June 12 2014
More “Smidgens” from the IRS Scandal
Patrice J. Lee
If you thought the IRS scandal targeting Tea Party and conservative groups couldn’t get any worse than what we’ve already learned, think again.
As Charlotte noted earlier this morning, the IRS gave the Department of Justice (DOJ) confidential information about conservative organizations.
The DOJ turned over to a House Committee investigating the scandal evidence that indicates the IRS may have illegally sent 1.1. million pages of nonprofit tax-return data compiled onto 21 disks to the DOJ. The information was transmitted in advance of a meeting Lois Lerner, the contentious IRS official at the center of the firestorm, with the Department to discuss how to use campaign-finance laws to prosecute these conservative groups.
This revelation certainly seems to indicate that the IRS and the Department of Justice conspired together to target and investigate conservative groups just weeks before the 2010 midterm elections.
The President claims there wasn’t a “smidgen” of wrong-doing and that this scandal was a non-issue, but the reality is far from the truth.
National Review reports:
The Internal Revenue Service may have been caught violating federal tax law: In October 2010, the agency sent a database on 501(c)(4) social-welfare groups containing confidential taxpayer information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to documents obtained by a House panel.
The information was transmitted in advance of former IRS official Lois Lerner’s meeting the same month with Justice Department officials about the possibility of using campaign-finance laws to prosecute certain nonprofit groups. E-mails between Lerner and Richard Pilger, the director of the Justice Department’s election-crimes branch, obtained through a subpoena to Attorney General Eric Holder, show Lerner asking about the format in which the FBI preferred the data to be sent.
The documents were subpoenaed as a part of the Oversight Committee’s ongoing investigation into the IRS’ targeting of right-leaning groups, which took place against the backdrop of the Citizens United ruling...
Though the Justice Department never took nonprofit groups to court, the committee has argued that Lerner attempted engaged in a politicized witch hunt against conservative groups by implementing a system where applications for tax exemption were inappropriately scrutinized and by jump-starting efforts to rewrite the rules by which 501(c)(4) social-welfare groups can qualify for tax exemption. Those rules prompted an outcry from groups on both sides of the political spectrum and the agency is currently rewriting them.
Let’s review the facts: As early as March 2010, the IRS began singling out conservative nonprofit groups seeking tax exemption for added additional scrutiny. As part of that scrutiny, IRS agents demanded invasive, detailed information on the operations, funding sources, and activities of these Tea Party and conservative groups. By stymieing the application process, these groups were forced to spend tens and even hundreds of thousands and some to this day have yet to be approved.
When the scandal broke last spring, the agency went to great pains to deflect and hide what had happened, penning blame on a few rogue agents in the field. The President and his allies in Congress feigned anger then dismissed the scandal as much-ado-about-nothing. The House of Representatives launched numerous Congressional hearings to investigate the actions of the IRS, but agents have denied and remained tight-lipped on their actions and refused to turn over information.
Finally, we are getting a clearer picture of just what the IRS did with the data they collected and how they colluded with the DOJ to go after legal, law-abiding Americans who disagreed with the Administration and liberal policy.
This is beyond a shame and distasteful. It’s a blatant violation of the privacy of private Americans and the constitutional rights of civic organizations formed by Americans just looking to express their freedom of speech.
This appears to be an orchestrated attack on liberty by high-ranking officials across two powerful federal agencies. It is also an eye-opening demonstration of how corrupt, partisan government agents can abuse their power to advance political ends.
Americans –especially those whose private information has been violated- deserve the full truth and accountability not just at the IRS, but from the DOJ and White House if wrong-doing is confirmed there. We cannot just sweep this under the rug.