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Conservatives Were Targeted By IRS Headquarters

From the Washington Post, of all places:

IRS officials in Washington were involved in targeting of conservative groups

By Juliet Eilperin and Zachary A. Goldfarb | May 13, 2013

Internal Revenue Service officials in Washington and at least two other offices were involved with investigating conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, making clear that the effort reached well beyond the branch in Cincinnati that was initially blamed, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post.

IRS officials at the agency’s Washington headquarters sent queries to conservative groups asking about their donors and other aspects of their operations, while officials in the El Monte and Laguna Niguel offices in California sent similar questionnaires to tea-party-affiliated groups, the documents show.

So some of this scrutiny came from the IRS’s headquarters. What a shock.

IRS employees in Cincinnati told conservatives seeking the status of “social welfare” groups that a task force in Washington was overseeing their applications, according to interviews with the activists.

In other words, even the "low level" workers in Cincinnati were being told what to do by a "task force in Washington."

Lois G. Lerner, who oversees tax-exempt groups for the IRS, told reporters Friday that the “absolutely inappropriate” actions were undertaken by “front-line people” working in Cincinnati to target groups with “tea party,” “patriot” or “9/12” in their names.

All of which we now know was a series of lies. These actions were not done by "front-line" or "low level people," and not just in Cincinnati. And they were not just targeting names, but anything that indicated they were conservative.

And, of course, Ms. Lerner also lied about when she found out about this. (Which she actually did back in June of 2011.) Try lying to the IRS, and see what happens to you.

In one instance, however, Ron Bell, an IRS employee, informed a lawyer representing a conservative group focused on voter fraud that the application was under review in Washington. On several other occasions, IRS officials in Washington and California sent conservative groups detailed questionnaires about their voter outreach and other activities, according to the documents.

“For the IRS to say it was some low-level group in Cincinnati is simply false,” said Cleta Mitchell, a partner in the law firm Foley & Lardner who sought to communicate with IRS headquarters about the delay in granting tax-exempt status to True the Vote.

Moreover, details of the IRS’s efforts to target conservative groups reached the highest levels of the agency in May 2012, far earlier than has been disclosed, according to Republican congressional aides briefed by the IRS and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration ­(TIGTA) on the details of their reviews…

Because the IRS wanted to stop these groups from running any ads that might hurt Obama’s re-election.

The officials did not share details with Republican lawmakers who had been demanding to know whether the IRS was targeting conservative groups, Republicans said.

“I wrote to the IRS three times last year after hearing concerns that conservative groups were being targeted,” Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (Utah), the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement Monday. “In response to the first letter I sent with some of my colleagues, Steven Miller, the current Acting IRS Commissioner, responded that these groups weren’t being targeted.” …

Gee, the IRS was lying to Congressmen. This will surely cause heads to roll. (Sarcasm.)

Obama is not in a position to remove Lerner, a career official who can be terminated for cause only under normal civil service proceedings. The IRS has two political appointees: the commissioner, who serves a five-year term, and the chief counsel.

Nobody at the IRS has anything to fear from Obama. In fact, the people behind this will be quietly rewarded for their service to the cause.

As the IRS came under broader political attack Monday, more details surfaced on how the exempt-organizations division struggled to determine which nonprofits should receive “social welfare” status after the 2010 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling…

Funny how they only "struggled" with conservative groups.

In a Jan. 9, 2012, letter to the Richmond Tea Party, IRS specialist Stephen Seok asked questions including “the names of the donors, contributors and grantors,” as well as the size of the contributions and grants, and when they were given.

Richmond Tea Party President Larry Nordvig, whose group applied for tax-exempt status in December 2009 and received it in July 2012, said the extended inquiry had “a very chilling effect” on how much money the group could raise because its donors preferred anonymity.

The Wetumpka Tea Party of Alabama experienced a two-year delay after submitting its initial application.

Becky Gerritson, a 44-year-old stay-at-home mother and the group’s president, said the IRS sent a questionnaire asking for the names of all volunteers, donor identification and contribution amounts, the names of any legislators its members had communicated with directly or indirectly, and the contents of all speeches its members had made, among a long list of other details.

“I was outraged,” Gerritson said. “Being an election year, I felt like it was intimidation.”

Ms. Gerritson got the intended message.

The group did not provide the information. Approval came only after the group sought help from the American Center for Law and Justice, which threatened a lawsuit against the IRS, Gerritson said.

Although some of the groups were explicitly labeled “tea party” or “patriot,” others that came under intense scrutiny were focused on challenging the Affordable Care Act — known by many as Obamacare — or the integrity of federal elections…

Catherine Engelbrecht, president of the Houston-based True the Vote, first filed for tax-exempt status in July 2010. At one point, Engelbrecht — who is still awaiting a determination from the IRS regarding her voting rights organization and a separate tea party group, King Street Patriots — said an IRS employee informed her: “I’m just doing what Washington is telling me to do. I’m just asking what they want me to ask.” …

How can anyone doubt it?

But bear in mind that these are American citizens who were only trying to get involved in our political process, as they are regularly exhorted to do by Obama. And they were intimidated by this thuggish administration.

Which is probably the most disturbing aspect of this entire despicable scandal.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Tuesday, May 14th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

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