TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron
Pepperdine University School of Law

Friday, October 16, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 890

IRS Logo 2Breitbart, Ben Carson’s Book Tour Threatens to End Civilization As We Know It:

Ben Carson is going to suspend his presidential campaign for two weeks to hawk his book! This is unprecedented! It shows he’s not serious about running for president! It proves he doesn’t understand anything about how politics works! It’s the end of the world as we know it, and nobody feels fine!

“Sen. John McCain suspended his presidential campaign for a financial crisis. Famed neurosurgeon Ben Carson is doing so for a book tour,” gasped the Huffington Post. The notion that Carson was “suspending” his campaign appeared in headlines and news stories across the Internet. ...

In the ABC report, Carson spokesman Doug Watts explained that leaving the campaign staff behind while Carson spends a few days focusing on his book tour alleviates concerns about “co-mingling from the corporate standpoint to the Federal Election Commission standpoint so it’s just better to avoid any bad appearance.”

Does anyone, post-IRS scandal, think it’s a bad idea for Republican candidates to be extra-careful about attracting the interest of Obama Administration regulatory agencies? Does everyone remember which agency IRS scandal kingpin Lois Lerner worked for, before she signed up with Internal Revenue?

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October 16, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Political News, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 889

IRS Logo 2Canada Free Press op-ed:  Priorities: Why Obama Coddles Iran But Sicks the IRS on You, by Herman Cain:

If you want to know someone’s priorities, pay attention to when they’re meticulous – and to when they act like they just can’t be bothered to put in half an effort.

Take, for example, the Obama Administration. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that nuclear inspectors acting under the nuclear deal President Obama and John Kerry negotiated with the ayatollahs have pronounced themselves pleased with self-inspected soil samples submitted by Iran from its Parchin nuclear facility. The idea of a terrorist-supporting regime being allowed to gather and send in its own soil samples has been compared to letting Alex Rodriguez send the commissioner’s office his urine sample via FedEx. Anyone who is serious about preventing a rogue regime from getting nuclear weapons would instantly recognize how insane this is.

So why didn’t the Obama Administration hold out for a more rigid inspection process? Are they too dumb? No. They didn’t insist on real inspections because it’s just not that important to them. What they cared about was getting a deal done – and if the deal wasn’t in the best interests of the U.S. or the cause of global security, they didn’t care.

And I’m confident of this because I see what they do when something is important to them. Consider their approach to tax-exemption applications from conservative nonprofit groups. Does the IRS simply ask these groups to send in an affirmation that what they’re doing is legal and consistent with the law governing nonprofit tax exemptions? Of course not. The IRS often drags out the process for months or even years, in some cases even demanding that these groups disclose their donor lists and who they’ve recently had as speakers. ...

If Obama viewed conservatives the same way he views Iran, he would instruct the IRS to let us self-submit our own audits, and then just smile and thank us for our trouble. If he viewed oil companies the way he views Cuba, he would not only let them build pipelines, he would ask them what else they need for their trouble.

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October 15, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 888

IRS Logo, GAO: IRS Still Lacks Safeguards to Prevent Political Targeting:

In the wake of revelations Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents unfairly targeted certain non-profit organizations for enhanced compliance scrutiny, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a new report detailing IRS’ failure to enact safeguards preventing future instances of unequal scrutiny.

Beginning in 2010, employees of IRS’ Exempt Organizations division, under the supervision of division Director Lois Lerner, violated IRS policies by singling out organizations for special examination based on a group’s name or policy positions with the aim of slowing or preventing the ability of conservative organizations to receive tax-exempt donations in the run-up to the 2012 elections.

Despite prior GAO documentation of IRS internal policy violations, IRS policies still do little to prevent unfairness in the agency’s operations.

Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), chairman of the U.S. House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight, says lawmakers must continue to pressure IRS to change its ways.

“It’s an old IRS ploy where they come in and say, ‘We agree with the findings, and we agree to make these changes,’ but then they never […] make the changes,” Roskam said. “So, we are going to continue to do the oversight necessary to keep this in the minds of the American public, and to make sure the IRS knows we are watching them.”

Roskam says Lerner, who resigned with a full federal pension after refusing to testify before Congress about her division’s actions, may yet be prosecuted for her role in the scandal. ...

Bruce Yandle, dean emeritus of Clemson University’s College of Business and Behavioral Science, says public choice theory explains IRS’ failure to correct its policies. “Basically, public choice theory states that elements of political behavior are predictable when viewed through the lens of economics,” Yandle said. “The old adage ‘Keep your eye on the money—where it comes from, and where it goes,’ will help you understand the different actions that take place politically.” ...

Weaponized Enforcement.  Yandle says government agencies can be expected to protect those it perceives as a friend and attack those it considers to be an enemy. ... In 1999, a study was done on political influences in the IRS by examining rates at which the IRS engages in audits. Examining the data during the [President Bill] Clinton period, the investigators found, systematically, that the IRS frequently had audits in those places where people did not behave well toward Bill Clinton.”

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October 14, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 887

IRS Logo 2Washington Post:  ‘Dark Money’ is the IRS’s Real Problem, by Henry Geller:

n his Oct. 8 op-ed column, Impeach the IRS director, George F. Will criticized the Internal Revenue Service for its delay in processing applications for tax-exempt status and indeed urged that the IRS director be impeached.

However, these social welfare organizations under 501(c)(4) were never meant to be entities engaged only in political activities, so the IRS has sought to define how much political activity they can engage in. The IRS has been unsuccessful in this effort, and it is difficult to see how it can hope to succeed.

The result has been the emergence of entities such as Crossroads GPS and Americans for Prosperity on the Republican side, and Priorities USA and Organizing for Action on the Democratic side. Because IRS rules do not require disclosure of donors, the electorate has no notion of who is trying to sway their votes, contrary to the recent Supreme Court opinions in Citizens United and McCutcheon strongly urging transparency. This flood of “dark money” in the most recent election and the next one is the real mess at the IRS.

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October 13, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (5)

Monday, October 12, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 886

IRS Logo 2Forbes:  IRS Scandal Narrative Still Inspires Passion, by Peter J. Reilly:

As something of an amateur historian, my biggest question about the IRS Scandal, which I sometimes refer to as Teapartygate, is how prominent it will be in our historical memory in a few decades. There are certain controversies about particular incidents that become vehicles for ideological freight and achieve a long life at least among the culturally literate. Think of the Dreyfus affair (l’affaire Dreyfus) or the trial of Sacco and Vanzetti . The IRS Scandal certainly has an ideological dimension as it can be portrayed as Washington insiders using the most feared federal agency to intimidate people advocating a return to constitutional values. ...

If there is one place where it is clear that the IRS Scandal is still a thing, it is in Paul Caron’s series which I call the day by day IRS Scandal as since May 13, 2013, the title to the posts have been in the form of The IRS, Scandal  Day X (May 13 was Day 5). The initial post (presumably Day 1) was titled IRS Admits Targeting Conservative Groups in 2012 Election.

Earlier this week I wrote that Professor Caron’s series may have “jumped the shark”.  Although in my first piece, I suggested that it was time to convert it to an archive, after having gone through the whole series, I concluded that what really needed to happen was to have some days, perhaps quite a few, where the entry is nothing to report. ...

Professor Caron’s response to my critique was very classy. My posts were featured as The IRS Scandal, Day 883.  He also included a polling question “Should I Continue My Daily Posts On The IRS Scandal?”.  The results of the poll are The IRS Scandal, Day 884.  Given where the question was asked, it is not at all surprising that the majority was “Yes”.  Arguably it was overwhelming 792 to 86.  The passion of some of the comments was what I found most interesting. ...

Interestingly, the TaxProf, himself, is not exactly an IRS Scandal true believer. On Day 369, Professor Caron wrote:

Step one should be to give Lois Lerner full immunity from prosecution in exchange for her testimony . And then let the chips fall where they may.

Scandal skeptics take Issa’s refusal to grant Lois Lerner immunity as an indication that his committee was not really interested in finding out the truth.

The other passionate comment that I took note of was by Joe Kristan on his own blog.

 I worry that the administration will succeed in running out the clock on the outrageous IRS misconduct.

Although it appears that Joe and I have similar interests and attitudes and professional experience, I sometimes get hints that he might be just a tad more to the right than I am.  He and I are working on having some sort of IRS Scandal debate, after October 15 (That’s the extended due date for individuals).  Stay tuned.

There have been fairly extensive House and Senate investigations into the core scandal.  The agreed facts that came out of both reports can support narratives of either bureaucratic bumbling or politically biased harassment.  Someone on the left would likely argue that the scandal machine has actually won in that the IRS is neutered, at least for the next election cycle, in enforcing rules that provide some level of transparency in political spending.  On the right, there is still a call for more revelations and somebody being punished.  It looks like you will be able to follow it all on the TaxProf series for the foreseeable future.

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October 12, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (8)

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 885

IRS Logo 2John Stossel, Candidates Should be Screaming About Regulations:

I’m upset that the presidential candidates, all of them, rarely mention a huge problem: the quiet cancer that kills opportunity — regulation. The accumulated burden of it is the reason America is stuck in the slowest economic recovery since the Depression.

I understand why candidates don’t talk about it:  Regulation is boring. But it’s important.

The founders of this republic were willing to die rather than be subject to other people’s rules. Today we are so accustomed to bureaucracy that we’ve forgotten what it means to be free.

We now have a million rules — many so complex that even legal specialists can’t understand them. Yet bureaucrats keep writing more. ...

Since we don’t know all the rules, we’re never quite sure if we’re breaking any. Better to keep your head down.

