President Denial is at it again. H/T The Other McCain. IRS scandal? What IRS scandal?
Just a bunch of inept bureaucrats accidentallytargeting the president’s political enemies:
Rather, he said, IRS officials were confused about how to implement the law governing those kinds of tax-exempt groups.
“There were some bone-headed decisions,” Obama conceded.
But when asked whether corruption, or mass corruption, was at play, he responded: “Not even mass corruption — not even a smidgen of corruption.”
He acknowledged that then-IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman had been to the White House more than 100 times but said he couldn’t recall speaking to him on any of those occasions.
After wasting nearly $325 million during the 2012 election cycle with nothing to show for it and then declaring war on the Tea Party, donations to Karl Rove’s three Crossroads groups decreased by 98% last year. The groups reportedly raised a paltry $6.1 million combined in 2013.
Rove runs Crossroads GPS, American Crossroads, and the Conservative Victory Project Super PAC, which was formed this year to wage war against conservatives. Rove’s two groups raised $325 million in 2012 and about $70 million in 2010. As Politico notes, though, “Rove added a third group to the network in 2013, forming the Conservative Victory Project to counterbalance the influence of Tea Party and conservative grassroots forces in GOP primaries.”
Since then, as Breitbart News reported, “Rove’s organization has been so tarnished among the conservative base that candidates fear donors will not contribute to any group associated with him.” Aware of this, Rove’s Crossroads network has reloaded with groups that share donors but are technically not affiliated on paper with them.
All three of the groups “are permitted to accept unlimited corporate and individual contributions,” and donations to Crossroads GPS, a nonprofit, are even tax deductible.
Remember this is the kind of people the GOP leadership is upset with. They have it backwards, we need MORE Mike Lee!
Despicable, absolutely despicable. And any Republican who went along with this should be ashamed of themselves. There are dozens and dozens of things we could cut, but we target disabled vets? Every single member who voted for this should be thrown from office.
A note about the clip from Patty Murray promising to fix the problem, after the bill is passed. Why after? Why not fix it now, before passing it? This is just more double talk from our Congress. Don’t worry about this bill, we will fix it later, right, sure you will Congresswoman.
Another note about our politicians in Congress. Only the Tea Party members seem sincere about fixing our fiscal house. The career politicians seem far more concerned with retaining power than serving their country. We can change this culture of Congressional entitlement, or begin to at least, next November. We need to retake the Senate, and keep the House, but we also need to support more Conservative candidates like Milton Wolf in Kansas over incumbent Republicans who have forgotten what their job is.
William Wilkins is one of only two political appointees at the IRS, and he’s obviously hiding something. Issa is offering him a do-over on his testimony.
Via National Review:
Behind the scenes and nearly six months after the scandal first made headlines, the House Oversight Committee is quietly continuing its investigation of the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of tea-party groups. Since May, congressional investigators have interviewed over 30 witnesses and examined thousands of pages of documents.
The latest official called to testify before committee investigators is an important one: IRS chief counsel William Wilkins. Wilkins is one of just two political appointees at the IRS, a generous donor to Democratic candidates and causes, and once represented Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ. Evidence of his involvement in the targeting would spell trouble for the White House and bring renewed focus to a scandal that has largely receded from public consciousness.
The Oversight Committee has furnished none, to date, but it is expressing gross dissatisfaction with Wilkins’s testimony and, in a letter sent to him on Wednesday, offering him the opportunity to amend it. “In your testimony, you stated ‘I don’t recall’ a staggering 80 times in full or partial response to the Committee’s questions,” committee chairman Darrell Issa and Ohio representative Jim Jordan wrote. “Your failure to recollect important aspects of the Committee’s investigation suggests either a deliberate attempt to obfuscate your involvement in this matter or gross incompetence on your part.”
GREAT Tweet from RS McCain today
Democrat 2014 campaign slogan: “Now That We Totally Fucked Up Your Health Insurance, Give Us a Chance to Fuck Up Everything Else, Too.
Go read the post that goes along with that Tweet, it is pure gold
If you want to see a microcosm of the problems looming for Democrats in their 2014 mid-term campaign to recapture the House, look no further than New York’s 23rd Congressional District:
Martha Robertson is the Democratic candidate challenging Republican incumbent Tom Reed in NY-23, my home district.
