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Monday, March 9, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 669

IRS Logo 2Forbes, Lois Lerner Out From Under Freedom Path Lawsuit For Now, by Peter J. Reilly:

Lois Lerner might have had a bit of a breathing spell for a couple of days before the announcements about more e-mails being found.  It was so short that it has largely been missed, but since I am playing catch-up I noticed it.  Lerner’s brief reprieve was the work of Judge Sidney Fitzwater, a Reagan appointee, of the District Court for the Northern District of Texas.  Judge Fitzwater’s decision in Freedom Path Inc v Lois Lerner et al at least gets Lois Lerner out from under one lawsuit. Freedom Path was suing Lois Lerner, unnamed officials of the IRS, the IRS and the United States.  The suit was about targeting FP due to its conservative views as it was applying for exempt status, illegally releasing information about FP and the general use of a “facts and circumstances” test in the IRS evaluation of political activities. Freedom Path complained in its lawsuit about the slow pace of its application and additional intrusive questions.  Also a copy of its application (Form 1024) was released to ProPublica.  On the application FP had indicated that it would not be engaging in political activity.  ProPublica released a story Controversial Dark Money Group Among Five That Told IRS They Would Stay Out of Politics, Then Didn’t that mentioned Freedom Path as one of the five. In April 2013 Freedom Path was asked for further information, which it was hesitant to release because of the disclosure to ProPublica.  The IRS then offered FP the opportunity to enter into a new expedited process, but that did not work for them.

Under this process, Freedom Path could obtain approval of its pending application if it made certain representations regarding the organization’s past, current, and future spending on political activities. Freedom Path alleges that it declined to participate in this optional expedited process because it viewed the required representations as unconstitutionally broad and as an IRS attempt to force Freedom Path to relinquish some of its First Amendment rights.

Lois Lerner Not A Texan The reason that Lois Lerner was dismissed from the suit is one that her supporters, if there are any, might not find very satisfying.  Her detractors, who are legion, will probably find it infuriating.  She was dismissed, because she does not have enough connection with Texas which is where the suit was brought (although in a federal court).

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March 9, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 668

IRS Logo 2Midland Daily News editorial,  IRS Scandal Continues to Grow:

So, why is there so little interest in the IRS scandal?

This story has been gathering steam in terms of facts being revealed, but so far the major news outlets are showing little, if no interest, in covering the details.

Here’s what’s happened just recently:

  • One high-ranking government official said that there is “potential criminal activity” involved in the disappearance and hiding of emails belonging to IRS officials involved in the targeting of conservatives between 2010 and 2012.
  • Despite IRS Commissioner John Koskinen repeatedly saying under oath in previous Congressional hearings that Lois Lerner’s emails could not be recovered, investigators have been successful in recovering nearly 33,000 emails relevant to the IRS investigation. ...

Long-time political columnist George Will said on a talk show in February that the IRS scandal is as big as Watergate or the Iran-Contra scandal. He then asked, “so where’s the media?”

We are wondering the same thing. Getting to the truth — and holding our government officials accountable for their words and actions — should be a top priority for the press and for all Americans.

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March 8, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 667

IRS Logo 2Forbes, Finally, Suing IRS Over All Those Emails, by Robert W. Wood:

Whatever your political views, it is worth reading the press release by Judicial Watch about its latest lawsuit against the IRS. You have to be a kind of Energizer Bunny to keep after the dog-ate-my-homework targeting scandal. Like President Obama, some insist there was not a smidgen of corruption at the IRS. Others aren’t so sure.

The latest Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeks “any and all records related to the destruction of damaged hard drives from IRS employee computers from January 1, 2010, to the present.” The suit was filed in federal court, Judicial Watch v. Internal Revenue Service. Interestingly, the lawsuit was filed even before the latest Hearings of the Committee on Oversight & Government Reform. On February 26, 2015, the Treasury Inspector General said he is investigating possible criminal activity at the IRS. The most disturbing revelation was that the IRS had not even asked for the backup tapes when the ‘hard drive crash’ excuse was first used. If true, that sounds like a game-changer.

After all, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen testified that recovery efforts had been thorough, and the tapes and emails couldn’t be found. Remember all the millions and millions in taxpayer money spent looking? One report said over 250 IRS employees spend 100,000 hours, costing taxpayers at least $14 million. Mr. Koskinen has been characterized as a political fixer who, unlike most IRS Commissioners, has not had a career in the tax industry.

He may want to explain all the multi-million dollar recovery efforts, particularly if somehow they did not include some simple questions! In the meantime, the IRS statements in briefs in the Judicial Watch case showcase what is hard to see as anything but obstruction. The IRS has said repeatedly that “records that pertain to the destruction of damaged hard drives are not maintained in a searchable manner.” The IRS has denied multiple requests, leading to multiple suits. ...

IRS attorneys said the back-up system would be too onerous to search. Yet in recent testimony, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said IRS tech employees told them that IRS management never asked for the tapes.

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March 7, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 6, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 666

IRS Logo 2The Fiscal Times, Hillary Clinton Is the Republicans’ Newer, Bigger Lois Lerner:

Clinton has morphed into a hybrid of everything Republicans deplore about the Clintons, reminiscent of the conduct of IRS official Lois Lerner.

Many in the conservative movement smelled an administration plot to suppress Republican activists during the 2012 presidential election, and when Lerner famously refused to testify before Congress, she only cemented that perception. But the real reason conservatives have never let go of Lerner is her emails. The IRS claimed that Lerner and six other employees’ official IRS computers suffered hard drive crashes that rendered much of the information on it unrecoverable. It was impossible, therefore, for the IRS to credibly claim that it had turned over all relevant emails involving Lerner to Congressional committees investigating the targeting of non-profit groups. In fact, Lerner emails are still being uncovered.

A similar search for Clinton’s emails was launched Wednesday, when Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), the chairman of the House Select Committee that is investigating the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya in September 2012, announced that his committee would subpoena Clinton’s emails. ...

Clinton’s situation is arguably worse that Lerner’s because the wound is completely self-inflicted. At the time Lerner’s computer failed, the agency claimed that the back-up system they did have only kept data for 6 months before overwriting the digital tapes. IRS workers, including Lerner, were expected to identify all the emails they sent or received that could be classified as a “federal record” and to print out hard copies.

In fact, the records were backed up, and investigators were able to recover more than 30,000 emails as well as tapes from servers within two weeks dating back to 2001. As a result, the possibility of criminal activity is being probed by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

Nevertheless, the procedure in place at the IRS left open the possibility that an employee guilty of wrongdoing might simply decline to save incriminating emails in hard copy. Taking things a step further – as many conspiracy-minded commentators did – one can imagine a staged hard drive “crash” that permanently eliminates evidence.

There is no evidence to suggest that Lerner was derelict in observing the rules on record retention, and certainly none to suggest that she engineered a fake hard drive crash. But you can’t prove a negative, and the system in place at IRS, making Lerner the arbiter of what was and was not a federal record, left ample room for doubt that there had been a cover up.

While the conditions that created doubt about Lerner’s emails were largely the fault of the IRS’s internal systems, Hillary Clinton has no such defense. She could have used the official email system, which archives messages. Her successor, John Kerry, does just that. But she didn’t.

Putting aside the apparent risk of placing all of her official communications outside the protection of the secure State Department email system (a major issue according to this Bloomberg report), the decision effectively put Clinton in the same position that IRS rules created for Lerner. It made her the arbiter of what emails were and were not considered public records.

  • The American Spectator, If David Petraeus Were Hillary Clinton:  "Think Lois Lerner with a server in her basement and what would have happened if Lerner and Lerner alone had 100% control on who saw her e-mails and which would or would not be erased as investigators closed in."
  • Town Hall, White House Squirms Over Hillary's Email Scandal, Forgets Embrace of Regular Law Breaking:  "Former head of tax exempt groups at the IRS Lois Lerner, who was a key player in targeting conservatives between 2010 and 2012, used a personal email account to conduct official government business. "Through the course of the investigation, we have learned that you sent documents related to your official dendrites from your official IRS e-mail account to an msn.com e-mail account labeled 'Lois Home.' This raises some serious questions concerning your use of a non-official e-mail account to conduct official business. Accordingly, we write to request documents related to your official duties that are housed in non-official e-mail accounts," former Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa and former Subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan sent in a letter to Lerner last year. "The use of non-official e-mail accounts to conduct official business implicates federal records requirements. Use of a non-official e-mail account to conduct government business raises the prospect that records -- as defined by the Federal Records Act -- are not captured by official government e-mail archiving systems. It also creates difficulties in fulfilling the IRS' obligations under the Freedom of Information Act and other litigation requests. You use of non-official e-mail account also frustrates congressional oversight obligations." Are we really surprised she plead the fifth?"

