Well, here we have the first smoking gun in the IRS scandal. A few days ago, Lois Lerner apologized for the IRS’s bully tactics and blamed “low-level employees” in the Cincinnati office.
Unfortunately for Ms. Lerner, some of the letters denying tax-exemption to conservative organizations bear her name.
The director of the Internal Revenue Service division under fire for singling out conservative groups sent a 2012 letter under her name to one such group, POLITICO has learned.
The March 2012 letter was sent to the Ohio-based American Patriots Against Government Excess (American PAGE) under the name of Lois Lerner, the director of the Exempt Organizations Division.
Lerner, who is based in Washington, on Friday apologized for the agency singling out groups based on search terms such as “tea party” and “patriot.” Internal documents from the Treasury Department inspector general shows that Lerner and other top officials at the agency were aware of the targeting of conservative groups in 2011.
This appears to be the first public documentation that Lerner’s name is on a letter seeking information from a conservative group. Other letters to groups reviewed by POLITICO have come from IRS offices in California, Ohio and Washington, D.C.
It’s “the most transparent administration in history!” Sure. Even when they do a document dump, it’s totally incomplete. Take today’s Benghazi email dump, for example. Sure, it contains some pretty damaging things in it and completely discredits the Obama administration’s story about the dishonest talking points. But it’s also missing the first three days of communications.
Take a look:
The included emails begin on 9/14 and the attack happened on 9/11. What was discussed in the first three days?
Petraeus apparently was displeased by the removal of so much of the material his analysts initially had proposed for release. The talking points were sent to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to prepare her for an appearance on news shows on Sunday, Sept. 16, and also to members of the House Intelligence Committee.
“No mention of the cable to Cairo, either?” Petraeus wrote after receiving Morell’s edited version, developed after an intense back-and-forth among Obama administration officials. “Frankly, I’d just as soon not use this, then.”
Petreaus’ email comes at the end of extensive back-and-forth between officials at the CIA, White House, State Department and other agencies weighing in on a public explanation for the Sept. 11, 2012, attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans
The emails were partially blacked out, including removal of names of senders and recipients who are career employees at the CIA and elsewhere.
President Obama is a officially a lame duck, incapable of making the most basic decisions as President. Even after a stern warning from Canada’s energy minister, President Obama is shrugging off the United State’s long-standing relationship with our northern neighbors and delaying Keystone XL until December at the earliest.
from Financial Post:
The Obama administration is unlikely to make a decision on the Canada-to-Nebraska Keystone XL pipeline until late this year as it painstakingly weighs the project’s impact on the environment and on energy security, a U.S. official and analysts said on Friday.
The decision may not be made until November, December or even early 2014, said a U.S. official, as President Barack Obama will not rush the process, which still has a number of stages to work through. One of those stages has not even begun yet and will run for months.
“The president has to be able to show that the administration looked under every stone to ensure it knew as much as it possibly could about the impact of Keystone,” said the official, who did not want to be named given the sensitive nature of the project.
Analysts agreed that a decision would not be made by this summer as the State Department had suggested when it issued an environmental review on the pipeline on March 1.
There has already been analysis after analysis, and the environment has nothing to do with this decision. Canada has already made it clear that the pipeline and its oil will be sent to China if we don’t take it, so there is no environmental gain from turning the pipeline down.
President Obama’s non-decision decision here is simply a measure to fend off additional battering from liberal environmental hacks.
There are at least 500 groups that were illegally targeted by the White House, so I’m sure we’re going to be reading a lot of these in the coming days. But this one is simply astounding. The IRS apparently targeted several pro-life groups, even going so far as to demand that they swear not to picket Planned Parenthood.
from LifeSiteNews (emphasis mine):
The Thomas More Society, a Chicago-based public interest law firm, says recent cases they have handled support mounting accusations that demonstrate the IRS’s abuse of pro-life organizations, in addition to those identified as ‘tea party’, ‘patriot’, or ‘government spending’ groups. Outrage spurred by recent revelations of IRS discrimination against these groups has also led the Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus to announce a full investigation into the matter.
