Oh, good: IRS supervisor in DC “personally involved” in scrutinizing conservative groups’ early cases

posted at 2:51 pm on June 17, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Although the IRS scandal has been perhaps somewhat overshadowed in the past couple of weeks by the roiling vortex of Scandalmania and especially the NSA surveillance story, Congress has been making steady progress on investigating what really went down at the Internal Revenue Service during the two-plus years that Tea-Party groups were consistently and specifically thwarted in their applications for tax-exempt status — and the administration’s fallback story that the IRS’s especial behavior was an outlier case of a few “low-level,” “rogue” agents, and that D.C. had absolutely nothing to do with it, just keeps getting thinner. In her testimony, Holly Paz — the same IRS agent that was reportedly the first to be fired in the scandal — said that she was personally involved in scrutinizing some of the earliest applications from conservative groups:

Holly Paz, who until recently was a top deputy in the division that handles applications for tax-exempt status, told congressional investigators she reviewed 20 to 30 applications. Her assertion contradicts initial claims by the agency that a small group of agents working in an office in Cincinnati were solely responsible for mishandling the applications.

Paz, however, provided no evidence that senior IRS officials ordered agents to target conservative groups or that anyone in the Obama administration outside the IRS was involved.

Instead, Paz described an agency in which IRS supervisors in Washington worked closely with agents in the field but didn’t fully understand what those agents were doing. Paz said agents in Cincinnati openly talked about handling “tea party” cases, but she thought the term was merely shorthand for all applications from groups that were politically active — conservative and liberal.

Paz said dozens of tea party applications sat untouched for more than a year while field agents waited for guidance from Washington on how to handle them. At the time, she said, Washington officials thought the agents in Cincinnati were processing the cases.

Hmm — that certainly is quite a bit of bureaucratic incompetence and miscommunication that was oh-so-conveniently directed at a pretty huge sampling of what just happened to be conservative groups. Meanwhile, over at NRO, Eliana Johnson reports that pro-Israel political groups are also getting some special treatment in the form of their tax-exempt applications getting routed through an IRS anti-terrorism unit for additional screening. Again: Hmmm

Asked whether Jewish or pro-Israel applications are treated differently from other applications, Gary Muthert told House Oversight Committee investigators that they are considered “specialty cases” and that “probably” all are sent to an IRS unit that examines groups for potential terrorist ties.

Muthert, who served as an application screener before transferring to the agency’s antiterrorism unit, was interviewed in connection with the committee’s investigation into the IRS’s discrimination against conservative groups. As a screener, Muthert flagged tea-party applications and passed them along to specialists for further scrutiny. …

On March 27, 2009, the day after Ignatius’s article appeared, the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) filed a spate of administrative complaints with the Treasury Department and the IRS, alleging that pro-Israel groups raising funds for settlements in the West Bank were supporting “illegal and terrorist activities abroad.” Later that year, in October, the ADC said that it was waging an ongoing legal campaign against the IRS for what the ADC regarded as violations of the tax code by some pro-Israel groups.


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Meanwhile, over at NRO, Eliana Johnson reports that pro-Israel political groups are also getting some special treatment in the form of their tax-exempt applications getting routed through an IRS anti-terrorism unit for additional screening.

What do you wanna bet we find out eventually that the same treatment was given to Tea Party groups?

Doughboy on June 17, 2013 at 2:55 PM

elijah cummings unavailable for comment.

rob verdi on June 17, 2013 at 2:56 PM

that certainly is quite a bit of bureaucratic incompetence and miscommunication

Let’s get them involved in healthcare! The earlier people die the longer Social Security will be solvent. It’s for the children.

trubble on June 17, 2013 at 2:59 PM

Paz said agents in Cincinnati openly talked about handling “tea party” cases, but she thought the term was merely shorthand for all applications from groups that were politically active — conservative and liberal.

I’m calling BS on that.

rbj on June 17, 2013 at 3:00 PM

The State Run Media remains quiet…

d1carter on June 17, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Paz, however, provided no evidence that senior IRS officials ordered agents to target conservative groups or that anyone in the Obama administration outside the IRS was involved.