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March 6, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 665

IRS Logo 2Letter From Orrin G. Hatch (Chair, Senate Finance Committee) & Paul Ryan (Chair, House Ways & Means Committee) to John Koskinen (Commissioner, IRS) (Mar. 4, 2015):

As Chairmen of the Senate Committee on Finance and House Committee on Ways and Means, we have the obligation to conduct oversight of the administration of the Internal Revenue Code. This includes compliance with IRC §6103, which establishes rules governing the use of confidential tax return information and governs the manners in which it may be disclosed. As you know, §6103(g) provides the President of the United States and certain White House officials access to this information in limited circumstances and with certain required procedures. In carrying out our oversight obligations, we are seeking to determine the degree to and manner in which the Internal Revenue Service shares taxpayer information with the Executive Office of the President.

You will recall that former Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp requested that the IRS provide all communication between the IRS and Executive Office of the President on April 30, 2014. You responded that your agency would be unable to provide the requested communication because of limited resources. In light of your response, our committees sought these records from the White House in two separate letters earlier this year. On February 17, White House officials responded to our requests, refusing to provide the documents and redirecting the request to the Internal Revenue Service. In light of the White House Counsel’s refusal to comply with our request, we ask that you provide the documents – originally requested in April of last year – without delay. This production will include all electronic communication in the agency’s possession from or to an “eop.gov” email address, or regarding White House communication, from January 1, 2010 through the date of this letter.

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March 5, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 664

IRS Logo 2George Will, Stopping the IRS:

Rep. Peter Roskam is now chairman of the Ways and Means subcommittee whose jurisdiction includes oversight of the Internal Revenue Service, and hence of Lois Lerner's legacy. He knows how interesting her career was before she, as head of the IRS exempt-organizations division, directed the suppression of conservative advocacy groups by delaying and denying them the tax exempt status that was swiftly given to comparable liberal groups.

In 2013, Roskam, in a televised committee hearing, told the story of Al Salvi, who in 1996 was the Republican's Senate candidate against then congressman, now senator, Dick Durbin. Democrats filed charges with the Federal Election Commission against Salvi's campaign, charges that threatened to dominate the campaign's final weeks. Salvi telephoned the head of the FEC's Enforcement Division, who he says told him: "Promise me you will never run for office again, and we'll drop this case." So said Lois Lerner. After Salvi lost, FBI agents visited his elderly mother, demanding to know, concerning her $2,000 contribution to her son's campaign, where she got "that kind of money." When a federal court held that the charges against Salvi were spurious, the FEC's losing lawyer was Lois Lerner.

Roskam's telling of Salvi's story elicited no denial from Lerner. Neither did the retelling of it in this column (June 13, 2013). No wonder: The story had not been deemed newsworthy by the three broadcast networks' evening news programs, by The New York Times or The Washington Post. With most of the media uninterested in the use of government institutions to handicap conservatives, stonewalling would work.

It still is working through dilatory and incomplete responses to subpoenas, and unresponsive answers to congressional questions. Lerner's name now has an indelible Nixonian stain, but there probably will be no prosecution. If the administration's stonewalling continues as the statute of limitations' clock ticks, Roskam says, "She will get away with it."

Now in his fifth House term, Roskam, 53, says, "The advantage in this town is always with the entity that doesn't want to do anything." Many thousands of Lerner's emails that supposedly were irretrievably lost have been found, but not released. The Justice Department's investigation, which was entrusted to a political appointee who was a generous contributor to Barack Obama's campaign, is a stone in the stone wall.

Roskam says the task now is "to see that Lois Lerner 2.0 is impossible." One place to begin is with the evidence -- anecdotal but, in the context of proven IRS corruption, convincing -- of other possibly punitive IRS behavior toward Republican contributors and other conservative activists. This justifies examining the IRS' audit selection process. This would produce interesting hearings for most of the media to ignore.

Next, there should be hearings into the illegal disclosure of taxpayer information about conservative individuals and groups to the media and to liberal officials and groups. Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer for some groups abused by the IRS (and for this columnist on different matters), also suggests prohibiting IRS employees from joining a union.

The National Treasury Employees Union,” she says, “provides no protection to IRS employees that federal statutes and the civil service system do not already provide. It already takes an act of God to hold an IRS employee accountable for his or her actions. But it is worse than merely redundant for IRS employees to belong to the NTEU. Because it adds nothing to its members’ protections, it is a purely political organization. In 2014, fully 95 percent of its contributions went to Democrats, including 11 Democratic members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. So, the IRS employees’ union dues finance the election of people who are supposed to scrutinize IRS’ behavior.

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March 4, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 663

IRS Logo 2Wall Street Journal, Best of the Web, by James Taranto:

Still Suppressing Speech
The IRS scandal continues: “Nearly two years after the IRS was exposed for improperly sidetracking requests for tax exemptions from tea party groups, Politico has learned that at least a half-dozen conservative applicants are still waiting for an answer.”

One of them is Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, which managed to spend tens of millions last year. But most “are mom-and-pop outfits from New Mexico to New Jersey, run by volunteers out of their own houses and operating at a fraction of Crossroads’ budget”:

The years-long delay has gutted these groups’ membership, choked their ability to raise funds, forced them to reserve pots of money for possible back taxes and driven them into debt to pay legal bills.

IRS’ website says it has closed 95 percent of “priority” groups that had been pulled for extra scrutiny.

The agency said it cannot comment on specific cases, but it deflected blame, in part, to the Justice Department. When an applicant is suing the IRS, Justice also has a say in whether to issue a final ruling during litigation. Almost all the groups in limbo have taken the IRS to court.

The IRS reports that in May 2013, when the scandal broke, the IRS “released a list of 176 political nonprofits it said it had approved already, many of them groups it once labeled ‘inflammatory,’ ‘anti-Obama’ and engaging in ‘propaganda.’ ”

Those that were still on hold were offered “immediate approval if they pledged to spend less than 40 percent of their time and resources on political campaigns”—a lower threshold than the usual 51%. “Several of the groups dismissed that option on principle, calling it unfair because it was a stricter standard than other 501(c)(4)s had to abide by.”

So the IRS admittedly denied tax-exempt status improperly to at least 176 groups, tried to apply extralegal restrictions to others, and is still delaying approval for those groups that have gone to court in an effort to vindicate their rights. It’s been over a year since President Obama himself said, in answer to a question from Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly, that there was “not even a smidgen of corruption.” Maybe it’s time somebody put the question to him again.

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March 3, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Monday, March 2, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 662

IRS Logo 2Commentary, New Revelations Show IRS Is Judge, Jury, Executioner–And Grave Robber:

The most important piece of information about the IRS’s targeting of conservative and pro-Israel groups is this: it is still going on. Politico reported yesterday that there are two categories of groups still being delayed and silenced by the IRS’s tax-exempt apparatchiks. The first category is Karl Rove (and his Crossroads organization). The second category is financially strapped mom-and-pop shops who have been driven into debt by the IRS’s corrupt practices in which critics of the Obama administration are deprived of some of their constitutional rights.

The story notes that this contradicts new IRS director John Koskinen’s claim that the agency “completed” its set of recommendations to get the corruption under control. As of this week, it’s still taking place. What this means in practice is that these groups, some of which applied several years ago, are still in limbo, unable to proceed. The point is to destroy the groups by bankrupting and suffocating them. Politico quotes a former IRS official using the agency’s term for this: “death by bureaucratic delay.” ...

Some groups, Politico notes, “went belly-up while waiting.” That’s the point of the death-by-delay targeting. In other cases, the IRS demanded back taxes to try to pick the pockets of the activists one more time before the groups faded away. The IRS is both executioner and grave robber. ...

The IRS, by the way, has basically proved that it shouldn’t be the free-speech gatekeeper not only because it’s unconstitutional but also because it’s simply incapable of respecting the rights of ordinary Americans. For example, the IRS, according to Politico, made the groups an offer: “immediate approval if they pledged to spend less than 40 percent of their time and resources on political campaigns. But several of the groups dismissed that option on principle, calling it unfair because it was a stricter standard than other 501(c)(4)s had to abide by.”

Precisely. The IRS told groups they could surrender a portion of their rights to which they are legally entitled and the IRS would allow them to retain the remaining portion of their free-speech rights. This is the behavior of an organized crime syndicate, not a governmental institution of a free country. It is extortionate, deeply immoral, and a permanent stain on the agency and the politicians who enabled it.