In one case, the IRS withheld approval of an application for tax exempt status for Coalition for Life of Iowa. In a phone call to Coalition for Life of Iowa leaders on June 6, 2009, the IRS agent “Ms. Richards” told the group to send a letter to the IRS with the entire board’s signatures stating that, under perjury of the law, they do not picket/protest or organize groups to picket or protest outside of Planned Parenthood. Once the IRS received this letter, their application would be approved. After a series of letters following a request for more invasive information, Thomas More Society special counsel Sally Wagenmaker sent a letter to the IRS demanding the tax exempt status be issued immediately.
Wagenmaker summarized her concerns about what she called “the IRS’s disturbing ability” to stall and suppress legitimate applicants. She explained how through lengthy questionnaires and wrong citations of applicable law (as in the case of Coalition for Life of Iowa), applicants with less fortitude or without access to legal advocates like the Thomas More Society will be effectively silenced from exercising their constitutional freedoms. Wagenmaker added, “The IRS’s role should only be to determine whether organizations fit the section 501(c)(3) test for ‘charitable, religious, or educational’ qualification, not to inquire about the content of prayers, protests, and petitions. It’s high time that the IRS be called to account for its workers’ potential to trample on our constitutional rights, through such ostensibly innocuous means…what the Ways and Means committee will discuss may only be the tip of the iceberg of IRS abuses.”
The White House used the IRS a bludgeon against Obama’s enemies. Whether it was a Tea Party group, a pro-Israel group, or a pro-life group, the treatment was the same: unconstitutional demands and aggressive bullying.
As the IRS scandal widens, it’s important not to forget that the same organization is responsible for implementing Obamacare’s fines and penalties. Democrats don’t want you to worry about it, but Americans are right to be concerned.
from the Hill:
A growing chorus of Democratic leaders says the current controversy surrounding the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) should have no effect on the agency’s work implementing President Obama’s healthcare reform law.
A number of Republicans have said the recent revelation that IRS officials had targeted conservative groups leaves the agency with no credibility as it prepares to implement those parts of the reform law under its watch.
But Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.), head of the Democrats’ Steering and Policy Committee, said Wednesday that, while the targeting episode is “outrageous,” it should not be a barrier to installing the central elements of ObamaCare.
“People agree on an investigation … but that shouldn’t get in the way [of implementation],” DeLauro said at a press briefing in the Capitol. “We can walk and chew gum at the same time.”
DeLauro’s remarks echo those of Rep. Steny Hoyer (Md.), the Democratic whip, who accused lawmakers using the IRS scandal to attack healthcare reform of “grasping at straws to distract the American people and to undermine … a focus on substance.”
The IRS has been under intense fire since Friday, when the agency admitted it had targeted the Tea Party and other conservative groups for special scrutiny going back as far as 2010.
This is the IRS that demanded to know the private information of conservative group members, their reading lists, their Facebook posts, their religious beliefs. We’re supposed to trust them with Obamacare?
With Attorney General Eric Holder, the buck always stops with somebody else. Today, on Capitol Hill he told lawmakers that he couldn’t give them any information about the Justice Department’s expansive phone taps of Associated Press reporters because he had “recused himself” from that case. There’s just one problem with Holder’s excuse: he can’t remember when he did so, and he never did so in writing.
It gets even better. Holder told Congress that the reason he recused himself was that he was a “fact witness.” Basically, that’s politi-speek for “I am a suspect.”
from Washington Examiner:
Holder said that he had “to assume” that Deputy Attorney General James Cole approved the subpoena. “Recusals are such that I dont have any interaction with the people who are involved in the case,” Holder said. “In my absence, the deputy attorney general would have to act as the attorney general.”
The attorney general recused himself because he was interviewed as a “fact witness” — “a possessor of the information that was ultimately leaked” — meaning that he could theoretically have leaked the information about the thwarted terrorist attack that was the subject of the AP report.
As new information about the IRS scandal floods the press, one thing remains a mystery: what started it all? The Inspector General’s reports on the IRS’s targeting actually redacts the initial cause of the behavior.
from Washington Examiner:
What kicked off the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of Tea Party groups? The Treasury Department’s Inspector General apparently knows but the rest of us cannot. His report on the scandal includes three timelines of events, but in each case, the first item in the timeline has been redacted.
On top of page 13 is a graph titled “Figure 5: Timeline of Events and Delays Involving the Processing of Potential Political Cases (******1***** through May 2012)” that redacts the first item, not even giving a date. A spokesman for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee confirmed the “****1****” item was Treasury’s style for redactions.
