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Thread: IRS unfairly targeting Conservatives (Tea Party groups)

  1. #141
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    Default Re: IRS unfairly targeting Conservatives (Tea Party groups)

    News: Watchdog IRS went after 83-year-old Tea Party granny

    May 20, 2013 | 7:46 pm
    132Comments


    Eighty-three-year old great-grandmother Marianne Chiffelle of the Albuguerque Tea Party was a target of the IRS harassment of conservative political groups from 2010 through the 2012 presidential campaign. (Photo New Mexico Watchdog)
    Internal Revenue Service officials not only wanted a wide variety of information from the Albuquerque Tea Party's application for non-profit status, it also wanted to know what contacts it had with people from other political organizations too.



    That included an 83-year-old great-grandmother who was once held in a World War II internment camp, New Mexico Watchdog has discovered.



    "I've always paid my taxes and everything," Marianne Chiffelle told New Mexico Watchdog. "What I do think is, it doesn't surprise me...because of this government we have at the moment."



    According to a review of documents conducted by the online news organization Politico, (in a story headlined "The IRS wants YOU -- to share everything"), the IRS asked the Albuquerque Tea Party about connections to other groups, including "Marianne Chiffelle's Breakfasts."
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    That prompted us to do some digging.



    It took New Mexico Watchdog less than an hour to learn that "Marianne Chiffelle's Breakfasts" is not some restaurant chain, but a reference to the volunteer work of Chiffelle, a retiree who helps organize informal 9 a.m. meetings for members of the Bernalillo County Republican Party.



    The group meets on Fridays at a Golden Corral restaurant. "We've had these meetings for a long time," Chiffelle said. "It's not a business."



    Chiffelle is a naturalized American citizen who was born in what was then called the Dutch East Indies, now known as Indonesia. Her father was an executive for Shell Oil and when World War II broke out Chiffelle was sent to a Japanese internment camp where she spent four years, from age 12 to 16.



    After the war, she moved to the Netherlands and in 1960 she and her late husband immigrated to the United States.



    Since living in Albuquerque, Chiffelle has been active in GOP politics and conservative causes. She helped establish the Children's Freedom Scholarship Fund, which hands out patriotic coloring books to youngsters in the Albuquerque area.



    "The kids don't have any idea, they think freedom is just there for the taking," Chiffelle said.



    The book includes pictures of U.S. presidents and puzzles for kids to learn about U.S. history, as well as essays such as "What Does Freedom Mean to You?"



    New Mexico Watchdog reviewed the coloring book and found nothing advocating for political parties or organizations.



    Recent entries on Chiffelle's Facebook page include a link to a call for cuts in salaries to members of Congress, the vice president and president, as well as a petition to send a sympathy card to those affected by the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.



    While no fan of the Obama administration, Chiffelle says she is no pitchfork-wielding, anti-government type.



    "The fact itself that you have to pay tax(es) to the government is okay," she said. "But the way they interpret it and how many rules there are, that's wrong."



    The IRS is embroiled in a national scandal after revealing that it has targeted tea party and conservative groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for non-profit, 501(c)4 status between 2010 and the 2012 presidential election. The Albuquerque Tea Party is one of the organizations that's been wrangling with the IRS since 2009.



    "They (the IRS) have a job to do, I understand that," Albuquerque Tea Party President Rick Harbaugh told New Mexico Watchdog. "I think they overstepped that a lot."



    The Politico story mentioned the IRS also wanted the Albuquerque Tea Party to supply more information about a group called Conspiracy Brews.



    An Internet search revealed that Conspiracy Brews is a weekly meeting of Albuquerque political types that was founded by Janice Arnold-Jones -- a former Republican nominee for Congress, member of the state legislature and current Albuquerque City Council member.



    "It's just a discussion group," Arnold-Jones said. "When the group named itself, it was done in the interests of a conspiracy for good government...it leans conservative but it's an interesting mix of people. Our only rule is, when people speak you have to listen."



    "I attended just one meeting," Harbaugh said.



    The website design for Conspiracy Brews is simple and New Mexico Watchdog found no anti-government rhetoric on the site.
    Arnold-Jones said she does not lead the group and it's "not a taxable entity of any sort."



    New Mexico Watchdog counted 25 attendees at the group's weekly Saturday meeting, including Chiffelle, who is a regular.
    The Politico story mentioning Conspiracy Brews and Chiffelle prompted some jokes but also some serious discussion.
    "The part I'm not delighted about," Arnold-Jones said, "is the fact that the IRS is picking and choosing (whom to investigate) ... I think this is an incredible erosion of trust."
    As for Chiffelle, having her name mentioned as part of the IRS investigation has drawn more attention than she's accustomed to but she seemed genuinely unperturbed.
    "Don't cut me short," Chiffelle said. "I was a prisoner of war in the Second World War. If the Japanese couldn't kill me, no one else can. That's my philosophy. If something is unfair, I will fight to the death...Nothing upsets me. But I'll do something about it."
    Go here for more on this story.
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  2. #142
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    Default Re: IRS unfairly targeting Conservatives (Tea Party groups)

    Former IRS commissioner heads to Hill amid scandal
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    May 21, 3:38 AM (ET)

    By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER and ALAN FRAM

    (AP) In this Aug. 2, 2012, file photo, then-Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Douglas Shulman...
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    WASHINGTON (AP) - Lawmakers are getting their first chance to question the former head of the Internal Revenue Service, the man who ran the agency when agents were improperly targeting tea party groups.

    Some of the questions on Tuesday will be direct: What did you know, and when did you know it?

    They also want to know why former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman didn't tell Congress that agents had been singling out conservative political groups for additional scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status - even after he was briefed.

    Shulman, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, left the IRS in November when his five-year term ended. He could prove to be a significant player in a scandal that has driven the Obama administration to distraction. Shulman is testifying before the Senate Finance Committee, which has launched a bipartisan investigation into the matter.

    On Monday, the White House revealed that chief of staff Denis McDonough and other senior presidential advisers knew in late April that an upcoming inspector general's report was likely to find that IRS employees had inappropriately targeted conservative political groups.

    The White House says McDonough and the other advisers did not tell President Barack Obama about the impending report, leaving him to learn the results from news reports on May 10. White House press secretary Jay Carney said Obama was comfortable with the fact that "some matters are not appropriate to convey to him, and this is one of them."

    A Treasury official also disclosed Monday that the department told the White House twice in late April about IRS plans to address the targeting publicly, including during congressional testimony and a possible speech by Lois Lerner, the head of the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups. White House deputy chief of staff Mark Childress and Treasury chief of staff Mark Patterson were in communication on the matter, as were lawyers at the White House and Treasury.

    However, the official said Treasury did not tell the White House about Lerner's eventual decision to apologize for the targeting at a conference on May 10. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and insisted on anonymity.

    The IRS is an independent agency within the Treasury Department. Because of that independent status, the official said Treasury deferred to the IRS in its decision about how to make the targeting public.

    A new poll by the Pew Research Center says 42 percent of adults think the Obama administration was involved in targeting conservative groups. Thirty-one percent said the decision was made by IRS employees, while the rest said they didn't know.

    On Monday, the panel's top two members raised questions about the agency's rationale for why agents targeted conservative groups in the first place. IRS officials have said the agency was facing a large increase in the number of applications for tax-exempt status, so agents adopted inappropriate shortcuts to identify groups that may be involved in political activity.

    But at the time when agents started targeting conservative groups, the number of applications was relatively flat, according to a report by the agency's inspector general.

    Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, the ranking Republican, sent a letter to the agency Monday, asking for an explanation. The letter included 41 separate requests for information. They gave the IRS until May 31 to respond.

    The two senators said the IRS had not been forthcoming about the issue in the past.

    "Targeting applicants for tax-exempt status using political labels threatens to undermine the public's trust in the IRS," Baucus and Hatch wrote. "Lack of candor in advising the Senate of this practice is equally troubling."

    For more than a year, from 2011 through the 2012 election, members of Congress repeatedly asked Shulman about complaints from tea party groups that they were being harassed by the IRS.

    Shulman's responses, usually relayed by a deputy, did not acknowledge that agents had ever targeted tea party groups for special scrutiny. At a congressional hearing March 22, 2012, Shulman was adamant in his denials.

    "There's absolutely no targeting. This is the kind of back and forth that happens to people" who apply for tax-exempt status, Shulman said at the House Ways and Means subcommittee hearing.

    The IRS has said Shulman did not know about the targeting at the time of the hearing.

    The agency's inspector general says he told Shulman on May 30, 2012, that his office was auditing the way applications for tax-exempt status were being handled, in part because of complaints from conservative groups. However, the inspector general, J. Russell George, said he did not reveal the results of his investigation.

    George was also testifying at Tuesday's hearing. So was Steven Miller, who took over as acting commissioner in November, when Shulman's term expired. Last week, Obama forced Miller to resign.

    George issued a report last week blaming ineffective management for allowing agents to inappropriately target conservative groups for more than 18 months during the 2010 and 2012 elections.

    The agents were trying to determine whether the groups were engaged in political activity. Certain tax-exempt groups are allowed to engage in politics, but politics cannot be their primary mission. It is up to the IRS to make the determination, so agents are supposed to look for clues when reviewing applications for tax-exempt status.

    In March 2010, agents starting singling out groups with "Tea Party" or "Patriots" on their applications. By August 2010, it was part of the written criteria for identifying groups that required more scrutiny, according to George's report.

    Agents did not flag similar progressive or liberal labels, though some liberal groups received additional scrutiny because their applications were singled out for other reasons, the report said.