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March 2, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 661

IRS Logo 2Press Release, Judicial Watch Sues IRS for Records on Destroyed Hard Drives of Lois Lerner, Other IRS Officials:

Judicial Watch announced today that on February 18, 2015, it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) seeking “any and all records related to the destruction of damaged hard drives from IRS employee computers from January 1, 2010, to the present.” The suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Judicial Watch v Internal Revenue Service (No 1:15-cv-00237)). The lawsuit is part of an investigation into the Obama IRS’ claim that the emails of Lois Lerner and other IRS officials, who are being investigated for abuses of Obama’s political opponents, were contained on hard drives that were subsequently damaged and destroyed.

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March 1, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 660

IRS Logo 2Wall Street Journal, GOP Lawmakers Seek to Jump-Start Long-Running IRS Investigation:

The new Republican-controlled Congress is trying to pump fresh life into a long-running probe of alleged targeting of conservative groups by the Internal Revenue Service.

Seeking to jump-start the stalled inquiry, GOP lawmakers raised concerns at a House hearing on Thursday night about possible IRS wrongdoing during the course of the probe.

The hearing by the Oversight and Government Reform Committee revealed few new details, however, and Democrats accused Republicans of airing the allegations prematurely, before all the evidence has been gathered.

Still, the hearing signaled more problems for the beleaguered tax agency, which has faced GOP ire for several years over its treatment of politically-active conservative groups, among other issues.

Witnesses appearing before the committee cited the IRS’s possibly incomplete or incorrect responses to officials’ demands for computer backup tapes containing missing IRS emails. The missing emails belonged to Lois Lerner, a now-retired IRS official who has been a focus of Republican concerns.

Forbes, New IRS Scandal Hearings Reveal 32,000 More Emails, Possible Criminal Activity, by Robert W. Wood:

In new Hearings of the Committee on Oversight & Government Reform on February 26, 2015, J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General, said he is investigating possible criminal activity at the IRS. The hearings also revealed the fact that investigators have recovered another 32,000 emails relating to Lois Lerner. However, how many of them are duplicates of those previously recovered is not yet clear.

But in what was the most disturbing revelation, House Member attendees were told that the IRS had not even asked for the backup tapes when the ‘hard drive crash’ excuse was first used. That contradicted the prior testimony of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. He had testified to the effect that recovery efforts had been thorough, and that the tapes couldn’t be accessed.

It now appears that no one may have asked. Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., said, “It looks like we’ve been lied to, or at least misled.” ... Several Oversight Committee Members questioned how diligent the IRS had been, given how quickly the investigators now were able to find them. Yet an IRS statement repeats the tax agency’s full cooperation. It has not been inexpensive. The IRS claims to have spent $20 million responding to congressional inquiries, producing documents and providing agency officials to testify at hearings.

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February 28, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, February 27, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 659

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 658

IRS Logo 2Washington Free Beacon, Lois Lerner Received $129K in Bonuses:

Former IRS official Lois Lerner received $129,300 in bonuses between 2010 and 2013, records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show.

Over a three-year period, Lerner, the head of the tax-exempt division at the heart of the IRS targeting scandal, received a 25 percent retention bonus—averaging $43,000 a year—on top of her regular salary.

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February 26, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 657

IRS Logo 2Forbes, 12 IRS Embarrassments, 6 Questions Each Taxpayer Should Ask, by Robert W. Wood:

[Y]ou sign your tax return under penalties of perjury. That means your money—and conceivably your freedom—are on the line. It is one reason why the integrity of the IRS is so terribly important, and why the lingering IRS scandal should be resolved. Mr. Meckler in the American Spectator—understandably, but I still hope incorrectly—identifies these as what he calls the real dirty dozen. ...

Mr. Meckler says this dozen adds up to an agency failing to merit taxpayer trust. The fact that there are still unanswered questions does not mean they should not be addressed. Indeed, even if Mr. Meckler is wrong about most of this, to me, it is hardly enough to say there is no smidgen of corruption, or that nothing has been proven. For both sides of the political spectrum, the obstructionism by the administration and at the IRS has been truly disheartening. It suggests a cancer that may be hard to cut out. It reflects problems not in the rank and file of the IRS, but surely higher up. Amid all the noise, Americans should ask simpler questions, especially at this time of year.

  1. Why is the tax law so horribly complex? It isn’t the IRS’s fault. Congress passes tax laws so fundamental reform–long overdue–must start there. Even if it isn’t fair, a flat tax would be much fairer than what we have.
  2. Can I feel secure that I will be dealt with fairly by the IRS? Mostly. The tax system is full of special rules, and no one can master them all. Thus, one taxpayer may be treated very differently from another who is seemingly in the same position. That isn’t fair. Don’t confuse this with fundamental procedural fairness and non-discrimination. On the whole, the IRS does an incredible job administering our horribly unwieldy tax laws. If you are not being dealt with fairly and respectfully, complain, ask for a manager or go to the IRS Taxpayer Advocate’s Office. Speaking of the latter, wouldn’t it be incredible if Nina Olson were IRS Commissioner?
  3. Doesn’t the IRS police its employees? Yes, and it does a better job than recent stories suggest. Some are even fired, one reason much at the top is so hard to comprehend. Unreasonable or abusive requests may happen, and you need to speak up.
  4. Why does it seem that there’s always someone getting away with something in the tax world? Because there is. Wealthy people may manipulate the rules and pay less than you think they should. At the other end of the spectrum, scams may hand out earned income tax credits and bogus refunds. The fact that someone is playing the game better than you are can grate but it doesn’t mean the whole system is rigged. Reform is needed.
  5. Can I feel secure that my private taxpayer information will remain private? This may be the biggest challenge today not only for the IRS but for many in government and non-government alike. With technology and e-filing, it is a huge danger. Leaks should be dealt with severely.
  6. Why is staying off the IRS radar so important? Because much can go wrong in our terribly complex system. Avoid IRS audit triggers, and pay (don’t dispute) small bills. Even a joking suggestion of “we’ll audit you” is so sensitive. Be careful out there.

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February 25, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal | Permalink | Comments (4)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 656

IRS Logo 2Washington Times, White House That Promised Transparency Refuses to Cooperate With IRS Probe:

The White House told Congress last week it refused to dig into its computers for emails that could shed light on what kinds of private taxpayer information the IRS shares with President Obama’s top aides, assuring Congress that the IRS will address the issue — eventually. The tax agency has already said it doesn’t have the capability to dig out the emails in question, but the White House’s chief counsel, W. Neil Eggleston, insisted in a letter last week to House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan that the IRS would try again once it finishes with the tea party-targeting scandal.

“It is my understanding that in May 2014, Commissioner Koskinen responded to this request by indicating that the IRS would be able to address new topics such as these following its completion of document productions already in progress,” Mr. Eggleston wrote in a Feb. 17 letter. “To the extent that the committee continues to have an oversight interest in this matter, I encourage you to continue working with the IRS to address those questions.”

But IRS Commissioner John Koskinen’s letter last year didn’t say that. Instead Mr. Koskinen said the IRS was logistically incapable of performing the search because it would have required combing through 90,000 email accounts. ...

The White House didn’t assert any privileges in refusing Mr. Ryan’s request last week, instead insisting the IRS would work on it, so there was no need for the president to get involved. That conflicts with Mr. Koskinen’s 2014 letter making clear he didn’t think such a search was feasible from his end. ...

Any official requests for private taxpayer information made by the White House are supposed to be personally signed by the president, and Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation is supposed to be notified of the request. The JCT issues an annual report on all requests for IRS information, and those reports don’t show any such requests from the president during Mr. Obama’s time in office.

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February 24, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (8)

Monday, February 23, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 655

IRS Logo 2Forbes, Remember IRS Stonewalling When Filing Your Taxes, by Robert W. Wood:

You have to file a tax return, and you have to be careful. You have to sign it under penalties of perjury. And you have to maintain receipts, logs and proof. And doubts are usually going to be resolved against you. It is understandable that some taxpayers are going to think about these things when they trudge through their returns and get ready to file. And they may think about the IRS stonewalling too. Is the playing field level?

Much ink has been spilled over the dog at my homework excuses emanating from many in our government. When the IRS targeting scandal was uncovered 2 years ago, many Democrats said there was never a smidgen of corruption. Many continue to say that the IRS did its best, no one hid anything, crashes happen, etc. Besides, they will note, these conservative organizations have too much power anyhow. So if the IRS had rogue agents, or if someone did get a little confused about the law down at the IRS in Cincinnati, where’s the harm?

