Posted: October 23, 2014 Filed under: Crime & Punishment, Law & Justice, Politics, White House | Tags: Barack Obama, Civil Rights, corruption, Federal Judge, First Amendment, Global Panic, Hard Drive Crash, Internal Revenue Service, Intimidation, IRS, Lois Lerner, Reggie Walton, Smidgen Report, Tax exemption, True the Vote, United States presidential election 2012
IRS’s Harassment of Citizen Groups to Chill Opposition, Protect Incumbent Party, and Influence Presidential Election Outcome Approved by Federal Judge
The IRS notched a major legal victory Thursday after a federal judge dismissed lawsuits brought by more than 40 conservative groups seeking remedies for being singled out in the tea party targeting scandal.
“[T]he Court is satisfied that there is no reasonable expectation that the alleged conduct will recur, as the defendants have not only suspended the conduct, but have also taken remedial measures to ensure that the conduct is not repeated.”
Judge Reggie Walton of the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia threw out almost all counts brought against the tax-collecting agency in two cases, ruling that both were essentially moot now that the IRS granted the groups their tax-exempt status that had been held up for years
Translation: “They promised not to do it anymore, so it’s okay”
The decisions have major implications for tea party groups suing the IRS over the issue. It appears they have a tough case to make because the IRS, since the controversy broke in 2013, has approved most tea party groups’ applications, which, according to Walton, keeps the court from hearing their cases.
“After the plaintiff initiated this case, its application to the IRS for tax-exempt status was approved by the IRS. The allegedly unconstitutional governmental conduct, which delayed the processing of the plaintiff’s tax exempt application and brought about this litigation, is no longer impacting the plaintiff,” Walton said in his decision to throw out True the Vote’s lawsuit against the IRS.
“The judge, appointed by Republican President George W. Bush, also said the groups couldn’t receive monetary relief from individual IRS officials, such as ex-IRS official Lois Lerner, because of the ‘chilling effect’ it would have on tax administration.”
(Chilling political speech of opposition groups is okay, but risking a potential chilling effect on the IRS? No! We can’t have that!)
His reasoning was similar in the second case, where 41 conservative groups banded together to sue the IRS for similar misconduct: “[T]he allegedly unconstitutional governmental conduct … is no longer impacting the plaintiffs. … Counts … are therefore moot.”
The judge, appointed by Republican President George W. Bush, also said the groups couldn’t receive monetary relief from individual IRS officials, such as ex-IRS official Lois Lerner, because of the chilling effect it would have on tax administration.
The same judge in August rejected True the Vote’s bid for a court-appointed forensics expert to hunt Lerner’s lost emails, another blow to conservatives seeking outside experts to take the lead on the IRS investigation. Two years’ worth of the former head of the tax-exempt division’s emails were erased in a hard drive crash in 2011, the IRS says. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 16, 2014 Filed under: Crime & Punishment, Law & Justice, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: Barack Obama, Conservatism, Internal Revenue Service, IRS, Jeff Duncan, Lois Lerner, Republican Party (United States), Tax exemption
Even if we didn’t have proof that Lois Lerner and the IRS had deliberately targeted conservative non-profit groups whose names included words like “Tea Party” and “patriots,” this could just been seen as another example of big government inefficiency and incompetence. Thing is, we know that conservative groups’ applications were held up through several election cycles to keep them from influencing the vote.
American Center for Law and Justice attorney Miles Terry writes today that two more conservative groups have had their tax-exempt applications approved — after a more than four-year delay.
Laurens County Tea Party and Allen Area Patriots both applied for tax-exemption in July of 2010. It took the IRS more than four years to review their applications and approve these groups.
Of our 41 clients, 28 have now been approved, and seven groups are still awaiting approval. One of these seven groups, Albuquerque Tea Party is less than two months away from “celebrating” five years since they originally applied for tax-exemption. To date, they have still not been approved.
C’mon, IRS. Get it together…(read more)
Posted: September 23, 2014 Filed under: Politics, U.S. News, White House | Tags: Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, Internal Revenue Service, IRS, Lerner, Politico, Smidgen Report, Tea Party, United States Congress, Washington
Everyone in Washington has a P.R. machine, or at minimum, an agenda. That’s certainly the case with Lois Lerner, the former IRS executive whose division targeted conservative nonprofit applicants with delays and harassment.
“Lerner is willing to testify only in the news media, where the whole truth is not required and irrelevant information can be shared to make her seem less unsympathetic.”
