Lerner signed IRS cover letters to conservative groups demanding intrusive tax-exemption info — after she learned what was going on

posted at 11:21 am on May 24, 2013 by Allahpundit

Via Andrew Stiles, no wonder the IRS wants her out.

Now that she’s gone quiet, we can’t know what her defense would be to the ACLJ’s charges. But I can guess.

We now know through her own testimony and from the Inspector General’s report that Lerner was briefed about this unlawful targeting scheme in June 2011. But nine months later, beginning in March 2012, she sent cover letters to many of our clients – demanding additional information and forwarding intrusive questionnaires. In fact, in March and April of 2012, Lerner sent 15 letters to 15 different clients (including those who were approved after lengthy delays and those who are still pending).

This letter dated March 16, 2012 sent to the Ohio Liberty Council is representative of the other letters that Lerner sent to our clients. This letter, posted here, was sent on letterhead out of the IRS office in Cincinnati. The cover letter bears Lerner’s signature, who runs the Exempt Organizations division out of the Washington, DC office. It includes more invasive and improper questions about membership of the group and demands information about all public events conducted or planned for the future. And it specifically requested information about the organization’s website, Facebook page, and other social media outlets…

In addition to the letter sent to the Ohio Liberty Council, our records indicate that Lerner sent 14 other letters to 14 of our clients in the March-April 2012 timeframe. It’s unclear why her name appears on letters to some organizations, and not others. But one thing is clear: this correspondence shows her direct involvement in the scheme. Further, sending a letter from the top person in the IRS Exempt Organizations division to a small Tea Party group also underscores the intimidation used in this targeting ploy.

According to the ACLJ, not only did tea-party groups continue to get intrusive requests after Lerner first found out about the targeting in June 2011, they continued to get requests after May 2012, when the IRS ostensibly changed the criteria for investigating 501(c)(4) groups to something more politically neutral. The latest letter cited by the ACLJ (but not signed by Lerner) was dated … May 6, 2013, just four days before Lerner’s orchestrated public mea culpa on behalf of the agency for targeting conservatives.

What possible defenses could she have to signing the cover letters? An obvious one, and a hallmark of Hopenchange crisis management, is to plead negligence to rebut the charge of intentional wrongdoing. She’ll say yes, she learned about the tea-party targeting in 2011, but she didn’t pay attention to the cover letters and signed them as a batch without scrutinizing the contents whenever her underlings needed her to. The letters to tea-partiers were mixed in with letters to nonpolitical nonprofits and, well, oops! Obama’s spent the past two weeks pleading ignorance of everything that’s going on in his administration as a defense to the IRS scandal, the DOJ’s pursuit of reporters, and even Benghazi. (O never knew about the repeated requests for more security there, he says.) Copping to being a terrible, disengaged manager rather than a willfully corrupt schemer is working out well for him so far. Why wouldn’t it work for Lerner?

The other obvious defense is to claim that the questions asked of tea-party groups in the later correspondence like the March 16, 2012 letter signed by Lerner or the very recent May 6, 2013 letter posted by the ACLJ don’t go beyond what the IRS is allowed to ask of 501(c)(4) groups under normal circumstances. They’re intrusive but, she could argue, they’re not improperly intrusive. Here’s what the IG report cited as questions that crossed the line:

eo

Put Lerner back in front of Issa’s committee with her Fifth Amendment privilege waived and she’ll probably say that, apart from obviously inappropriate inquiries like a demand for donor lists, it’s a fine line between intrusiveness and simply vetting an org to make sure that their activities don’t involve “indirect” participation in campaigns. That defense would have the added benefit of earning her a bit of liberal support: They’ve been after the IRS ever since Citizens United to start scrutinizing 501(c)(4)s more closely. “My only mistake was being too zealous in my quest to make sure that our elections remain untainted by ‘dark money’ exploitation of our tax laws” etc etc, she could say. Which is nice, but still doesn’t answer the question of why conservative groups were singled out. Even if most/all of the questions in the later tea-party letters were “properly” intrusive, did liberal groups get the same questions? How closely were they scrutinized vis-a-vis conservatives?

