TaxProf Blog

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

Saturday, October 1, 2016

The IRS Scandal, Day 1241

IRS Logo 2Judicial Watch Press Release, Democratic Senator Sought Justice Department and IRS Criminal Prosecutions of Conservatives in 2013:

Judicial Watch today released 72 pages of Department of Justice documents revealing email conversations between Department of Justice officials and the staff of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) regarding the criminal prosecution of Tea Party groups for alleged violation of IRS rules.

The conversations were in preparation for a briefing by Justice Department officials for Sen. Whitehouse’s staff and for a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism hearing on April 9, 2013. ...

Judicial Watch obtained the documents through a federal court order in a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit (Judicial Watch v Department of Justice (No. 1:14-cv-01239)).

Later, at the Judiciary Subcommittee hearing, Sen. Whitehouse asked why the Department of Justice wasn’t prosecuting political groups on its own, independently of the IRS. ...

The newly released emails show that following the hearing, at the request of Justice Department lawyers, Sen. Whitehouse’s staff sent over examples of the organizations Whitehouse had in mind for prosecution. They included American Future Fund, Crossroads GPS, Americans for Responsible Leadership, Freedom Path, American is Not Stupid, Inc., RightChange.com II, and A Better America Now. All of these are conservative organizations.

The new emails also show collaboration in the Department of Justice with officials in the IRS in preparing for the hearing. The IRS sent a draft of its planned testimony for the hearing to the Justice Department.  Judicial Watch previously exposed a plan by the Obama IRS and Justice Department prosecutors to pursue criminal charges against the very Tea Party and anti-Obama groups that the IRS was targeting.

The Obama administration prosecution effort seemingly ended with the exposure of the IRS targeting in a May 2013 report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).  IRS official Lois Lerner did not reveal the targeting until just before the report’s release, in response to a planted question at an American Bar Association conference.

“The Obama IRS scandal includes abuse of power by Democrats in Congress who wanted to jail Obama’s political opponents to help secure Obama’s reelection,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.  “And Americans should know that the courts have recently concluded the Obama IRS abuses haven’t stopped – even as we approach another presidential election.”

A 2013 study by scholars from the American Enterprise Institute and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University found that, “had the Tea Party groups continued to grow at the pace seen in 2009 and 2010, and had their effect on the 2012 vote been similar to that seen in 2010, they would have brought the Republican Party as many as 5 – 8.5 million votes compared to Obama’s victory margin of 5 million.”

In March 2010, the IRS decided to single Tea Party groups out for special treatment when applying for tax-exempt status by flagging organizations with names containing “Tea Party,” “patriot,” or “9/12.” For the next two years, the IRS approved the applications of only four such groups, delaying all others while subjecting the applicants to highly intrusive, intimidating requests for information regarding their activities, membership, contacts, Facebook posts, and private thoughts.

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2016/10/the-irs-scandal-day-1241.html

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Comments

The entire Democrat party is corrupt from the President, to Congress, to politicians at all levels of state government, and especially their non-profit militant activist groups.

Don't forget the night time paramilitary raids in WI, California's AG going after non-Democrat groups like the IRS and DOJ did, or TX prosecutors serial abuse of fraudulent lawsuits against non-Democrat politicians.

Posted by: wodun | Oct 1, 2016 3:06:01 PM

"The new emails also show collaboration in the Department of Justice with officials in the IRS in preparing for the hearing. The IRS sent a draft of its planned testimony for the hearing to the Justice Department." Imagine that--the IRS consulted with its outside counsel before important congressional testimony. Naughty, naughty.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Oct 2, 2016 11:11:02 AM

DOJ involvement has been part of this from the beginning:

https://freebeacon.com/issues/judicial-watch-lois-lerner-doj-officials-and-fbi-met-to-plan-criminal-charges-for-obama-opponents/

Imagine that, the DOJ declining to investigate, let alone prosecute, Lois Lerner for misfeasance they themselves were involved in.

Posted by: MM | Oct 2, 2016 2:54:39 PM

Mr. MM: Once again, how do you know Lerner was not investigated? Unless and until charges were filed and an indictment unveiled, the public would never know of an investigation. Bear in mind that grand jury proceedings are secret and tax investigations in particular are confidential. and please spare me the “public has a right to know” stuff. Fed. R. Crim. P. 6(e) and 26 U.S.C. § 6103 apply to everyone, even Lerner and Trump.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Oct 5, 2016 11:51:32 AM

Pubs,

I will spare you the "public has a right to know," as you've made clear taxpayers have no right to know about any wrongdoing in the federal bureaucracy.
I just came across this little nugget:

https://www.irs.gov/government-entities/federal-state-local-governments/disclosure-laws

"IRC 6103(i)(1) provides that, pursuant to court order, return information may be shared with law enforcement agencies for investigation and prosecution of non-tax criminal laws."

Lerner clearly violated this one, as there's never been any court order shown or even confirmed justifying sending millions of pages of confidential tax information to the DOJ. And since the DOJ is the only department that could prosecute her, it's no wonder she got off scott-free.

Now, if you can provide some evidence the DOJ took this case seriously, I'd be happy to take a look at it...

Posted by: MM | Oct 5, 2016 8:11:16 PM