Lerner’s division of the IRS systematically obstructed and denied status to Tea Party groups while subjecting many of the smallest ones — those most vulnerable and least likely to be lawyered up — to inappropriate demands for information that was not legally required. In one case, this included the content of the opening prayer recited in meetings, and in others, this IRS Inquisition demanded that leaders of certain groups pledge never to run for office.
Lerner is out of that business now, and on to a new campaign. This campaign, in which she has enlisted friends and former colleagues, aims to tell the side of the story that she has refused to give Congress under oath.
The resulting Politico piece includes — this is no joke — the revelations that she once baked brownies for colleagues and that she loves dogs. How delightful for her and the dogs! But so what? Lerner cited the Fifth Amendment and refused to answer questions about her involvement in this scandal. The reason for doing that is that she believes her answers could facilitate a criminal prosecution against her. The mysterious destruction of evidence in this case strongly suggests she is right to worry about that. So does her concerned email inquiry to government IT workers as to whether her instant messages with colleagues could ever be obtained by congressional investigators. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 8, 2014 Filed under: Crime & Punishment, Law & Justice, Politics, U.S. News | Tags: Canada, Internal Revenue Service, IRS, Lerner, Lois Lerner, Tax exemption, Tea Party, Treasury, Twitter
The documents show Lerner’s efforts to persuade Treasury auditors that there was no institutional bias at the IRS, the agency’s attempts to head off a damaging investigation with a pre-emptive apology, and Lerner’s pep talk to her staff after the apology.
WASHINGTON — Gregory Korte reports: The day that former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner publicly apologized for using “inappropriate criteria” to delay tax exemptions for Tea Party groups, she told her colleagues that they were being “beaten up by the press for all the wrong reasons.”
It was only going to get worse, she told them in an e-mail, and there was no way around it other than to “ride it through.”
Then she left for a week’s vacation in Canada.
That e-mail comes in 1,706 pages of newly released documents that shed light on the damage control happening at the IRS — and at the watchdog agency investigating it — as the scandal blew up last year. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 5, 2014 Filed under: Breaking News, Crime & Punishment, Law & Justice, Mediasphere, Politics, White House | Tags: Arizona, Associated Press, Carl Levin, Internal Revenue Service, IRS, John McCain, Tax exemption, Tea Party
IRS says it has lost emails from FIVE MORE employees associated with Tea Party targeting scheme
Associated Press reports: The Internal Revenue Service has lost emails from five more employees who are part of congressional probes into the treatment of conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status, the tax service disclosed on Friday.
The IRS said in June that it could not locate an untold number of emails to and from Lois Lerner, who headed the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status during the time that the targeting of Tea Party groups occurred.
That revelation set off a new round of investigations and congressional hearings.
On Friday, the IRS issued a report to Congress saying the agency also lost emails from five other employees related to the probe, including two agents who worked in a Cincinnati office processing applications for tax-exempt status.
Not only did the IRS lose former former tax-exempt director Lois Lerner’s emails, it said today it lost the emails of five other employees associated with a Tea Party targeting scheme.
Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, left, talks with Republican Sen. John McCain, on Capitol Hill in Washington. After investigating the IRS for more than a year, the two senators said today that they disagree on whether the tax agency treated conservative groups worse than their liberal counterparts when they applied for tax-exempt status.
The disclosure came on the same day the Senate’s subcommittee on investigations released competing reports on how the IRS handled applications from political groups during the 2010 and 2012 elections.
The Democratic report, released by Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, said both liberal and conservative groups were mistreated, revealing no political bias by the IRS. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 1, 2014 Filed under: Crime & Punishment, Law & Justice, Mediasphere, Politics, U.S. News | Tags: Internal Revenue Service, IRS, Judicial Watch, Lerner, Lois Lerner, Office of Labor-Management Standards, OLMS, Trade union, Twitter
Connor D. Wolf reports: The official at the center of the Internal Revenue Service tea party scandal once dismissed complaints that labor unions were not reporting millions of dollars in political activities on their tax forms, according to an email obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“We believe this difference in reporting does not necessarily indicate that the organization has incorrectly reported to either the DOL or the IRS.”
In 2007, Lerner responded directly to a complaint that some major labor unions reported completely different amounts of political expenditures when filing with the IRS and the Department of Labor.
At the time of the email, Lerner was the Director of Exempt Organizations at the IRS. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: August 28, 2014 Filed under: Crime & Punishment, Law & Justice, U.S. News | Tags: Disbarment, District of Columbia Court of Appeals, Internal Revenue Service, IRS, Office of Professional Responsibility, Takisha McGee, The Florida Bar, Washington Times
When News Becomes Parody: The IRS Supervisor of Promoting Moral Values is Accused of Swindling
For Washington Times, August 26th, Jim McElhatton:
A lawyer in the IRS ethics office is facing the possibility of being disbarred, according to records that accuse her of lying to a court-appointed board and hiding what she’d done with money from a settlement that was supposed to go to two medical providers who had treated her client.
