Tag Archive: Internal Revenue Service


Forbes

Steve Forbes, Forbes Staff

|2/12/2014 @ 6:06AM
This story appears in the March 3, 2014 issue of Forbes.

English: President Barack Obama, Vice Presiden...

English: President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and senior staff, react in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, as the House passes the health care reform bill. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One question congressional and presidential candidates should be asked is how we should go about restoring the rule of law to our federal government. Not even during the world wars of the last century was the executive branch as brazen in assuming sweeping and unlegislated powers, changing laws without the consent of the legislative branch and ignoring laws it didn’t like.

Lawsuits are certainly one possible avenue to take, but a slow one–which is what the White House is counting on. It will do what it wants, and by the time an unfavorable decision is handed down, it will have done many other things. It will also find ways to circumvent such a decision or just ignore it altogether.

How will the Administration act when, as is likely, the Supreme Court delivers an adverse ruling concerning the President’s appointment of members to the National Labor Relations Board when the Senate wasn’t technically in recess? Obama’s appointees went on to make rulings that were harmful to business. Of course, the

Administration will promise to comply and will then pull who knows what cards it has up its sleeve to make an end-run around the decision.

The IRS got caught singling out conservative groups for harassment–and nothing was done. The President, with a straight face, told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that there wasn’t a “smidgen” of evidence of any corruption, and the Justice Department has made clear it’s deep-sixing any serious probe. But even worse is the fact that the IRS is readying regulation that will make it legal to deny tax exemptions to predominantly conservative groups, while it turns a blind eye to organizations more friendly to the Administration’s Big Government agenda.

To add insult to injury, the new IRS commissioner has decreed that the agency will pay $62 million in bonuses, declaring, “I firmly believe that this investment in our employees will directly benefit taxpayers and the tax system.”

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IRS buying tiny surveillance equipment hidden in plants, coffee trays, clock radios

By Madison Ruppert

Editor of End the Lie

(Image credit: Jeremy Brooks/Flickr)

(Image credit: Jeremy Brooks/Flickr)

Apparently the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has branched out from just reading e-mails and other electronic communications without a warrant into the realm of physical surveillance.

A purchase request for cameras and recording equipment small enough to be concealed in everyday household items was submitted by the IRS recently, showing that it isn’t content with the many scandals already plaguing the agency.

Interestingly, the IRS apparently needs the equipment quite urgently. The solicitation was posted on June 6 and is looking to have it fulfilled by June 11, according to the solicitation.

The descriptions of the items in the solicitation “are vague due to the use and nature of the items,” according to the posting.

The items the IRS is purchasing include four “Covert Coffee tray[s] with Camera concealment,” two “Concealed clock radio[s],” and four remote surveillance systems with built-in DVD burners and 2 internal hard drives along with cameras.

The IRS also wants, “(QTY 4) Plant Concealment Color 700 Lines Color IP Camera Concealment with Single Channel Network Server, supports dual video stream, Poe [power over Ethernet], software included, case included, router included” along with “(QTY 4) Color IP Camera Concealment with single channel network server, supports dual video stream, poe, webviewer and cms [content management system] software included, audio.”

The original solicitation was only available to private companies for bids for 19 business hours, according to CNS News.

The purpose for the equipment has not been revealed and the company fulfilling the also remains unknown, even though a provider has been secured, according to the Daily Caller.

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Published on Jun 3, 2013

Congressman Jim Bridenstine’s House floor speech from 6-3-2013. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel!

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Published time: June 04, 2013 01:33

AFP Photo / George Rose

AFP Photo / George Rose

An internal watchdog claims the IRS spent $50 million on ‘inappropriate’ conference funds during a three-year period – news that serves to further embarrass the agency in wake of its targeting of conservative groups.

The Internal Revenue Service allegedly spent nearly $50 million on about 200 employee conferences between 2010 and 2012, during which it frequently provided its workers with presidential hotel suites and allowed them to take dance classes and attend baseball games, according to excerpts from an inspector general’s report slated to be released Tuesday.

An August 2010 conference in Anaheim, Calif., cost the IRS $4 million. About 2,600 managers attended the event and stayed in presidential hotel suites that usually cost $1,500 to $3,500 per night. About 15 outside speakers were paid $135,000 each, one of which was hired to discuss “leadership through art”, according to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which released the excerpts.

The IRS also failed to negotiate lower room rates, which is a standard practice for federal government agencies. Employees who attended the conference also received a number of costly benefits, including baseball tickets at taxpayers’ expense.

“They ended up with free drinks, they ended up with tickets to games – basically kickbacks,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House oversight panel that released the excerpts, told NBC News.

 

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Report: Treasury finds IRS spent $50M on conferences in 3 years

 

By Meghashyam Mali 06/02/13 08:25 PM ET

 

A review by the Treasury Department’s inspector general found that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) spent $50 million dollars on conferences for employees between 2010 to 2012, according to reports.

The audit, set to be released on Tuesday, says the agency spent the funds on more than 200 employee conferences, including an August 2010 meeting in Anaheim, Calif., which cost taxpayers $4 million.

