Saturday, May 11, 2013

Shades Of Nixon: IRS Admits It Targeted Conservative Tea Party Groups

I don't know what has happened in America, but it no longer matters how shocking the allegations are of corruption within the administration of Barack Obama, the mainstream news media has either become willing co-conspirators or simply numb to what constitutes grounds for impeachment against the President. Yesterday, the IRS very matter-of-factly admitted that conservative Tea Party groups had been wrongfully targeted by it after years of denials and the media reacted as if it was just another typical bureaucratic misstep in a large government bureaucracy. From the AP
The Internal Revenue Service apologized Friday for what it acknowledged was "inappropriate" targeting of conservative political groups during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status.
IRS agents singled out dozens of organizations for additional reviews because they included the words "tea party" or "patriot" in their exemption applications, said Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups. In some cases, groups were asked for lists of donors, which violates IRS policy in most cases, she said.
The agency — led at the time by a Bush administration appointee — blamed low-level employees, saying no high-level officials were aware. But that wasn't good enough for Republicans in Congress, who are conducting several investigations and asked for more.
"I call on the White House to conduct a transparent, government-wide review aimed at assuring the American people that these thuggish practices are not under way at the IRS or elsewhere in the administration against anyone, regardless of their political views," said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
White House spokesman Jay Carney declared it was indeed inappropriate for the IRS to target tea party groups. But he brushed aside questions about whether the White House itself would investigate . . .
Lerner said the number of groups filing for this tax-exempt status more than doubled from 2010 to 2012, to more than 3,400. To handle the influx, the IRS centralized its review of these applications in an office in Cincinnati.
Lerner said this was done to develop expertise among staffers and consistency in their reviews. As part of the review, staffers look for signs that groups are participating in political activity. If so, IRS agents take a closer look to make sure that politics isn't the group's primary activity.
As part of this process, agents in Cincinnati came up with a list of things to look for in an application. As part of the list, they included the words, "tea party" and "patriot," Lerner said.
"It's the line people that did it without talking to managers," Lerner told The AP. "They're IRS workers, they're revenue agents."
In all, about 300 groups were singled out for additional review, Lerner said. Of those, about a quarter were singled out because they had "tea party" or "patriot" somewhere in their applications.
The IRS statement said that once applications were chosen for review, they all "received the same, even-handed treatment."
Lerner said 150 of the cases have been closed and no group had its tax-exempt status revoked, though some withdrew their applications.
"Mistakes were made initially, but they were in no way due to any political or partisan rationale," the IRS said in a statement. "We fixed the situation last year and have made significant progress in moving the centralized cases through our system."
Remarkably, White House press secretary Jay Carney blamed Obama's predecessor, claiming that the IRS was still run by a person appointed by President Bush. Despite the number of crimes committed by this President and his administration piling up, far worse than anything former President Richard Nixon and his associates committed during Watergate, nobody dares mention the word impeachment.


Flogger said...

The Occupy Movement was another grass roots organization that was a threat to the Status Quo. After the financial debacle on Wall Street, Occupy sprang up. Like the Anti-War Movement and Civil Rights Movements of the 60's it was targeted by Law Enforcement.

It was revealing that the issues raised by Occupy, "Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Jail", and the concentration of wealth, have been largely ignored by the Mega-Media Press.

Obama who promised Hope and Change, sprinted away from the issues Occupy raised.

Who has damaged America more the Fraudsters of Wall Street or Bradley Manning???

LamLawIndy said...

Garry, I just read that the Indiana Tea Party (Wayne County) was one of the IRS-targeted orgs. After looking at the ghost employment statute again, I think a case for ghost employment could be made:

1. The statute applies to "public servant [s] , & doesn't require said person to be an employee of a state, local or muni govt.

2. There's an Indiana nexus, obviously.

3. The statute required that the actions of the accused are not related to the "operation of the
governmental entity." The question to be resolved was whether the IRS employees' actions were of a revenue-collection goal (related to IRS operation) or political interference (not related to IRS operation). At THIS point, I believe the goal was revenue-related, but the facts are obviously still developing.

4. The feds could still remove any indictment (& I do believe that any Indiana-based criminal action in this scandal should be vetted by s grand jury) to federal court via 28 USC § 1442.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Good points, Carlos. I suspect those responsible are guilty of more than just depriving taxpayers of honest services.