And sometimes the rule-makers really are out to get you. Nixon used the IRS against political enemies. So did Obama IRS appointee Lois Lerner.

It’s time for Americans to fight back. As Gen. Douglas MacArthur said, “You are remembered by the rules you break.”

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October 11, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

Saturday, October 10, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 884

Friday, October 9, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 883

IRS Logo 2Peter J. Reilly (Forbes), Paul Caron's Day By Day IRS Scandal Has Jumped The Shark - Part 1:

The interminable IRS scandal is now on Day 880 by TaxProf count. The TaxProf is Paul Caron, a law professor at Pepperdine University School of Law and Editor of the TaxProf Blog.  I consider Paul Caron the dean of the tax blogosphere.  His IRS Scandal series is a valuable reference tool if you want to reconstruct the chronology of the scandal, but I think the series may have finally jumped the shark. ... In order to make my case that it might be time for the TaxProf to turn his Scandal Day by Day into an archive, I am reviewing the whole thing and will share some of the high points with you. ... I think if you will spend the hours I just spent you will agree that Paul Caron’s coverage is pretty balanced. ...

Day 369 gives us a piece by Paul Caron, himself – The Media Ignore IRS Scandal – (As someone who took Greek in high school I have to admire the prof for knowing that the word “media” is plural).

Today’s news media are largely ignoring the IRS scandal, and it is impossible to have confidence in the current investigations by the FBI, Justice Department, and House committee. I am not suggesting that the current scandal in the end will rise to the level of Watergate. But the allegations are serious, and fair-minded Americans of both parties should agree that a thorough investigation needs to be undertaken to either debunk them or confirm them.

Step one should be to give Lois Lerner full immunity from prosecution in exchange for her testimony. And then let the chips fall where they may.

I’ve heard it said that Professor Caron’s continued coverage shows a conservative bias, but here he is clearly putting the ball in Issa’s court, a ball which will never be picked up.

Joe Kristan (Tax Update Blog), Tax Roundup, 10/7/15:

Sometimes I think the TaxProf has to reach deep to have something to run every day, but his continued focus on the outrageous IRS behavior is a public service. I’m not sure Peter thinks there is a scandal in the first place.

Peter J. Reilly (Forbes), Paul Caron's Day By Day IRS Scandal Has Jumped The Shark — Conclusion:

I fear that the series which serves as a great resource is in danger of having its quality diluted. ...

As I noted in Part I, I consider Paul Caron the dean of the tax blogosphere, so it seems rather arrogant of me to make suggestions about how he should run his blog, but as it happens, my blogging persona is kind of on the arrogant side. What I would like to see happen with the day by day IRS Scandal is some sort of boundary around what the scandal is which would result in quite a few days where there is nothing to report. We will continue to see flurries of activity for at least the next year or two as various pieces of litigation play out, but there might be more and more days with nothing to report. I think a policy like that would prevent the high quality of the series from being diluted. And of course, if Professor Caron were to do something like Day 900 All Quiet on The IRS Scandal Front, the commenters would be sure to point out anything he missed.

Joe Kristan (Tax Update Blog), Tax Roundup, 10/8/15:

I worry that the administration will succeed in running out the clock on the outrageous IRS misconduct.

Should I Continue My Daily Posts On The IRS Scandal?
Free polls from

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October 9, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (20)

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 882

IRS Logo 2George Will (Washington Post), Impeach the IRS Director:

“Look,” wrote Lois Lerner, echoing Horace Greeley, “my view is that Lincoln was our worst president not our best. He should have let the South go. We really do seem to have 2 totally different mindsets.”

Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, was referring to Southern secessionist states when he urged President-elect Abraham Lincoln to “let the erring sisters go in peace.”

Greeley favored separating the nation from certain mindsets; Lerner favors suppressing certain mindsets. At the IRS, she participated in delaying for up to five years — effectively denying — tax-exempt status for, and hence restricting political activity by, groups with conservative mindsets. She retired after refusing to testify to congressional committees, invoking Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination.

As the IRS cover-up of its and her malfeasance continues, the Republicans’ new House leaders should exercise this constitutional power: “The House … shall have the sole power of impeachment.” The current IRS director, John Koskinen, has earned this attention. ...

Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, says the IRS has “lied to Congress” and “destroyed documents under subpoena.” He accuses Koskinen of “lies, obfuscation and deceit”: “He assured us he would comply with a congressional subpoena seeking Lois Lerner’s emails. Not only did he fail to keep that promise, we later learned he did not look in earnest for the information.”

After Koskinen complained about the high cost in time and money involved in the search, employees at a West Virginia data center told a Treasury Department official that no one asked for backup tapes of Lerner’s emails. Subpoenaed documents, including 422 tapes potentially containing 24,000 Lerner emails, were destroyed. For four months, Koskinen kept from Congress information about Lerner’s elusive emails. He testified under oath that he had “confirmed” that none of the tapes could be recovered. ...

Even if, as Koskinen says, he did not intentionally mislead Congress, he did not subsequently do his legal duty to correct the record in a timely manner. Even if he has not committed a crime such as perjury, he has a duty higher than merely avoiding criminality.

If the House votes to impeach, the Senate trial will not produce a two-thirds majority needed for conviction: Democrats are not ingrates. Impeachment would, however, test the mainstream media’s ability to continue ignoring this five-year-old scandal, and would demonstrate to dissatisfied Republican voters that control of Congress can have gratifying consequences.

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

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 881

IRS Logo 2Newsweek op-ed:  America Is in Danger of Being Ruled by the Mob, by Victor Davis Hanson:

The constitution of the Roman Republic was designed as a corrective to democracy. Specifically, it was hoping to protect against the excesses of Athenian-style direct democracy. ...

Americans originally were terrified of what 51 percent of the people in an unchecked democracy might do on any given day—and knew that ancient democracies had always become more, not less, radical and thus more unstable. For all the squabbles between Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton and Madison, they agreed that a republic, not a direct democracy, was a far safer and stable choice of governance.

The result was a potpourri of ways to curb the predictable excesses and fits of the people. An Electoral College reserved commensurate power to rural states rather than passing off the presidential vote into the hands of the huge urban majorities. ...

All consensual governments are prone to scary wild swings of mob-like emotion—and to demagogues who can almost rein in or goad the dêmos. But the Founders sought to make American government immune to Athenian-style craziness through a system of checks and balances that vented popular frenzies without a great deal of damage. ...

In the 21st century, novel developments have increasingly turned us from sober Roman republicans into mercurial Athenian democrats, as we can see especially in this election year. ...

[T]he law is seen as an impediment to such sweeping notions of social justice. It is certainly deemed counter-revolutionary and an impediment to the Obama administration’s idea of an equality of result. As a result, the president at one time or another has ignored enforcement of federal laws, from not prosecuting the rogue behavior of federal bureaucrats at the IRS or EPA to suspending elements of his own Affordable Care Act. ...

What now constitutes actionable criminal behavior in the scandals at the IRS, EPA, ICE and a host of other alphabet agencies are not treated as per se violations of the law. Rather, they are judged according to whether the offender and his crime were deemed progressive and well-intended—or reactionary and thus prosecutable.

CEOs who cannot cap a leaky oil well or who sell noxious peanut products go to jail; EPA functionaries who turn white-water rivers into toxic yellow mush melt back into the coils of the bureaucracy.

Ancient Athens was a wild place—as frenetic, brilliant and dangerous as it proved ultimately unsustainable. Yet we are becoming more like the Athenian mob than the Roman Senate. American law has become negotiable and subject to revolutionary justice, while technology has developed the power to inflame 300 million individuals in a nanosecond.

Without strict adherence to republican government and the protections of the Constitution, the mob will rule—and any American will become subject to its sudden wrath.

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October 7, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 880

IRS Logo 2Ben Carson For President 2016, IRS: Take Away Muslim Group’s Tax-Exempt Status:

The Council on Islamic-American Relations (CAIR), a U.S. Muslim group, recently demanded that I withdraw as candidate for the 2016 presidential race. By doing so, the organization has brazenly violated IRS rules prohibiting tax-exempt nonprofits like CAIR to intervene in a political campaign on behalf of—or in opposition to—a candidate. (Click video link to witness the violation.)

This is not the first time that CAIR has disrespected U.S. laws or America. It has previously lost its tax-exempt status by failing to file federal taxes three years in a row. It had also been named by federal prosecutors as an unindicted co-conspirator in a criminal conspiracy to funnel money to Hamas, a terrorist organization.

The IRS should immediately revoke CAIR’s tax-exempt status. Under the Obama administration, the IRS has systematically targeted conservative nonprofit groups for politically motivated audits and harassment. The agency should now properly do its job and punish the real violators of America’s laws and regulations.

Sign this petition to demand that the IRS revoke CAIR’s nonprofit tax-exempt status.

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October 6, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, October 5, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 879

IRS Logo 2Ricochet, Hearings on Hillary:

Hearings by the Republican majority on recent scandals have been mostly ineffective. In the IRS hearings, three former or current heads of the IRS were key witnesses. Those of us who stayed up with the Lois Lerner epic became familiar with the disdain exhibited by John Koskinen, the current head of the IRS, when he testified.

What the committee seems to do – I am talking about any investigating committee in recent history — is to get the head of the agency or subject under consideration and grill him or her. What happens is that the committee and the public gets the “ignorance of the chief.” The top people don’t know any details. This is true in two senses. If the witness is hostile, and they always are, then they can use ignorance as a delaying tactic. Even if, mirabile dictu, they are willing, they are still lawyers and administrators who deal with paper and people on a very high level. Details are not their forte.

