Paul L. Caron

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The IRS Scandal, Day 800

IRS Logo 2Forbes:  Court Agrees Lois Lerner's Group Did Not Trigger Individual Audits, by Peter J. Reilly:

The perennial never-ending IRS scandal now on Day 795 by TaxProf count , in part, is a search for smoking guns.  Sometimes it turns out that all that can be found is unloaded, never fired guns. The response of those promoting the scandal narrative is that, you have to look harder.  Enough is never enough. Sometimes the courts agree that the IRS must search its records more assiduously. Earlier this month, though the DC District issued an enough is enough ruling on one of Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Requests.

The FOIA request concerned Lois Lerner’s Cincinnati gang that couldn’t sort straight causing individuals connected in one way or another to the exempt applications to have their individual returns audited.  There is anecdotal evidence that this sort of thing was going on.  Various Tea Party people came forward and indicated that they were audited for the first time after they became involved.  The problem with that type of anecdotal evidence is that every year some number of people are going to be audited for the first time.  You would expect that some number of those audited in say 2011 were active in the Tea Party or similar groups.

You are never going to convince most of those people that it was just luck of the draw.  It would be very hard to make a statistical inference about whether Tea Party affiliation or something like that affected individual audit probability, since it is hard to define the group that the sample is being drawn from and it is possible, even likely, that the people who became involved in the conservative causes were people who already had a higher than average probability of being audited. ...

Certainly Judicial Watch thinks so.  They brought up indications that IRS had communicated with DOJ about prosecuting people for lying on 501(c)(4) exemption applications.  That particular assertion has created some media excitement.  I haven’t figured out what is scandalous about it, particularly since it appears nobody was ever prosecuted.  Those applications are signed under penalties of perjury and there is some indication that on some of them people were kind of shading the truth just a bit.  The Court noted, though, that the communication to DOJ had nothing to do with audit referrals. ...

I suspect that the IRS scandal will keep going at least through the upcoming Presidential election, since it allows Republicans to run against Lois Lerner.  It is apparently also pretty good for fundraising.  According to its 2013 Form 990, Judicial Watch raised over $20 million just shy of $6 million of that was spent on fundraising.  I didn’t see any mention of this DC District decision on their website in the weekly updates.

IRS News, IRS Scandal, Tax | Permalink


Hey Publius, sending 100k tax returns in hopes of finding a crime sounds more like a fishing expedition rather than actions motivated by probable cause or reasonable suspicion.

Also, the non-Democrat groups didn't get any due process. How about a little more concern for the victims and less trying to protect the victimizer.

Posted by: wodun | Jul 20, 2015 8:45:38 AM

lol Publius won't even admit to what the IRS already admitted to. And no, this wasn't impartial government workers just doing their jobs. It was a pogrom of persecution of political dissidents run by the politically appointed general counsel's office.

That the administration has refused to investigate, hold anyone accountable, allowed the pogrom to continue for so long after being made public, appointed a new head of the IRS who flat out lied to congress on multiple occasions, destroyed evidence, and other actions show a complicit administration in the stripping of civil liberties based one one's perceived political affiliation.

You need to check your privilege. We will not go to the camps quietly and death by a thousand paper cuts will not be tolerated.

Don't be an apologist for Jim Crow crossed with socialist police state brutality. Its the 21st century, time for Democrats to stop treating people like chattel.

Posted by: wodun | Jul 20, 2015 8:42:08 AM

Mr. VOI: I doubt that there is anything that the much-despised LLerner could say or do that would persuade you of her innocence. Nobody likes her, including yours truly; nevertheless, she is entitled to the same due process as everyone else, regardless of her odious nature.

Mr. wodun: I see you're having a tough time with this one. Yes, I am not the only person who fails to see the evil in the DOJ doing its job, i.e., reviewing cases for potential criminal violations. That is, of course, its job, not--as you accurately note--the conduct of tax audits.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Jul 18, 2015 5:22:07 PM

It this is all true why doesn't Ms Lerner simply come forward and testify? Surly if its a matter of coincidence in terms of audits and Lerner's emails honestly went missing all of this can be easily explained. But that's not gonna happen is it? Wonder why?

Posted by: VoteOutIncumbents | Jul 18, 2015 1:59:55 PM

Also, this op-ed claims that being audited for the first time only after making on Obama's enemies list is mere coincidence , anecdotes not data, but then asserts these people and groups were really at a higher risk for audit than the general public without any explanation, or data driven quantitative analysis, as to why this would be true.

Posted by: wodun | Jul 18, 2015 10:13:28 AM

Of course dumping over 100k tax returns on the DOJ wouldn't lead to audits. The IRS does audits not the DOJ. And just because Obama's IRS and DOJ were not able to throw dissidents in jail before this scandal became public doesn't mean its totes all cool.

Posted by: wodun | Jul 18, 2015 10:07:06 AM