#IRS: Delaware officials suddenly can’t find records Congress wants

July 24, 2013

Hey, remember Christine O’ Donnell? She was one of the more… “interesting” candidates to run in the 2010 “Tea Party wave” election, losing eventually to Chris “Bearded Marxist” Coons. A few days ago, it came out that O’Donnell, the same day she announced her candidacy for that race, the IRS hit her with a “mistaken” lien:

That same day, the IRS put a tax lien in her name on a house she no longer owned, arguing that O’Donnell owed the government $12,000, according to Grassley’s office.

O’Donnell told [Senator Charles] Grassley’s office that she provided the IRS with documents needed to clear her tax record “four or five times, and they kept getting ‘lost,’” the aide said.

The IRS later said it had made a mistake, which the agency said was the result of a computer glitch, and removed the lien.

The lien is significant because O’Donnell’s opponents cited it as evidence that she was financially irresponsible even though she espoused financial stability for the federal government.

I remember that incident with the lien; it became a significant part of the argument on the Right about whether O’Donnell was or wasn’t a total flake. Now it looks like she may have been “investigated” by state tax officials in her heavily Democratic state inappropriately accessing her federal tax records. This has caught the eye (and ire) of Senator Grassley (R-IA), who wants to see Delaware’s paperwork on this case.

And yet, now —O! What a coincidence!!— Delaware just can’t find those records:

Delaware state officials have told Congress that they likely destroyed the computer records that would show when and how often they accessed Christine O’Donnell’s personal tax records and acknowledged that a newspaper article was used as the sole justification for snooping into the former GOP Senate candidate’s tax history.

The revelations to Sen. Chuck Grassley’s office came Tuesday as the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration, the government’s chief watchdog for the Internal Revenue Service, formally reopened its investigation into the matter by re-interviewing Ms. O’Donnell.

O’Donnell claims the state access to her records occurred on March 9th, 2010, a date given to her by the Treasury official who alerted her to the breach. Delaware says it was late March, and only after they’d seen the newspaper item (that alleged no wrongdoing on her part), but, gosh, they can’t find the records to prove their claim, so we’ll just have to take their word for it…

There’s no evidence (yet) that the Delaware Division of Revenue was part of the “inadvertent” smear of O’Donnell, but consider the situation in 2010: Riding a tidal wave of Tea Party support, Republicans were making a serious effort to take back Congress from the Democrats. Delaware was one of several states that could have been crucial to gaining control of the Senate. How convenient for the Democrats, then, was it that IRS hits her with a lien that guts her claims of fiscal responsibility, making her campaign in a Democratic state that much more difficult? Sure, they admitted the mistake, later, but the damage by that time was done.

And what were state officials doing digging at whim in her federal records? Perhaps a fishing expedition to look for more dirt, trying to do their part to help the national “party of government?” We don’t know, because they’ve destroyed records that could answer a few questions.

But it sure stinks.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#IRS scandal: I’m sure this is just a (another) coincidence

July 23, 2013

I mean, what could possibly be sinister about a meeting between President Obama and the Chief Counsel of the IRS, who’s already been fingered as being deeply involved in the political targeting of conservative groups, a mere two days before those targeting criteria were changed?

The Obama appointee implicated in congressional testimony in the IRS targeting scandal met with President Obama in the White House two days before offering his colleagues a new set of advice on how to scrutinize tea party and conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.

IRS chief counsel William Wilkins, who was named in House Oversight testimony by retiring IRS agent Carter Hull as one of his supervisors in the improper targeting of conservative groups, met with Obama in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on April 23, 2012. Wilkins’ boss, then-IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman, visited the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on April 24, 2012, according to White House visitor logs.

On April 25, 2012, Wilkins’ office sent the exempt organizations determinations unit “additional comments on the draft guidance” for approving or denying tea party tax-exempt applications, according to the IRS inspector general’s report.

Wilkins is just one of two political appointees at IRS. In other words, he’s Obama’s guy.(1) Meanwhile, let’s not forget another curious coincidence: Obama’s meeting with the head of the very anti-Tea Party Treasury employees union just the day before the targeting began.

Sure all these might have individually reasonable explanations, but, when so many flies are buzzing around, there is usually something that stinks drawing them.

Footnote:
(1) Wilkins once defended Obama’s former reverend, Jeremiah Wright, before the IRS when his church was accused of violating its –oh, the irony– 501(c)(3) status. And then he gets an appointment from Obama in which he’s deeply involved in the extra-special, super-duper scrutiny of conservative 501(c) groups. Hmmm…

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#IRS scandal goes one big step closer to the White House

July 17, 2013

Sure, it was just a couple of rogue employees who targeted Tea Party and other conservative groups for “special attention” when they applied for tax-exempt non-profits status. No doubt, as part of their mid-level, front-line worker conspiracy that no one above them knew about, they managed to dupe the Chief Counsel of the IRS, too:

The chief counsel’s office for the Internal Revenue Service, headed by a political appointee of President Obama, helped develop the agency’s problematic guidelines for reviewing “tea party” cases, according to a top IRS attorney.

