Now That Our False ‘Love, Mutual Respect, Equality’ Argument Has Achieved its Purpose, Let’s Dump it and Unveil Our True AgendaPosted: June 28, 2015
IRS workers erased 422 computer backup tapes that ‘most likely’ contained as many as 24,000 emails to and from former IRS official Lois Lerner, who has emerged as a central figure in congressional investigations, according to IRS’s inspector general.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Stephen Ohlemache reports: Investigators are blaming mistakes
by IRS employees — not a criminal conspiracy — for the loss of thousands of emails related to the tax agency’s tea party scandal.
IRS workers erased 422 computer backup tapes that “most likely” contained as many as 24,000 emails to and from former IRS official Lois Lerner, who has emerged as a central
figure in congressional investigations, according to IRS’s inspector general.
The workers erased the tapes a month after IRS officials discovered that an untold number of Lerner’s emails were lost. The IG says the workers were unaware of a year-old directive not to destroy email backup tapes.
J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, is scheduled to testify Thursday before the House Oversight Committee about his investigation into the emails. The Associated Press obtained a copy of his prepared testimony.
George says his investigation “did not uncover evidence that the erasure was done in
furtherance of an effort to destroy evidence or conceal information from Congress and/or
Still, the revelation that computer tapes were erased after officials knew about the lost emails is likely to fuel conspiracy theories among conservatives who say the IRS has obstructed investigations into the scandal.
An IRS spokeswoman said Wednesday evening the agency had no immediate comment.
George set off a firestorm in May 2013 with an audit that said IRS agents improperly singled out tea party and other conservative groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status during the 2010 and 2012 elections.
Several hundred groups had their applications delayed for a year or more. Some were asked inappropriate questions about donors and group activities, the inspector general’s report said.
— National Review (@NRO) June 25, 2015
Lerner used to head the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status. In June 2014, the IRS told Congress it had lost an unknown number of Lerner’s emails when her computer hard drive crashed in 2011. Read the rest of this entry »
Top officials repeatedly misled investigators without consequences. Congress needs to get tougher.
Cleta Mitchell writes: Two years ago this week, a report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Information confirmed what hundreds of tea party, conservative, pro-life and pro-Israel organizations had long known: The Internal Revenue Service had stopped processing their applications for exempt status and subjected them to onerous, intrusive and discriminatory practices because of their political views.
“Lying to Congress is a felony. But the Obama Justice Department has not lifted a finger to prosecute anyone responsible for the IRS scandal, including top brass who repeatedly gave false testimony to Congress.”
Since the report, additional congressional investigations have revealed a lot about IRS dysfunction—and worse. But they’ve also revealed Congress’s inability to exercise its constitutional oversight responsibilities of this and other executive agencies.
Consider the repeated testimony and other statements to Congress subsequently shown to be false. The report issued in December by Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.)—then chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform—details numerous instances in which senior IRS officials, including former Commissioner Doug Shulman, Acting Commissioner Steven Miller and Exempt Organizations Director Lois Lernerlied to Congress, denying and covering up the targeting of tea party and conservative groups before the inspector general’s May 2013 report.
Mr. Shulman told the Ways and Means Committee in March 2012 that there was no targeting of conservative groups. Congressional investigations, the Issa committee report notes, established that at the time of his denial Mr. Schulman knew there was “a backlog of applications, delays in processing, and the use of inappropriate development questions.”
In the early months of 2012, Ms. Lerner made multiple false statements to Congress. In personal meetings, telephone interviews and written communications with congressional investigators, Ms. Lerner denied there were any changes in the criteria for evaluating applications for exempt status. She stated, falsely, that the intrusive demands from her agency for proprietary information from grass-roots organizations were “ordinary”—a characterization the inspector general’s report specifically rebutted.