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

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 878

IRS Logo 2Washington Examiner, Jordan: Congress Will Impeach IRS' Koskinen:

This Congress will impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, Rep. Jim Jordan, a member of the House Oversight Committee, told a group of students from the Young America's Foundation Saturday.

"It is something that has to be done," said the Ohio Republican. "If we don't hold some people accountable in the executive branch for the executive overreach we've seen in [the Obama] administration, then they'll never get the message."

Lois Lerner, the central figure at the heart of the IRS' targeting scandal, "did what a lot of people do when they get caught with their hand in the cookie jar; she tried to lie," said Jordan. "She said it wasn't me; it wasn't Washington; it was the folks in Cincinnati" that directed the IRS' illegal targeting of conservative groups.

Lerner said "it was those rogue agents in Cincinnati; a complete lie," he said. Then she took the Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself in front of the House Oversight Committee when she was brought in for questioning.

"When you have the central figure lie, and then take the Fifth, it kind of puts a premium on getting the documents, the records, the communications for what went on here," said Jordan.

In the aftermath of the investigation, the IRS issued a preservation order requiring all communications be preserved. But despite all this, in March 2014 the IRS destroyed 422 backup tapes containing as many as 24,000 emails, the Treasury Department inspector general found. ...

The House is going to pursue impeachment because there needs to be consequences for the egregious behavior of the IRS and "we think it's critical to preserving fundamental freedom, fundamental rights," said Jordan.

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October 4, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 877

IRS Logo 2Washington Examiner, IRS Needs a Housecleaning, Not Retention Bonuses:

Earlier this year, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen warned taxpayers that they would suffer delays and poor service from his agency during tax time. In doing so, he cited cuts to the IRS budget.

But as we noted at the time, this was a case of malingering and retaliation, not of real need at the IRS. The IRS had access to $500 million in fees that it could use to deliver needed services, but chose to use the money for a long list of other things.

One of those other things was bonuses for senior executives and nonunion managerial employees — a small line item, to be sure, but a rather incredible one to behold at an agency so publicly beset over widespread power-tripping and misconduct within its bureaucracy.

A few new details of the senior IRS bonus binge have finally come to light, thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request from the Tax Analysts. As the Washington Examiner's Paul Bedard reported Wednesday, the agency paid nearly $2 million in bonuses to these top employees between the time Koskinen took his post in late 2013 (amid the targeting scandal) and January 2015. During that period, 456 managerial employees received bonuses. Over the last five years, 1,269 such employees have gotten bonuses and 351 attorneys have received retention incentives, with a total value of $6 million. ...

In any case, an agency caught in such egregious misconduct as the IRS seems like a strange one to be giving bonuses to top staff. Just this week, the IRS has also been dinged in an inspector general investigation for failing to fulfill lawful FOIA requests properly more than 12 percent of the time. According to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the agency failed to give taxpayers the information to which they were entitled in eight out of 65 cases studied.

In the nearly three years since the targeting scandal was revealed, it has become clear that it was just a symptom of a much deeper problem at the IRS — a culture that lacks accountability, rewards failure, and persecutes the innocent. Like the Department of Veterans Affairs, it needs a thorough housecleaning, not retention bonuses.

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October 3, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, October 2, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 876

IRS Logo, Still No Word on GAB Emails to Left-Leaning Groups:

Conservative targets of Wisconsin’s political John Doe investigation were still waiting Wednesday for a judge’s decision on whether the state Government Accountability Board must turn over communications it had with liberal political groups.

Waukesha County Judge Lee Dreyfus Jr. was expected to rule two weeks ago, but the court doesn’t have Microsoft Outlook software, and the judge was unable to view the correspondence in question.

Attorneys for the GAB have since sent the documents in PDF.

Eddie Greim, attorney for conservative activist Eric O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth, both plaintiffs in a lawsuit alleging the GAB overstepped its authority in the unconstitutional John Doe probe, tells Wisconsin Watchdog the judge has yet to issue his decision.

On Sept. 15, the plaintiffs asked the judge to compel the accountability board to turn over communications it had with the Brennan Center for Justice and the Campaign Legal Center. ...

CLC claims to represent the public interest in strong enforcement of campaign finance laws. The group has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from Soros-funded organizations. In 2010, the Campaign Legal Center joined other liberal groups asking the IRS to investigate the tax-exempt status of Republican-allied groups. Former IRS official Lois Lerner is accused of leading a campaign to target conservative groups filing as tax-exempt.

In July, the Wall Street Journal reported that GAB director Kevin Kennedy and Lerner were in contact between 2011 and 2013 — when the GAB assisted partisan prosecutors in investigating scores of conservatives and in raiding several of their homes.

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October 2, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 875

IRS Logo 2Forbes:  More IRS Bonuses Revealed By Lawsuit, by Robert W. Wood:

Many Americans probably think the IRS shouldn’t be handing out bonuses. Not to Lois Lerner or a fired IRS Commissioner anyhow. But they did, and a lawsuit by Tax Analysts tried to get to the bottom of these and other IRS bonuses. Why a lawsuit?

Because the IRS stonewalled, as it not infrequently does. Tax Analysts asked nicely first and made a Freedom of Information Act request. But the IRS has high walls. Eventually, Tax Analysts brought a suit against the IRS to compel the agency to release records of bonuses to high-level executives since 2010.

Many of the bonuses can be traced to IRS Commissioner Koskinen, who took the helm of the IRS in December 2013. Most of the IRS bonuses were paid in February and March 2014, with 238 awards totaling $976,387. No further awards were recorded until November and January 2015, with 218 awards totaling $1,000,108.

In all, the IRS paid 1,269 performance awards and retention incentives to 351 chief counsel executive and nonunion managers. These amounts totaled $5.97 million between January 1, 2010, and February 2, 2015. The average performance award was $4,483. Yet individual awards ranged from $88 to $44,096. Individual recipients’ total awards ranged even more widely, from $250 to $285,688. For considerable detail on the bonuses, go here.

As you read about bonuses, you might recall other reports saying that 61% of IRS employees caught willfully violating the tax law aren’t fired, but may get promoted. You might find it even worse that Ms. Lois Lerner received $129,000 in bonuses. The former IRS official received $129,300 in bonuses between 2010 and 2013. As head of the IRS tax-exempt division at the heart of the targeting scandal, she received a 25% retention bonus each year—averaging $43,000 a year—on top of her regular salary.The IRS scandal broke in May 2013, but goes back to January 2010. The Supreme Court in Citizens United found it unconstitutional to ban free speech by corporations, unions and other organizations. Shortly thereafter, the IRS distributed a BOLO (Be on the Lookout) list for Tea Party organizations applying for tax exempt status. As the emails went awry, the fact that the IRS used instant messaging to hide internal communications was pooh-poohed by the administration.

Recently, the IRS says it “discovered” that Lois Lerner’s dog had an email account, in addition to her official account and personal email accounts. There was already an official IRS email account, and Lerner’s own private email account that the IRS had labeled ‘Lois Home.’ The ‘Toby Miles’ account? Toby is the dog, and Michael Miles is Ms. Lerner’s husband.

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

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 874

IRS Logo 2Forbes:  Forget Lois Lerner, These IRS Agents Behaved REALLY Badly, by Robert W. Wood:

In any big organization, there are going to be mistakes, over-reaching, even some bad apples. As the media still debates how bad Lois Lerner was in the IRS targeting–while she received $129,000 in bonuses–there are other examples of bad IRS conduct. Alleged conduct anyway. For example, one IRS Agent in Seattle is facing criminal charges over an alleged scheme to extort cash from a medical marijuana dispensary for audit favors.

The Seattle Times reported that an IRS Agent named Paul Hurley, 42, attempted to squeeze tens of thousands of dollars out of a businessman for help with a delinquent tax bill. The IRS takes cases of misconduct seriously, for obvious reasons. Meanwhile, an IRS Agent in Tennessee has been charged with sexually assaulting a woman while performing an audit. Agent Samuel Garza was charged with sexual battery.

No matter how you spin it, these are further embarrassments for an agency that is still not over allegations of targeting and more. Even so, these alleged crimes may not be as colorful as the sex for lower taxes story spun by Vincent Burroughs. Vincent Burroughs claimed that his IRS auditor, Ms. Dora Abrahamson, flirted with him by phone and text, then sent him a selfie in her underwear.

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

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 873

IRS Logo 2Conservative HQ, Lois Lerner's 'Partners' and Her ‘Mini-Me’:

Conservatives who now know about the lawless, arrogant ex-federal bureaucrat lawyer Lois Lerner may wish to know that her “farm team” meets at the Washington Marriott Georgetown October 5 – 7.

Last week I wrote at American Thinker about the little-known organization called NASCO, the National Association of State Charity Officials. NASCO consists of government bureaucrats who, like Lois Lerner, are supposed to be nonpartisan, but frequently are statist partisans who abuse government power. They operate between conservatives and the causes they support, and too many show contempt for -- even ignorance of -- constitutional rights and the rule of law over them.  ...

Professor Paul Caron, who deserves a medal for his daily spot about The IRS Scandal at his TaxProf Blog, focused on an observation about the bullying methods used by some members of NASCO. I’ll expand a bit with more from the American Thinker piece:

It’s not just that NASCO considered itself a partner with “Dr. Evil” Lois Lerner so much as many of its members act like her “Mini-Me.” Lerner’s IRS was caught violating First Amendment rights of conservatives by demanding such things as the prayers they said at their meetings, and illegally disclosing to hostile blogs the confidential list of donors to the National Organization of Marriage. 

