IRS: Oh, by the way, we improperly targeted conservative and tea-party groups last year; Update: No disciplinary action

posted at 11:21 am on May 10, 2013 by Allahpundit

No hard feelings?

The Internal Revenue Service is apologizing for inappropriately flagging conservative political groups for additional reviews during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status.

Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS unit that oversees tax-exempt groups, said organizations that included the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their applications for tax-exempt status were singled out for additional reviews.

Lerner said the practice, initiated by low-level workers in Cincinnati, was wrong and she apologized while speaking at a conference in Washington.

Tea-party groups complained endlessly about IRS harassment last year. February 28, 2012:

Tea Party chapters around the nation are blasting the Internal Revenue Service after the federal agency sent them letters demanding information about their politics, contributors and even family members.

In letters sent from IRS offices in Cincinnati earlier this month, chapters including the Waco (Texas) Tea Party and the Ohio Liberty Council were asked to provide a list of donors, identify volunteers, financial support for and relationships with political candidates and parties, and even printed copies of their Facebook pages…

Tea Party leaders say they were particularly offended by demands that they name donors and volunteers, which is required by law, but were also asked to list any political ambitions of board members or their relatives.

News of the harassment made it all the way up to Congress last spring — and yet only now, months after the election, are we finally seeing the IRS come clean. Go figure.

To this day, the left-wing Democratic water-carrying hacks known as Media Matters remain fully tax-exempt. Congressional hearings are now a fait accompli; what I want to know is who’s getting fired in the meantime. Obviously house will be cleaned at the Cincinnati branch. What about Lerner herself? Stand by for updates.

Update: I want to know why the word “patriot” in particular triggered some sort of extra scrutiny. That smells like something you’d see on “Hardball,” treating tea partiers as if they’re some sort of nascent domestic terrorists simply because McVeigh-type nuts often use the word “patriot” too. Is that what happened here, smearing tea party groups with guilt by rhetorical association? Or was this more straightforward harassment of a political opponent?

Update: Some of these tea-party groups have since been granted tax exemption thanks to the ACLJ, which has been litigating on their behalf for more than a year.

As a recap to this past year’s efforts on this front, when these groups submitted their initial requests to the IRS, the IRS did little or nothing with respect to their submitted applications and, in some instances, waited for over 18-20 months to respond.

Once we informed the IRS of our representation of these groups, within days of our taking action we began to receive a high level of cooperation from the agency with regard to these organizations’ files…

Our original assessment of these cases last year raised serious Constitutional concerns. These intrusive requests for extreme amounts of information – in their content, breadth, and vagueness – implicated the free speech rights of our clients and their organizations. As we stated before, requests for the personal information of the organization’s membership lists ran afoul of NAACP v. Alabama and implicated their rights to freedom of association…

As we noted in our extensive coverage of this story last year, the IRS appeared to have been using the routine process of seeking and granting tax exemptions to undertake a sweeping, top-down review of the internal workings of the Tea Party movement in the United States. Such a review is far beyond its mission and directly implicated the First Amendment rights of all citizens.

Here’s a PDF of some of the questions asked by the IRS. Note page 8.

Update: Lerner apparently claimed today that no higher-ups at the IRS knew and that the harassment was not motivated by political bias, even though progressive groups mysteriously seem to have been spared these intrusive inquiries.

In some cases, groups were asked for their list of donors, which violates IRS policy in most cases, she said.

“That was wrong. That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate. That’s not how we go about selecting cases for further review,” Lerner said at a conference sponsored by the American Bar Association.

“The IRS would like to apologize for that,” she added.

Update: Glenn Greenwald notes on Twitter that the New York Times dismissed tea partiers’ complaints about this last year and encouraged the IRS to be similarly aggressive towards other 501(c)(4) groups.

Update: Darrell Issa’s going to have a busy summer.

Update: Mary Katharine e-mails with this link to remind me that The One joked about punitive tax audits of his opponents after first taking office in 2009. Tee hee! Who’s getting fired for this clusterfark, champ?

Update: As is usually true for Democratic scandals, the media’s angle on the story will quickly become not the scandal itself but the GOP’s reaction to it. Don’t focus on the misdeeds, focus on the politics.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2 3

Libtard WaPo Greg Sargent now agrees….

Conservatives have themselves a real scandal on their hands

sentinelrules on May 10, 2013 at 2:36 PM

Some of the WaPo Comments are hallucinogenic.

investigate ALL tax exempt organizatons, especially the catholic church

mromon church

Considering the tea party has done significantly more damage to this country in recent years than any other group, including foreign terrorists…….flag away IRS.

In all honesty, most of these groups were astroturf organizations with deep ties to the Kochs and other other deep pocket conservatives and deserve some scrutiny.

“It Burns!”