The mystery date was apparently February 25, 2010, based on two appendixes in the back of the report.
On page 30, there is an appendix titled “Timeline of Written Criteria for Identifying Potential Political Cases.” The following page has another appendix titled “Comprehensive Timeline of Events.” These are appendixes six and seven of the report. On each page, the first item on the respective timelines has also been redacted.
Appendix 6 on page 30 states “The following illustrates the changes to the written criteria provided to Determinations Unit employees for identifying applications for the team of specialists. ” The first item on the timeline is “February 2010.” Two sentences appear to have been redacted.
Appendix 7 on page 31 states: “The following chart illustrates a timeline of events from February 2010 through July 2012 involving the identification and processing of potential political cases.” The first item on the timeline is “February 25, 2010.” The rest has, again, been redacted.
The rest of the report references dates earlier than February, 2010, in laying out how the IRS came to target Tea Party groups. But the reference to February in both appendixes indicates something particularly noteworthy happened then in the evolution of the IRS’s policy. What was it?
Since the IRS scandal broke, leftist apologists have had only one argument to defend themselves: Conservative groups are taking advantage of the tax code by “masquerading” as non-profit groups. I believe it was Time magazine who started this line of defense in an article called The Real IRS Scandal. Then Harry Reid joined the chorus of the IRS defenders when he said:
Preventing overtly political groups like the ones run by Karl Rove as masquerading as social welfare organizations, is really a critically important tasks.
Translation: It makes me angry that the Tea Party exists and I think we should use the federal government to stop it.
In any case, the USA Today completely shot down this line of reasoning (or lack thereof) in an article comparing liberal groups to conservative ones.
From the USA Today:
In the 27 months that the Internal Revenue Service put a hold on all Tea Party applications for non-profit status, it approved applications from similar liberal groups, a USA TODAY review of IRS data shows.
As applications from conservative groups sat in limbo, groups with obviously liberal names were approved in as little as nine months. With names including words like “Progress” or “Progressive,” these groups applied for the same tax status and were engaged in the same kinds of activities as the conservative groups.
This completely takes away the left’s only line of defense. Now they are left with literally no argument that sounds even close to rational. When two groups applied for non-profit status, one liberal, one conservative, the liberal one would sail right through while the conservative one would get put on hold or even be denied. That’s it. The federal government was using the IRS as a weapon to punish its political enemies.
In 2010, a Federal judge granted the Romeike family political asylum to the United States after Germany threatened to take their children away and imprison the parents for homeschooling. The Obama administration filed an appeal to overturn that decision, denying the Remeikes’ asylum, and putting their family in jeopardy.
Today, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the Obama administration and denied the Romeikes asylum.
from the Blaze:
The Romeike family has for years been battling for the right to educate their children as they see fit. Today, the United States government has denied their request.
Originally from Germany, Evangelical Christians Uwe and Hannelore Romeike wanted to homeschool their six children, but it is against the law in Germany. They faced threats of legal action from the government and crippling fines before choosing to immigrate to the United States in 2010, seeking political asylum.
U.S. Immigration Judge Lawrence Burman granted the Romeike’s request, but it was overturned in 2012 by the Board of Immigration Appeals, after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement challenged the decision.
Today, in the words of the Home School Defense League Association, which has represented the family: “The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Obama Administration’s denial of asylum granted to the Romeike family.”
The parents could face jail time if forced to return home.
The Romeikes and their lawyer plan to appeal to the Supreme Court.
I find it astounding that amid all the scandal and corruption of the Obama administration, they still have time to fight good people like the Romeikes in court. They are people who want the freedom to educate their children without the state’s interference, and they’re being persecuted by their home country’s government.
President Obama fights tooth and nail for amnesty, but when given the opportunity to grant asylum to a peaceful family who has been in the US for years, his administration wants to throw them out and separate the children from their parents. It is the lowest form of hypocrisy.
The common thread here with every other policy of Obama’s is the general hatred of personal liberty.
It used to be that they would never question him. But, in the wake of scandal after scandal (honestly, it’s hard to keep up), even the media is starting to look at Obama with skepticism. One of the most recent examples of this is the Washington Post article regarding a statement Obama made about Benghazi. He said:
“The day after it happened, I acknowledged that this was an act of terrorism.”
