Nobody knows what the ‘procedures’ are for conducting ‘church investigations’.
Bradford Richardson reports: Government watchdog groups have filed a motion in federal court to compel the IRS to reveal how it determines when to initiate “church investigations” after accusing the tax-collecting agency of “stonewalling” efforts to bring to light its procedures.
“Our country has a long history of religious leaders speaking freely on matters of public discourse. Whether it is Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. leading the charge against segregation, or preachers opposed to the Vietnam War, Americans expect their religious leaders to be able to speak freely to their flock without government oversight.”
— From a 2014 letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, signed by nine members of Congress
The motion, filed jointly Friday by the Alliance Defending Freedom and Judicial Watch, came in response to a legal settlement struck in 2014 with an atheist organization, which said the IRS had “resolved the signature authority issue necessary to initiate church examinations.”
“The IRS is not above the law, and Americans deserve to know the truth about the agency’s secret deals with activists.”
— ADF Legal Counsel Christina Holcomb
“The IRS also has adopted procedures for reviewing, evaluating and determining whether to initiate church investigations,” the Freedom From Religion Foundation said in a press release.
But nobody knows what those “procedures” are for conducting “church investigations,” the watchdog groups said.
“The Obama IRS first ignored the ADF FOIA request and is now stonewalling in federal court. The public has a right to know about any new IRS guidelines for investigating the practice of our basic First Amendment freedoms.”
— Judicial Watch President Tom Litton, in a press release
“The IRS is not above the law, and Americans deserve to know the truth about the agency’s secret deals with activists,” ADF Legal Counsel Christina Holcomb said in a press release. “The IRS has a legal obligation to explain why it is hiding things or else produce documents. Its ongoing refusal to follow the law is absurd, particularly since much of [what] we are asking for is information that the IRS has already provided voluntarily to Freedom From Religion Foundation.”
The IRS began producing documents in July, months after the ADF and Judicial Watch had sued the agency for failing to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request. But even then the agency withheld more than 10,000 of the 16,000 requested documents, and thousands of the released documents were completely redacted, according to the ADF.
“The Obama IRS first ignored the ADF FOIA request and is now stonewalling in federal court,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a press release. “The public has a right to know about any new IRS guidelines for investigating the practice of our basic First Amendment freedoms.”
The IRS could not be reached for comment by press time. Read the rest of this entry »
Hillary Clinton’s email troubles began when her private address was exposed by a Romanian hacker. Now the resulting scandal threatens to torpedo her presidential ambitions.
2008 – Hillary Clinton acquires a personal email server for her use in running for president, and has it installed in her Chappaqua, New York home
January 13, 2009 – Internet records show that the domain ‘clintonemail.com’ was created
January 21, 2009 – Clinton is confirmed by the U.S. Senate as President Obama’s secretary of state
February 1, 2013 – Clinton leaves the State Department
March 20, 2013 – Clinton’s private email address, email@example.com, is made public when a Romanian hacker named ‘Guccifer’ (whose real name is Marcel Lazăr Lehel) hacks into longtime Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal’s AOL email account and leaks images of his inbox – including emails from Clinton
June 2013 – Hillary’s team shifts control of the email domain to an outside IT contractor in Denver called Platte River Networks, and sends the original server hardware to a data center facility in New Jersey, where it is erased
August 11, 2014 – Following a congressional subpoena and more than a year of delays, the State Department hands over a small number of Clinton’s private emails, 10 in all, to a House committee investigating the 2012 terror attack on a State Department compound in Benghazi, Libya – including some emails from the firstname.lastname@example.org address
November 2014 – The Benghazi committee asks the State Department for a larger batch of Clinton’s emails and receives about 300 that relate to the Libya saga, amounting to 850 printed pages
December 5, 2014 – Clinton’s aides say that in response to a request from the State Department, they have handed over about 55,000 pages of her work-related emails, comprising 30,490 messages
February 13, 2015 – The State Department sends the Benghazi committee another 850 pages of Clinton’s emails, including some from two different accounts on the private ‘clintonemail.com’ server
February 27, 2015 – State Department staffers tell Benghazi committee aides that Clinton had used her private address exclusively during her tenure at the agency, and that they don’t have any of her emails other than those she provided voluntarily
March 4, 2015 – The Associated Press reports that it has traced Clinton’s private email address back to a private server at her Chappaqua, New York home, and that the server was registered under a fake name
March 10, 2015 – In a contentious press conference following a speech at the United Nations, Clinton admits that she deleted more than 30,000 emails that she says were personal in nature, and says she turned over everything work-related to the State Department, while insisting that ‘I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email; there is no classified material’
March 11, 2015 – The Associated Press sues the State Department to force the release of Clinton’s emails and other documents that the agency has failed to turn over following a Freedom Of Information Act request
April 12, 2015 – Clinton launches her second presidential campaign with an online video and begins two months of low-key campaigning marked by a lack of interaction with reporters
May 22, 2015 – The first 300 of Clinton’s emails are made public by the State Department, revealing a close relationship with Blumenthal in the weeks following the Benghazi terror attack; one of them has been retroactively classified by the FBI as ‘secret’ but Clinton insists it was ‘handled appropriately’
May 27, 2015 – A federal judge orders the State Department to begin releasing all of Clinton’s emails in installments every 30 days, setting monthly targets for the agency so the work is completed by January 29, 2016
July 23, 2015 – Charles McCullough, the inspector general for the U.S. intelligence community tells members of Congress in a letter that a random sampling of 40 Clinton emails turned up four that contained material classified as secret Read the rest of this entry »