We have highlighted Robertson many times before regarding her unsubstantiated fundraising claim that “GOP ops” tried to take down her website. Robertson’s campaign never has provided proof of that claim, leading to a fair amount of negative local television coverage and even national press attention.
The fundraising scandal, which I doubt is over, likely will be overshadowed by a much bigger problem: Robertson is a long-time and vocal supporter of mandates with the ultimate goal of single-payer.
In light of the Obamacare debacle, and the inability of the federal government even to set up a website portal, a complete federal government takeover of the health care system is a hard sell.
Basically, the Democrats own the train wreck that is Obamacare. The GOP has a GREAT opportunity here. Can they take advantage? They damn well better. Here is a bit of helpful advice from me to the GOP establishment. If a long-time Republican gets a primary challenger from the Tea Party, do not whine. If the incumbent is a Conservative they ought to welcome debate, and their challenger as well. And, if the incumbent loses the primary, then the establishment ought to welcome and support the Republican voters choice! Respect your base, without them, the GOP is done. In other words care more about America, than about your power.
To the Tea Party. Feel free to primary a less than stellar Conservative, I think it is great for our party. Challenge them, and debate them, but if you lose to them, support them anyway. Remember, the less Democrats in Congress the better. Basically, we need to have open challenges among ourselves, and then we need to support the winner. Again, recall that not one Republican voted for Obamacare in 2010, NOT ONE! A less than stellar Republican is better than a Democrat!
The media, and of course Democrats will point to the defeat of Ken Cuccinelli in the Virginia governors election and say that this is a huge, massive, epic, and crippling defeat for the Tea Party, and Conservatism. And when they say that, they will be either lying or engaging in a bit of propaganda. If any entity failed in that race, it was the GOP leadership, which allowed Democrats to outspend them 10-1, and a finger of blame might also point at Chris Christie. Christie, with his reelection assured was asked, repeatedly, to come campaign for Kuccinelli. He declined, how is that for team work? Thanks Governor, really
By the way, it seems that Kuccinelli won among the middle class voters in Virginia, while McAuliffe won among the poor, and wealthy. I guess the duel Democratic strategies of make the rich feel guilty, and promise the poor you will give them everything worked. Odd, because those who will be hardest hit by McAuliffe’s Left wing policies will be those poor that were so busy voting with their hands out that they could not understand that the promises of leftism NEVER materialize.
When a Tea Party “congressman” representing Georgia’s “15th district” made a joke at the expense of Germans, CNN’s Christine Amanpour was quick to call him out.
“Maybe if we kept a better eye on them in 1939, WWII wouldn’t have happened,” Rep. “Steve Smith” tweeted after Amanpour announced her interview with the German Foreign Minister.
“Seriously?” Amanpour replied in disgust, retweeting his message.
The only problem is, there is no Rep. Steve Smith nor is there a 15th congressional district in Georgia. Someone apparently created the fake/parody “Tea Party Patriot” account to mess with people like Amanpour, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and others.
IN HALF AN HOUR – my interview with German FM Westerwelle on @cnni. He says U.S. spying is “a breach of trust.”
2:35 PM – 31 Oct 2013
After Amanpour brought attention to the fake congressman’s classless remark, others on Twitter have also attacked Rep. Smith.
Penn, the ultimate useful idiot says that Obama should issue an executive order committing Ted Cruz and the Tea Party.
Actor and activist Sean Penn said Monday that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) and other Tea Partiers in Congress need to be committed by executive order.
Such was said to a laughing Piers Morgan on the CNN program bearing his name
SEAN PENN: It is funny, because what you were talking about before we went to the break, you know, I, I was in Port-au-Prince when the shutdown happened. And, and I said to people — they need, I had stuff that it was demanding on me in Port-au-Prince but I, I had to come home. I said, “Listen I, I have to leave Haiti now because I have to travel to the third world county that I come from.”
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: [Laughs]
You have been, you know, this I think, you know, on the forefront of this gun thing. All of these things, and this is also where you get people who think these things.