Del Dolemonte on May 10, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Please. The FBI bugged, surveilled and harassed black activist groups be they moderates or radicals throughout the 60s and 70s. They had an entire unit just focused on illegally surveilling Martin Luther King, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, SNCC and the Panthers. This is nothing….

libfreeordie on May 10, 2013 at 1:16 PM

.
I’ve no doubt that there were “some” corrupt FBI managers who were sympathetic to the southern pro-segregationists, but the SNCC and the Black Panthers posed legitimate threats.
I also believe Dr Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated by our government TO HIJACK THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT.
FBI surveillance would have aided in that.
There hasn’t been ANY threat to ANY political opponents or other citizens by Tea Party activists.
.

The Lauryn Hill defense.

sentinelrules on May 10, 2013 at 2:06 PM

.
: )

listens2glenn on May 10, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Del Dolemonte on May 10, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Ugh.
You need a strong stomach to tolerate the stupidity in pretty much any WaPo comment section.

22044 on May 10, 2013 at 3:28 PM

“It Burns!”

Del Dolemonte on May 10, 2013 at 3:24 PM

I’ll call your Washington Post readers and raise you with Yahoo readers

AWW, poor little talibanteapeople! Must be really hard to be full of racist white men who control thier women or beat them into submission!!

Don’t ask me either what that has to do with anything. Obama voters do try so hard with their red herrings, and trying is all that matters.

So they overcharged a bunch of Uneducated D-Bags, thinking it is somehow cool to be running around in Triangle Hats and writing the dumbest signs. Whats the big deal?

They need to be taxed!

Isn’t it about time we separate church from state?

Another red herring…ho hum…where’s the jobs bill they promised.

It hemorrhages!

MNHawk on May 10, 2013 at 3:38 PM

I’ll call your Washington Post readers and raise you with Yahoo readers

If this is a contest, I submit Youtube comment sections. :)

Don’t ask me either what that has to do with anything. Obama voters do try so hard with their red herrings, and trying is all that matters.

Participation trophies & Tshirts for everyone!

It hemorrhages!

MNHawk on May 10, 2013 at 3:38 PM

Yep

22044 on May 10, 2013 at 3:41 PM

#381 Using the IRS to punish and harass political opponents

bitsy on May 10, 2013 at 3:16 PM

A few choice bits from the list of particulars justifying that severing with the King and Britain:

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

And then there are those of us who do the warning:

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Those trying to justify these acts, those trying to put forward moral equivalency, those trying not to sum up the entire multitude of these acts, we have thus warned time and time again and been scoffed at.

This is not new, either:

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

Deaf ears gain a high price to them as well, that deafness is not a short-term cost but a long-term one.

ajacksonian on May 10, 2013 at 3:50 PM

No Firings? No Prosecutions? Pitchforks and Torches people! This is what helped impeach Richard Nixon.

Article 2 of Impeachment:

1. He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavoured to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposed not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be intitiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.

Well Jug Ears…what do you have to say for yourself now?

glcinpdx on May 10, 2013 at 4:06 PM

To cptacek – or however it’s spelled – on page 1, asking what happened to the tea party suing over getting charged to use the park where OWS wasnt, in Richmond, I found this which said they were unsuccessful and got audited by the city for their trouble:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/29/richmond-tea-party-audit_n_1118303.html

Alana on May 10, 2013 at 4:07 PM

News of the harassment made it all the way up to Congress last spring — and yet only now, months after the election, are we finally seeing the IRS come clean. Go figure.

The release of this story and the apology is 0bama’s ‘hey look a squirrel’ tactic to take eyes off of Benghazi.

Brat on May 10, 2013 at 4:45 PM

Update: Mary Katharine e-mails with this link to remind me that The One joked about punitive tax audits of his opponents after first taking office in 2009. Tee hee! Who’s getting fired for this clusterfark, champ?

Messrs. One and Body, both with the first name of No.

Steve Eggleston on May 10, 2013 at 4:51 PM

No Firings? No Prosecutions? Pitchforks and Torches people! This is what helped impeach Richard Nixon.

Article 2 of Impeachment:

1. He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavoured to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposed not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be intitiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.

Well Jug Ears…what do you have to say for yourself now?

glcinpdx on May 10, 2013 at 4:06 PM

Let me channel ShorterObama – “It’s good to have presstitute organs and fellow Rats willing to sacrifice for me. Too bad Tricky Dicky didn’t have anybody to fall on their sword for him.”

Steve Eggleston on May 10, 2013 at 4:53 PM

Doesn’t someone need to go back to Ohio State University graduating seniors and correct the record on government tyranny..?

d1carter on May 10, 2013 at 5:13 PM

Impeachment time.

Punchenko on May 10, 2013 at 5:13 PM

Impeachment time.

Punchenko on May 10, 2013 at 5:13 PM

Lots of luck getting 40 Senators in this Congress to convict.

Steve Eggleston on May 10, 2013 at 5:18 PM

Apology not accepted.

I want names. I want heads. And I want recompensation for any costs incurred by these groups. With interest.

And then I want the IRS shut down and dismantled, brick by brick.

When all of that is done, then I’ll think about accepting your apology.

