IRS Admits Leaking Confidential Information Used Against Romney In 2012 Election To Gay Rights Group

IRS Admits Leaking Confidential Information Used Against Mitt Romney In 2012 Elections – Gateway Pundit

The IRS admitted this week to leaking the National Organization for Marriage‘s confidential information to far left groups.

The IRS will pay the National Organization for Marriage $50,000.

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The conservative group National Organization of Marriage accused the IRS of leaking documents to the Obama Campaign in 2012. A top Obama campaign official Joe Solomese used the information to attack Mitt Romney during the 2012 election. The Huffington Post used the leaked documents in a story questioning former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s support for traditional marriage. The document showed Romney donated $10,000 to NOM.

The IRS agreed this week to pay only $50,000 in damages to the National Organization for Marriage after leaking confidential information to a leading gay marriage group.

The Daily Signal reported, via Free Republic:

Two years after activists for same-sex marriage obtained the confidential tax return and donor list of a national group opposed to redefining marriage, the Internal Revenue Service has admitted wrongdoing and agreed to settle the resulting lawsuit.

The Daily Signal has learned that, under a consent judgment today, the IRS agreed to pay $50,000 in damages to the National Organization for Marriage as a result of the unlawful release of the confidential information to a gay rights group, the Human Rights Campaign, that is NOM’s chief political rival.

“Congress made the disclosure of confidential tax return information a serious matter for a reason,” NOM Chairman John D. Eastman told The Daily Signal. “We’re delighted that the IRS has now been held accountable for the illegal disclosure of our list of major donors from our tax return.”

The Daily Signal is seeking comment on the settlement from the IRS and Justice Department.

In his order entered this morning, District Judge James C. Cacheris granted the settlement of NOM’s suit against the IRS, which was represented by the Department of Justice.

In February 2012, the Human Rights Campaign posted on its web site NOM’s 2008 tax return and the names and contact information of the marriage group’s major donors, including soon-to-be Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. That information then was published by the Huffington Post and other liberal-leaning news sites.

HRC’s president at the time, Joe Solmonese, was tapped that same month as a national co-chairman of President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.

NOM released this statement today.

“It has been a long and arduous process to hold the IRS accountable for their illegal release of our confidential tax return and donor list, which was ultimately given to our chief political rival by the recipient,” said John Eastman, NOM’s chairman and a member of the ActRight legal Foundation team that brought the lawsuit against the IRS on NOM’s behalf in October, 2013. “In the beginning, the government claimed that the IRS had done nothing wrong and that NOM itself must have released our confidential information. Thanks to a lot of hard work, we’ve forced the IRS to admit that they in fact were the ones to break the law and wrongfully released this confidential information.”

NOM said that an investigation revealed that its 2008 tax return and list of major donors was released to Matthew Meisel, a gay activist in Boston, MA. Email correspondence from Meisel revealed that he told a colleague that he had “a conduit” to obtain NOM’s confidential information. While testifying under oath in a deposition in the litigation, Meisel invoked the 5th Amendment against self-incrimination and refused to disclose the identity of his conduit. Documents obtained during the litigation prove that Meisel then provided NOM’s tax data to the Human Rights Campaign (whose president was a national Co-Chair of the Obama Reelection Campaign). The information was also published by the Huffington Post.

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Obama’s Corrupt IRS Shared Conservatives’ Confidential Tax Information With The FBI

Report: IRS Sent Database Containing Confidential Taxpayer Information To FBI – National Review

The Internal Revenue Service may have been caught violating federal tax law: In October 2010, the agency sent a database on 501(c)(4) social-welfare groups containing confidential taxpayer information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to documents obtained by a House panel.

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The information was transmitted in advance of former IRS official Lois Lerner’s meeting the same month with Justice Department officials about the possibility of using campaign-finance laws to prosecute certain nonprofit groups. E-mails between Lerner and Richard Pilger, the director of the Justice Department’s election-crimes branch, obtained through a subpoena to Attorney General Eric Holder, show Lerner asking about the format in which the FBI preferred the data to be sent.

