Paul L. Caron
Dean


Thursday, October 20, 2016

The IRS Scandal, Day 1260: Cleta Mitchell — Use Of The IRS Against Republican Critics Likely Will Persist In A Clinton Administration

IRS Logo 2Washington Times op-ed:  Hillary Clinton’s IRS — A Sneak Preview: Use of the Agency Against Republican Critics Likely Will Persist, by Cleta Mitchell  (Foley & Lardner, Washington, D.C.):

Imagine:  What if the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) singled out hundreds of grassroots citizens groups across the nation and subjected them to ill treatment because of their political beliefs and values, mainly in opposition to the president of the United States? And imagine if that president ordered an investigation of the scandal and the lead attorney was a maximum donor to the president’s political campaigns. And then imagine if the president appointed as IRS commissioner to “clean up” the scandal someone who was a maximum donor to the president’s political campaigns. Can you imagine such a thing? The watchdogs in Congress and the media would never allow such clear partisanship to rule the IRS, right?

But that is exactly the situation we have watched unfold over the past three years, since the Treasury inspector general for tax administration (TIGTA) confirmed that the IRS had, indeed, targeted conservative groups — hundreds of them — for singular mistreatment and abuse. The Department of Justice attorney charged with “investigating” the targeting was Barbara Bosserman, an individual who had contributed the maximum to President Obama’s political campaigns.

And what about IRS Commissioner John Koskinen? He is yet another maximum Democratic donor. Since 1997, Mr. Koskinen has contributed $51,550 to the Democratic National Committee, various Democratic congressional and Senate candidates and the presidential campaigns of John Kerry, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. ...

What harm might arise from having one of Hillary Clinton’s staunchest supporters at the helm of the IRS? Think back. During the Bill Clinton administration, the IRS audited a host of Clinton “enemies”: According to the Christian Science Monitor, the Clinton-era IRS, like several before it, audited a wide range of organizations viewed as hostile to the White House agenda. These included leading conservative publications, think tanks and interest groups, among them the American Spectator, Judicial Watch, National Review, the Heritage Foundation, the National Rifle Association, the National Center for Public Policy Research, the American Policy Center, American Cause, Citizens for Honest Government, Citizens Against Government Waste, Progress and Freedom Foundation, and Concerned Women for America. The IRS also audited two Clinton paramours: Gennifer Flowers and Liz Ward Gracen, and sexual assault accusers Paula Jones and Juanita Broaddrick, as well as fired White House Travel Office Director Billy Dale.

There was never anyone in the IRS held to account for the Clinton administration’s targeting of its perceived “enemies” for IRS audits; there has likewise been no accountability for the oppression and discrimination practiced by Mr. Obama’s IRS via the targeting of those groups who have opposed and criticized the Obama administration.

Nor has Congress taken steps to prohibit the IRS from using donor information as a basis for generating IRS tax audits, and there is ample evidence that the IRS audited scores of donors to the 2012 Mitt Romney presidential campaign and the super PAC supporting Mr. Romney.

A Hillary Clinton presidency, with a maximum Clinton donor running the IRS, would not bode well for conservative organizations, donors, activists and sympathizers. ... 

As long as the liberal media and congressional Democrats collude with Democratic administrations in their targeting and attacking of conservatives, the Democrats in the White House will feel free to use the agencies of the federal government — including the IRS — as political weapons against those who criticize and disagree with them.

A Hillary Clinton presidency, with an IRS commissioner who has long been an ardent political supporter and donor, does not present a very encouraging picture of a non-political IRS that will resist being used as an arm of the Democratic White House.

