Senate Finance Committee issues request for detailed information on IRS targeting scandal by May 31st

posted at 2:01 pm on May 20, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

The House has already begun its investigation of the IRS scandal, with Friday’s hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee. The Senate Finance Committee will follow in short order, and it has already issued a “request” for detailed information from the agency about its targeting of conservative groups over the last three years. Ironically, it looks a lot like the kind of request that the agency sent out to those groups, with 41 demands and just 11 days to respond. The letter, provided by a source on Capitol Hill, shows that the questioning is likely to feel a lot like an audit:

1. Provide a copy of any and all questions, questionnaires and information requests used by the IRS to attempt to elicit additional information from 501(c)(3)-(6) applicants from February 1, 2010 to the present regarding their donor lists, volunteer lists, financial support for, and relationships with, political candidates, and any and all other similar information.

That should keep the IRS busy with its self-audit for the next week and a half.  Max Baucus and Orrin Hatch are going directly after the Lois Lerner defense, too:

4. How many applications for each tax-exempt status, 501(c) (3)-(6), were filed and processed each year from FY 2005 through the present? In addition, provide the number of people in the Determinations Unit tasked with handling these applications during each fiscal year.

They’re also looking at whether anyone in Congress may have pressured them into targeting the Tea Party:

29. Provide copies of all documents, between any IRS employee and anyone else, including, but not limited to, individuals outside of the IRS, that were generated as a consequence of, or relate to, the letters sent by members of the Congress to the IRS since 2012 regarding the issue of inappropriately targeting organizations seeking 501 (c) (4) status for heightened scrutiny.

A few of the questions focus on the disclosure of confidential applications and records to ProPublica and Human Rights Watch, apparently intended to embarrass political opponents of the administration during the election cycle.  But #39 goes for the whole enchilada:

39. Provide documents relating to communications between any and all IRS employees and any and all White House employees including, but not limited to, the President, regarding the targeting of organizations seeking 501 (c)(3), (4), (5), or (6) tax-exempt status for full development or heightened scrutiny based on the existence of certain words or phrases  in their applications, from February 2010 to the present.  This includes any documents relating to communications received by any IRS employee from the White House or Treasury, whether or not the IRS employee was simply the recipient of such a communication from either the White House or Treasury.

The implications of finding such communications are clear enough.  If there’s fire in that smoke, the White House could well claim executive privilege to block Congressional access to it.  If that happens, we’ve entered the special-prosecutor zone.

Yesterday, Senator Rob Portman — a member of the Finance Committee himself — predicts that a special prosecutor will be appointed to fully investigate the scandal at some point:

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) on Sunday said he believed a special counsel to investigate the IRS targeting scandal would ultimately be “necessary.”

Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” Portman welcomed an inspector general’s report and the launch of congressional hearings, but said there were still many unanswered questions.

“I also think that special counsel is going to end up being necessary here, because it has to be independent of the White House,” said Portman of the ongoing investigation.

“What we do know is that politics was put ahead of the public interest. And it was done in two of the most sensitive areas of our government. One, of course, the tax collection agency, which has this enormous power over all of us.

And second, our national security,” said Portman referring to the Justice Department’s seizure of journalists’ phone records in a leak probe.

“There’s a lot of issues here we need to get bottom of. We need to find out what really happened and ensure that we can begin to regain some trust in our government. That’s my concern,” he added.

I’m with Tom Price on this.  It’s too soon to ask for a special prosecutor, and will be until evidence is found of specific crimes above the front-rank level.  A special prosecutor will stop these Congressional investigations in their tracks, and might end up stalling accountability rather than facilitating it.  Let the committees do their work, even with Democrats complaining every step of the way that free speech is really the big scandal here, as Charlie Rangel and Bob Menendez end up arguing here.

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By May 31st??

I’d tell them, “I want this stuff YESTERDAY, and you’ll be receiving a subpoena every damn day until I get it.”

CurtZHP on May 20, 2013 at 2:04 PM

President Bulworth shows big finger.

