mail posted a story about the latest episode in this saga.

The article reports:

David O’Neil, whose job atop the DOJ’s criminal division puts him in charge of public corruption prosecutions, told Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan that he also doesn’t know how many prosecutors are assigned to the case, or how many attorneys from his division are working on it.

Asked to identify the lead agent in the Lerner investigation, O’Neil would only answer, ‘I’m sure that we can provide that information to you.’

Maybe I’m just naive, but it would seem to me that the person in charge of the investigation might have some idea as to how many people are working on the investigation. Has he every bothered to count his emails? Does he actually get any emails?  Note that this story was reported in a British paper–I haven’t seen the report in the mainstream American press.

The article further reports:

I oversee the public integrity section,’ O’Neil said during a House Oversight subcommittee hearing, adding that ‘yes,’ he is involved in the case.

He claimed there are ‘numerous career federal prosecutors that are on that investigation.’

But when Jordan asked him how many are in that group, complaining that he has ‘been trying to get this answer now for 11 months,’ O’Neill conceded, ‘I can’t tell you that answer sitting here today.’

O’Neill also suggested that the Department of Justice is unlikely to appoint a special counsel.

‘No,’ he said. ‘A special counsel is not warranted.’

When the House found Lerner in contempt, it referred her to Attorney General Holder for prosecution, prompting an aide to a Texas Republican to call it ‘the slime probing the slime.’

The female staffer told MailOnline that ‘if Holder ever opens the Lerner file ore than once, I’ll strip naked on the National Mall and sing the president’s favorite Al Green song.’

I don’t think the staffer is in any danger of having to make good on that promise.
It is sad that partisan politics has become more important than the integrity of public officials.

 

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The Internal Revenue Service Audit Rate For Tea Party Donors

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Audit Rate for Tea Party donors is something I take personally–my husband and I were audited for the first time in 43 years after making a donation to the Tea Party. Nothing in our tax return had changed, and after a year of being told that the IRS needed more time, nothing was found.

Yesterday the Washington Times reported that after checking the donor lists the IRS collected from the Tea Party, 10 percent of those donors were audited. Kiplinger posted a story in March 2013 stating:

The IRS audits only slightly more than 1% of all individual tax returns annually.

…2012 IRS statistics show that people with incomes of $200,000 or higher had an audit rate of 3.70%, or one out of every 27 returns. Report $1 million or more of income? There’s a one-in-eight chance your return will be audited. The audit rate drops significantly for filers making less than $200,000: Less than 1% (0.94%) of such returns was audited during 2012, and the vast majority of these exams were conducted by mail.

I think there is a problem here. Until we find out who ordered the audits, I think we need to ask the ‘public servants‘ involved why they were not serving the public.

The article at the Washington Times reminds us:

Ms. Lerner ran the division overseeing nonprofit groups. She has since retired from the IRS but has refused to testify to Congress about her role in the targeting, citing her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

The House voted Wednesday to hold her in contempt of Congress for refusing to talk.

The Washington Times also mentions another recent problem with the IRS:

On another matter, the commissioner told the panel that he is taking steps to be able to deny agency bonuses to IRS employees who hadn’t paid their taxes. The agency’s inspector general last month reported that more than 1,000 employees received bonuses within a year of having tax problems.

Mr. Koskinen said he is working with the IRS union to rewrite their agreement so that those employees can’t be paid bonuses.

“Going forward, if someone has been disciplined for failure to comply with the tax code, they will be ineligible for a performance award,” he said.

He also said the agency would try to fire employees who cheat on their taxes.

Doesn’t all of the above fall under the category of basic common sense?

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An Opinion From An Interesting Source

Yesterday the Daily Caller posted an article quoting Cleta Mitchell, a partner at Foley & Lardner, on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal,

The article quoted Ms. Mitchell:

“This is a sea change! People need to understand — this has never happened before in my lifetime and I don’t think anybody’s lifetime, where you have the president of the United States, elected members of Congress calling on the IRS to silence their political opponents, and having the IRS management and top brass doing what the politicians wanted them to do, and essentially taking sides in a philosophical and political debate between conservatives and liberals,” said Cleta Mitchell, a partner at Foley & Lardner.

“The more we allow government to mushroom and metastasize, we become more like the former Soviet Union where you have the commissars who have laws for everybody else, the little people, that don’t apply to them, and they use the government to go after their opponents and people are afraid of the government,” Mitchell said. “I mean, this is happening. And we have to stop it.”

It has become very obvious that the Obama Administration wants to silence anyone who is opposed to their policies. If they are successful in this, it is not a stretch to think that any future administration of either party will employ similar tactics.

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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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