This story has LEGS. Update 5-11-13 10:23 pm. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Boustany sends a letter to acting IRS Commissioner Steve Miller demanding ALL communication re: conservative groups be turned over by Wednesday, May 15, 2013.
Update May 11, 2013 10:04 pm.
Jewish group is filing a lawsuit against IRS for saying they were under “additional scrutiny” because they were connected to Israel. IRS KNEW as early as 2011 Tea Parties were being targeted but continued.
In February of 2012 I was asked to be part of a team to investigate the IRS slow-walking of tax exempt status requests and what soon became the apparent harassment of Conservative groups and Tea Parties.
As the demand letters from the IRS poured in asking for voluminous information such as group members, copies of Facebook pages, who speakers were, copies of website pages, etc. it appeared these groups had been targeted in an election year probably to deplete funds and time. The IRS has been used for political purposes for years but this raises the question whether and if any person or group disagrees with the federal government could they be targeted for audit or worse.
Interestingly enough the IRS letters originated from the same office and were signed by the same personnel no matter what state the liberty group was in: HI, OH, KY, TX, VA, NJ and more. And that office was in Cincinnati, Ohio.
My last entry is here .
Leading the charge was former Ohio Liberty Council (now Ohio Liberty Coalition) president Tom Zawistowski. Through the efforts of many Tea Party leaders and with the assistance of crack liberty defender Jay Sekulow and his American Center for Liberty and Justice the ball started rolling with Congressional representatives including Darrell Issa and Jim Jordan sending “demand letters” to the IRS asking them to respond to these unusual intrusions and questions asked by the IRS.
The Congressional representatives gave the IRS the same amount of time to respond as *they* gave the Tea Parties and other liberty groups: about two weeks and using the same language as the IRS.
The Ohio Liberty Coalition stated to the IRS they would not comply with the demands and finally got their tax exempt status in December of 2012. About one month after the election. Coincidence maybe, but:
Out of the blue on May 10 of this year IRS agent Lois Lerner, who heads the tax-exempt unit, issued an *apology* to these liberty groups:
At a lawyers’ conference in Washington, Lois Lerner, a senior IRS career employee who overseas tax exempt organizations, admitted that agency employees singled out particular groups for extra scrutiny using key words with political overtones. “They used names like tea party or patriots. And they selected cases simply because the application had those names in the title. That was wrong. The IRS would like to apologize for that,” said Lerner.
But this contradicts testimony of former IRS Chief Douglas Schulman who stated:
“There’s absolutely no targeting. This is the kind of back-and-forth process that happens when people apply,” said Shulman.
Tom Zawistowski issued this statement via email:
Tom Zawistowski, Executive Director of the Portage County TEA Party and recent Past President of the Ohio Liberty Coalition, which first refused to comply with the IRS demands for information in February of 2012, said “We will accept Ms. Lerner’s apology as being appropriate, because what the IRS did was wrong and we proved it was wrong. However, we can not accept her statement that this attack on our organizations and our liberty was orchestrated by low-level IRS employees in the Cincinnati office. We have proof that the same questions were being asked of groups from Virginia to Hawaii. We have further proof that agents admitted that they were being told by “higher ups” not to process applications from “TEA Party Groups”. Our legal representatives, the American Center for Law and Justice, has information from groups all over the nation that substantiate this pattern of abuse.”
WASHINGTON- Ahead of an impending report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), the Internal Revenue Service today disclosed that it had targeted certain tax-exempt organizations for their political beliefs.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio., requested the IG look into allegations of political retaliation last June. In response to the today’s disclosure and apology by IRS, Issa and Jordan issued the following statement:
“The fact that Americans were targeted by the IRS because of their political beliefs is unconscionable. The Committee will aggressively follow up on the IG report and hold responsible officials accountable for this political retaliation.”
This story which broke on a Friday afternoon in the midst of the Benghazi debacle made more headlines, with the AP, CBS and even NBC picking it up than it did when the original complaints originated last year.