Chris of Rights on May 10, 2013 at 5:56 PM

Rush Limbaugh brought up a nugget from past wrong doing:

Article II, Section 1, of the Nixon impeachment articles were about the IRS being used to go after his political enemies. Obama made jokes about going after political enemies with IRS audits. Imagine this bunch now in charge of levying Obamacare fines?

It’s time to start talking about impeaching Obama. Seriously.

Zorro on May 10, 2013 at 5:56 PM

Why would they admit this today after denying it in the past? Maybe Republican fingerprints are on it.

Buddahpundit on May 10, 2013 at 6:22 PM

Please. The FBI bugged, surveilled and harassed black activist groups be they moderates or radicals throughout the 60s and 70s. They had an entire unit just focused on illegally surveilling Martin Luther King, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, SNCC and the Panthers. This is nothing….

libfreeordie on May 10, 2013 at 1:16 PM

Are you trying to make our point for us?

DFCtomm on May 10, 2013 at 6:30 PM

And what will the chosen guardians of the right … the GOP … do about this?

Again …

NOTHING.

HondaV65 on May 10, 2013 at 7:12 PM

Please. The FBI bugged, surveilled and harassed black activist groups be they moderates or radicals throughout the 60s and 70s. They had an entire unit just focused on illegally surveilling Martin Luther King, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, SNCC and the Panthers. This is nothing….

libfreeordie on May 10, 2013 at 1:16 PM

Hello????

The FBI, if they have any reason to investigate, do not hold Tea Party and other conservative groups exempt.

Apparently, the IRS, doesn’t consider conservative and Tea Party 501c (4) groups “exempt” either, but perhaps we’re just overreacting. Oh…wait, that’s right, they admitted that political targeting actually took place.

Hello???? McFly??!!!!

Saltysam on May 10, 2013 at 7:25 PM

The threat of prosecution for tax fraud is the Kremlin’s weapon of choice against anyone who dares to challenge its hegemony.

ITguy on May 10, 2013 at 7:44 PM

You’re letting a lot of replies back-up on you here, libfree’.

Too much to handle ?

listens2glenn on May 10, 2013 at 7:45 PM

Please. The FBI bugged ….

libfreeordie on May 10, 2013 at 1:16 PM

Tool.

CW on May 10, 2013 at 8:25 PM

Please. The FBI bugged ….

libfreeordie on May 10, 2013 at 1:16 PM

Tool.

CW on May 10, 2013 at 8:25 PM

More like – “Please. The Sainted RFK bugged ….”

slickwillie2001 on May 10, 2013 at 9:11 PM

Government thuggery. Even with an open admission of guilt there are no repercussions? How is this at least not a civil rights case? We now have a full blown rogue government.

ghostwalker1 on May 10, 2013 at 9:34 PM

Time to dust off my copy of Unintended Consequences, I guess.

fossten on May 10, 2013 at 11:52 PM

Good thing there is no real journalism left in America or Obama would be in trouble.

profitsbeard on May 11, 2013 at 1:22 AM

I see that Libfree is using the old 2 wrongs make a right excuse.

I suppose that means she will be fine when the next republican president uses the IRS or FBI to punish liberal groups. After all, we will be able to say that Obama did it, therefore excusing it this time.

As always, liberals are idiots.

Monkeytoe on May 11, 2013 at 6:46 AM

Please. The FBI bugged ….

libfreeordie on May 10, 2013 at 1:16 PM

The FBI was bugging MLK during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. In case you don’t remember they both were Democrat.

banzaibob on May 11, 2013 at 7:42 AM

Lerner said the practice, initiated by low-level workers in Cincinnati, was wrong and she apologized while speaking at a conference in Washington.

“The IRS would like to apologize for that,” she added.

This is more wide spread than just one city. That’s a joke.

Oh yeah.. we’ve destroyed innocent people’s lives by targeting them politically and threatening them and their families with financial ruin, fines and imprisonment…. so we’d like to make it all better with an apology.

JellyToast on May 11, 2013 at 8:35 AM

Did I miss this in any of the posts? Those greedy lawyers got to be lurking somewhere around this.
What I’d like to know is how much wealth did lawyers amass defending these conservative groups?
Darn, first the groups, then the individuals; quick, change your (R) to (I).

Belle on May 11, 2013 at 11:43 AM

The FBI was bugging MLK during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. In case you don’t remember they both were Democrat.

banzaibob on May 11, 2013 at 7:42 AM

“But they were not communists, thus they were not Ds” — libtard

Schadenfreude on May 11, 2013 at 2:03 PM

“But they were not communists, thus they were not Ds” — libtard

Schadenfreude on May 11, 2013 at 2:03 PM

MLK had no more interest in Communism besides “any port in a storm”…and maybe as a way to give Racistland the willies. Yanno, since the USSR was a major threat at the time. Too bad the Fumbling Bumbling Idiots didn’t give Malcom I-need-an-attitude-adjustment the same amount of attention they did to a peaceful preacher. (nice job, guys.)

MelonCollie on May 12, 2013 at 9:40 AM

Comment pages: 1 2 3