It is a common unethical practice employed by many NASCO members to, like Lerner, make demands for actions and production of documents, but refusing to cite legal authority, which gives cover to their lawlessness or even incompetence.  For example, one assistant attorney general sent a “civil investigative demand” for documents. The investigation statute required that she state her “cause” in her demand, which provides a modicum of Fourth Amendment protection. When I asked her to cite her “cause,” she cited to the law requiring her to state her cause. I wrote back suggesting she watch a few episodes of Law & Order to learn the law. 

Minnesota Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Kremenak provides another good example. Charity regulators have authority to investigate misdeeds, of course, but not authority to violate the First or Fourth Amendments. Not only does Kremenak tell charities what to do and what documents to produce, she adamantly refuses even when asked to provide notice of her legal authority for making such demands. Her lack of transparency is unethically designed to shield her violations of First and Fourth Amendment rights, and even her own investigations statute. 

Kremenak reports to Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson. After reaching a settlement in 2008 with a bank, which directed that a third of a six-figure fine go to the corrupt and now defunct “community organizing” group ACORN, Swanson received a grade of A+ from that group in time for her 2010 election. So, it’s not just censorship of political enemies; these regulators use their positions for payola and cronyism. 

Conservatives who have had dealings with Lois Lerner over the years, from when she was at the Federal Election Commission to her time at the IRS, need to know that there are hoards of NASCO bureaucrats such as Kremenak who act like Lerner’s ‘Mini-Me.’  

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September 29, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, September 28, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 872

IRS Logo 2RedState:  Is the IRS in Collusion with the Clinton Foundation? Charles Ortel’s Quest to Expose Clinton Foundation Fraud Has a Lois Lerner Connection, by Myra Adams:

Does anyone remember Henry Markopolos? In case you don’t, he was the former securities industry executive who for nine years persistently, but unsuccessfully, tried to convince the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that the respected securities investment firm headed by Bernie Madoff was engaged in massive long-term fraud.

Fast forward to 2009 when Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison for operating the largest private Ponzi scheme in history adding up to billions of dollars in client losses.

In 2010, Markopolos wrote about his dramatic whistle-blower experience in a book aptly titled,  “No One Would Listen: A True Financial Thriller.”

So why am I bringing up the heroic efforts of Harry Markopolos?

The answer is a whistle-blower in the mold of Markopolos has come to my attention and his name is Charles Ortel. Like Markopolos, Ortel has a background as a financial industry executive in addition to a successful track record of identifying economic trends and systemic problems within companies, most notably General Electric.

Throughout 2015, Ortel has carefully studied and documented a decade’s worth of domestic and global fraud, theft, corruption and violations of strict IRS rules being perpetrated by a prestigious multi-billion dollar charitable organization known as the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

Unlike Markopolos, who went to the SEC and was largely ignored because of incompetence, Ortel believes that the IRS is actively in collusion with the Clinton Foundation.

Collusion with the high-profile charity explains why the IRS is not thoroughly investigating Ortel’s carefully documented allegations of illegal activity on a scale so grand that a major audit would certainly be triggered if the name of the foundation was not “Clinton.”

Only collusion explains why, for over a decade, the IRS has allowed the Clinton Foundation, and all its umbrella organizations with different names to operate outside the strict rules and regulations under which all tax-exempt charities must operate or risk losing their tax-exempt status.

Ortel calculates that 2004 was the year when the foundation began engaging in massive fraud. Now guess who was director of the IRS’s Exempt Organizations Rulings & Agreements Division at that time? And guess who in December of 2005 was promoted to director of the entire IRS Exempt Organizations Division? Does the name Lois Lerner ring a bell?

The now disgraced Ms. Lerner resigned and retired from the IRS in September of 2013. In May of 2014 she refused to testify before a congressional committee. She then invoked the 5th Amendment, and was found in contempt of Congress. Lerner became the name most associated with what is still an ongoing IRS investigation as to why and how her department consistently denied tax-exempt status to conservative groups.

Ortel told RedState that he believes Lerner, a known partisan Democrat, “looked the other way at the IRS, thus allowing the Clinton Foundation’s cancer to spread.”

But even with Lerner long gone, Ortel says “Clinton acolytes are spread throughout the IRS.” Certainly those allegations help answer the question I posed two weeks ago on National Review: “Where are the Clinton Foundation’s Revised IRS 990 Forms?”

Fortunately my piece caught Ortel’s eye and now, after many discussions, I realize that asking why the IRS has yet to crack down on the Clinton Foundation for their delayed 2014 Form 990 along with years of promised revised filings, barely scratches the surface.

With the IRS ignoring Ortel, he is seeking nationally known investigative journalists to help him gain some traction in the mainstream media for his politically charged allegations in hopes that the Clinton Foundation IRS corruption scandal will “go viral.” ...

Finally, the National Journal’s Ron Fournier added some fuel to Ortel’s fire. In a piece demanding that Hillary Clinton either “come clean or get out,” Fournier hearkens back to that famous phrase, “follow the money” attributed to “Deep Throat” in the Watergate scandal when he writes that a Clinton loyalist said to him, “The emails are a related but secondary scandal. Follow the foundation money.”

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

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 871

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 870

IRS Logo 2American Thinker, Lois Lerner's 'Partners':

On October 5, the same day the Supreme Court opens its term, across town at the Washington Marriott Georgetown a group of bureaucrats that has lost four times before that court will huddle in a three-day meeting open only one day to the public or the people and entities they regulate.

Unless you are a lawyer representing nonprofit organizations, it’s unlikely you’ve ever heard of NASCO, which is the National Association of State Charity Officials. These are state officials who work together and even collaborate with federal officials to regulate your favorite charities or nonprofit groups advocating for your constitutional rights.

A 2007 letter from NASCO’s then-president Hugh Jones to Lois Lerner describes NASCO as Lerner’s “partner in the regulation of charities.” Especially in retrospect, that’s some admission against interest, as lawyers might say. Lois Lerner, of course, is the now-former IRS official held in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify about how her Tax Exempt Division targeted and abused conservative nonprofit organizations, and illegally disclosed the names and addresses of donors to at least one. ...

It’s not just that NASCO considered itself a partner with “Dr. Evil” Lois Lerner so much as many of its members act like her “Mini-Me.” Lerner’s IRS was caught violating First Amendment rights of conservatives by demanding such things as the prayers they said at their meetings, and illegally disclosing to hostile blogs the confidential list of donors to the National Organization of Marriage.

It is a common unethical practice employed by many NASCO members to, like Lerner, make demands for actions and production of documents, but refusing to cite legal authority, which gives cover to their lawlessness or even incompetence. ...

The theme of NASCO’s meeting in Washington early next month is “A Renewed Focus on the State Regulator.” A renewed focus is indeed needed, but on their lawlessness, instransparency, unethical behavior, and Lois Lerner-like arrogance.

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

Friday, September 25, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 869

IRS Logo 2The Hill:  The IRS's Abuse of Power, by Tom Schatz (President, Citizens Against Government Waste):

During the reign of King George III, Britain's American colonists felt the heavy burden of a monarch imposing his will to levy heavy taxes without representation, overregulate businesses and trample upon basic freedoms. In order to overcome these oppressive bonds, the 13 Colonies banded together to declare their independence from tyranny.

President Obama does not have the same level of power as King George, but he is using every tool at his disposal to emulate the king and restrict the freedom of Americans as they pursue their daily lives and conduct their business. In other words, when Obama famously said in January 2014 that he had a pen and a phone to get things done with or without Congress, he was not joking. His administration has taken unprecedented steps to issue regulations and rulings without going through normal administrative procedures, such as issuing "sub-regulatory guidance" and circumventing Congress whenever possible.

A prime example of this kind of abuse of power was the hiring of outside counsel by the Internal Revenue Service to conduct interviews and assist in an audit of Microsoft on May 19, 2014. In a May 13, 2015 press release regarding his letter to the IRS about this matter, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), questioned the legality of such an action because it "1) appears to violate federal law and the express will of the Congress; 2) removes taxpayer protections by allowing the performance of inherently governmental functions by private contractors; and 3) calls into question the IRS's use of its limited resources."

This extraordinary episode should be troubling for all taxpayers. On top of the waste of tax dollars, the hiring of outside litigators at Obama's IRS is the latest overreach by the administration and the same agency that spawned Lois Lerner, the former director of the Exempt Organizations unit.

While there is no excuse or justification for this action by the IRS and no one should be subject to such an misuse of the taxpayers' money, a large company can battle to maintain its rights under the law (albeit at the expense of conducting its ordinary business). It is bad enough when IRS auditors and bean counters come knocking at someone's door, but there is no way that a small business or individual taxpayer could withstand a grilling by high-powered and highly paid litigators. Congress was not around to stop King George, but it can and should stop the Obama administration's ongoing abuses of power.

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September 25, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 868

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 867

IRS Logo 2The Hill, Hatch Wonders About IRS Discipline Over Political Scrutiny:

The Senate’s top tax writer asked Tuesday why the IRS has cleared most employees referred for potential improper political scrutiny since the agency’s Tea Party controversy erupted in 2013.

Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) noted that Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration had referred 47 employees to the IRS in recent years for potentially breaking the rules for reviewing tax-exempt applications.

The inspector general sent those referrals when it thought an employee’s actions weren’t criminal, leaving any potential punishment up to the IRS.

But of those 47 referrals, the IRS found that 20 employees had done nothing wrong, and another five resigned during their investigations.

The IRS found another eight employees could face disciplinary action for future conduct, after the agency found “no clear” evidence of misconduct. Eleven referrals are still pending, while the rest of the 47 are protected by privacy laws.

In a Tuesday letter, Hatch asked for more details about how the IRS investigates those referrals and about any role the National Treasury Employees Union plays in those inquiries.

