The plot surrounding the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and its targeting of conservative groups, thickened this weekend. An Inspector General’s report confirmed what many observers suspected: the IRS has targeted conservative groups for years. Worse yet, a Commissioner of Internal Revenue perjured himself before Congress last year. And now even a liberal Democrat criticized the IRS for its behavior.
The latest IRS reports
Breitbart News’ Tony Lee reports on what a Treasury Inspector General said. He cites this report by Stephen Ohlemacher of The Associated Press. The gist: the higher-ups at the IRS knew what their Cincinnati agents were doing even in 2011. What were they doing? Any time a group having “Tea Party” or “Patriot” in its name filed for recognition of a tax exemption, the agents would question them and question them to delay that tax exemption as long as they could. They forced 25 of these organizations to withdraw their applications.
The IG implicates Lois G. Lerner, the manager-in-charge of all Section 501(c) applications (Forms 1023), with knowing about the practice on June 29, 2011. She, of course, has acted as if she only recently discovered it.
Worse: Commissioner of Internal Revenue Douglas Shulman, on March 22, 2012, denied anyone at the IRS was doing anything wrong.
There’s absolutely no targeting. This is the kind of back and forth that happens when people apply for 501(c)(4)….
Mr. Shulman, CNAV has a partnership stake in a bridge spanning the Potomac River that it would like to offer for sale. A bridge named, appropriately enough, for Woodrow Wilson, who gave us the income tax.
Even Dennis Kucinich can’t stomach this
That’s right: former Representative (and one-time Mayor of Cleveland) Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) acted on Fox News Sunday as if he had a stake in a bridge spanning the Cuyahoga River, that he would like to sell to Mr. Shulman, Ms. Lerner, or someone else at the IRS.
You have to look at the irony here…some of the letters [and] words they used for profiling of political affiliation: Bill of Rights, Constitution, Patriot.
We cannot have a condition in America where a person’s politics is the basis for IRS attacks.
When Chris Wallace asked him whether he bought the story about low-level rogue agents, the former mayor said:
The tone is set from the top. That’s a from problem we have to look at here. The tone that sets. We are in a hyper partisan, intentionally partisan condition in Washington that the polarization is damaging to our country and we’re seeing another symptom of it here.
From the top, the former mayor said. In other words, Mr. Kucinich just accused Barack Obama himself. Not so much of issuing direct orders to the IRS, as letting people know – by his tone – that people in government could prove to him that they loved him, by targeting these conservative groups.
And pro-Israel groups, too. The Israel advocacy group “Z Street” sued the IRS back in 2010 after an IRS agent brazenly told them they would face “additional scrutiny” – in other words, special grief – for being pro-Israel. (Source: Lori Lowenthal Marcus, Jewish Press.)
Z STREET was informed explicitly by an IRS Agent on July 19, 2010, that approval of Z STREET’s application for tax-exempt status has been at least delayed, and may be denied, because of a special IRS policy in place regarding organizations in any way connected with Israel, and further that the applications of many such Israel-related organizations have been assigned to “a special unit in the D.C. office to determine whether the organization’s activities contradict the Administration’s public policies.” These statements by an IRS official that the IRS maintains special policies (hereinafter the “Israel Special Policy”) governing applications for tax-exempt status by organizations which deal with Israel, and which requires particularly intense scrutiny of such applications and an enhanced risk of denial if made by organizations which espouse or support positions inconsistent with the Obama administration’s Israel policies, constitute an explicit admission of the crudest form of viewpoint discrimination, and one which is both totally un-American and flatly unconstitutional under the First Amendment.
Demand: investigate the IRS
The Tea Party Patriots group is one group that the IRS targeted. In light of reports that the IRS knows more than they’re telling, they demand an investigation.
The House might oblige them. The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight demanded that the IRS give them, by Wednesday, every e-mail or other memo in which they so much as mention “Tea Party”, “Patriot,” or “conservative.” (Source: Greg Richter, Newsmax.com.) And Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) pointed out the obvious: those IRS agents never gave any such grief to groups having “progress(ive)” in their names. And that if they were rogue agents, the IRS would have fired them long ago and made that fact public.
These reports leave one more mystery: why did Lois Lerner open her big fat mouth to a group of tax lawyers at the American Bar Association, to start this latest scandal?
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) thinks she knows. After all, she used to be a tax lawyer. She told Bob Unruh at WND that this was no accident. The Obama administration used a “Friday dump day” to distract from the Benghazi attack cover-up scandal.
The Obama administration now has two problems, according to Bachmann. First, they just threw the 2012 election into doubt. After all, the IRS targeted Obama’s political opponents – during that election campaign.
Second, the Benghazi scandal won’t give way even to this. Why not?
Conservatives can handle two shocking stories at the same time. Both are equally unconstitutional and call into question the very president.
Especially since both stories confirm what conservatives have long suspected – and complained about.
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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