“This revelation that the IRS sent 1.1 million pages of nonprofit tax-return data – including confidential taxpayer information – to the FBI confirms suspicions that the IRS worked with the Justice Department to facilitate the potential investigation of nonprofit groups engaged in lawful political speech,” Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa, a California Republican, and subcommittee chairman Jim Jordan wrote in a letter to IRS commissioner John Koskinen. The two lawmakers also raise questions about the timing of the meeting, just weeks before the 2010 midterm elections, when Republicans recaptured a majority in the House of Representatives.

The Justice Department never prosecuted social-welfare groups, and e-mails from IRS officials show their awareness that, as a result of the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in the Citizens United case, which allowed unlimited amounts of money from nonprofit groups and labor unions to flow into the political process, the law did not favor a crackdown on anonymous donations to politically orientated nonprofits, which sprouted up on all sides in the wake of the ruling. “We don’t have the law to do something,” an IRS official responsible for tax-exempt organizations said in a September 2010 e-mail.

The documents were subpoenaed as a part of the Oversight Committee’s ongoing investigation into the IRS’ targeting of right-leaning groups, which took place against the backdrop of the Citizens United ruling. E-mails cited in a committee report released in March show that the decision caused a lot of angst for Lerner and her colleagues in the IRS’s Exempt Organizations division, and she noted in public remarks that the agency was under pressure to “fix the problem” created by the decision.

Though the Justice Department never took nonprofit groups to court, the committee has argued that Lerner attempted engaged in a politicized witch hunt against conservative groups by implementing a system where applications for tax exemption were inappropriately scrutinized and by jump-starting efforts to rewrite the rules by which 501(c)(4) social-welfare groups can qualify for tax exemption. Those rules prompted an outcry from groups on both sides of the political spectrum and the agency is currently rewriting them.

Issa and Jordan have requested from the IRS all documents relating to the transmittal of the database. “This revelation likely means that the IRS – including possibly Lois Lerner – violated federal tax law by transmitting this information to the Department of Justice in 2010,” they said.

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IRS, White House Officials That Shared Confidential Taxpayer Info Had 155 White House Meetings

IRS, White House Officials That Shared Confidential Taxpayer Info Had 155 White House Meetings – Daily Caller

Embattled IRS official Sarah Hall Ingram made 155 visits to the White House to meet with a top Obama White House official with whom she exchanged confidential taxpayer information over email.

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Of Ingram’s 165 White House meetings with White House staff, a staggering 155 of them were hosted by deputy assistant to the president for health policy Jeanne Lambrew, according to a June Watchdog.Org analysis of White House visitor records.

Ingram exchanged confidential taxpayer information with Lambrew and White House health policy advisor Ellen Montz, according to 2012 emails obtained by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The White House recently took down visitor logs recording details of these meetings, citing the government shutdown.

Ingram headed the scandal-plagued IRS office that oversaw tax-exempt organizations between 2009 and 2012, when she left to take over the IRS office in charge of Obamacare implementation.

Former IRS Exempt Organizations division director Lois Lerner, who apologized for improperly scrutinizing tax-exempt applications of conservative groups between 2010 and 2012, also received an email alongside Ingram, Lambrew and Montz that contained confidential information.

In 2012, Ingram attempted to counsel the White House on a lawsuit from religious organizations opposing Obamacare’s contraception mandate.

The emails provided to Oversight investigators by the IRS had numerous redactions with the signifier “6103.”

Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code forbids a federal employee from “disclos[ing] any return or return information obtained by him in any manner in connection with his service as such an officer or an employee.”

The “6103″ signifiers were repeatedly added to the emails in instances in which the officials were referring to the names of groups or organizations, according to a reading of the redacted emails.