Ah, but remember: A written order from Hitler about ‘solving the Jewish problem’, nor any witnesses to a direct verbal order from him, has ever been discovered. Yet the Final Solution was enacted.

Sometimes, talk that seems casual is as good as being given direct instructions.

Liam on June 17, 2013 at 3:02 PM

roiling vortex of Scandalmania

Nice, EJ.

BoxHead1 on June 17, 2013 at 3:02 PM

I’m calling BS on that.

rbj on June 17, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Yeah, my BS detector hit 11.

apostic on June 17, 2013 at 3:03 PM

Does it really matter whether it was miscommunication or incompetence? The important thing is that republicans lost the election. So, whatever the reason, it worked!

ROCnPhilly on June 17, 2013 at 3:03 PM

Paz said agents in Cincinnati openly talked about handling “tea party” cases, but she thought the term was merely shorthand for all applications from groups that were politically active — conservative and liberal.

I’m calling BS on that.

rbj on June 17, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Yeah. Those are the words that formed on my tongue when i read it.

“But, officer, I thought that sign was the speed limit.”

davidk on June 17, 2013 at 3:04 PM

Erika, this is an old scandal. The matter is closed.

faraway on June 17, 2013 at 3:06 PM

she’s 26 and been promised she would be taken care of

wait her out and prosecute her after Obama is gone, make an example of her. 15 of her prime years should be the minimum.

DanMan on June 17, 2013 at 3:07 PM

Sorry to be OT If you scramble Harry Reid, you can spell the word diarrhea. You are short one A, but, this is close enough for government work!

birdwatcher on June 17, 2013 at 3:08 PM

Sorry, in my excitement I missed the Y.

birdwatcher on June 17, 2013 at 3:11 PM

And don’t forget Charles Hull, Esq. Seems to be a lot of attorneys involved. Isn’t that curious?

pat on June 17, 2013 at 3:11 PM

Erika, this is an old scandal. The matter is closed.

faraway on June 17, 2013 at 3:06 PM

Say that 3 times while you click your heels.

BacaDog on June 17, 2013 at 3:12 PM

Harry Reid= Diarrheya

birdwatcher on June 17, 2013 at 3:14 PM

Oh, good: IRS supervisor in DC “personally involved” in scrutinizing conservative groups’ early cases

Hard to believe they thought they could keep these details from coming out.

Media sycophancy isn’t always an advantage. If they hadn’t been convinced the media could cover it up for them, they might not be managing so badly.

There Goes the Neighborhood on June 17, 2013 at 3:14 PM

Erika, this is an old scandal. The matter is closed.

faraway on June 17, 2013 at 3:06 PM

haha

This IRS scandal is going to keep getting better and better!

Anti-Control on June 17, 2013 at 3:14 PM

just scramble Harry Reid birdwatcher, that should be pretty easy

DanMan on June 17, 2013 at 3:16 PM

Paz said agents in Cincinnati openly talked about handling “tea party” cases, but she thought the term was merely shorthand for all applications from groups that were politically active — conservative and liberal.

.
Holly also believes people when they tell her,

“The check is in the mail.”

/S

PolAgnostic on June 17, 2013 at 3:17 PM

Hard to believe they thought they could keep these details from coming out.

Media sycophancy isn’t always an advantage. If they hadn’t been convinced the media could cover it up for them, they might not be managing so badly.

There Goes the Neighborhood on June 17, 2013 at 3:14 PM

I don’t believe they actively thought they could prevent these details from coming out – I think their mentality is the simpler, “Deny everything, even if your hand is caught in the cookie jar!”

Anti-Control on June 17, 2013 at 3:18 PM

Hmm — that certainly is quite a bit of bureaucratic incompetence and miscommunication that was oh-so-conveniently directed at a pretty huge sampling of what just happened to be conservative groups.