I think for let’s, let’s go to the Tea Party influence on Congress on this thing. I think they have, there’s a mental health problem in Congress. This would be solved by committing them by executive order, I think, because these our American brothers and sisters. We shouldn’t be criticizing them, attacking them. We should take their — this is a cry for help.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: You literally commit what …
PENN: I think …
MORGAN: … people like Ted Cruz?
PENN: He’s, he’s my American brother. I want, we think, we should take care of him. He’s in trouble.
MORGAN: [Laughs] Well, actually have him committed.
PENN: Yeah, I thinks it’s a good idea.
PENN: [Laughs] But then you look at, you know, the, look, there’s a lot of reason to take a shot at me and I’m giving people a lot reason to over the years. But the thing you’re talking about and, and the way people’s perception of political positions are, is a direct reaction to their lack of, of their education which is a huge problem that we’re dealing with in the country. And between an uneducated people and the solipsism of the people like Ted Cruz and their party, it’s a poisonous thing.
Good grief, there is indeed an education problem, and it is retarding the mental health of idiots like Penn. People who refuse to understand that Marxism does not work. But, tell you what Sean why don’t you start by ringing my doorbell. See how that works out for you. Let us see what happens when a Marxist troll confronts a patriot who loves America, OK Sean? But, of course Penn might be stupid, but he ain’t that stupid.
That we are the enemy? Is this possible?
Soldiers attending a pre-deployment briefing at Fort Hood say they were told that evangelical Christians and members of the Tea Party were a threat to the nation and that any soldier donating to those groups would be subjected to punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
A soldier who attended the Oct. 17th briefing told me the counter-intelligence agent in charge of the meeting spent nearly a half hour discussing how evangelical Christians and groups like the American Family Association were “tearing the country apart.”
Michael Berry, an attorney with the Liberty Institute, is advising the soldier and has launched an investigation into the incident.
Go read the rest. Personally, I have heard similar stories from people who are former military and law enforcement. Very scary times folks. It seems the Left is in full blown attack mode to destroy any political opposition.
It’s past time for the media to begin asking President Obama tough questions about the IRS conservative targeting scandal. After all he was involved, publicly, from the beginning.
Last Friday, the American Center for Law and Justice (where I serve as Chief Counsel) filed its Second Amended Complaint against the United States, the IRS, and a legion of IRS officials. This Complaint, in which we represent 41 organizations in 22 states, presents perhaps the most complete story yet of the IRS conservative targeting scandal.
And it is an ugly story indeed.
What was sold to the American public as a low-level scandal perpetrated by a few rogue employees – a scandal stopped after senior officials became aware and asserted control – is now (to borrow a Watergate phrase) “no longer operative.”
Instead, we detail a long-running assault on the Tea Party, beginning shortly after its emergence in 2009, that is empowered, encouraged, and orchestrated not only by senior IRS officials in Washington, but also through outright targeting by the White House, Congressional Democrats, and the mainstream media.
In fact, the IRS was doing little more than focusing its attention exactly where the president of the United States told it to focus – on the groups the president himself identified as a “threat to democracy.”
Consider President Obama’s aggressive public statements – made just as we now know senior IRS officials were intentionally and aggressively scrutinizing conservative groups’ applications for tax exemption.
On August 9, 2010 the president warned of “attack ads run by shadowy groups with harmless-sounding names” during his weekly radio address. The President said: “We don’t know who’s behind these ads and we don’t know who’s paying for them… you don’t know if it’s a foreign controlled corporation… The only people who don’t want to disclose the truth are people with something to hide.”
On September 16, 2010, President Obama once again warned that some unidentified “foreign-controlled entity” could be providing “millions of dollars” for “attack ads.” Less than one week later, he complained that “nobody knows” the identities of the individuals who support conservative groups.
On September 22, 2010, President Obama warned of groups opposing his policies “pos[ing] as non-for-profit social and welfare trade groups” and he claimed such groups were “guided by seasoned Republican political operatives” and potentially supported by some unidentified “foreign controlled entity.”