    ---

    AP White House Correspondent Julie Pace contributed to this report.
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    Default Re: IRS unfairly targeting Conservatives (Tea Party groups)

    IRS targeted conservative college interns
    10:36 PM 05/20/2013

    Patrick Howley
    Investigative Reporter

    The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) demanded information about conservative groups’ college-aged interns, prompting outrage from one of the country’s top conservative activist organizations and leading one former intern to wonder whether his family’s pizza parlor would be endangered.

    The IRS requested, in an audit, the names of the conservative Leadership Institute’s 2008 interns, as well as specific information about their internship work and where the interns were employed in 2012, according to a document request the IRS sent to the Leadership Institute, dated February 14, 2012.

    The IRS requested:

    “Copies of applications for internships and summer programs; to include: lists of those selected for internships and students in 2008.
    – In regards to such internships, please provide information regarding where the interns physically worked and how the placement was arranged.
    – After completing internships and courses, where were the students and interns employed?”

    The Arlington, Virginia-based Leadership Institute is a conservative activist training organization founded in 1979 by Virginia Republican National Committeeman Morton C. Blackwell, the youngest elected delegate to the 1964 Republican convention that nominated Barry Goldwater. The institute was audited in 2011. As The Daily Caller has reported, at least two different IRS offices made a concerted effort to obtain the group’s training materials.

    The Leadership Institute’s audit, which was conducted by the IRS’ Baltimore office and which ended with no determination of wrongdoing but cost the conservative group $50,000 in legal fees, only covered the year 2008, leading employees to speculate that the IRS’ primary interest was figuring out how the group operates during a presidential election year.

    “They were very interested in seeing what conservative organizations were doing in 2008, and where the interns from 2008 were now employed,” Leadership Institute vice president of programs David Fenner told the Daily Caller, adding that he “absolutely” believed the IRS audited information from 2008 because it was an election year.

    “We declined to give them the names” of former interns, Fenner said.

    “When you’re audited, you’re not told why you’re being audited. So the first round of questions are pretty basic and general. In the subsequent rounds they asked invasive questions. Those are the questions we declined to answer. It’s none of their business, and it’s not part of a legitimate audit,” Fenner said.

    “It has the feel of a watch list,” Fenner added.

    2008 Leadership Institute intern Shane McGonigal, who is now a Leadership Institute regional field coordinator, said that he feared his family’s pizza parlor could be jeopardized by the IRS’ audit.

    “It didn’t just affect me, it affected my family too,” McGonigal, who was a 21-year old Virginia college student during his 2008 internship, told TheDC.

    “My family opened up a CiCi’s pizza franchise in Virginia, where i was employed after my internship,” McGonigal said, adding that he was relived the Leadership Institute did not disclose his post-internship employer to the IRS.

    “They could have audited my family’s business,” McGonigal said. “I was very concerned.”

    The IRS also demanded information on the high school and college students trained by the conservative group Linchpins of Liberty.

    Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2013/05/20/ir...#ixzz2Twc0GIA9
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    Default Re: IRS unfairly targeting Conservatives (Tea Party groups)

    IRS official calls decision to use planted question on scandal 'incredibly bad idea'

    Published May 21, 2013

    FoxNews.com

    The outgoing IRS commissioner expressed regret Tuesday for a decision to use a planted question to go public with the agency's practice of targeting conservative groups, calling the move "an incredibly bad idea."

    Steven Miller, appearing on the Hill for a second hearing in two weeks on the scandal, acknowledged that the agency was trying to get ahead of a damning investigative report at the time. As was confirmed over the weekend, he admitted the agency had a question planted at a conference two Fridays ago -- a senior IRS official, in response to the question, then confessed to a long-running program that singled out conservative groups for additional scrutiny.

    "Obviously the entire thing was an incredibly bad idea," Miller said.

    Miller explained that the agency had been trying to brief lawmakers on the Hill, in advance of the release of the inspector general report. But that "did not work out," he said, so they used the planted question.

    "The report was coming, we knew that," he told the Senate Finance Committee.

    The issue raised more questions for lawmakers about the way in which the agency addressed public concerns about the screening program. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, criticized the IRS for using the planted question to come forward, suggesting it compounded the problems with the agency's response.

    In a tense round of questioning, Hatch also asked why neither Miller nor former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman acknowledged the program before -- Congress had been asking about the allegations since 2012.

    Shulman claimed he did not have a "full set of facts," but said he was aware in the spring of 2012 there was an internal list that included the term "Tea Party." That list was used as the basis for singling out some groups applying for tax-exempt status. Shulman also said he did not know how the controversial program started, adding that lower-level officials "should have run up the chain" their knowledge about the program earlier.

    "You should have corrected the record, and you should have done it long before today," Hatch said.

    He also accused Miller of lying when he didn't acknowledge the program in letters to Congress last year, despite being aware of it.

    "That's a lie by omission, there's no question about that in my mind," Hatch said.

    Miller, as he claimed last week, said he "did not lie."

    The hearing followed one by the House oversight committee last week; they are likely just the first of several as committees begin to investigate the IRS program.

    "The IRS abandoned good judgment and lost the public's trust," said Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, at the start of Tuesday's hearing.

    Hatch, the top Republican on the panel, alleged that officials didn't decide to come clean until the investigative report was imminent and "their hand was forced."

    "Were they simply holding out until after the election?" Hatch asked.

    It was the first time lawmakers were able to question Shulman, the man who ran the IRS when agents were improperly targeting Tea Party groups.

    The Senate Finance Committee, which has launched a bipartisan probe, was also hearing from Inspector General J. Russell George.

    Shulman faced scrutiny, after having told a House committee in March 2012 there was "absolutely no targeting" by the IRS of conservative organizations. Shulman, who was appointed by President George W. Bush, left the IRS in November when his five-year term ended.

    The hearing comes after White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Monday that the president's counsel was told on April 24 about the preliminary findings of an IRS audit that showed tax officials unfairly targeted Tea Party groups. Senior legal counsel Kathryn Ruemmler was told about the audit on April 24, Carney said Monday. She then told Denis McDonough, Obama's chief of staff and other senior officials about the investigation.

    "It was the judgment of counsel this is not a matter she should convey to the president," Carney said.

    Carney also said while Ruemmler knew the subject of the investigation and potential findings, they were not given a draft of the report and understood details could change.

    Ahead of the hearing, Baucus and Hatch sent a letter to the IRS Monday, asking for an explanation. The letter included 41 separate requests for information. They gave the IRS until May 31 to respond.

    The two senators said the IRS had not been forthcoming about the issue in the past.

    "Targeting applicants for tax-exempt status using political labels threatens to undermine the public's trust in the IRS," Baucus and Hatch wrote. "Lack of candor in advising the Senate of this practice is equally troubling."

    For more than a year, from 2011 through the 2012 election, members of Congress repeatedly asked Shulman about complaints from Tea Party groups that they were being harassed by the IRS.

    Shulman's responses, usually relayed by a deputy, did not acknowledge that agents had ever targeted Tea Party groups for special scrutiny. At a congressional hearing March 22, 2012, Shulman was adamant in his denials.

    "There's absolutely no targeting. This is the kind of back and forth that happens to people" who apply for tax-exempt status, Shulman said at the House Ways and Means subcommittee hearing.

    The IRS has said Shulman did not know about the targeting at the time of the hearing.

    The agency's inspector general says he told Shulman on May 30, 2012, that his office was auditing the way applications for tax-exempt status were being handled, in part because of complaints from conservative groups. However, the inspector general said he did not reveal the results of his investigation.

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013...#ixzz2TwhGrWPY
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    Default Re: IRS unfairly targeting Conservatives (Tea Party groups)

    Former IRS commissioner 'dismayed' by inspector general's report



    J. Russell George, Steven T. Miller, Douglas Shulman

    Left to right, J. Russell George, Treasury inspector general for tax administration; acting IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller; and former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman are sworn in prior to testifying before the Senate Finance Committee. (Win McNamee / Getty Images / May 21, 2013)

    Related photos サ

    President Obama's scandal-filled week Photos: President Obama's scandal-filled week
    Document: Inspector general's report on the IRS Document: Inspector general's report on the IRS
    White House officials knew of IRS audit findings weeks in advance White House officials knew of IRS audit findings weeks in advance
    Crossroads GPS believes it is under IRS scrutiny Crossroads GPS believes it is under IRS scrutiny
    IRS tea party targeting "scandal" does not live up to the name IRS tea party targeting "scandal" does not live up to the name

    By Michael A. Memoli, Matea Gold and Melanie Mason

    May 21, 2013, 8:36 a.m.

    WASHINGTON -- The former top official of the Internal Revenue Service told senators Tuesday he was “dismayed and saddened” by an inspector general’s report detailing how, during his tenure as IRS commissioner, the agency inappropriately scrutinized targeted conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.

    Douglas Shulman, who ran the agency for five years before retiring in November 2012, appeared before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday morning, along with Steven T. Miller, who succeeded him as acting IRS chief, and J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration. It was the second congressional appearance for Miller and George, who testified before the House Ways and Means committee on the matter last week.

    Shulman, in his opening remarks, depicted the IRS as burdened with myriad responsibilities, such as assisting in stimulus efforts and cracking down on tax evasion as well as revenue collection.

    DOCUMENT: The Inspector General’s report on the IRS

    “Given the challenges the agency faces, it does its job in an admirable way the great majority of the time. Men and women of the IRS are hardworking, honest public servants,” Shulman said. “While the inspector general’s report did not indicate that there was any political motivation involved, the actions outlined in the report have justifiably led to questions about the fairness of the approach taken here. The effect has been bad for the agency and bad for the American taxpayer.”

    Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) asked Miller and Shulman why firmer action wasn't taken to address alleged political targeting. Both men denied knowledge of inappropriate activity. Shulman also said he could not answer how a "culture of indifference," as Baucus put it, came to be at the agency.

    "This is outrageous," Baucus said. "Any person can figure out this is unacceptable conduct."