The disciplinary arm of the D.C. Court of Appeals has recommended that Takisha McGee, a section manager in the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility, lose her law license over the charge, which stems from a personal injury case she worked about a year before she joined the tax agency.
Ms. McGee, who recently gave a speech to the Florida bar titled “When your license to practice before the IRS is on the line,” acknowledged in a phone interview Tuesday that her own job is on the line as she fights disbarment proceedings…. (read more) Washington Times
And in an editorial on August 27th, the Washington Times continues:
Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen testifies under subpoena before the House Oversight Committee as lawmakers continue their probe of whether tea party groups were improperly targeted for increased scrutiny by the IRS, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, June 23, 2014. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
The Tax Man’s Ethics
Posted: August 26, 2014 Filed under: Crime & Punishment, Law & Justice, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: Charles Krauthammer, George Will, Internal Revenue Service, IRS, Judicial Watch, Lois Lerner, National Review, Obama administration, Richard Nixon, United States Department of Justice
Okay, George didn’t say Cuckoo Bananas Off the Rails Criminally Insane, he just said off the rails and it is thoroughly corrupted. But, you get the idea…
“The IRS is the most intrusive and potentially punitive institution of the federal government and it is a law-enforcement institution and it is off the rails and it is now thoroughly corrupted.”
– George Will
From The Corner:
On Tuesday’s Special Report, George Will reacted to the revelation that the IRS destroyed Lois Lerner’s BlackBerry without searching it, after a congressional investigation into her conduct had begun.
[SMIDGEN REPORT: Federal Attorney Says Backup of Lois Lerner Emails Exist]
[SMIDGEN BOMB: There Are No Missing Lois Lerner E-mails, Justice Department Concedes ]
Will said he could hardly wait for IRS lawyers to show up in court and tell the judge it would be too onerous to stop obstructing justice in this case. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: August 26, 2014 Filed under: Crime & Punishment, Law & Justice, Mediasphere, Politics, U.S. News | Tags: BlackBerry, Chief information officer, Internal Revenue Service, IRS, Judicial Watch, Lerner, Lois Lerner, Stephen Manning, United States Congress
IRS Destroyed Lois Lerner Blackberry When? AFTER Congressional Inquiry Began, That’s When.
NRO‘s Ian Tuttle reports: According to the second round of IRS affidavits submitted to U.S. district court judge Emmett Sullivan, who is presiding over the lawsuit brought against the nation’s tax agency by watchdog group Judicial Watch, Inc., IRS technical analysts did not search Lois Lerner’s Blackberry for her allegedly “lost” e-mails — and the smartphone was destroyed after congressional investigation had begun.
“There is no record of any attempt by any IRS IT employee to recover data from any Blackberry device assigned to Lois Lerner in response to the Congressional investigations or this litigation.”
– Stephen Manning, IRS Information Technology business unit
Lerner’s government-issued laptop reportedly crashed in June 2011, at which time IRS analysts tried but failed to recover data, including e-mail communications, according to previous testimony. In his sworn declaration, Stephen Manning – deputy chief information officer for strategy and modernization with the IRS Information Technology business unit – reports that “there is no record of any attempt by any IRS IT employee to recover data from any Blackberry device assigned to Lois Lerner in response to the Congressional investigations or this litigation.” This despite the fact that Lerner had been in possession of a government-issued Blackberry since November 2009, according to the statement of Thomas J. Kane – deputy associate chief counsel for procedure and administration within the IRS Office of Chief Counsel – and it would likely have hosted at least some of Lerner’s electronic communications….(read more)
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: August 25, 2014 Filed under: Breaking News, Crime & Punishment, Law & Justice, Mediasphere, Politics, U.S. News | Tags: Emmet G. Sullivan, Freedom of Information Act, Internal Revenue Service, IRS, Judicial Watch, Lois Lerner, Tom Fitton, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, United States Department of Justice
Tom Fitton discussing the new revelation
Via Judicial Watch:
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced the following developments in the IRS’ missing emails investigation. Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton stated:
Department of Justice attorneys for the Internal Revenue Service told Judicial Watch on Friday that Lois Lerner’s emails, indeed all government computer records, are backed up by the federal government in case of a government-wide catastrophe. The Obama administration attorneys said that this back-up system would be too onerous to search. The DOJ attorneys also acknowledged that the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) is investigating this back-up system.