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September 23, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 866

IRS Logo 2USA Today op-ed:  Why Congress Should Impeach Gina McCarthy, John Koskinen, and Other Obama Administration Obstructers-of-Justice, by Glenn Reynolds (Tennessee):

Is impeachment the only solution for lack of executive accountability? ...

Congress is considering impeaching [EPA Administrator] Gina McCarthy, ... Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) has introduced a resolution of impeachment against her because he says she lied during testimony about the EPA’s new clean water rules. ... McCarthy is accused of perjuring herself three times, in discussing the scientific and engineering basis for those rules. So, you might wonder, why not just prosecute her for perjury?

The problem is that criminal prosecutions are brought by the executive branch, and there’s not much chance that Obama administration Attorney General Loretta Lynch will bring a perjury prosecution against a fellow member of the administration. And there’s nothing Congress can do to change that. ...

The framers of the Constitution knew that, of course, which is why they gave Congress another power, that of impeachment. ...

Congress has had a lot of trouble with this administration. The IRS stonewalled on the emails implicating Lois Lerner in political targeting of Tea Party groups, the State Department (and Hillary Clinton personally) have stonewalled and foot-dragged on releasing Hillary’s emails, and other officials, such as Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, have provided “clearly erroneous” statements to Congress and suffered no penalty.

Traditionally, presidents have been willing to sacrifice underlings caught in this sort of behavior, but the Obama administration hasn’t been so quick to force them out. And like any behavior, lying to Congress and stonewalling congressional oversight becomes more common when it becomes clear that there will be no significant price to be paid.

Impeaching lower level officials may be a solution. Not only is the threat of removal from office a significant one, but most cabinet officials — and even many lower-level appointees — have bigger ambitions. Rendering them ineligible for further federal office is a genuine threat.

That’s why impeaching McCarthy — and, as some, including Ed Morrissey, have already suggested, IRS chief John Koskinen, whose stonewalling over the IRS political-targeting scandal has been egregious, or Clapper — might encourage better behavior in the future. The Republican House majority leader says it won't happen, but as Congressional Republicans seek a way to hold the Obama administration accountable, the pressure to do something may change that political calculus.

We live in a world where these officials pay no price, and where no one lost their job over the EPA’s disastrous Colorado mine spill, and where the Veterans Administration is in many cases firing whistleblowers before accountable officials for botched veteran care.

Is impeachment the answer to lack of accountability in the executive branch? If it isn’t, what is?

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September 22, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Monday, September 21, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 865

IRS Logo 2Providence Journal op-ed, Selective Interest in Enforcing the Law, by Rick Manning (President, Americans for Limited Government):

Who said this? “I would just say on principle that the success of our democracy depends on rule of law. And there is no public official that is above the law, certainly not the president of the United States. But neither is the Rowan County clerk. That’s a principle that is enshrined in our Constitution and in our democracy and it's one obviously the courts are seeking to uphold. ”

That was White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest speaking on Sept. 3 about the arrest of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis of Kentucky for refusing to process gay-marriage licenses.

The rule of law is fundamental to our nation’s existence, and it has been virtually destroyed over the past seven years both by the Obama administration and federal courts with acquiescence from the congressional leadership.

The president’s Internal Revenue Service engaged in political targeting of conservative groups and auditing conservative donors in one of the most dangerous abuses of executive branch power in our nation’s history, and the perpetrator faces no federal charges and continues to draw payments from the federal government. Lois Lerner has been, and continues to be, above the law.

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

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 864

IRS Logo 2CNN, IRS scandal Fast Facts:

Here’s some background information about the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal involving the targeting of certain groups. In May 2013, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration released a report indicating the targeting involved delaying the processing of applications by certain conservative groups and requesting information from them that was later deemed unnecessary.

The Justice Department is investigating circumstances surrounding the disappearance of IRS emails that Republicans believe could shed light on the possible targeting of conservative and other political groups by the agency.

Other Facts: The investigation into the email disappearance, which the IRS said was due to a crash of former IRS official Lois Lerner’s hard drive, is part of a wider criminal probe of whether any IRS employees broke the law in unfairly singling out specific political groups for extra scrutiny.

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

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 863

IRS Logo 2American Thinker, Uh-oh: Hillary's Server Data May be Recoverable:

Hard though it is to believe, maybe all that feigning of ignorance (”You mean like with a cloth?”) about wiping a server was genuine. Three writers from the Washington Post (Rosalind S. Helderman, Tom Hamburger, and Carol D. Leonig) burrow into the question of what actually was done to the famous server data, and come up with the possibility that the data was not expertly “wiped” by overwriting it multiple times with nonsense characters. ...

How did the original server get to be blank? If Platte River Networks didn’t wipe it, then theoretically that data should be recoverable. And it appears Pagliano had no access to it after the data was migrated, only to the second server.

Either a mysterious “sinister force” (a phrase from Watergate - Google it) destroyed the data on the original server, or it should be fully recoverable despite being “blank.” Unlike Lois Lerner’s hard drive, apparently nobody came in with a hammer and physically destroyed it.

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

Friday, September 18, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 862

IRS Logo 2Robert W. Wood (Forbes), IRS 'Tax Protester' Label Is Harder To Delete Than Lois Lerner Emails:

In 1998, Congress passed a law prohibiting the IRS from labeling people as “illegal tax protesters.” In fact, Congress ordered the IRS to purge the “protester” code from its computer files on 57,000 Americans. Every year, the Treasury Department’s Inspector General reviews how well the IRS is doing at purging the protester label. It turns out the protester epithet is hard to entirely eliminate, even after all these years. The 2015 audit report says a few people at the IRS still do it.

Using illegal tax protester or other similar designations may stigmatize taxpayers and may cause the IRS to be biased against them in future contacts. Congress enacted the prohibition against illegal tax protester designations because it was concerned that some taxpayers were being permanently labeled that way even though they later fixed their tax problems or stopped doing things the IRS thought were unreasonably against the tax system.

Mostly, the IRS is careful about these hot button words now. The report says of approximately 4.8 million records and cases, there were only four instances in which IRS employees referred to taxpayers as “Tax Protester,” “Constitutionally Challenged,” or other similar designations in case narratives in the Appeals Centralized Database System.

The Inspector General recommended that the Chief, Appeals, emphasize to all Appeals employees the importance of reinforcing that taxpayers are not to be referred to as Illegal Tax Protesters or any other similar designations. In a response to the report, the IRS management agreed. Of course, there are plenty of negative things you can be called in the tax world–for example “aggressive” or “delinquent”–one of the worst to be called is “frivolous.” In IRS lingo it’s about as bad as you can get, just shy of the other “f” word, “fraudulent.”

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September 18, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 861

IRS Logo 2Real Clear Politics, Descent Into Lawlessness, by Victor Davis Hanson (Stanford):

In the eight-plus since the [Scooter] Libby trial, the Obama administration has blown up the law as we have known it for centuries. ...

Just as scary is the application of the law on the basis of the perceived politics of a suspect.

IRS bureaucrat Lois Lerner was exposed as a rank partisan whose office gave particular scrutiny to would-be tax-exempt groups deemed opponents of Obama's re-election efforts. She invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to testify before a congressional committee about her actions at the IRS. Lerner has never been indicted.

Almost everything former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has stated about her improper use of a private email account and server has been proven false. A State Department staffer who worked on Clinton's private server plans to invoke the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying before a congressional committee about his role in privatizing Clinton's email.

But like Lerner, Clinton has escaped an indictment or jailing.

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September 17, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 859

IRS Logo 2Forbes: IRS Gets Sued Over Bonuses To Lois Lerner, by Robert W. Wood:

For more than two years, the IRS targeting scandal has been one dissembling excuse after another. Rogue employees in Cincinnati! Oops, the emails are gone! Lois won’t testify! We can’t be expected to perform with the IRS budget being slashed! IRS can’t hand over anything without violating taxpayer confidentiality. Lois’s dog did it! This was a spontaneous demonstration to a video!

You name it, we’ve heard it. So I was delighted to read that the mysterious IRS bonuses are the subject of a FOIA suit. On June 20, 2013, weeks after the targeting story broke from Lois Lerner herself (before she took the Fifth), the IRS paid out $70 million in bonuses. Ms. Lerner received $42,000, part of her $129,300 in bonuses. Former Commissioner Miller (!) received $100,000. If anyone can get to the bottom of the CIA-like IRS, it is Tax Analysts, which has a long tradition of suing the agency. 

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September 15, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 857

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 856

Russ Fox (Taxable Talk), Sergeant Schultz to the Rescue!:

Back in the 1960s there was a television show called Hogan’s Heroes. The comedy was set in a prisoner-of-war camp in Germany during World War II. One of the characters on the show was Sergeant Schultz. Here’s an excerpt via YouTube:

Schultz’s famous line was, “I know nothing, I see nothing,….” That’s what it feels like when we deal with answers from the IRS and the Obama Administration. ...

[S]ooner or later the truth will come out. There’s a pattern in this administration, and it’s one of secrecy, denials, and cover-up. Maybe it’s all innocent, but to me it’s failing the smell test. I try hard to avoid pushing one political view over another in this blog, but there is one thing that is clear to all but the most partisan Obama Administration supporters: The administration that promised to be the most transparent in history is likely the most opaque in history. Even Sergeant Schultz could have done better.

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September 12, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Friday, September 11, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 855

IRS Logo 2WALB News Editorial, IRS Misdeeds:

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson didn't hold back his criticism of the Internal Revenue Service, after a bipartisan report confirmed the IRS targeted conservative political groups, and worked for their union on government time.

Isakson said he was outraged, and so are we.

The world's biggest collection agency targeted conservative groups for exercising their First Amendment rights. The IRS was influenced by the political beliefs of individual IRS employees, to try to limit political speech by individuals, and tax-exempt organizations.

