Skip to comments.Judicial Watch: New Documents Show IRS HQ Control of Tea Party Targeting
Posted on 05/14/2014 11:15:31 AM PDT by jazusamo
Documents also Reveal Unusual Pressure from Key Democrat Senator to Target Conservatives
(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch today released a new batch of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) documents revealing that its handling of Tea Party applications was directed out of the agencys headquarters in Washington, DC. The documents also show extensive pressure on the IRS by Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) to shut down conservative-leaning tax-exempt organizations. The IRS emails by Lois Lerner detail her misleading explanations to investigators about the targeting of Tea Party organizations.
The documents came in response to an October 2013 Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed after the agency refused to respond to four FOIA requests dating back to May 2013 ( Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Internal Revenue Service (No. 1:13-cv-01559)).
One key email string from July 2012 confirms that IRS Tea Party scrutiny was directed from Washington, DC. On July 6, 2010, Holly Paz (the former Director of the IRS Rulings and Agreements Division and current Manager of Exempt Organizations Guidance) asks IRS lawyer Steven Grodnitzky to let Cindy and Sharon know how we have been handling Tea Party applications in the last few months. Cindy Thomas is the former director of the IRS Exempt Organizations office in Cincinnati and Sharon Camarillo was a Senior Manager in their Los Angeles office. Grodnitzky, a top lawyer in the Exempt Organization Technical unit (EOT) in Washington, DC, responds:
EOT is working the Tea party applications in coordination with Cincy. We are developing a few applications here in DC and providing copies of our development letters with the agent to use as examples in the development of their cases. Chip Hull [another lawyer in IRS headquarters] is working these cases in EOT and working with the agent in Cincy, so any communication should include him as well. Because the Tea party applications are the subject of an SCR [Sensitive Case Report], we cannot resolve any of the cases without coordinating with Rob.
The reference to Rob is believed to be Rob Choi, then-Director of Rulings and Agreements in IRSs Washington, DC, headquarters.
Another email string from February March 2010 includes a message from a California EO Determinations manager discussing a Tea Party application currently being held in the Screening group. The manager urges, Please let Washington know about this potentially embarrassing political case involving a Tea Party organization. Recent media attention to this type of organization indicates to me that this is a high profile case. A co-worker responds: I think sending it up here [DC] is a good idea given the potential for media interest. As with Ben Rhodes Benghazi-related talking points email, Judicial Watch obtained a more complete version of this IRS email chain than was provided to a congressional committee.
The Judicial Watch documents also contain email correspondence to internal IRS investigators from Lerner, dated April 2, 2013, that tries to explain the Be on the Lookout (BOLO) criteria used to select organizations for screening and scrutiny:
Because the BOLO only contained a brief reference to Organizations involved with the Tea Party movement applying for exemption under 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) in June 2011, the EO Determinations manager asked the manager of the screening group, John Shafer [IRS Cincinnati field office manager], what criteria were being used to label cases as tea party cases. (Do the applications specify/state tea party? If not, how do we know applicant is involved with the tea party movement?) The screening group manager asked his employees how they were applying the BOLOs short hand reference to tea party. His employees responded that they were including organizations meeting any of the following criteria as falling within the BOLOs reference to tea party organizations: 1. Tea Party, Patriots or 9/12 Project is referenced in the case file. 2. Issues include government spending, government debt and taxes. 3. Educate the public through advocacy/legislative activities to make America a better place to live. 4. Statements in the case file that are critical of the how the country is being run. . .
So, we believe we have provided information that shows that no one in EO developed the criteria. Rather, staff used their own interpretations of the brief reference to organizations involved with the Tea Party movement, which was what was on the BOLO list.
Lerner omits that her office was developing the applications for all Tea Party groups.
The IRS documents also include a presentation entitled Heightened Awareness Issues with a red and orange Alert symbol identifying the emerging issues that trigger scrutiny for organizations seeking tax-exempt status. Page six of the presentation focuses on the Tea Party organizations due, in part, to the fact that these groups had become a Relevant Subject in Todays Media.