Ms. Lerner also told Congress that “nothing had changed” about the way her unit handled such applications. But at the very time she said that, the IRS, including Ms. Lerner, had already identified seven types of information that it had inappropriately demanded from conservative groups between 2010 and 2013. These included donor lists, transcripts of speeches by public officials to meetings, and lists of groups to whom leaders made presentations.
Between May 2012 and May 2013, Mr. Miller testified before Congress on at least six occasions, first as deputy IRS commissioner, then as acting commissioner. He withheld information from Congress each time about the targeting. In a November 2013 interview with congressional investigators—well after the targeting had been documented in the inspector general’s report—Mr. Miller admitted that he became aware of possible IRS misconduct in February 2012. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
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)
The fact that it took the Administration FOUR YEARS to approve this group’s tax status is shameful. http://t.co/RKlQEG5Yeq
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 »
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.
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 »
Lois Lerner Called Conservatives ‘Assholes,’ Fantasized About Working At Obama Group
“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.”
“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 »
UPDATE: For National Review Online, Eliana Johnson writes: It’s not just Lois Lerner’s e-mails. The Internal Revenue Service says it can’t produce e-mails from six more employees involved in the targeting of conservative groups, according to two Republicans investigating the scandal.
The IRS recently informed Ways and Means chairman Dave Camp and subcommittee chairman Charles Boustany that computer crashes resulted in additional lost e-mails, including from Nikole Flax, the chief of staff to former IRS commissioner Steven Miller, who was fired in the wake of the targeting scandal.
The revelation about Lerner’s e-mails rekindled the targeting scandal and today’s news has further inflamed Republicans. Read the rest of this entry »
John D. McKinnon writes: A new report by House Republicans concludes that former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner engaged in wide-ranging, politically motivated efforts to hamper conservatives’ use of tax-exempt organizations.
“Can you please send me a copy of the Crossroads [GPS] application? Lois wants Judy to take a look at it so she can summarize the issues for Lois…”
— IRS email from mid-2011
The report by Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said Ms. Lerner “believed the political participation of tax-exempt organizations harmed Democratic candidates, she believed something needed to be done, and she directed action from her unit at the IRS.”
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.
The revised regulations would classify social-welfare groups’ activities as political.
While Senate Republicans, following the lead of their House colleagues, are backing a bill to delay the rules for a year, and the protests of right-leaning nonprofit groups, big and small, are reaching fever pitch, Democratic politicians who are urging the IRS to move forward with the regulations have found themselves at odds with some of their largest constituencies, chief among them the country’s labor unions.
The proposed changes, which were unveiled in late November, would classify much of the day-to-day activity of 501(c)(4) social-welfare groups, including voter education and registration, as political, thereby endangering their tax-exempt status. They would also prohibit public communication 60 days before a general election or 30 days before a primary election that identifies a political candidate — that is, nearly every advertisement aired by groups such as the conservative Americans for Prosperity or the liberal League of Conservation Voters — during the period when they are most effective.
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.”
CJ Ciaramella writes: Senior Internal Revenue Service officials—including one at the heart of the IRS “targeting” scandal—violated agency policies and possibly federal records laws by using private email to send confidential taxpayer information, the GOP-led House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform said in a letter.
In a Sept. 30 letter to IRS Acting Commissioner Daniel Werfel obtained by the Free Beacon, Oversight Chairman Darrel Issa (R., Calif.) said an investigation revealed a “troubling pattern” of at least four top IRS officials using their private email addresses to relay confidential tax information. Read the rest of this entry »
Stephen Dinan reports: The Internal Revenue Service said Monday that Lois G. Lerner, the woman at the center of the tea party targeting scandal, has resigned from the agency — though because of privacy rules it could say nothing more.
Ms. Lerner, who had been on paid administrative leave, was the director of the division that reviewed the applications for tax-exempt status from political groups over the past few years and that, according to an internal audit, gave extra scrutiny to tea party and other conservative groups.
She remains subject to congressional investigation.
