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The IRS’s Tea-Party Targeting - An apology, but no explanation
National Review Online ^ | May 10, 2013 | Kevin D. Williamson

Posted on 05/10/2013 4:13:22 PM PDT by neverdem

The IRS denies having conducted a partisan witch-hunt against tea-party groups in the run-up to the 2012 election, arguing that its improper targeting of conservative groups was the result of a series of procedural errors rather than a political attack with malice aforethought.

But the IRS is keeping the relevant evidence secret, so you will just have to take the agency’s word for it.

Lois Lerner, the IRS official in charge of handling tax-exempt organizations, made what appeared to be an impromptu confession Friday during a tax conference hosted by the American Bar Association, saying that groups with the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their names were improperly targeted for additional levels of tax-status review by the agency. Those actions, she said, were “wrong” and “inappropriate,” but she denied that they were the result of political bias against tea-party groups. When ask how the IRS determined that the actions were not the result of political bias, Ms. Lerner could only say, “That is not how we do things.”

The problem originated in a Cincinnati IRS office — Ms. Lerner would not say which one — that handles applications from 501(c)(4) organizations, groups that under law may engage in political advocacy so long as electioneering accounts for less than half of their spending. The same branch of the IRS, dealing with such applications, also came under criticism last year when confidential tax documents filed by American Crossroads, the nonprofit organization associated with Karl Rove, were illegally leaked to the media and published by ProPublica, the nonprofit project funded in part by George Soros’s Open Society Foundations. No one has been charged in that crime.

Ms. Lerner’s version of the story is that three things happened independently of one another:

First, “line people” — that’s IRS-speak for grunts — decided, on their own and with no direction from above, to create a special category of organizations applying for tax-exempt status: “Tea Party and Patriot” organizations. Ms. Lerner says that other organizations may have been specifically named, but when challenged could not think of one, and then added: “I only said that because I don’t like to say ‘absolutely not.’ But I don’t know.”

Second, that batch of applicants was delayed for an unusual period of time. Ms. Lerner said that this was the result of an unusually large number of applications coming in, but applications for tax-exempt status have been growing quickly since 2008 — making 2012’s bumper crop something less than an unforeseeable circumstance.

Third, and perhaps most troubling, those tea-party organizations were sent letters of inquiry demanding information that would seldom if ever be demanded of any other applicant in the process. The IRS demanded lists of donors, names of spouses and family members, detailed information about political views and associations — all of that “under penalties of perjury.” Many applicants dropped out of the process. The questions were remarkably invasive: For example, the IRS demanded to know not only whether political candidates participated in public forums conducted by the groups, but which issues were discussed, along with copies of any literature distributed at the forum and material published on websites. (The IRS has been less forthcoming with its own materials related to this investigation.) If the organizations collected dues, the IRS demanded to know how much they were. It demanded everything down to the résumés of employees. The inquiry was not limited to members of the organization, its executives, or its directors, but included even their family members: The IRS demanded to know — again, under penalty of perjury — whether any of their family members might be thinking about running for office. Its demand for the names of all donors — and all recipients of grants — is in violation of IRS policy.

Ms. Lerner says that this is nothing more than a string of unfortunate bureaucratic events.

But Ms. Lerner is not always clear on what it is she wants to say. Asked directly whether any IRS employee had faced disciplinary action as a result of this incident, she replied, emphatically, “No.” A short while later she said she wishes to retract that, saying instead, “I’m not talking about that.”

Ms. Lerner also says that she did not inform her superiors about the problem, which must be a question of key interest to IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman, who during testimony before Congress last year denied that tea-party groups or other conservative organizations were being targeted by the IRS. That had been the IRS’s last word on the subject until today.

Why now? “Somebody asked me a question,” Ms. Lerner said. Apparently, if you want answers from our public officials, go to the American Bar Association’s tax conference, not a congressional hearing.

Other groups were included in this additional review, but while the office handles applications from all sorts of organizations, a full 25 percent of those targeted for additional review were “Tea Party” or “Patriot” groups.

“Obviously, you don’t get dozens of inquiries asking unconstitutional questions, with zero corresponding inquiries into liberal groups, unless there is something going on,” says David French, senior counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, which is representing 27 groups from 18 states in the IRS matter. “It’s not just the numbers, it’s the questions themselves. They were designed to dissect the operations of the organizations.” Mr. French believes that the IRS’s actions were intended as political intimidation.

He also is skeptical that the problem is limited to the Cincinnati office: “We dealt with offices from California to D.C. on this,” he says. With regard to the congressional testimony denying such targeting, he concludes: “Either they lied or they didn’t do the most basic due diligence.”

Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, said he expects Congress to look into the IRS’s “thuggery.” “In the same breath they say they specifically targeted conservative groups, they say there was no political bias,” he says. “Those two statements cannot both be true. As Cookie Monster says, one of these things is not like the other.”

The misuse of government resources is subject to civil, misdemeanor, and felony charges under federal and Ohio law. The abuse of IRS resources, including the collection of “confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposes not authorized by law, and [causing], 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,” were cited in the second article of impeachment against Richard Nixon.

