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19 September 2013

Report: Obama Wanted IRS To Target Tea Party Groups While Holder & IRS Officials Taught Black Clergymen About Agitprop Sundays!

IRS employees were “acutely” aware in 2010 that President Obama wanted to crack down on conservative organizations and were egged into targeting tea party groups by press reports mocking the emerging movement, according to an interim report being circulated Tuesday by House investigators.

The report, by staffers for Rep. Darrell E. Issa, California Republican and chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, quoted two Internal Revenue Service officials saying the tea party applications were singled out in the targeting program that has the agency under investigation because “they were likely to attract media attention.”

In the report, the investigators do not find evidence that IRS employees received orders from politicians to target the tea party, and agency officials deny overt bias or political motives.

But the report says the IRS was at least taking cues from political leaders and designed special policies to review tea party applications, including dispatching some of them to Washington to be vetted by headquarters.

“As prominent politicians publicly urged the IRS to take action on tax-exempt groups engaged in legal campaign intervention activities, the IRS treated tea party applications differently,” the staff report concludes. “Applications filed by tea party groups were identified and grouped due to media attention surrounding the existence of the tea party in general.”

That finding contradicts Democrats on Capitol Hill, who argue that some liberal groups also were given special scrutiny, thus showing there was neither a witch hunt for conservatives nor political pressure from the White House.

“The fact is that not a single piece of evidence has been unearthed that suggests there was any political motivation or outside involvement,” Democratic staffers on the House Ways and Means Committee said in a memo Tuesday outlining the state of the investigation. “Republicans, however, believe that if they continue to repeat their baseless accusations of a ‘White House enemies’ list, it will become true.”

For years, Republicans in Congress charged that the IRS was targeting specific groups, but top agency officials denied it.

But four months ago, with an inspector general’s report about to be released, the IRS carefully staged a question at a conference so officials could reveal that they had been treating tea party applications differently.

Several congressional committees have since opened investigations including open hearings, document requests and depositions of agency employees.

The latest oversight report is meant to take stock of where the investigation stands and to lay out what Republicans know and what they suspect. The report says the conclusions are preliminary and that tens of thousands of pages of documents have yet to be examined.

In one of the key findings, investigators said negative press coverage of the tea party was one reason why the IRS gave the groups special scrutiny.

“It was my understanding that the reason they were identified is because they were likely to attract media attention,” Steven Grodnitzky, one of the employees in the exempt organizations division, told investigators.

Another supervisory employee in Washington, Ronald Shoemaker, also said press attention helped shape IRS policies, telling investigators that media attention to those cases “was the basis” for designating them as significant cases requiring special examination.

The Republican oversight report traces the growing pressure on the IRS to act, beginning with Mr. Obama’s criticism of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision in his 2010 State of the Union address to calls from top members of Congress for the IRS to give special scrutiny to tea party applications.


Bear in mind, that this was happening at the same time that Eric Holder and other officials were holding seminars with black clergry expaining just how far they coulld go in singing the praises of Obama without running afoul with thIRS because of their tax-exempt status....

Holder, IRS officials spoke at political training session for black ministers that detailed ‘right-wing conspiracy’

By Patrick Howley

A Democratic congressman railed against a “right-wing conspiracy” of outside campaign spending and said that voter ID laws could have prevented Barack Obama’s presidency during a 2012 event in which the IRS coached black ministers in how to engage in campaign activity.

The Daily Caller reported Friday on a May 30, 2012 meeting at the U.S. Capitol between the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and the Conference of National Black Churches. The meeting was attended by Attorney General Eric Holder, then-IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman, and IRS official Peter Lorenzetti, all of whom spoke at the event. The meeting, which was held during the presidential campaign and at a time when the IRS was targeting conservative non-profits for abusive audits, aimed to coach black ministers in how to engage in political activity without violating the law.

“We’re going to, first of all, equip them with the information they need to know about what they can say and what they cannot say in the church that would violate their 501(c)(3) status with the IRS,” said CBC chairman Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Missouri Democrat.

This helpful training session for black ministers was convened while Shulman’s IRS was improperly scrutinizing the tax-exempt status of conservative and tea party groups and delaying conservative groups’ tax-exempt applications with costly investigations.

Rep. G.K. Butterfield, a Democrat from North Carolina and member of the CBC, used openly partisan rhetoric in his remarks before the convened black ministers, discussing a “right-wing conspiracy” and condemning voter ID laws that he claimed could have jeopardized Obama’s election to the White House.

“But now, all of this progress that we’ve made is under assault. There is a right-wing conspiracy that is alive and well in this country that is trying to take us back to 1900 and even before,” Butterfield said in his remarks.

“They are coming in very discreet ways. Uh, the Citizens United case for example that now allows corporations to give unlimited amounts of money, anonymous unlimited amounts of money, in support or opposition to political candidates, and it’s working. And there are other devices at play and our panelists today are going to talk with you about that and to alert you and to inform you and to empower you to go back to your communities and to be vocal on this subject and to make a difference,” Butterfield said, referring to panelists including Holder and Shulman.

“What they want to do is not take away the right to vote, but if black voter participation can be diminished even by ten percent it will make that critical difference all across the country. President Obama won my state in the last election by 14,000 votes. Had we had a voter ID law in North Carolina he would not have won the state of North Carolina and probably could not have won the presidency,” Butterfield said.

Butterfield had lots of helpful advice for black ministers looking to get politically involved.

“You are permitted to endorse a candidate in your individual capacity as a citizen. You can appear on a program away from the church and be presented as the pastor of Zion Baptist Church or Richard Allen AME church. You can do that, and without violating IRS regulations,” Butterfield said, later encouraging ministers to get involved in “non-partisan voter registration” by sending people to knock on doors and stand on street corners.

Obama won 93 percent of the black vote in the 2012 election, according to exit polling.

“Let me just thank the Internal Revenue Service for their willingness to come today to have this conversation with us. They didn’t have to come today,” Butterfield said.

Holder’s keynote speech, meanwhile, was sharply critical of recent state-level voting law changes, saying there’s reason to believe that “some of the achievements that defined the civil rights movement now hang again in the balance.”

“[The CBC] had the IRS members there specifically to advise them on how far to go campaigning without violating their tax-exempt status,” George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley told TheDC. “I viewed the meeting as highly problematic.”

“Any questions you have regarding Attorney General Holder’s and Commissioner Shulman’s participation should be directed to their respective offices,” a spokesperson for Rep. Butterfield told TheDC.

The IRS and DOJ did not return repeated requests for comment.

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