Her actions put her at the center of the controversy, and several congressional committees had been looking into her behavior and into emails that seemed to suggest she was looking for reasons to deny political groups approval for tax-exempt status.
Last week, acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel said he had asked both a review board and the agency’s inspector general to look at the emails.
Republicans said Ms. Lerner’s resignation, while a first step, isn’t the end of the scandal. Read the rest of this entry »
Politics: New emails show that the woman at the center of the IRS scandal over special scrutiny of conservative groups’ applications for tax-exempt status targeted tea party applications specifically and directed they be held up. Read the rest of this entry »
In a remarkable admission that is likely to rock the Internal Revenue Service again, testimony released Thursday by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp reveals that an agent involved in reviewing tax exempt applications from conservative groups told a committee investigator that the agency is still targeting Tea Party groups, three months after the IRS scandal erupted..
In closed door testimony before the House Ways & Means Committee, the unidentified IRS agent said requests for special tax status from Tea Party groups is being forced into a special “secondary screening” because the agency has yet to come up with new guidance on how to judge the tax status of the groups.
With an assist from Elijah Cummings, the media is now casting the IRS targeting of conservative groups as a Cincinnati-originated brainchild of a self-described conservative Republican, John Shafer, who, well, let’s let McClatchy tell the tale:
Shafer described himself as a conservative Republican and explained how applications that met criteria that the IRS has since called inappropriate were selectively screened. The criteria included buzzwords such as constitution, Bill of Rights and other tea party themes referring to the Founding Fathers. These words caused applications to be pulled aside and sent to what’s called Group 7822. He did not say how the criteria were developed or by whom.
He said the tea party cases were called “emerging issues” by agency officials, apparently because they had received media attention.
“Each case is again reviewed and the determination is made on the facts and circumstances within that case,” he said. Asked what caused an emerging issue, “I 100 percent do not know, OK?” he answered. “What I would do is go into the electronic system and I would transfer these cases to Group 7822.
So there you have it. Nothing to see here. Move along. A Republican started the whole thing, inoccently referring applications to “Group 7822,” and the rest is history.
Yet this story dramatically understates the extent of targeting. Rather than serving as “patient zero” of the scandal, Mr. Shafer was but a cog in a much larger machine of partisan and unlawful targeting. As I’ve said before, at the ACLJ we represented 27 tea-party groups initially embroiled in this scandal, we filed suit against the IRS on behalf of 25 (full disclosure: I’m a lawyer on the suit), and we’ll shortly be amending the complaint to add more than a dozen additional plaintiffs. During the last 18 months, we’ve dealt with Group 7822, but we’ve also dealth with eleven other IRS groups (including groups in California) and a Washington division: Group 7821, Group 7823, Group 7824, Group 7827, Group 7828, Group 7829, Group 7830, Group 7838, EOG-7887, EOG 7888, and the Tax Exempt and Government Entitites Division in Washington, D.C.
This list encompasses only our orginal clients. We expect other IRS groups to be implicated as requests for help continue to pour in.
Every time the administration or its Democratic allies in Congress have tried to minimize or explain away the scandal, at the ACLJ we’ve released documentary evidence decisively refuting their factual assertions. Every time. And it’s documentary evidence the IRS provided us in the course of more than a year of communications.
In other words, they knew we had contradictory evidence, yet spun anyway — hoping the media would buy their story.
The IRS abuse is severe, it has always been widespread, and — crucially — it is ongoing. Even as Represenatitive Cummings not long ago declared “the case is solved” and Jay Carney claimed that all misconduct had stopped more than a year ago, many of our clients still don’t have their tax exemptions. Some even received intrusive additional inquiries as recently as last month.
It strains credulity to believe that a gang of low-level employees initiated and sustained a multi-group, multi-state campaign of targeting that lasted — for some conservative applicants — through two full election cycles. The case is not “solved.” To paraphrase John Paul Jones, we have not yet begun to investigate.
Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) not only blamed the victims of the IRS’s targeting on Tuesday–he also implied the IRS would have been justified targeting conservative and Tea Party groups if the agency did so based on what the groups stood for instead of on the words in their names.
At a House Ways and Means hearing in which six leaders of organizations the IRS had targeted were testifying, McDermott said the “mistake here was the staff used the names of the organizatiions instead of the work they do.”
McDermott lashed out at the witnesses, saying “each of your groups are highly political” and said that Tea Party and conservative groups that were essentially asking for “a tax break” were trying to game the system and should have been scrutinized for submitting applications for tax-exempt status. He continued by saying taxpayers should know “which side you fall on” and whether groups were interested in finding voters who vote without IDs or doing things like promoting Communist views.
He called the hearings a “circus” and “political theatre” and accused Republicans for looking for a “conspiracy” that did not exist. He suggested the law should be rewritten to prevent groups that engage in political activity from getting tax-exempt status.
He also then went on a rant against George W. Bush and accused the Bush administration of targeting liberal groups “without any concern.”
An exasperated Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), who was the next to question, told the witnesses, “so you’re to blame …I guess that’s the message.” Ryan noted that he asked ousted acting IRS commissioner Steven Miller whether the agency targeted groups that had names affiliated with progressive groups in their application, and Miller replied those groups were not targeted.
- Paul Ryan Blasts Dem Rep. For Claiming IRS Investigation Just ‘Political Theater’ (mediaite.com)
- Dem. Congressman to Tea-Party Groups: You’re to Blame for Targeting (nationalreview.com)
- Audience Cheers at Ryan’s Rebuttal to McDermott (freebeacon.com)
- Megyn Kelly Blows Up Over Dem Rep’s Grilling Of Tea Party Leader: ‘How Dare He Put The Burden On Her?’ (mediaite.com)
The Internal Revenue Service is in the process of locking down all computer data across the agency, a sign that investigations into the scandal-plagued agency may be taking a broader sweep than initially anticipated.
Agency employees last Thursday received an e-mail alerting them, “This is a late breaking top priority and things could change in the future,” according to an IRS employee who asked not to be named.
Employees were directed not to “wipe, re-image or otherwise destroy any hard drives” on any machine currently in use or in stock. During this time, the IRS will not discard any laptop and desktop computers that are replaced, and it is “working on securing a location” where they will be kept, according to the e-mail.
National Review Online previously reported that data on computer hard drives in the Tax Exempt and Government Entity division in Cincinnati was being preserved and uploaded to a restriccted server where investigators can access it.
Four government probes are currently investigating the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups; they are being led by the House Oversight Committee, the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, and the IRS itself.
via The Corner
So the IRS has admitted to sitting on applications for tax-exempt status by Tea Party groups for political reasons.
According to the government’s own investigation, applications containing terms such as Tea Party and Patriot were singled out for delays and holds even as groups with liberal-sounding names like “Bus for Progress” and “Progress Florida” sailed through the process.
President Obama said “the report’s findings are intolerable and inexcusable” and even fired the acting head of the Internal Revenue Service.
Regardless of how this particular scandal shakes out, there’s still going to be at least three good reasons to be scared as hell of the IRS.
1. It’s always been a political weapon.
John F Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon all sicced the IRS on enemies and dissenters. And they were just following in the footsteps of Franklin Roosevelt, whose son said his father was “the originator of the concept of employing the IRS as a weapon of political retribution.”
2. Its rulings are super-complicated and capricious.
The federal tax code is longer than Atlas Shrugged, Ulysses, and the Old Testament put together. It’s so complicated that even former IRS commissioners need help preparing their returns.
3. It’s Obamacare’s enforcement mechanism.
Starting next year, the IRS will be the cop patrolling the Affordable Care Act’s mandates, with the agency overseeing some 47 tax provisions related to Obamacare. You won’t just be reporting income anymore. You’ll be explaining when, where, and how you bought health care as well.