Now, anyone who has been paying attention and isn’t blinded by ideology, knows that this is a lie. But, for those of you who only put your faith in the all mighty leftist media, try this on for size. The Washington Post does a long, rather complicated analysis of the President’s description of the Benghazi events and come to the conclusion that he’s simply lying. Here are a few highlights:
September 12, 2012:
…on Sept. 12, immediately after the Rose Garden statement the day after the attack, Obama sat down with Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes and acknowledged he purposely avoided the using the word “terrorism:”
KROFT: “Mr. President, this morning you went out of your way to avoid the use of the word ‘terrorism’ in connection with the Libya attack.”
KROFT: “Do you believe that this was a terrorist attack?”
OBAMA: “Well, it’s too early to know exactly how this came about, what group was involved, but obviously it was an attack on Americans. And we are going to be working with the Libyan government to make sure that we bring these folks to justice, one way or the other.”
September 20, 2012
…QUESTION: “We have reports that the White House said today that the attacks in Libya were a terrorist attack. Do you have information indicating that it was Iran, or al-Qaeda was behind organizing the protests?”
OBAMA: “Well, we’re still doing an investigation, and there are going to be different circumstances in different countries. And so I don’t want to speak to something until we have all the information. What we do know is that the natural protests that arose because of the outrage over the video were used as an excuse by extremists to see if they can also directly harm U.S. interests.”
September 25, 2012:
…QUESTION: “It was reported that people just went crazy and wild because of this anti-Muslim movie — or anti-Muhammad, I guess, movie. But then I heard Hillary Clinton say that it was an act of terrorism. Is it? What do you say?”
OBAMA: “We are still doing an investigation. There is no doubt that the kind of weapons that were used, the ongoing assault, that it wasn’t just a mob action. Now, we don’t have all the information yet so we are still gathering.”
Just a reminder, he knew that it was a terrorist attack immediately. He, or someone else in the White House presumably with his permission, changed CIA documents 12 different times to avoid using words like “terror”, “terrorism” or “Al Qaeda.” Why do this? Why change the documents? Why blame a video? Why lie to the American people? It just doesn’t make sense…unless the truth would hurt your reelection chances.
The headaches for President Obama just keep on coming! The CBO announced this month that Obamacare is now expected to cost twice what was originally estimated.
from Washington Examiner:
When President Obama was selling his health care legislation to Congress, he declared that “the plan I’m proposing will cost around $900 billion over 10 years.” But with the law’s major provisions set to kick in next year, a new analysis by the Congressional Budget Office projects that the law will cost double that, or $1.8 trillion.
What accounts for the dramatic difference? It’s true that at the time of passage, the CBO said the gross cost of the law’s provisions to expand insurance coverage would be $940 billion over a decade. But as many critics of the health care law pointed out at the time, this number was deceptive because it estimated spending from 2010 through 2019 even though the program’s major spending provisions weren’t scheduled to go into effect until 2014. Effectively, the original estimate measured the cost of six years of Obamacare instead of 10.
Now, as implementation approaches, CBO has released projections for the 2014 to 2023 budget window — the first actual decade of Obamacare — and the gross cost projection is $1.8 trillion.
Wow! There was stunning admission from White House Press Secretary Jay Carney today. His statement was carefully nuanced to leave a hint of doubt, but the message is clear: the White House knew the IRS was targeting conservative groups.
Here’s the video:
So, they were aware of the targeting but not the review by the Inspector General? In other words, “We knew, but we just didn’t know we got caught!”
A local news anchor for KMOV in St. Louis has some interesting allegations he’s leveling against the IRS. As he wrote on his Facebook page on Monday night, after a tough interview with the President, the IRS began targeting him.
Larry Conners, a veteran local news anchor at KMOV Channel 4 in St. Louis, says that the Internal Revenue Service has been targeting him since an April 2012 interview he conducted with President Obama — a fact that he dismissed as coincidence until the recent reports about the IRS targeting conservative groups.
“Shortly after I did my April 2012 interview with President Obama, my wife, friends and some viewers suggested that I might need to watch out for the IRS. I don’t accept ‘conspiracy theories’, but I do know that almost immediately after the interview, the IRS started hammering me,” Conners wrote on his Facebook page late Monday night.
Conners did not specify how the IRS has been “hammering” him. He did not immediately respond to a request for clarification.