    Both top IRS officials suggested that the fiasco was the fault of lower-ranking managers in the agency who failed to recognize the severity of the problem.

    “I agree that this is an issue that when someone spotted it, they should have run up the chain, and they didn’t,” Shulman said.

    In a response to scolding by the senators on the panel, Miller said, “I’m not going to disagree with your characterization at all of bad management here.”

    PHOTOS: President Obama’s rough week



    The Senate hearing marks the first chance lawmakers have had to interrogate Shulman, who was leading the agency at the time the inappropriate screenings and inquiries occurred. In an appearance before a House subcommittee on March 21, 2012, Shulman assured members that the IRS was not singling out conservative groups.

    “There is absolutely no targeting,” Shulman said then. “This is the kind of back and forth that happens when people apply for 501(c)(4) status.”

    On Tuesday, the panel’s top Republican, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, repeatedly pressed Shulman and Miller about why they did not inform Congress about the problems once they learned what was going on in the Cincinnati office.

    Shulman said he learned in the “spring of 2012” that agents were using a list that included terms such as “tea party” to flag groups for additional examination. But he said he didn’t know “the scope and severity” of the practice, and that he took what he thought was the “proper step” by leaving the matter up to the inspector general to investigate. Until the audit came out last week, “I did not have a full set of facts,” he told the panel.

    Hatch then grilled Miller on what the lawmaker charged was his lack of transparency, saying he told “a lie by omission.”

    “I did not lie,” Miller maintained, adding: “We were not politically motivated in targeting conservative groups.”

    Miller also acknowledged that he and Lois Lerner, who oversaw the agency’s exempt-organizations division, erred when they tried to get ahead of the inspector general's report by planting a question about the issue at an American Bar Assn. meeting on May 10, calling the idea in retrospect “an incredibly bad idea.”

    Baucus, in his opening remarks, noted that George’s report “raises many unanswered questions,” such as the nature of the other groups subject to intensive screening by the agency’s Cincinnati field office.

    On Monday, Baucus and Hatch sent a letter to Miller requesting that the agency turn over a list of all charities, social welfare organizations, unions and trade groups targeted for extra scrutiny, as well as copies of all requests the IRS sent those groups for information about donors, volunteers and political activities since Feb. 1, 2010.

    In all, Baucus and Hatch requested information on 41 topics, including any communications between IRS employees and President Obama or other White House officials on the matter.

    “One way or another, we’re going to learn the facts about what went on here,” Hatch said in his opening statement. “I hope that we can do so with the full and complete cooperation of the Obama administration.”
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    Default Re: IRS unfairly targeting Conservatives (Tea Party groups)

    This just in...



    Lois Lerner....


    Planning to plead 5th Amendment!

    The controversy surrounding the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of tea-party groups will consume Capitol Hill for a second straight week. These are the key names to know to keep up with the fast-moving scandal, with hearings set Tuesday in the Senate and Wednesday in the House:
    Lois Lerner

    Lerner heads the exempt organizations division for the IRS. She’s the most embattled figure in the IRS scandal who is still clinging to a job.

    Lerner is the one who first disclosed the inappropriate targeting of conservative groups on May 10 at what appeared, at first, to be an impromptu question-and-answer session at a conference. Nope: It turns out she had had the question planted. What has really galled Congress is that Lerner appeared before the House Ways and Means Committee just two days earlier and failed to mention anything, even though she had been questioned about the tax authorities’ handling of 501(c)(4) applications.

    Her critics are on both sides of the aisle. “This is wholly unacceptable, and one of the reasons we believe Ms. Lerner should be relieved of her duties,” Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan, the top Democrat on Ways and Means, said on Friday.

    House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., wrote in a letter to Lerner last week, “It appears that you provided false or misleading information on four separate occasions last year.” And Issa suggested she may have more to worry about than her job, noting that misleading Congress “is a serious matter, with potential criminal liability.” (On Monday, The Washington Post awarded Lerner a “bushel of Pinocchios” for her misstatements.)

    Issa will helm the gavel as Lerner makes her post-scandal debut at his committee Wednesday.
    Last edited by American Patriot; May 21st, 2013 at 20:29.
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    Default Re: IRS unfairly targeting Conservatives (Tea Party groups)

    Here you go, so you don't think I made this crap up:

    IRS Official Lois Lerner Will Plead The 5th Amendment


    Lois Lerner, the official in charge of the exempt organizations division at center of the targeting scandal plaguing the Internal Revenue Service, plans to invoke the Fifth Amendment, refusing to testify before a House oversight hearing this week.


    “She has not committed any crime or made any misrepresentation but under the circumstances she has no choice but to take this course,” an attorney for Lerner told committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) in a letter obtained Tuesday by the Los Angeles Times.


    Since she intends not to answer questions, the letter requests Lerner be exempt from the Wednesday hearing because her appearance would “have no purpose other than to embarrass or burden her.”


    Lerner initially revealed during a Q&A session in Washington that Internal Revenue Service agents employed at the Cincinnati branch office improperly scrutinized conservative non-profit groups for additional reviews from 2010 to 2012. Lerner only recently disclosed that the question was planted, however.


    Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller, who was asked to step down following the controversy, said it was his idea to disclose the information in such a manner.


    "I will take responsibility for that," Miller told a congressional hearing on Tuesday. "The entire thing was an incredibly bad idea."


    White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters Monday that senior administration officials did discuss the matter with Treasury officials, but ultimately deferred to the department because an inspector general audit was not yet complete.


    "There were communications with Treasury and [White House] counsel to understand the anticipated timing of the release of the report and the potential findings by the IG," Carney said.


    On Tuesday, Carney added that Treasury officials discussed the public rollout with White House staff in more detail. Per Politico:
    There was "discussion about the possibility of a speech" by Lois Lerner, who oversaw the IRS's work on tax-exempt groups, Carney said, and conversation about testimony by the acting commissioner of the agency and "what he would say" if asked about the issue.


    Mark Childress, a deputy White House chief of staff, was the person who interacted with Treasury, Carney said.
    The White House maintains that senior aides, including Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, did not inform President Barack Obama of the impending investigation at the direction of general counsel Kathy Ruemmler, believing it would have been inappropriate before the findings were finalized.
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    Default Re: IRS unfairly targeting Conservatives (Tea Party groups)

    How convenient! IRS’ Lois Lerner will reportedly plead the Fifth before Congress; Update: Issa issues subpoena

    Posted at 4:10 pm on May 21, 2013 by Twitchy Staff | View Comments
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    Is she sure it's the Fifth? #NotGoodAtMath MT @FreeBeacon: Top IRS official Lois Lerner to invoke 5th Amdt

    Joshua Sharf (@joshuasharf) May 21, 2013
    The House Oversight Committee is set to resume its hearing on the IRS scandal, but the congressmen aren’t likely to learn much from Lois Lerner. The mathematically-challenged head of the IRS’ exempt organizations division will reportedly invoke the Fifth Amendment.


    From a letter sent by Lerner’s defense attorney William Taylor III to Rep. Darrell Issa, via the Los Angeles Times:


    “She has not committed any crime or made any misrepresentation but under the circumstances she has no choice but to take this course,” said a letter by Taylor to committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa, R-Calif.


    Yeah. Given the growing sinkhole that is the IRS scandal, we’re sure she’s got nothing to hide.
    How can an IRS official invoke the 5th if she had nothing to do with it? They must have an expansive view of "self" at the IRS.—
    Political Math (@politicalmath) May 21, 2013
    If Lerner testified to the House, she’d have to lie; what a paper trail this must be, since clearly they fear perjury later.—
    the eye (@ShannonPoe) May 21, 2013
    "There is no there, there." That's why an IRS official is pleading the Fifth.—
    (@jimgeraghty) May 21, 2013
    LOLis LOLner—
    Jason Pye (@jaseliberty) May 21, 2013
    Well. This seems innocent. "@NRO The IRS's Lois Lerner is pleading the Fifth, won't testify before Congress tomorrow: ow.ly/lg2L8
    Darla (@DarlaK2011) May 21, 2013
    "Heckuva job, Lerney." #IRS #Obamacare
    Razor (@hale_razor) May 21, 2013
    Lois Lerner invoking a Constitutional right. BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Delicious!—
    Michelle Ray (@GaltsGirl) May 21, 2013
    Isn’t the Constitution great?
    Lois Lerner invoking 5th Amendment. So she follows the Constitution when it benefits her.—
    Lloyd Christmis (@LloydChristmis) May 21, 2013
    @jimgeraghty Violator of 1st, 4th and 14th pleads 5th.—
    Matthew Burtner (@MforestB) May 21, 2013
    That’s a pretty neat trick. Wish we could try it.
    When IRS asks me how much I made last year, I want to refuse to answer on the grounds I may incriminate myself.—
    Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) May 21, 2013
    Lois Lerner can take the fifth, but people that the #IRS harasses don't get that luxury. WTF is that all about?—
    RB (@RBPundit) May 21, 2013
    Sure doesn’t seem fair, does it?


    ***


    Update:


    The National Journal reports that Rep. Issa has issued a subpoena for Lerner to appear:
    Issa going to subpoena Lerner anyway. Good. nationaljournal.com/congress/top-i…
    Allahpundit (@allahpundit) May 21, 2013
    In his letter to Rep. Issa, Taylor had asked that Lerner be excused from tomorrow’s hearing. Too bad.
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    Default Re: IRS unfairly targeting Conservatives (Tea Party groups)

    Report: IRS official to plead the Fifth before House Oversight panel

    By Peter Schroeder - 05/21/13 03:43 PM ET
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    The Internal Revenue Service official at the center of the Tea Party targeting controversy will reportedly refuse to answer questions from lawmakers Wednesday.Lois Lerner, the head of the exempt organizations division of the IRS, will exercise her rights under the Fifth Amendment if forced to appear before the House Oversight Committee as scheduled Wednesday, according to her attorney.