In interviews with congressional investigators, IRS lawyer Carter Hull said his superiors told him that the chief counsel’s office, led by William Wilkins, would need to review some of the first applications the agency screened for additional scrutiny because of potential political activity.

Previous accounts from IRS employees had shown that Washington IRS officials were involved in the controversy, but Hull’s comments represent the closest connection to the White House to date. No evidence so far has definitively linked the White House to the agency’s actions.

According to a partial transcript released by House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and House Ways and Means chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), the chief counsel’s office also discussed using a template letter to ask questions about the groups’ activities, despite Hull’s warning that such a boilerplate approach would be impractical.

“My reviewer and I both said a template makes absolutely no difference because these organizations, all of them are different,” Hull told investigators. “A template would not work.”

Hull told investigators that he had already requested additional information from the applicants at that point and felt he had enough facts to make a determination about their eligibility, according to the transcripts.

Social welfare groups, known as 501 (c)(4)s, faced delays lasting months and even years as the IRS reviewed their applications during the 2010 and 2012 election cycles.

Carter Hull has appeared before us, before. An IRS employee in the now-infamous Cincinnati office claimed she could do nothing without the approval of Hull and his colleagues in D.C. Soon after the IRS scandal broke, Hull conveniently announced his retirement. I said then that bravely running away wouldn’t protect him from Issa’s committee, and I was right. Once questioned by congressional investigators, he helpfully pointed out the way further “uphill,” to the realm of political appointees. And from there…

This is how the Watergate investigation worked, folks: the slow, often frustrating drip of accumulating facts that wears down the wall of denial until, one day, the wall cracks and someone big decides to talk.  And when that happens, I suspect it will take us right up to the doors of the Oval Office, if not all the way inside. Someone decided to persecute Americans for daring to hold the wrong political opinions, and that’s not something done by a “rogue employee.”

Afterthought: I shouldn’t be so hard on the administration for not investigating this matter. They really do have their hands full persecuting a man found not guilty and also going after those racist self-defense laws that benefit Florida Blacks more than anyone else in the state.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


IRS official: “I’m totally innocent, but I want immunity!”

July 3, 2013

Remember Lois Lerner? She’s one of the IRS officials (currently on vacation paid suspension) at the center of the IRS scandal* involving the targeting of Tea Party and other conservative groups for “special attention” when they applied for 501(c) status, attention that amounted to suppressing their First Amendment rights and unequal treatment under the law.

Lerner appeared before the House Oversight Committee, claimed she did nothing wrong, and then invoked her Fifth Amendment rights. House Republicans claimed she waived those rights by making an opening assertion of innocence, and the committee voted to subpoena her.

Now she’s demanding immunity:

Embattled IRS official Lois Lerner will not testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee unless she’s given immunity from prosecution, her lawyer told POLITICO Tuesday.

“They can obtain her testimony tomorrow by doing it the easy way … immunity,” William W. Taylor III said in a phone interview. “That’s the way to resolve all of this.”

Her lawyer says they can win the waiver issue in any court, which begs the question then of why she needs immunity to testify.

Of course, invoking the Fifth Amendment is not proof of guilt. It can also be a shield against rogue prosecutions, the kind we’ve seen in the Duke rape case and (it increasingly seems) the Zimmerman murder trial.

But… Come on. Lerner and the IRS already admitted misbehavior by opening this whole can of worms with the initial apology, and then she took the Fifth and demanded immunity.

As smoke indicates fire, guilty behavior is a sign of guilt? Seems to me she knows she has a reason to want immunity, and it isn’t fear of wrongful prosecution.

But Lerner, for all her arrogance, is only a mid-level target; we want the people above her, the ones who actually came up with this scheme. I say grant her immunity on condition she tells everything.

I bet then we’ll see a lot more wanting the same deal.

*(On top of all their other scandals, lately.)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


IRS Inspector General calls acting IRS head, in effect, a liar

June 27, 2013

Following up on this item from a couple of days ago, in which the claim that the IRS had also asked inappropriate questioned and otherwise hassled progressive groups, as well as conservative and Tea Party organizations, was shown to be false by Eliana Johnson of National Review.

Now along comes to Inspector General to confirm that, no, progressive groups were not targeted the same way as groups on the Right. Not at all:

Liberal groups seeking tax-exempt status faced less IRS scrutiny than Tea Party groups, according to the Treasury Department’s inspector general.

J. Russell George, Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration, told Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) in a letter dated Wednesday that the IRS did not use inappropriate criteria to scrutinize groups with “progressives” in their name seeking tax-exempt status.

“Our audit did not find evidence that the IRS used the ‘progressives’ identifier as selection criteria for potential political cases between May 2010 and May 2012,” George wrote in the letter obtained by The Hill.

The inspector general stressed that 100 percent of the groups with “Tea Party,” “patriots” and “9/12” in their name were flagged for extra attention, while only 30 percent of the groups with “progress” or “progressive” were highlighted as potentially political. George’s letter does not say why the progressive groups were given extra scrutiny.