They say it was a ‘witch hunt’ that went on way too long. If so, it is no one’s fault but the government’s, including IRS Chief John Koskinen. Rather than transparency, we had obstructionism at every turn. Commissioner Koskinen recently had a chance to apologize for gaffes and untimely notification of Congress that the tax agency had lost thousands of emails sought by investigators.

At a hearing Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, noted a letter that Mr. Koskinen sent the Senate Finance Committee saying the IRS had handed over everything. Curiously, the letter didn’t even mention that the former Exempt Organizations chief Lois Lerner’s emails had been lost. Mr. Koskinen defended his actions: “Absolutely not. We waited six weeks to tell while trying to find as many of the emails as we could. We gave you all of Ms. Lerner’s emails we had. We couldn’t make up Lois Lerner emails we didn’t have.” ...

David Axelrod, formerly an Obama Administration senior adviser, said that he is proud of the fact that President Obama has never been involved in a major scandal through six years in office. Yes, you heard right. Of course, other observers might say that the IRS scandal certainly seems to qualify as a scandal. Heck, perhaps Benghazi and Fast & Furious were too?

Indeed, in the case of the IRS, as long as Mr. Axelrod was going to give the party line, perhaps Mr. Axelrod might have better used a well-worn phrase: ‘not a smidgen’ of scandal corruption. 

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February 23, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 654

IRS Logo 2The American Spectator, The Real ‘Dirty Dozen’ at the IRS: For Some Reason, It Fails to Include Itself on its List of Abusers, Scammers, and Cheats:

The IRS just released its “dirty dozen” list of tax scams and schemes for the American people to avoid. In addition to normal phishing and identity theft, a slew of new phone scams around the nation has caught many taxpayers off guard. Plus, unscrupulous return preparers take advantage of confused Americans, especially given that 60 percent of taxpayers need assistance figuring out all those documents, tables, and exemptions. The list also warns the less honest among us to avoid hiding money offshore, in abusive tax shelters, or with false documents. Additionally, it urges people not to falsify income or claim too much in fuel tax credits, either.

But there is an even more concerning “dirty dozen” list that the IRS wants the public to forget.

It’s been almost two years since the news broke that the IRS had been targeting Tea Party, pro-Israel, and other conservative groups — and a scandal erupted. Here are just a select few ways the IRS has mismanaged its problems and shown itself to be incompetent and untrustworthy:

1. Internal emails show these groups were targeted because IRS employees thought them “icky.”

2. Other emails showed that Lois Lerner was conspiring with the Department of Justice to prosecute conservative groups on trumped-up charges.

3. Lerner herself refused to testify to investigating committees and was held in contempt.

4. That didn’t stop her from defending herself to Politico magazine and complaining about being “harassed” for her role.

5. Then, the IRS claimed it had lost the most crucial batch of Lerner’s emails.

6. Oh yeah, and her Blackberry was destroyed too.

7. Six months later, the Tax Inspector General may have found those lost emails. (Still no word yet on what was in them.)

Scandal events aside, the IRS showed its general incompetence in many other ways.

8. IRS workers campaigned for political candidates while on the job.

9. The agency awarded bonuses to its own employees who owed taxes.

10. Guess who was audited ten times more often than the average taxpayer? Supporters of the Tea Party.

11. The IRS illegally shared confidential, protected information with the FBI, the White House, and more.

12. And it has the nerve to constantly ask for a raise.

It all adds up to an agency that doesn’t merit the trust of taxpayers.

For at least three years, the IRS has egregiously wronged this nation — including at least one person on a director level. Yet, it still hasn’t apologized or come clean.

But despite all the excuses and diversions offered by the IRS, the American people are still saying what Senator Ron Johnson expressed: “I smell a rat. I smell a number of rats, and that’s what we are going to get to the bottom of.”

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February 22, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 653

IRS Logo 2The Maddow Blog, GOP’s Gowdy Eyes New Conspiracy Theory Panel:

[T]he notion that the Obama presidency has featured “six years of scandal” seems bizarre. David Axelrod boasted this week, accurately, “I’m proud of the fact that basically you have had an administration in this place for six years in which there hasn’t been a major scandal. And I think that says a lot about the ethical strictures of this administration.”

This seemed like a fair thing to brag about, though some congressional Republicans appear to have a very different perspective.

At a Republican Party fundraising breakfast in his district on Wednesday, Representative Trey Gowdy suggested that the congressional GOP needed to investigate the IRS’s scrutiny of political groups with the same intensity that it was investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi.

>“I’m glad that the speaker of the House convened a select committee on Benghazi,” said Gowdy, a former prosecutor who chairs that panel. “I think it makes every bit as much sense to convene a select committee on the IRS. Now that we have the Senate, the Senate has tools the House doesn’t have in terms of getting e-mails and cooperation. It has nothing to do with politics. Do you really want an IRS targeting you based on your political beliefs?”

Gowdy, the head of the eighth Benghazi committee, went on to tell Dave Weigel that “the same reasons for a select committee exist” in the IRS story as Benghazi, “or maybe even greater.” He also complained about “Fast and Furious” and Solyndra because, well, he was apparently on a roll. ...

At a certain level, there’s a kernel of truth to the far-right congressman’s argument: select committees to investigate the IRS and Benghazi are equally sound. Which is to say, both ideas are equally ridiculous.

The IRS “scandal” turned out not to be a scandal at all, and after a year and a half of investigation from congressional Republicans, literally none of the GOP’s allegations turned out to be true. Even by Congress’ standards, the very idea of creating another select committee to investigate another discredited controversy is absurd.

Part of the underlying trouble here is a falsification problem. Republicans are certain the president is up to no good, and when there’s no evidence to support their assumptions, they convince themselves that this proves how corrupt Obama is – the rascally president must be hiding the proof of his misdeeds.

So they keep looking, which leads them to find nothing, which leads them to believe they better keep looking.

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February 21, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, February 20, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 652

IRS Logo 2The Daily Mail, Longtime Presidential Adviser David Axelrod Claims 'There Hasn't Been a Major Scandal' in the Obama White House – And Draws a Mix of Applause and Laughter:

Longtime Obama administration political insider David Axelrod claimed on Monday that the Obama administration hasn't been tainted by a smidgen of scandal.

The surprising boast came during a Q&A at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, an organization he founded and leads.

'I'm proud of the fact that basically you have had an administration in place for six years in which there hasn’t been a major scandal,' Axelrod said. 'And I think that says a lot about the ethical strictures of this administration.'

Audio and video of Axelrod's remarks indicate the audience's first reaction to his insistence that Obama has presided over a scandal-free government was a chorus of laughs – before friendly attendees quickly drowned them out with applause.

Conservatives have made a parlor game out of cataloging the Obama White House's scandals, with tallies running into the dozens and some organized alphabetically.

The Internal Revenue Service, Americans' most feared and loathed government agency, has had a bumper crop of scandals since Obama took office.

In May 2013 an inspector general report found that the agency spent more than $4.1 million on a single conference in California that included six-figure fees for speakers and expensive video production for a corny Star-Trek themed humor video.

The General Services Administration was caught in a similar conference scandal later that year over an $823,000 in Las Vegas training conference held in 2010. It featured mind-readers, a clown and lavish hotel suites with jacuzzis. The GSA administration resigned over the flap.

Also in May 2013, the IRS was plunged into scandal over news that its Tax-Exempt Organizations section was subjecting Tea Party groups and conservative-oriented charities to intrusive screening and years-long delays before granting them tax-exempt status – while liberal groups were often given a pass.

The IRS later claimed to Congress that years worth of emails belonging to retired official Lois Lerner, who is thought to be responsible, were destroyed in a hard drive crash.

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February 20, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 651

IRS Logo 2Bloomberg, Trey Gowdy: Time for a Select Committee to Investigate the IRS Scandal:

At a Republican Party fundraising breakfast in his district on Wednesday, Representative Trey Gowdy suggested that the congressional GOP needed to investigate the IRS's scrutiny of political groups with the same intensity that it was investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi. 

"I'm glad that the speaker of the House convened a select committee on Benghazi," said Gowdy, a former prosecutor who chairs that panel. "I think it makes every bit as much sense to convene a select committee on the IRS. Now that we have the Senate, the Senate has tools the House doesn't have in terms of getting e-mails and cooperation. It has nothing to do with politics. Do you really want an IRS targeting you based on your political beliefs?" ...