    The Los Angeles Times obtained a copy of the letter, sent to Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) by William W. Taylor 3rd, which states that Lerner has not committed a crime or lied in any way, but has "no choice but to take this course."








    Lerner set off the controversy that has dominated Washington for nearly two weeks when she apologized for IRS employees improperly targeting Tea Party groups that had applied for a tax exemption.

    Lerner is slated to appear before the investigatory panel alongside former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, Treasury watchdog J. Russell George, and Treasury Deputy Secretary Neal Wolin. However, Taylor argued in the letter, sent Monday, that Lerner should not appear since she will not answer questions. Making her sit before the panel under those circumstances would "have no purpose other than to embarrass or burden her," he argued.


    According to the Treasury inspector general's report, Lerner discovered IRS employees in a Cincinnati office were improperly targeting Tea Party groups for added scrutiny in June 2011. She directed the guidelines be changed, but other IRS employees again altered the terms without her authorization.


    Lerner, among other IRS employees, has faced harsh criticism on Capitol Hill, as lawmakers argue that she misled them by not disclosing the targeting, even as several committees asked about the IRS's processing of applications for tax-exemption.


    Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-mone...#ixzz2Txf1V8Uo
    Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook
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    Default Re: IRS unfairly targeting Conservatives (Tea Party groups)

    Top IRS Official at Center of Political Targeting Scandal Will Plead the Fifth

    May. 21, 2013 3:57pm Becket Adams


    Lois Lerner, the top IRS official who acknowledged two weeks while “apologizing” to a planted question that the Internal Revenue Service had been targeting conservative groups, has invoked her Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, according to a letter obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
    From the report:
    A top IRS official in the division that reviews nonprofit groups will invoke the Fifth Amendment and refuse to answer questions before a House committee investigating the agency’s improper screening of conservative nonprofit groups.


    Lois Lerner, the head of the exempt organizations division of the IRS, won’t answer questions about what she knew about the improper screening – or why she didn’t reveal it to Congress, according to a letter from her defense lawyer, William W. Taylor 3rd.


    Lerner was scheduled to appear before the House Oversight committee Wednesday.
    “She has not committed any crime or made any misrepresentation but under the circumstances she has no choice but to take this course,” Taylor said in a letter addressed to committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa, R-Calif.


    Her lawyer said that the DOJ has “launched a criminal investigation,” and that the House committee has asked Lerner to explain why she provided “false or misleading information” to the committee four times last year, the L.A. Times notes.


    But because Lerner has decided to remain silent on the subject, her lawyer has asked that she be excused from Wednesday’s hearing because it would “have no purpose other than to embarrass or burden her.”


    As of this writing, it’s not clear whether the committee will agree to Lerner’s request.


    Lerner discovered in June 2011 that the IRS was targeting groups that used terms like “Tea Party” and “Patriots,” according to the IG’s report.


    However, Lerner failed to mention the political intimidation in 2012 when she participated in several Congressional hearings.
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    Default Re: IRS unfairly targeting Conservatives (Tea Party groups)

    The IRS Doesn't Know How to Hide Bad News

    Associated Press



    Elspeth Reeve 4:22 PM ET
    Lois Lerner will plead the Fifth on Wednesday before a congressional committee investigating the IRS's targeting of conservative groups. Lerner broke the news of the scandal — even to President Obama! — by planting a question with an audience member when she gave a speech at a tax lawyers' conference on May 10. In hindsight, that strategy for releasing the news does not look like it was a great idea. In a letter, the Los Angeles Times' Richard Simon and Joseph Tanfani report, Lerner's lawyer says that she won't answer questions about the treatment of Tea Party groups, or why she didn't inform Congress first. And since she'll be giving no new information, her lawyer says, Lerner should be excused from the hearing, because it would "have no purpose other than to embarrass or burden her."



    In Senate testimony on Tuesday, outgoing IRS commissioner Steve Miller said he took responsibility for planting the question. "We thought we'd get out an apology," he said. "Obviously, the entire thing was an incredibly bad idea." Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said he wasn't asked about the disclosure strategy. "I would have advised against doing that, but it was a decision for the IRS to make," Lew said. The person who asked the question, tax lawyer Celia Roady, said Lerner had called her beforehand and asked her to ask about it. They didn't discuss what Lerner would say. Last week, as Washington reacted to her planted question, Lerner was in Canada. Poor IRS. They picked the right timing, by classic Washington standards — Friday afternoon. But the choice in method of disclosure was flawed.
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    Default Re: IRS unfairly targeting Conservatives (Tea Party groups)

    White House: Obama Was Kept in Dark About IRS

    By Kenneth T. Walsh

    May 21, 2013 RSS Feed Print


    White House Press Secretary Jay Carney speaks during his daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, May, 14, 2013.


    Congressional investigators are asking the old Watergate question – what did the president know and when did he know it – about the Internal Revenue Service's improper targeting of conservative groups for special scrutiny when they sought tax-exempt status.

    But the startling revelation of the past 24 hours is the opposite concern – what the president didn't know and how long he didn't know it. And therein lies a big problem for the White House.

    It turns out that senior White House officials intentionally kept the president in the dark, even though the IRS misconduct was sure to be a major controversy that could seriously damage his administration and undermine trust in government.

    Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Monday that a number of key advisers knew that the IRS was investigating the potential misconduct, including White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, who was informed a month ago, and White House legal counsel Kathryn Ruemmler, who learned of it April 24.

    [READ: Ousted IRS Director Miller: 'I Never Said I Didn't Do Anything Wrong']

    But Carney defended keeping the president ignorant of the potential scandal. "It is entirely appropriate that the president not be notified," of such an ongoing investigation, he said.

    Obama has insisted that he learned of the potential scandal from the news media last week.

    It's all part of the isolation of the presidency that I write about in my new book, "Prisoners of the White House: The Isolation of America's Presidents and the Crisis of Leadership."

    Even though President Obama tries to stay in touch with the country beyond the Washington Beltway, he is surrounded, as all presidents are, by idolizers who try to shield him. History shows that no matter how much a president urges his staff to speak candidly to him, there is always a tendency for the staff to protect him instead.

    [READ: Isolation a Threat to Modern Presidency]

    The current situation appears to be a case study of a White House staff shielding a president from negative and unsettling news that he should have known about.

    ==================================================




    Top IRS official will invoke 5th Amendment

    By Richard Simon and Joseph Tanfani May 21, 2013, 1:17 p.m.

    WASHINGTON — A top IRS official in the division that reviews nonprofit groups will invoke the 5th Amendment and refuse to answer questions before a House committee investigating the agency’s improper screening of conservative nonprofit groups.


    Lois Lerner, the head of the exempt organizations division of the IRS, won’t answer questions about what she knew about the improper screening — or why she didn’t disclose it to Congress, according to a letter from her defense lawyer, William W. Taylor III. Lerner was scheduled to appear before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday.

    “She has not committed any crime or made any misrepresentation but under the circumstances she has no choice but to take this course,” said a letter by Taylor to committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Vista). The letter, sent Monday, was obtained Tuesday by the Los Angeles Times.

    DOCUMENT: Inspector General's IRS report

    Taylor, a criminal defense attorney from the Washington firm Zuckerman Spaeder, said that the Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation, and that the House committee has asked Lerner to explain why she provided “false or misleading information” to the committee four times last year.

    Since Lerner won’t answer questions, Taylor asked that she be excused from appearing, saying that would “have no purpose other than to embarrass or burden her.” There was no immediate word whether the committee will grant her request.

    PHOTOS: President Obama’s scandal-filled week

    According to an inspector general’s report, Lerner found out in June 2011 that some staff in the nonprofits division in Cincinnati had used terms such as “Tea Party” and “Patriots” to select some applications for additional screening of their political activities. She ordered changes.

    But neither Lerner nor anyone else at the IRS told Congress, even after repeated queries from several committees, including the House Oversight panel, about whether some groups had been singled out unfairly.

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    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
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    添ou Americans are so gullible.
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    Default Re: IRS unfairly targeting Conservatives (Tea Party groups)

    Obama and the IRS: The Smoking Gun?

    By Jeffrey Lord on 5.20.13 @ 6:11AM

    President met with anti-Tea Party IRS union chief the day before agency targeted Tea Party.




    “For me, it’s about collaboration.” — National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley on the relationship between the anti-Tea Party IRS union and the Obama White House

    Is President Obama directly implicated in the IRS scandal?

    Is the White House Visitors Log the trail to the smoking gun?

    The stunning questions are raised by the following set of new facts.

    March 31, 2010.

    According to the White House Visitors Log, provided here in searchable form by U.S. News and World Report, the president of the anti-Tea Party National Treasury Employees Union, Colleen Kelley, visited the White House at 12:30pm that Wednesday noon time of March 31st.

    The White House lists the IRS union leader’s visit this way:
    Kelley, Colleen Potus 03/31/2010 12:30
    In White House language, “POTUS” stands for “President of the United States.”

    The very next day after her White House meeting with the President, according to the Treasury Department’s Inspector General’s Report, IRS employees — the same employees who belong to the NTEU — set to work in earnest targeting the Tea Party and conservative groups around America. The IG report wrote it up this way:

    April 1-2, 2010: The new Acting Manager, Technical Unit, suggested the need for a Sensitive Case Report on the Tea Party cases. The Determinations Unit Program Manager Agreed.
    In short: the very day after the president of the quite publicly anti-Tea Party labor union — the union for IRS employees — met with President Obama, the manager of the IRS “Determinations Unit Program agreed” to open a “Sensitive Case report on the Tea party cases.” As stated by the IG report.