Then the IRS lied to Congress about whether it targeted political organizations, and obstructed the Congressional investigation.

When a government agency as powerful as the IRS gets on a political witch hunt, the citizens are in danger. 

The people who did wrong at the IRS need to be fired. We have plenty of honest Americans who need work.

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

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 854

IRS Logo 2Las Vegas Review-Journal editorial, Justice Department Needs to Hold IRS Accountable:

In March 2013, then-U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder launched a criminal investigation into the actions of IRS employees — most notably Lois Lerner, then-director of the agency's Exempt Organizations Division — who deliberately delayed and denied nonprofit status to conservative political groups to diminish their influence on the 2012 election. Twenty-nine months later, Lerner has since stepped down, Loretta Lynch has since replaced Holder, and the Justice Department has yet to say much of anything about its investigation. Perhaps last week's revelation that Lerner used a second alias email account to do government business will speed things up.

The discovery is but the latest development from a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by Judicial Watch, which has been prodding the IRS to release Lerner's emails for more than two years and is seemingly the only entity interested in finding out what really happened.  ...

Even before this latest news, there seemed to be more than enough evidence to indict Lerner. She already had conceded that people within her division had carried out "absolutely inappropriate" actions. Shortly after news of the scandal broke, she invoked her right against self-incrimination by declining to testify in front Congress, and she then conveniently retired from her post.

If, however unlikely, Lerner herself is not part of a cover-up, a 2½-year investigation would seemingly clear that up. The longer this episode drags on, however, the more questions are raised, the more it seems there truly is something to hide, and the more likely it appears the Obama administration will do nothing about it.

It's important to remember why this scandal matters so much in the first place. This isn't just executive branch employees running roughshod over Americans' rights, which already happens too often to begin with. No, this is our nation's federal tax collection agency using taxpayer resources and its considerable powers to actively influence the outcome of national elections. ...

New Attorney General Lynch has had four months to move this investigation along. So far, however, all she seems intent on doing, like Mr. Holder before her, is moving the goalposts. Has she decided on her own to drag her feet? Or is she acting at the request of someone else? It's been 29 months since Mr. Holder's announcement. Is the Justice Department simply stalling until President Barack Obama is safely out of office?

Enough delays. It's time for the Justice Department to take action and hold the IRS accountable.

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September 10, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 853

IRS Logo 2American Thinker, Political Elites Violating Tax Return Confidentiality Laws in Ways That Would Land Citizens in Jail:

A friend-of-the-court brief filed by 58 organizations this week asks the Supreme Court to hear the case Center for Competitive Politics v. Kamala Harris, Attorney General of California. The brief describes how Ms. Harris is violating the First Amendment protections of private association described in the 1958 landmark decision NAACP v. California, where the Alabama attorney general sought the names and addresses of NAACP members to stifle the civil rights movement.

The National Organization for Marriage, whose donor names were leaked by the IRS to hostile blogs, and nationally recognized conservative nonprofit organizations such as Media Research Center, Concerned Women for America, Citizens United, Family Research Council, Faith & Freedom Coalition, the Weyrich Lunch, Leadership Institute, and Project Veritas are among the 58 organizations on the brief.

The brief describes how Ms. Harris is using extortionate demands to intimidate and censor nonprofit advocacy organizations and charities by requiring they file with her a confidential tax return schedule showing their top donors. Those demands are worse than what the Alabama attorney general tried because they violate federal law protecting confidential tax return information. The New York attorney general is doing the same as Ms. Harris.

The larger problem in America is that political elites violate the law in ways that would result in fines or even jail for citizens, but too often the courts protect lawbreaking by the ruling class.

From the brief:

It is appropriate here to note that controversial former IRS official Lois Lerner collaborated extensively about Form 990 information and enforcement issues with state charitable solicitation officials and their umbrella organization, the National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO), an affiliate of the National Association of Attorneys General.

At the same time her Tax Exempt division at the IRS was engaging in ideologically discriminatory policies, Ms. Lerner was collaborating with state officials to help “ramp up” their regulation of nonprofit organizations. ...

Ms. Lerner collaborated with state charity officials on her office’s redesign of IRS Form 990, noting their existing “compliance relationship” would increase.

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September 9, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 852

IRS Logo 2Post and Courier editorial, Report: Shocking IRS Behavior:

There’s plenty to be shocked by in the thousands of pages of the Senate Finance Committee’s bipartisan report on the IRS scandal.

But the most shocking is that employees who reviewed applications from organizations seeking tax-exempt status were told to sit on any of them aspiring to educate the public on “the Constitution and Bill of Rights.”

The IRS official in charge of this decision was Lois Lerner, who has refused to testify before Congress on the grounds of possible self-incrimination, a privilege guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. Talk about irony.

Ms. Lerner apparently was concerned in 2011 that applications with “Tea Party” in their self-description were to be given extra scrutiny and, in effect, put on ice. According to the Senate report, of 290 applications from conservative groups received by the IRS from 2010 to early 2012, only one had been approved by the time of the 2012 presidential election. ...

The exhaustive report by the Senate Finance Committee found no evidence that the crackdown was directed by any outside authority. But Lois Lerner is reported to have expressed views hostile to conservatives and favorable to the Democratic Party and the labor movement.

There is evidence that two applications from the Occupy movement were also mishandled. But of the groups with politically identifiable positions whose applications for tax-exempt status were taken out of the normal approval process, centralized and subjected to long delays, 83 percent were conservative and only 17 percent were liberal. All evidence points to a decided bias in IRS treatment of conservative groups. ...

The Senate Judiciary Committee report makes it clear why the administration wouldn’t want the full truth about the IRS scandal to emerge.

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

Monday, September 7, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 851

IRS Logo 2Waterbury Republican American editorial, Silence on IRS Scandal:

Aug. 28, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who was appointed by President Obama, ordered the Internal Revenue Service to reveal any requests the Obama White House made for confidential taxpayer information. The case in which Judge Jackson ruled dates to 2010, when then-White House economics adviser Austan Goolsbee made comments that suggested he was familiar with the tax records of Koch Industries Inc., a generous financial backer of conservative causes. The U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) investigated the possibility that Koch information was improperly obtained, but the Obama administration didn't cooperate when Koch and conservative legal group Cause of Action filed freedom-of-information requests for the TIGTA report. Cause of Action sued.

Possible improper acquisition of taxpayer information and the effort to keep a lid on things are the kinds of malfeasance the news media are supposed to spotlight. However, since Judge Jackson issued her order, the mainstream media have failed to cover the issue. This is a betrayal of the journalism profession, and is indicative of liberal bias.

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September 7, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 850

IRS Logo 2Orange County Register editorial, IRS Scandal: Time to Fish or Cut Bait:

Four months ago, Loretta Lynch was sworn in as U.S. attorney general, replacing the feckless Eric Holder.

We think that’s more than sufficient time for Ms. Lynch to have completed her onboarding. The no-longer-new AG should get on with the business Mr. Holder left in her inbox.

That includes, first and foremost, the long-awaited decision as to whether the Justice Department will bring criminal charges against IRS employees who targeted Tea Party and other preponderantly conservative nonprofit groups for inordinate scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status.

In March 2013, Mr. Holder announced that he was opening a criminal investigation of what seemed to us an obvious abuse of power by a politically motivated IRS staff – most notably, Lois Lerner, who was at the time director of the agency’s Exempt Organizations Division.

Well, 29 months have passed, and the Justice Department hasn’t brought closure to its IRS investigation.

If we didn’t know better, we’d suspect that senior Justice officials are intentionally stalling, delaying a decision on prosecuting Ms. Lerner and others complicit in the IRS scandal until President Obama is safely out of office.

Perhaps we perceive a cover-up where none exists. The best way for Attorney General Lynch to disabuse us of that notion – along with the millions of Americans who think something rotten at 950 Pennsylvania Ave. (Justice Department headquarters) – is to announce whether Ms. Lerner, et al. will be prosecuted.

Indeed, we think there is ample evidence to indict Ms. Lerner, who has acknowledged “absolutely inappropriate” actions by her division, while casting blame upon low-level “front-line people” who worked for her.

But it seems Ms. Lerner was at the center of the scandal. Just this past week, in fact, we learned that she had a secret email account at IRS – named after her dog, “Toby Miles” – which she used to conduct official government business. ...

Whatever the case may be, the Justice Department needs to stop stalling and get to the bottom of the IRS scandal.

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September 6, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 849

IRS Logo 2Kay Bell (Don't Mess With Taxes), Lois Lerner Used Her Dog's Email to Conduct Business:

Lois Lerner, the linchpin in the continuing investigation into the Internal Revenue Service's questionable review of Tea Party groups' applications for tax-exempt 501(c)(4) status, used a second, personal email account to conduct tax agency business.

The account was established for "Toby Miles," which reportedly is the name of Lerner's dog.

National Review says Toby is the dog's name, and Miles is the surname of Lerner's husband, Michael Miles.

Really, Ms. Lerner? Your dog? 

So far, we don't know if "Toby" discussed any 501(c)(4) requests. But still, this does not look good.

Worse, it looks amateurish.

Worst of all, it's more fuel on the fire that is the IRS house slowly burning down while Congressional Republicans dance a jig to the accompanying fiddling.

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

Friday, September 4, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 848

IRS Logo 2Powerline, Obama’s Stonewall Tactics: A Case Study:

The Obama administration has proved to be the least transparent in our modern history. To an unprecedented degree, the administration is staffed by scofflaws who flout their legal obligations. When confronted with requests for information, let alone actual investigations, Obama’s habitual response is to stonewall. This strategy has been remarkably successful in avoiding accountability, in part because legal processes are so slow.