Federal employees who illegally disclose confidential taxpayer information could face five years in prison.

The IRS does not respond to press inquiries during the government shutdown, citing law.

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Confirmed: White House And IRS Exchanged Confidential Taxpayer Information

Confirmed: White House And IRS Exchanged Confidential Taxpayer Information – Gateway Pundit

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The IRS Scandal involves:

* At least 292 conservative groups targeted
* At least 5 pro-Israel groups targeted
* Constitutional groups targeted
* Groups that criticized Obama administration were targeted
* At least two pro-life groups targeted
* A Texas voting-rights group was targeted
* Conservative activists and businesses were targeted.
* At least 88 IRS agents were involved in the targeting scandal
* At least one conservative Hispanic group was targeted
* IRS continued to target groups even after the scandal was exposed

Now this…

The White House and IRS exchanged confidential taxpayer information.

The Daily Caller reported:

Top Internal Revenue Service Obamacare official Sarah Hall Ingram discussed confidential taxpayer information with senior Obama White House officials, according to 2012 emails obtained by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and provided to The Daily Caller.

Lois Lerner, then head of the IRS Tax Exempt Organizations division, also received an email alongside White House officials that contained confidential information.

Ingram attempted to counsel the White House on a lawsuit from religious organizations opposing Obamacare’s contraception mandate. Email exchanges involving Ingram and White House officials — including White House health policy advisor Ellen Montz and deputy assistant to the president for health policy Jeanne Lambrew — contained confidential taxpayer information, according to Oversight.

The emails provided to Oversight investigators by the IRS had numerous redactions with the signifier “6103.”

Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code forbids a federal employee from “disclos[ing] any return or return information obtained by him in any manner in connection with his service as such an officer or an employee.”

Federal employees who illegally disclose confidential taxpayer information could face five years in prison.

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IRS Office That Targeted Tea Party Also Disclosed Confidential Documents From Conservative Groups

IRS Office That Targeted Tea Party Also Disclosed Confidential Docs From Conservative Groups – ProPublica

The same IRS office that deliberately targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status in the run-up to the 2012 election released nine pending confidential applications of conservative groups to ProPublica late last year.

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The IRS did not respond to requests Monday following up about that release, and whether it had determined how the applications were sent to ProPublica.

In response to a request for the applications for 67 different nonprofits last November, the Cincinnati office of the IRS sent ProPublica applications or documentation for 31 groups. Nine of those applications had not yet been approved – meaning they were not supposed to be made public. (We made six of those public, after redacting their financial information, deeming that they were newsworthy.)

On Friday, Lois Lerner, the head of the division on tax-exempt organizations, apologized to Tea Party and other conservative groups because the IRS’ Cincinnati office had unfairly targeted them. Tea Party groups had complained in early 2012 that they were being sent overly intrusive questionnaires in response to their applications.

That scrutiny appears to have gone beyond Tea Party groups to applicants saying they wanted to educate the public to “make America a better place to live” or that criticized how the country was being run, according to a draft audit cited by many outlets. The full audit, by the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration, will reportedly be released this week. (ProPublica was not contacted by the inspector general’s office.)

Before the 2012 election, ProPublica devoted months to showing how dozens of social-welfare nonprofits had misled the IRS about their political activity on their applications and tax returns. Social-welfare nonprofits are allowed to spend money to influence elections, as long as their primary purpose is improving social welfare. Unlike super PACs and regular political action committees, they do not have to identify their donors.

In 2012, nonprofits that didn’t have to report their donors poured an unprecedented $322 million into the election. Much of that money – 84 percent – came from conservative groups.

As part of its reporting, ProPublica regularly requested applications from the IRS’s Cincinnati office, which is responsible for reviewing applications from nonprofits.

Social welfare nonprofits are not required to apply to the IRS to operate. Many politically active new conservative groups apply anyway. Getting IRS approval can help with donations and help insulate groups from further scrutiny. Many politically active new liberal nonprofits have not applied.