On October 14, 2010, President Obama called organizations with “benign-sounding” names “a problem for democracy”; the next week he complained about individuals who “hide behind those front groups,” called such groups a “threat to our democracy,” and claimed such groups were engaged in “unsupervised” spending.
Next, consider the IRS’s actions following those statements. Not only did the IRS continue its targeting, it issued broad questionnaires that made unconstitutionally-intrusive inquiries designed to get answers to exactly the questions President Obama posed.
Who are your donors?
What is the political activity of your family and associates?
What are the passwords for your websites?
After all, according to the president, you’re only afraid to answer these questions if “you’ve got something to hide.”
The demagoguery is breathtaking. Not only does he raise the wholly-unsubstantiated possibility of shadowy “foreign” involvement in the Tea Party groups, a charge incredible on its face, but he goes the extra mile of calling such groups, a “threat to our democracy.”
When the president of the United States declares these groups a “threat to our democracy” is it any surprise that his enthusiastic supporters (and donors) within the IRS responded with an unprecedented campaign of selective targeting, intimidation, and governmental intrusion?
One grows weary of stating the obvious, but if President Bush had declared a specific category of citizen groups a “threat to democracy” potentially run by “political operatives” or “foreign-controlled,” and the IRS launched an unprecedented campaign of targeting and intrusive questioning, the mainstream media would have been relentless not only in its independent investigations but in its calls for accountability – at the highest levels.
Was the president of the United States involved in the IRS scandal? He was the one who identified the targets – in the most public manner possible.
A president singling out citizens groups for targeting and intrusive questioning merely because he dislikes their message and fears their political influence?
Now that is a “threat to democracy.”
The Tea Party Patriots blew away expectations at Wednesday night’s tele-townhall on the Continuing Resolution with 104,000 participants for Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK).
The previous record for an event was three weeks ago when 67,000 participants attended. TPP Co-founder Jenny Beth Martin stated, “no special measures were taken to draw the crowd – only the standard Facebook post for two hours and a robocall earlier in the day.”
The pupose of the tele-townhall was to get TPP members up to date on the latest developments in the ongoing battle to defund Obamacare. It was the TPP’s rallies during the congressional recess in August that drove interest in the current hard-line strategy.
Senator Cruz laid out a series of action items that grassroots activists could take on a daily basis to stop Obamacare. These measures included everything from signing petitions to doing blog and Facebook posts. Cruz emphasized the importance of citizens talking to their neighbors about Obamacare and enlisting more people around the country to join the movement to stop its implementation. Of particular note was his call for TPP members to get the word out on the special Obamcare exemption for Congress.
Calls were taken from the participants, and several veterans expressed the importance of getting veterans to join the group. Rep. Bridenstine , a former fighter pilot, expressed his frustration with House Democrats in clocking a rule change that would allow funding of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Tea Party Patriot officials believe the intensity of emotions to continue the fight against Obamacare will carry through the upcoming debt ceiling negotiations. Martin noted that the tele-townhall four weeks ago drew over 50,000 participants, and active engagement by grassroots is building with each passing day.
Keep up with Tea Party Patriots updates for future tele-townhalls here.
Tom Harkin really hates those damn Tea Party types. I mean come on, common Americans getting involved in the political process? That is like soooo inconvenient for Statists like Harkin
Via The Hill:
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) on Friday said that the Tea Party movement is just as dangerous for America as the Civil War.
“A small group of willful men and women who have a certain ideology about how our country should run and what we should do cannot get their way in a normal discourse and votes,” Harkin said. “Since they can’t get their way they’re going to create this confusion and discourse and hope the public is so mixed up in who to blame for this that perhaps they’ll blame both sides.”
“That is the path they see for taking over the government. It’s dangerous, very dangerous. … Every bit as dangerous as the break up and the Civil War.”
Well first off the “Civil War” is not an accurate name for that conflict. A civil war would be two or more factions fighting to control government. The Confederate States seceded, formed a NEW nation, and fought only to defend the right to do so. But, more to the point. Harkin calls the Tea Party “willful” as if they are children throwing a tantrum. Actually, they, unlike parasites like Harkin, they Care about our nation and the Constitution, which, of course can make life tough on Harkin who really does not give a rats ass about the Constitution!
