September 18, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
Did the IRS take it upon itself to enforce lèse-majesté — or did the White House demand it? USA Today uncovered internal IRS documents from 2011 that show targeting of groups for “anti-Obama rhetoric” and “emotional” statements by non-profits:
Newly uncovered IRS documents show the agency flagged political groups based on the content of their literature, raising concerns specifically about ”anti-Obama rhetoric,” inflammatory language and “emotional” statements made by non-profits seeking tax-exempt status.
The internal 2011 documents, obtained by USA TODAY, list 162 groups by name, with comments by Internal Revenue Service lawyers in Washington raising issues about their political, lobbying and advocacy activities. In 21 cases, those activities were characterized as “propaganda.”
The 2011 date has one interesting parallel. Two years ago (almost to the day), the White House rolled out its own version of a lèse-majesté intimidation mechanism — “Attack Watch.” That didn’t last long in the sunlight, after widespread criticism and derision forced the White House to shelve it, although the Obama campaign tried to bring it back in February 2012 as the “Truth Team.”
So, did the IRS just feel inspired by Attack Watch, or did the White House just transfer the effort? The date on the IRS document is November 16, 2011, well after Attack Watch became more or less moribund in the public eye.
Supposedly, the IRS was concerned about “propaganda” in its attempt to enforce 501(c)(4) status, but the actual tax law doesn’t mention “propaganda” as a barrier to tax-exempt status:
“The political motivations of this are so patently obvious, but then to have a document that spells it out like this is very damaging to the IRS,” said Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the ACLJ. “I hope the FBI has seen these documents.”
The IRS categorized the groups as engaging in several advocacy-related activities that could have barred them from tax-exempt status, such as lobbying and “propaganda.”
But the word “propaganda” doesn’t appear in section 501(c)(4), which governs the social welfare status that most Tea Party groups were applying for, said John Colombo, a law professor at the University of Illinois. Instead, it appears in section 501(c)(3), which governs public charities.
“There would be no reason I would think to flag them if it’s for a 501(c)(4) status,” Colombo said. “That’s very odd to me.”
The IRS targeted 162 groups in this effort, of which only 11 were liberal groups, according to USA Today. Jeff Dunetz predicts that Democrats in Congress will claim that this demonstrates even-handedness by the IRS, but don’t be fooled:
Liberals will be happy to learn that out of the 162 groups mentioned on the 2011 documents at least 11 of them are progressive organizations, giving them the ability to say, “See they weren’t targeting conservative groups.” …
What the report doesn’t show is which of these groups eventually were approved and the difference in waiting times between the conservative and progressive organizations. Either way the ratio of conservative/progressive organizations targeted indicate that there was something rotten going on in the IRS offices in DC.
When the IRS starts targeting political dissent for scrutiny, they have stopped being a revenue collector and have become instead a political enforcer. That’s dangerous for all Americans, and Congress needs to demand and enforce immediate reform in the IRS. They also need to find out who ordered the targeting, regardless of how high up it goes.
- IRS list reveals concerns over Tea Party ‘propaganda’ (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Obomba IRS Scandal (tarpon.wordpress.com)
- IRS documents from 2011 show the agency flagged political groups’ ‘anti-Obama’ language – @USAToday (usatoday.com)
June 6, 2013 By Greg Richards
In testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee Monday, we heard from Alexis de Toqueville’s “little battalions” of social relationships, political pedagogy, and cultural argument — i.e., the soul of American civic society. These are the ones who were abused by the IRS in being denied timely consideration of their applications for tax-exempt status to put them on a level playing field with the forces of the left. And shocking testimony it was, well worth watching on C-SPAN (www.c-span.org, then look for “Conservative Groups Testify on IRS Scrutiny”).
In an essay three days ago in American Thinker, Herbert E. Meyer (who, as vice chairman for National Intelligence Estimates at the CIA, in the face of overwhelming conventional wisdom, including from the Agency itself, identified for William Casey and President Reagan that the Soviet Union, far from being a permanent presence on the world scene, was in fact decaying from inside and on the verge of collapse, thus providing the basis for Reagan’s strategy to win the Cold War) suggested that there would never be a smoking gun in the IRS conspiracy because (a) it is not necessary and (b) that is not the way things work at the top. The leftists are all working from the same playbook.
Sander Levin, the ranking Democratic member of House Ways and Means, in what is doubtless his understanding of what went wrong, said in his opening statement, “The handling of these applications was gross mismanagement by the IRS Exempt Organization Division.”
But it wasn’t. It was a well-executed mission.
Remember the status of the Tea Party. It had sprung up spontaneously after Rick Santelli on CNBC struck a nerve by articulating the unfairness of the bailouts by the federal government. The Tea Party had no organization. It had no single leader or leadership structure. And yet it struck the 2010 elections like a tuna hitting a fishing line and returned control of the House to the Republicans.
So when the left in all its components — and remember that there are no stronger advocates of high bureaucratic pay and big government than those who work for it — looked out at the coming landscape for the 2012 election, what was the greatest threat? Another strike at the polls by the Tea Party, which at that time did not show up on conventional measurements of political activity and power.
The Tea Party and its confrères represented a real but unmeasurable threat not just to the Obama administration per se, but to the leftist project in general. It was a new, anti-leftist force that had to be brought under control.
What is the real attitude of the IRS to conservatives? Contempt. Which we saw from both Mr. Shulman and Mr. Miller, former and removed acting commissioners of the IRS, last week.
Question to Douglas Shulman, IRS commissioner for five years until late last year: “It appears you visited the White House 95 times [since increased] during your tenure as IRS Commissioner. What did you do on those visits?”
Mr. Shulman: “Participated in the Easter Egg Roll with my children.”