Applications become public only after the IRS approves a group’s tax-exempt status.

On Nov. 15, 2012, ProPublica requested the applications of 67 nonprofits, all of which had spent money on the 2012 elections. (Because no social welfare groups with Tea Party in their names spent money on the election, ProPublica did not at that point request their applications. We had requested the Tea Party applications earlier, after the groups first complained about being singled out by the IRS. In response, the IRS said it could find no record of the tax-exempt status of those groups – typically how it responds to requests for unapproved applications.)

Just 13 days after ProPublica sent in its request, the IRS responded with the documents on 31 social welfare groups.

One of the applications the IRS released to ProPublica was from Crossroads GPS, the largest social-welfare nonprofit involved in the 2012 election. The group, started in part by GOP consultant Karl Rove, promised the IRS that any effort to influence elections would be “limited.” The group spent more than $70 million from anonymous donors in 2012.

Applications were sent to ProPublica from five other social welfare groups that had told the IRS that they wouldn’t spend money to sway elections. The other groups ended up spending more than $5 million related to the election, mainly to support Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Much of that money was spent by the Arizona group Americans for Responsible Leadership. The remaining four groups that told the IRS they wouldn’t engage in political spending were Freedom Path, Rightchange.com II, America Is Not Stupid and A Better America Now.

The IRS also sent ProPublica the applications of three small conservative groups that told the agency that they would spend some money on politics: Citizen Awareness Project, the YG Network and SecureAmericaNow.org. (No unapproved applications from liberal groups were sent to ProPublica.)

The IRS cover letter sent with the documents was from the Cincinnati office, and signed by Cindy Thomas, listed as the manager for Exempt Organizations Determinations, whom a biography for a Cincinnati Bar Association meeting in January says has worked for the IRS for 35 years. (Thomas often signed the cover letters of responses to ProPublica requests.) The cover letter listed an IRS employee named Sophia Brown as the person to contact for more information about the records. We tried to contact both Thomas and Brown today but were unable to reach them.

After receiving the unapproved applications, ProPublica tried to determine why they had been sent. In emails, IRS spokespeople said ProPublica shouldn’t have received them.

“It has come to our attention that you are in receipt of application materials of organizations that have not been recognized by the IRS as tax-exempt,” wrote one spokeswoman, Michelle Eldridge. She cited a law saying that publishing unauthorized returns or return information was a felony punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and imprisonment of up to five years, or both.

In response, ProPublica’s then-general manager and now president, Richard Tofel, said, “ProPublica believes that the information we are publishing is not barred by the statute cited by the IRS, and it is clear to us that there is a strong First Amendment interest in its publication.”

ProPublica also redacted parts of the application to omit financial information.

Jonathan Collegio, a spokesman for Crossroads GPS, declined to comment today on whether he thought the IRS’s release of the group’s application could have been linked to recent news that the Cincinnati office was targeting conservative groups.

Last December, Collegio wrote in an email: “As far as we know, the Crossroads application is still pending, in which case it seems that either you obtained whatever document you have illegally, or that it has been approved.”

This year, the IRS appears to have changed the office that responds to requests for nonprofits’ applications. Previously, the IRS asked journalists to fax requests to a number with a 513 area code – which includes Cincinnati. ProPublica sent a request by fax on Feb. 5 to the Ohio area code. On March 13, that request was answered by David Fish, a director of Exempt Organizations Guidance, in Washington, D.C.

In early April, a ProPublica reporter’s request to the Ohio fax number bounced back. An IRS spokesman said at the time the number had changed “recently.” The new fax number begins with 202, the area code for Washington, D.C.

