Is The Department Of Justice Just?

The following statement was posted at Judicial Watch yesterday:

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton made the following statement regarding the  Department of Justice’s decision not to bring charges against Lois Lerner, former director of the Exempt Organizations Unit of the IRS, whose own emails place her at the heart of the politicization of the IRS for the targeting of conservative groups:

I have zero confidence that the Justice Department did an adequate review of the IRS scandal. In fact, we’re still fighting the Justice Department and the IRS for records about this very scandal. Today’s decision comes as no surprise considering that the FBI collaborated with the IRS and is unlikely to investigate or prosecute itself. President Trump should order a complete review of the whole issue. Meanwhile, we await accountability for IRS Commissioner Koskinen, who still serves and should be drummed out of office.

Judicial Watch released 294 pages of FBI “302” documents revealing top Washington IRS officials, including Lois Lerner and Holly Paz, knew the agency was specifically targeting “Tea Party” and other conservative organizations two full years before disclosing it to Congress and the public.  An FBI 302 document contains detailed narratives of FBI agent investigations.  The Obama Justice Department and FBI investigations into the Obama IRS scandal resulted in no criminal charges.

The FBI 302 documents confirm the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) 2013 report that said, “Senior IRS officials knew that agents were targeting conservative groups for special scrutiny as early as 2011.” Lerner did not reveal the targeting until May 2013, in response to a planted question at an American Bar Association conference.  The new documents reveal that then-acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller actually wrote Lerner’s response: “They used names like Tea Party or Patriots and they selected cases simply because the applications had those names in the title. That was wrong, that was absolutely incorrect, insensitive, and inappropriate.”

Judicial Watch’s litigation forced the IRS first to say that emails belonging to Lerner were supposedly missing and later declare to the court that the emails were on IRS back-up systems.  Lerner was one of the top officials responsible for the IRS’ targeting of President Obama’s political opponents.  Judicial Watch exposed various IRS record keeping problems:

  • In June 2014the IRS claimed to have “lost” responsive emails belonging to Lerner and other IRS officials.
  • In August 2014, Department of Justice attorneys for the IRS finally admitted Judicial Watch that Lerner’s emails, indeed all government computer records, are backed up by the federal government in case of a government-wide catastrophe. The IRS’ attorneys also disclosed that Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) was looking at several of these backup tapes.
  • In November 2014, the IRS told the court it had failed to search any of the IRS standard computer systems for the “missing” emails of Lerner and other IRS officials.
  • On February 26, 2015, TIGTA officials testified to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that it had received 744 backup tapes containing emails sent and received by Lerner.  This testimony showed that the IRS had falsely represented to both Congress, Judge Sullivan, and Judicial Watch that Lerner’s emails were irretrievably lost. The testimony also revealed that IRS officials responsible for responding to the document requests never asked for the backup tapes and that 424 backup tapes containing Lerner’s emails had been destroyed during the pendency of Judicial Watch’s lawsuit and Congressional investigations.
  • In June 2015, Judicial Watch forced the IRS to admit in a court filing that it was in possession of 6,400 “newly discovered” Lerner emails. Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered the IRS to provide answers on the status of the Lerner emails the IRS had previously declared lost. Judicial Watch raised questions about the IRS’ handling of the missing emails issue in a court filing, demanding answers about Lerner’s emails that had been recovered from the backup tapes.
  • In July 2015, U.S District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan threatened to hold John Koskinen, the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, and Justice Department attorneys in contempt of court after the IRS failed to produce status reports and recovered Lerner emails, as he had ordered on July 1, 2015.

Obama IRS Commissioner Koskinen was nearly impeached in September 2016 for misleading Congress on Lerner’s emails.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) clearly violated the free speech rights of American citizens because the Obama Administration wanted to silence their views. This is a serious affront to our representative republic and should not go unpunished. Attempting to use the IRS for political purposes was one of the items of impeachment drawn up against President Richard Nixon. Has the Justice Department forgotten what the law is? If so, it is time for a new Justice Department.