“While we have multiple sources of information corroborating the use of Tea Party and other related criteria we described in our report, including employee interviews, e-mails and other documents, we found no indication in any of these other materials that ‘progressives’ was a term used to refer cases for scrutiny for political campaign intervention,” George wrote to Levin, the top Democrat on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.

Democrats are claiming that liberal groups were targeted, too, though the IG’s testimony shows that it was not nearly at the level at which conservative were culled. They’re also taking an awfully long time producing these targeted liberal groups.

But even if they do produce them, we know from Johnson’s investigations that, if progressive groups were set aside for special examination, they could still be approved by line agents; 501c applications from conservative groups, on the other hand, were all sent to Washington for “special review.”

Democrats on Ways and Means are right to challenge George over why his testimony has discrepancies; that’s part of the job, and no groups deserved to be subjected to intrusive questions, but it doesn’t change the fact of disparate treatment between liberal and conservative applications.

Of greater interest is how and why Acting Commissioner Werfel only recently found “liberal words” and why he didn’t know about the differences in handling. Why wasn’t this mentioned by Lois Lerner or former Commissioner Schulman?

Sounds to me like another desperate, busted distraction.

via Legal Insurrection, which has cruelly preserved a screen capture of the Left’s now-spoiled joy. Heh.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Scandalabra: another #IRS official takes the Fifth

June 26, 2013
"They took down Capone, but can they handle the IRS?"

“They took down Capone, but can they handle the IRS?”

But it’s not over targeting conservative groups: this one seems to be centered around good old-fashioned graft. Almost refreshing, really:

A Virginia company inappropriately secured contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars from the Internal Revenue Service based on false statements and personal ties to an IRS official, the top Republican investigator in the U.S. House of Representatives said on Tuesday.

A report issued by Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa of California said the IRS, which is embroiled in a series of unrelated controversies, awarded the contracts to computer networking and security company Strong Castle Inc.

The report said Strong Castle’s president, Braulio Castillo, relied on a friendship with an IRS contracting official, Gregory Roseman, to win business. It said the company made false statements to beat rivals for the work.

The cost of Strong Castle’s 2012 contracts to the IRS, including for work in future years, could reach nearly $500 million, the report said.

And, guess what, Rosenman’s lawyer has notified the committee he plans to take the Fifth. That’ll do wonders for the agency’s image.

Can anyone give me one good reason, even if we did maintain our Byzantine tax code, why we shouldn’t subject the IRS to Roman decimation, disband the survivors in disgrace, and then tear down their headquarters and salt the earth? They loathe more than half the population that employs them; they deny them equal treatment under the law based on their political beliefs; and apparently they’re steering public money to their buddies. (In return for…?)

And now they have the nerve to plead self-incrimination. Estes Kefauver, where are you when we need you?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the IRS and the Obama administration overall are making a better case for limited government than all the conservative and libertarian group combined have made over the past 20 years. Flat tax or fair tax, I don’t care which you replace the current income tax with, but it’s time to repeal the Sixteenth Amendment and abolish the IRS.

via PJM

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Debunked: #IRS not targeting progressive groups like they did Tea Party groups

June 25, 2013

On Monday, The Hill and others carried a story that seemed to strongly change the narrative of the IRS “targeting scandal.” In testimony before the House Ways and Means committee, acting IRS head Danny Werfel said that the targeting had gone on longer than originally thought –into 2013– and that it had included liberal and progressive groups:

But Rep. Sandy Levin (Mich.), the top Democrat on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, said that the IRS told Congress for the first time on Monday that “progressive” was also a term used on BOLO lists. 

In a release, Ways and Means Democrats stressed that liberal groups were among almost 300 groups seeking tax-exempt status that Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration reviewed for the May audit outlining the targeting of Tea Party groups. 

Levin said Monday that the audit left that information out, and called for Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) to bring Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration Russell George back for more testimony. 

“The audit served as the basis and impetus for a wide range of Congressional investigations and this new information shows that the foundation of those investigations is flawed in a fundamental way,” Levin said in a statement.

This would seem to weaken at least one aspect of what has been a major scandal for the Obama administration, that conservative and Tea Party groups were singled out inappropriately for special attention that amounted to political harassment and a denial of equal treatment under the law, based on their political views. If left-liberal groups were given similar treatment, then the charge becomes one of mere bureaucratic incompetence, rather than political persecution. And it would tie in with the administration’s favorite defense in scandals: “We’re not evil. We’re just stupid.”

But… Not so fast.

Writing for National Review, Eliana Johnson looks at this new revelation and finds yet another smokescreen:

Acting IRS commissioner Danny Werfel on Monday told reporters that the now-infamous “Be On The Lookout” list was far broader than was originally disclosed in the Treasury Department inspector general’s report. Reports from outlets including the Associated Press, which I cited in my original report, and now Bloomberg News, confirmed Werfel’s account, indicating that various versions of the list not only included terms like “tea party,” but also “progressive,” “Occupy,” and “Israel.” 