Schadenfreude on May 20, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Why start at #’s 1 and 39 at February 2010? Why use “since 2012″ for #29? It takes a while for a circus like this to get rolling….why not start all inquiries at January, 2009?

cthulhu on May 20, 2013 at 2:07 PM

Time to invoke some Executive Privilege.

Liam on May 20, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Isn’t it already known that some Senate Democrats called for the IRS to target the Tea Party?

supernova on May 20, 2013 at 2:10 PM

The Senate Committee ought to ask for all the details of the personal information of each of the IRS slugs involved in this. Their Farcebook posts, emails, bank statements, travel …

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on May 20, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Isn’t it already known that some Senate Democrats called for the IRS to target the Tea Party?

supernova on May 20, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Six of them, last count I saw, including Schumer.

Liam on May 20, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Hey maybe suddenly , a big power surge in the Islamic Retribution Service buildings will fry all their computers today
;-)
then the sprinklers will go off, suddenly ofcourse , flooding and dissolving all the hard copies and paper work.
Things happen you know !!!

burrata on May 20, 2013 at 2:11 PM

This

Schadenfreude on May 20, 2013 at 2:12 PM

If they are like the DOJ it will be slow in responding, if at all. Their arrogance was demonstrated last week.

TerryW on May 20, 2013 at 2:13 PM

When Obama avoided the question about when he knew about all of this and talked about the I.G report, I think that might mean that he knows somewhere out there is his first hand knowledge or involvement in this.

newportmike on May 20, 2013 at 2:14 PM

If they deny the requested documentation or emails exist, then what?

Charlemagne on May 20, 2013 at 2:14 PM

What about a DOJ investigation in light of the news three FOX reporters were hit with search warrants by the DOJ for doing their jobs?

wyntre9 on May 20, 2013 at 2:14 PM

This

Schadenfreude on May 20, 2013 at 2:12 PM

“I know of at least 5 Colleen Kelleys.” — Jay The Carney

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on May 20, 2013 at 2:15 PM

How about an investigation into the DOJ official who released info meant to smear the F & F whistleblower?

wyntre9 on May 20, 2013 at 2:16 PM

Let’s be happy for this scandal, but let’s also be cautious for now. The worst thing that can happen is for us to repeat the mistakes of 1998 and the Clinton impeachment. The calmer, the more mature we sound in discussing these scandals, the less of backlash we will provoke. A backlash could undermine what would have been a good year for us in 2014.

thuja on May 20, 2013 at 2:17 PM

Jay Carney on TV now telling lies as usual.

birdwatcher on May 20, 2013 at 2:18 PM

They forgot to ask for all future communications……..and prayers, they forgot to ask about prayers, past, present and future.

antipc on May 20, 2013 at 2:18 PM

Isn’t it already known that some Senate Democrats called for the IRS to target the Tea Party?

supernova on May 20, 2013 at 2:10 PM

check this out :
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/05/20/is-this-the-smoking-gun-that-ties-the-irs-scandal-to-the-white-house/

burrata on May 20, 2013 at 2:18 PM

Ironically, it looks a lot like the kind of request that the agency sent out to those groups, with 41 demands and just 11 days to respond.

At some point a special prosecutor is going have to be appointed. There is just too much going on for Congress to effectively investigate all these criminals. It is either a special prosecutor or buying that empty prison in Illinois so that the hearings might continue with proper accomodations for former members of the current administration.

Happy Nomad on May 20, 2013 at 2:21 PM

The calmer, the more mature we sound in discussing these scandals, the less of backlash we will provoke. A backlash could undermine what would have been a good year for us in 2014.

thuja on May 20, 2013 at 2:17 PM

These scandals are not going anywhere. Exposing them is the best thing that we can hope for. Any incumbent Democrat running for office in 2014 needs to own these scandals as their very own and defend why the IRS should be the enforcement agency for Obamacare.

Happy Nomad on May 20, 2013 at 2:23 PM

ok..

Rangel.. and Mendez?

a long time tax cheat and an underage prostitute abuser?

This is the democrat party’s response team?

and they have the GALL to call republican oversight a scandal?