Twenty-five conservative and Tea Party groups have filed suit against the Internal Revenue Service, Attorney General Eric Holder and top IRS officials, alleging that the Obama administration unlawfully targeted the groups because of their political beliefs and obstructed their applications for tax-exempt status.
“The IRS and the federal government are not going to get away with this unlawful targeting of conservative groups,” said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, a conservative public interest law firm that filed the federal lawsuit on behalf of the groups in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. “The lawsuit sends a very powerful message to the IRA and the Obama Administration – including the White House: Americans are not going to be bullied and intimidated by our government.”
The suit asks for a declaratory judgment that the defendants, including Lois Lerner, director of exempt organizations for the IRS, “unlawfully delayed and obstructed” applications for tax-exempt status. It also asks for monetary damages, protection for the plaintiffs from further IRS targeting and tax-exempt status for 10 of the conservative groups with applications still outstanding.
The lawsuit lists 25 plaintiffs, but the ACLJ said more were likely to be added to the suit. Thirteen of the plaintiffs have now received tax-exempt status, and two have withdrawn their applications. The plaintiffs applied for tax-exempt status between 2009 and 2011.
A report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration released May 14 said that the IRS had targeted tax-exempt application based on “inappropriate criteria,” including organizational names, and “significantly delayed the processing of these applications.” Processing for some of the Tea Party groups took more than twice as long as for other groups, according to the Inspector General’s report.
The White House has said it was unaware of the targeting, and that President Barack Obama only learned of the issue when news of the IG’s report broke. Lois Lerner, the now-suspended director of the Exempt Organizations department at the IRS, apologized and said she had learned of the targeting in 2012 when Tea Party groups complained. Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller, who has since resigned, told Congress that the targeting was the result of “foolish mistakes” by lower-level IRS employees, and denied that politics or partisanship motivated the people involved. According to the IRS’s public statements and testimony, most of the work in question was done by employees at the IRS Exempt Organizations Determinations Unit in Cincinnati, Ohio.
As NBC News reported Tuesday, however, requests for information about the groups came from other local offices and IRS headquarters in Washington. The ACLJ’s Sekulow previously had provided some of the letters to NBC News, and on Wednesday made them available to the public. At least one letter requesting information about the Ohio Liberty Council bears the stamped signature of Lerner.
Lerner is named as a defendant in the ACLJ suit. The Ohio Liberty Council is not currently among the plaintiffs.
The initial firestorm surrounding the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups may have subsided, but tea party leaders say the situation has only become worse and may lead to more lawsuits against the embattled agency.
New documents show the depth of information the IRS is seeking from Tea Party Patriots, a leading conservative group that first applied for 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status in late 2010 and one of many organizations singled out for extra scrutiny by the Obama administration.
An IRS letter sent to the group last week and obtained by The Washington Times contains a laundry list of requests related to virtually all the group’s activities, including its involvement in the 2012 election cycle and its get-out-the-vote efforts, fundraising activities, all radio and TV advertising, and other information.
The IRS also is asking for detailed financial records, including “the amounts and percentages of your total expenses that were for fundraising activities in the tax year 2011, 2012 and 2013.”
The Aug. 20 request came as a shock to Tea Party Patriots, which said it already has provided to the IRS extensive information on all of its activities and thinks it is long past time to receive a “yes” or “no” answer.
The letter also is proof that, while President Obama and other liberals have referred to the situation as a “phony scandal,” conservative organizations still are targets, said Cleta Mitchell, a Washington, D.C., lawyer representing the Tea Party Patriots and several other conservative groups.
“This is tantamount to an audit. This is the continuation of the same thing they’ve been doing for four years. They have not stopped,” she said Thursday. “Tea Party Patriots has responded to all of the requests of the IRS to date, but that has gotten us nowhere. They just keep asking more questions. We are now looking at potential legal remedies, but that’s not easy. Congress has made it quite difficult to sue the IRS.”
The letter, according to the IRS, is simply an attempt to gather information necessary for the agency to determine whether the Tea Party Patriots is eligible for tax-exempt status under current law. Meeting the tax-exempt criteria requires that a group’s “primary” function and activities not be political in nature.