A November 2010 version of the list obtained by National Review Online, however, suggests that while the list did contain the word “progressive,” screeners were in fact instructed to treat “progressive” groups differently from “tea party” groups. Whereas screeners were merely alerted that a designation of 501(c)(3) status “may not be appropriate” for applications containing the word ”progressive” – 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from conducting any political activities – they were told to send those of tea-party groups off IRS higher-ups for further scrutiny. 

That means the applications of progressive groups could be approved on the spot by line agents, while those of tea-party groups could not. Furthermore, the November 2010 list noted that tea-party cases were “currently being coordinated with EOT,” which stands for Exempt Organizations Technical, a group of tax lawyers in Washington, D.C. Those of progressive groups were not. 

In other words, “Nice try, Representative Levin, but you might want to contact the White House to find out what’s next on the list of distractions.”

This does raise several questions, though. First, Acting Commissioner Werfel surely had to know of the disparate treatment of conservative and liberal groups and its significance in this scandal. Why bring this up as if it was exculpatory? A little “suggestion” from the White House? It may be time for him to come back to testify under oath to explain himself.

Second, this scandal has been known for weeks, and there have been days of testimony by various Right-wing groups complaining about mistreatment by the IRS. If lefty groups were similarly picked on, where were they? Why didn’t they demand to be heard? Why didn’t the Democrats produce them as witnesses? Surely they deserve justice, too, don’t they?

As Johnson’s research shows, they weren’t at the hearing because they had no complaint. The bureaucracy wasn’t interfering with the exercise of their constitutional rights.

Just ours.

RELATED: Evidence shows 12 different IRS groups targeted conservatives across the land. Those “rogue agents” sure got around. Jay Cost on the need for bureaucratic reform to protect the republic.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Responding to Scandals and Corruption, the IRS Rewards Itself with Giant Bonuses

June 19, 2013

I shouldn’t be surprised, but, wow! Talk about tone deaf.

International Liberty

What do you do if you’re part of a government bureaucracy that has been caught red-handed engaged in sleazy, corrupt, and (almost surely) illegal targeting of Americans for their political beliefs?

But before you answer, keep in mind that your bureaucracy also has been exposed for wasting huge amounts of money at lavish conferences. What’s the ideal way of dealing with the fallout from that scandal as well?

The answer is simple. Even though you and your pals already are paid more than the peasants in the private sector, give yourself and your cronies giant bonuses!

I’m not joking. Here are some excerpts from an AP report.

The Internal Revenue Service is about to pay $70 million in employee bonuses despite an Obama administration directive to cancel discretionary bonuses because of automatic spending cuts enacted this year, according to a GOP senator. …“The IRS always claims to…

View original post 159 more words


Another rat flees the sinking ship: #IRS lawyer at center of scandal to retire

June 9, 2013

I said a week ago that the front-line employees who supposedly went rogue weren’t going to go under the bus quietly, and I was right. Elizabeth Hofacre, an IRS manager in Cincinnati, claimed her work was micromanaged by one Carter Hull, a lawyer in the IRS’ “Exempt Organization’s Technical Office:

“I had no autonomy or no authority to act on [applications] without Carter Hull’s influence or input.”

Hull was not acting alone, although sources say he was the first to begin handling tea-party applications in Washington in March 2010. His colleagues in the Technical Unit were also involved in guiding the Cincinnati office. Hull reported to Michael Seto, the manager of the Exempt Organizations’ Technical Office, where some 40 lawyers offered advice to IRS agents across the country. Though not all of those lawyers worked on the tea-party cases, a handful certainly did. Expressing frustration about Washington’s oversight of her work, Hofacre told the committee, “I was taking all my direction from EO Technical.” National Review Online reported on the nature of that direction: the IRS’s Technical Unit in Washington provided guidance on handling the applications of tea party groups, approved many of the questionnaires that went out to them, and even wrote some of the intrusive questions that have become the subject of so much controversy.

The Technical Unit was also the source of the delays reported by so many tea-party groups. According to the inspector general’s report tea-party applications languished while Cincinnati agents waited for Washington lawyers to provide guidance. At one point, Hofacre’s team of specalists “did not work on the cases while waiting for guidance from the Technical Unit.”

Emphases added.

And now, with the Oversight Committee’s investigators getting close, Hull decides to retire. Sorry Carter, being on pension isn’t a protection against a subpoena.

Hofacre’s statement, along with that of another witness discussed in the article, blow the administration’s defense of “rogue line employees” out of the water; it’s clear that the harassment of  American citizens for daring to hold political principles disapproved of by the mandarin class originated in and was directed from D.C. The only question is how high one has to go to find the originator. Issa’s committee is going about this the right way, starting at the bottom and working up. I don’t doubt they’ll find more flunkies unwilling to take the fall for people higher up the org chart, so expect more to start talking in the weeks ahead. And that includes Mr. Hull and the lawyers in the Technical Office; there’s no way this started with them.