While we’re on the topic of Citizens United and early targeting of righties, don’t miss Kimberley Strassel’s op-ed in the Journal today. This goes beyond the IRS, and it began before the CU decision that the left keeps using as a pretext. Exit quotation: “If the country wants to get to the bottom of the IRS scandal, it must first remember the context for this abuse. That context leads to this White House.”


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i still dont believe she did this with out the concent of someone in the admin.

ChunkyLover on May 24, 2013 at 11:25 AM

HOLD THE PHONE!!!

I thought these were a couple of Rogue Agents at
WKRP in Cincy!!!!?????

Geez! Ya think we could TRUST our government!!

ToddPA on May 24, 2013 at 11:26 AM

just a couple of rouge agents.

rob verdi on May 24, 2013 at 11:27 AM

Any way to check if IRS targeted individuals for tax audits if they belonged to any conservative groups or registered as Republican voters.
Good thing Hot Air has anonymous names for people that comment…otherwise we would all be having our taxes audited…

albill on May 24, 2013 at 11:28 AM

But she said she did nothing wrong! I know that’s good enough for nonpartisan so it’s good enough for me.

LeftCoastRight on May 24, 2013 at 11:28 AM

If these people don’t get a minimum of 10 years in an a55 pounding prison then every single conservative and otherwise decent American should march on Washington and DEMAND Obama’s resignation.

HotAirian on May 24, 2013 at 11:28 AM

I hope these phucking IRS lib-progs get phucked all the way around. And Congress or the courts damn well better compensate these groups and individuals for the expense of responding to this persecution.

The Obama administration is a phucking disgrace.

BuckeyeSam on May 24, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Any way to check if IRS targeted individuals for tax audits if they belonged to any conservative groups or registered as Republican voters.
Good thing Hot Air has anonymous names for people that comment…otherwise we would all be having our taxes audited…

albill on May 24, 2013 at 11:28 AM

I plan on being audited next year when I tell them I dont have any health insurance and I dont plan on getting any.

ChunkyLover on May 24, 2013 at 11:30 AM

She apologized for the IRS in front of the National Bar Association…what else do you want..?

d1carter on May 24, 2013 at 11:30 AM

When are the investigations into the FEC going to begin?

oldroy on May 24, 2013 at 11:30 AM

They’re intrusive but, she could argue, they’re not improperly intrusive.

It’s just what Steyn and others have said: if the government wants to get you, put you out of business, make your life not worth living, sap all your energy, time and money, etc., they don’t have to do anything illegal. They just bring a fraction of the rules and regulations of the executive branch against you, focused like a laser. Or more appropriately, like a magnifying glass focused on a line of ants on a sidewalk, on a sunny summer day.

“Gee, I was just examining the ants closely. I didn’t mean to vaporize them! Funny how that keeps happening…”

Marcola on May 24, 2013 at 11:31 AM

What possible defenses could she have to signing the cover letters? An obvious one, and a hallmark of Hopenchange crisis management, is to plead negligence to rebut the charge of intentional wrongdoing. She’ll say yes, she learned about the tea-party targeting in 2011, but she didn’t pay attention to the cover letters and signed them as a batch without scrutinizing the contents whenever her underlings needed her to.

Isn’t that sort of what Hillary’s defense was regarding her signatures on various documents? That it was automatically placed on them and she didn’t know the content of all that paperwork. Lerner will plead ignorance(if she doesn’t plead the 5th).

Doughboy on May 24, 2013 at 11:32 AM

ToddPA on May 24, 2013 at 11:26 AM

It’s worse that Les Nessman’s turkey drop.

https://www.google.com/search?q=les+nessman+turkeys&client=firefox-a&hs=3ka&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=5YefUdTKCOGkyQG044DQCg&ved=0CDoQsAQ&biw=986&bih=611

Meanwhile, everyone involved is claiming to be as clueless as the Big Guy.

