Huh?

As a blogger, I follow the news closely. I see a lot of things I don’t understand, but sometimes I am just amazed at how the media spins the events around us.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are running for President., He is an extremely successful businessman, and she is a former First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State. There is no doubt that she has had more political experience than he has, but much of that political experience has involved failure rather than success.There are scandals swirling around both candidates–hers relating to pay-for-play while Secretary of State, lying to Congress, lying to the American people, defending her husband when his actions were despicable, etc. His scandals involve locker-room talk, divorces, probably more illegally recorded remarks to come.

I went looking for the turnover rate in Trump businesses, thinking that might give me some insight as to how Donald Trump runs things. I did find information about Trump Towers in New York City. One of the anonymous reviews by employees listed the following as a negative, “Longevity – it is an issue for anyone looking to advance with the company since most dept heads have been there for many years and have no intention of leaving.” Evidently (at least at Trump Towers in New York) the turnover rate is low. I think that is something that needs to be mentioned while the Clinton campaign attempts to convince the American voters that Donald Trump is a horrible monster not fit to lead a Boy Scout Troop.

I am having a hard time understanding why a private conversation (horrible as it was and probably more to come) is given the same weight as failed foreign policy, corruption, stonewalling federal investigations, intimidating women her husband has sexually assaulted, etc. It just doesn’t make sense to me. If the conversations we heard are an illustration of character, how is that character any worse than the character of his opponent. In one case we have talk, in the other case we have actions. They are not equal.

In watching this unfold, we need to look underneath what is happening at the core of the matter. Donald Trump is a serious threat to the status quo. The cozy little Washington establishment currently composed of both Democrats and Republicans is becoming unglued at the idea of someone coming in and changing the rules. Currently we don’t have a working Constitution–we have whatever President Obama says. The Justice Department was corrupted from the beginning (illustrated by the New Black Panthers case). The undermining of the Police was there from the beginning (the comment ‘police acted stupidly’ paved the way for charges of racism in later years). There are currently some serious questions about the politicization of the FBI, and we all remember the politicization of the IRS. We the little people in America know that we need to go back to equal justice under the law. We also understand that under President Hillary Clinton that will never happen. At least under President Donald Trump it might.

Regardless of how abhorrent Donald Trump’s comments were, and how abhorrent any future illegally taped comments are, they are comments–not proven actions. Meanwhile, we have a list of deplorable actions taken over the years by Hillary Clinton, along with the failure of her policies as Secretary of State. Why are we talking about illegally taped comments?

Confirmation Of What We Already Knew

Kimberley Strassel has written a book entitled The Intimidation Game. The book details the attack on conservative speech by elected Democrats during the last two elections. She posted an article on NewsBusters today detailing some of what she discovered in writing the book. One of the more disturbing things detailed in the book is the attack on conservative (or Tea Party) groups through the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The fact that no one was held accountable for this abuse of power is an indication that it is time to create a tax code that no longer requires the existence of the IRS. For whatever reason, we have reached the point where the IRS has become a political weapon. That is an indication that the IRS needs to go. In 1974, the Second Article of Impeachment of Richard Nixon read as follows:

He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavored to … cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.

How far we have fallen.

The article at NewsBusters reports:

So Lerner, the IRS, Obama—they were all correct that the targeting fiasco started with a “line agent” in Cincinnati. They just neglected to mention that within twenty-four hours of that agent’s alert—and every minute thereafter—it was political types in Washington running the show.

When Koester talked about “media interest,” he was undoubtedly referring to the wall-to-wall coverage that had just followed the Citizens United decision. He’d likely seen the White House’s furious reaction to the Court’s decision to free up speech rights, and Obama’s dressing-down of the Supremes. He’d likely seen the Democratic Party and its media allies bang on daily about the evils of conservative “nonprofits.” He’d likely taken in the nonstop stories about the Tea Party gearing up in opposition to Obama, and how they were rushing into the (c)(4) realm. And he likely knew those groups were having an effect. Only a month earlier, Scott Brown had won that Senate race, against all odds. Koester was a prime example of how an executive branch—and a political party—can drive a story and make the bureaucracy take notice.

We know that one person in particular took notice: an ambitious partisan by the name of Lois Lerner.

Lerner shocked Washington with her May 2013 admission that her agency had harassed Americans. The shocking thing was that anyone was shocked.

Lerner to this day won’t cooperate with any real investigation; the nation has been denied the opportunity to hear her story. But e-mail is a wondrous thing. Between her records and the recollections of her colleagues, we have a vivid portrait of the former head of the IRS’s Exempt Organizations unit. She was a brassy, self-assured bureaucrat with Democratic leanings and a near-messianic belief in the need for more speech regulations.

