The IRS not only targeted conservative Tea Party groups and Jews… They also targeted conservative groups that taught the US Constitution.
The Washington Post reported:
At various points over the past two years, Internal Revenue Service officials targeted nonprofit groups that criticized the government and sought to educate Americans about the U.S. Constitution, according to documents in an audit conducted by the agency’s inspector general.
The documents, obtained by The Washington Post from a congressional aide with knowledge of the findings, show that on June 29, 2011, IRS staffers held a briefing with senior agency official Lois G. Lerner in which they described giving special attention to instances where “statements in the case file criticize how the country is being run.” Lerner, who oversees tax-exempt groups for the agency, raised objections and the agency revised its criteria a week later.
But six months later, the IRS applied a new political test to groups that applied for tax-exempt status as “social welfare” groups, the document says. On Jan. 15, 2012 the agency decided to target “political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding Government, educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, social economic reform movement.,” according to the appendix in the IG report, which was requested by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and has yet to be released.
The new revelations are likely to intensify criticism of the IRS, which has been under fire since agency officials acknowledged they had deliberately targeted groups with “tea party” or “patriot” in their name for heightened scrutiny.
Read the rest here.
More… (From previous post) The IRS has some explaining to do.
Beyond Political posted this earlier:
This cannot possibly be. As someone who has gone through IRS certification (due to the off chance we may encounter taxpayer data during investigations), I can attest for the extensive rigor and controls that prevent such low level activities. For instance, the mere act of someone pulling up a neighbor’s tax data would set off numerous alarms; investigation and prosecution would be inevitable. Cases are distributed in a manner that a low-level worker would not have access to all “tea party” and “patriot” filings.
This means one of two things. Either ALL low-level employees in the IRS are operating in collusion, conspiring to attack all citizens of a particular political orientation (which would be necessary to cause low level employees randomly assigned and supervised with such extensive controls to consistently flag and punish people of that political interest), or senior level IRS employees who are able to pull up files of a particular interest (“patriot” “tea party”) were involved. Furthermore, if it was low-level employees, they would be investigated and disciplined as a matter of routine process. Only senior level IRS executives are able to bypass those controls.
And that IRS spokespersons are lying suggests how far up the conspiracy goes. I’m rather confident that a competent investigation would show White House political appointees had directed these actions, in collusion with senior level IRS officials. Nobody down below would be able to have such a broad reach and get by without being terminated and criminally prosecuted.
“There is little question that one or more employees at the IRS stole our confidential tax return and leaked it to our political enemies, in violation of federal law.” – Brian Brown, NOM president -
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today renewed its demand that the Internal Revenue Service reveal the identity of the employee or employees responsible for stealing the organization’s confidential Form 990 tax return and leaking it to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). At the time of the theft, the HRC had long-sought to know the identity of NOM’s major donors and its chief executive was a co-chair of President Obama’s reelection campaign. The Form 990 that was leaked to the HRC contained the identity of numerous major donors to the organization.
“There is little question that one or more employees at the IRS stole our confidential tax return and leaked it to our political enemies, in violation of federal law,” said Brian Brown, NOM’s president. “The only questions are who did it, and whether there was any knowledge or coordination between people in the White House, the Obama reelection campaign and the Human Rights Campaign. We and the American people deserve answers.”
In March 2012 the Human Rights Campaign and the Huffington Post published NOM’s Form 990 Schedule B from 2008 containing the identity of dozens of donors. The HRC claimed the tax return was provided by a ‘whistleblower.’ For months previous to the publication, the HRC had been demanding that NOM publicly release this confidential information even though federal law protects the identity of contributors to nonprofit groups. The publication of NOM’s tax return occurred just a few months after Joseph Solmonese, then president of the HRC, was appointed a national co-chair of the Obama reelection campaign. An analysis of the published documents shows that they could only have originated with the IRS.
“We’ve seen in recent days an admission that the IRS intentionally targeted conservative groups for harassment and scrutiny,” Brown said, “but what NOM has experienced suggests that problems at the IRS are potentially far more serious than even these latest revelations reveal.”
Following publication of NOM’s confidential tax return and a complaint to the IRS, investigators with the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) interviewed NOM officials about the theft. Nothing has come of the investigation if there is indeed one, and the agency has refused to answer any questions about the status of its examination.
Brown concluded, “No group should ever be subjected to the IRS leaking its confidential tax return to its political enemies. But when the recipient of the stolen information is a group headed by a co-chair of the President’s reelection campaign, serious concerns arise. We have no way of knowing if people within the White House, the Obama reelection campaign or the HRC had any role in the crime, but we call on the Congress to investigate. So far, we’ve heard nothing from the federal government even though they’ve had all the facts for over a year.”