 

According to a statement from the House Oversight Committee, 15 outside speakers at the event were paid a total of $135,000 and many attendees were given perks including baseball tickets and suites at the hotel, the AP reported.The new report comes as the tax agency already faces congressional anger over its targeting of conservative political groups and will likely bring further scrutiny on Capitol Hill.

Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is set to hold a hearing on IRS conference spending on Thursday.

 

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IRS Gift Rule Turned on Politics as Crisis Prompts Reform

Danny Werfel, the acting IRS commissioner  Photographer: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

IRS Gift Rule Turned on Politics as Crisis Prompts Reform

By Richard Rubin – Jun 2, 2013 11:00 PM CT

The last time the Internal Revenue Service waded into a fight on politically active nonprofit groups, the agency capitulated quickly and let people make undisclosed, untaxed payments to groups financing campaign ads.

In 2011, under pressure from Republicans, the IRS shut down an attempt to impose gift taxes on donations to so-called social welfare organizations. The move led to a “free-for-all” by donors while clearing up decades of ambiguity on how it would enforce the law, said Ofer Lion, an attorney at Hunton & Williams LLP (1130L) in Los Angeles.

The new controversy surrounding IRS scrutiny of small-government groups focuses attention again on how the agency handles politically sensitive issues. Lessons from the 2011 episode were obvious and yet recurred in 2013, as a lack of clear rules and management left the agency vulnerable to employee misconduct, open to charges of bias against Republicans and their allies and flat-footed when confronted with an outcry from lawmakers.

“It took a crisis to get reform, and I think that’s where we are now,” Greg Colvin, a partner at Adler & Colvin in San Francisco, said of the gift tax case. “It’s going to take a crisis like this to cause the IRS and Congress to realize that you can’t keep tolerating this kind of inadequate supervision and have the IRS refereeing what is and is not political.”

The IRS’s enforcement of tax laws on nonprofit groups re-enters the spotlight this week as Congress returns from a one-week recess, intent on searching for evidence of partisan motivations or senior executives’ involvement in targeting anti-tax Tea Party groups. The IRS revealed May 10 that some small-government groups got extra attention because of their names. Since then, six congressional committees have started inquiries, the Justice Department began a criminal probe, and three employees left their jobs early or were placed on leave.

First Appearance

Danny Werfel, the acting IRS commissioner, will make his first public appearance at a House hearing today since taking over May 22. Tomorrow, the House Ways and Means Committee is asking groups singled out for tougher scrutiny to testify about their experiences. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will meet June 6 to review an audit of spending on IRS conferences, including parody videos.

Congressional investigators are interviewing IRS employees and seeking past-due answers to lists of questions they sent the agency. The IRS says it is trying to be “exceedingly thorough” as it prepares responses.

The 2011 gift-tax flap and the new controversy over applications for tax-exempt status both stem from the same corner of the tax code.

Social Welfare

Groups organized under section 501(c)(4) are required to operate “exclusively” for the benefit of social welfare and don’t have to disclose their donors. Contributions aren’t tax-deductible and the groups don’t have to pay taxes on their investment income.

The IRS interprets that law to let 501(c)(4) groups engage in political activity, as long as that’s not their primary purpose. Many of those groups, including the Republican-allied Crossroads GPS and the Democratic-allied Priorities USA, spent heavily on campaign ads last year.

Such groups spent $256 million during the 2012 election cycle, according to the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign finance issues.

The controversy for the past month has revolved around the scrutiny applied to groups applying for tax-exempt status.

Five Donors

The gift-tax issue is different because it involves donors to the groups. In 2011, the IRS sent letters to five donors, opening audits on whether their contributions to the groups should count as taxable gifts.

The Wall Street Journal reported May 31 that all five donors had given to Freedom’s Watch, which was formed to support President George W. Bush’s policies in Iraq. One of the group’s main backers was Sheldon Adelson, chairman and chief executive officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp.

The IRS was on solid legal ground, according to a 2012 analysis by the Congressional Research Service. The tax code specifically exempts contributions to charities under section 501(c)(3) and political groups under section 527 from the gift tax. The IRS hadn’t been enforcing the gift tax for contributions to 501(c)(4) groups although it had, in effect, said in a 1982 revenue ruling that the tax could be applied.

 

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Issa Sees Washington IRS Connection in Employee Interview

By Richard Rubin & William Selway Jun 3, 2013 12:11 PM CT

The tougher scrutiny given to Tea Party groups by the Internal Revenue Service was “coordinated in all likelihood” from Washington, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee alleged, bolstering his case with excerpts of interviews with agency employees.

“The administration’s still trying to say there’s a few rogue agents in Cincinnati when in fact the indication is they were directly being ordered from Washington,” Representative Darrell Issa, a California Republican, said yesterday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

In the interviews, one employee, described as “more senior,” said it was understood that the purpose was to single out conservative and Republican groups and that some officials in Washington were involved.“I mean, rogue agent?” the employee said, according to a partial transcript released by Issa’s office. “Even though I was taking all my direction from” technical experts in Washington, “I didn’t want my name in the paper for being this rogue agent for a project I had no control over.”