In an interview after the breakfast, Gowdy said that he'd mentioned the idea of a select committee on the IRS to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and that Ohio Representative Jim Jordan would be an ideal candidate to run it. The investigations of 2013 and 2014, often chaired by then-Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (now retired), had gotten out some of the truth. But the newly empowered GOP could force the executive branch to release documents that it insisted on concealing.

The same reasons for a select committee exist there, or maybe even greater," he said. "There's this tendency to over-claim executive privilege. Look, Eric Holder is a smart lawyer. He knows the e-mails that he sends to his wife are not protected by executive privilege. But he didn't want to give us one of them because in it, he referred to us as 'asses.' Look—we know we're asses. You don't have to worry about hurting our feelings. That's not the first time any of us have heard that. So why not give us the documents?"

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February 19, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 650

IRS Logo 2Bayou Buzz, Attorney General: Final Report On IRS Probe To Come Out Soon:

Attorney General Eric Holder said on Tuesday he expects the Justice Department to soon release a list of final recommendations stemming from its probe into whether the Internal Revenue Service wrongfully targeted conservative groups.

"I am satisfied with the progress that the criminal division has done; the civil rights division as well," Holder told reporters at a press conference. "I expect that we will have some final recommendations coming up relatively soon.

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February 18, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 649

IRS Logo 2Breitbart,  House Republicans To Pressure Senate Judiciary Members To Oppose Loretta Lynch Nomination:

More than 20 House Republicans have already signed on to a letter that Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) is circulating—and planning to send to the Senate Judiciary Committee later this week—calling on Senate Republicans to block the nomination of U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch to replace Eric Holder as Attorney General of the United States in committee, Breitbart News has learned exclusively. ...

“We appreciate Ms. Lynch for her many years of outstanding service to our nation,” the House Republicans write. “Nonetheless, having observed her nomination hearing testimony, we can only conclude that she has no intention of departing in any meaningful way from the policies of Attorney General Eric Holder, who has politicized the Department of Justice and done considerable harm to the administration of justice.” ...

They cite specific concerns with Lynch’s ... unwillingness to support the appointment of a truly independent special prosecutor to oversee the investigation of the IRS scandal. “When given chances to differentiate herself from Attorney General Holder, she chose not to,” the House Republicans write. ...

[W]hen asked whether, unlike Attorney General Holder, she would appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the targeting of conservative groups by the Internal Revenue Service, she deflected the question, saying “[m]y understanding is that that matter has been considered and that the matter has been resolved to continue with the investigation as currently set forth.

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February 17, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Monday, February 16, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 648

IRS Logo 2New York Post editorial, Let’s See Her E-mails:

It’s been nearly two years since Lois Lerner planted a question at an American Bar Association gathering to slip in the fact that the IRS had singled out Tea Party groups for special scrutiny. ...

Contrary to earlier assertions by the IRS, the Lois Lerner ­e-mails Congress sought were not lost forever. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), who chairs the Senate’s Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, says authorities have now managed to recover roughly 16,000 Lerner e-mails. ...

We prefer the way the senator put it on Fox News: “I smell a rat. I smell a number of rats, and that’s what we are going to get to the bottom of.”

We’re as curious as anyone about why the IRS told us the Lerner e-mails were gone forever. But what we really want to know is this: What the heck is in them?

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February 16, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 647

IRS Logo 2Government Executive, IRS Chief Refuses to Apologize to Lawmakers on Missing Emails:

Internal Revenue Commissioner John Koskinen late Wednesday turned aside a demand that he apologize for untimely notification of Congress that the tax agency had lost thousands of emails sought by investigators probing political targeting allegations.

At a hearing on agencies perpetually on the Government Accountability Office’s high risk-list, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, confronted Koskinen on a letter he sent to the Senate Finance Committee last March in which he said the Internal Revenue Service had completed its submission of all requested emails on handling of nonprofits’ applications -- without mentioning that some from former Exempt Organizations chief Lois Lerner had been lost.

“Will you admit that, like Lois Lerner and [former Commissioner] Doug Shulman, you misled this committee, this Congress and, more importantly, the American people,” Jordan asked. “Have you withdrawn the letter to Senate Finance?”

Koskinen replied, “Absolutely not. We waited six weeks to tell while trying to find as many of the emails as we could. We gave you all of Ms. Lerner’s emails we had.  We couldn’t make up Lois Lerner emails we didn’t have.”

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February 15, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 646

IRS Logo 2Forbes, Lois Lerner's Old IRS Team Looking Anti-tech, by Peter J. Reilly:

Pretty much everybody is mad at Lois Lerner, but it may be time to ease up on the people who used to work for her issuing rulings on whether organizations should be tax exempt.  I have a hunch that the budget cuts must have hurt them a lot in the technology area.  Maybe that’s not it, but I have noted a kind of anti-tech trend in their rulings.  Just a trace of paranoia too as they worry about open source software aiding our enemies.

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February 14, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, February 13, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 645

IRS Logo 2U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Press Release, Chairman Asks IRS Commissioner Questions Raised by New Lerner E-mail Information:

Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) wrote to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen Tuesday  with questions raised by new information that has emerged about missing e-mails from former IRS official Lois Lerner. 

Senator Johnson’s staff of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) learned last week that the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), an independent investigative agency, has recovered as many as 80,000 missing IRS e-mails, more than double the number that TIGTA investigators were estimating in November. The recovered files represent about 16,000 unique e-mails, TIGTA investigators told the senator’s staff. TIGTA is now finished identifying missing emails and must compare them to e-mails already turned over by the IRS, but “it is possible that a large number of these e-mails have not yet been produced to Congress,” Johnson’s letter said.

The IRS became embroiled in controversy after Lerner, who oversaw the agency’s office in charge of administering nonprofit status to groups, admitted that the IRS gave heightened scrutiny to conservative groups. Members of Congress, investigating whether a powerful federal agency discriminated among citizens on the basis of their political beliefs, were told by the IRS in 2014 that it had lost e-mails sent or received by Lerner over a period of more than two years and that it had failed to tell Congress about the loss in a timely way. The IRS said it went to “great lengths” to recover the emails but could not do so.

The revelation from TIGTA means that the e-mails the IRS could not originally recover off backup tapes may now be found. “Accordingly,” reads Senator Johnson’s letter, “I respectfully request your assistance in better understanding the IRS’s document retention and production process.”

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February 13, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 644

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 643

IRS Logo 2The Hill, Obama Administration Won’t Release IRS Targeting Documents:

The Obama administration is refusing to publicly release more than 500 documents on the IRS’s targeting of Tea Party groups.

Twenty months after the IRS scandal broke, there are still many unanswered questions about who was spearheading the agency’s scrutiny of conservative-leaning organizations.

The Hill sought access to government documents that might provide a glimpse of the decision-making through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

The Hill asked for 2013 emails and other correspondence between the IRS and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). The request specifically sought emails from former IRS official Lois Lerner and Treasury officials, including Secretary Jack Lew, while the inspector general was working on its explosive May 2013 report that the IRS used “inappropriate criteria” to review the political activities of tax-exempt groups.

TIGTA opted not to release any of the 512 documents covered by the request, citing various exemptions in the law. The Hill recently appealed the FOIA decision, but TIGTA denied the appeal. TIGTA also declined to comment for this article.

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February 11, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 642

IRS Logo 2Washington Times, New Emails Show IRS Delayed Witness Interview in Criminal Probe:

Lawyers for the Internal Revenue Service attempted to stall a criminal investigation by waiting nearly a month before giving an agency employee permission to meet with investigators, despite the employee’s willingness to testify, emails showed.

The emails, obtained by Judicial Watch through a Freedom of Information Act request, revealed frustration with IRS lawyers over their reluctance to approve a meeting between federal prosecutors and an unnamed tax agency employee who was prepared to give investigators information.

“[W]e find it amazing that they didn’t immediately respond giving us the green light to meet with you,” the IRS employee’s attorney, whose name was redacted, wrote of the IRS counsel in a June 12, 2013 email to Justice Department officials. ...

Interest in the alleged IRS scandal remains high nearly two years after an inspector general report detailed the delays and excessive scrutiny some agency officials heaped on conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status. The House Oversight Committee has not let up on plans to further its probe of the charges.

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February 10, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 9, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 641

IRS Logo 2Judicial Watch, IRS Obstructs Justice?:

We have just obtained new internal documents from the Department of Justice (DOJ) that show how the IRS Office of the Chief Counsel worked to delay a meeting between an IRS employee and DOJ and FBI investigators about the Obama IRS abuse and harassment of Tea Party and conservative groups and individuals who were in the way of Barack Obama’s reelection effort.

