Lois G. Lerner, the woman at the center of the Internal Revenue Service scandal over special scrutiny of conservative groups, specifically targeted tea party applications and directed that they be held up in 2011 in order to come up with an agency policy, according to several of Ms. Lerner’s emails released by a House committee Thursday.
BREAKING NEWS: Girl feud! Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus tangle over slip of the tongue
Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus were supposedly girlfriends! — but are they anymore? Comments Perry made on TV while promoting her Prismatic tour Down Under made their way halfway around the world, and Cyrus is not happy.
It all started Monday on Australia’s “Sunrise” program, when one of the hosts riffed off Perry’s hit “I Kissed a Girl” to lead into a discussion of the “Roar” singer’s recent lip-lock with Cyrus during one of the “Wrecking Ball” singer’s shows.
“Scandalous!” Perry joked, before explaining what went down….Read more >>> LATimes
Note: Use Lois Lerner story only if the new photos of Miley Cyrus don’t come in by deadline. Bump this, see if there’s any room for it next week, thanks. –Ed. Move to Page D 17, bottom of page: “Emails Show IRS Lois Lerner Specifically Targeted Tea Party”
Stephen Dinan and Seth McLaughlin report: Lois G. Lerner, the woman at the center of the Internal Revenue Service scandal over special scrutiny of conservative groups, specifically targeted tea party applications and directed that they be held up in 2011 in order to come up with an agency policy, according to several of Ms. Lerner’s emails released by a House committee Thursday.
In one 2011 email, Ms. Lerner specifically calls the tea party applications for tax-exempt status problematic, which seems to counter Democrats’ arguments that tea party groups weren’t targeted.
“Tea Party Matter very dangerous,” Ms. Lerner wrote in the 2011 email, saying that those applications could end up being the “vehicle to go to court” to get more clarity on a 2010 Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance rules.
A former IRS official who refused to answer questions about the agency’s targeting scandal at a hearing last spring is expected to appear before a House committee on Wednesday, but it’s unclear whether she will answer questions this time, either.
Lois Lerner headed the IRS division that improperly targeted tea party and other conservative groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status.
After publicly disclosing the targeting, Lerner refused to answer questions about it at a congressional hearing, invoking her constitutional right not to incriminate herself.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., told “Fox News Sunday” he expected Lerner to testify at Wednesday’s hearing. But a committee spokeswoman said Tuesday she could only confirm that Lerner was expected to attend the hearing. Read the rest of this entry »
There are two competing models for reforming the Internal Revenue Service’s oversight of the political activities of certain nonprofit organizations: one put forward by the IRS itself, in the form of a regulatory rule change, a second put forward by Representative David Camp (R., Mich.) on behalf of the House Ways and Means Committee. Neither program is sufficient, because neither reflects the reality behind the recent IRS scandal, which was not the result of murky rules or bureaucratic incompetence but rather of what gives every indication of being deliberate misuse of federal investigatory resources for partisan political ends. That there have not been criminal charges in this matter is probably at least as much a reflection of the highly politicized Department of Justice under Eric Holder as it is of the facts of the case. The problem, then, is that both the IRS plan and the Camp plan assume that the IRS ought to be regulating rather than being regulated.
“No rule change from the IRS… is going to change the fact that the agency is full of highly partisan bureaucrats with a political agenda of their own and an inclination to abuse such police powers as are entrusted to them.”
The United States already has a rather good regulation regarding government oversight of political speech, which is that there isn’t to be any. The First Amendment ought to be the last word on the subject. Asking politicians to oversee the activities of persons inclined to criticize them presents a basic fox-henhouse problem — recall that the Citizens United decision came in response to federal attempts to outlaw the showing of a film critical of Hillary Clinton — so our general bias should be against entrusting any federal agency with such powers.
Issa, House GOP to recall Lois Lerner
House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is hauling Lois Lerner back to Congress.
Issa told Lerner’s attorney in a Tuesday letter that he expected the retired IRS official to appear before his committee on March 5.
“Because the committee explicitly rejected her Fifth Amendment privilege claim, I expect her to provide answers when the hearing reconvenes on March 5.”
– Chairman Darrell Issa
Lerner, the official at the center of the IRS targeting controversy, invoked her Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination at a May 2013 hearing, just days after she apologized for the agency’s treatment of Tea Party groups.
See “Sit Down, Bitch, We’re Not Done Yet (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
But the Oversight Committee later ruled that Lerner waived her rights by making an opening statement, setting the stage for her recall next week.
“The IRS may not unilaterally expand its authority through such an expansive, atextual, and ahistorical reading of” the law. The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit used these words in a Feb. 11 ruling that struck down an Obama administration regulation on tax preparers.
Federal judges should copy this phrase and be ready to paste it into rulings — sometimes replacing “IRS” with “Health and Human Services” — as President Obama continues to act as legislator in chief, making and amending laws as he sees fit, separation of powers be damned.
In the same week Obama illegally delayed the employer mandate and out of thin air created a bizarre loyalty oath to administer to companies suffering from Obamacare, a federal court unanimously smacked down his IRS for executive overreach.
“We originally had the admission and now the administration is pretending — there never was in the first place, there is no story, and it’s a sideshow…”
Soon after news broke that the IRS was improperly targeting conservative groups, President Obama said such actions are “outrageous” and that “there’s no place for” such behavior. Nine months later, the night before the Super Bowl this Feburary, he said there was “not even a smidgeon of corruption” in the agency.
“That’s a farce”
Charles Krauthammer said on Special Report tonight….
“It is a scandal,” Krauthammer said, “that of all the ten thousand lawyers who work in the Department of Justice they have to pick one who is a contributor to Barack Obama.”