The panel didn’t disclose which employees were being quoted, what else they said or who in Washington was thought to be involved. Working with other panels, the oversight committee has said it was interviewing John Shafer, Gary Muthert, Liz Hofacre and Joseph Herr, all of whom worked in the Cincinnati office, where the applications were processed. Issa said the committee staff has 18 more interviews to do.

Tax Exempt

Previous public reports on the IRS’s scrutiny of Tea Party groups applying for tax-exempt status, which started in 2010, have shown that some officials in Washington were aware of how the applications were being handled before a June 2011 meeting. At the time Lois Lerner, then director of exempt organizations, learned about what was happening and ordered it changed.

Nothing released yesterday directly undercuts that timeline or shows that Lerner or anyone above her was aware of the selective scrutiny earlier than stated.

Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the top Democrat on Issa’s committee, said in a statement yesterday that no witnesses have identified Washington IRS workers as ordering the use of “Tea Party” to screen applications.

“Rather than lobbing unsubstantiated conclusions on national television for political reasons, we need to work in a bipartisan way to follow the facts where they lead,” he said.

Three Executives

The revelation last month that the IRS applied extra scrutiny to small-government groups has led to six congressional inquiries, a criminal probe and three IRS executives, including Lerner, being pushed out of their jobs early or temporarily.

Danny Werfel, the acting IRS commissioner, is scheduled to make his first appearance at a congressional hearing today since taking over May 22.

Werfel announced several personnel moves today. He selected Heather Maloy, who had been overseeing large businesses, as deputy commissioner for services and enforcement, taking the place of Steve Miller, who was acting commissioner before he was forced out.

W. Todd Grams, the chief financial officer at the Department of Veterans Affairs, will be Werfel’s chief of staff, rejoining the IRS, where he was chief information officer and chief financial officer. Jennifer O’Connor, who was a partner at the WilmerHale law firm in Washington, will be counselor to Werfel and Chief Counsel William Wilkins.

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Issa: White House spokesman ‘paid liar’ regarding IRS

Republican Congressman Darrell Issa said in an interview Sunday that the Obama administration directed the IRS to target Tea Party groups and that soon-to-be-released transcripts would prove his accusation.

“Their paid liar, their spokesperson—picture behind,” Issa said on CNN’s State of the Union while sitting in front a photo of White House spokesman Jay Carney. “He’s still making up things about what happens and calling this a local rogue.”

The IRS maintains that two “rogue” administrators at the agency’s Cincinnati office were responsible for singling out conservative Tea Party groups for scrutiny in their applications for tax-exempt non-profit status.

Last week, Lois Lerner, director of Tax-Exempt Organizations at the IRS, was placed on administrative leave. Lerner had invoked her Fifth Amendment right to remain silent in a House Oversight Committee hearing chaired by Issa.

In the weeks since the targeting was made public, it’s come to light that several of the Tea Party groups that were targeted for extra scrutiny have close ties to the Republican Party—a violation of the non-profit status rules that would allow them to remain tax-exempt.

There has been no evidence that the Obama administration knew of the targeting, although senior officials at the Treasury Department were alerted about the IRS audits last summer.

But Issa, chair of the House Oversight Committee, said that the Obama administration directed the entire affair.

“As late as last week the administration’s still trying to say there’s a few rogue agents in Cincinnati when in fact the indication is they were directly being ordered from Washington,” he said.

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IRS misconduct prompted by tainted White House ‘culture’, Republicans say

GOP leaders took to the airwaves to spread their message that the Obama administration and its ‘paid liar’ Jay Carney have created a culture of labeling Tea Party activists and conservatives as terrorists, thus leading to the IRS scrutiny.

 

By / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Sunday, June 2, 2013, 4:02 PM

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus told ‘Fox News Sunday’ that an IRS  directive to investigate Tea Party and conservative groups came from a culture in Washington that labels them terrorists.

Manuel Balce Ceneta/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus told ‘Fox News Sunday’ that an IRS directive to investigate Tea Party and conservative groups came from a culture in Washington that labels them terrorists.

President Obama’s administration, fronted by a “paid liar” of a spokesman, has created an anti-conservative atmosphere that led to IRS scrutiny of right-leaning organizations, top Republicans said Sunday.

“The culture of the president calling Tea Party groups terrorists and tea-baggers, and that entire culture has been cultivated by the president and his people, and everyone has been following,” Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus said on “Fox News Sunday.”

RELATED: OBAMA KNEW IRS TARGETED CONSERVATIVES: INSPECTOR GENERAL

Such a culture, Priebus continued, is proof-positive that the Internal Revenue Service’s probe into conservative groups applying for nonprofit status came not from some rogue employees, but rather as a Washington directive.

Rep. Darrell Issa, (R-Calif.) said a bipartisan group from the Ways and Means and Government Oversight and Reform committees has opened a probe into the whether or not IRS agents were told by higher powers to investigate right-leaning groups that applied for tax-exempt status.