These two scumbags should be tarred feathered and driven out of DC on a rail..

there is no shame at all in the corruption party, none.

mark81150 on May 20, 2013 at 2:23 PM

Let’s be happy for this scandal, but let’s also be cautious for now. The worst thing that can happen is for us to repeat the mistakes of 1998 and the Clinton impeachment. The calmer, the more mature we sound in discussing these scandals, the less of backlash we will provoke. A backlash could undermine what would have been a good year for us in 2014.

thuja on May 20, 2013 at 2:17 PM

I get so tired of hearing this. The dems pushed that stupid Valerie Plain joke of a case and had the Bush administration wrapped up in court proceedings for over a year – over NOTHING but lies on the part of the left, including a prosecutor who knew from the very start that Armitadge had been the source of the fake leak (as Val was known to be a super-dooper-double-secret-probation spy by the Washington cocktail crowd, anyway). They brought the administration to a standstill over nothing. Jailed Scooter Libby over nothing. And, in the end, got nothing but that. But people worry about pursuing the most criminal and only truly anti-American administration in history that has made a mockery of the Constitution and the very idea of the Rule of Law on a constant basis since the ineligible Indonesian retard slimed into office – even before, as the douche had broken all manner of laws during the 2008 campaign.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on May 20, 2013 at 2:25 PM

gop theater…….they knew last year…..and they did shinola.

#fail

PappyD61 on May 20, 2013 at 2:25 PM

The IRS will not give up the dem Congressman who wanted the target

cmsinaz on May 20, 2013 at 2:25 PM

Want more proof the POS treats dims and non-dims differently? From Breitbart:

“News reports from the time indicate the now-chief counsel of the IRS, William Wilkins, helped a church connected to President Barack Obama’s friend Rev. Jeremiah Wright get out of an IRS probe in 2008 while working as a private attorney.

“Lawyers from Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr have won the dismissal of an IRS case against United Church of Christ, Sen. Barack Obama’s denomination,” The American Lawyer’s Zach Lowe wrote on May 22, 2008.”

wyntre9 on May 20, 2013 at 2:28 PM

ABC kicks off their segment with a soundbite of a Democrat saying it’s all just political bootstrapping? Aren’t soundbites supposed to pique interest or at least contain actual information? They might as well just come out an say, “please don’t watch this segment. We’re only covering it to say we covered it. Now here’s boring ol’ Rob Portman and that corrupt pervert from New Jersey. Let’s get this over with boys.”

forest on May 20, 2013 at 2:30 PM

Let the committees do their work, even with Democrats complaining every step of the way that free speech is really the big scandal here, as Charlie Rangel and Bob Menendez end up arguing here.

I guess government employees violating their oaths to the Constitution is no big deal. After all it’s such an old and dusty document.

NotCoach on May 20, 2013 at 2:30 PM

How about an investigation into the DOJ official who released info meant to smear the F & F whistleblower?

wyntre9 on May 20, 2013 at 2:16 PM

How about an investigation into how a pro-life’s request for tax-exempt status finds its way into pro publica’s filthy paws (along with several other groups) in time for them to trumpet the fact that Romeny gave the pro-lifers a contribution. There is a fundamental expectation of privacy when one provides the government information. That was clearly violated. This is not simply bad customer service- somebody needs to go to jail.

Happy Nomad on May 20, 2013 at 2:31 PM

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on May 20, 2013 at 2:25 PM

Good point.

wyntre9 on May 20, 2013 at 2:31 PM

You betcha Liam @2:10

Can’t do nothing about that.darn
-holder

cmsinaz on May 20, 2013 at 2:34 PM

O/T Breitbart has switched to Disqus commenting software. This is good news and bad news for me. I can now comment at Breitbart, but, I have yet to see Disqus comments make it through the firewalls where I work, on any blog, including MM. Have to wait until I get home.

HA! Please don’t switch!