Shortly after I did my April 2012 interview with President Obama, my wife, friends and some viewers suggested that I might need to watch out for the IRS.
I don’t accept “conspiracy theories”, but I do know that almost immediately after the interview, the IRS started hammering me.
At the time, I dismissed the “co-incidence”, but now, I have concerns … after revelations about the IRS targeting various groups and their members.
Originally, the IRS apologized for red-flagging conservative groups and their members if they had “Tea Party” or “patriot” in their name.
Today, there are allegations that the IRS focused on various groups and/or individuals questioning or criticizing government spending, taxes, debt or how the government is run … any involved in limiting/expanding government, educating on the constitution and bill of rights, or social economic reform/movement.
In that April 2012 interview, I questioned President Obama on several topics: the Buffet Rule, his public remarks about the Supreme Court before the ruling on the Affordable Care Act. I also asked why he wasn’t doing more to help Sen. Claire McCaskill who at that time was expected to lose. The Obama interview caught fire and got wide-spread attention because I questioned his spending.
I said some viewers expressed concern, saying they think he’s “out of touch” because of his personal and family trips in the midst of our economic crisis.
The President’s face clearly showed his anger; afterwards, his staff which had been so polite … suddenly went cold.
That’s to be expected, and I can deal with that just as I did with President George H. Bush’s staff when he didn’t like my questions.
Journalistic integrity is of the utmost importance to me. My job is to ask the hard questions, because I believe viewers have a right to be well-informed. I cannot and will not promote anyone’s agenda - political or otherwise - at the expense of the reporting the truth.
What I don’t like to even consider … is that because of the Obama interview … the IRS put a target on me.
Can I prove it? At this time, no.
But it is a fact that since that April 2012 interview … the IRS has been pressuring me.
I do find it interesting that he won’t give specifics. But based on the level of corruption that we now know exists within the IRS and the fact that this journalist, from what I can tell, seems to be trustworthy, I’m prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, at least for now.
This is your feel good story of the day. Since the dam has officially broken on the IRS abuse of power, story after story is coming out that show just how terrible the deeds of the IRS were. But none are quite so satisfying as this one. One of the conservative groups which was targeted by the IRS was asked to send in a list of its reading material. It sent in a copy of the U.S. Constitution.
From ABC News:
When Marion Bower decided to start her tea party organization in 2010, she didn’t know that it would take nearly two years for the Internal Revenue Service to approve her request for tax-exempt status.
The Ohio woman also did not expect that providing information about the books her group read would be part of the application process.
“I was trying to be very cordial, but they wanted copies of unbelievable things,” Bower told ABC News today. “They wanted to know what materials we had discussed at any of our book studies.”
She ultimately sent one of the books, “The Five Thousand Year Leap,” promoted frequently by Glenn Beck, to the IRS official handling her tax-exempt request in Cincinnati. She also sent a paperback copy of the Constitution.
Good grief. This IRS thing is getting out of hand. Pro Publica, a far-left non profit organization, has admitted that the IRS gave them personal and confidential tax information about conservatives.
From the DC:
The division of the Internal Revenue Service that improperly scrutinized the tax-exempt status of conservative groups sent confidential information on 31 conservative groups to the well-funded liberal nonprofit journalism organization ProPublica, according to a revelation made by ProPublica Monday.
“The same IRS office that deliberately targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status in the run-up to the 2012 election released nine pending confidential applications of conservative groups to ProPublica late last year,” according to the ProPublica report.
…We made six of those public, after redacting their financial information, deeming that they were newsworthy,” according to ProPublica.
Right now, the left in this country is fawning over Pro Publica for coming forward and being honest in regards to the IRS story. They’re being treated like a whistle blower who has something to lose by coming forward. But the opposite is true. With all the media attention being paid to the IRS story, they had to know that their involvement would come out. Better to use your far left friends in the media and be ahead of the curve than behind it. My question is this, if Pro Publica knew that the information they were getting from the IRS was personal and confidential, why wasn’t that the story? Seriously. Isn’t the story that the the “non-partisan” IRS is giving your agency confidential information for the purpose of dissemination a much bigger story than who paid what in taxes? Yeah, the Pro Publica is in no way innocent here.The only reason they admitted what happened is to gain sympathy from the media, not to be honest. If they were interested in honesty, they wouldn’t have waited until now to come out about it.