CHRIS USHER/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Rep. Darrell Issa, (R-Calif.) said a bipartisan group from the Ways and Means and Government Oversight and Reform committees has opened a probe into the whether or not IRS agents were told by higher powers to investigate right-leaning groups that applied for tax-exempt status.

The White House has labeled the department’s Cincinnati office as responsible for the extra scrutiny right-leaning organizations received.

RELATED: OBAMA’S APPROVAL RATING STEADY DESPITE SCANDALS

“That’s why it doesn’t make any sense,” Priebus said. “That’s why we need to keep digging, because the idea that two or three people in lower offices in Cincinnati just suddenly out of thin air just decided, ‘You know what, why don’t we launch this massive effort to derail conservative groups, and actually go after individuals that give to conservative groups,’ that that just suddenly happened.”

Investigation into the allegation is underway and, Rep. Darrell Issa said Sunday, there may already be proof the targeting came at the behest of the IRS’ Washington headquarters. Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” the California Republican said the truth will come out, despite the Obama administration’s attempt to obfuscate. Issa said White House spokesman Jay Carney “is saying whatever’s convenient at the time” and changing the story about what happened.

IRS official Lois Lerner is sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington before the House Oversight Committee hearing to investigate the extra scrutiny IRS gave to Tea Party and other conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status.

Carolyn Kaster/ASSOCIATED PRESS

IRS official Lois Lerner is sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington before the House Oversight Committee hearing to investigate the extra scrutiny IRS gave to Tea Party and other conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status.

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Revealed: Obama administration knew about investigation into claims that IRS was harassing tea party groups since June 2012 as ousted head of the agency insists it was not illegal

  • Appointee in charge of screening tax-exempt applications is now in charge of implementing new Obamacare taxes
  • Ousted Steven Miller defends himself, insists that targeting of conservatives was ‘foolish mistakes,’ not political gamesmanship
  • May 10 leak that launched the scandal was ‘prepared,’ Miller acknowledges
  • Former IRS commissioner testified last year that there was ‘absolutely no targeting’ going on
  • Democrats on the panel blame 2010 ‘Citizens United’ Supreme Court ruling for creating a flood of tax-exemption applications during an election year

By David Martosko In Washington and Associated Press Reporter

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Obama administration officials were made aware in June 2012 about an investigation into complaints from conservative tea party groups that they were being harassed, and they knew the probe was ongoing at the height of the presidential race, a Treasury inspector general revealed Friday.

J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, testified alongside ousted IRS head Steven Miller, who did little to subdue Republican outrage during hours of intense congressional questioning.

Both defiant and apologetic, Miller acknowledged agency mistakes in targeting tea party groups for special scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status, but he insisted that agents broke no laws and that there was no effort to cover up their actions.

Revelations: J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, testified that Treasury officials were made aware of the probe into allegations of harassment against tea part groups last June

Revelations: J. Russell George (left), the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, testified that Treasury officials were made aware of the probe into allegations of harassment against tea part groups last June

Miller only stoked the criticism of many Republicans, who are assailing the administration on a sudden spate of other controversies, as well, even as some Democrats tried to contain the political damage.

‘I don’t know that I got any answers from you today,’ Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., told Miller. ‘I am more concerned today than I was before.’

At one point in the day’s hearing, Treasury IG George said he had told the department’s general counsel about his investigation on June 4, 2012, and Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin ‘shortly thereafter.’

But, George cautioned, those discussions were ‘not to inform them of the results of the audit. It was to inform them of the fact that we were conducting the audit.’

After the hearing, inspector general spokeswoman Karen Kraushaar said George ‘informed Department of Treasury officials that we were looking into the IRS’ handling of applications for tax-exempt status, partly due to allegations raised by conservative organizations.’

Steven Miller
Steven Miller

Defiant: Ouster head of the IRS Steven Miller insisted he did not deceive Congress, though he repeatedly failed to reveal the controversy last year when he was asked about it by lawmakers

Kraushaar said the disclosure was part of a routine briefing about the office’s activities.

The Treasury Department issued a statement Friday saying officials first became aware of the actual results of the investigation in March of this year, when they were provided a draft of George’s report, a standard practice.

George’s disclosure came before the House Ways and Means Committee in the first of several congressional hearings on the matter. He was joined by Miller, who spoke publicly about the controversy for the first time.

Miller apologized for the actions of agents who singled out conservative political groups for additional, often burdensome scrutiny.

‘First and foremost, as acting commissioner, I want to apologize on behalf of the Internal Revenue Service for the mistakes that we made and the poor service we provided,’ he told the committee. ‘The affected organizations and the American public deserve better.’

But members on both sides of the aisle were furious, and castigated him for the mismanagement and political gamesmanship the IRS engaged in on his watch.

Texas Republican congressman Kevin Brady had the harshest criticism for Miller.

‘Is this still America?’ he asked him.

‘Is this government so drunk on power that it would turn its full force, its full might, to harass, and intimidate, and threaten an average American who only wants her voice, their voices heard?’