To help you with a timeline, it was in May 2013 that the Treasury Inspector for Tax Administration (TIGTA) released an audit report confirming that the IRS used “inappropriate” criteria to identify, hamstring, and handcuff conservative organizations that stand in opposition to Team Obama. Put simply, the agency violated the First Amendment rights of countless Americans just as Obama sought reelection.  As further confirmation of the criminality of Obama’s IRS abuse, in 2014, Lois Lerner, the former Director of the IRS Exempt Organizations Unit that was “suppression central” for the tax agency, was held in contempt of Congress after refusing to testify at a congressional hearing about the agency’s witch hunts. (The Holder Justice Department has yet to prosecute this contempt charges.)

This latest batch of emails, which were released in response to just one of our several FOIA lawsuits against the DOJ, provide the first window into the criminal investigation of the alleged IRS abuses.  The emails detail the involvement of the DOJ’s Public Integrity Section, which JW was first to expose as being part of a scheme to work with the IRS to prosecute groups and individuals critical of the Obama administration. The documents show the IRS scandal is only getting worse and that the IRS Counsel’s office, which is operated by an Obama appointee, has been, once again, stonewalling any serious investigation.

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February 9, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 640

IRS Logo 2Wall Street Journal editorial, End of the IRS Investigation?:

Republicans are rightly furious about the IRS targeting of conservative political groups—and the agency’s lack of cooperation in finding out what happened. They’ve even cut the IRS budget to get the agency’s attention. So it was odd to learn that the new head of the House Oversight Committee thinks these government employees deserve a pay raise. ...

Meanwhile, we’ve learned that key staff in the targeting probe have left the Oversight committee. Does this mean there’s a kinder, gentler new Congressional overseer for the IRS?

Mr. Chaffetz tells us he is “absolutely not” letting up on the targeting inquiry and that the IRS scandal is still “top of the list, number one.” He says he recently met with the IRS inspector general and was “stunned at what I heard.” The Oversight Chairman said that we’ll have to wait for an upcoming hearing to learn about new revelations that he said made his “jaw hit the ground.”

We’re delighted to hear it. But talk of raises should wait until the IRS provides a full accounting of who ordered the harassment of President Obama ’s critics.

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February 8, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 639

IRS Logo 2The Hill, GOP Gives Thumbs Down to IRS Chief:

More than a year into his tenure, some GOP lawmakers say the commissioner has lost his chance to win them over. And while other Republicans, especially in the Senate, give Koskinen higher marks, frustration with the IRS remains at a high boil.

“The IRS has less credibility now than when he took over,” said Rep. Kevin Brady (Texas), a senior Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee. “And I think we will need a new commissioner before that credibility is regained.”

“He’s not up for this job, which is unfortunate because I thought at the beginning he just might be,” Brady added. ...

Koskinen, known as a turnaround artist in government and the corporate world, took over the IRS in December 2013, during the fallout from the Tea Party controversy and the agency’s excessive spending on conferences and video spoofs of “Star Trek” and “Gilligan’s Island.”

The IRS ran into more trouble last June when it said it couldn’t find a number of emails from Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of the Tea Party flap. Federal investigators have since worked to retrieve the missing documents.

“We take the issue seriously. It shouldn’t have ever happened, and it shouldn’t happen again,” Koskinen said.

But he added, “To continue to say we can cut a few hundred million dollars because you had a silly conference and used some inappropriate criteria gets you to a point where you’re failing to recognize the real ramifications.”

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February 7, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 6, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 638

IRS Logo 2The Blaze, GOP, Dems: Let’s Make It Easier to Fire IRS Officials:

Dozens of House members, including three Democrats, have put forward a new bill that would require the IRS to fire anyone who targets people or groups based on their political beliefs.

The Prevent Targeting at the IRS Act is a response to the scandal that broke last year in which IRS officials applied extra scrutiny to conservative groups that were seeking tax-exempt status. That scandal forced President Barack Obama to fire IRS Acting Commissioner Steven Miller in 2013, but Congress has grown increasingly frustrated with the lack of further accountability at the IRS since then.

One big example of this frustration has been the loss of key emails from former IRS employee Lois Lerner, who played a key role in overseeing tax exempt applications. Republicans have said it’s too hard to believe that these emails were conveniently lost, when they might have shown more details about the effort to target conservative groups.

The bill from Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) would add political targeting to a list of reasons for immediately firing IRS workers. That list, created by a 1998 law, says IRS workers should be fired for reasons such as lying under oath and other actions against taxpayers.

Renacci’s bill would add a new reason to fire IRS workers: “performing, delaying, or failing to perform (or threatening to perform, delay, or fail to perform) any official action (including any audit) with respect to a taxpayer for purpose of extracting personal gain or benefit or for a political purpose.”

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February 6, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 637

IRS Logo 2Bloomberg, IRS Chief: I Don't Want to Be Seen As Influencing 2016:

Rules from the Internal Revenue Service that would limit nonprofit groups' involvement in politics may not be enforced before the 2016 election, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said Tuesday.

The tax agency's first attempt at those rules—released in November 2013—flopped amid criticism from groups across the political spectrum, which complained that limits on pre-election ads and voter guides would constrain free speech. The IRS withdrew that plan in May 2014 and hasn't offered a new version.

"It's not clear when we're going to be able to get to it," Koskinen told reporters after testifying at the Senate Finance Committee. "My only focus on 2016 is to make sure that whatever we do, it doesn't look like we're trying to influence the 2016 election."

Watching closely are groups organized under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code, such as Republican-leaning Americans for Prosperity and Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies. For now, those groups can get involved in politics as long as it isn't their primary activity—and they can do so without disclosing their donors and with relatively little threat of punitive action from the IRS.

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February 5, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 636

IRS Logo 2Breitbart, IRS Cover-Up Expands to Justice Department:

In an interview with Bill O’Reilly of Fox News about a year ago, President Obama said that President Richard Nixon was actually more liberal in his policies than Obama is.

But, while comparing their policies, Obama conveniently left out one chilling similarity:  Both presidents used the virtually unbridled power and authority of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to target their political opponents. In fact, in many respects Obama’s IRS abuses actually have been much worse than Nixon’s. ...

If the Senate is to confirm Ms. Lynch (and that is a big “if” – see below), it should require the appointment of a special counsel that can begin, finally, to investigate seriously the worst abuse of the IRS by a president in memory.  This is the least the Senate should do because, as I noted with Nixon, a president has resigned for less.

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February 4, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 635

IRS Logo 2The Source, IRS Ignores Politicking Nonprofits:

Reporting by the Center for Public Integrity has shown that despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars on elections, nonprofits--many considered "social welfare" groups--are regularly getting away with breaking election law and aren't being audited or investigated by the Internal Revenue Service.

Since the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision in 2010, a deluge of campaign spending has been poured in by dark money groups. 

Slashed IRS resources, scandal, and unprecedented monies are all contributing to the problem.

What can be done to make sure nonprofits follow the law? Is it feasible to expect the IRS to handle the political football of campaign spending?

Guests:

  • Philip Hackney, associate professor of law at Louisiana State University. Former official in the chief counsel's office at the IRS
  • Marcus Owens, lawyer at Caplin & Davis law firm, former director for the IRS' exempt organization division

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February 3, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 2, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 634

IRS Logo 2New York Post, ABCs of IRS Mess: Justice Department Is Tainted, Too:

At her confirmation hearings Wednesday, Loretta Lynch said she’s only “generally aware” of the Justice Department’s investigation of IRS targeting of conservative groups.

As a service for our likely new attorney general, here’s a primer on why so many in Congress want a special counsel in the IRS case.

Under federal rules, the attorney general appoints a special counsel “when he or she determines that criminal investigation of a person or matter . . . would present a conflict of interest for the Department or other extraordinary circumstances.”

In this case, there’s both. ...

[W]e still don’t know how far up the political food chain the malfeasance goes. Among other things, investigators are still pouring through tens of thousands of e-mails uncovered months after the IRS had insisted they were lost.

But we do know the Justice Department investigation has been compromised, not least by the president announcing its conclusions before the probe is complete.

Lynch should move fast to restore an aura of independence and impartiality to the investigation by turning it over to a special counsel.

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February 2, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 633

IRS Logo 2Washington Times, Senate GOP Demands Obama Turn Over All Communications with IRS:

Senate Republicans on Thursday asked President Obama to turn over all communications he and his aides have had with the IRS since 2010, hoping to find out whether the tax collection agency shared private taxpayer information with political operatives at the White House.

