IRS Commissioner: 'Hey, it turns out it was only 'two rogue employees' responsible for all of this!!!'
Just two ‘rogue’ employees? Nice try. We already know that the Cincinnati, Washington DC, Laguna Niguel, and El Monte offices were involved.
Cluelessly, the Washington Post asks:
The Internal Revenue Service’s decision to single out conservative groups for extra scrutiny has brought a fresh dose of attention to the tea party, a once thriving movement that has waned in the years since the 2010 GOP wave election. Will the fact that the agency targeted groups with “tea party” and “patriot” in their names reignite the energy of limited-government activists and groups who have warned of the perils of overreach? Republicans both in and outside the movement think it could give them a boost on several fronts.
Now, for some pathetic spin from an Obama Firster...
'The floodgates were opened by Citizens United, and there was apparently a torrent of newly eligible, politically-driven groups applying for nonprofit status. But no one has released any numbers on what number were conservative vs moderate vs liberal or provided any rationale for the possibly illegal and completely unacceptable targeting of certain organizations for extra scrutiny.'
bayam on May 15, 2013 at 4:23 PM
While the team of specialists reviewed applications from a variety of organizations, we determined during our reviews of statistical samples of I.R.C. § 501(c)(4) tax-exempt applications that all cases with Tea Party, Patriots, or 9/12 in their names were forwarded to the team of specialists.
ALL groups with ‘Tea Party,’ ‘Patriots,’ and ’9/12′ in their names were singled out…every single one.
Officials within the highest echelons of the agency were aware of the inappropriate targeting, including the last two commissioners — at least one of whom appears to have misled Congress on this very question. Now Politico reports that Lerner herself sent at least one of the probing letters to an Ohio-based conservative group.
The director of the Internal Revenue Service division under fire for singling out conservative groups sent a 2012 letter under her name to one such group, POLITICO has learned. The March 2012 letter was sent to the Ohio-based American Patriots Against Government Excess (American PAGE) under the name of Lois Lerner, the director of the Exempt Organizations Division…at the time of the letter, the group was in the midst of the application process for tax-exempt nonprofit status — a process that would stretch for nearly three years and involve queries for detailed information on its social media activity, its organizational set-up, bylaws, membership and interactions with political officials. The letter threatened to close American PAGE’s case file unless additional information was received within 60 days.
From USA Today:
In February 2010, the Champaign Tea Party in Illinois received approval of its tax-exempt status from the IRS in 90 days, no questions asked. That was the month before the Internal Revenue Service started singling out Tea Party groups for special treatment. There wouldn’t be another Tea Party application approved for 27 months. In that time, the IRS approved perhaps dozens of applications from similar liberal and progressive groups, a USA TODAY review of IRS data shows. As applications from conservative groups sat in limbo, groups with liberal-sounding names had their applications approved in as little as nine months. With names including words like “Progress” or “Progressive,” the liberal groups applied for the same tax status and were engaged in the same kinds of activities as the conservative groups.
The IRS targeting of conservative groups is far broader than first reported, with nearly 500 organizations singled out for additional scrutiny, according to two lawmakers briefed by the agency. IRS officials claimed on Friday that roughly 300 groups received additional scrutiny. Reps. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said Tuesday that the number has actually risen to 471. Further, they said it is “unclear” whether Tea Party and other conservative groups are being targeted to this day.
Do you know who wasn’t illegally targeted and referred to the ‘Special Unit’?
The Barack H Obama Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organisation.
‘Organising for America’ is a 501(c)(4) organisation.
Media Matters for America is a 501(c)(3) organisation.
Center for American Progress is a 501(c)(3) organisation.
The Center for American Progress Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) organisation.
Priorities USA is a 501(c)(4) organisation.
MoveOn.org is a 501(c)(4) organisation.
Democratic Socialists of America is a 501(c)(3) organisation.
ActBlue is a 501(c)(4) organisation.
Center for Progressive Leadership is a 501(c)(3) organisation.
Progressive Majority is a 501(c)(3) organisation.
Voters for Choice is a 501(c)(3) organisation.
NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organisation.
NARAL Pro-Choice America, Inc., is a 501(c)(4) organisation.