BuckeyeSam on May 24, 2013 at 11:33 AM

just a couple of rouge agents.
rob verdi on May 24, 2013 at 11:27 AM

Or, rogue agents wearing rouge? ;)

Marcola on May 24, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Quick Promote her!….wait…first give her a paid leave!

Mimzey on May 24, 2013 at 11:33 AM

daaaaaark mooooneyyyyy

Sounds like a dog whistle term, amirite?

The Schaef on May 24, 2013 at 11:33 AM

She only went to the WH for Easter egg rolls and Xmas tree lightings…

mjbrooks3 on May 24, 2013 at 11:34 AM

Listen, guys, just because the truth keeps evolving doesn’t mean we were trying to mislead you. We love the press, and we just LOVE Congressional oversight…

DublOh7 on May 24, 2013 at 11:34 AM

What possible defenses could she have to signing the cover letters?

Response: I’m a top-flight manager. I sign a lot of things. I never read what I sign.

GarandFan on May 24, 2013 at 11:35 AM

… it’s a… it’s a… it’s a helicopter…. no parachute yet. Can’t be skydivers. Oh my God they’re turkeys!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lf3mgmEdfwg

Floriduh Jim on May 24, 2013 at 11:37 AM

Come on, oh baba don’t you want to go
Oh come on, oh baba don’t you want to go
Back to that same old place
Sweet home Chicago

portlandon on May 24, 2013 at 11:37 AM

i still dont believe she did this with out the concent of someone in the admin.

ChunkyLover on May 24, 2013 at 11:25 AM

and at the written request of several Democratic Senators like Carl Levin of MI who just yesterday with McCain asked for her head! of course they want her gone…but she won’t go without bringing a lot of politicians with her for sure.

gracie on May 24, 2013 at 11:38 AM

FREE SCOOTER LIBBY!!!!!

RandallinHerndon on May 24, 2013 at 11:41 AM

She was under orders to do this. It doesn’t stop with her. How high up does it go?

rbj on May 24, 2013 at 11:41 AM

She only went to the WH for Easter egg rolls and Xmas tree lightings…

mjbrooks3 on May 24, 2013 at 11:34 AM

Shulman, Miller, Lerner? Sorry to stereotype, but aren’t all three Jewish? Hanukkah and Passover celebrations, I’ll buy. But Easter and Christmas?

BuckeyeSam on May 24, 2013 at 11:43 AM

The cover letter bears Lerner’s signature, who runs the Exempt Organizations division out of the Washington, DC office.

Obviously there’s a rogue computer in the IRS office that’s just sending crap out and dropping an image of Lois’s signature on it.

Happens all the time.

slickwillie2001 on May 24, 2013 at 11:45 AM

“My pen signed it, not me.”

fogw on May 24, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Lerner signed IRS cover letters to conservative groups demanding intrusive tax-exemption info — after she learned what was going on

Maybe she just didn’t understand the complexity of the situation in the fog of war.

arnold ziffel on May 24, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Response: I’m a top-flight manager. I sign a lot of things. I never read what I sign.

GarandFan on May 24, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Rouge autopen?

ElectricPhase on May 24, 2013 at 11:46 AM

SHOCKING!

gophergirl on May 24, 2013 at 11:46 AM

As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

AcidReflux on May 24, 2013 at 11:47 AM

Lois is “one of the ones we’ve been waiting for.” So is Holder and Clinton. The only surprise is how sloppy they’ve all become in their respective assignments.

LetsBfrank on May 24, 2013 at 11:49 AM

“Scheme”? That’s a perfect word for this. And they’d have got away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling patriots!