I plan on reading the entire book, but Ms. Strassel’s comments in the article confirm what most Americans already knew–the IRS has been used by the Obama Administration to limit free speech. During the Nixon Administration, using the IRS as a political tool was an impeachable offense. Why? Because the media kept up a constant drum beat about the offense. Unfortunately conservatives do not have that media back-up. It is up to us to fight for our First Amendment rights. Unless more Americans wake up to what is happening, that will be a very long and hard fight.

This Is Called Blackmail

Yesterday Fox News posted an article with the title, “IRS chief warns of refund delays over budget cuts.” You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out what is going on here. If people experience delays in getting their tax refunds, they will complain. If they make enough noise, Congress will have to give the IRS more money to get the refunds out promptly. I hope Congress is smarter than that.

The IRS in recent years has abused its power and become a political tool. I think it is time to cut its funding (actually, I think it is time to make it go away and replace the income tax with a consumption tax of some kind).

The article reports:

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen gave details Thursday on ways the tax-collection agency might try to cut costs. He said everything from taxpayer services to enforcement efforts could be affected.

But, in a move that could impact millions, he said there could be a lag in refunds being processed.

“Everybody’s return will get processed,” Koskinen told reporters. “But people have gotten very used to being able to file their return and quickly getting a refund. This year we may not have the resources, the people to provide refunds as quickly as we have in the past.”

In recent years, the IRS says it was able to issue most tax refunds within 21 days, if the returns were filed electronically. Koskinen wouldn’t estimate how long they might be delayed in the upcoming filing season, which is just a few weeks away.

Congress cut the IRS budget by $346 million for the budget year that ends in September 2015. The $10.9 billion budget is $1.2 billion less than the agency received in 2010. The agency has come under heavy fire from congressional Republicans for its now-halted practice of applying extra scrutiny to conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.

I totally support cutting the budget of the IRS. I would also support eliminating the agency.

 

Using The Internal Revenue Service To Target Conservative Speech

We still don’t know exactly what went on with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the targeting of conservatives and conservative groups. I can tell you that after making a small donation to the Tea Party a few years ago, my husband and I were audited for the first time in 45 years (nothing in our taxes had changed). Well, evidently the targeting of conservatives was aided and abetted by some members of Congress.

Yesterday The Daily Caller reported that they had obtained copies of correspondence between Senator Jeanne Shaheen and the IRS showing a plan to harass conservative groups during the 2012 election.

The article reports:

“The IRS is aware of the current public interest in this issue,” IRS chief counsel William J. Wilkins, a White House visitor described by insiders as “The President’s Man at the IRS,” personally wrote in a hand-stamped memo to “Senator Shaheen” on official Department of the Treasury letterhead on April 25, 2012.

The memo, obtained by TheDC, briefed the Democratic senator about a coordinated IRS-Treasury Department plot to target political activity by nonprofit 501(c)(4) groups. The plot was operating out of Lois Lerner’s Tax Exempt Government Entities Division. 

 …Shaheen got the inside info from the IRS, making it clear she was the point person in a group composed of six close Democratic colleagues including Chuck Schumer and Al Franken, who joined with Shaheen in quietly writing a letter to then-IRS commissioner Doug Shulman expressing their concern about new nonprofit groups engaging in political activity in 2012.

The Democratic senators’ publicly available March 9, 2012 letter asked the IRS to “immediately change the administrative framework for enforcement of the tax code as it applies to groups designated as ‘social welfare’ organizations” by introducing a new “bright line test” for how much a tax-exempt group can invest in political activity and by setting a new rule that at least 51 percent of a group’s activity must non-political. The senators called for more elaborate disclosures about finances and “undertakings” in groups’ form 990 submissions and sought new rules about how much donors could write off as business expenses.

The problem here is that the new rules would be specifically aimed at conservative groups. There was no effort made to be even-handed about putting restrictions on liberal PAC’s, unions, or other groups on the left side of the aisle.

Unfortunately many Democrats do not endorse the concept of free speech when it does not conform to their ideas. The Democrat party has also shown that it is not above using the full weight of the government to stifle conservative speech. Using the government as a political weapon is not an idea that belongs in a representative republic.

One Perspective On The Mid-term Election

Michael Goodwin at the New York Post posted an article with an interesting perspective on the mid-term elections. Mr. Goodwin noted that even as a daily misstep is coming from the Obama Administration, President Obama seems to be saying that he is blameless in whatever disaster is unfolding.

The article notes:

We are witnessing the total collapse of a bad idea. Obamaism, a quasi-socialist commitment to a more powerful government at home and an abdication of American leadership around the world, is being exposed as a historic calamity. It is fueling domestic fear and global disorder and may well lead to a world war.

If there is a smidgen of a silver lining, it is that the unraveling, complete with Obama’s shameless attempts to duck responsibility, is playing out on the eve of the midterm elections. Fortunately, voters seem ready to respond by giving Republicans control of both houses of congress.