    The NTEU is the 150,000 member union that represents IRS employees along with 30 other separate government agencies. Kelley herself is a 14-year IRS veteran agent. The union’s PAC endorsed President Obama in both 2008 and 2012, and gave hundreds of thousands of dollars in the 2010 and 2012 election cycles to anti-Tea Party candidates.

    Putting IRS employees in the position of actively financing anti-Tea Party candidates themselves, while in their official positions in the IRS blocking, auditing, or intimidating Tea Party and conservative groups around the country.

    The IG report contained a timeline prepared by examining internal IRS e-mails. The IG report did not examine White House Visitor Logs, e-mails, or phone records relating to the relationship between the IRS union, the IRS, and the White House.

    In fact, this record in the White House Visitors Log of a 12:30 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 meeting between President Obama and the IRS union’s Kelley was not unusual.

    On yet another occasion, Kelley’s presence at the White House was followed shortly afterwards by the President issuing Executive Order 13522. A presidential directive that gave the anti-Tea Party NTEU — the IRS union — a greater role in the day-to-day operation of the IRS than it had already — which was considerable.

    Kelley is recorded as visiting the White House over a year earlier, listed in this fashion:

    Kelley, Colleen Potus/Flotus 12/03/2009 18:30
    The inclusion of “FLOTUS” — First Lady Michelle Obama — and the 6:30 pm time of the December event on this entry in the Visitors Log indicates this was the White House Christmas Party held that evening and written up here in the Chicago Sun-Times. The Sun-Times focused on party guests from the President’s home state of Illinois and did not mention Kelley. Notably, the Illinois guests, who are reported to have attended the same party as Kelley, included what the paper described as four labor “activists”: Dennis Gannon of the Chicago Federation of Labor, Tom Balanoff of the Service Employees International Union, Henry Tamarin of UNITE, and Ron Powell of the United Food and Commercial Workers.

    Six days following Kelley’s attendance at the White House Christmas party with labor activists like herself, the President issued Executive Order 13522 (text found here, with an explanation here). The Executive Order, titled: “Creating Labor-Management Forums To Improve Delivery of Government Services” applied across the federal government and included the IRS. The directive was designed to:

    Allow employees and unions to have pre-decisional involvement in all workplace matters….
    However else this December 2009 Executive Order can be described, the directive was a serious grant of authority within the IRS to the powerful anti-Tea Party union. A union that by this time already had the clout to determine the rules for IRS employees, right down to who would be allowed a Blackberry or what size office the employee was entitled to. The same union that would shortly be doling out serious 2010 (and later 2012) campaign contributions to anti-Tea Party candidates with money supplied from IRS employees. The union, as noted last week here in this space, already has the authority to decide all manner of IRS matters, right down to who does and does not get a Blackberry.

    It is the same union whose IRS employee-members were being urged in 2012 by Senate Democrats (Chuck Schumer, Al Franken, Max Baucus, and others) to target Tea Party and other conservative groups.

    Which, as the IG records, they did.

    Both Mr. Obama and the NTEU’s Kelley have been by turns evasive and tight-lipped about their roles in the blossoming IRS scandal.

    Kelley refused to open up to the Washington Post. In an article titledIRS, union mum on employees held accountable in ‘sin’ of political targeting,” the Post quoted the following:


    “NTEU is working to get the facts but does not have any specifics at this time. Moreover, IRS employees are not permitted to discuss taxpayer cases. We cannot comment further at this time,” NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley said via e-mail.

    A call to the NTEU office in Cincinnati resulted in a similar response: “We’ve been directed by national office. We have no comment.”
    The President approached things in a more evasive manner.

    Last Thursday at the President’s press conference with the Turkish prime minister, Julianna Goldman of Bloomberg News asked the following question, bold print for emphasis:


    “Mr. President, I want to ask you about the IRS. Can you assure the American people that nobody in the White House knew about the agency’s actions before your Counsel’s Office found out on April 22nd? And when they did find out, do you think that you should have learned about it before you learned about it from news reports as you said last Friday? And also, are you opposed to there being a special counsel appointed to lead the Justice Department investigation?”
    The President’s response? (Again bold print emphasis.)

    “But let me make sure that I answer your specific question. I can assure you that I certainly did not know anything about the IG report before the IG report had been leaked through the press.”
    Take note: Goldman’s question was:

    “Can you assure the American people that nobody in the White House knew about the agency’s actions before your Counsel’s Office found out on April 22nd?”
    The President evaded by answering:

    “I can assure you that I certainly did not know anything about the IG report…..”
    The question was not whether he knew about the IG report ahead of time. The question was whether he could “assure the American people that nobody in the White House knew about the agency’s actions.”

    In response, the President ducked.

    In other words, the IRS union chief went to the White House to meet personally with the president on March 31. The union already had Executive Order 13522 behind it, issued by the President barely three months earlier. An Executive Order directing that the IRS must “allow employees and unions to have pre-decisional involvement in all workplace matters….”.

    The very next day after that March 31 meeting at the White House, the IRS, with the union involved in its decision-making, was setting up its “Sensitive Case Report on the Tea Party.”

    Which raises the famous question from Watergate: What did the President know and when did he know it?

    While potentially explosive now, in fact the Obama Administration hadn’t been in office a month before Kelley was boasting of the IRS union’s influence in the White House.

    In a February 15, 2009 interview given to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh is Kelley’s home town), there was this question from the PG reporter, with the now Washington-based Kelley boasting as below, key point in bold print:

    Q: Has the Obama staff been receptive?

    A: Yes. We have worked with the transition team, given them suggestions; and throughout the campaign, President Obama talked about working with the federal employees and unions. He’s recognized the contributions federal employees make. I was just at the White House (Jan. 30) while he was signing some executive orders to undo some things the prior administration did.
    Catch that?

    The boast?

    “I was just at the White House…”

    Which is to say, the election of 2008, in which the union had endorsed Obama, was no sooner over than the head of the IRS union had “worked with the transition team” and “given them suggestions.” Literally ten days after the Obama January 20 inaugural in 2009 — January 30 the article notes — Kelley was boasting that “I was just at the White House while he (the President) was signing some executive orders to undo some things the prior administration did.”

    And what did Kelley see as the IRS union’s relationship with the White House she had already visited ten days into the President’s first term?
    Kelley responded candidly, again with the bold print added for emphasis:

    We are looking for a return to what we used to call partnership. I don’t really care what it’s called. For me, it’s about collaboration.”

    Catch those words?

    Collaboration. Partnership.

    In addition to Kelley’s three visits to see the President — in January of 2009, December of 2009, and March of 2010 — she is listed for three other visits, the contact names those of presidential aides:

    “Kelley, Colleen Weiss, Margaret 11/04/2009 10:00”

    “Kelley, Colleen Weiss, Margaret 12/01/2009 12:00”

    “Kelley, Colleen Nelson, Greg 01/14/2010 13:40”

    The obvious question instantly arises with the revelation that Kelley was meeting with the President personally — the day before the IRS kicked into high gear with its “Sensitive Case Report on the Tea Party”.

    Were the President of the United States and the President of the NTEU meeting in the White House at 12:30 on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 — and engaged in “collaboration” and “partnership”? A “collaboration” and “partnership” that was all about targeting the Tea Party?

    And did that collaboration and partnership result in the IRS letting loose the hounds on the Tea Party and conservative groups — the very next day after the Obama-Kelley meeting?

    To add to the administration’s IRS-NTEU woes is the fact that beyond the Inspector General, there is another IRS-connected agency in the Treasury Department: the IRS Oversight Board.

    And on that board sits a presidential appointee named Robert M. Tobias. Tobias, oddly, was a Clinton appointee in 2005, confirmed by the Senate for a five-year term. He is still there. He is the longtime NTEU general counsel and Kelley’s predecessor as the union president. Here’s the statement, from the IRS Oversight Board, on all of this. It is headed:


    IRS Oversight Board Deeply Troubled by Breakdown in IRS Process in Reviewing Tax-Exempt Applications.

    There was no reference to the influence of the anti-Tea Party NTEU in the statement. Why would there be when the union’s ex-president sits on the Oversight Board itself?

    Obama’s problem here is considerable.

    By not forthrightly answering Goldman’s question, he seems to be evading the issue in the manner that brought so much trouble in the form of congressional investigations, special prosecutors, and impeachment threats to Presidents Nixon and Clinton, with Nixon being forced to resign the presidency and Clinton brought to a Senate trial.

    The President’s too-clever-by half evasion added to Kelley’s silence leaves open the question of whether the union and the White House, not to mention the IRS Oversight Board, are collaborating — collaborating right now — on a cover-up.

    Nixon looked the American people in the television eye and flatly lied about his personal involvement in the Watergate scandal, lies that came from a frantic attempt to conduct a cover-up.

    Clinton looked the American people in the eye and famously wagged his finger as he lied that he “did not have sex with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky.” In Clinton’s case this extended to lying to a federal grand jury.

    For a good long while, the American people in fact believed both Nixon and Clinton. The stories are now legion of Nixon cabinet and staff believing their man, and Clinton’s cabinet and staff believing their man’s protestations of innocence as well.

    Finally, in both cases, the truth was out.

    As Washington and the country have long since twice-learned the hard way, the parsing of presidential words in cases like this, not to mention looking into the cameras and boldly lying on the prayer of getting away with the lie, always bodes ill for presidents. It leads inevitably to that simple question famously uttered by then-Tennessee GOP Senator Howard Baker and posed of Nixon at the Senate Watergate hearings: “What did the President know and when did he know it?”

    Twice in recent American history the answer to this question, once for Nixon and once for Clinton, has landed popular, powerful presidents in impeachment hot water. Ending Republican Nixon’s presidency altogether and coming close to doing the same with Democrat Clinton. Leaving the legacy of each permanently scarred.