Food for Thought: If you read the original article, you may be struck by a coincidence of dates. Ms. Hofacre says she started managing the group processing Tea Party applications in April, 2010, and that she could not act without Mr. Hull’s approval, a highly unusual arrangement. What also happened around that time? The March, 2010, visit of the head of the “very anti-Tea Party” head of the Treasury employee’s union, which includes IRS employees, to the White House for a meeting with President Obama. Hmmm…

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Too good not to be true: the #IRS can’t find its receipts

June 5, 2013
"Even the monkey is embarrassed"

“Even the monkey is embarrassed”

Karma, with a heavy dose of irony:

The Internal Revenue Service can’t find the receipts from a $4 million agency conference in 2010 — meaning, it can’t provide the same documentation for business-related travel it requires Americans to include on tax filings.

CNN reported the snafu Tuesday evening. Correspondent Dana Bash told host Anderson Cooper that it’s impossible to determine exactly how much was spent on what. Some of the expenditures that are still unclear, The Washington Free Beacon reported: Gifts, production of video spoofs and the charge for hotel rooms, some of which are considered upscale.

I’d like to see any of us try that after writing off expenses at a conference at which:

The 2,609 Internal Revenue Service managers who flew to Anaheim, Calif., for a three-day conference on “Leading Into the Future” were treated to a welcoming reception with free cocktails and gifts — including briefcases, engraved pens and Los Angeles Angels baseball tickets.

Some attendees stayed in two-bedroom presidential suites at the Anaheim Hilton, complete with wet bars and billiard tables.

One conference speaker was paid $27,000 in taxpayer money — plus $2,500 for a first-class plane ticket — to deliver two one-hour speeches on how seemingly random ideas can drive innovation. Another speaker collected $11,430 to give workshops on how to increase IRS managers’ happiness at work.

These and other examples of what many in and outside of government would consider excessive spending are detailed in a new audit by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. A House hearing on the matter is set for Thursday.

The audit reveals that the IRS spent $4.1 million to fly managers in its small-business and self-employed division to California in August 2010 with the approval of top agency officials.

Can you imagine what fun they’ll have when they’re in charge of all those Obamacare fines?

To paraphrase: “Quis audit ipsos auditores?” (1)

RELATED: Hot Air has one of those now-infamous training videos. Might as well watch, folks. It was paid for with our money.

Footnote:
(1) Answer: the Inspector General, of course. And, yeah, I know the Latin is nonsensical, but I couldn’t resist… smiley embarrassed

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Boom! Patriot Karen Kenney zings at IRS hearing: ‘We’re the San Fernando Valley Patriots, not Occupy Oakland’ [video]

June 4, 2013

See? There are some limited government conservatives left in California, after all! Well done, Karen!


#IRS: those “rogue agents” aren’t going to go quietly under the bus

June 3, 2013

Ben Franklin once said “Three can keep a secret, if two are dead.” The same holds true for scandals, particularly when one party tries desperately to make the other take the fall, as the administration has in the burgeoning IRS scandal. The risk with that strategy is that it gives the assigned patsy every reason to start talking.

Which is what those “rogue agents” are starting to do:

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) revealed new testimony from IRS employees in Cincinnati involved with the IRS’s political targeting today on CNN’s State of the Union.
 
The Committee released excerpts from bipartisan transcribed interviews between Committee Investigators and Cincinnati IRS employees. In these interviews Cincinnati IRS employees reject the White House’s claim that the targeting was merely work of “rogue” agents and say targeting of conservative political groups came from Washington, D.C.

(…)

Q: In early 2010, was there a time when you became aware of applications that referenced Tea Party or other conservative groups? 
A: In March of 2010, I was made aware.
 
******
Q: Okay.  Now, was there a point around this time period when [your supervisor] asked you to do a search for similar applications?  
A: Yes.
Q: To the best of your recollection, when was this request made? 
A: Sometime in early March of 2010.

March, 2010, is also when the head of the anti-Tea Party National Treasury Employees Union, which covers IRS employees, had a meeting at the White House with President Obama. Hmmm…

Back to the transcript, emphasis added:

Q: Did anyone else ever make a request that you send any cases to Washington?
A:  [Different IRS employee] wanted to have two cases that she couldn’t ‑‑ Washington, D.C. wanted them, but she couldn’t find the paper.  So she requested me, through an email, to find these cases for her and to send them to Washington, D.C.
Q: When was this, what time frame?
A: I don’t recall the time frame, maybe May of 2010.

******

Q: But just to be clear, she told you the specific names of these applicants.
A: Yes.
Q: And she told you that Washington, D.C. had requested these two specific applications be sent to D.C.  
A: Yes, or parts of them.  

******

Q: Okay.  So she asked you to send particular parts of these applications.
A: Mm‑hmm.
Q: And that was unusual.  Did you say that?
A: Yes.
Q: And she indicated that Washington had requested these specific parts of these specific applications; is that right?
A: Correct.

So it wasn’t just looking for keywords and taking random samples: if what this agent says is true, specific groups and specific people were targeted. It would be very interesting to know just who these people were, and who asked for their files. I suspect that question will be prominent in this week’s hearings.

