Skip to comments.The IRS’s Tea-Party Targeting - An apology, but no explanation
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 agencys 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.
Ms. Lerners version of the story is that three things happened independently of one another:
First, line people thats 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 dont like to say absolutely not. But I dont 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 2012s 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, Im 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 IRSs last word on the subject until today.
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 dont 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. Its not just the numbers, its the questions themselves. They were designed to dissect the operations of the organizations. Mr. French believes that the IRSs 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 didnt do the most basic due diligence.
Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, said he expects Congress to look into the IRSs 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 Its Going to Be Awesome, was recently published.
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.
Nothin to see here, move along now...
Another atrocity that the Republicans will let the Democrats get away with.
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.
What if Obama knew about the IRS targeting Tea Party members?
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.
He’d probably drink to it if he did.
No discipline? The regime protects its minions, for sure.
I watched the White House briefing conference this afternoon, and Kermie dodged any question on the president’s knowledge of this matter.
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.
I think it was intended as a distraction from Obama’s Benghazi mess and I’d like to know who told them to apologize.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Why would they voluntarily come out with this?
Was it an apology, or was it a threat?
The Obama regime makes Nixon’s so-called “enemies list” look benign. I don’t remember Nixon using the IRS to target his enemies.
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.)
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."
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Thanks for the ping!
I think the line is, "What did the president know, and when did he know it?"
Why didnt the president know about it, and why didnt he prevent or stop it? Its what presidents, and Attorneys General, are (supposed to be) for.Thats the trouble with these most ethical governments in history and these most transparent administrations.
So much goes on in them that shouldnt - and so much that goes on in them is hidden from the public.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!