    The notion that the players in the IRS scandal did what they did to get past the 2012 election will only add to an Obama presidential reputation as borrowing the Nixon playbook on skirting scandal in a presidential election year.

    Ironically re-casting the image of America’s first black president as the black Nixon.

    With the examples of how Nixon and Clinton dodged, evaded, and lied, Obama’s non-answer to Juliana Goldman’s question at last week’s press conference comes in for much more scrutiny. Matched to the silence of Kelley it begins raising obvious questions. Such as:

    • Did the President himself ever discuss the Tea Party with Kelley?

    • Did the President ever communicate his thoughts on the Tea Party to Kelley — in any fashion other than a face-to-face conversation such as e-mail, text, or by phone?

    • What was the subject of the Obama-Kelley March 31, 2010 meeting?

    • Who was present at the Obama-Kelley March 31 meeting?

    • Was the Tea Party or any other group opposing the President’s agenda discussed at the March 31 meeting, or before or after that meeting?

    • Is the White House going to release any e-mails, text, or phone records that detail Kelley’s contacts with not only Mr. Obama but his staff?

    • Will the IRS release all e-mail, text, or phone records between Kelley or any other leader of the NTEU with IRS employees?

    • What role did Executive Order 13522 play in the IRS investigations of the Tea Party and all these other conservative groups?

    Doubtless there are others, considerable others and the list of questions will grow.

    Not to be lost sight of here is the role of the NTEU in raising money for Democrats in the 2010 and 2012 election cycles — the exact period when the IRS was busy going after the Tea Party and the others to curb any possible influence the groups could have in the elections of 2010 and 2012.

    The NTEU, through its political action committee, raised $613,633 in the 2010 cycle, giving 98% of its contributions to anti-Tea Party Democrats. In 2012 the figure was $729,708, with 94% going to anti-Tea Party candidates. One NTEU candidate after another, as discussed last week in this space, campaigned vigorously against the Tea Party.

    So the motivations here — defeating the Tea Party in 2010, and failing at that, making sure that the news of the metastasizing cancer in the IRS was kept quiet until after the 2012 presidential election was over — are clear.

    What is particularly interesting here are the automatic assumptions of the mainstream media in all of this.

    Like this “given” from the Washington Post’s Dan Balz, bold print added for emphasis.
    The most corrosive of the controversies is what happened at the IRS, which singled out tea party and other conservative groups for special scrutiny in their applications for tax-exempt status. That Obama knew nothing about it does little to quell concerns that one of the most-feared units in government was operating out of control.

    But if in fact the President did know about it?

    Here’s the Washington Post’s “Journolist” Ezra Klein:
    The crucial ingredient for a scandal is the prospect of high-level White House involvement and wide political repercussions.…
    If new information emerges showing a connection between the Determination Unit’s decisions and the Obama campaign, or the Obama administration, it would crack this White House wide open. That would be a genuine scandal. But the IG report says that there’s no evidence of that. And so it’s hard to see where this one goes from here.

    Exactly.

    Which is why it will be a curious sight indeed to see the efforts the media will go to ignore/dismiss the tight, on-the-record connection between the President personally and a vociferously anti-Tea Party union. A union that has the literal run of the IRS — and whose union chief is recorded as having met with the President in the White House the day before the IRS launched “a Sensitive Case Report on the Tea Party cases.” A decision with which, according to the IG report: “The Determinations Unit Program Manager Agreed.” Check those words from Mr. Klein again:
    If new information emerges showing a connection between the Determination Unit’s decisions and the Obama campaign, or the Obama administration, it would crack this White House wide open. That would be a genuine scandal.
    The question now is a simple one.

    In 1974, “the smoking gun” was a tape recording that ended the Nixon presidency.

    In 1998, the smoking gun was a blue dress — and it almost undid Bill Clinton’s White House.

    Now the all-too-familiar pattern of scandal and its day-by-day drip-drip-drip nature has begun to set in. Newsmax is now quoting Washington attorney and conservative activist Cleta Mitchell as saying:
    “There were nearly 100 groups across the country that got the very egregious set of letters from the IRS that were almost identical and they came from offices all over the country, so I know of at least 85 to 90, maybe more, organizations.”
    Regular American all over the country are coming forward with their stories. Understanding the relationship between the Obama White House and the IRS union will be a must for congressional investigators.

    President Obama is coming perilously closer to becoming the new Nixon. The next Bill Clinton.

    And once again, as news of exactly what a president was doing in the Oval Office on a particular day and time goes public, yet again the old question becomes new.

    What did the President know? And when did he know it?

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    Default Re: IRS unfairly targeting Conservatives (Tea Party groups)

    Jay Carney Shifts IRS Timeline (Again!)

    May 21, 2013 4:13pm Becket Adams


    White House press secretary Jay Carney speaks during his daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, May, 21, 2013. Carney announced that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will travel to Oklahoma Wednesday to inspect damage from the deadly tornado that struck there. Credit: AP


    White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday revealed some rather startling details about how the Obama White House operates.

    First, Carney defended Kathryn Ruemmler’s alleged decision tonot inform the Commander-in-Chief about the impending Internal Revenue Service scandal because – well, she simply decided that the president shouldn’t be informed about it.

    “People in the know and people who understand why it’s important to maintain distance from these kinds of things for the White House understand that that was the right call,” Carney said.

    Second, according to Carney, the president is aware pretty much everyone in his administration knew about the IG’s report before him – and he’s okay with that.

    Third, the White House knew well in advance of the release of the IG report that things weren’t going to go over so well and they actually coordinated with the IRS on how to present the public with the IG’s findings.

    “There was ‘discussion about the possibility of a speech’ by Lois Lerner, who oversaw the IRS’s work on tax-exempt groups,” Politico explains, citing Carney, “and conversation about testimony by the acting commissioner of the agency and ‘what he would say’ if asked about the issue.”

    Now the first two points raise serious questions about the president’s leadership style (just who’s running this country anyway?). But the third point is equally troubling because it calls into question the White House’s account of events.

    The Treasury Department, according to the press secretary, worked with deputy White House chief of staff Mark Childress to coordinate the release of the IRS news.

    Carney, however, was careful to note that he was among those who were not informed of White House’s attempts to contain the story.

    But whether he knew the exact details or not, Carney knew of the report and of the upcoming scandal. Why didn’t he say anything?

    “He also said he didn’t inform reporters about the discussions earlier because he hadn’t been asked ‘precise’ enough questions,” Politico notes.
    “I gave you the information in response to the questions and we have provided an enormous amount of information about the communication we’ve had, who learned what about this and when, the fact that the president was not informed,” he said.

    But, again, the words coming out of Carney’s mouth raise serious questions about the White House’s supposedly honesty account of events.
    From Politico:


    On Monday, a senior White House official confirmed to POLITICO that Treasury Department staffers told White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler the inspector general report was nearing completion during the week of April 22.

    Carney had originally acknowledged that the counsel’s office had been told of the investigation during a press briefing the previous week. But he hadn’t explicitly said Ruemmler had learned that conservative groups were targeted and how they were singled out.

    Later, during Monday’s White House briefing, Carney told reporters that some staff in the counsel’s office were told of the report — and others nearing completion — a week earlier, on April 16.

    Ruemmler did inform chief of staff Denis McDonough’s office of the investigation, Carney said then, and other senior staff were also told of the report. Carney wouldn’t say Monday who those other staffers were, but did say there were communications between White House and Treasury Department staff ahead of the first news reports of the IRS investigation 10 days ago.

    Though senior staff knew of the probe, Carney said Ruemmler had concluded that the investigation was “not a matter she should convey to the president” until the report was finalized.

    Carney’s defense?

    “I said that I didn’t know (these details) until Friday, but I’m getting this information to you now,” he said.

    BONUS: CBS New’s Major Garrett during Tuesday’s press briefing asked Carney if the White House believes Republican inquiries about recent scandals (i.e. the IRS, the DOJ snooping on the AP and Fox News, Sebelius’ fundraising efforts, and the administration’s handling of the Benghazi debacle) are “legitimate.”

    “We could go down the list of questions — we could say, ‘What about the president’s birth certificate? Was that legitimate?’” Carney said.


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    Default Re: IRS unfairly targeting Conservatives (Tea Party groups)


    The IRS Scandal is Officially Dead


    by John Galt
    May 21, 2013 19:15 ET






    The hue and cry originally expressed by the Tea Party, 9/12 Project, Conservative Talk Radio, and other patriot/Constitutionalists type groups was a death scream into the darkness as now I fear the entire IRS scandal is officially dead. Unbeknownst to them, it died on Friday May 17, 2013 around 6 p.m. ET when the President made his famous “You’re Fired” speech to the media about the already outgoing interim IRS Commissioner Steven Miller. One needs to take a deep breath and understand that when it was announced that Eric Holder was opening a criminal investigation into the allegations about the Internal Revenue Service, that killed the scandal and any unbiased investigation.


    The nightmare which was the “Fast and Furious” scandal was buried when the Federal Government under Eric Holder opened an investigation of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF) which resulted in a massive smoke screen and years later a continuing obfuscation of the facts. Sadly, American Congressional leaders have refused to show the testicular fortitude to stand up to the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security by cutting off funding to the payroll of the leadership or other actions to force a full and complete disclosure under oath with all supporting documents. Why would anyone expect any different result with a new investigation by this administration of itself on a different subject?


    The tragic events in Moore, Oklahoma with the destruction from the massive tornado and unfortunate fatalities will buy the Obama administration about 72 to 96 hours of relief from the various scandals, and most importantly the IRS debacle. President Obama can now travel to Oklahoma for a politically arranged memorial service for the victims, provide the usual phony platitudes and prayers for the victims and survivors, and promise that his administration will give unlimited resources to help rebuild the town. Of course that did not work well for the citizens of Staten Island, New York or other areas affected by Hurricane Sandy but who in their right mind expects the national media to follow-up with reports of the Messiah’s failures?