But if we are not likely to get a smoking gun and if the IRS has a culture of contempt for conservatives, what can we expect to get from these hearings? A lot. Not least the vocabulary to deal with the crisis.
Targeting of conservative groups and suppressing of conservative participation in the public forum by the IRS…
…is not “a mistake.”
…is not “a failure.”
…is not “due to incompetence.”
…is not “a breakdown.”
Rather, it is a manifestation of the leftist project. A leftist storm has blown through the IRS, and we are seeing in the hearings the debris line left by that storm. But now that the IRS has been infested by the leftist project, cleaning up the debris is not enough.
If conservative cultural and political activity is to continue unmolested in this country, the IRS must be eliminated. It is too disdainful of American mores, and it is too powerful. Neither of those things will change with a new commissioner and whatever is the final disposition of Lois Lerner.
Of course, the nation must have a revenue collection agency. As a first cut, perhaps the new agency would have six regional and independent divisions. They would be located in offices around the country, and there would be no single IRS commissioner in Washington.
The six agency heads would report to Congress every six months on the activities of their agencies on penalty of perjury. There would be new offices of ombudsman for each regional agency. The ombudsmen would testify to Congress along with the agency heads every six months as to the number and type of complaints they had received and what had been the disposition of those complaints.
All salaries in the new six agencies would start at 10% below the equivalent levels in the current IRS. There would be no union in the six agencies, because the agencies must represent the interests of the country and that alone. Something like that.
The current IRS is sick and corrupt. This is what the Democrats, even the ones appalled by the activities just revealed, do not understand. They think this behavior is isolated. It isn’t. It is the leftist project come to fruition, promoting unlimited power for government and brooking no opposition.
The limited government of enumerated powers created by the Founding Fathers and embedded in the Constitution is illegitimate in the eyes of the left. That is why this mission was not “a mistake.”
We must act on this knowledge, or we will be complicit in the dispossession of our liberty. They say about power, “Use it or lose it.” We must act while we still can.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013 by: J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) The criminality and illegitimacy of the federal government continues to grow, this time with the disclosure that a former U.S. attorney intentionally released a document aimed at discrediting a whistleblower in the “Operation Fast and Furious” scandal.
A new report from the Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General has confirmed that Dennis Burke, former U.S. attorney for Arizona, leaked a document that was intended to smear John Dodson, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Department of Justice agency which launched the operation that saw thousands of semi-automatic, military-style rifles purchased in the U.S. by straw buyers fall into the hands of Mexican drug gangs.
From the report:
On July 8, 2011, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) received information from an attorney representing John Dodson, a Special Agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), concerning the alleged unauthorized disclosure of sensitive ATF information. According to Dodson’s attorney, Dodson had received an e-mail from a Fox News producer asking for comment about excerpts from an internal ATF investigative memorandum that Dodson had drafted and which described a proposed undercover operation for an ATF firearms investigation…
Dodson’s attorney alleged that officials within the DOJ had disclosed the memorandum to retaliate against Dodson for his criticism of the conduct of the firearms trafficking investigation referred to as Operation Fast and Furious. On June 15, 2011, shortly before the alleged unauthorized disclosure, Dodson and other ATF agents had expressed their concerns about Operation Fast and Furious during testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Sorry – it was just a ‘mistake’
The DOJ IG report went on to state that the office launched an investigation shortly after receiving the complaint.
According to details of the investigation, on Aug. 16, 2011, Burke contacted an IG investigative counsel by phone to say he had indeed released the memorandum to the media, adding that the reporter “seemed to be familiar with the contents of the … memorandum before Burke provided it to him,” the report said.
In tracking down the details of the disclosure, investigators solicited sworn statements from 150 of 152 employees who had been identified by the Justice Department as having had access to documents provided to congressional panels looking into the failed operation. Of that figure, the IG’s office singled out five for additional interviews because they had indicated some knowledge of the memorandum’s release.
In its report, the IG concluded that indeed “Burke’s conduct in disclosing the Dodson memorandum to be inappropriate for a Department employee and wholly unbefitting a U.S. Attorney.”
“We are referring to OPR our finding that Burke violated Department policy in disclosing the Dodson memorandum to a member of the media for a determination of whether Burke’s conduct violated the Rules of Professional Conduct for the state bars in which Burke is a member,” the IG report said.
Burke eventually resigned his position as U.S. Attorney following the incident, in August 2011. He became the first major Justice Department official to leave his or her position in the Fast and Furious scandal.
In interviews with congressional investigators after the fact, Burke said he now views his leaking of the memorandum as a “mistake.”
Besides uncovering Burke’s involvement in leaking the document, the IG investigation also turned up emails between senior Department of Justice officials in which they discussed smearing Dodson.
One of those officials was Tracy Scmaler, director of the Justice Department’s Office of Public Affairs. She resigned her position at DOJ “after emails uncovered through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request showed that she worked with left wing advocacy group Media Matters for America to smear whistleblowers and members of Congress and the media who sought to investigate DOJ scandals under Attorney General Eric Holder,” Breitbart News reported.
Rule by executive fiat
Obama is being blamed for many of these scandals and, as president and head of the Executive Branch of government, he is certainly culpable.
But only to an extent.
Granted, Obama has worked overtime to expand the power of the presidency, but he inherited an office whose role had already been enlarged far beyond anything the founding fathers envisioned for the Executive Branch. But Congress is culpable as well, for the Legislative Branch has, over the past century, relegated its lawmaking authority to the plethora of federal bureaucracies it has created.
And the president controls them.
Decrying bureaucracy and advocating for smaller government shouldn’t be a political slogan. It should be a demand of every freedom-minded, liberty loving American. That’s because we are no longer being “represented” by our elected leaders, we are being “ruled” by federal agencies.
That is not the “republican form of government” our Constitution guarantees.