— Kevin D. Williamson is a roving correspondent for National Review. His newest book, The End Is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome, was recently published.



TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Editorial; Politics/Elections; US: District of Columbia
KEYWORDS: abuseofpower; irs; irsteapartytargeting; teapartytargeting

1 posted on 05/10/2013 4:13:23 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

As a proud member if the Tea Party, I ask my fellow FReepers: Had enough yet?

The people that did this should be tracked down and, at minimum, loose their job. A civil trial might also be an idea.


2 posted on 05/10/2013 4:16:44 PM PDT by upchuck (To the faceless, jack-booted government bureaucrat who just scanned this post: SCREW YOU!)
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To: neverdem

Nothin to see here, move along now...


3 posted on 05/10/2013 4:17:56 PM PDT by Argus
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To: neverdem

Another atrocity that the Republicans will let the Democrats get away with.


4 posted on 05/10/2013 4:21:54 PM PDT by djpg
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To: neverdem

This sounds like spiritual attack to me. Worsening the vulnerability is that under Obummer, gummit droids all feel free to fudge the truth, since even blatant lies get pussyfooted around. It’s going to get rottener before it gets better if it ever does get better.


5 posted on 05/10/2013 4:22:25 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (How long before all this "fairness" kills everybody, even the poor it was supposed to help???)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

What if Obama knew about the IRS targeting Tea Party members?


6 posted on 05/10/2013 4:23:44 PM PDT by FreedBird
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To: neverdem

This story is really weird

Either Zero is desperately trying to divert attention away from Benghazi or the IRS story is so damning it needs to be vetted during Benghazi to avoid scrutiny.


7 posted on 05/10/2013 4:24:43 PM PDT by Fzob (In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Jefferson)
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To: FreedBird

He’d probably drink to it if he did.


8 posted on 05/10/2013 4:25:39 PM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (How long before all this "fairness" kills everybody, even the poor it was supposed to help???)
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To: neverdem

No discipline? The regime protects its minions, for sure.


9 posted on 05/10/2013 4:25:50 PM PDT by colorado tanker
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To: neverdem

I watched the White House briefing conference this afternoon, and Kermie dodged any question on the president’s knowledge of this matter.


10 posted on 05/10/2013 4:27:38 PM PDT by catfish1957 (My dream for hope and change is to see the punk POTUS in prison for treason)
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To: neverdem
It is pretty likely that Obama knew about it, because it is basically a voter suppression scheme. Remember that the left blames others for things they do themselves, and they accused republicans of voter suppression due to voter id laws. Therefore, this was not dreamed up by a low level IRS employee in the basement, but someone connected to the campaign, trying to suppress conservative votes.
11 posted on 05/10/2013 4:32:21 PM PDT by Vince Ferrer
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To: FreedBird
"What if Obama knew about the IRS targeting Tea Party members?"

http://www.buzzfeed.com/andrewkaczynski/the-time-president-obama-made-an-auditing-joke

12 posted on 05/10/2013 4:32:34 PM PDT by GeorgeWashingtonsGhost
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To: neverdem

Liberals think they can kill your kids and an apology will suffice.

BTW, what is it with all the “apology” crap? Apologies from lying fascists count for nothing.
Leg irons. Nothing less will do.


13 posted on 05/10/2013 4:32:40 PM PDT by ChildOfThe60s (If you can remember the 60s.....you weren't really there)
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To: neverdem

I think it was intended as a distraction from Obama’s Benghazi mess and I’d like to know who told them to apologize.


14 posted on 05/10/2013 4:34:07 PM PDT by cripplecreek (REMEMBER THE RIVER RAISIN!)
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To: neverdem

Sorry but this is Government corruption at it worst. It is much worse than this instance shows. There is so much corruption within the government numbers that will eventually come out also. Just look at the Stock Market today and remember this time... Hopefully this is just a problem that shows up whenever Democrats become the controlling factor, otherwise, we DO have the most corrupt Government even compared to the other corrupt governments.

Actually, it is a problem with both parties - corruption just a slight bit less in the Republican party but it is expanding and will get worse. We have lost control of our destiny.


15 posted on 05/10/2013 4:39:26 PM PDT by Deagle (quo)
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To: colorado tanker

Stop blaming the administration, it isn’t their fault. We knew this was going to happen 5 years ago. Snakes are snakes.

Want to place blame? It goes squarely on the shoulders of the MSM. The day they stopped representing the people was the day our Republic died.

How do we take our country back?


16 posted on 05/10/2013 4:43:48 PM PDT by EQAndyBuzz (The reason we own guns is to protect ourselves from those wanting to take our guns from us.)
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To: EQAndyBuzz
You are exactly right. The reason the regime tells these stupid, easily detected lies is that they rely on their MSM wingman to cover for them. And they've been doing it. Right, Candy Crowley?

What is remarkable about this week is some cracks in the media seem to be appearing. Plus, there is the very intriguing possibility that the only way for the MSM to save Hillary's candidacy may be by placing Benghazi in the White House.