Which raises the question: Can you call someone a conspiracy nut who refuses to believe the Obama administration could be quite that incompetent?

There Goes the Neighborhood on June 17, 2013 at 3:20 PM

Oh, good: IRS supervisor in DC “personally involved” in scrutinizing conservative groups’ early cases

Man, that Cincinnati office is HUGE, spanning 3 states and all…

Gatsu on June 17, 2013 at 3:21 PM

I thought is was a guy shooting a video…

right2bright on June 17, 2013 at 3:22 PM

Isn’t it creepy that that girl got fired?
I mean, the strongest natural force in the universe is the attraction between a government drone and her job and pension.
And yet, the regime was willing to expend the energy to actually fire a public sector worker without a formal murder conviction?
Dude, that Obama’s one scary mo fo.

joeindc44 on June 17, 2013 at 3:22 PM

I guess the FBI are stuck in DC waiting until the coast is clear before venturing out to investigate this criminal activity. BTW, how’s that Benghazi investigation going..?

d1carter on June 17, 2013 at 3:23 PM

“Deny everything, even if your hand is caught in the cookie jar!”

Anti-Control on June 17, 2013 at 3:18 PM

S/h/b, “Deny everything, even if when your hand is caught in the cookie jar!”

Anti-Control on June 17, 2013 at 3:23 PM

Remember that it took well over a year for Watergate to finally take Nixon down.

Johnnyreb on June 17, 2013 at 3:24 PM

I read today that Holly Paz has not been fired just on administrative leave…so who knows?

d1carter on June 17, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Ah, but remember: A written order from Hitler about ‘solving the Jewish problem’, nor any witnesses to a direct verbal order from him, has ever been discovered. Yet the Final Solution was enacted.

Sometimes, talk that seems casual is as good as being given direct instructions.

Liam on June 17, 2013 at 3:02 PM

Mob bosses get nailed for tax evasion…

A smart boss never gives the order…”Nice business you have, hope nothing happens to it”.

“Ya know Johnny? Nice kid, but he talks to much, maybe someone should shut him up”

“Bobby, a little careless with the money, his carelessness may end up being his last mistake”

“These Tea Party guys, they cause a lot of problems with their tax exempt status, it would be nice if they would wait a little while before being certified, ya know what I mean make sure they are real, lot of phony non-profits, ya know what I mean, do a good job, thorough job, ya know what I mean, let’s keep everyone honest, ya know what I mean?”

right2bright on June 17, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Remember that it took well over a year for Watergate to finally take Nixon down.

Johnnyreb on June 17, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Only after the newspapers actually begin reporting and following the case…you see that happening?

You think the NYT is going to put this on front page?

right2bright on June 17, 2013 at 3:31 PM

I wonder if this is the same Holly Paz that donated $4000 to Obama in 2008? Probably not…

ktrich on June 17, 2013 at 3:32 PM

Obama’s IRS Gave Special Treatment To The Muslim Mafia

While the IRS was hassling any nonprofit group with the word “patriot” in its name, it was rubberstamping exemptions for “Islamic” groups, even organizations that violate disclosure laws.

Worse, it was even finding favor with nonprofits tied to terrorism — namely, the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, which not coincidentally is yoked to the Democratic Party.

Despite being blackballed by the FBI, which still suspects it’s fronting for Hamas, and despite failing to file annual tax reports as required by federal law, CAIR apparently has found friends in high places at the nation’s powerful taxing authority.

Last year, in the middle of the national election season, the IRS quietly agreed to reinstate CAIR’s tax-exempt status, allowing it to resume raising tax-free donations just in time for Ramadan, a key time for Muslim charitable giving.

According to the Religion News Service, the IRS in June 2012 sent CAIR’s national office a letter stating the nonprofit had regained its exemption after losing it the previous year. Several GOP lawmakers had asked for an audit of CAIR after a book exposing its internal operations, “Muslim Mafia,” reported the Islamist outfit had skipped filing IRS Form 990s for at least three years in a row.