‘The American public deserves better,’ Miller agreed. But both he and George insisted that no IRS employees engaged in political witch-hunting.

J. Russell George (L) and Steven Miller (R) were called on the carpet

The House Ways and Means Committee held the first congressional hearing on the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative applicants for tax-exempt status with special scrutiny based on their politics. J. Russell George (L) and Steven Miller (R) were called on the carpet

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp castigated the former IRS acting commissioner for presiding over a corrupt system that played political favorites

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp castigated the former IRS acting commissioner for presiding over a corrupt system that played political favorites

 

‘Is this still America’? IRS scandal chief gets smackdown

George oversaw the year-long internal probe that ended in a report released Wednesday. It concluded that the agency used ‘inappropriate criteria’ in selecting tax-exemption applications for closer scrutiny, but did not find any wrongdoing on the part of senior-level IRS officials.

Miller concurred with that finding, blaming the problem instead on ‘foolish mistakes’ while affirming that partisanship ‘has no place at the IRS.’ He also insisted he did not deceive Congress, though he repeatedly failed to reveal the controversy last year when he was asked about it by lawmakers – even after he had been briefed.

‘I did not mislead Congress or the American people,’ Miller said.

President Barack Obama announced his removal on Wednesday, as a scandal unfolded involving the IRS targeting hundreds of right-wing organizations for intense scrutiny based on keywords like ‘tea party’ or ‘patriots’ in their names.

He told committee members that before the episode became public, he had no contact with the Treasury Department, the White House or Obama’s re-election campaign about targeting conservative groups.

‘Absolutely not,’ Miller said.

He surprised committee members when he said ‘it is absolutely not illegal’ for IRS agents to single out conservative groups for additional scrutiny.

‘Please don’t get me wrong,’ he added. ‘It should not happen.’

George, the inspector general, backed up Miller’s assertion when he said the yearlong investigation did not uncover illegal activity.

‘It is not illegal, but it was inappropriate,’ George said of targeting conservative groups.

George’s report concluded that an IRS office in Cincinnati, which screened applications for the tax exemptions, improperly singled out tea party and other conservative groups for tougher treatment. The report says the practice began in March 2010 and lasted in various forms until May 2012.

Agents did not flag similar progressive or liberal labels, though some liberal groups did receive additional scrutiny because their applications were singled out for other reasons, the report said.

Miller wrote to IRS employees, however, that he was leaving at the end of his scheduled term in early June.

Ultimately, he conceded on Friday, he agreed to step down because responsibility for the IRS’s activities ‘stops at my desk.’

Michigan Democratic Rep. Sander Levin is the most senior Ways and Means Democrat to side with Republicans against IRS corruption

Michigan Democratic Rep. Sander Levin is the most senior Ways and Means Democrat to side with Republicans against IRS corruption

Committee chair Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican, stared down Miller, saying that ‘this systemic abuse cannot be fixed with just one resignation.’

‘And as much as I expect more people need to go, the reality is this is not a personnel problem,’ Camp maintained. ‘This is a problem of the IRS being too large, too powerful, too intrusive and too abusive of honest, hardworking taxpayers.’

Sander Levin, the panel’s ranking Democrat, said the IRS and its employees ‘have completely failed the American people’ by ‘singling out organizations for review based on their name or political views, rather than their activity.’

‘All of us are angry about this on behalf of the nation,’ the left-leaning Michigan congressman said.

Lois Lerner is the civil servant who heads up the IRS division in charge of evaluating charitable and other nonprofit organizations. Levin called for her head.

Lois Lerner, director of the IRS's Exempt Organizations section, told a legal conference on May 10 that her agency's Inspector General would soon publish a report about the unfair targeting of tea party groups for special tax scrutiny

Lois Lerner, director of the IRS’s Exempt Organizations section, told a legal conference on May 10 that her agency’s Inspector General would soon publish a report about the unfair targeting of tea party groups for special tax scrutiny. Her disclosure, which Steven Miller conceded Friday was ‘prepared,’ launched the scandal

‘Ms. Lerner should be relieved of her duties.’ he said.

We must seek the truth, not political gain.’

In what Miller called ‘a prepared Q-and-A’ on May 10, Lerner told an American Bar Association conference about a pending IRS Inspector General report examining the targeting of conservative groups inside the IRS’s Exempt Organizations section.

That admission started the media feeding frenzy that has spiraled into a full-blown scandal. The acknowledgement that Lerner went to the event with the intention of publicly disclosing the IG report’s existence raised eyebrows on the congressional panel.

Illinois Republican Rep. Peter Roskam quizzed Miller about a phone conversation he said he had with Lerner about the planned disclosure, which Miller said was intended to coincide with a disclosure to Congress.

He agreed with Roskam, however, that Congress wasn’t told at the same time a question was ‘planted’ at the bar association conference.

‘We called to try to get on the calendar’ of the Ways and Means Committee,’ Miller said.

‘You called to try to get on the calendar?’ Roskam asked, incredulous. ‘Is that all you’ve got?’