The “charity” run by President Barack Obama’s half-brother that was fast-tracked for IRS tax-exempt status is based at a Virginia UPS store, according to its website.
The organization’s IRS filings list another Virginia address that is actually a drug rehab center where the foundation does not appear ever to have been based.
The Barack H. Obama Foundation is run by Abon’go “Roy” Malik Obama, the half-brother of Barack Obama.
As first reported by The Daily Caller, the foundation was speedily approved for IRS exemption by Lois Lerner, the IRS senior official at the center of the targeting of conservative organizations that have waited over two years to receive tax exempt status.
The charity was even given retroactive tax-exempt status despite never having bothered to apply for it. And its history of soliciting donations before receiving tax-exempt status was apparently overlooked.
The address listed on the site barackhobamafoundation.org is 107 S. West St. #401, Alexandria, Va., which houses a UPS store on a street that includes a tailor, a Catholic Charities thrift shop and a Gold Works jewelry store.
“They probably just rent a mailbox here or receive mail here,” said a UPS employee when asked if the store was the address for the Barack H. Obama Foundation. She did not know if Malik Obama, who his website says divides his time between Kenya and Virginia, had been in to the store.
A visit to the UPS store revealed that there is a mailbox numbered 401.
The address listed in the group’s IRS filings — 4201 Wilson Blvd. Ste 110-152, Arlington, Va. 22030 — is even more suspicious, as it is a marketing center for A Better Today Recovery Services — a drug-and-alcohol treatment organization.
A receptionist who answered the phone at A Better Today said neither she nor anybody in the office had heard of the Barack H. Obama Foundation. She said A Better Today had been located at the Arlington address for “a couple years.” The IRS filings that list the Arlington address as the foundation’s headquarters were dated May 2011.
“I don’t know if it’s listed wrong or what’s going on, but we have never heard of that,” the receptionist said, adding that A Better Today had never received calls or correspondence related to the Barack H. Foundation.
The Internal Revenue Service has been caught engaging in political profiling while processing applications for tax-exempt status. In this case it was against organizations with “tea-party” or “patriot ” in their names and other right-wing groups. Next time it could be libertarian or left-wing antiwar and pro-civil-liberties groups. No dissenter can ever rest assured he is safe from the arbitrary power of the IRS.
Nothing will have been learned from this scandal if all that happens is the firing of some IRS administrators and the issuance of new guidelines on 501(c)(4) applications. That is not nearly enough.
Obviously, tax exemptions exist only because individuals and some organizations are subject to income and other forms of taxation. Congress levies a tax on incomes, then in its “wisdom” chooses to exempt certain activities but not others. This is social engineering, with Congress seeking to encourage some kinds of organizations — while not forgoing more revenue than necessary. The IRS then writes rules to carry out the directions of Congress.
Where possible, people will naturally strive to qualify for exemption by pushing the boundaries of the regulations. That incentive will always be strong because a nonprofit organization that is exempt from taxation will have more resources with which to pursue its mission. Since the language of statutes and regulations is inevitably vague, the IRS will have room to interpret when ruling on who qualifies and who doesn’t qualify for exemption. The line between vigilance and harassment is not bright, and the potential for abuse is great.
It should be apparent that this power, which is inherently arbitrary, ill suits a society that sees itself as free.
Reports: IRS Spared Liberal Groups as Tea Party Languished, More Conservative Orgs Targeted Than First ThoughtPosted: May 18, 2013
Remember what we were told when this explosive story first broke less than a week ago? The IRS official in charge of tax exemptions for organizations said the improper methods employed within her division were executed by “low level workers” in Cincinnati who weren’t motivated by “political bias,” and impacted roughly 75 organizations? Wrong, wrong and wrong:
“Low Level” – Officials within the highest echelons of the agency were aware of the inappropriate targeting, including the last two commissioners — at least one of whom appears to have misled Congress on this very question. Now Politicoreports that Lerner herself sent at least one of the probing letters to an Ohio-based conservative group.