This was concerning since the same book revealed the bulk of CAIR’s funding comes from foreign donors, including Islamic states hostile to the U.S.

Why the sudden IRS reversal? Did CAIR make good on its delinquencies? That’s still a mystery.

The Religion News article, which was carried by the Washington Post, quoted CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper gloating about the reversal, yet curiously not knowing “the details of what paperwork, including tax returns, had been filed” to resolve the issue.

By law, the nonprofit group must make copies of its tax returns available to the public. Several news outlets, including Politico.com and USA Today, have asked for copies of CAIR’s missing 2007-10 returns, and CAIR has been unable to produce them.

Curiouser still, CAIR’s latest tax return is only a partial filing — covering the period from Aug. 9, 2011, to Dec. 31, 2011.

You would think the IRS would make an outfit as sketchy as CAIR jump through hoop after hoop, especially in light of the third degree it gave Tea Party groups.

But it turns out CAIR’s also found favor in the White House. Administration officials in 2012 met inside the White House with CAIR officials, according to Secret Service visitors logs.

In the months leading up to the IRS decision, in fact, the Obama administration held “hundreds” of closed-door meetings with CAIR — including many in the White House, according to an article in the Daily Caller posted in early June 2012 — the same month the IRS reversed its decision.

The timing certainly is suspicious.

Resist We Much on June 17, 2013 at 3:35 PM

In a bureaucracy, one of the easiest ways to deal with uncomfortable subjects is to just ignore it and hope that it will go away.
Just respond to queries that “the matter is under review”, until the queries end.
If they persist, finally say No!
Rarely is someone disciplined for saying No, when a Yes, can lead to all sorts of problems.

Another Drew on June 17, 2013 at 3:36 PM

Have all the Tea Party requests been processed now? Or are there still 500+ still waiting for a ruling?

cptacek on June 17, 2013 at 4:00 PM

What difference does it make? It happened so long ago.

they lie on June 17, 2013 at 4:12 PM

Have all the Tea Party requests been processed now? Or are there still 500+ still waiting for a ruling?

cptacek on June 17, 2013 at 4:00 PM

Nothing has been done with them.

Resist We Much on June 17, 2013 at 4:14 PM

Did this lowlife supervisor transfer from Cincinnati to Washington?

tmgrant on June 17, 2013 at 4:16 PM

Paz said agents in Cincinnati openly talked about handling “tea party” cases, but she thought the term was merely shorthand for all applications from groups that were politically active — conservative and liberal.

I’m calling BS on that.

rbj on June 17, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Oh, come on! There’s tons of left-wing supporters of the Tea Party. Like, well… ummm… and then there’s uhh… errr… not to mention… hmmmm…

The IRS will get back to you on that!

Stoic Patriot on June 17, 2013 at 4:26 PM

“Trust us”

KMC1 on June 17, 2013 at 4:30 PM

Nothing has been done with them.

Resist We Much on June 17, 2013 at 4:14 PM

Well, I didn’t think so, but someone in another thread (Buy Danish, maybe?) said they were process in December 2012.

cptacek on June 17, 2013 at 4:31 PM

s:/process/processed/g

cptacek on June 17, 2013 at 4:32 PM

I’m getting so tired of screaming the same thing over and over. It’s been touched on at HA, but how long do we have to put up with this firewall between DC and Cincinnati. As if Cincinnati was some remote outpost. Cincinnati is where these applications are processed!

Can somebody please pierce the fiction bubble on this point? 501(c)(4)’s go to Cincinnati. But, the big scoop now is that somebody in DC might have actually touched 30 applications rather than the agents in the pasture out in Cincinnati, where they just got indoor plumbing? This is absurd.

Oh, and they thought “Tea Party” just meant 501(c)(4) applications, including those for liberal organizations. Hello, committee… You take this testimony as credible? Did anybody actually examine the witness on the obvious b*ll***t in this statement?

This is what happens in lazy journalist world where people just like to other stories and repeat what they hear and don’t double check the facts.