KGB on May 24, 2013 at 11:50 AM

Regardless of the ongoing ‘I didn’t know what it was’ defense from Obama down the management chain, the fact is that Barack Obama appointed the heads of each of these federal agencies. The massive failures at those agencies are a direct result of the mismanagement of those federal agencies. Barack Obama is ultimately responsible for his own decisions in appointing the heads of those agencies, and he is also directly responsible for the management failures of those agencies. He is the chief executive of the executive branch of the federal governement. This responsibility is the nature of his job and clearly detailed in his job despcription.

For the LEFT to be trying to make the argument that the federal government has grown so large that it is unmanageable and that no one can be held responsible for the activities of the people employed in the running of the federal goverment is ridiculous. Managing those agencies and offices is exactly their job. Each one of them claimed to be highly qualified for the job, familiar with the demands the job woud entail, and eagerly accepted the position proclaiming that they would be able to do the job. It is exactly why each one of them was placed in the positions they have abused with such abandon, and it is the single best argument, not only for firing every one of them for their failure to perform effectively and efficiently, from Obama on down the chain of management, but also for not replacing most of them, thus eliminating the beaurocracy and seeing that those federal agencies DO run effectively and efficiently… to serve the American people equitably without preference or prejudice.

thatsafactjack on May 24, 2013 at 11:51 AM

This is Bush’s fault because he appointed Shulman in the first place…Nazi Pelosi told me so.

NJ Red on May 24, 2013 at 11:52 AM

Good thing Hot Air has anonymous names for people that comment…otherwise we would all be having our taxes audited…

albill on May 24, 2013 at 11:28 AM

Don’t worry. They can subpoena the IP information for all commenters and find us with that.

bigbeachbird on May 24, 2013 at 11:53 AM

The best part of this will be watching these tyrants expecting some sort of sympathy or leniency from an American public who already despises the IRS and views them as abusive. The culture of arrogance and intrusive behavior at the IRS should yield cattle cars full of future unemployed agents if not prisoners.

antipc on May 24, 2013 at 11:54 AM

Hundreds of Tea Party applications have STILL NOT BEEN APPROVED.

I guess Obama still doesn’t know about this.

faraway on May 24, 2013 at 12:03 PM

Only money from the right is tainted. Money from leftist is honorable.

Its going to be a glorious future komrades, GLORIOUS!!

jukin3 on May 24, 2013 at 12:04 PM

I never read what I sign.

GarandFan on May 24, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Standard procedure for Dems in Washington – sign it first, THEN find out what it says…..

dentarthurdent on May 24, 2013 at 12:04 PM

msdnc has their talking points

trumped up irs scandals…gop are desperate trying to link the scandal to dear leader
———————
wow, they are really doing their best deflecting any of this on the administration and still going with 2 rogue agents at an understaffed office in cincy…

unstinkinbelievable

cmsinaz on May 24, 2013 at 12:04 PM

This is Bush’s fault because he appointed Shulman in the first place…Nazi Pelosi told me so.

every democrat save Zoe Lofgren and Bobby Scott during last week’s hearing have tried to make hay from that point. Why don’t they talk about the pressure Max Bachus put on Bush to place him there?

DanMan on May 24, 2013 at 12:06 PM

BuckeyeSam on May 24, 2013 at 11:43 AM

But they’re not really Jewish, Jewish so that allows them to celebrate Easter and Christmas.

chemman on May 24, 2013 at 12:07 PM

How on earth can even an incredibly liberal media think that the lying about this was ok?

blink on May 24, 2013 at 11:28 AM

We haven’t had a ‘liberal media’ since 2006. The media are now simply left wing activists.

faraway on May 24, 2013 at 12:08 PM

As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

AcidReflux on May 24, 2013 at 11:47 AM

Wild turkeys can fly. Let’s hope they fly out of the White House soon.

Steve Z on May 24, 2013 at 12:08 PM

Why in the world can’t someone in the house hold that lying harpy’s money? She does not need to get paid for refusing to resign!
L

letget on May 24, 2013 at 12:09 PM

Good thing Hot Air has anonymous names for people that comment…otherwise we would all be having our taxes audited…

albill on May 24, 2013 at 11:28 AM

Don’t worry. They can subpoena the IP information for all commenters and find us with that.

bigbeachbird on May 24, 2013 at 11:53 AM

Well, I’m pretty sure I didn’t find out my rogue computer was commenting here until I saw it on the news.