To schedule an interview with Brian Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage, please contact Elizabeth Ray (x130), email@example.com, or Jennifer Campbell firstname.lastname@example.org, at 703-683-5004.
Paid for by The National Organization for Marriage, Brian Brown, president. 2029 K Street NW, Suite 300 Washington, DC 20006, not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. New § 68A.405(1)(f) & (h).
Background: On March 30, 2012, the Huffington Post published NOM’s confidential 2008 tax return filed with the IRS, which it said came from the Human Rights Campaign. The HRC has said on its own site the documents came from a “whistleblower.” However, NOM has determined that the documents came directly from the Internal Revenue Service.
The document above is as it appeared when published by the Huffington Post. However, that document was modified in a failed attempt to obscure its source. There is a label visibly obscuring a portion of each page, and it was determined that information on the top of each page was also obscured in the version posted on the Huffington Post.
After software removed the layers obscuring the document, it is shown that the document came from the Internal Revenue Service. The top of each page says, “”THIS IS A COPY OF A LIVE RETURN FROM SMIPS. OFFICIAL USE ONLY.” On each page of the return is stamped a document ID of “100560209.” Only the IRS would have the Form 990 with “Official Use” information.
Just months after being slimed by President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, Mitt Romney supporter and businessman Frank VanderSloot was informed that he was going to be audited not only by the Internal Revenue Service, but by the Labor Department as well.
VanderSloot’s saga was told by columnist Kimberley Strassel in the Wall Street Journal last July.
In April 2012, VanderSloot, who served as the national co-chair of Mitt Romney’s presidential finance committee, was one of eight Romney backers to be defamed as ”wealthy individuals with less-than-reputable records” in a post on the Obama campaign’s website. The post, entitled “Behind the curtain: a brief history of Romney’s donors,” singled out VanderSloot for being a ”litigious, combative and a bitter foe of the gay rights movement.”
Two months later, the IRS informed VanderSloot he and his wife were going to be audited, Strassel reported. Two weeks after that, VanderSloot was notified by the Labor Department that it was going to “audit workers he employs on his Idaho-based cattle ranch under the federal visa program for temporary agriculture workers,” reported Strassel.
“The H-2A program allows tens of thousands of temporary workers in the U.S.; Mr. VanderSloot employs precisely three,” Strassel wrote. “All are from Mexico and have worked on the VanderSloot ranch—which employs about 20 people—for five years. Two are brothers. Mr. VanderSloot has never been audited for this, though two years ago his workers’ ranch homes were inspected. (The ranch was fined $8,400, mainly for too many ‘flies’ and for ‘grease build-up’ on the stove. God forbid a cattle ranch home has flies.)”
“This letter requests an array of documents to ascertain whether Mr. VanderSloot’s ‘foreign workers are provided the full scope of protections’ under the visa program: information on the hours they’ve worked each day and their rate of pay, an explanation of their deductions, copies of contracts,” she continued.
In her column, Strassel raised the specter that the IRS targeted VanderSloot for his political activism.
“Did Mr. Obama pick up the phone and order the screws put to Mr. VanderSloot?” she asked. “Or—more likely—did a pro-Obama appointee or political hire or career staffer see that the boss had an issue with this donor, and decide to do the president an unasked-for election favor? Or did he or she simply think this was a duty, given that the president had declared Mr. VanderSloot and fellow donors ‘less than reputable’?”
VanderSloot’s tale is more relevant in light of the admission Friday by IRS official Lois Lerner that the agency gave extra scrutiny to non-profit tea party groups with “tea party” or “patriot” in their name that applied for tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code. While Lerner said the agency’s actions were inappropriate, she claimed it was not the result of political bias.
However, a forthcoming report by the IRS inspector general will say that the agency went beyond what Lerner admitted to on Friday by targeting groups which criticized “how the country is being run,” the Washington Post, which got an advanced copy of part of the internal audit, reported Sunday.
Though that practice was soon halted, just months later, in January 2012, groups that applied for tax exempt status which described themselves as “political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding Government, educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, social economic reform movement” were again subjected to special scrutiny.
On Friday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was among the congressional leaders who called for an investigation into what went on at the IRS.
“The IRS cannot target or intimidate any individual or organization based on their political beliefs,” he said in a statement. “The House will investigate this matter.”
The White House also voiced support for an investigation.
“The president would expect that it would be investigated,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said at the Friday’s press briefing.
While non-profit groups were targeted by the IRS, no hard evidence has yet emerged to show that individuals like VanderSloot were targeted for their political leanings.