…He was aided and abetted by every Democrat in Congress. They marched in lockstep with his cockamamie policies, from ObamaCare to open borders. They protected corrupt leaders in numerous federal agencies, from the IRS to the Genera Services Administration. They stymied efforts to find the truth about Benghazi and the Fast and Furious gunrunning debacle.

They ceded their constitutional obligations and allowed Obama to crash the system of checks and balances. The vast majority stood silent while he gutted the military and abandoned our allies, including Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and courted Iran, the most menacing nation on earth.

With painfully few exceptions, Democrats put their loyalty to him above their duty to America.

And now they must be punished. All of them.

Mr. Goodwin notes that he is a registered Democrat. However, he suggests that what is happening in the country at this moment is a national emergency and the only solution is to vote Republican for every federal office. I understand where he is coming from–I used to be a Democrat.

President Nixon Would Be Green With Envy

On Friday the Associated Press posted an article stating that emails have been lost from five more Internal Revenue Service (IRS) workers who are being investigated in relation to the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups.

Today, Townhall.com posted the reaction of the lawyer who is representing those conservative groups.

Townhall.com quotes Attorney Mitchell’s reaction:

Attorney Cleta Mitchell, who is representing many tea party and conservative groups targeted by the IRS, isn’t impressed and not surprised about the latest round of “lost” emails.

“I have gotten to the point where this is like one of those infomercials where they say ‘wait, wait, there’s more!’ I mean just when you think you’ve heard it all, you find out more things about the IRS and frankly I think what Congressman Camp said is absolutely right that there is no way we are getting anywhere close to the truth about what happened and the DOJ has become, in my opinion has become complicit in trying to cover-up what’s been going on. I think we have to have a special prosecutor if we are ever going to get to the bottom of it,” Mitchell said in an interview with Fox News

Attorney Mitchell was recently interviewed on Fox News. You can watch the interview at the Townhall.com link above.

 

Why Has It Taken So Long For The Public To Learn This?

Fox News is reporting today that the IRS emails that Lois Lerner claimed to have lost may exist on back-up computers. Politico posted a story at the end of July that summarizes the timeline on this whole scandal.

Politico reports:

Backgrounder recap: It all started in May 2013, when ex-IRS tax-exempt chief Lois Lerner acknowledged the agency inappropriately used loaded key words like “tea party” to scrutinize applicants seeking tax breaks. A critical inspector general report followed, Lerner and others stepped down, and here we are, dozens of congressional hearings later.

Although the Justice Department, FBI and Treasury inspector general for tax administration are all probing the matter, it could be awhile before they issue final reports on how and why the ex-IRS official at the heart of the scandal lost two years’ worth of emails, the latest wrinkle in the controversy.

When the Ways and Means Committee began investigating the IRS scandal, they requested Lois Lerner’s emails. In June the Committee was told the emails were missing and that the IRS had been aware of that fact since February.

I hate to be cynical (although sometimes it is necessary), but do you think that the IRS and the Justice Department have had enough time to sanitize those emails and delete anything that might be incriminating? I strongly suspect that when the emails are released, there will be nothing even remotely problematic for the IRS. The emails will be strangely innocent.

Were it not for the efforts of Judicial Watch using the Freedom of Information Act, the IRS and Justice Department would not even have to take the time to clean up the emails. At least Judicial Watch is forcing the IRS to spend some time covering their tracks.

Are They Following Any Rules?

Today’s Daily Caller is reporting that because they did not follow their own rules and policies, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has put American taxpayers at risk of fraud and identity theft.

The article reports:

If one needs further evidence that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has veered out of control, look no further than last week’s Treasury Inspector General’s report that found serial failures on the part of the agency to conduct basic background checks on contractors used to handle sensitive taxpayer information. In just one instance, a computer disk with 1.4 million American names, addresses and even Social Security numbers was handled by contractors without background checks, putting taxpayers at unnecessary risk for fraud and identity theft.

What makes this even more outlandish is that this is not just a breach of common sense; it is a violation of IRS policy.

It seems that the IRS is lax about following their own regulations in a number of areas.

The article further reports:

Furthermore, other investigations have brought to light accounts of money wasted by the IRS on lavish agency conferences while the rest of the country struggled in a deep financial recession. Spoof training videos were produced by the IRS while other government agencies were furloughing employees. And to top it off, from 2011-2012 alone, more than $1 million in bonuses were paid to IRS employees who were delinquent on their own federal taxes!

…The IRS is out of control, and if Commissioner Koskinen wants to return some faith to the agency he leads, he can start by holding his people responsible for the IRS’s outrageous behavior.

Will the Obama Administration hold the IRS accountable for its behavior? If not, it is time to consider an alternate tax policy that would abolish the IRS.

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 ObamaCareIRS 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.

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 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.

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.

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?

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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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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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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