    Fortunately for President Obama, the Scarecrow and Chief Republican Globalist Surrender Monkey has thus far refused to take any course of action other than the “someone needs to fired” nonsense for the actions of those responsible. Was there a call for a special prosecutor? No. Demand for a joint special investigative committee with full subpoena powers for all parties? No. Is there any plan to freeze the government by stopping all Congressional action (or in his case inaction) for all programs until all data, emails, and testimony is released to a special committee or even just the House Ways and Means investigation? No. The cowardly Scarecrow will grab a drink and a smoke and cry into the cameras that he’s doing all he can while the Republic crumbles under his watch.


    Lastly, today’s news is the final nail in the coffin as planned by Attorney General Eric Holder and reported by the Los Angeles Times tonight:


    Top IRS official will invoke 5th Amendment



    The course of action taken by the former head of the non-profit division of the IRS, Lois Lerner, is no shock to this blogger as once a criminal investigation is announced, all cooperation ceases. All witnesses and potential whistle blowers will obtain counsel and please the 5th Amendment also. Emails, memos, and any printed material will not become evidence in the possession of a Republican dominated committee but instead will be sealed by the Attorney General so as not to “taint” any case that may develop against those guilty of any potential crimes. The actions initiated by Eric Holder with the announcement last Friday night of a criminal investigation has basically initiated a course of action identical to what occurred with the Fast and Furious scandal.


    The problem and clash between branches will now depend on second and third level Senators and Congressmen initiating action to pressure the leadership into forming a select committee to investigate at a minimum the IRS scandal if possible all of the abuses of power engaged in by the Obama administration. Based on the track record of the Republican leadership (or lack thereof) and the inability of the media to grasp the depths of the crisis should Obama be allowed to escape prosecution, Americans should begin preparations to live in a totally lawless society controlled with a police state based domestic military and continuous variations of regulation to create a nation of citizen criminals guilty of only living within our borders and out of favor with the powers that be.

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    Default Re: IRS unfairly targeting Conservatives (Tea Party groups)

    Department of Homeland Security Monitors Tea Party at Florida IRS protest

    May 21, 2013 by Tom Tillison 39 Comments



    In spite of confusing messages and midday rain showers, the tea party showed up in force at the local IRS office in Orlando on Tuesday to express its dissatisfaction with the agency.

    On a warm, humid Central Florida day, dozens of protestors turned out in spite of an out of the way location and a somewhat inexplicable call to suspend the event amid a series of inconsistent messages from various tea party factions.

    The protest was held in Maitland, Florida, a short drive north of Orlando and not surprisingly, North Lake Tea Party, long the standard bearer of the Central Florida tea party movement, was on hand.

    The tea party was acting on a call to action by Tea Party Patriots Inc., which bills itself as the nation痴 largest tea party organization, in response to recent admissions by IRS officials that the agency had intentionally targeted tea party and conservative groups.
    A scandal that continues to grow in scope with each passing day.

    Under the watchful eye of Homeland Security yes, they were present protestors carried signs that read 展e Do Not Consent to Tyranny, 鄭bolish the IRS and 泥on稚 Target me Bro!, making it clear they do not condone the use of the IRS as a political weapon.

    As one protestor noted, it痴 insulting that Homeland Security felt the need to be present as American citizens exercise their first amendment right, but decide to look away when suspected Islamic terrorist Tamerlan Tsarnaev travels back and forth to his home country.

    Today痴 action is likely to do little to change the face of a scandal that is now fully owned by the Obama administration, but it does serve notice that the tea party is still around. Even if it痴 斗eaders are missing in action.


    -
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    -


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    Default Re: IRS unfairly targeting Conservatives (Tea Party groups)

    ==================================================



    huh?

    It ain't dead (the scandal) lol

    The news wants you to think it is
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    Default Re: IRS unfairly targeting Conservatives (Tea Party groups)

    Key IRS figure to plead Fifth at hearing on why agency targeted conservative groups

    Lois Lerner, who leads the IRS unit that singled out conservative groups for additional scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status, was subpoenaed to testify Wednesday before the House oversight committee, but, instead, will invoke her constitutional right against self-incrimination.

    By Dan Friedman AND Joseph Straw / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
    Published: Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 10:32 AM
    Updated: Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 8:56 AM


    UNITED STATES - JANUARY 26: Douglas Shulman, Internal Revenue Service Commissioner, waits to testify before an Investigations Subcommittee hearing on "Taxation of Mutual Fund Commodity Investments," in Dirksen Building. (Photo By Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call)
    Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images


    WASHINGTON — A key figure in the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups will plead the Fifth Amendment on Wednesday when she appears before a key congressional committee, an aide said.

    Lois Lerner leads the IRS unit that singled out conservative groups for additional scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status.

    She was subpoenaed to testify Wednesday before the House oversight committee.

    But in a letter to the panel, her lawyer said she would invoke her constitutional right against self-incrimination.

    On Tuesday, the agency’s former commissioner told a Senate committee that he learned in the spring of 2012 — as the presidential campaign was gearing up — that IRS workers had been improperly targeting conservative groups.

    But the former commissioner, Douglas Shulman, said he didn’t tell higher ups in the Treasury Department or members of Congress.

    Shulman, a Republican appointee who stepped down in December, said he wouldn’t apologize for it.

    “I had a partial set of facts, and I knew that the inspector general was going to be looking into it, and I knew that it was being stopped,” he said.

    “Sitting there then and sitting here today, I think I made the right decision, which is to let the inspector general get to the bottom of it, chase down all the facts and then make his findings public.”

    Outgoing agency head George Miller told the panel that IRS agents searches for groups with terms like "Tea Party" was meant to save time finding non-profit groups and was "foolish" but was "not an act of partisanship."

    It was Lois Lerner who first revealed the IRS misconduct, several days before a Treasury Department inspector general released a report on the targeting of conservative groups.

    Douglas Shulman, a Republican appointee who headed the agency when the bullying occurred but left in December, told the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday that he wasn't aware of the practice but said that " I very much regret that it happened on my watch."
    Lerner is scheduled to appear before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

    Outgoing agency head George Miller told the panel that IRS agents searches for groups with terms like "Tea Party" was meant to save time finding non-profit groups and was "foolish" but was "not an act of partisanship."

    The man who led the Internal Revenue Service when it was giving extra scrutiny to tea party and other conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status told Congress on Tuesday that he knew little about what was happening while he was still commissioner.

    Douglas Shulman, who vacated his position last November when his five-year term expired, told the Senate Finance Committee he didn’t learn all the facts until he read last week’s report by a Treasury inspector general confirming the targeting strategy.

    RELATED: TOP WHITE HOUSE AIDES DID NOT TELL OBAMA ABOUT IRS AUDIT

    In his first public remarks since the story broke, Shulman said: “I agree this is an issue that when someone spotted it, they should have brought it up the chain. And they didn’t. I don’t know why.”

    Shulman testified at Congress’ second hearing on an episode that has largely consumed Washington since an IRS official acknowledged the targeting and apologized for it in remarks to a legal group on May 10. Shulman and the two officials who testified at Tuesday’s three-and-a-half hour session — the outgoing acting commissioner, Steven Miller, and J. Russell George, the Treasury Department inspector general who issued the report — were all sworn in as witnesses, an unusual step for the Finance panel.

    Shulman said he first learned about the targeting and about the inspector general’s investigation in the spring of 2012, during the presidential election. He said that in a meeting with Miller, he was told that IRS workers were using a list to help decide which groups seeking tax-exempt status should get special attention, that the term “tea party” was on that list and that the problem was being addressed. But he said he didn’t know what other words were on that list or the scope and severity of the activity.

    Pressed by committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., on how the improper screening system could have occurred in the first place, Shulman said, “Mr. Chairman, I can’t say. I can’t say that I know that answer.”

    Shulman said he took what he thought were the proper steps — making sure the inspector general was looking into the situation. He said he did not tell Treasury officials about the improper activity.

    “I don’t recall talking to anyone about it,” Shulman told the committee. “This is not the kind of information” that, with an inspector general’s probe underway, “should leave the IRS.”

    Asked by Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, whether he owed conservative groups an apology, Shulman said, “I’m certainly not personally responsible for creating a list that had inappropriate criteria on it.”

    That was a reference to a list of words IRS workers looked for in deciding which groups to screen, a list that included the terms including “tea party” and “patriot.”

    “I very much regret that it happened and that it happened on my watch,” Shulman said.

    The testimony by Shulman and Miller drew skepticism from lawmakers of both parties, including critical remarks from people who have been unhesitant to say anything negative about the IRS since its activities were revealed nearly two weeks ago. Republicans openly rejected George’s assertion that he has no evidence that the decision to target conservative groups was politically motivated.

    A lack of political motivation “is almost beyond belief,” said Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho.

    George’s report blamed ineffective management for allowing agents to inappropriately target conservative groups for more than 18 months during the 2010 and 2012 elections. Shulman was appointed by President George W. Bush and served from March 2008 until last November.

    At a separate hearing, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said the IRS’s actions against conservative groups were “unacceptable and inexcusable.”

    Lew told the Senate Banking Committee that he has directed the agency’s incoming acting director, Daniel Werfel, to hold people accountable and to fix any flaws in IRS management to make sure there is no recurrence of the problems.

    Lew said he first learned about the inspector general’s investigation in March but that he was unaware of the findings until they became public this month. Lew became Treasury secretary in February, and was White House chief of staff before that.