We obviously disagree that disclosing the emails as required would be onerous, and plan to raise this new development with Judge Sullivan.
This is a jaw-dropping revelation…(read more)
Here is the second set of sworn declarations by IRS officials in response to Judge Emmet G. Sullivan’s investigation into the missing emails of Lois Lerner and other IRS officials. The declarations were provided after close of business on Friday, August 22. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 30, 2014 Filed under: Politics, U.S. News | Tags: Daily Caller, Dave Camp, Eric Holder, Internal Revenue Service, IRS, Lerner, Lois Lerner, Smidgen Report, Tax exemption, United States House Committee on Ways and Means
Lois Lerner Called Conservatives ‘Assholes,’ Fantasized About Working At Obama Group
For The Daily Caller, Chuck Ross reports: New emails released by the House Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday provide more evidence that ex-IRS official Lois Lerner is not fond of conservatives.
“Well, you should hear the whacko wing of the GOP. The US is through; too many foreigners sucking the teat; time to hunker down, buy ammo and food, and prepare for the end. The right wing radio shows are scary to listen to.”
– Lerner’s unnamed email correspondent
“So we don’t need to worry about teRroists [sic]. It’s our own crazies that will take us down,” Lerner wrote in a Nov. 9, 2012 email exchange with an IRS colleague.
Ways and Means Committee chairman Dave Camp revealed the emails in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder.
Lerner’s disdain for the right is central to an investigation into whether she targeted conservative groups who were seeking tax-exempt status. Republicans have accused the former director of the IRS’s exempt organizations division of possible criminal wrongdoing in targeting the groups.
“Great. Maybe we are through if there are that many assholes.”
– Lois Lerner
“This email shows that Ms. Lerner’s mistreatment of conservative groups was driven by her personal hostility toward conservatives,” Camp wrote. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 27, 2014 Filed under: Law & Justice, Think Tank | Tags: Barack Obama, Hammurabi, Hobby Lobby, Internal Revenue Service, IRS, Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, Obama administration, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Disdain for the letter of the law is complexly intertwined with the progressive imagination.
Kevin D. Williamson — no slouch when it comes to precise language himself — has a must-read in this weekend’s National Review, reminding us that the “ancients understood something that has been neglected in recent centuries: Grammar is the foundation of logic.”
There will always be occasions for discretion and interpretation on legal questions, but it is not the case that such discretion should presumptively empower the IRS to do things that the IRS is not legally entitled to do simply because Barack Obama wishes it to be so. If history teaches us anything, it is that a system of law that presumptively sides with political power soon ceases to be any sort of system of law at all. Rather, it becomes a post facto justification for the will to power, an intellectual window dressing on might-makes-right rule.
The matter addressed in Halbig is hardly the Obama administration’s first attempt to circumvent the law as written — see Hobby Lobby, etc. — nor is it the progressives’ only attempt to impose what they imagine to be enlightened ad-hocracy on the American people. The disdain for the letter of the law is complexly intertwined with the progressive managerial imagination: The law, in their view, is not something that limits the ambitions of princes, but something that empowers them to do what they see fit… (read more)
From Halbig and Hammurabi
[Also see: Progressives Learn the Hard Way that the Constitution is Obstructionist]
[Kevin Williamson's book "The End Is Near and It's Going to Be Awesome: How Going Broke Will Leave America Richer, Happier, and More Secure" is available at Amazon]
National Review Online
Posted: July 23, 2014 Filed under: Breaking News, Crime & Punishment, Law & Justice, U.S. News | Tags: Backup, Congress, Internal Revenue Service, IRS, John Koskinen, Lerner, Mark Meadows, United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Fox News reports: July 23, 2014: IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testifies before a House oversight subcommittee hearing in Washington.AP
The head of the IRS confirmed Wednesday that investigators looking into missing emails from ex-agency official Lois Lerner have found and are reviewing “backup tapes” — despite earlier IRS claims that the tapes had been recycled.
“It is unbelievable that we cannot get a simple, straight answer from the IRS about this hard drive.”
– House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, testifying before a House oversight subcommittee, stressed that he does not know “how they found them” or “whether there’s anything on them or not.” But he said the inspector general’s office advised him the investigators are reviewing tapes to see if they contain any “recoverable” material.
The revelation is significant because the IRS claimed, when the agency first told Congress about the missing emails, that backup tapes “no longer exist because they have been recycled.”