Meanwhile, someone identified only as a “more senior” employee had this to say to the committee’s investigators:

Q: But you specifically recall that the BOLO [“Be On The Lookout”] terms included “Tea Party?”  
A: Yes, I do.  
Q: And it was your understanding ‑‑ was it your understanding that the purpose of the BOLO was to identify Tea Party groups?  
A: That is correct.  
Q: Was it your understanding that the purpose of the BOLO was to identify conservative groups?  
A: Yes, it was.  
Q: Was it your understanding that the purpose of the BOLO was to identify Republican groups?  
A: Yes, it was. 

Don’t be surprised if more people start spilling what they know, the higher this goes.

via Jim Geraghty.

RELATED: Some other items for you to chew over on your lunch break —

Former IRS Commissioner Shulman, who was at the White House so often he probably had a guest room set aside for sleepovers, is married to Susan Anderson, who works at the leftist Public Campaign. Not too eyebrow-raising of itself, until you learn a) that Public Campaign received a lot of money from groups hostile to Tea Party and conservative goals (see prior link) and b) you discover that Anderson herself held training sessions for the Occupy movement and posted tweets showing herself to be very hostile toward the Right at just the very time her husband’s IRS had a BOLO out on conservative groups.

But, naturally, they kept their work and private lives separate. Really. No doubt about it. Care to buy a used bridge?

Finally, remember Lois “I did nothing wrong but I’m pleading the 5th” Lerner? It seems her animus toward conservatives goes way back at least to her days at the FEC, where she badgered a Republican candidate to promise never to run for office again in return for dropping an investigation against him.

One wonders if she was slapping a paid of brass knuckles against her palm at the time.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


IRS controversy turns personal, nasty

June 3, 2013

Team Unicorn must be worried, if they’re lashing out with 40-year old charges that were never prosecuted. Maybe someone should ask Plouffe to ask his boss who sold him the coke “back in the day.”


Gee, the #IRS Director was awfully popular at the Obama White House

May 28, 2013

Especially starting in 2010, when the IRS began targeting conservative groups:

The Washington Examiner reported on Monday that Mark Everson, Commissioner of Internal Revenue from 2003 to 2007, during the Bush administration, visited the White House exactly once while in office. Indeed he felt like he’d “moved to Siberia” so out of the ordinary political loop was he. But Douglas Shulman, Commissioner from 2008 to 2012, during the Obama administration, visited the White House 118 times just in 2010 and 2011. His successor, Steven Miller, also visited “numerous” times.

I doubt even the Secretary of State saw Obama that often.

The question is why Shulman was there so often. John Steele Gordon notes that some visits covered implementation of the IRS role in enforcing Obamacare, but most had no purpose listed in the visitor logs.  Were they discussing revenue collection? Playing basketball? Toking some choom? We don’t know.

And that silence speaks loudly, given the timing of the increase in visits by Shulman, the fact that the harassment began the day after the anti-Tea Party Treasury employees union chief visited the White House,  and the massive anti-tax, anti-Obamacare Tea Party protests that were taking place in Washington at the same time.

Quite a coincidence, no?

I suppose Shulman could be brought back before Issa’s committee to explain what these mysterious meetings were about, but, poor man, he seems to be as clueless as his boss about how this all happened.

Must be all the choom they smoked together.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The #IRS should just go ahead and change its name to “The Spanish Inquisition”

May 26, 2013
"Confess the sin of conservatism! Confess!!"

“Confess the sin of conservatism! Confess!!”

Because no one expects them, least of all poor Justin Binik-Thomas, an Ohio educator specifically named in IRS “follow-up questions” to an Ohio Tea Party group he had no affiliation with:

At the height of its campaign against President Barack Obama’s opponents, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), in its audit of an Ohio tea party group, demanded information and materials related to a local Ohio adult education program as well as personal information about a man named Justin Binik-Thomas.

Now Justin Binik-Thomas and the adult educational program, neither of whom have any links to the tea party group, are worried.

The infamous IRS Cincinnati office, which oversaw tax-exempt nonprofit organizations., requested additional information from the Liberty Township Tea Party in a letter dated March 1, 2011.

“Included in that list was question number 26, which said, ‘please explain your relationship with Justin Binik-Thomas,’” Binik-Thomas told The Daily Caller. “That was concerning to me, considering I was not involved with that group.”

“I was involved in the Cincinnati tea party, about 30 miles south, as a spokesman” said Binik-Thomas, who works as a contract manager and has a small media relations business on the side. “There are literally tens of thousands of people involved with the tea party in some way. Why was I called out by name?”

The IRS also demanded, in its Question #25 for the Liberty Township Tea Party, one question before asking about Binik-Thomas, that the group hand over any training materials provided by the organization EmpowerU.

EmpowerU is a community education program that offers courses in scary things like cake decorating, marketing via social media, and lowering your taxes (1). Binik-Thomas does teach for them, but, again, neither of them have anything to do with the Liberty Township Tea Party.

Maybe, as Good Citizens(tm), they were supposed to report any rumors they heard. Or just make stuff up.