New evidence has now arisen that the IRS under President Obama, which admitted, then half-denied this week that it was targeting conservative non-profit groups, has been targeting Jewish organizations in a virulent manner. An IRS agent admitted that some Israel-related organizations’ applications have been assigned to “a special unit in the D.C. office to determine whether the organization’s activities contradict the Administration’s public policies.”
What does that mean? It means that the Obama administration is going after organizations that support the existence of the state of Israel; one Jewish organization that was not even focused on Israel was required to state “whether [it] supports the existence of the land of Israel,” and also to “[d]escribe [its] religious belief system toward the land of Israel.”
Z STREET, a staunch defender of Israel, had filed a lawsuit against the IRS, saying that an IRS agent told them that their attempt to secure tax-exempt status would be looked over more than usual because it was “connected to Israel.”
Lois Lerner, of the IRS, has already admitted that the IRS had improperly targeted groups with “Tea Party” and “patriot” in their names but said it wasn’t politically motivated, because “That is not how we do things.”
The Obama Administration apparently hates Israel enough to harass and intimidate those who support the Jewish state. So much for the contention of liberal Jews that the Obama administration is a friend to the State of Israel.
The House Ways and Means Committee wants to know when the White House first knew that the Internal Revenue Service was targeting groups for heightened scrutiny for their political views, including groups that used the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their applications for tax exempt status, or that sought to educate people about the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration has provided a timeline to congressional staff that indicates that in the 2010 election year the Internal Revenue Service instructed officials in its “Determinations Unit” to “be on the lookout for” organizations applying for tax exempt status that used the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their applications.
By January 2012, at the beginning of a presidential election year, according to the timeline, the IRS broadened its “be on the lookout order” to target groups that were involved in educating people on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
Now the Ways and Means Committee, which is investigating the matter, has publicly posed what it calls ‘The Top 10 Questions for the IRS.” These include: When did the White House know?
“The IRS absolutely must be non-partisan in its enforcement of our tax laws. The admission by the agency that it targeted American taxpayers based on politics is both shocking and disappointing,” said Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R.-Mich.). “The Committee on Ways and Means will thoroughly investigate this matter and will soon hold a hearing to get to the bottom of this situation. We will hold the IRS accountable for its actions.”
Here are the committee’s questions:
What did the IRS know and when? The Top 10 questions for the IRS
1. Beginning with an inquiry in June 2011, the House Ways and Means Committee has repeatedly asked the IRS for verification about whether or not it was targeting groups based on their political philosophies. On repeated occasions, including at a March 2012 Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee hearing, the IRS explicitly denied such activities had occurred. Now, widespread media reports confirm that the agency learned of these practices just three weeks after the Committee made its initial inquiry related to these groups – nearly 2 years ago. How many times did the IRS lie to Congress about this issue?
2. What words were used in the targeting campaign? We know “tea party,” “patriots” and “conservative” were used.
3. We know words targeting conservative-leaning organizations were used. What about words like “progressive” or “green”? What proof, if any, has IRS provided to demonstrate this was not a politically motivated act? Were any personnel ever directed to delay processing of certain 501(c )(4) applications until after the election?
4. When was the IRS Commissioner informed? When were the White House and Treasury made aware that groups were being targeted based on their political philosophies? How did the White House and Treasury respond when they were made aware that conservative groups were being targeted?
5. When the IRS Commissioner was made aware of these unlawful practices, what steps were taken, if any, to halt the harassment of conservative organizations? Who was disciplined regarding these practices, if anyone?
6. Who were the employees that made these decisions, and what guidance were they provided with from Washington, if any, to pursue their work in this manner? Who are these employees? Were these political appointees? Were they hired through the process established by the Ramspeck Act (where some, including staff whose Members have lost or retired, receive placement assistance in an agency setting)?
7. It is clear from the TIGTA timeline that IRS was targeting those with conservative political philosophies as early as 2010. It is well documented that active Congressional investigations were going on pertaining to this subject – why wasn’t Congress immediately notified when IRS became aware that groups were, in fact, actively being targeted?
8. How widespread was the campaign to target conservative groups? We’ve heard about Ohio, a longtime bellwether state in political elections. What has IRS done, if anything, to identify whether this practice of targeting specific groups was occurring in IRS offices in other states?
9. Why is IRS apologizing now? IRS waited until well after the 2012 election cycle to issue a public apology for targeting these groups, but never informed Congress of its intent to do so, despite ongoing investigations. Why didn’t they inform Congress of their intent to do so?
10. What steps, if any, has IRS taken to ensure that the targeting of individuals and organizations does not occur in the future?