‘It’s the truth,’ Miller responded.

Under questioning from California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, Miller said he would not commit to giving Congress his notes, phone records, and other evidence of conversations with Lerner.

Nunes reminded him that Congress could, and might, subpoena them.

'IS THIS STILL AMERICA?' Texas Rep. Kevin Brady slammed former IRS acting commissioner Steve Miller for presiding over the political persecution of a constituent whose tax-exempt application was targeted for abuse

‘IS THIS STILL AMERICA?’ Texas Rep. Kevin Brady slammed former IRS acting commissioner Steve Miller for presiding over the political persecution of a constituent whose tax-exempt application for her tea party group was subject to nearly 100 lengthy, intrusive questions

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Keeping a watchful eye on IRS

May 21, 2013|Dennis Byrne

The popular impression is that President Barack Obama’s Internal Revenue Service harassed only tea party and patriot-like groups seeking tax-exempt status.

If it were only so.

Allegations of IRS harassment of pro-life and religious groups reach as far back as Obama’s early administration and extend beyond the agency’s Cincinnati office, which is the focus of the alleged intimidation of patriot groups.

The charges of broader religious and political bias have been made for four years by the Thomas More Society, a Chicago-based, public interest law firm specializing in issues of life, marriage and religious liberty. On Friday, the group outlined the attacks against three pro-life groups in a 151-page memo to U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill. It said:

• The IRS office in El Monte, Calif., began harassing Christian Voices for Life of Sugar Land, Texas, when it sought tax-free status under provision 501(c)(3) of the federal tax code. The IRS held up the group’s application while asking such “inappropriate” questions under the code as whether the group advocates a particular position or holds up signs. It also demanded an explanation of the content of its message and prayers, as if the group “were engaging in highly offensive or criminal behavior.”

• Coalition for Life of Iowa applied for tax-exempt status in October 2008, before Obama’s inauguration. But it was followed by almost 10 months of interrogation about the group’s opposition to Planned Parenthood. The IRS Cincinnati’s office demanded a sworn declaration not to picket or protest Planned Parenthood. It also requested detailed information about the “content of the group’s prayer meetings, educational seminars, and signs their members hold outside Planned Parenthood.”

• Finally, an IRS agent in its Chicago office “repeatedly harassed Daniel and Angela Michael of Small Victories, a pro-life organization, with an intrusive investigation, calling the leaders every two to three weeks over the course of 2011, beginning in January of that year. The IRS officially closed its investigation in January 2012, having found no illegal activities.”

The Religion News Service reports these additional attacks:

• Catholics United Education Fund, an affiliate of the progressive Catholics United, which had an application that it said had “languished for years” before being approved.

• Family Talk Action, the advocacy arm of James Dobson’s Focus on the Family organization, which said its application for 501(c)(4) status was delayed and questioned between 2011 and 2013.

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Logo of the Internal Revenue Service

Logo of the Internal Revenue Service (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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By Vicki Needham 06/03/13 06:02 PM ET

TUESDAY’S BIG STORY: 

Tell me a little about yourself: The House Ways and Means Committee will chat with a handful of Tea Party groups on Tuesday about what they say was extra scrutiny by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in their application for tax-exempt status.

Lawmakers are pretty much picking up where they left off before the Memorial Day recess in drilling down into what happened with the additional attention paid to conservative groups and how to remedy the problem for the long term.

Danny Werfel, the new acting IRS chief, told a House Appropriations subcommittee on Monday that he is trying to do exactly that: fix the problems and put the agency back on good footing.

Werfel, who is no stranger to Capitol Hill, made his first appearance as the agency’s head after former acting Commissioner Steven Miller resigned amid the scandal.

He called the singling out of Tea Party groups inexcusable.

“We have a great deal of work ahead of us to review and correct the serious problems that have occurred at the IRS and continue the important work of the agency on behalf of taxpayers,” Werfel said.

He is beginning a 30-day comprehensive review of the agency, which will go much deeper than just the tax-exempt issue.

“We owe it to the American public to use this moment as an opportunity to take a hard look internally at the IRS and see where other deficiencies or risks may exit, and take action to address them,” he said.

Top appropriators made clear the IRS’s budget will undergo a tough examination in the coming months.Democrats offered little cover to the IRS, but urged a closer look at what happened in the years before the Obama administration.

Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for Tax Administration who outlined the targeting, is expected to release a new report on Tuesday that outlines excessive spending at IRS conferences.

That review found that the IRS spent $50 million on conferences for employees between 2010 to 2012.

George told the panel on Monday that what his probe discovered was “unprecedented,” and that the closest comparison that came to mind was the targeting of political enemies by the administration of Richard Nixon.

A key question is how IRS employees in Cincinnati came to identify tax-exempt applications for extra scrutiny.

Congressional Republicans have expressed disbelief the practice could have been created by low-level employees acting out of bounds. George said in conducting his investigation of the practice, IRS employees were asked who gave the direction, and no one would answer the question.