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2016/10/the-irs-scandal-day-1260-cleta-mitchell-use-of-the-irs-against-republican-critics-likely-will-persis.html

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Comments

“According to the Christian Science Monitor, the Clinton-era IRS, like several before it, audited a wide range of organizations viewed as hostile to the White House agenda.” Let’s hope so, but the man-bites-dog story would be the converse. When did “hostility” to a particular WH agenda confer get-out-of-jail-free status to taxpayers? Unless defunded and abolished–in conformance with the current Republican platform–the IRS will continue to audit taxpayers over the next four years. Some of those taxpayers will be hostile to the then-current administration’s agenda, whether the agenda is blue or red. Some other of those taxpayers will be politically neutral, and some will be supportive of the administration. The point is, the IRC commands the Secretary of the Treasury to “cause officers or employees of the Treasury Department to proceed . . . through each internal revenue district and inquire after and concerning all persons therein who may be liable to pay any internal revenue tax . . . .” Neither the IRC nor the federal criminal code contains an exception or immunity for taxpayers deemed “hostile to the White House agenda.”

Posted by: Publius Novus | Oct 20, 2016 6:20:14 AM

The affection of Mr. Novus for authoritarian statism never wavers. Perhaps he works for the IRS. He again omits the important fact: that the organizations were targeted only because they opposed the Obama Administration's propagation of a New World Order. I know it's been a few years but how can one forget Lois Lerner's BOLO ("be on the lookout") for Tea Party and similar groups?

Posted by: Joe Erwin | Oct 20, 2016 7:28:25 AM

Leave it to a lawyer to spend an entire meandering paragraph saying absolutely nothing.

Pubs, for everyone's education around here, what does the IRC and USC say about singling out individuals or organizations based on their political affiliation/orientation with regard to tax administration treatment?

You again make categorical statements about federal law, so an expert like yourself should be able to cite those statutes quickly and easily.

Thanks!

Posted by: MM | Oct 20, 2016 7:39:00 AM

You talk about the hope that the IRS will be "defunded and abolished" like that's a bad thing.

Posted by: Nathan | Oct 20, 2016 8:14:26 AM

I take that back, actually. Pubs did say something, and it's pretty transparent in hindsight: He's laying the groundwork for a future President Clinton having plausible deniability when the IRS targets her enemies in some fashion, which very well might happen.

You have to get up pretty early in the morning to keep up with this guy. He doesn't even get paid to make excuses for past, present, and future government malfeasance. Then again, who knows what Wikileaks will reveal next?

Posted by: MM | Oct 20, 2016 7:11:10 PM

When did “hostility” to a particular WH agenda confer get-out-of-jail-free status to taxpayers?

It doesn't nor does such a position require government agencies like the IRS to perform audits, inspections, or other punitive measures. Its not a hard distinction to make but it requires the fascist left to respect the rights of others.

It should be noted that the IRS wasn't the only agency weaponized. The DOJ and EPA are another two that are being used as weapons. This too will continue if the fascist Hillary is elected.

Posted by: wodun | Oct 20, 2016 9:33:30 PM

The real issue here, which Pubs sidesteped when he put forth his irrelevant conclusion non-argument, is viewpoint discrimination by the government. The U.S. Supreme Court explicitly ruled such discrimination to be unconstitutional and a violation of the 1st Amendment over 30 years ago.

The IRS is currently being sued by True the Vote and Z Street for particularly egregious targeting and harassment because of their viewpoints, so the issue of what the U.S. Criminal Code and Internal Revenue Code say is also irrelevant.

But even before Obama's administration, it's been well-established for some time that the pattern of IRS auditing is anything but coincidental and legitimate:

http://swampland.time.com/2013/05/14/anger-over-irs-audits-of-conservatives-anchored-in-long-history-of-abuse/

"Questions have also been raised about whether the agency targets its audits to avoid complicating the lives of Presidents and key members of Congress. A 2001 empirical study of IRS audits published in the Economics and Politics journal found a clear pattern in audits between 1992 and 1997: 'Other things being the same,' the authors wrote, 'the percentage of tax returns audited by the IRS is markedly lower in states that are important to the sitting president's re-election aspirations.'"

Posted by: MM | Oct 21, 2016 7:30:37 AM