    RELATED: WHITE HOUSE INSISTS OBAMA WAS NOT INVOLVED IN IRS TARGETING SCANDAL

    For more than a year, from 2011 through the 2012 election, members of Congress repeatedly asked Shulman about complaints from tea party groups that they were being harassed by the IRS. Shulman’s responses, usually relayed by a deputy, did not acknowledge that agents had ever targeted tea party groups for special scrutiny.

    At one House hearing on March 22, 2012, Shulman was adamant in his denials, saying, “There’s absolutely no targeting.”

    On Tuesday, Republicans expressed anger that Shulman and Miller didn’t reveal the screening of conservative groups to Congress, despite lawmakers’ repeated inquiries. Miller learned of the situation in early May 2012.

    “Mr. Miller, that’s a lie by omission,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, top Republican on the Finance committee. “There’s no question about that in my mind. It’s a lie by omission and you kept it from people who have the obligation to oversee this matter.”

    President Barack Obama has forced Miller to resign, and he is leaving office this week.

    Shulman said he didn’t later tell lawmakers about the targeting because he didn’t have full information about the situation.

    “I had a partial set of facts,” Shulman said. “Sitting there then, sitting here today, I think I made the right decision” to let George, the inspector general, conduct his audit of the targeting.

    Shulman said that when he did finally read about the details of the targeting in the inspector general’s report, “I was dismayed and I was saddened."

    Hatch and Baucus both criticized the agency and said they would investigate how and why the improper screening occurred.

    “I intend to get to the bottom of what happened,” Baucus said.

    The IRS is an independent agency within the Treasury Department. Because of that independent status, the official said Treasury deferred to the IRS in its decision about how to make the targeting public.

    George, the Treasury inspector general, says he told Shulman on May 30, 2012, that his office was auditing the way applications for tax-exempt status were being handled, in part because of complaints from conservative groups. However, George said he did not reveal the results of his investigation.

    The IRS agents were conducting the screening to determine whether the groups were engaged in political activity. Certain tax-exempt groups are allowed to engage in politics, but politics cannot be their primary mission. It is up to the IRS to make the determination, so agents are supposed to look for clues when reviewing applications for tax-exempt status.

    In March 2010, agents starting singling out groups with “Tea Party” or “Patriots” on their applications. By August 2010, it was part of the written criteria for identifying groups that required more scrutiny, according to George’s report.

    Agents did not flag similar progressive or liberal labels, though some liberal groups received additional scrutiny because their applications were singled out for other reasons, the report said

    Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/poli...#ixzz2U1h0vYcQ
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    Default Re: IRS unfairly targeting Conservatives (Tea Party groups)

    Fox News poll: Majority thinks White House knew about IRS actions

    By Dana Blanton

    Published May 21, 2013

    FoxNews.com


    Voters are concerned about the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative political groups for unfair treatment, and over half think the White House either knew it was happening or -- worse yet -- was actually behind the operation.

    That’s according to a Fox News poll released Tuesday.

    The IRS recently admitted it targeted tea party and other conservative groups for extra scrutiny when the groups sought tax-exempt status.

    Most voters think the White House was involved in the IRS scandal in some way: 37 percent think the administration knew it was going on but didn’t initiate the policy, while another 29 percent believe the White House directed the IRS to go after those groups.

    About a quarter (24 percent) says the White House had absolutely nothing to do with what the IRS was doing.

    Almost all of those who identify with the Tea Party movement think the White House was involved: 58 percent think the administration intentionally had them targeted, and 31 percent believe that while the White House knew about the unfair treatment, it wasn’t behind it.

    Confidence in the IRS has dropped significantly. The poll finds 42 percent of voters have “a great deal” (7 percent) or “some” (35 percent) confidence in the agency. That’s down from 62 percent who had at least some confidence in the IRS in May 2003 (the last time the Fox News poll asked Americans to rate the IRS).

    Seventy-eight percent of voters are concerned that certain groups have been singled out, including 50 percent who are “very” concerned and 28 percent “somewhat” concerned.

    Even more -- 84 percent -- are worried individual Americans could receive the same unfair treatment (61 percent “very” and 23 percent “somewhat” concerned).

    The poll asked about three current Obama administration controversies. A 32-percent plurality says the IRS scandal is the worst, followed by Benghazi (27 percent) and the Justice Department seizing the phone records of reporters (21 percent).

    Democrats (26 percent) and independents (28 percent) are more than twice as likely as Republicans (11 percent) to say the Justice Department controversy is the worst.

    The IRS scandal tops the list for both Republicans (39 percent) and Democrats (28 percent). Still, Republicans are more likely to pick it as the most troubling by an 11-point margin.

    The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,013 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from May 18 to May 20. The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013...#ixzz2U1hHCXhp
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    Default Re: IRS unfairly targeting Conservatives (Tea Party groups)

    First Conservative Groups File Suit Against IRS
    Email 30 Smaller Font Text Larger Text | Print
    Shushannah Walshe

    By Shushannah Walshe
    @shushwalshe

    May 21, 2013 2:38pm



    The first groups that claim they were unfairly scrutinized by the Internal Revenue Service have filed suit against the agency in federal courts, seeking damages and the granting of their long-delayed tax-exempt status application.

    True the Vote, a Houston-based voter watchdog group, filed a complaint in federal court in Washington, D.C., today over what it is calling “unlawful actions by the IRS in the processing of its application for exempt status.” The group was founded in June of 2010 and is affiliated with the King Street Patriots, a Tea Party group started in December of 2009.

    The group says it has been waiting three years for its tax exempt status to either be granted or denied, first applying in July of 2010. During that time, the group’s president Catherine Engelbrecht told ABC News she has been personally audited and even visited by agents from the Bureau of the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

    The group wants the IRS Review Policy declared unconstitutional under the First Amendment and it is asking the court to “permanently enjoin the IRS from further implementing and applying the IRS Review Policy and any other similar policies.” Damages sought include the awarding of $1,000 for “each unauthorized inspection of its return information.”

    True the Vote wants “actual damages in excess of $85,000 incurred as a result of the the IRS Review Policy and the IRS Employees’ violations of Plaintiff’s constitutional rights.” They seek the return of their attorney fees, any “other relief as the Court deems just,” amongst other financial and non-financial damages.

    The NorCal Tea Party has also filed suit against the IRS. Citizens for Self Governance, which is run by the man who started the Tea Party Patriots, Mark Meckler, filed on their behalf in federal court in Cincinnati and set up a website: www.suetheirs.com.

    The complaint does not specify damages like True the Vote’s, but it describes their suit as a “class action,” although Meckler told ABC News no other groups have jumped on board yet. He said he is talking to other groups and believes they will be added.

    The suit, which names the IRS, Department of Treasury, and unnamed IRS employees, was filed Monday and Meckler told ABC News they wanted to file because they saw other groups using the scandal to raise money, but they want to see justice served.

    “There is a focus on Congress, but from our perspective Congress is the problem,” Meckler said. “We don’t believe they will fix it. This will take citizen litigation.”

    In its complaint, True the Vote says because of the group’s “perceived conservative policy positions and affiliation with Tea Party organizations, the IRS and IRS Employees systematically targeted True the Vote’s application for additional review and scrutiny, whereby True the Vote was deliberately subjected to numerous unnecessary and burdensome requests for information about its operations and affiliations.”

    “Consequently, True the Vote was forced to furnish to the IRS information and documents wholly unnecessary to the determination of True the Vote’s tax-exempt status, which were repeatedly accessed and inspected by IRS agents. The processing of True the Vote’s application was deliberately delayed and its recognition as a tax-exempt organization has been improperly withheld as a result of Defendants’ actions,” the complaint reads.

    “After answering hundreds of questions and producing thousands of documents, we’re done waiting. The IRS does not have the power to pocket veto our application. Federal law empowers groups like True the Vote to force a decision in court – which is precisely what we aim to do,” Englebrecht said in a statement.

    Englebrecht said in her previous interview with ABC News that she was told during the application process by an analyst in Cincinnati: “I’m just following directions and the directions are coming from Washington,” which seems to contradict the IRS’ statements that the unfair scrutiny was solely coming out of the Cincinnati office.

    True the Vote says the group is “dedicated solely to promoting election integrity in our Republic” and they “do not pick winners and losers,” but the group came under scrutiny during the election for its work monitoring polling places, with critics saying it was trying to suppress Democratic and minority voters.

    True the Vote is being represented by attorney Cleta Mitchell, who has been closely involved in the case as the scandal unfolded.

    “We are not going to allow the IRS to claim, as it has been doing in the past week, that the targeting of conservative groups is over and ‘everything has been fixed.’ It is not yet fixed and this litigation is a vital step both to resolve True the Vote’s status and to learn exactly what happened inside the IRS,” Mitchell said in a statement.

    The suit names Steven Miller, the acting commissioner of the IRS who was forced to resign in the scandal, along with Douglas Shulman, the former commissioner of the IRS who left in November, but presided over the agency when this extra scrutiny was said to be taking place, and Lois Lerner, the director the IRS unit that oversees tax-exempt organizations.

    Others named are Susan Maloney, Ronald Bell, Janine L. Estes, and Faye Ng, all IRS Exempt Organizations Specialists True the Vote says dealt with their application. They are also naming “unknown named employees of the Internal Revenue Service” who “developed, implemented, applied, approved or oversaw the unconstitutional IRS identification, review, and processing criteria and policies described herein.”

    True the Vote is working with the ActRight Legal Foundation on the suit and the group says this is “just the first of several cases” they plan to file against the IRS. Another group, the American Center for Law and Justice, is planning on bringing a suit against the IRS as well. Theirs will be on behalf of at least 17 tea party groups, but possibly more.

    And it’s not just conservatives. The group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed its own lawsuit against the IRS today to try to force the agency to be more clear and issue guidelines on what type of organizations qualify for status as 501(c)(4) groups.

    The IRS did not immediately respond to request for comment on the suits.
    Libertatem Prius!


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