A series of letters between Senator Levin (D-MI), chairman of the Subcommittee on Investigations, and top IRS officials throughout 2012 discuss how to target conservative groups the senator claimed were engaged in political activities. In response to a Levin March 30 letter citing the urgency of the issue, then-Deputy Commissioner Steven Miller assured the senator that IRS regulations were flexible enough to allow IRS agents to prepare individualized questions and requests for select 501(c)(4) organizations.
The newly released IRS documents contain several letters and emails revealing an intense effort by Levin and IRS officials to determine what, if any, existing IRS policies could be used to revoke the nonprofit exemptions of active conservative groups and deny exemptions to new applicants. In a July 30, 2012, letter, Levin singles out 12 groups he wants investigated for political activity. Of the groups which include the Club for Growth, Americans for Tax Reform, the 60 Plus Association, and the Susan B. Anthony List only one, Priorities USA, is notably left-leaning.
As the 2012 presidential election drew nearer, Levin sent a series of letters to the IRS intensifying his campaign against predominantly conservative nonprofit groups:
In perhaps the most revealing letter from the IRS to Levin, Miller on June 4, 2012, takes 16 pages to explain to the senator what IRS regulations and policies may and may not be used to evaluate political groups and assures him that the agency has considerable leeway in picking and choosing which groups would be subject to additional scrutiny:
There is no standard questionnaire used to obtain information about political activities. Although there is a template development letter that describes the general information on the case development process, the letter does not specify the information to be requested from any particular organization Consequently, revenue agents prepare individualized questions and requests for documents relevant to the application. . .
A May 14, 2013, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) report revealed that the IRS had singled out groups with conservative-sounding terms such as patriot and Tea Party in their titles when applying for tax-exempt status. The TIGTA probe determined that Early in Calendar Year 2010, the IRS began using inappropriate criteria to identify organizations applying for tax-exempt status (e.g., lists of past and future donors). The illegal IRS reviews continued for more than 18 months and delayed processing of targeted groups applications preparing for the 2012 presidential election.
These new documents show that officials in the IRS headquarters were responsible for the illegal delays of Tea Party applications, stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. It is disturbing to see Lois Lerner mislead the IRS internal investigators about her offices Tea Party targeting. These documents also confirm the unprecedented pressure from congressional Democrats to go after President Obamas political opponents. The IRS scandal has now ensnared Congress.
In mid-April, Judicial Watch released a batch of IRS documents (produced earlier in this litigation) revealing that Lerner had communicated with the Department of Justice about whether it was possible to criminally prosecute certain tax-exempt entities.
This goes to the top and we all know it.
I’m really sick of Carl Levin peering over those stupid glasses. He should be put down.
I certainly hope that neither the IRS (as an agency) nor any other federal agency or program will be picking up the tab (or reimbursing the perps) for the CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS that the whole range of corrupt, criminal IRS employees involved in this will be hiring.
All roads lead to the White House. Bob Bauer, White House Counsel, got out of town before the sh*t hit the fan.
Drip drip drip
JOHN BOEHNER passed the buck to ERIC HOLDER, he’ll get to the bottom of it.
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Yes it does go to the top, 0bama and Jarrett had to be involved.
Looks likes Carl Levin was carrying the ball for Senate Rats and Elijah Cummings was carrying the ball for the House Rats.
Looks like Lois lane is in contempt...no wonder she clammed up!
the oligarchs fear not, especially they do not fear those who work for them. if justice is to be administered to their criminal minions in DC, it will require THE PEOPLE to get physically involved. Expecting the DC criminals to exact justice on their criminal colleagues is a waste of time, money and frankly, is foolish.
Former IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman visited the White House 118 times in 2010 and 2011, while his agents were targeting conservatives. Coincidence?
Yep, 0bama and his lapdog Holder are probably having a good laugh about the requested investigation of Lerner.
Didn’t Lerner make about 150 visits to the White Hut?
From one year ago today...
I hope that little worm Levin gets pounded for this.
I hope the GOP does NOT let this die. We already know msm is ignoring it
someone needs to shove their faces in this and force them to report
but who will?
It was former commissioner Schulman, check post #13.
I cannot understand why we have a legislative section of government.
If they don’t do their JOB, then why do we even have them..?
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