As you can imagine, being singled out like this by a powerful government agency can be a bit… “worrisome,” shall we say? Who else has been asked about Justin Binik-Thomas, and why is the IRS focused on him, anyway? How many others have been specified by name, and how does any of this have anything to do with an application for tax-exempt status? Should they be hiring lawyers?

I’m telling ya, Obama and the IRS have done more for the cause of tax reform and limited government than all the conservative groups of the last 20 years, combined.

Footnote:
(1) I’ll bet it was that last one that got them on “the list,” or maybe that subversive course on “The Constitution for Kids.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


America’s #IRS: the true agent of voter suppression?

May 23, 2013

Democrats and their Leftist allies in the racial grievance industry have long claimed that efforts to require identification in order to vote, a measure meant to protect the integrity of elections, were really meant to suppress minority voters, even equating them with Jim Crow laws.

We all know this is noxious nonsense, of course, but what if there really was an effort to suppress a particular group’s votes, and what if that effort were carried out not by modern-day descendants of Bull Conner with whips and dogs, but by an arm of the US government using bureaucracy to discourage people from participating in the political process?

And what if it was the IRS?

NRO’s John Fund, who’s written extensively on election integrity matters, explains:

But it now turns out there may have suppression of the vote after all. “It looks like a lot of tea-party groups were less active or never got off the ground because of the IRS actions,” Wisconsin governor Scott Walker told me. “Sure seems like people were discouraged by it.”

Indeed, several conservative groups I talked with said they were directly impacted by having their non-profit status delayed by either IRS inaction or burdensome and intrusive questioning. At least two donors told me they didn’t contribute to True the Vote, a group formed to combat voter fraud, because after three years of waiting the group still didn’t have its status granted at the time of the 2012 election. (While many of the targeted tea-party groups were seeking to become 501(c)(4)s, donations to which are not tax-deductible, True the Vote sought to become a 501(c)(3).) This week, True the Vote sued the IRS in federal court, asking a judge to enjoin the agency from targeting anyone in the future.

Cleta Mitchell, True the Vote’s lawyer, says we’ll never know just how much political activity was curtailed by the IRS targeting. She has one client who wanted to promote reading of the Constitution, but who didn’t even hear back from the IRS for three years – until last Monday, when the IRS informed this client that some questions would be sent.

“I was about to file with the IRS when other tea-party groups started to get harassed,” Pennsylvania activist Jennifer Stefano told Time magazine. “I remember checking with the IRS to see if they wanted the group [Facebook] page or my personal page, and they said ‘All of it.’”

Even if this wasn’t enough to throw the 2012 election Obama’s way (although White voter turnout was way down from 2008 to 2012), Fund makes it clear that many activist groups had their efforts hampered, some to the point of giving up altogether, by the IRS harassment. And the effect of that on get-out-the-vote and voter-education efforts could be substantial.

It’s one of the issues Congress has to address while dealing with this scandal: in addition to targeting Americans for holding “unapproved” political opinions and trampling on their rights of free speech, the IRS’ actions threaten public confidence in the integrity of our elections, themselves.

It’s the Chicago Way taken nationwide.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#IRS scandal: Rogue agents in Cincinatti apparently not so rogue

May 22, 2013

It’s kind of hard to “go rogue” when you’re only doing what your superiors in Washington, D.C., are telling you to do:

From the outset, Internal Revenue Service lawyers based in Washington, D.C., provided important guidance on the handling of tea-party groups’ applications for tax-exempt status, according to both IRS sources and the inspector general’s report released in mid May.

Officials in the Technical Unit of the IRS’s Rulings and Agreements office played an integral role in determining how the targeted applications were treated, provided general guidelines to Cincinnati case workers, briefed other agency employees on the status of the special cases, and reviewed all those intrusive requests demanding “more information” from tea-party groups. At times, the Technical Unit lawyers seemed to exercise tight control over these applications, creating both a backlog in application processing and frustration among Cincinnati agents waiting for direction.

An IRS employee who asked not to be identified tells National Review Online that all members of the agency’s Technical Unit are based in Washington, D.C. A current list of Technical Unit managers provided by another IRS employee shows that all such managers are based at the agency’s headquarters on Constitution Avenue in the District of Columbia, and the IRS confirmed, in a testy exchange with National Review Online, that the Technical Unit is “based in Washington.”

It seems that this Washington-based unit (1) exercised very tight control over those “rogue” agents, demanding to review the letters requesting additional information before they were sent out:

The IG report indicates this became a source of frustration, and specialists in Cincinnati pressed for a streamlined approach. “Why does the Technical Unit need to review every additional information request letter when a template letter could be approved and used on all the cases?” they asked via e-mail. The Washington unit rejected this approach and, in February 2011, was developing individualized letters itself. According to the IG report, an update from the Technical Unit acting manager to the Determinations Unit manager indicated, “Letters were being developed and would be reviewed shortly.”

We now know that such letters asked for lists of groups’ reading materials and volunteers, copies of fliers, and printouts of Facebook pages.

