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25 June 2013

America, The IRS Is Trying To Spin You. Don't Fall For It.

Danny Werfel, IRS Acting Commissioner,  announced Monday that instructions used by the IRS to look for applicants seeking tax-exempt status with “Tea Party” and “Patriots” in their title also included groups whose names included the word “Progressive” and “Occupy.” Jonathon Weisman of The New York Times reported, “The documents appeared to back up contentions by IRS officials and some Democrats that the agency did not intend to single out conservative groups for special scrutiny.’

- Ron Fournier, Why the IRS Scandal Needs a Special Prosecutor, 25 June 2013

Blah, blah, blah.

Just. Please. Stop. Already.

1. 3 Progressive groups were asked additional questions when the for 501(c)(3) status, which is not the same organisational structure as that of most of the conservative, libertarian, pro-Israel, pro-life, etc, groups that were targeted.  Furthermore, they were asked additional questions because they were improperly applying for 501(c)(3) status when they were actually 501(c)(4) organisations.


* Nearly 500 conservative groups were targeted. (Admitted by the IRS)

* At minimum, 5 pro-Israel groups were targeted and had their applications reviewed for ‘supporting terrorism.’ (Admitted by the IRS)

* Constitutional, libertarian, and patriot groups were targeted. (Admitted by the IRS)

* At least 2 pro-life groups were targeted. (Admitted by the IRS)

* At least one voting rights group was targeted. (Admitted by the IRS)

* Groups that criticised Obama, personally, or had statements in their case files criticising how the country was being run/governed were target. (Admitted by the IRS)

* Individuals and businesses critical of Obama, Democrats or left-leaning causes were targeted. (Admitted by the IRS)

* Many individuals were audited after donating to the Romney or other Republican/conservative/right-leaning campaigns. (Admitted by the IRS)

* At least one conservative Hispanic group was targeted. (Admitted by the IRS)

3. From Eliana Johnson at The Corner:

Acting IRS commissioner Danny Werfel on Monday told reporters that the now-infamous “Be On The Lookout” list was far broader than was originally disclosed in the Treasury Department inspector general’s report. Reports from outlets including the Associated Press, which I cited in my original report, and now Bloomberg News, confirmed Werfel’s account, indicating that various versions of the list not only included terms like “tea party,” but also “progressive,” “Occupy,” and “Israel.”

A November 2010 version of the list obtained by National Review Online, however, suggests that while the list did contain the word “progressive,” screeners were in fact instructed to treat “progressive” groups differently from “tea party” groups. Whereas screeners were merely alerted that a designation of 501(c)(3) status “may not be appropriate” for applications containing the word ”progressive” – 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from conducting any political activities – they were told to send those of tea-party groups off IRS higher-ups for further scrutiny.

That means the applications of progressive groups could be approved on the spot by line agents, while those of tea-party groups could not. Furthermore, the November 2010 list noted that tea-party cases were “currently being coordinated with EOT,” which stands for Exempt Organizations Technical, a group of tax lawyers in Washington, D.C. Those of progressive groups were not.

4.  Compare the questions asked of Progressive groups with those of Conservative orgs.

5. For 27 months, not one, single conservative/libertarian/patriot/constitutional/right-leaning organisation received approval and most were purposefully marked for no action. (Admitted by the IRS)

7.  Democrats have been unable to produce one, single Progressive group to testify before Congress that they have been targeted, harassed, and/or persecuted by the IRS.

Nice try, IRS, but no sale. The lot of you should be in orange jumpsuits.

BTW, thanks for destroying Progressives’ argument that ‘government is good.’ Between you, the NSA, the DOJ, the EPA, the White House, and Obamacare, those of us that advocate small, limited government owe you a tremendous debt of gratitude. You’ve done more for our cause in the last few months than we’ve been able to accomplish in, like, FOR-EVAH!

More from Fournier:

You're being spun, America. On the vital question of whether the Internal Revenue Service incompetently or corruptly targeted conservative groups, both the White House and GOP are rushing to judgment – and they want you to follow like lemmings.

Don't do it.

Nearly six weeks ago, President Obama responded to an inspector general's report detailing the targeting, which had been long denied by the IRS.  "The misconduct that it uncovered is inexcusable.  It's inexcusable, and Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it," Obama said, vowing to "hold the responsible parties accountable."

The IG report was based on a cursory audit. It was not a full-fledged investigation. And yet Democrats disingenuously claimed that it exonerated the Obama administration and the president's re-election campaign from any involvement in IRS targeting.

To truly "hold the responsible parties accountable," Obama still needed a thorough and impartial inquiry led by investigators who would question witnesses under oath, and would subpoena the White House and his own re-election campaign for related emails and other documents.

He did not ask for that.
Meanwhile, Obama backed his strong words with middling action, transferring political ally Danny Werfel from the Office of Management and Budget to the IRS, where as acting commissioner Werfel would investigate his own administration.

Werfel may be a stand-up guy with a solid reputation in Washington. But the public doesn't know him. The public also doesn't trust the federal government. And the public doesn't like the IRS.

The White House and its allies declared the scandal over. Said David Axelrod, one of Obama's longest-serving advisers, said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" show: "I think the implication that this was some sort of scheme is falling apart."

Don't buy it. Like Issa and the GOP, Democrats are jumping to convenient conclusions based on incomplete evidence and no credible investigation.

There is a hard truth that partisans won't admit: Until more is known, we can't implicate or exonerate anybody.

If forced to guess, I would say that the IRS and its White House masters are guilty of gross incompetence, but not corruption. I based that only on my personal knowledge of – and respect for – Obama and his team. But I shouldn't have to guess. More importantly, most Americans don't have a professional relationship with Obama and his team. Many don't respect or trust government. They deserve what Obama promised nearly six weeks ago – accountability. They need a thorough investigation conducted by somebody other than demagogic Republicans and White House allies.

Somebody like …. a special prosecutor. Those words are hard for me to type two decades after an innocent land deal I covered in Arkansas turned into the runaway Whitewater investigation.


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