On Tuesday, Ways and Means will hold their second hearing on the IRS scandal, the fifth overall in Congress, with six Tea Party groups that have been scheduled to give first-person accounts of the IRS’s targeting of conservative organizations.

John Eastman, the president of the National Organization for Marriage — a prominent group opposing same-sex marriage — is among those scheduled to appear, after the group announced plans last month to sue the IRS.

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Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

Lois Lerner, director of Exempt Organizations for the IRS, is surrounded by Capitol police as she boards an elevator after being excused from a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in Washington on Wednesday.

Additional scrutiny of conservative organizations’ activities by the IRS did not solely originate in the agency’s Cincinnati office, with requests for information coming from other offices and often bearing the signatures of higher-ups at the agency, according to attorneys representing some of the targeted groups. At least one letter requesting information about one of the groups bears the signature of Lois Lerner, the suspended director of the IRS Exempt Organizations department in Washington.

Jay Sekulow, an attorney representing 27 conservative political advocacy organizations that applied to the Internal Revenue Service for tax-exempt status, provided some of the letters to NBC News.  He said the groups’ contacts with the IRS prove that the practices went beyond a few “front line” employees in the Cincinnati office, as the IRS has maintained.

“We’ve dealt with 15 agents, including tax law specialists — that’s lawyers — from four different offices, including (the) Treasury (Department) in Washington, D.C.,” Sekulow said. “So the idea that this is a couple of rogue agents in Cincinnati is not correct.”

Among the letters were several that bore return IRS addresses other than Cincinnati, including IRS headquarters in Washington, and the signatures of IRS officials higher up the chain. Lerner’s signature, which appeared to be a stamp rather than an actual signature, appeared on a letter requesting additional information from the Ohio Liberty Council Corp.

Lerner has become one of the public faces of the controversy after refusing to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last Wednesday, citing her Constitutional Fifth Amendment rights after reading a brief statement: “I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws, violated IRS regulations or provided false information to this or any other committee.”

She was put on administrative leave at the end of last week after reportedly refusing to resign at Obama administration’s request. She is continuing to collect federal paychecks on her almost $180,000 annual salary, though at least one Republican senator, Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, is urging the agency to speed up the process and fire her.

In the two weeks since the IRS acknowledged it targeted conservative organizations seeking status as tax-exempt “social welfare” organizations for additional scrutiny, many Republicans have sought to link the agency’s actions to the White House. In an Op-Ed piece in the Washington Post on May 22, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., wrote that “the administration has been extremely creative in employing throughout the federal government the sorts of intimidation tactics that were used at the IRS.”

The White House has dismissed suggestions it was aware of the targeting, saying President Barack Obama only learned of the issue when it broke in the news on May 10. White House spokesman Jay Carney has since deflected most questions about the scandal, saying it would be inappropriate to comment until an FBI inquiry into the agency’s actions – one of five separate government investigations — is concluded.

For its part, the IRS has declined additional comment beyond its congressional testimony — including former IRS Commissioner Steven Miller’s testimony that IRS employees didn’t have partisan motives and only made “foolish mistakes … trying to be more efficient” — and other previously released public statements, including its response to a Treasury inspector general  (see pages 49-51) and a Q&A on 501 (c) groups it published on its website.

But attorneys for some of the targeted groups’ provided documentation and two IRS employees in the Cincinnati office made statements to NBC News that call into question parts of the official explanation Americans have heard from the IRS so far.

Sekulow, who worked with the office of the chief counsel of the IRS in the early 1980s as a trial lawyer representing the IRS on tax-exempt cases, said the number of groups he’s heard from, and the scope of the requests for information the IRS sent them, persuaded him “that this was not something that was just created at an agent level, that this was certainly higher up.”

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The Truth Comes Out: Former IRS Director Admits Taxes Are Voluntary

susanne_posel_news_ irs_political-groups_liveSusanne Posel
Occupy Corporatism
May 23, 2013

Steve Miller, former Director of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), admitted at a Congressional hearing that the taxes collected by the IRS are not mandatory – but voluntary.

When questioned at the House Ways and Means Committee (WMC) hearing last week, Miller told House Representative Devin Nunes that “America’s tax system is ‘voluntary’”. When Nunes remarked for clarification that the US tax code is a “voluntary system”, Miller said, “Agreed.”

House Representative Xavier Becerra commented that the ruse of the IRS is kept as a public confidence in the system scheme to keep Americans paying money to the IRS.

Miller confirmed this is so.

The shuffle at the IRS has landed Danny Werfel as the new acting director.

As his first message to those employed at the IRS, Werfel said that amid the mistrust of the public brewing against the organization, it is the mission of all employees to “help America’s taxpayers understand and meet their tax responsibilities.”

Werfel invoked the tragedy at Oklahoma to coerce his underlings into believing that they are doing a great work. He said: “. . . as the nation comes together to support the victims of the devastating tornados in Oklahoma, we should all feel a sense of pride that IRS is actively supporting the recovery effort and doing our part to help.”

President Obama anointed Werfel as a replacement for Miller who was asked to resign just a month before his term as acting director of the IRS was complete.

