A Smoking Gun

 

IRS ScandalIt has been obvious to anyone who has paid attention that the Obama administration made use of the Internal Revenue Service to confine and paralyze the Tea Party movement by denying many of the organizations that grew up after 2009 the tax-exempt 501(c)(4) status they sought or by delaying until after the 2010, the 2012, and, in some cases, the 2014 elections a decision on their applications. Back in May 2013, the Inspector General for the Department of the Treasury issued a report, revealing that, starting in 2010, the IRS had singled out groups with words such as “patriot” and “Tea Party” in their titles for intensive scrutiny and that at that time they “began using inappropriate criteria to identify organizations applying for tax-exempt status (e.g., lists of past and future donors).”

With Eric Holder, Loretta Lynch, and their minions in control of the Department of Justice, there was never any chance that there would be a full-scale investigation of these shenanigans and the lodging of criminal charges, and John Koskinen, who took over the agency at the end of 2013, has dragged his feet at every turn, vociferously denying that anything partisan in nature was done.

Judicial Watch, which has doggedly pursued this question through a Freedom of Information lawsuit first brought in October 2013, just discovered a smoking gun — notes taken at an interoffice meeting held in Washington DC, ca. August 2011 — where then IRS Director of the Office of Rulings and Agreements Holly Paz reported on what was going on:

Holly – Cinci paralyzed by letting any issue go unaddressed. They think they know what the org[anization] is really doing, rather than looking at actual activities. Q[uestion]’s were not activity based, but guilt by association questions – like q[uestion]’s asking party affiliations …

They see approval of something that will turn out to be very bad org[anization] – terrified of that – that’s why they personally will need to have power to say yes. Agents felt if they could ask enough questions, they will find a problem. Agents were jumping to negative conclusions and assumptions – particularly where relationship with political groups or affiliations.

In short, what was going on was systematic viewpoint-discrimination, and everyone knew it well before the 2012 election. As long as the fix was in and the Department of Justice was, in effect, functioning as a Department of Obstruction of Justice, nothing much could be done. Now, however, there should be a full-scale investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation aimed at getting to the bottom of this, and, when it is all over, there should be heads on pikes.

Perhaps, however, before he departs, Barack Obama will throw a monkey wrench into the works by issuing a pardon for Lois Lerner and John Koskinen. That would be a fitting capstone for his years in office.

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  1. David Carroll Thatcher
    David Carroll
    @DavidCarroll

    The statute of limitations for most federal crimes is 5 years.  Prosecutions at this point are unlikely, however well deserved.

    Dose of reality applied.

    • #31
  2. EDISONPARKS Member
    EDISONPARKS
    @user_54742

    David Carroll:The statute of limitations for most federal crimes is 5 years. Prosecutions at this point are unlikely, however well deserved.

    Dose of reality applied.

    There are some Conservative 501(c)(4) applicants that have still not been approved by the IRS.    So exactly when would the federal 5 year statute of limitations begin and end?

    • #32
  3. David Carroll Thatcher
    David Carroll
    @DavidCarroll

    EDISONPARKS:

    David Carroll:The statute of limitations for most federal crimes is 5 years. Prosecutions at this point are unlikely, however well deserved.

    Dose of reality applied.

    There are some Conservative 501(c)(4) applicants that have still not been approved by the IRS. So exactly when would the federal 5 year statute of limitations begin and end?

    I was thinking about Lois Lerner who is long gone.  Of course it depends on the actual crime to be charged.

    • #33
  4. Chris Campion Coolidge
    Chris Campion
    @ChrisCampion

    I Walton:This is a serious proposal. We don’t really want to use special prosecutors ever again, there’s a totalitarian smell to them, nor do we want to punish political opponents unless their crimes are completely outrageous, perhaps like the Clinton Foundation and the pay to play, so that we shut down that avenue for personal enrichment. Senior bureaucrats however need to know that when they are asked to violate the law, the constitution and the spirit of their appointments and oaths, they will eventually be prosecuted. Their choices are to resign or eventually get caught. Now that we have privatized retirement, there is no excuse for not resigning when faced with such choices. Once they begin to show backbone, they wont have to because politicians are fundamentally cowards. (Hillary was an appointed Senior official not a political opponent at the time.) Of course the cause of the problem in the first place is the amount of power and control we’ve given to the Federal government. The first job is to cut that back drastically. In the case of the IRS, that means a radically simplified tax code. Abusive functionaries would be felicitous collateral damage.

    This is the heart of it.  The biggest problem, and the toughest one.  Lerner’s ability to make the choices she made is based on the fact that we have allowed the gov’t to grow in its scope and power to such an extent that an agency of the gov’t can target political groups of the party not in power, and not one person goes to jail.

    Not one.  The apparatus itself needs to be dismantled, by the people.  This is not the country we were founded upon.  The gov’t serves itself, its own interests, not those of the people, or the individual.

    Ask veterans seeking care at a hospital in Arizona.  If they’re still alive, they’ll tell you how customer service runs at the VA.

    • #34
  5. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    To me, the most important aspect of the whole IRS political targeting mess is how it came to public attention.     They didn’t ‘get caught’ … They admitted it.    Recall this issue came to light because of a planted question during a Q and A session at a conference.     I think it is more insidious than wanting to get out in front of the IG’s report.     They WANTED us to know that (1) they were using the IRS against conservatives (2) and they weren’t going to stop and (3) nothing was going to happen to them.     They were banking on the ‘chilling effect’ to amplify the impact of their actions.   That is well and truly frightening.

    • #35
  6. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    @PaulARahe

    Ekosj:To me, the most important aspect of the whole IRS political targeting mess is how it came to public attention. They didn’t ‘get caught’ … They admitted it. Recall this issue came to light because of a planted question during a Q and A session at a conference. I think it is more insidious than wanting to get out in front of the IG’s report. They WANTED us to know that (1) they were using the IRS against conservatives (2) and they weren’t going to stop and (3) nothing was going to happen to them. They were banking on the ‘chilling effect’ to amplify the impact of their actions. That is well and truly frightening.

    This may well be right.

    • #36
  7. Muleskinner Member
    Muleskinner
    @Muleskinner

    David Carroll:

    EDISONPARKS:

    David Carroll:The statute of limitations for most federal crimes is 5 years. Prosecutions at this point are unlikely, however well deserved.

    Dose of reality applied.

    There are some Conservative 501(c)(4) applicants that have still not been approved by the IRS. So exactly when would the federal 5 year statute of limitations begin and end?

    I was thinking about Lois Lerner who is long gone. Of course it depends on the actual crime to be charged.

    I seem to recall that there was some evidence that tax information from the conservative groups was being shared with the administration. If that is the case, the civil penalties for the IRS employees involved are potentially much greater than the criminal ones. The definition of tax information is very broad. In fact, sharing it within the IRS to persons who have no business need to view that information is prohibited.

    An honest IRS commissioner could, and should, do a lot of house-cleaning.

    • #37
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