Jay Sekulow writes: In the aftermath of an IRS targeting scandal that may have influenced the 2012 election, in the midst of criminal and congressional investigations, while civil litigation is pending in federal court, before a single deposition is taken and while the IRS clings to tens of thousands of documents, the president of the United States has spoken. His meaning is clear.
“…it is not remotely appropriate for a sitting president to make such a declaration in the midst of an ongoing criminal investigation”
Move along, nothing to see here.
“Singling out conservatives wasn’t an accident or mistake; it was an intentional act by lawyers who knew it was wrong”
I suppose that’s just another way of saying “phony scandal.”
While the easy and immediate response is to ask the president whether senior IRS officials typically assert their Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination when there’s not even a “smidgen of corruption,” his statement actually has deeper problems.
First, it is not remotely appropriate for a sitting president to make such a declaration in the midst of an ongoing criminal investigation.
“You can have executive orders that implement already existing laws, but what Obama has done in the DREAM Act . . . is unbelievably unconstitutional,” Charles Krauthammer said on Special Report last night.
“He’s done that over and over again on immigration, drug laws, climate change, and, of course, on Obamacare, which he has unilaterally altered lawlessly at least 15 times”
While Republicans met today at a retreat in Maryland and debated immigration reform — with many worrying that, no matter what Republicans pass, President Obama will not enforce it faithfully — Krauthammer looked back on the times the president has failed to faithfully uphold the law.
From the IRS to the NSA, Americans have reasons not to trust the Obama Administration
His answer: 9.5. Other tax experts on the panel called it “awful,” and said that it has done “tremendous damage.”
I think that’s right. And I think that the damage extends well beyond the Internal Revenue Service. In fact, I think that the government agency suffering the most damage isn’t the IRS, but the National Security Agency. Because the NSA, even more than the IRS, depends on public trust. And now that the IRS has been revealed to be a political weapon, it’s much harder for people to have faith in the NSA.
Frances Martel reports: The attorney heading the internal investigation into potential unfair targeting of conservative groups by the IRS is a frequent and significant donor to both the Democratic National Commission and President Obama, Rep. Darrell Issa revealed today, in what he calls a ”startling conflict of interest” that jeopardizes the investigation.
Rep. Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent a letter today to Attorney General Eric Holder revealing new information that reached the committee on who is conducting the internal investigations at the IRS regarding the inappropriate targeting of conservative groups. Seeking an explanation as to why the FBI has been unresponsive to the committee, Rep. Issa noted that current and former IRS officials revealed Barbara Bosserman, a trial attorney within the IRS’s Civil Rights Commission, is leading the internal investigation.
Bosserman’s leadership raises all sorts of questions about the investigation’s fairness. Rep. Issa’s investigations revealed that she has been a loyal financial backer of the DNC since 2004 and has donated multiple times personally to President Obama’s two campaigns. Her personal donation total reaches $6,750 to both the party and President Obama.
M.K.Ham writes: May 2013: Outrage at the information he has just learned, only from reporters, vague and lofty promises to right this wrong and hold people accountable, lest the very fabric of this nation be sullied.
“This is pretty straight forward. If, in fact, IRS personnel engaged in that kind of practice and intentionally harmed conservative groups, that is outrageous,” Obama said. “That’s outrageous, and there’s no place for it, and they have to be held fully accountable.”
“I don’t care if you’re a Democrat, Independent, or a Republican,” Obama said. “At some point there is going to be a Republican administration. Either way, you don’t want the IRS ever being perceived as anything less than neutral. This is something I think people are properly concerned about.”
“If you got the IRS acting as anything other than a nonpartisan way, then that is outrageous, that is contrary to our traditions, and people have got to be held accountable and it has got to be fixed.”
July 2013: Curt dismissal, slight sadness that this scandal formerly known as an outrageous threat to our nation’s integrity which he would not tolerate, is now distracting from serious issues, like all the tax money he wants to spend.
For most of this year, we’ve seen an endless parade of distractions and political posturing and phony scandals and we keep on shifting our way — shifting our attention away from what we should be focused on, which is how do we strengthen the middle class and grow the economy for everybody?
December 2013: Sarcasm and disbelief that ideological allies would dare find something wrong with the conduct formerly known as concerning whether you’re a “Democrat, Independent, or a Republican.”
The Obama Administration Is Making IRS Tea Party Targeting Legal
STAN VEUGER writes: In the 2010 midterm elections, the tea party delivered the president its famous “shellacking.” Riding a wave of discontent over his health care law and out-of-control spending the movement took back control of the House of Representatives. In the 2012 presidential election, the movement’s impact seemed more subdued, and President Obama won re-election.
One of the reasons why this may have happened became widely known only after the election: the IRS had singled out tea party and other conservative groups for special treatment when they applied for tax-exempt status, leading to costly delays and the elimination of part of the Republican Party’s ground game. After initial claims that low-level employees in the IRS’ Cincinnati office had been solely responsible for this targeting were shown to be false, two acting commissioners of the IRS, Steven Miller and Danny Werfel, and the head of its section on tax-exempt organizations, Lois Lerner, were forced to resign. In the aftermath of the revelations, President Obama referred to the IRS’ activities as “outrageous,” claimed that had been unaware, and called for accountability, “so that such conduct never happens again.”
That was then. This Tuesday, the administration decided that instead of making sure the 2014 midterm elections will not be tainted by similar restrictions on the activities of 501(c)4 organizations, it was going to legalize and institutionalize the IRS’ practices. I guess that’s one way to do it. British comedian Harry Enfield first suggested this strategy in a skit about police officers in Amsterdam, a city well known for its lax attitude toward the consumption, possession and sale of soft drugs. In the skit, one of the Dutch policy officers explains that burglary used to be a major problem in Amsterdam, but then it was legalized, and the problem was solved.