Since news of the IRS targeting scandal broke this spring, the agency also argues that it has made significant progress in sifting through a backlog of groups – including the Tea Party Patriots – that have been waiting years for a decision.
As of last week, the IRS said, it has closed 64 percent of outstanding cases and approved 65 of 85 organizations for 501(c)(4) status.
But for the groups still awaiting approval, last week’s letter represents nothing more than a delaying tactic, said Jenny Beth Martin, president and co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots.
Reviewing information on the group’s activities in the 2012 election cycle pushes an IRS decision even farther down the road. It also raises the possibility that the organization’s future efforts, including in the upcoming 2014 political contests, also will be subject to detailed review as part of a never-ending approval process.
“What that letter said to me is, ‘We got away with discriminating against you and we’re not stopping.’ [The letter] comes as a complete surprise,” Ms. Martin said.
On Thursday, the IRS said it couldn’t comment specifically on the Tea Party Patriots case, but did defend its information-gathering efforts and argued that it has made great strides in its tax-exempt approval process.
“There are instances when IRS must seek more information before we can determine if an organization’s application for tax-exempt status meets the necessary legal requirements,” the agency said in a statement. “Effort and care has been taken to limit the number and nature of these follow-up questions to focus only on the information that we need in order to properly evaluate the application.”
The agency also referred back to an Aug. 9 statement from acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel, who said that political campaign intervention will be reviewed without regard to specific “labels,” indicating that tea party or other conservative groups no longer will face extra scrutiny.
In its attempts to clear the backlog of agencies awaiting tax-exempt status, the IRS in June – after news of its political targeting had come to light – offered a deal to organizations such as the Tea Party Patriots.
In exchange for agreeing that no more than 40 percent of its “spending and time” would be related to political campaigns, a group’s tax-exempt application would be expedited.
The Tea Party Patriots has yet to accept that deal, and Ms. Martin said it has no intention of doing so.
“I’m being punished because I didn’t take them up on their made-up expedited process,” she said.
Twenty-nine applicants have taken part in that process in recent months, according to the IRS.
IRS employees were ordered by their superiors – including Lois Lerner who pleaded the 5th Amendment against self-incrimination rather than testify in Congress – to send certain Tea Party tax-exemption applications to the office of the IRS’s Chief Counsel, which was headed by William Wilkins, who at that time was the only Obama political appointee at the IRS, according to a letter released today by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
“As a part of this ongoing investigation, the Committees have learned that the IRS Chief Counsel’s office in Washington, D.C. has been closely involved in some of the applications,” reads a letter released today by the House committees on Oversight and Government and Ways and Means. “Its involvement and demands for information about political activity during the 2010 election cycle appear to have caused systematic delays in the processing of Tea Party applications.”
It further states, “[B]ased on his decades of experience, [career IRS official Carter Hull] determined he had enough facts to make recommendations whether to approve or deny the applications… However, Mr. Hull’s recommendations were not carried out. Instead, according to Michael Seto, the head of Mr. Hull’s unit in Washington, Lois Lerner instructed that the Tea Party applications go through a multi-layer review that included her senior advisor and the Chief Counsel’s office.”
Wilkins, the IRS chief counsel, had been appointed by President Obama to his position in 2009, and was one of only two politically appointed officials at the IRS. The other employee was IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, a Bush appointee. Shulman was commissioner from March 2008 to November 2012. He was followed Steve Miller, who was appointed acting commissioner by Obama and served until May 2013. The current acting commissioner is Daniel Werfel, appointed by Obama in May.
The nine-page letter was sent to IRS Principal Deputy Commissioner Daniel Werfel and was signed by House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrel Issa (R-Calif.), Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Way and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Charles Boustany Jr. (R-La.).
IRS official Lois Lerner is sworn in on Capitol Hill on May 22, 2013, before a House Oversight Committee hearing, where she pleaded the 5th Amendment against self-incrimination. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
The letter is based upon interviews by the Committees of several long-term IRS employees, including Carter Hull, a tax-law specialist and 501c(4) expert with 48 years of experience at the IRS, according to the letter. From his interview, “the Committees were informed that Tea Party applications under his review were, in an unusual turn of events, referred to the Chief Counsel’s office for further review at the direction of Lois Lerner, the head of the Exempt Organizations division. The IRS Chief Counsel is one of two politically appointed officials in the agency.”