The Wheels Of Justice Turn Slowly

Fox News is reporting today that Judge Reggie B. Walton of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) must provide the names of specific employees involved in targeting Tea Party groups. The Judge has also ruled that IRS the must provide information about which groups were targeted and why, along with a strategy to make sure such targeting doesn’t happen again. This is one of the few common sense rulings in this case. This might also be the pathway to having employees of the IRS reveal who ordered the targeting.

The article reports:

The targeting scandal drew much attention in 2013 when the IRS, headed at the time by Lois Lerner, admitted it was applying extra scrutiny to conservative groups applying for nonprofit status.

“That was wrong,” Lerner said at the time in the press. “That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate. … The IRS would like to apologize for that.”

But director of investigations and research at Judicial Watch Chris Farrell, whose organization is also involved in litigation with the IRS on this issue, told Fox News that the IRS owes litigants “real accountability.”

This is the equivalent of apologizing for robbing a bank, refusing to give back the money, and not going to jail. The apology is worth nothing.

The article concludes:

Walton ordered the IRS to search for further records, according to The Washington Times, in other agency databases for the time period spanning 2009 to March 27, 2015.

“Furthermore, to the extent that the plaintiffs have already received information produced by the government indicating that the plaintiffs were allegedly discriminated against, and that information provides a basis to believe that other such documents exist, the government must search all relevant sources to ensure that all documents responsive to the document request is identified and produced,” the judge wrote in his order.

Walton gave the IRS until Oct. 16 to finish the search.

This is a serious move toward draining the swamp.

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.

Equal Justice Under The Law?

This isn’t a surprise, but it is extremely disappointing. The Daily Caller is reporting today that the Justice Department will not file criminal charges against Lois Lerner. Ms. Lerner, as the head of the Internal Revenue Service, routinely discriminated against conservative groups seeking tax exempt status.

The article states:

“Substantial evidence of mismanagement, poor judgment and institutional inertia leading to the belief by many tax-exempt applicants that the IRS targeted them based on their political viewpoints. But poor management is not a crime,” the letter reads, according to CNN.

The Justice Department opened its investigation of Lerner, then the director of IRS’ exemptions unit, after it was discovered that she had flagged a disproportionate number of conservative groups’ tax-exempt status applications. Lerner was placed on a leave of absence from the IRS in May 2013 and resigned in September of that year.

Just for the record, it wasn’t a belief that conservatives were targeted.

According to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration Report:

The IRS used inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status based upon their names or policy positions instead of indications of potential political campaign intervention. Ineffective management: 1) allowed inappropriate criteria to be developed and stay in place for more than 18 months, 2) resulted in substantial delays in processing certain applications, and 3) allowed unnecessary information requests to be issued. Although the processing of some applications with potential significant political campaign intervention was started soon after receipt, no work was completed on the majority of these applications for 13 months…. For the 296 total political campaign intervention applications [reviewed in the audit] as of December 17, 2012, 108 had been approved, 28 were withdrawn by the applicant, none had been denied, and 160 were open from 206 to 1,138 calendar days (some for more than three years and crossing two election cycles)…. Many organizations received requests for additional information from the IRS that included unnecessary, burdensome questions (e.g., lists of past and future donors).

We have reached a very dangerous place in America–where people who disagree with the Democrats in power can be targeted by the Internal Revenue Service. When Richard Nixon, a Republican, attempted that, he was impeached, as he should have been. We have come a long way. Understand that if Hillary Clinton is elected, there will be a new enemies list (the Clintons had one the last time they were in office), and the people on that list can expect to be harassed by the government. Please consider that before you vote.

This Is Not The Way The Internal Revenue Service Is Supposed To Operate

I will admit that I do not love the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). I don’t think that is a particularly unique point of view. My husband and I were audited a few years ago after making a small donation to the Tea Party. Nothing in our returns had changed, and it was the first time we had been audited in forty-seven years. They examined our small amount of paperwork for about a year before they finally told us that nothing was wrong. They are a government agency that has acquired a lot of power over the years, and I believe that in recent years that power has been successfully used against political enemies. Now we are discovering that the IRS was ignoring the rules that were supposed to govern it.