Werfel has a history working for the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and an analyst for the Department of Justice (DoJ). Obama describes Werfel as having “proven an effective leader who serves with professionalism, integrity and skill.”

Senator Orin Hatch commented on Obama’s choice of putting a businessman in place at the IRS: “If I was the president I would find the very best businessman I possibly could who’d be willing to take it over and have the authority to be able to straighten the mess out. I don’t know whether Werfel has that kind of dimension or not, but I hope he does.”

Lois Lerner, director of the Tax-Exempt division at the IRS during the targeting of Patriot groups refused to speak to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, claiming her right of the 5th Amendment.

William Taylor III, attorney for Lerner, requested in a letter that preceded her arrival, asking the OGRC that she be allowed to refrain from appearing before the committee. Taylor claimed that be forcing Lerner, it “would have no purpose other than to embarrass or burden her.”

Read Full Article Here

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 photo justiceshreddedbygov_zps626d7c63.jpg

Political  double standards  ? 

24-year-old New York anarchist Jerry Koch is jailed for invoking his 5th Amendment rights after  being  recalled  4 years later to  be questioned once  again in a case where  he  initially  testified that  he knew nothing of what had transpired in the  bicycle bombing being investigated. 

Lois  Lerner of the IRS  is called to testify she  invokes her  5th  Amendment right and goes on  to  claim that  she did nothing wrong or illegal.  However, she  is  still  free.

I  suppose  it   was helpful that  she  defied Legislators and not  a Judge , huh ?

Not exactly what  I  would call Justice for all……..

~Desert Rose~
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RTAmerica RTAmerica

Published on May 22, 2013

24-year-old New York anarchist Jerry Koch gets jailed for up to 18 months for refusing to testify as a witness in the Times Square bicycle bombing case of 2008 at a federal grand jury hearing. RT’s Anastasia Churkina reports from the federal court house in the Big Apple.

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IRS official to plead the Fifth before House Oversight Committee

By Peter Schroeder and Bernie Becker 05/21/13 08:30 PM ET

Lois Lerner, the Internal Revenue Service official at the eye of the storm over the improper scrutiny of conservative groups, will refuse to answer questions from the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday.

Through her attorney, Lerner stated her intention to invoke her Fifth Amendment rights after being called to testify.

“She has not committed any crime or made any misrepresentation, but under the circumstances she has no choice but to take this course,” her attorney, William W. Taylor III wrote in a letter to Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).Her refusal to testify is the latest roadblock slowing lawmakers’ efforts to get to the bottom of the targeting of Tea Party groups.

Lerner, the head of the IRS’s exempt organizations division, was clearly going to be pressed by lawmakers about the honesty — or otherwise — of her previous responses before Congress on whether the IRS had targeted Tea Party groups.

She has already apologized for the imbroglio, but the Justice Department has launched a criminal probe into the matter. Lawmakers have repeatedly contended that IRS officials, including Lerner, misled Congress about its existence.

“We’re going to review with her what road she led us down previously,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), before news broke of Lerner’s refusal. “To be able to go back and review with her what she said previously versus what she might say on Wednesday, that’s going to make for an interesting exercise in contradictions.”

Both parties have criticized Lerner for being less than forthcoming with Congress. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) has called for her resignation, after she did not disclose the targeting in response to a direct question from the lawmaker at a hearing — two days before she publicly apologized for it.

A spokesman for the Oversight Committee noted that Issa has issued a subpoena to compel Lerner to appear before his panel Wednesday, even if she refuses to answer questions.

“The committee has a Constitutional obligation to conduct oversight,” said spokesman Ali Ahmad. “Chairman Issa remains hopeful that she will ultimately decide to testify [Wednesday].”

But if Lerner stonewalls Congress, it would exacerbate the frustration lawmakers feel about being stymied by tax collectors.

Wednesday’s hearing will mark the third in less than a week in which lawmakers have probed current and former IRS officials, but members are still searching for answers to a few critical questions. How did the IRS come to adopt the practice of singling out Tea Party groups for added scrutiny? What was the motivation behind filtering out the groups: partisan politics or poor judgment?

Current and former IRS officials at the top of the agency have so far been unable or unwilling to answer those questions, and lawmakers on the Oversight Committee had hoped Lerner could finally shed light on the matter.

After all, she was the IRS official who first thrust the matter into the spotlight, apologizing at a legal conference a week and a half ago for the improper targeting. And the report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) on the practice found that she directed IRS employees to stop using explicit Tea Party criteria in identifying tax-exempt applications for further scrutiny, back in June 2011.

Read Full Article Here

 

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IRS Official Invokes 5th Amendment During Congressional Hearing On Scandal, Napolitano Cavuto

Massteaparty Massteaparty·

 

 

 

 

 

Published on May 22, 2013

MS. Lerner May Have Waved Her 5th Amendment Right By Making Statement During Congressional Hearing
IRS Official Invokes 5th Amendment During Congressional Hearing On Scandal – Napolitano Cavuto

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