The request, made in a letter obtained by The Washington Times, is signed by Senate Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch and all 13 other Republicans on the committee, and is addressed specifically to Mr. Obama, saying they want to see if his employees broke the law by acquiring or sharing private information.

“We have an obligation to conduct oversight of the federal government’s administration of our tax laws,” the lawmakers wrote. “As part of this oversight, we are seeking to determine the degree to and manner in which the Internal Revenue Service shares taxpayer information with the Executive Office of the President.”

The Republicans said they tried to get the information from the IRS, but it has been “unable to provide a full accounting of its employees’ communications with the White House.” The GOP senators gave the president a Feb. 20 deadline.

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February 1, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 632

IRS Logo 2New American, Surveillance of the Right Is Not New: The IRS Scandal in Historical Perspective:

The Obama administration’s ongoing coverup of the IRS scandal about targeting the Tea Party is not the first instance of the federal government persecuting the political Right with IRS audits. In fact, the current IRS scandal — where Lois Lerner’s Blackberry and her desktop computer have apparently been wiped clean to destroy evidence — are actually following a more than 50-year script for government to destroy the political Right in the form of the “Reuther Memorandum.” “The flow of big money to the radical right should be dammed to the extent possible,” the “Reuther Memorandum” informed the Kennedy administration, asking for political assistance in stemming that flow. ...

Several lessons can be learned from the 1960s. The first is that the perseverance of The John Birch Society in the wake of such government persecution and surveillance over the past 55 years should be a source of hope for modern Tea Party organizations. The Obama administration has tried to delay and deny tax-exempt status designations from the IRS in order to starve the Tea Party for funds because they know most corporations and foundations won’t donate to an organization without a 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) tax-exempt designation from the IRS. Despite the intimidation, IRS harassment, and media ridicule, the JBS remains a major fixture on the political Right today.

Secondly, the experience of The John Birch Society teaches the lesson that government can’t be trusted — even the administration of the allegedly sainted and martyred John F. Kennedy — and its secrets need to be revealed through dogged congressional investigations and strong public information laws. Public information laws needed include a strengthened Freedom of Information Act, as well as stronger whistleblower laws so that public informants such as Edward Snowden can come to Congress with information about blatant government violations of the U.S. Constitution without fear of prosecution. Most of what we know about the FBI and IRS persecution of political groups — both in the 1960s and under the Obama administration — came from the congressional investigations and whistleblowers who testified before them.

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January 31, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, January 30, 2015

IRS Low Income Taxpayer Clinic Program Releases Annual Report

LITC CoverIR-2015-13, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic Program Reports on Activities (Jan. 29, 2015):

The Internal Revenue Service’s Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) Program Office has issued its annual program report, which describes how LITCs have assisted thousands of low income taxpayers nationwide with free or low-cost representation, education and advocacy services.

LITCs provide free or low-cost assistance to low income individuals who have tax disputes with the IRS, such as an audit, appeals hearing, collection matter or litigation. LITCs also conduct education and outreach to taxpayers who speak English as a second language (ESL). In addition, they advocate for low income taxpayers and highlight the need to change administrative practices and procedures that cause their clients hardship. 

The report explains how LITCs help low income and ESL individuals understand and exercise their rights as U.S. taxpayers. The report also provides an overview and history of the LITC program, discusses the type of cases that LITCs work, and reports the results that LITCs achieve on behalf of their clients.

LITC

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January 30, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

The IRS Scandal, Day 631

IRS Logo 2Judicial Watch, Obama Administration Refuses to Release Time Records of Key Attorney in IRS Scandal Investigation:

Judicial Watch announced today that the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) is going to extreme lengths to keep from the public the number of hours DOJ Attorney Barbara Bosserman expended on the investigation of the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative organizations.  The DOJ has claimed no less than four separate privileges in federal court to keep secret Bosserman’s hours. In doing so, the DOJ has confirmed that the criminal investigation into the IRS’ abuses is ongoing and that Bosserman, a major donor to Obama’s political campaigns and Democratic National Committee, continues to be part of the team of lawyers criminally investigating the issue.  The developments come in a lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch against the Justice Department to obtain the information about Bosserman’s activities. ...

“All Judicial Watch wants is the number of hours that the Obama donor/Justice Department lawyer has spent investigating the worst IRS abuse in American history,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “That the Justice Department has violated the law to keep this information secret is further confirmation that President Obama’s Justice Department is hopelessly conflicted in the IRS scandal.  Thanks to Judicial Watch, the public knows that the Justice Department and the FBI are co-conspirators with the IRS – and planned to prosecute citizens on Obama’s political hit list.  Obama’s IRS abuse is far worse than Nixon’s.  And as with Watergate, the public interest and basic legal ethics principles require that the U.S. Attorney General appoint special counsel to investigate the IRS scandal.  The U.S. Senate should ask Loretta Lynch, the president’s nominee to replace the disgraced Eric Holder as U.S. Attorney General, about this issue.”

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January 30, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 630

IRS Logo 2Bloomberg, Ted Cruz Leads the New Conservative Crusade Against the IRS:

Though the first day of Loretta Lynch's AG hearings went as well as Democrats might have wanted, Senator Ted Cruz managed to steal the spotlight on an issue near and dear to the hearts of many conservatives: reforming the Internal Revenue Service. ...

Cruz asked Lynch if she'd appoint an attorney to independently investigate whether the IRS had targeted Americans over their political beliefs.

"Is it consistent with fairly and impartially enforcing the law to have an investigation into abuse of power at the IRS headed by a major Democratic donor?" asked Cruz.

"My view is that the department has career prosecutors who are devoted to the Constitution," said Lynch, otherwise ignoring the implication of the question.

"Would you commit to this committee to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS abuse of power, who at the very least is not a major Obama donor?" asked Cruz.

Lynch, who according to biographical material submitted to the committee was not born yesterday, declined to take the bait. "My understanding is that the matter has been considered and the matter has been resolved," she said.

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January 29, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 629

IRS Logo 2Power Line, Sharyl Attkisson to Testify on Lynch Confirmation, But Why?:

Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s nominee for Attorney General, will testify tomorrow before the Senate Judiciary Committee. It should be an interesting day. ... Its witness list includes Sharyl Attkisson and Catherine Engelbrecht. Both have grievances against the Obama administration. Attkisson says the Justice Department hacked her electronic devices when she was investigating “Fast and Furious.” Engelbrecht says the administration unfairly targeted her group, True the Vote. Both have filed lawsuits. Engelbrecht’s has been dismissed.

Both sets of grievances should be taken seriously, but I don’t understand how they materially bear on Lynch’s confirmation. The problems with the Holder Justice Department extend far beyond the particular concerns of Attkisson and Engelbrecht. Republican members presumably take it as a given that if they can expect a repeat performance under Lynch, then she is not a suitable replacement.

The key, then, is not to attack Holder but to test the extent to which Lynch professes allegiance to his policies. Whatever her private views, Lynch will not endorse, as a general matter, hacking journalists’ computers or having the IRS target conservative advocacy groups.

The Hill, Stonewalled author Attkisson to Testify on Obama’s AG Nominee:

Also testifying will be Catherine Engelbrecht, the founder of the Tea Party-aligned True the Vote, which was unfairly targeted by the IRS, she has said, when it attempted to seek tax-exempt status. ...

The inclusion of Attkisson and Engelbrecht points to a fiery hearing that could turn into a referendum on Holder's time at the helm of the Justice Department. Conservatives accused Holder of politicizing his post to help Obama, and have pointed to the alleged hacking of Attkisson’s devices and the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups as evidence

Newsmax, The Hill: Sharyl Attkisson to Testify at AG Nominee Hearing:

Catherine Engelbrecht, the founder of the tea party-aligned True the Vote, will also be testifying, according to The Hill, which noted that the group had claimed in a lawsuit that it was unreasonably targeted by the IRS when it attempted to seek tax-exempt status.

A federal judge threw out the case against the government brought by Engelbrecht and other conservative groups last October. The proposed testimony of Attkisson and Engelbrecht suggests that the hearing could turn into a contentious affair with the GOP and Democrats battling over Holder's term in charge of the Justice Department.

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January 28, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 628

IRS Logo 2National Review, The Attkisson File:

Attkisson is a dogged reporter, and Stonewalled is a gripping book, organized around the Obama-administration scandals she covered at CBS News. With the exception of the IRS scandal, she covered just about all of them: Fast and Furious, green-energy crony capitalism, Benghazi, and Obamacare. Attkisson devotes a chapter to her work on each one.