17 posted on 05/10/2013 4:51:42 PM PDT by colorado tanker
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To: neverdem

This was the lead story on the “CBS Evening News” tonight
(Friday night). The reporting of the story was actually well done. I was pleasantly surprised.


18 posted on 05/10/2013 5:05:39 PM PDT by july4thfreedomfoundation (November 4, 2008 and November 6, 2012.....Two days that will live in infamy!)
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To: neverdem
Was this really an apology? My BS meter shot into the red when I heard about this.

Why would they voluntarily come out with this?

Why bother?

Was it an apology, or was it a threat?

19 posted on 05/10/2013 5:33:35 PM PDT by Mamzelle
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To: neverdem

The Obama regime makes Nixon’s so-called “enemies list” look benign. I don’t remember Nixon using the IRS to target his enemies.


20 posted on 05/10/2013 6:02:39 PM PDT by Flick Lives (We're going to be just like the old Soviet Union, but with free cell phones!)
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To: neverdem

It seems the IRS might be populated with some more psychotic adolescents from the Progressive party.

INvestigate, investigate, investigate!!!

(Phone calls off to those people in Washington on Monday.)

IMHO


21 posted on 05/10/2013 6:07:55 PM PDT by ripley
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To: wardaddy; Joe Brower; Cannoneer No. 4; Criminal Number 18F; Dan from Michigan; Eaker; Jeff Head; ...
Tonight the PBS' NewsHour had a segment on the IRS's Tea Party targeting!

The Empire State Building went up in 410 days according to Wikipedia. According to the NY Daily News, it's been, "4,259 days since 9/11."

One World Trade Center gets spire, bringing it to its full 1,776-foot height

ABC's Jon Karl: 'No evidence Hillary Clinton was aware' of Benghazi revisions

Is Benghazi Obama's Watergate?

The Benghazi Lie - A failure of character of this magnitude corrodes the integrity of the state. Mark Steyn

Some noteworthy articles about politics, foreign or military affairs, IMHO, FReepmail me if you want on or off my list.

22 posted on 05/10/2013 6:35:27 PM PDT by neverdem (Register pressure cookers! /s)
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To: neverdem

Thanks for the ping!


23 posted on 05/10/2013 8:12:59 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: FreedBird
What if Obama knew about the IRS targeting Tea Party members?
I think the line is, "What did the president know, and when did he know it?"

24 posted on 05/11/2013 3:15:09 AM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (“Liberalism” is a conspiracy against the public by wire-service journalism.)
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To: FreedBird
What if Obama knew about the IRS targeting Tea Party members?
Why didn’t the president know about it, and why didn’t he prevent or stop it? It’s what presidents, and Attorneys General, are (supposed to be) for.
That’s the trouble with these “most ethical governments in history” and these “most transparent administrations.”

So much goes on in them that shouldn’t - and so much that goes on in them is hidden from the public.


25 posted on 05/11/2013 3:25:19 AM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion (“Liberalism” is a conspiracy against the public by wire-service journalism.)
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To: upchuck

This needs to be spread far and wide. When the time comes to put the shackles back on the IRS the code needs to be written such that these types of crimes carry serious criminal and civil penalties. Sue the pensions off them.


26 posted on 05/11/2013 4:08:55 AM PDT by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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To: neverdem
"Ms. Lerner’s version of the story is that three things happened independently of one another"


27 posted on 05/11/2013 4:24:58 AM PDT by Tainan (Cogito, ergo conservatus sum -- "The Taliban is inside the building")
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To: Deagle

If the IRS is targeting Conservative groups then isn’t it likely that the Obamacrats also tell their supporters that, if you donate x amount of dollars to the regime, you get a promise not to audit the donor during any democrat regime. In other words file outrageous IRS returns without repercussions.


28 posted on 05/11/2013 7:27:09 AM PDT by Inwoodian
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To: Tainan

Indeed!


29 posted on 05/11/2013 11:18:48 AM PDT by neverdem (Register pressure cookers! /s)
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To: neverdem

I hope to live long enough for the MAJORITY of citizens of the USA to realize their government has declared war on them and the US Constitution.

It is a testament to the honesty of those of us on the right that we have not taken up criminal acts to counter this government but eventually we have to realize that the criminal act is to not act.


30 posted on 05/11/2013 8:07:23 PM PDT by Wurlitzer (Nothing says "ignorance" like Islam! 969)
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To: Inwoodian

As predicted...Yes and Yes! We are in a world of hurt now unless this problem is controlled (not likely in this Administration)! We are about to have an organization out of control (drunk on power) and trying to intimidate Americans. This is a problem caused and implemented from the top. Anything worse than this for a Democracy?


31 posted on 05/14/2013 11:25:00 PM PDT by Deagle (quo)
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To: Wurlitzer

Ah, the truth and so despondent about the rest of America waking up - heck, how about enough to make a difference! We have become so complacent about what is going on with government that we don’t see changes unless it is radical.

Too bad that the left sees this as a weakness and does the incremental changes that do not cause alarm... Wake up folks!


32 posted on 05/14/2013 11:30:33 PM PDT by Deagle (quo)
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