In other words, these “rogue agents” had leashes on them that stretched all the way from Cincinnati to the District of Columbia. If you ran a Tea Party group and wanted 501(c) status, those annoying questions about your personal life  and the lives of your friends, relatives, and members, and the infuriating delays they caused, weren’t coming from flunkies in Ohio, but high-powered lawyers back at the home office.

By the way, who gave those lawyers their direction? Note the date at the start of Eliana Johnson’s article: March, 2010, which just happens to be the time when the very anti-Tea Party head of the Treasury employees union, which covers IRS employees, was meeting with President Obama, who was looking ahead to crucial midterm elections.

And, just like that, the Technical Unit in D.C. all but formally takes over the applications from conservative groups.

Odd coincidence, that.

via Jim Geraghty.

RELATED: Channel 19 in Cincinnati has a good report on those rogue front-line agents and their chain of command, and who the manager is who ties them all together.

Footnote:
(1) Funny. I never knew Washington was a suburb of Cincinnati.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Nothing to see here, move along: #IRS official to plead the 5th over targeting scandal

May 21, 2013

But, really, this is all just some wingnut fantasy aiming to destroy the fourth-greatest president ever.

Which is why Lois Lerner is invoking her right not to incriminate herself:

A top IRS official in the division that reviews nonprofit groups will invoke the Fifth Amendment and refuse to answer questions before a House committee investigating the agency’s improper screening of conservative nonprofit groups.

Lois Lerner, the head of the exempt organizations division of the IRS, won’t answer questions about what she knew about the improper screening – or why she didn’t reveal it to Congress, according to a letter from her defense lawyer, William W. Taylor 3rd.

“She has not committed any crime or made any misrepresentation but under the circumstances she has no choice but to take this course,” said a letter by Taylor to committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa, R-Calif. The letter, sent Monday, was obtained Tuesday by the Los Angeles Times.

Taylor, a criminal defense attorney from the Washington firm of Zuckerman Spaeder, said that the Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation, and that the House committee has asked Lerner to explain why she provided “false or misleading information” to the committee four times last year.

You see? Just a bunch of nothing. In fact, all these questions about all these cooked-up “scandals” are nothing more than the new birtherism.

Between this and Roger Simon teasing us with the prospect of new Benghazi whistleblowers, I may have to double my reserves of popcorn for all the hearings.

via a gazillion people on Twitter

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#IRS scandal: Obama met with Treasury union chief the day before the targeting began

May 20, 2013

It could be a coincidence: a meeting between a very union-friendly president and the head of the union that includes IRS employees, a union described as very “anti-Tea Party,” and then the very next day the IRS begins targeting Tea Party and other conservative groups, stalling their applications for non-profit status:

According to the White House Visitors Log, provided here in searchable form by U.S. News and World Report, the president of the anti-Tea Party National Treasury Employees Union, Colleen Kelley, visited the White House at 12:30pm that Wednesday noon time of March 31st.

The White House lists the IRS union leader’s visit this way:

“Kelley, Colleen Potus 03/31/2010 12:30”

In White House language, “POTUS” stands for “President of the United States.”

The very next day after her White House meeting with the President, according to the Treasury Department’s Inspector General’s Report, IRS employees — the same employees who belong to the NTEU — set to work in earnest targeting the Tea Party and conservative groups around America. The IG report wrote it up this way:

“April 1-2, 2010: The new Acting Manager, Technical Unit, suggested the need for a Sensitive Case Report on the Tea Party cases. The Determinations Unit Program Manager Agreed.”

In short: the very day after the president of the quite publicly anti-Tea Party labor union — the union for IRS employees — met with President Obama, the manager of the IRS “Determinations Unit Program agreed” to open a “Sensitive Case report on the Tea party cases.” As stated by the IG report.

I’m not yet ready to call this a “smoking gun,” but I do think Ms. Kelley should be hauled before the Ways and Means committee and made to answer some very pointed questions about their conversation and just what, if any, instructions or “encouragements” were given to her union members.

But I’m sure this is all one big coincidence.

via Jim Hoft.

RELATED: John Fund on “Three signs there’s a cover-up.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#IRS scandal: Democrats make clear where they stand on the 1st Amendment

May 16, 2013

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced a resolution condemning the Internal Revenue Service for trampling the Constitutional rights of Americans. (For example) It didn’t get very far:

Today, Senate Democrats placed a hold on Sen. Rand Paul’s recent resolution that condemns the targeting of Tea Party groups by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and calls for an investigation into this practice.

“This resolution is not about Republican vs. Democrat or conservative vs. liberal. It is about arrogant and unrestrained government vs. the rule of law. The First Amendment cannot and should not be renegotiated depending on which party holds power,” Sen. Paul said. “Each senator took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, yet Senate Democrats chose to block my resolution and thus refused to condemn the IRS for trampling on our First Amendment rights. I am incredibly disappointed in Washington’s party politics and I am determined to hold the IRS accountable for these unjust acts.”

I’m not sure why anyone would find this surprising: as the party of arrogant, unrestrained government, the leaders of which think the Constitution is obsolete, well, of course they would shoot this resolution down.

It threatens their very reason for existence, after all.

via Stephen Green.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)