No announcement yet.

IRS's tea-party noose tightens: Targeting campaign was directed by HQ in D.C.

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • IRS's tea-party noose tightens: Targeting campaign was directed by HQ in D.C.

    IRS's tea-party noose tightens: Targeting campaign was directed by HQ in Washington, D.C. – not by a few 'rogue agents' in Ohio, documents reveal

    Bombshell emails indicate handling of scheme targeting conservative nonprofit groups was quarterbacked at the IRS's D.C. office

    Sen. Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, applied pressure in 2012 to the IRS to slow down mostly right-leaning groups he thought were too 'political'

    Former IRS official Lois Lerner emailed IRS managers about how to tell if a 'Be On the Lookout' targeting list applied to specific tea party groups

    Judicial Watch got emails in a Freedom Of Information Act lawsuit, casting new doubt on claims that the plot involved 'rogue employees' in Ohio


    PUBLISHED: 13:41 EST, 14 May 2014 | UPDATED: 13:55 EST, 14 May 2014

    The Internal Revenue Service managed a wide-ranging program that singled out tea party groups for special scrutiny from its headquarters in Washington, D.C., according to bombshell documents released Wednesday by a watchdog organization.

    Judicial Watch, a center-right group that specializes in Freedom Of Information Act document requests and lawsuits, said it received a cache of papers from the IRS showing the depth of the Obama administration's involvement in what officials have previously called the work of a few 'rogue agents' in Cincinnati, Ohio.

    And letters from U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat, show his involvement in pressing the IRS to target mostly conservative organizations with cumbersome questionnaires seemingly calculated to slow down their applications for tax-exempt status in the middle of an election year.

    In one July 2010 email among IRS managers, a lawyer with the Exempt Organizations Technical unit in Washington wrote that his office was 'working the Tea party applications in coordination with Cincy.'

    'We are developing a few applications here in DC and providing copies of our development letters with the agent to use as examples in the development of their cases,' wrote government attorney Steven Grodnitzky.

    He acknowledged that the flood of tax-exemption applications from tea party groups were considered part of a 'Sensitive Case Report' project, meaning that the IRS 'cannot resolve any of the cases without coordinating with Rob [Choi]' – who was then in charge of IRS 'rulings and agreements' in the agency's Washington, D.C. headquarters.

    Tax-exempt status allows social welfare groups to raise money without paying federal income taxes. The privilege is a highly sought-after perk among nonprofit campaign groups, including many that advocate political positions without endorsing candidates directly. Such 'electioneering' is strictly prohibited.

    Beginning in early 2010, less than a year before the midterm congressional elections that would see the tea party flex its biggest political muscles, the IRS slow-walked hundreds of the groups' applications for as many as three years, hampering their ability to communicate publicly and advocate positions on issues.

    Most liberal groups applying for the same status were swiftly approved, including one application from President Obama's half-brother, whose application was back-dated so he could claim tax advantages retroactively for a foundation he had set up in the name of their common father.

    Lois Lerner, who led the IRS's Exempt Organizations division while the scheme was in place, retired in late 2013 – but not before assuring her own agency that no one in her division had developed the criteria that determined which conservative groups were targeted for special scrutiny.

    On April 2, 2013, she emailed IRS investigators about a 'Be On the Lookout' (BOLO) list that was circulated agency-wide.

    That list, she claimed, 'only contained a brief reference to "Organizations involved with the Tea Party movement".'

    She also suggested that government employees in her Cincinnati subagency were not actively looking for ways to 'label cases as "tea party” cases,' but had rules to follow.

    'Do the applications specify/state "tea party"?' she said one manager inquired about the proper yardstick to use. 'If not, how do we know [the] applicant is involved with the tea party movement?'

    Employees of one 'screening group manager' in Cincinnati, she said, reported that groups with 'Tea Party,' 'Patriots' or ’9/12 Project’ in their names qualified, along with groups that advocated against 'government spending, government debt and taxes,' those that would '[e]ducate the public through advocacy/legislative activities to make America a better place to live,' and those whose case files included statements 'that are critical of the how the country is being run.'

    Daily Mail
    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."