Yesterday The Washington Times reported that as a result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by Judicial Watch, IRS lawyer Geoffrey J. Klimas has discovered another personal email account used by Lois Lerner for IRS business. Judicial Watch is a non-profit organization that strives to hold our government accountable. Over the years they have been responsible for exposing transparency problems in administrations of both parties.

The article in The Washington Times reports:

IRS lawyer Geoffrey J. Klimas told the court that as the agency was putting together a set of documents to turn over to Judicial Watch, it realized Ms. Lerner had used yet another email account, in addition to her official one and another personal one already known to the agency.

“In addition to emails to or from an email account denominated ‘Lois G. Lerner’ or ‘Lois Home,’ some emails responsive to Judicial Watch’s request may have been sent to or received from a personal email account denominated ‘Toby Miles,'” Mr. Klimas told Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, who is hearing the case.

It is unclear who Toby Miles is, but Mr. Klimas said the IRS has concluded that was “a personal email account used by Lerner.”

…In the wake of the scandal Ms. Lerner retired from the agency. She declined to testify to Congress, citing her right against self-incrimination, but also said she did not break the law.

The Obama administration has declined to pursue the contempt of Congress case that the House brought against her.

The House Ways and Means Committee also approved a criminal referral asking the Justice Department to look into Ms. Lerner’s conduct, but its status is not clear.

 Americans will only find out what happened at the IRS if a Republican becomes President. I am not convinced any Democratic candidate would be willing to pursue this case. The use of the IRS as a political entity to target conservatives goes against the basic principle of free speech. The lack of prosecution of those guilty of abusing their power in the IRS goes against the American concept of all men being equal under the law. It is time to clean house in this organization.

It Just Gets Uglier

It would be nice to be done with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal by now, but new things keep showing up. The latest should be a cause for concern to all Americans, regardless of which political party they belong to.

Judicial Watch released a report today about its latest findings as a result of its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests filed regarding the IRS. The findings are very unsettling to those of us who believe in free speech.

Here are a few highlights:

The newly obtained records also reveal that the Obama DOJ wanted IRS employees who were going to testify to Congress to turn over documents to the DOJ before giving them to Congress. Records also detail how the Obama IRS gave the FBI 21 computer disks, containing 1.25 million pages of confidential IRS returns from 113,000 nonprofit social 501(c)(4) welfare groups  – or nearly every 501(c)(4) in the United States – as part of its prosecution effort. According to a letter from then-House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, “This revelation likely means that the IRS – including possibly Lois Lerner – violated federal tax law by transmitting this information to the Justice Department.”

The documents were produced subsequent to court orders in two Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits: Judicial Watch v. Internal Revenue Service (No. 1:14-cv-1956) and Judicial Watch v. Department of Justice (No. 1:14-cv-1239).

The new IRS documents include a October 11, 2010 “DOJ Recap” memo sent by IRS Exempt Organizations Tax Law Specialist Siri Buller to Lerner and other top IRS officials explaining an October 8 meeting with representatives from the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and “one representative from the FBI” to discuss the possible criminal prosecution of nonprofit organizations for alleged political activity:

Why was the IRS coordinating with the Justice Department on Congressional testimony?

The article continues:

“These new documents show that the Obama IRS scandal is also an Obama DOJ and FBI scandal,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The FBI and Justice Department worked with Lois Lerner and the IRS to concoct some reason to put President Obama’s opponents in jail before his reelection. And this abuse resulted in the FBI’s illegally obtaining confidential taxpayer information. How can the Justice Department and FBI investigate the very scandal in which they are implicated?”

On April 16, 2014, Judicial Watch forced the IRS to release documents revealing for the first time that Lerner communicated with the DOJ in May 2013 about whether it was possible to launch criminal prosecutions against targeted tax-exempt entities. The documents were obtained due to court order in an October 2013 Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit filed against the IRS.