The National Organisation for Women is a 501(c)(4) organisation.
The SEIU is a 501(c)(4) organisation.
The AFL-CIO is a 501(c)(4) organisation.
The ACLU Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organisation.
The ACLU is a 501(c)(3) organisation.
The American Task Force on Palestine is a 501(c)(3) organisation.
CAIR is a 501(c)(3) organisation.
North American Islamic Trust is a 501(c)(3) organisation.
LaRaza is a 501(c)(3) organisation.
People For the American Way Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organisation.
People For the American Way is a 501(c)(4) organisation.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State is a 501(c)(3) organisation.
The Muslim Brotherhood is a 501(c)(3) organisation.
Emily’s List is a 501(c)(3) organisation.
Democracy 21 is a 501(c)(4) organisation.
Health Care for America Now (HCAN) is a 501(c)(4) organisation.
Democracy Alliance is a 501(c)(3) organisation.
American Bridge 21st Century is a 501(c)(4) organisation.
The Southern Poverty Law Center is a 501(c)(3) organisation.
Atlantic Philanthropies is a 501(c)(3) organisation.
Pro Publica is a 501(c)(3) organisation.
The Center for Community Change is a 501(c)(3) organisation.
People Before Profits is a 501(c)(4) organisation.
United For Peace And Justice is a 501(c)(3) organisation.
The National Lawyers Guild is a 501(c)(3) organisation.
Socialist Party USA is a 501(c)(3) organisation.
The Ruckus Society is a 501(c)(3) organisation.
CREW is a 501(c)(3) organisation.
Colour of Change is a 501(c)(4) organisation.
ANSWER is a 501(c)(3) organisation.
CodePink is a 501(c)(3) organisation.
ProgressNow is a 501(c)(4) organisation.
FACT: Left-leaning groups received their tax-exempt designation in an average of 9 months. Right-leaning groups were left in limbo. If you don’t like that FACT, take it up with the Inspector General.
You and your ilk’s cries for ‘fairness’ and ‘a level playing field’ are nothing but BULLSHIT.
'The IRS uses all kinds of impressive criteria when selecting audits.'
- bayam on May 15, 2013 at 4:19 PM
1. ‘Tea Party’
Yeah, really impressive.
White House, IRS show interest in Watchdog in December
By Will Swaim and Ryan Ekvall | Watchdog.org
President Barack Obama’s executive staff reviewed Watchdog’s news website in record numbers at precisely the moment when Internal Revenue Service visits to the same site spiked, Watchdog.org’s analytics show.
A similar report reveals that the Executive Office of the President and IRS were the source of a similar December traffic spike on the website of Watchdog.org, the online news network of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. (Updated: an earlier version of this incorrectly reported that traffic spiked in January.)
The White House has said that IRS reviews of conservative nonprofits were procedurally “inappropriate on the part of fairly low-level agents.
This new data suggests at least a coincidence of interests in Watchdog.
According to Google analytics, the IRS generated 456 unique visitors, between January 2009 and May 2013. The report notes 552 visits and 709 page views from the IRS. Most of the traffic occurred between the second half of 2012 and this week.
One day in December, watchdog.org received more than 100 visits from the tax agency.
The analytics show 60 unique visitors and 84 page views to Watchdog.org from eop.gov, the Executive Office of the President, between December 2009 and May 2013.
The IRS has apologized in recent days for targeting conservative organizations applying for tax-exempt status. Republicans are calling for criminal prosecutions, and the FBI is now investigating.
The source of White House visits, eop.gov, redirects visitors to the official White House website. A message on that redirect reads, “You have requested a page on EOP.gov and have been redirected here. EOP.gov is a domain operated by the Executive Office of the President. WhiteHouse.gov is the public-facing website for the EOP.”
Watchdog.org is a free-market oriented news organization with reporters in several state capitals, each focused on waste, fraud and abuse in local government. The news site’s parent Franklin Center, its site says, focuses its efforts on “driving a conversation about transparency, accountability, and fiscal responsibility at the grassroots level and putting a human face on public policy.”