It is unclear whether the tapes in IG custody contain any Lerner emails, but Koskinen said investigators are now checking. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 22, 2014 Filed under: Law & Justice, Think Tank | Tags: Hans von Spakovsky, IRS, Obamacare, Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act, Supreme Court of the United States
For National Review Online, Hans A. von Spakovsky writes: And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen: two different federal courts of appeal, issuing completely contradictory rulings on the very same day, on the very same issue.
“An Exchange established by the federal government cannot possibly be ‘an exchange established by the State.’ To hold otherwise would be to engage in distortion, not interpretation.”
– Senior Judge Ray Randolph
That’s what happened Tuesday. If nothing else, the dueling rulings should hasten the day when the next phase of litigation involving the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act reaches the Supreme Court.
In Halbig v. Burwell, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled against the administration, voiding an IRS regulation that provided tax credits in the form of a subsidy to individuals purchasing health insurance through exchanges run by the federal government. Meanwhile, in Richmond, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held the exact opposite: In King v. Burwell, it concluded that the IRS had the power to authorize such subsidies.
The language of the statute is not ambiguous, so the Justice Department was forced to argue that the IRS rule was a valid exercise of regulatory authority to implement the intent of the law.
The Obamacare law specifically says that the federal government can provide subsidies for insurance bought on an exchange “established by the State.” But there is no mention whatsoever of extending the subsidies to those who purchase coverage on an exchange run by the federal government. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 21, 2014 Filed under: Crime & Punishment, Law & Justice, U.S. News | Tags: Cincinnati, Daily Caller, Internal Revenue Service, IRS, Lerner, Lois Lerner, Patrick Howley, Twitter, United States Congress
“There is an issue as to whether or not there is a ‑‑ that all of the backup recovery tapes were destroyed on the 6‑month retention schedule.”
– IRS Deputy Associate Chief Counsel Thomas Kane
For The Daily Caller, Patrick Howley reports: IRS Deputy Associate Chief Counsel Thomas Kane said in transcribed congressional testimony that more IRS officials experienced computer crashes, bringing the total number of crash victims to “less than 20,” and also said that the agency does not know if the lost emails are stillbacked up somewhere.
“So some of those backup tapes may still exist?”
“I don’t know whether they are or they aren’t, but it’s an issue that’s being looked at.”
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 17, 2014 Filed under: Crime & Punishment, Law & Justice, U.S. News | Tags: Contempt of Congress, Eric Holder, Internal Revenue Service, IRS, Lerner, Lois Lerner, United States Department of Justice, United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
WASHINGTON (AP/ Breitbart) reports: The Justice Department is investigating the circumstances behind the disappearance of emails from a former senior Internal Revenue Service official, part of a broader criminal inquiry into whether the agency had targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, according to congressional testimony released Wednesday.
In a statement to be delivered to a congressional committee on Thursday, Deputy Attorney General James Cole says investigators are looking into emails that went missing from the computer of Lois Lerner.
Cole was to appear before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which has been investigating the matter. He declined to provide additional information about the investigation, according to prepared remarks issued ahead of his appearance.
The IRS has said it lost the emails in 2011 when Lerner’s computer crashed. At the time, Lerner headed the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 15, 2014 Filed under: Humor, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: Chuck Grassley, Dave Camp, Greta Van Sustren, Internal Revenue Service, IRS, Lois Lerner, Smidgen, Smidgen Report, YouTube
Posted: July 14, 2014 Filed under: Law & Justice, Politics | Tags: Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, IRS, National Review, Office of the Taxpayer Advocate, Peter Roskam, Treasury Department, United States House of Representatives
National Review Online‘s Eliana Johnson reports that the House of Representatives on Monday evening will begin considering a Financial Services appropriations bill that funds the Department of the Treasury, including the IRS.
Illinois representative Peter Roskam will attempt to use the legislature to curb the power of the agency, which has been under fire since it revealed in May 2013 that it inappropriately targeted conservative non-profit groups seeking tax exemption. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: July 14, 2014 Filed under: Law & Justice, Politics, Think Tank | Tags: Andrew C. McCarthy, Attorney general, Barack Obama, Congress, Eric Holder, Internal Revenue Service, IRS, National Review, Smidgen Report
Don’t hand the IRS investigation over to a special prosecutor.
“Let’s talk reality. As a matter of constitutional law, there is no such thing as an independent counsel. In our system, prosecution is a plenary executive power. All federal investigations and prosecutions proceed under the authority of the president; neither the Congress nor the courts have police powers. Any prosecutor, regardless of how “independent” we’d like him to be, would have to serve at the pleasure of the president, and would report to Eric Holder…”
(read more) National Review Online