Each of the scandals falls into a larger pattern of scandal management practiced by the Obama White House. (The reader can infer how the IRS scandal fits the pattern precisely to a T.) Her book is invaluable for how it analyzes and exposes this pattern, combining her reportage and her behind-the-scenes work at CBS News.

The pattern begins with blatant denials — bald lies — and stonewalling. ... Next in the pattern, when the lies fail, comes the attribution of responsibility to the lowest level of bureaucrat. ... Attkisson also shows how the administration, using a technique she calls “controversialization,” disparages any sources and reporters who move the story forward. ...

Stonewalled covers two kinds of scandal: first, the various scandals within the Obama administration; second, the scandalous treatment of these White House scandals by CBS News. With each White House scandal, Attkisson demonstrates the success, more or less, of the Obama administration’s scandal management inside the newsroom at CBS.

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January 27, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

Monday, January 26, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 627

IRS Logo 2Commentary, Contentions Obama Administration Again Proves It Cannot Be Trusted with Your Data:

Yesterday’s important ObamaCare revelation was the latest in a series of Obama-era developments in which big-government projects prove their conservative critics correct. This particular aspect of the administrative state is, however, worse than incompetence. It’s yet another proof that the government cannot be trusted with the private information it gathers from the public.

This has been an ongoing debate that conservatives have lately been winning handily. Democrats moved to require more transparency in those who make political donations, though the Democrats sought to protect major liberal donor groups like unions. Conservatives said the information would be used to harass and target donors. The Obama administration then promptly proved conservatives right, by doing just that.

Then the IRS scandal came to light. Conservative and pro-Israel groups were targeted for nonprofit status, and part of the targeting was invasive questioning. It was unnecessary and unfairly applied, but conservatives also said the IRS couldn’t be trusted with the information. The IRS then proved them right, going on a leaking spree and releasing confidential information, in some cases to ideological allies for cooperative (and very much illegal) targeting. Concerns about government use of private information have infused opposition to gun-control legislation as well.

And now comes perhaps the least surprising entry in the list: the government’s ObamaCare website is sharing insurance customers’ personal information with advertisers.

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January 26, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 626

IRS Logo 2Commentary, Contentions Obama Administration Again Proves It Cannot Be Trusted with Your Data:

Yesterday’s important ObamaCare revelation was the latest in a series of Obama-era developments in which big-government projects prove their conservative critics correct. This particular aspect of the administrative state is, however, worse than incompetence. It’s yet another proof that the government cannot be trusted with the private information it gathers from the public.

This has been an ongoing debate that conservatives have lately been winning handily. Democrats moved to require more transparency in those who make political donations, though the Democrats sought to protect major liberal donor groups like unions. Conservatives said the information would be used to harass and target donors. The Obama administration then promptly proved conservatives right, by doing just that.

Then the IRS scandal came to light. Conservative and pro-Israel groups were targeted for nonprofit status, and part of the targeting was invasive questioning. It was unnecessary and unfairly applied, but conservatives also said the IRS couldn’t be trusted with the information. The IRS then proved them right, going on a leaking spree and releasing confidential information, in some cases to ideological allies for cooperative (and very much illegal) targeting. Concerns about government use of private information have infused opposition to gun-control legislation as well.

And now comes perhaps the least surprising entry in the list: the government’s ObamaCare website is sharing insurance customers’ personal information with advertisers.

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January 25, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 625

IRS Logo 2OpenSecrets.org, In the Garden of Dark Money, the Thorny Case of Rosebush Corp.:

Ever since news broke in 2013 that the IRS had targeted the exemption applications of tea party and some other politically-oriented groups for extra scrutiny, conventional wisdom had it that the agency throws up roadblocks for organizations trying to obtain its seal of approval.

But much evidence indicates the IRS backs down without much fuss when groups seeking 501(c)(4) “social welfare” status come calling.

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January 24, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 23, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 624

IRS Logo 2Wall Street Journal, 7 Down, 1 to Go: An Ungracious Address Even By This President’s Standards, by James Taranto:

In four of the past six midterm elections, voters have administered what is sometimes called a “shellacking” or a “thumpin’ ” to the sitting president’s party. In 1994, 2006, 2010 and 2014, the president’s party lost seats in both houses of Congress and the majority in at least one. In 1995, 2007 and 2011 the president began his State of the Union address with an acknowledgment of the other party’s electoral success. ...

This year’s State of the Union was an ungracious address even by this president’s standards. There was no word of congratulation for the Republicans or even for the new Congress. Worse, Obama extemporaneously taunted his adversaries about his own past electoral success.

“I have no more campaigns to run,” the president declared during the speech’s coda. One suspects that was not intended as an applause line, but applaud some in the audience did. Obama began reading his next sentence, then interrupted with a #humblebrag: “My only agenda—I know because I won both of them.”

To which we add the obligatory asterisk: While it is true without qualification that he won the first one, the second came with the assistance of the Internal Revenue Service’s suppression of his opponents. To be sure, one cannot rule out the possibility that he would have won a licit campaign. But then again, it’s not as if it was a 45-7 blowout.

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January 23, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 623

IRS Logo 2Headlines & Global News, Lois Lerner Begged Supervisor To Refrain From Visiting IRS Office Ahead Of 2012 Presidential Election, Bombshell Document Finds:

Ex-IRS official Lois Lerner reportedly pleaded with her supervisor not to deeply inquire about whether the IRS had unfairly targeted Tea Party and conservative groups for tax-exempt status just ahead of the 2012 presidential election, according to new emails obtained by a government watchdog group.

Joseph H. Grant, former Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division deputy director, was specifically asked by Lerner to refrain from visiting the tax agency's Cincinnati office and keep from asking specific questions related to any Congressional inquiries, according to emails obtained by Judicial Watch through a Freedom of Information Act Lawsuit.

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January 22, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 622

IRS Logo 2New York Times editorial, The Dangerous Erosion of Taxation I.R.S., Already Hobbled, Likely to Be Further Damaged:

The obsession among House conservatives to hobble the Internal Revenue Service is about to pay off this tax season in foolhardy budget cuts to the agency that will cost the government an estimated $2 billion in lost revenue.

That works out to about $6 in lost taxes for every $1 in cuts Congress made in reducing the I.R.S. budget another 3 percent this year, according to the Treasury Department.

The slashed budget is a victory for penny-wise-and-pound-foolish politicians. It amounts to payback demanded by House Republicans to penalize the I.R.S. for daring to scrutinize Tea Party operations that tried to claim exemptions under the tax code for nonpolitical groups. Democratic groups trying the same thing were also scrutinized.

Undermining the I.R.S. was part of the overall budget deal worked out by House Republicans, Senate Democrats and the White House. The agency — hardly the most popular of essential government offices — had too few defenders in the horse-trading. It is likely to suffer even more damage under the new Republican-controlled Congress.

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January 21, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 621

IRS Logo 2New York Sun op-ed, Logic of Firing IRS Chief Comes Into Sharp Focus As Agency Bridles at Budget, by Stephen Moore (Heritage Foundation):

The Internal Revenue Service now says that taxpayers had better get used to shabby service from the tax collection agency. The IRS is hardly an agency known for warm and friendly service to begin with. Complaining about belt tightening budget cuts, this week IRS Commissioner John Koskinen lectured: “People who file paper tax returns could wait an extra week — or possibly longer —to see their refund. Taxpayers with errors or questions on their returns that require additional manual review will also face delays.” ...

Congress needs to hold the IRS accountable and demand the firing of Mr. Kostiken because he has he admitted openly he can’t do his job. The IRS is nearly an $11 billion a year agency with some 100,000 employees. Congress wants to cut its budget by less than 4% and the agency says it can’t function. During the recession many businesses took cuts of 30% or 40%, and they did it by becoming more efficient and cutting waste. Meanwhile the IRS has spent millions of dollars on conferences at exotic resorts for its employees with some suites costing $3,000 a night. And Mr. Koskinen says he can’t find places to cut.

The IRS has also been rocked by scandals of targeting, abusing and financially harming individuals and conservative groups it doesn’t agree with. Maybe it could shut down that division and use those resources to help taxpayers. Instead of showing remorse the agency brass is petulant. The attempt to extort more tax dollars out of taxpayers is the so-called Washington Monument ploy, and Congress should demand an immediate private audit of the agency’s spending habits.

Washington demands full accountability and accuracy from tax filers, but the tax collection department is the least accountable agency of government. If the IRS can’t administer the tax code with 100,000 employees, it sounds like we need a new IRS and a new tax system.

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January 20, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)