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Confidential, Expensive USDA Sensitivity Training: ‘The Pilgrims Were Illegal Aliens’ (Videos)

Confidential, Expensive USDA Sensitivity Training: ‘The Pilgrims Were Illegal Aliens’ – Daily Caller

Footage of the United States Department of Agriculture’s compulsory “Cultural Sensitivity Training” program reveals USDA employees being instructed to refer to the Pilgrims as “illegal aliens” and minorities as “emerging majorities” – at “a huge expense” to taxpayers.

The video clips were made public Thursday evening by the conservative government accountability group Judicial Watch, which obtained them through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request made on May 18, 2012.

The clips star Samuel Betances – a diversity instructor with Souder, Betances and Associates – who says in the video that he got his diversity training start under former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley. In the clips, Betances instructed USDA employees on the proper thinking about diversity and minorities – or, as he called them, “emerging majorities.”

Between requiring the employees to repeat that “every federal agency has discriminated against African-Americans, Hispanics, Native American Indians and other groups,” and a long account of his personal history, Betances encouraged the employees to take note because the presentation is “a huge expense.”

“If you take a look at all of you here and you think about your salaries and your benefits and what you have left undone – plus my fee – plus the expense of the team that’s putting the video together, this is a huge expense,” he says in his video.

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In another clip, Betances attempted to dispel the stigma of illegal immigrants by calling the Pilgrims illegal aliens.

“I want you to say that America was founded by outsiders – say that – who are today’s insiders, who are very nervous about today’s outsiders,” he said in the clip.

“I want you to say, ‘The Pilgrims were illegal aliens,’” he continued. “Say, ‘The Pilgrims never gave their passports to the Indians.’”

Throughout the session, Betances had the employees shout “Bam!” to reinforce his points.

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Betances also explained in another clip Judicial Watch highlighted – from the more than three-and-a-half hour video – that he does not like the word “minorities.”

“By the way, I don’t like the word ‘minorities.’ How about ‘emerging majorities’?” he said.

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At times in the video, Betances poked fun at “white males.”

“White males founded the USDA! Say ‘Thank you, white males.’ I know it got stuck, some of you couldn’t get it out,” he said to laughter. “I understand. Let’s try that again. Go ahead.”

“Notice I’m not saying, ‘Thank you for slavery, or sexism, or what happened to the indigenous Native American folks.’ I’m saying thank you for what? I’m saying, ‘Thank you for establishing the agency in which those of us that are not white males seek to play a larger role,’” Betances said in a faux giddy manner, before explaining that unity begins with gratitude, before turning to grievances. “We’ve got grievances!,” he said. “This institution, like all federal institutions, have not been fair.”

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The training videos were supposed to be kept secret: Judicial Watch describes an Oct. 10, 2011 email exchange in which USDA Training Administrator Vincent Loran requested the training video from Betances and promised it will never get out.

“It will not be used for or show [sic] in any way shape or form,” Judicial Watch quotes Loran as writing.

“This USDA diversity training video depicts out-of-control political correctness,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “Can someone please explain how any of this helps USDA employees to better serve the American taxpayer? This video further confirms that politically correct diversity-training programs are both offensive and a waste of taxpayer money. No wonder it took over half a year to obtain this video from the Obama administration.”

In April 2009, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack issued a memo to all agency employees announcing “a new era of civil rights,” and instructed the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights “to lead a comprehensive program to improve USDA’s record on civil rights and move us into a new era as a model employer and premier service provider,” a USDA press release reads. Part of that “cultural transformation” included instituting civil rights training.

Judicial Watch notes that in 2011 and 2012, USDA paid Betances and his firm nearly $200,000.

Last October, when Judicial Watch first became aware of the training program through a FOIA request, a USDA spokesman told Fox News that the training was meant to increase diversity awareness, and was well-received by the employees.

“USDA offers a number of optional workshops and professional development opportunities in order to help employees better serve our customers,” the statement said. “The Souder Betances & Associates sessions were designed to foster overall diversity awareness – not to focus on any specific minority group – and received positive feedback from employees across the department,” the statement read.

See the session in it’s entirety: Part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4

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