The director of the Internal Revenue Service division under fire for singling out conservative groups sent a 2012 letter under her name to one such group, POLITICO has learned. The March 2012 letter was sent to the Ohio-based American Patriots Against Government Excess (American PAGE) under the name of Lois Lerner, the director of the Exempt Organizations Division…at the time of the letter, the group was in the midst of the application process for tax-exempt nonprofit status — a process that would stretch for nearly three years and involve queries for detailed information on its social media activity, its organizational set-up, bylaws, membership and interactions with political officials. The letter threatened to close American PAGE’s case file unless additional information was received within 60 days.
These burdensome requests were apparently designed to bury the victimized groups in paperwork. Carol reported last night that some 58 percent of these applicants were asked for unnecessary information and data, according to the Inspector General’s review. Some inquiries asked for screenshots of organizations’ Facebook posts and even lists of what books (!) its members were reading.
“No Political Bias” – This claim was laughable on its face from the start, in light of the agency’s surreal criteria for added scrutiny and the “red flag” words and phrases that triggered investigations. Now add to the mix this scoop from USA Today:
In February 2010, the Champaign Tea Party in Illinois received approval of its tax-exempt status from the IRS in 90 days, no questions asked. That was the month before the Internal Revenue Service started singling out Tea Party groups for special treatment. There wouldn’t be another Tea Party application approved for 27 months. In that time, the IRS approved perhaps dozens of applications from similar liberal and progressive groups, a USA TODAY review of IRS data shows. As applications from conservative groups sat in limbo, groups with liberal-sounding names had their applications approved in as little as nine months. With names including words like “Progress” or “Progressive,” the liberal groups applied for the same tax status and were engaged in the same kinds of activities as the conservative groups.
Lerner also reportedly fast-tracked an approval for a foundation operated by President Obama’s half brother, taking the extraordinary step of granting it retroactive tax-free status.
“Seventy-five organizations effected” – That number almost immediately swelled to 300. Now it’s closer to 500…
More >> Via Guy Benson
If the IRS was really interested in cleaning up the issue of political groups abusing tax-exempt status to conduct partisan warfare, what kind of groups would they go after? Which targets would give more bang for the buck, almost literally? Hint: It would be those groups that accrue enough resources to have a large impact — the major players in the 501s that raise large amounts of cash through deductible donations and then turn those assets into regional or national campaigns. Smaller players wouldn’t really be worth it … if reform and justice are your primary motivations.
And yet, the IRS effort between 2010 and the presidential election last November exclusively targeted small start-ups opposed to the administration’s agenda whileleaving the big players alone, the Associated Press reports today:
There’s an irony in the Internal Revenue Service’s crackdown on conservative groups.
The nation’s tax agency has admitted to inappropriately scrutinizing smaller tea party organizations that applied for tax-exempt status, and senior Treasury Department officials were notified in the midst of the 2012 presidential election season that an internal investigation was underway. But the IRS largely maintained a hands-off policy with the much larger, big-budget organizations on the left and right that were most influential in the elections and are organized under a section of the tax code that allows them to hide their donors.
“The IRS goes AWOL when wealthy and powerful forces want to break the law in order to hide their wrongful efforts and secret political influence,” said Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat who is among a small Senate group pushing campaign finance reform measures that would force these big outside groups to disclose their donors. “Picking on the little guy is a pretty lousy thing to do.”
Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS and the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity were among those that spent tens of millions of dollars on TV ads and get-out-the-vote efforts to help Republicans. Democrats were aided in similar fashion by Priorities USA, made up of former Barack Obama campaign aides, and American Bridge 21st Century Foundation, an opposition research group led by a former adviser to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
And yet those groups so far have escaped investigations into whether they have crossed the blurry line under the law between what constitutes a tax-exempt “social welfare” organization that is free from donor reporting requirements and a political committee subject to taxes and disclosures.
