An interim report from the ongoing House investigation by two committees says IRS senior officials mistreated and targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status up to the presidential election of 2012. They have so far found no direct link to the White House.
While they don’t say this in the report, it is unlikely the heads of the IRS acted on their own without any encouragement from their bosses in the White House.
The report does indicate that the agency took cues from Obama’s criticism of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling: “The rhetoric led the IRS to hold a deeply skeptical view of the merits of applications filed by new conservative groups…Evidence shows an IRS responsive to the partisan policy objectives of the White House and an IRS leadership that coordinates with political appointees of the Obama administration.”
The report, according to The Hill, asserts that the bias proves that the IRS is no longer a neutral tax collector.
Also not mentioned is the lie told by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew who said he first heard about the audit in the news, May 2013, but then admitted it was mid-March 2013 when the Inspector General, J. Russell George, spoke with him. Mr. Lew said he only knew the details May 10th. He did not mention it to Barack Obama according to Lew.
The report says that conservative groups were given improper scrutiny from 2010-2012.
Eight IRS officials were named as having the power to stop the targeting but they didn’t. It included Commissioner Douglas Shulman, Acting Commissioner Steven Miller, and the infamous Lois Lerner, head of the tax-exempt bureau.
The report states that Lerner played a significant role:
Documents show that Lerner played a significant role in the targeting. In the Fall 2010, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, Lerner spoke of the pressure on the IRS to “fix the problem” of political speech by nonprofit groups. In an e-mail to IRS colleagues, she said she wanted to initiate a “c4 project,” and warned her colleagues, “we need to be cautious so it isn’t a per se political project.” In February 2011, Lerner ordered two Tea Party “test” cases, to be scrutinized by IRS official in Washington, D.C., including putting them through a “multi-tier” review and calling them “very dangerous.”
On May 10, 2013, Lerner broke the news of an upcoming Inspector General report and attempted to downplay the misconduct by publicly apologizing for the IRS targeting through a planted question at an obscure Friday morning tax-law panel.
The report states: “Though Miller was never asked as directly as [Commissioner Doug] Shulman about the targeting … Miller likewise never told Congress about the IRS misconduct. Miller’s multiple missed opportunities to tell Congress about the targeting continued the IRS’s pattern of failing to inform Congress.”
The finding involving Miller is just one of several in the report. The writers also determined that the Obama administration’s investigation into the IRS scandal is incomplete and that the administration and IRS have not been entirely cooperative.
“Only a month after Attorney General [Eric] Holder announced the administration’s investigation, then-FBI Director Robert Mueller was unable to answer basic questions about the status,” the report states. “Even as recently as July 2014, after the IRS informed Congress that it had destroyed two years of Lerner’s e-mails, the FBI continued its refusal to provide any information about its investigation.”
Even worse, the Department of Justice was looking for ways to criminally prosecute the tax-exempt groups based on information it received from the IRS.
The DOJ has targeted conservatives before – read more here.
There were never any “rogue agents” in Cincinnati. It was always the result of actions by senior IRS officials, the report states.
The White House Press secretary and IRS director Steve Miller, who repeatedly misled Congress, blamed the IRS targeting of conservatives on two rogue agents in Cincinnati.
Jay Carney, White House spokesperson in 2013:
While they haven’t found a link to the White House, there could be one and most definitely the tone was set by the White House which then covered for the IRS and declared them all innocent on national TV.
In addition to lengthy and unnecessary delays, the IRS asked these groups” to provide lists of their donors, lists of all issues important to the groups, and their positions on each issue. They also asked about the political affiliations of the groups’ leaders, and whether the groups’ leaders have run or will run for public office. These questions went well beyond an objective review of an organization’s qualifications to act as a non-profit and IRS later admitted that they were inappropriate.”
No progressives were targeted.
The 501 (c)(4) and(3) rules are not confusing or difficult to apply, the report said. They’ve been used without any problems for 50 years.
The new proposed rule by the Obama administration would prevent groups organized under a 501(c)(4) from exercising their First Amendment rights to speak and assemble freely.
Rep. Cummings isn’t happy the report was released. He said Democrats didn’t get a chance to vet it.
Newsday said they reviewed 1.3 million pages of documents but the report indicates they reviewed 500,000 pages.
They interviewed 33 IRS employees and 6 Treasury Department employees.
The House Oversight Committee was chaired by Darrel Issa but his tenure has ended and Jason Chaffetz will take over. He has said he will be less confrontational.
The mainstream media is selling this as proof the White House was not involved and the NY Times calls the targeting “lapses”.
The second paragraph of the NY Times article changes the meaning of the report by saying the IRS admitted that before 2012, “…it inappropriately delayed approval of tax exemption applications by groups affiliated with the Tea Party movement, but the I.R.S. and its parent agency, the Treasury Department, have said that the errors were not motivated by partisanship.”
Most of the mainstream has so far ignored the report but they will take their lead from the NY Times, Obama’s state-sponsored media.
Barack Obama will tell you that’s not what happened. There “was not even a smidgeon of corruption,” Obama says.
He also wants us to believe that Shulman never mentioned it when he went to the White House over a hundred times.