We have seen this pattern dozens of times. One instance, which is highlighted by a federal court order issued on Friday, illustrates how the administration has operated from the beginning of Obama’s term in office.

The story, which we have written about several times, begins in August 2010. Austin Goolsbee, who directed Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board and later chaired his Council of Economic Advisers, delivered a press briefing in which he discussed corporate income taxes. He casually asserted that Koch Industries, one of America’s largest privately-owned companies, doesn’t pay any income taxes:

So in this country we have partnerships, we have S corps, we have LLCs, we have a series of entities that do not pay corporate income tax. Some of which are really giant firms, you know Koch Industries is a multibillion dollar businesses. So that creates a narrower base because we’ve literally got something like 50 percent of the business income in the U.S. is going to businesses that don’t pay any corporate income tax.

If Koch Industries is an S corp, then its owners (principally Charles and David Koch) pay individual income taxes on the company’s profits, making them by far the largest individual taxpayers in the United States. Be that as it may, one of two things must be true: either Goolsbee had illegally accessed Koch Industries’ tax returns, or he made it up. So Koch asked the administration whether someone had been illegally scrutinizing its tax returns. The administration refused to answer.

That led to a Freedom of Information Act request, which was served by a group called Cause of Action on October 9, 2012. ...

Cause of Action wanted to know whether Goolsbee, whose office fell within the Executive Office of the President, or someone working under him, had asked for taxpayer “return information.” The administration eventually produced a handful of irrelevant documents and a comprehensive list of objections. Obama’s key objection was that the IRS is legally prohibited from producing documents responsive to requests 3 and 4 because doing so would violate the taxpayer’s–Koch Industries’–privacy.

The fact that a legal position is ludicrous never prevents the Obama administration from asserting it. Having exhausted its administrative remedies, Cause of Action commenced a FOIA lawsuit against the IRS. Cause of Action and the IRS made cross-motions for summary judgment, briefing on which was completed in August 2014. On Friday, almost exactly one year later, Federal Judge Amy Jackson issued an order in which she overruled the Obama administration’s claim that it couldn’t say whether the White House had broken the law by accessing taxpayer information:

Congress amended section 6103 in 1976 “in the wake of Watergate and White House efforts to harass those on its ‘enemies list,’” in order to “restrict[] government officers and employees from revealing ‘any return’ or ‘return information,’” id. at 611, and its “core purpose” is to “protect[] taxpayer privacy.” Id. at 615. So, this Court questions whether section 6103 should or would shield records that indicate that confidential taxpayer information was misused, or that government officials made an improper attempt to access that information.

The IRS argues that “section 6103’s definition of ‘return information’ . . . makes no distinction based on the purpose for which a person might seek disclosure of the documents.” Def.’s Reply at 15. But accepting this argument would require a finding that even requests for return information that could involve a violation of section 6103 constitute “return information” that is exempt from disclosure under FOIA Exemption 3 and section 6103. The Court is unwilling to stretch the statute so far, and it cannot conclude that section 6103 may be used to shield the very misconduct it was enacted to prohibit.

So someday–not any time soon–the IRS will finally be forced to answer the question that Koch Industries asked it five years ago, in 2010. The Obama administration’s strategy is always the same–stonewall, assert every possible theory, no matter how frivolous, and try to run out the clock. Whether an honest answer to the question will be given, years after the fact, is of course another question.

The Obama administration’s lawlessness is perhaps its most repellent legacy.

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September 4, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 847

IRS Logo 2Wall Street Journal, Miles From Nowhere: An Update on the IRS Scandal, by James Taranto:

Hillary Clinton is not the only official of the Obama administration to have engaged in email shenanigans. While we were away last week, as the Washington Times reported, a court filing from the Internal Revenue Service revealed that “Lois Lerner had yet another personal email account used to conduct some IRS business”: ...

“In addition to emails to or from an email account denominated ‘Lois G. Lerner‘ or ‘Lois Home,’ some emails responsive to Judicial Watch’s request may have been sent to or received from a personal email account denominated ‘Toby Miles,’ ” ... 

At first we wondered why Lerner would use a masculine pseudonym. Then we realized Toby is an epicene name and we’d been thinking of Toby Flenderson, the officious bureaucrat from NBC’s “The Office.” At any rate, Fox News appears to have come up with the explanation: “Two sources told Fox News that Toby Miles is the name of Lerner’s dog.” Confusingly, Lerner’s canine shares a surname with her husband, and Fox adds that “Lerner’s husband Michael Miles also reportedly may have been linked to the account.” ...

This week, as blogger William Jacobson reports, yet another fake Lerner email address came to light:

In . . . an August 31, 2015 Status Report, the IRS revealed that Lerner also used “a second personal email account” that, unlike the Toby Miles account, “does not appear to be associated with a denomination; only the email address itself appears.” The IRS refuses to disclose the email address for either the Toby Miles or the newly discovered account. ...

Why Lerner needed so many email addresses is something of a mystery, but she’s not alone among Obama administration officials. ...

The Washington Times reports on yet another thwarted IRS attempt to evade public scrutiny:

A federal judge Friday ordered the IRS to turn over the records of any requests from the White House seeking taxpayers’ private information from the tax agency, delivering a victory to a group that for two years has been trying to pry the data loose.

It’s not clear that there were any such requests—but Judge Amy Berman Jackson said the IRS cannot just refuse to say so by citing taxpayer confidentiality laws, known as section 6103 of the tax code.

Richard Pollock, then of the Washington Examiner, explained the background in a 2013 piece:

Treasury Department investigators completed but never released a 2011 law enforcement probe of White House economic advisor Austan Goolsbee, The Washington Examiner has learned.

The investigation by the Treasury Department Inspector-General for Tax Administration was sparked by Goolsbee’s remarks during an Aug. 27, 2010, White House news briefing in which he appeared to possess confidential tax information on Koch Industries, the private conglomerate controlled by the Koch brothers, Charles and David. ...

Six senators requested an investigation of Goolsbee’s remark under Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code, which protects taxpayers’ privacy. The IRS conducted the probe, then refused to reveal its findings, including to the senators and the Kochs—because, it said, they included taxpayer information that was confidential under Section 6103.

A group called Cause of Action filed the FOIA lawsuit seeking, among other things, “any communications by or from anyone in the Executive Office of the President constituting requests for taxpayer or ‘return information’ ” protected by Section 6103. Again, the IRS balked, saying such requests were private under Section 6103. That was the claim Judge Jackson rejected. ...

Whether the IRS is concealing misconduct is unknown; it’s possible, for instance, that the Goolsbee report found nothing amiss and its suppression was a product of mere bureaucratic monomania. Similarly, it’s possible Mrs. Clinton actually did turn over printouts of all her work-related emails to the State Department, but we may never know. In any case, it’s unreasonable for government officials to expect us to trust their assurances when they take such pains to prevent their verification.

On a happier note, it’s worth mentioning that the judges in both these cases were Democratic appointees. Emmet Sullivan was nominated by Bill Clinton in 1994 and Amy Jackson by Barack Obama in 2011. Independence and integrity are not dead, at least in the judicial branch.

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September 3, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 846

IRS Logo 2Wall Street Journal editorial, The Off-Grid Administration: The Many Ways Obama Officials Have Ducked Public Accountability:

In a famous remark two years ago during a Google Plus Hangout, President Obama boasted that “this is the most transparent administration in history.” This is belied by Administration officials, from Hillary Clinton on down, who have run their communications off the government grid. A bipartisan consensus has long held that a healthy democracy requires a significant measure of government transparency. That is why since 1950 Washington has operated under the Federal Records Act, which requires the government to preserve documents about its decisions.

Since the 1960s the government has been subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), giving citizens the right to view those records. In 2009 the National Archives issued rules requiring agencies to preserve employee work on nonofficial accounts in a government record-keeping system. Then came the Obama Administration, whose modus operandi has been to hide from this legal regime. ...

Last Monday the IRS was forced to acknowledge to a federal court that it recently discovered that Lois Lerner (of political targeting fame) used a second, private email to conduct government work. The account was set up under the name “ Toby Miles,” and the IRS still can’t account for its contents.

It has been two years since Congress first subpoenaed Ms. Lerner’s emails. In 2013 when Mrs. Lerner was still directing the IRS’s Exempt Organizations unit, she cautioned colleagues to be careful what they said on email; then she inquired whether the agency’s instant-messaging system was archived. Told it wasn’t, she responded by email: "Perfect."

Last week a federal court subpoenaed former EPA official Phillip North after a complaint by a mining concern called the Pebble Partnership. Mr. North worked from inside the EPA with outside activists to scuttle Pebble’s proposed Alaskan mining project, and he did so on private email.

The Lerner and North cases also highlight the Administration’s sloppy, or willfully obstructionist, approach to recordkeeping. Recall the crash of Ms. Lerner’s hard drive, and the IRS’s claim for months it had no backup of her work. Treasury’s Inspector General would later find some. Mr. North’s hard drive also crashed, and Pebble claims that key North emails and documents have gone missing from EPA’s official record. ...

Government officials need some modicum of privacy to get work done. But this Administration’s evasion goes way past a reasonable standard of conduct. Why shouldn’t the public conclude that officials serving in the Obama Administration are flouting the disclosure system because they are engaged in practices they wish to hide from public knowledge and debate?

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

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 845

IRS Logo 2Forbes:  Court Orders IRS To Reveal White House Requests About Taxpayers, by Robert W. Wood:

A federal judge has ordered the IRS to reveal all requests the White House made for private taxpayer data. It is a potentially explosive line of inquiry, and the IRS fought the court ruling hard. But now, the IRS must hand them over. It could mean another bombshell in the long simmering IRS scandal that has dogged the Obama administration for over two years.