IndieDogg on June 17, 2013 at 4:39 PM

Have all the Tea Party requests been processed now? Or are there still 500+ still waiting for a ruling?

cptacek on June 17, 2013 at 4:00 PM

Nothing has moved. Some three years and running. Why would anything change?

slickwillie2001 on June 17, 2013 at 4:58 PM

Nothing has moved. Some three years and running. Why would anything change?

slickwillie2001 on June 17, 2013 at 4:58 PM

I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t spreading wrong information by making the point that they were still in limbo.

cptacek on June 17, 2013 at 4:59 PM

Holly Paz:
$2000 to OBAMA FOR AMERICA
$2000 to OBAMA VICTORY FUND

J_Crater on June 17, 2013 at 5:51 PM

When front-line tax agents in Cincinnati used the term “tea party,” they didn’t just mean conservative groups. Instead, a “tea party” case could refer to an application for tax-exemption from any group – including liberal ones – believed to be engaging in political activity, one IRS official told congressional investigators.

“Since the first case that came up to Washington happened to have that name, it appeared to me that that’s what they were calling it that as a shorthand, because the first case had been that,” said Holly Paz, the Internal Revenue Service’s director of rulings and agreements. She said “tea party” could mean any political group, just like “Coke” is often used as a generic term for soda, or people refer to tissues as “Kleenex.”

J_Crater on June 17, 2013 at 5:54 PM

Oh, good: IRS supervisor in DC “personally involved” in scrutinizing conservative groups’ early cases

DC? Is that in Ohio?

Dr. ZhivBlago on June 17, 2013 at 6:47 PM

So… when does Holly Paz – along with Sarah Ingram and Lois Lerner – start serving their PRISON sentences?

locomotivebreath1901 on June 17, 2013 at 6:51 PM

Every step is a step closer to Obama. He needs to attend another press conference to learn he is getting closer to becoming IMPEACHable.

DannoJyd on June 17, 2013 at 7:01 PM

Paid liars, all of them.

Katja on June 17, 2013 at 7:31 PM

She thought “tea party” cases might be liberal? Yeeeeah, riiiight.

WannabeAnglican on June 17, 2013 at 8:09 PM

The IRS targeting of Conservatives is nothing short of a declaration of war by Liberal Federal bureaucrats against the portion of the citizenry that embraces the Founding Fathers’ belief in small government.

So at what point do we go from making snarky comments to actually fighting back? Or have we been so cowed by the MSM that we’ve fallen into the trap of thinking “we can’t do anything rash or violent, because that would play right into the hands of those who describe us as an angry, violent mob”?

ardenenoch on June 17, 2013 at 10:21 PM

Muck run agovernment.

Sherman1864 on June 18, 2013 at 2:49 AM

I think we need to rid ourselves of Holly Paz.
Just dispense with her.

You know what we need is…a Paz Dispenser.

gordo on June 18, 2013 at 8:00 AM

From the article:

By the fall of 2010, the legal expert in Washington, Carter Hull, was working on about 40 applications, Paz said. A little more than half had “tea party” in the name, she said.

Carter Hull wrote the IRS’ IRC 501(c)(4) book. No wonder he was the one that was running this operation. He was the definitive person on 501(c) organizations.

Also, why did they seek permission from the IRS when they didn’t have to?

Section 501(c)(3) organizations are required to get IRS approval. Others, including section 501(c)(4) organizations, are not required to get IRS approval, but often seek it.

I do notice the post date, but there is also a 2012 letter from previous IRS commissioner Steven T. Miller to Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch in which this is also mentioned. In an article at MSN, the Tea Part Express chairman says he knew something like that existed, but it is beside the point, which is true.

The bigger question is, how many groups DON’T KNOW about the self-determination option? If you look through the IRS webpages, it is extremely hard to find, especially on documents that ask for self-assessments. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack.

So, when OFA says that they “will operate as a “social welfare” organization within the meaning of section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code”, all the IRS needs to do is turn a blind eye to their violations of law.

Patriot Vet on June 18, 2013 at 9:21 AM