Paul L. Caron

Friday, February 7, 2014

The IRS Scandal, Day 274

IRS Logo 2Wall Street Journal editorial:  Obama's IRS 'Confusion': New Evidence Undercuts White House Claims About IRS Motivation:

House committees are still digging into the IRS political targeting scandal, and based on a hearing Wednesday there's more to learn. The day produced more evidence blowing apart President Obama's claims that there was "not even a smidgen of corruption" or political motivation in the IRS handling of groups applying for tax-exempt status.

Mr. Obama wants Americans to believe that the targeting resulted from the confusing tax law governing nonprofits, which he says was "difficult" to interpret and resulted in mere "bureaucratic" mistakes. This is also the Administration's justification for issuing new regulations governing 501(c)(4)s that would effectively silence White House opponents this election year. Published in the Federal Register in November, the new rules cite the "lack of a clear and concise" regulation as reason for the rewrite.

House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp blew up this fairy tale at Wednesday's hearing with new IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. Mr. Camp unveiled a June 14, 2012 email from Treasury career attorney Ruth Madrigal to key IRS officials in the tax-exempt department, including former director Lois Lerner.

Bloomberg:  Republicans Tell IRS to Scrap Rule on Election Spending:

A proposed rule that may limit groups’ spending on elections “is an affront to free speech” and should be scrapped, congressional Republicans wrote in a letter to Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen.

The rule, which hasn’t been finalized, could limit spending from outside groups officially classified as non-profit social welfare organizations.

The groups spent more than $310 million over the two-year 2012 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics that tracks campaign finance. Some $265 million of that -- about 85 percent -- was from organizations that align with Republicans, according to the watchdog group.

“It is our view that finalizing this proposed rule would make intimidation and harassment of the administration’s political opponents the official policy of the IRS,” said the letter released today. It was signed by House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the top Republicans on committees with jurisdiction over the IRS.

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Until the people who did this are fired, all of them, it will continue.

These abuses of power and attempts at suppressing inalienable rights represent a grave threat to the long term stability of this country.

Posted by: Voyager | Feb 7, 2014 7:28:26 AM

Prof. Caron,
Thank you for this continuing series. You are providing a valuable public service. It's obvious at this point that DOJ is just running out the clock. The public interest will have to wait until the administration changes and a prosecutor without a conflict of interest is appointed. We can only hope that the statute of limitations will not have run by then.

Posted by: Douglas Levene | Feb 7, 2014 7:04:09 AM