Recently, the IRS revealed–two years late–that firebrand Lois Lerner had a secret email account under her dog’s name for IRS business. There have been multiple federal investigations for several years, and Ms. Lerner has refused to cooperate or testify. So, one might assume that American taxpayers would know about all of her emails by now. Indeed, IRS documents previously revealed a Lois Lerner email that warned IRS staffers about revealing too much information to Congress.

You might assume that the information would be handed over willingly from the IRS and other agencies. Yet prying each tidbit of information out of a notoriously opaque Obama administration has not been easy. Now, federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson issued her opinion requiring the IRS to reveal whatever the White House requested.

Amazingly, the chief IRS defense in this case—which presumably the White House would support—is that the IRS cannot hand over White House requests and any private taxpayer data the IRS gave the White House in response, because those records are private taxpayer data. We have to protect that taxpayer data, said the IRS! We can’t reveal that is was revealed in violation of the law, because we must protect it!

Finally, though, the court ruled that the IRS cannot hide behind a law used to shield the very misconduct it was enacted to prohibit. The court noted that:

Congress amended section 6103 in 1976 “in the wake of Watergate and White House efforts to harass those on its ‘enemies list,’” in order to “restrict[] government officers and employees from revealing ‘any return’ or ‘return information,’” and its “core purpose” is to “protect[] taxpayer privacy.” So, this Court questions whether section 6103 should or would shield records that indicate that confidential taxpayer information was misused, or that government officials made an improper attempt to access that information. The IRS argues that “section 6103’s definition of ‘return information’ . . . makes no distinction based on the purpose for which a person might seek disclosure of the documents.” But accepting this argument would require a finding that even requests for return information that could involve a violation of section 6103 constitute “return information” that is exempt from disclosure under FOIA Exemption 3 and section 6103. The Court is unwilling to stretch the statute so far, and it cannot conclude that section 6103 may be used to shield the very misconduct it was enacted to prohibit.”

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

Monday, August 31, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 844

IRS Logo 2National Review:  How Obama Officials Dodge the Freedom of Information Act, by John Fund:

During the Watergate era, delaying tactics by government officials were dubbed “stonewalling.” Obama-administration officials seem to have added an element of farce to their cover-ups by literally going to the dogs.

This week, the IRS admitted in court, in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by the watchdog group Judicial Watch, that Lois Lerner was even more secretive than we thought. Lerner, the IRS official who resigned in 2013 after allegedly discriminating against applications for nonprofit status from conservative groups, conducted much of her IRS business on a personal e-mail account in the name of her dog, Toby Miles.

Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, says there is evidence that the Obama Justice Department and the IRS have known about the Toby Miles account for some time but chose not to tell the court. A House committee months ago urged that a criminal inquiry of Lerner be initiated by the Justice Department, but so far it has been ignored. ...

“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this administration,” President Obama declared back in 2009. Rarely has there been a greater gap between what a politician said and what he did.

Freedom of Information Act requests have been censored or outright denied on countless occasions. Lois Lerner sent an e-mail that warned IRS staffers to avoid public scrutiny by using instant messaging that automatically deletes office communications. Judge Emmet Sullivan, a Bill Clinton appointee, has become so frustrated with the IRS’s foot-dragging that last month he called the government’s slow-walking behavior “indefensible, ridiculous, and absurd” and asked, “why shouldn’t the Court hold the Commissioner of the IRS in contempt?”

The Obama administration has responded to all this by cracking down on the one internal government group of officials specifically charged with tracking down malfeasance: the 72 inspectors general who oversee federal agencies.

The Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency sent a letter to Congress this month warning that a recent ruling by the Obama Justice Department, which now requires inspectors general to get permission from agencies they monitor for investigative information, is a “serious threat” to their independence. They urged that Congress should “promptly pass” a law affirming their oversight authority.

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August 31, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The IRS Scandal, 843

IRS Logo 2Washington Examiner, Judge: IRS Must Hand Over White House Record Requests:

The Internal Revenue Service must turn over any White House requests for taxpayers' private information, a federal judge ruled Friday.

The IRS cannot cite taxpayer confidentiality laws to avoid turning over the information requested by Cause of Action, Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled. Cause of Action has waged a two-year battle to discover whether Obama administration officials had any hand in the IRS' targeting of conservative non-profits.

The IRS cannot cite privacy protection "to shield the very misconduct it was enacted to prohibit," the judge said Friday, according to the Washington Times.

"This court questions whether section 6103 [of the tax code] should or would shield records that indicate confidential taxpayer information was misused, or that government officials made an improper attempt to access that information," wrote Jackson.

Questions about whether the White House directed the IRS' targeting of conservative nonprofits have dogged the administration since the scandal first broke. At one point "then-White House chief economist seemed to describe the tax structure of Koch Industries during a briefing with reporters," increasing speculation, reports the Washington Times.

So far there is no evidence pointing to White House involvement — in part because the IRS has blocked the release of the necessary documents. The agency refused to turn over even administration requests for records since they were first requested in 2013.

Friday's ruling in favor of Cause of Action will change all that.

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

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 842

IRS Logo 2Town Hall, Lois Lerner May Have Committed a Crime With Use of Private Email at IRS:

In case you missed it yesterday the Washington Times reported former IRS official Lois Lerner, the woman at the center of the IRS targeting controversy, used a private email account under her dog's name to conduct official government business. ...

Now, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton is responding to the new revelation and notes Lerner may have broken the law if she shared confidential tax information on her private account. ...

It should also be noted using a private email account is against government policy and potentially violates federal records laws as it allows officials to skirt the Freedom of Information Act. Further, use of private email to conduct government business makes it difficult for Congress to make proper inquiries about official communications during investigations.

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August 29, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, August 28, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 841

IRS Logo 2Robert W. Wood (Forbes), IRS Reveals Lois Lerner's Secret Email Account Named For Her Dog:

The IRS dropped a bombshell in federal court, admitting that firebrand Lois Lerner also used a personal email account for IRS business. She used her dog’s name, Toby Miles. The Washington Times broke the story from the Judicial Watch lawsuit that is still seeking IRS targeting emails. It puts the IRS in another awkward spot. Why wasn’t this revealed by the IRS sooner, you might ask?

Good question. Since there have been multiple probes for several years now, one might assume that American taxpayers would know about this by now. IRS documents previously revealed a Lois Lerner email that warned IRS staffers about revealing too much information to Congress. Forget email, Ms. Lerner had warned. Instead, use instant messaging that automatically deletes office communications. House Oversight Committee documentation suggested that this ruse was used deliberately by IRS officials to evade public scrutiny. ...

The latest email issue came in the Judicial Watch case. The IRS says it “discovered” the Lerner dog email account, in addition to her official account and personal email accounts. There was already an official IRS email account, and Lerner’s own private email account that the IRS had labeled ‘Lois Home.’ But now, the ‘Toby Miles’ account also shows up.

Toby is the dog, and Michael Miles is Ms. Lerner’s husband. The IRS says it may need to re-release additional documents. You think? The IRS notes that a House Ways and Means Committee criminal referral in 2014 mentioned the Toby Miles email address, identified as This email address was included on an email that also had Lerner’s official email account. At that time, the committee linked the Toby Miles address to Ms. Lerner’s husband, Michael Miles. ...

What does the dog say about all this? Maybe he’ll take the Fifth too.

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August 28, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 840

IRS Logo 2New York Post editorial, The IRS Scandal Goes to the Dogs:

Move over, Carlos Danger, there’s a new alias in town: Toby Miles, an electronic front for Lois Lerner.

Lerner famously took the Fifth rather than testify about how the Internal Revenue Service came to target right-leaning advocacy nonprofits in the run-up to the 2012 election.

Ever since, the IRS has blocked congressional efforts to get to the facts, while the Justice Department’s “probe” was a joke even before the president declared there’s “not a smidgen of corruption” in the affair.

Happily, the public-interest group Judicial Watch is on the job, pushing to get the facts out. On Monday, it forced an IRS attorney to admit Lerner had used a personal email account under the “Toby Miles” name to conduct official government business.

This is her second private email account — though the first was under her own name.

Mind you, it’s been two-plus years since the scandal broke, yet the agency that promised to clean up its act is only now revealing this fresh evidence.

No doubt the IRS will take months to fork over any of “Toby’s” emails. As Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton says, “This is the latest in a parade of obstruction from the IRS and the Department of Justice on these issues.” ...

The capper: One Lerner acquaintance says “Toby Miles” is the name of Lerner’s dog.

Nothing quite says truth and transparency like doing Uncle Sam’s work under your dog’s name.

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August 27, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 839

IRS Logo 2National Review, Who’s Toby Miles?, by Eliana Johnson:

The IRS disclosed in a court filing on Monday that former agency official Lois Lerner used a second personal e-mail operated under the alias “Toby Miles” to conduct IRS business.

Her use of the mysterious account has prompted speculation into the source of the name. “Toby Miles,” according to a former Lerner colleague, is the name of Lerner’s dog: Toby is the dog’s name, and Miles is the surname of Lerner’s husband, Michael Miles.

The IRS disclosed the existence of the second account in a legal filing as part of its ongoing battle with the right-leaning investigative group Judicial Watch. “In addition to e-mails to or from an e-mail account denominated ‘Lois G. Lerner’ or ‘Lois Home,’ some e-mails responsive to Judicial Watch’s’s request may have been sent to or received from a personal e-mail account denominated ‘Toby Miles,’” a lawyer for the agency told Federal District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan.

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August 26, 2015 in IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)