TerryW on May 20, 2013 at 2:38 PM

Without a Special Prosecutor, these thugs from the IRS will continue to lie, obfuscate and dissemble in Congressional committees. Being put in real legal jeopardy with federal agents interviewing them can shake them out of their assurance from management that they are safe.

This is also too big for any Congressional committee. Off the top of my head here’s a quick hit list:

-find out process by which IRS was tasked to go after hundreds of conservative groups, including the shadow greedy-union management structure.

-track down leaks of confidential information, from Governor Romney to Vandersloot, Adelson, etc. Probably dozens. This investigation will leak over into George Soros organizations that received the stolen information.

-uncover the mechanism for involving other federal government agencies in harrassment. It appears that there is a Superlist of targets outside of the IRS that other agencies like OSHA, ATF, Labor, EPA, etc, have access to. Include shadow greedy-union management structure.

-uncover trickle-down audit process. When the IRS scored names of donors and members of conservative organizations, those people were targeted with personal audits. Include shadow greedy-union management structure.

These are massive investigations each requiring a staff of investigators. Each federal department has its own Congressional committee that has purview, the committee doing the IRS now can’t do it all. Unless we want every Congressional committee there is holding hearings, it needs to be turned over to a Special Prosecutor.

slickwillie2001 on May 20, 2013 at 2:39 PM

Has anybody else noticed how similar “Determinations Unit” sounds to “Death Panel”?

RushBaby on May 20, 2013 at 2:45 PM

A backlash could undermine what would have been a good year for us in 2014.

thuja on May 20, 2013 at 2:17 PM

Nobody, including you, knows what will happen in 2014. That election is 17 months and change away. It might be a good year for conservatives then again it might be a terrible year. We need to deal with what is on the table now and let the cards fall where they will.

chemman on May 20, 2013 at 2:49 PM

Whether we’ll ever get those answers or not is important, of course, but am I the only one who got a little chuckle when reading all of those demands ??
Talk about turning tables… LOL.
Yeah, I’m shallow … ;-)

pambi on May 20, 2013 at 2:50 PM

This is coming from the Senate? That means Reid can see which way the wind is blowing and is at least tacitly allowing this to proceed. The language and scope of the questions are what I would expect from a Republican controlled House, but not from a Democrat controlled Senate.

This is getting more and more interesting by the day. If Reid and company are already
running away from Obama, then they must suspect that there is some “there” there….

nukemhill on May 20, 2013 at 2:53 PM

This is coming from the Senate? That means Reid can see which way the wind is blowing and is at least tacitly allowing this to proceed. The language and scope of the questions are what I would expect from a Republican controlled House, but not from a Democrat controlled Senate.

This is getting more and more interesting by the day. If Reid and company are already
running away from Obama, then they must suspect that there is some “there” there….

nukemhill on May 20, 2013 at 2:53 PM

Republicans have to demand a Special Prosecutor, and not one hired by the dickwad Holder. They should do this when they have the most leverage over the REB, and that will be at the next continuing resolution or debt limit increase.

Withhold funding for the IRS until we get a Special Prosecutor.

slickwillie2001 on May 20, 2013 at 2:59 PM

Rosen was never contacted about the subpoena/search warrant against him.

WHAT????

Ruled guilty with no recourse?

Napolitano says it brings DOJ into clear violation of First Amendment privileges.

wyntre9 on May 20, 2013 at 3:05 PM

Has anybody else noticed how similar “Determinations Unit” sounds to “Death Panel”?

RushBaby on May 20, 2013 at 2:45 PM

Yes.

From Twitter’s #LiberalBandNames:
Megadeth Panels
Megadebt

Anti-Control on May 20, 2013 at 3:05 PM

Don’t they have to tell us when they’re bugging us???? Shep.

Rosen found out about it in the WaPo article this morning.

Napolitano going off on the POS and DOJ.