M.D. Kittle contributed
Will Swaim is managing editor of Watchdog.org. Contact Swaim at firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE: 75% of the Political Donations From IRS Employees in Cincinnati Went To Democrats
Tim Carney looks at the donations records for IRS employees in Cincinnati and finds a lesson about big government. Whether or not the White House was handing down directives, when federal power is as broad as it is now, partisan abuse by cogs in the state’s machinery is inevitable. Smoking gun?
In the past three election cycles, the Center for Responsive Politics’ database shows about $474,000 in political donations by individuals listing “IRS” or “Internal Revenue Service” as their employer.
This money heavily favors Democrats: $247,000 to $145,000, with the rest going to political action committees. (Oddly, half of those GOP donations come from only two IRS employees, one in Houston and one in Annandale, Va.)
IRS employees also gave $67,000 to the PAC of the National Treasury Employees Union, which in turn gave more than 96 percent of its contributions to Democrats. Add the PAC cash to the individual donations and IRS employees favor Democrats 2-to-1.
The Cincinnati office where the political targeting took place is much more partisan, judging by FEC filings. More than 75 percent of the campaign contributions from that office in the past three elections went to Democrats. In 2012, every donation traceable to employees at that office went to either President Obama or liberal Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio.
As someone noted on Twitter in response to Carney’s post, if you’ve made your career working in government — especially at the IRS — you have a heavy political interest in protecting the party of big government.
Related Reading: IRS Boss Also Investigated Anti-Clinton Organisations In The 1990s. Of Course, I'm Sure It's Just A Coincidence...
UPDATE II: From Allahpundit...
I’m leery of touting any single group’s allegations but the Thomas More Society has looked at the following and evidently thinks there’s enough evidence to justify taking on the Coalition for Life of Iowa as a client. No one’s alleging an agency-wide pro-choice policy, but this may well illustrate the tremendous power individual IRS agents have to quietly discourage political activity of which they disapprove. The news about tea-party groups being targeted gets headlines because it’s about systematic bias, but how often does the particular bias of an, ahem, “rogue” employee cause delays or denials for disfavored orgs?
In one case, the IRS withheld approval of an application for tax exempt status for Coalition for Life of Iowa. In a phone call to Coalition for Life of Iowa leaders on June 6, 2009, the IRS agent “Ms. Richards” told the group to send a letter to the IRS with the entire board’s signatures stating that, under perjury of the law, they do not picket/protest or organize groups to picket or protest outside of Planned Parenthood. Once the IRS received this letter, their application would be approved. After a series of letters following a request for more invasive information, Thomas More Society special counsel Sally Wagenmaker sent a letter to the IRS demanding the tax exempt status be issued immediately…
In another similar case, the IRS withheld approval of an application for charitable tax-exempt recognition of Christian Voices for Life, questioning the group’s involvement with “40 Days for Life” and “Life Chain” events. The Fort Bend County, Texas, organization was subjected to repeated and lengthy unconstitutional requests for information about the viewpoint and content of its educational communications, volunteer prayer vigils, and other protected activities.
Two cases doesn’t prove a “policy” but it’s a start. More on this, please. Meanwhile, here’s a pro tip from a former Republican National Committee staffer: If you change the name of your organization to something that sounds more liberal, it might just speed up your approval time. Go figure:
He submitted the paperwork to the IRS in July 2011 for a news site called Media Trackers, which calls itself a “non-partisan investigative watchdog dedicated to promoting accountability in the media and government.” Although the site has investigated Republicans like Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Florida Gov. Rick Scott, the site’s organizers are unapologetically conservative…
When September 2012 arrived with still no word from the IRS, Ryun determined that Media Trackers would likely never obtain standalone non-profit status, and he tried a new approach: Starting over. He applied for permanent non-profit status for a separate group called Greenhouse Solutions, a pre-existing organization that was reaching the end of its determination period.
The IRS approved Greenhouse Solutions’ request for non-profit status in three weeks…
In December 2012, Ryun simply made Media Trackers a project of Greenhouse Solutions and withdrew the Media Trackers application.
If you’re planning to apply for 501(c)(4) status for your own group, replace “tea party” or “patriot” with “occupy” and see how you do. It might spare you from having to submit the names of children your group is trying to help. Good lord.