CJ on May 24, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Question for the legal experts: who can bring the felony charges? Does it have to be DOJ, or can some other entity file them? Until that happens it’s all just theater.

SomeCallMeJohn on May 24, 2013 at 12:11 PM

From now on, every Benghazi, IRS, AP Records, and James Rosen thread should prominently feature humpbot… seriously… the hole just keeps getting deeper and deeper…

WordsMatter on May 24, 2013 at 12:17 PM

ToddPA on May 24, 2013 at 11:26 AM

It’s worse that Les Nessman’s turkey drop.

https://www.google.com/search?q=les+nessman+turkeys&client=firefox-a&hs=3ka&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=5YefUdTKCOGkyQG044DQCg&ved=0CDoQsAQ&biw=986&bih=611

Meanwhile, everyone involved is claiming to be as clueless as the Big Guy.

BuckeyeSam on May 24, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Speaking of Krap and Nessman, has anyone seen any posts here by lester recently?

Del Dolemonte on May 24, 2013 at 12:18 PM

As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

AcidReflux on May 24, 2013 at 11:47 AM

Wild turkeys can fly. Let’s hope they fly out of the White House soon.

Steve Z on May 24, 2013 at 12:08 PM

Once saw one take off and fly 40 feet up in the air to a pine tree branch. Amazing stuff.

Del Dolemonte on May 24, 2013 at 12:19 PM

Put Lerner back in front of Issa’s committee with her Fifth Amendment privilege waived and she’ll probably say that, apart from obviously inappropriate inquiries like a demand for donor lists, it’s a fine line between intrusiveness and simply vetting an org to make sure that their activities don’t involve “indirect” participation in campaigns.

That doesn’t answer the question why only conservative groups were put to the test while the Barak H. Obama Foundation was fast-tracked by Lerner with apparently zero scrutiny unless Malik Obama is tiny- the address given turns out to be a PO Box.

Happy Nomad on May 24, 2013 at 12:22 PM

This says it best:

While we’re on the topic of Citizens United and early targeting of righties, don’t miss Kimberley Strassel’s op-ed in the Journal today.

Obama started this in the 2008 PRIMARY and hasn’t stopped yet.

From that article:


The Bauer letters were the Obama campaign’s high-profile contribution to this effort—though earlier, in the spring of 2008, Mr. Bauer filed a complaint with the FEC against the American Leadership Project, a group backing Hillary Clinton in the primary. “There’s going to be a reckoning here,” he had warned publicly. “It’s going to be rough—it’s going to be rough on the officers, it’s going to be rough on the employees, it’s going to be rough on the donors. . . Whether it’s at the FEC or in a broader criminal inquiry, those donors will be asked questions.” The campaign similarly attacked a group supporting John Edwards.
…..
As general counsel to the Obama re-election campaign, Mr. Bauer used the same tactics on pro-Romney groups. The Obama campaign targeted private citizens who had donated to Romney groups. Democratic senators demanded that the IRS investigate these organizations.
….
And this history exposes the left’s hollow claim that the IRS mess rests on Citizens United. The left was targeting conservative groups and donors well before the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling on independent political expenditures by corporations.

If the country wants to get to the bottom of the IRS scandal, it must first remember the context for this abuse. That context leads to this White House.

fred5678 on May 24, 2013 at 12:25 PM

I saw Cincy Fox report of org chart from Lerner down….anyone know what it is from Lerner UP?

hillsoftx on May 24, 2013 at 12:25 PM

As Strassel makes clear in her Journal piece, these intimidation tactics began right away with the Obama administration and didn’t stop until just two weeks ago. They transcend the IRS, involving virtually every agency that has police powers. The object consistently was to suppress political speech and intimidate donors and opposing activists. The Obama people were EXPLICIT about their goals here.