When government makes it difficult to do your job it’s called “chilling.” Government hasn’t exactly silenced me but has made it more difficult to speak.

wyntre9 on May 20, 2013 at 3:07 PM

Chilling effect:

In a legal context, a chilling effect is the inhibition or discouragement of the legitimate exercise of a constitutional right by the threat of legal sanction.[1] The right that is most often described as being suppressed by a chilling effect is the right to free speech. A chilling effect may be caused by legal actions such as the passing of a law, the decision of a court, or the threat of a lawsuit; any legal action that would cause people to hesitate to exercise a legitimate right (freedom of speech or otherwise) for fear of legal repercussions.

wyntre9 on May 20, 2013 at 3:09 PM

Withhold funding for the IRS until we get a Special Prosecutor.

slickwillie2001 on May 20, 2013 at 2:59 PM

Wouldn’t it be nice to see some backbone in the GOPe for one? Kinda like how a blind squirrel finds a nut when it’s handed to him on a silver platter.

Myron Falwell on May 20, 2013 at 3:12 PM

So the DOJ characterized Rosen as a criminal to justify the subpoena which enabled them to collect his personal and home phone and email records.

Without Rosen having a clue.

He was named as a criminal co-conspirator (without his knowledge) for doing his job.

If the American citizens (much less the press corps) does not demand the POS’s and the DOJ’s heads over this we are doomed.

wyntre9 on May 20, 2013 at 3:21 PM

Hmmm, so Portman is against the IRS’ actions? What if his son “came out” as one of the instigators of this scandal? Would Portman “evolve” on this issue too?

Nutstuyu on May 20, 2013 at 3:37 PM

Time to invoke some Executive Privilege.

Liam on May 20, 2013 at 2:10 PM

How can he claim executive privilege over a matter he claims he knew nothing about?

Not that he won’t, but wouldn’t that be a blatant admission that he lied about knowing nothing about it?

Wouldn’t that give any congressional committee license to make him testify under oath about it?

See, that way, either he has to admit he lied about his ignorance (and admit he’s in this up to his eyeballs) or he’d have to turn over whatever documents are requested (which would show the same thing).

Not that the gop will ever even consider this course of action.

runawayyyy on May 20, 2013 at 4:30 PM

I was looking for the questions that required the IRS to turnover a list of all “donors” (i.e., taxpayers–you know the 53% of Americans who support the 47%), for the content of all IRS employee Facebook sites, for a copy of all ads and fliers the IRS has distributed, whether any IRS employee ever attended a political protest, the list of all IRS employees who have donated to Planned Parenthood, the list of all IRS employees who have held a government job, for a summary of what IRS employees were thinking, and the list of the books that IRS employees have read.

I mean fair is fair. If the IRS can ask these sorts of questions about conservative organizations, then the Senators and Representatives who theoretically represent us should be able to ask the same questions of the IRS.

I was also looking for the question about the content of the prayers of IRS employees as the IRS asked of the Pro-Life groups. Since the IRS is virtually all Godless liberals, that list would be very short indeed–limited to the two or three conservatives who are IRS employees (though God only knows why a decent individual would want to voluntarily help drive the equivalent of the Government Honeywagon).

BMF on May 20, 2013 at 4:46 PM

Enough of the OBOZO regime whitewashes and cover-ups.
An INDEPENDENT SPECIAL PROSECUTOR with full subpoena power is REQUIRED for EACH of the following:
1. Benghazi-gate
2. IRS-gate
3. AP-phone-tapping-gate
4. Fast-and-Furious-gate.

Meanwhile, Boehner MUST form a select committee to begin writing the Articles of IMPEACHMENT for OBOZO.

TeaPartyNation on May 20, 2013 at 5:18 PM

There needs to be a proforma response to evasions that the witnesses are offering.

For example, if the witness says “I don’t have names for you”, they should be asked if they will return with the names in 2 days.

If the witness says it is against department policy to reveal X, explain that the congressional committee requires them to suspend that policy for the purposes of the investigation.

I am surprised that experienced lawyers allow these wise-guys to come up with these evasions. I suppose they are waiting for them, by building their confidence in successful evasion, to step over the line and reveal something really incriminating.

virgo on May 20, 2013 at 9:23 PM

The Senate wants detailed information by May 31st, did they specify what year?

savage24 on May 21, 2013 at 4:31 PM