Why might that be? Groups like American Crossroads and Priorities USA can afford to defend themselves, even if we entertain for a moment the fantasy that this IRS would go after a group of former Obama advisers. Bullies don’t pick on those who can effectively defend themselves. Also, these groups get a lot of attention, and starting a war with Karl Rove would have exposed this effort a lot more quickly than anyone in the IRS or the Obama administration might have wanted.
Had these enforcement efforts actually been legitimate, the IRS would have wantedthat kind of attention. The fact that they actively avoided accruing it speaks volumes about its perceived legitimacy even among its perpetrators.
This tells us, then, that the IRS wanted to target conservative groups who couldn’t afford to defend themselves, and who could be easily intimidated out of organizing for their agendas. That’s not a strategy for reform or enforcement, but simply a brute-force bullying effort in order to sideline grassroots opposition to the current administration. Contra the AP, that’s not irony at all, but corruption and abuse.
Even those hardly sympathetic to the victims in this case are making that case. Democratic Rep. Joseph Crowley from New York told Fox News that former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman lied to Congress when he denied any of these activities were taking place:
Following the House’s opening investigative hearing into the IRS’s revelation that it gave extra scrutiny to conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, Crowley was asked if he believed Douglas Shulman lied to Congress.
“I think Mr. Shulman did,” said Crowley in an interview with Fox News. “My understanding is that it was common knowledge if they were going after political groups back then.”
Crowley was referencing a 2012 House Ways and Means Committee hearing in which Shulman, in response to questions from Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.), held that the IRS was not targeting specific groups applying for tax-exempt status.
“There’s absolutely no targeting,” said Shulman at the time.
The encounter raised suspicions for Boustany as well, who recounted the incident during the same interview with Crowley.
“He said, absolutely not. He categorically denied it,” recalled Boustany on Friday. “But he was aware of what was going on during this time frame because we know that [a] senior technical advisor had already been sent out to Cincinnati to investigate what was going on and to report back.”
Lying to Congress in the course of a committee hearing and/or investigation is a felony whether under oath or not, which carries a potential five-year sentence. Perhaps Shulman might have some interesting revisions to add to his two earlier appearances before Congress on this matter, especially if it becomes clear that either the Department of Justice or (more likely) a special prosecutor has a room at Club Fed in mind for him.
via Hot Air
(CNSNews.com) – The Internal Revenue Service has given no indication to the House Ways and Means Committee about whether it will respond to the committee’s demand, delivered in writing last Friday, that the agency hand over copies of all internal communications containing the words “tea party,” “patriot,” or “conservative” and the names and titles of all IRS officials involved in discriminating against tea party and conservative groups when they submitted applications for tax-exempt status.
IRS spokesmen also did not respond to repeated emailed and telephone inquiries that CNSNews.com made between Friday afternoon and Tuesday morning asking if the IRS intended to comply with the committee’s demand–and if not, why not.
I expect that as the firestorm heats up, the IRS will release some relatively harmless stuff, and serve up a couple of low-level human sacrifices. Only time will tell if it works.
A limited hangout, or partial hangout, is a public relations or propaganda techniquethat involves the release of previously hidden information in order to prevent a greater exposure of more important details. It takes the form of deception, misdirection, orcoverup often associated with intelligence agencies involving a release or “mea culpa” type of confession of only part of a set of previously hidden sensitive information, that establishes credibility for the one releasing the information who by the very act of confession appears to be “coming clean” and acting with integrity; but in actuality, by withholding key facts, is protecting a deeper operation and those who could be exposed if the whole truth came out. In effect, if an array of offenses or misdeeds is suspected, this confession admits to a lesser offense while covering up the greater ones.
In case you’re wondering how this game is played.
via Daily Pundit.