A prosecutor is the only way out of this mess, and for the sake of the Republic i hope to see even Democrats themselves will shortly start saying so. Heck, another couple of weeks of this sort of publicity and Hilary Clinton will be one of those.

MTF on May 24, 2013 at 12:29 PM

Here is Lerner demanding to know the content of her victim’s prayers:
http://www.examiner.com/article/pattern-of-abuse-lois-lerner-s-fec-grilled-oliver-north-about-prayer

This woman really has no place in America. She is a disgrace.

pat on May 24, 2013 at 12:54 PM

Hey, what’s all this talk about rogues?

The Rogue Tomato on May 24, 2013 at 1:11 PM

Which is nice, but still doesn’t answer the question of why conservative groups were singled out. Even if most/all of the questions in the later tea-party letters were “properly” intrusive, did liberal groups get the same questions? How closely were they scrutinized vis-a-vis conservatives?

If they could use this defense, they would already have brought it out.

AesopFan on May 24, 2013 at 1:31 PM

Where does she live?
I’d like to ask her a few questions.

III/0317

dirtengineer on May 24, 2013 at 1:33 PM

just a couple of rouge agents.

rob verdi on May 24, 2013 at 11:27 AM

They certainly should have red faces. But to the lefty government toadie in the IRS, RED is their favorite color anyway. And they’d never be ashamed of what they did. I think that they want to proudly proclaim how they beat us through any means necessary. Its their creedo.

But I see what you did there.

44Magnum on May 24, 2013 at 1:41 PM

Yowza!…

True the Vote is not only suing the IRS, but also taking action against the IRS employees who participated in the harassment of the voter education and election monitoring organization. Those employees could personally be held liable to pay damages that would be established in litigation.

True the Votes’ lead counsel, Cleta Mitchell, explained in an email to The Daily Caller that she does not know whether the employees, if found to be liable in the lawsuit True the Vote filed against the IRS and its employees Tuesday, would pay out of pocket or take other avenues such as accessing union funds or homeowners insurance. Either way, she noted, the group will pursue its action…”

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2013/05/23/conservative-groups-lawsuit-targets-irs-employees-personally/#ixzz2UEXMpy76

workingclass artist on May 24, 2013 at 1:49 PM

Did somebody say Humpbot?

http://tinyurl.com/LerLoHump

jmad on May 24, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Now that Ms. Lerner has been fired for all intents and purposes, her overt criminal activity guised as government requisites should be fully adjudicated. Personal “tort” damages must be propounded upon Ms. Lerner separately at this time as well as the others known or unknown then we will allow you specifically Mr. Lerner to spend the rest of your days singled out as the pariah you were and are to the United States of America.

Ms. Lerner, since you have ruined countless lives at your very whim, raise your right hand biatch, for your swearing in and yes that means under GOD.

Tangerinesong on May 24, 2013 at 3:12 PM

Hundreds of Tea Party applications have STILL NOT BEEN APPROVED.

I guess Obama still doesn’t know about this.

faraway on May 24, 2013 at 12:03 PM

YES!!! This is a question no one is asking!

(except you and me :) )

cptacek on May 24, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Could her signature really just have been a stamp? Or printed out on the color copier?

cptacek on May 24, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Can someone tell me the difference between what Obama’s IRS did to the tea party and what politicians in the South did against blacks during Jim Crow? I’ll tell you the major difference, the color of the people affected. I hope the first black president is proud of himself for allowing this to happen.

bflat879 on May 24, 2013 at 9:52 PM

Why should Lerner resign and assume the guilt? She was only doing what she was told.

Bus wheels have a way of changing one’s perspective. I would look for Lerner and others to realize that they did the dirty work for higher ups and are now expected to take the blame. I am not sure that liberals have such willingness to sacrifice themselves.

bartbeast on May 25, 2013 at 6:23 PM