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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 930

IRS Logo 2The Daily Signal:  Lois Lerner Won’t Be Facing Criminal Charges. Here Are the Problems With the ‘Investigation’ That Cleared Her., by Hans von Spakovsky (Heritage Foundation):

In the Oct. 23 letter, Peter J. Kadzik, the assistant attorney general for legislative affairs, said that the Justice Department’s investigation, conducted jointly by the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section, “uncovered substantial evidence of mismanagement, poor judgment, and institutional inertia.”

Indeed, the letter admits that the IRS “mishandled the processing of tax-exempt applications in a manner that disproportionately impacted applicants affiliated with the Tea Party and similar groups, leaving the appearance the IRS’s conduct was motivated by political, discriminatory, corrupt, or other inappropriate motive.”  However, according to Kadzik, “ineffective” or “poor management is not a crime.”

Hans von Spakovsky is an authority on a wide range of issues—including civil rights, civil justice, the First Amendment, immigration, the rule of law and government reform—as a senior legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and manager of the think tank’s Election Law Reform Initiative. Read his research.

In an eight-page letter last week to the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Justice Department informed Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., that it was closing its investigation of the IRS targeting scandal, claiming there is not sufficient evidence to “seek any criminal charges” against Lois Lerner or any other IRS officials.

However, there were some key omissions in the letter that will continue to raise questions over the credibility of the investigation and its conclusion.

In the Oct. 23 letter, Peter J. Kadzik, the assistant attorney general for legislative affairs, said that the Justice Department’s investigation, conducted jointly by the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section, “uncovered substantial evidence of mismanagement, poor judgment, and institutional inertia.”

Indeed, the letter admits that the IRS “mishandled the processing of tax-exempt applications in a manner that disproportionately impacted applicants affiliated with the Tea Party and similar groups, leaving the appearance the IRS’s conduct was motivated by political, discriminatory, corrupt, or other inappropriate motive.”  However, according to Kadzik, “ineffective” or “poor management is not a crime.”

The Daily Signal is the multimedia news organization of The Heritage Foundation.  We’ll respect your inbox and keep you informed. Kadzik says that what happened is “disquieting” and may “necessitate corrective action.”  But criminal prosecution would require the Justice Department to prove that an “IRS official intentionally discriminated against an applicant based upon viewpoint.”  Such “viewpoint discrimination” may violate a number of civil rights statutes as well provisions of the tax code.  Kadzik claims that proof that an “IRS employee acted because of mistake, bad judgment, ignorance, inertia, or even negligence would be insufficient to support a criminal charge.”

Kadzik may be correct in his analysis of the applicable law. But in his recitation of the many witnesses investigators interviewed and all of the IRS documents they reviewed, Kadzik never really gives a credible explanation of why the IRS developed the criteria it used to identify the organizations targeted for increased scrutiny. As originally reported by the Treasury Department’s inspector general, and as Kadzik admits in his letter, those criteria were clearly based on the specific politics of conservative groups, particularly Tea Party organizations, who used words like “Patriots” in their applications.

Kadzik claims that no IRS employee, including some witnesses who self-identified as supposedly “politically conservative,” reported any allegation that the mishandling of these conservative organizations was “motivated by political bias, discriminatory intent, or corruption.” The explanation Kadzik provides for organizations being targeted that were clearly conservative in their political outlook was a desire by IRS employees “to treat similar applications consistently and avoid making incorrect decisions.” If that is so, then why weren’t applications from liberal advocacy organizations, whose only difference was their political outlook, not their basic tax or organizational structure, also targeted to be “consistent?”

http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2015/11/the-irs-scandal-day-930.html

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Comments

Enh, it just part of the progressives plan to scapegoat people and make them suffer in the name of social justice.

Posted by: wodun | Nov 25, 2015 7:56:32 PM