This sounds like Soviet Russia–not like America. Please follow the link above to Judicial Watch to read the entire article. There is quite a bit there that confirms the much of the Obama Administration was conducting a war on any group that did not agree with them.

Sometimes You Just Have To Keep Digging To Find The Truth

Yesterday the Washington Times reported that the Internal Revenue Service‘s Inspector General is conducting a criminal investigation into the disappearance of Lois Lerner’s emails.

The article reports:

Investigators have already scoured 744 backup tapes and gleaned 32,774 unique emails, but just two weeks ago they found an additional 424 tapes that could contain even more Lerner emails, Deputy Inspector General Timothy P. Camus told the House Oversight Committee in a rare late-night hearing meant to look into the status of the investigation.

“There is potential criminal activity,” Mr. Camus said.

Unfortunately, the Inspector General is still having problems getting the information he needs to pursue the case.

The article reports:

Rep. Gerald Connolly, Virginia Democrat, said Mr. George is refusing to turn documents over to him, prompting a heated reply.

“You’re not entitled to certain documents,” Mr. George said.

“Oh really? We’ll see about that, won’t we,” Mr. Connolly replied, saying that he questioned whether Mr. George could be trusted if he’s refusing to provide documents, yet is in charge of an investigation into whether the IRS stonewalled document requests.

The hearing was the latest chapter in the complex investigation into the IRS’s targeting of tea party groups for special scrutiny.

Several congressional committees are still probing the matter, and both the inspector general and the Justice Department are conducting criminal investigations.

I wouldn’t hold my breath for the results of the Justice Department investigation.

 

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.

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!

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.

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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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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Somehow The New York Times Missed This

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

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

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

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

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

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The IRS Scandal Summed Up In One Paragraph

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

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

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Question Of The Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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If She Didn’t Do Anything Wrong, Why Does She Need Immunity?

I will readily admit to being a simple person–black is black, white is white, to me life is pretty simple. But sometimes when I see what goes on in our legal system and political system, I just wonder who is making the rules and if anyone making the rules has any common sense. This article is an example of my simplicity coming up against the complexity of our legal system.

Yesterday Breitbart.com reported that Lois Lerner has told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that she will not testify before them without being granted full immunity. Hmm. If she didn’t do anything wrong, why does she need full immunity?

The article reports:

On Tuesday, William W. Taylor III, attorney for Lois Lerner, the IRS official at the center of the Tea Party targeting scandal who invoked her Fifth amendment rights before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on May 22, set forward his client’s hard line conditions to return and testify openly before the committee.

“They can obtain her testimony tomorrow by doing it the easy way … immunity. That’s the way to resolve all of this,” he told Politico.

As I said–I am a simple person. If she didn’t do anything wrong, why does she need immunity?

 

 

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The IRS Investigation Continues

This is a copy of part of one of the letters the IRS sent to a conservative organization seeking tax-exempt status. This copy is taken from an article posted at the Daily Caller yesterday. The article states that there were twelve different groups at the IRS that targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.

The article at the Daily Caller reports:

The revelation disproves the suggestion by a top congressional Democrat that only one IRS group was responsible for scrutinizing tea party and conservative applications.

Group 7821, Group 7822, Group 7823, Group 7824, Group 7827, Group 7828, Group 7829, Group 7830, Group 7838, EOG-7887, and EOG-7888, and the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division in Washington, D.C. all targeted conservative groups between 2010 and 2012, according to documentation compiled by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which has filed a class-action suit against the IRS.

ACLJ senior counsel David French told The Daily Caller:

“We know that the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division in Washington, D.C. was involved, and that’s where Carter Hull and Lois Lerner were working. We have 14 letters directly from Lois Lerner,” French said. “When Lois Lerner said on May 10 that this was just a few agents in Cincinnati, we were literally holding in our hands 14 letters that she wrote to conservative groups.”

This is not how the IRS is supposed to work. Why are we giving them more power in ObamaCare?

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