Hull is scheduled to testify before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Thursday, July 18, along with several other IRS employees cited in today’s letter.
Back in April 2010, according to the letter, Hull was instructed by his superiors to analyze several Tea Party tax-exemption applications as “test” cases to determine the best way for the IRS, as Hull explained, to “approach these organizations, and how [the IRS] should handle them.”
Hull sent development letters to the Tea Party groups requesting additional information, gathered and analyzed the data, and then concluded he had enough facts to make a decision on whether the groups had engaged in a permissible amount of political activity.
“However, Mr. Hull’s recommendations were not carried,” states the letter. Instead, as the head of Hull’s unit in Washington, D.C., Michael Seto, related, Lois Lerner “sent me an email saying that when these cases need to go through multi-tire review and they will eventually have to go [through her staff] and the chief counsel’s office.”
……………IRS Chief Counsel William Wilkens. (Photo: IRS)
Hull also told the committees that Lerner’s senior adviser instructed him in the winter of 2010-2011 that the IRS Chief Counsel’s office would have to review the applications. Hull stated this was the first time in his career he had been told to send applications to Lerner’s senior adviser. As the committee reported:
Q: “Have you ever sent a case to [the senior adviser to Ms. Lerner] before?”
Hull: “Not to my knowledge.”
Q: “This is the only case you remember?”
Hull: “This is the only case I remember sending directly to [ the senior adviser to Ms. Lerner].”
Q: “Did [the senior adviser to Ms. Lerner] indicate to you whether she agreed with your recommendations?”
Hull: “She did not say whether she agreed or not. She said it should go through the Chief Counsel.”
Q: “The IRS Chief Counsel?”
Hull: “The IRS Chief Counsel.”
The letter from the Committees to Werfel goes on to state that after a “substantial delay,” the Chief Counsel’s office finally met with Hull, with Lerner’s senior adviser, and with other Washington officials “to discuss these test case applications.”
………….Acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel (AP Photo)
“During the intervening months, these applications lingered,” states the letter. Three years after Hull had been instructed to review the Tea Party applications, he told the Committees that he did not know whether those applications were still open or closed.
Hull’s superviser, Ronald Shoemaker, also was interviewed by the Committees. He stated that from that August 2011 meeting, the Chief Counsel’s office was still seeking more information about the Tea Party applicants’ political activities, specifically activities “leading up to the 2010 election.”
In that election, the Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives and a Republican, John Boehner of Ohio, became the new Speaker.
As Shoemaker recounted to the Committees’ staff, the Chief Counsel’s office “indicated that they wanted more development of possible political activity or political intervention right before the election period; that that had not occurred and that that’s what was missing… [R]ight before the election period. In other words, immediately before.”
The letter to Werfel says, “the lengthy and unusual review of the test applications in Washington created a bottleneck and caused the delay of other Tea Party applications in Cincinnati. Indeed, multiple IRS employees in Cincinnati have told the Committee they were waiting on guidance from Washington on how to move the applications forward.”
Cindy Thomas, head of the IRS Cincinnati office, repeatedly asked officials in Washington, D.C. for guidance on the applications but did not receive definitive responses.
As the Committees’ interview reports:
Q: “So the cases that [Cincinnati employee] was working from October 2010 through September 2011 were still in kind of a holding pattern awaiting guidance from Washington? Is that right?”
Thomas: “That’s correct.”
Q: “And were there additional applications that were coming at this time?”
Thomas: “To my knowledge, yes.”
Q: “And those were also in a holding pattern?”
Thomas: “that’s correct.”
Q: “Pending guidance from Washington?”
Thomas: “That’s correct.”
In conclusion, the letter from the Committees to the IRS’s Werfel requests further documents and communications between or among employees of the IRS’s Chief Counsel’s office, the Treasury Department’s General Counsel’s office, and the Executive Office of the President between Feb. 1, 2010 and the present concerning all tax-exempt applications.