Treasury IG: IRS improperly probed political candidates, campaign donors

posted at 9:21 am on July 16, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

The IRS scandal may get a lot bigger — and may push Congress to call for an independent investigator.  Treasury Inspector General J. Russell George informed Senator Charles Grassley that the IRS has improperly probed political candidates and donors in at least four cases going back to 2006.  The Department of Justice declined to prosecute any of the cases, and Grassley wants to know why:

The Treasury Department has admitted for the first time that confidential tax records of several political candidates and campaign donors were improperly scrutinized by government officials, but the Justice Department has declined to prosecute any of the cases.

Its investigators also are probing two allegations that the Internal Revenue Service “targeted for audit candidates for public office,” the Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration, J. Russell George, has privately told Sen. Chuck Grassley.

In a written response to a request by Mr. Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary CommitteeMr. George said a review turned up four cases since 2006 in which unidentified government officials took part in “unauthorized access or disclosure of tax records of political donors or candidates,” including one case he described as “willful.” In four additional cases, Mr. George said, allegations of improper access of IRS records were not substantiated by the evidence.

That would strongly suggest that the evidence in the other four cases did substantiate the allegations. So why didn’t the DoJ take up the cases?  Obviously, there is a different standard of proof for administrative actions than for criminal prosecution, but the IG apparently felt strongly enough about the inaction to inform Grassley of the differences between the cases in his review.

Which political candidates and campaign donors had their confidentiality violated by the IRS?  The only case of which we’re aware at the moment of any similarity would be the experience of the National Organization for Marriage, a conservative group whose data got leaked to its political opponents and the media.  That case still awaits a criminal investigation, and now we have this admission that it wasn’t an isolated incident.  Presumably, if the IRS had gone after progressives and Democrats, an Eric Holder-run DoJ wouldn’t have demurred from showing this as corruption within the bureaucracy favoring the Right, especially after the revelations of the last two months.  Still, until the actual cases get revealed, we won’t know what kind of political biases were in play, and who was involved — and 2006 was during the Bush administration and preceded Douglas Schulman’s tenure as IRS Commissioner, too.

What we do know is that relying on the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute cases of abuse and lawbreaking in the IRS is a fool’s errand.  We had already approached the need for a special prosecutor to look into the IRS’ operations for criminal acts and corruption.  This latest revelation should demonstrate the necessity of an independent investigator/prosecutor.


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drip, drip, drip, drip

phatfawzi on July 16, 2013 at 9:24 AM

2006? Hmm, right before the Dems retook Congress. I’m sure that’s just a coincidence though, right?

Doughboy on July 16, 2013 at 9:25 AM

Nobody will be fired.

The GOP will not speak out.

What have we become?

faraway on July 16, 2013 at 9:25 AM

Joesph McCarthy was right all along. There is a rot that has spread through all the bureaucracies, State, Defense, all of them. There was a coup in this country and no one noticed.

Flange on July 16, 2013 at 9:26 AM

Top to bottom our political system is fugazi and totally corrupt.National,state,and local.

docflash on July 16, 2013 at 9:26 AM

Hey, priorities.

The DOJ is busy investigating prosecuting a guy for a racial hate crime who the FBI already cleared of racial animus, charging him with premeditation, where the previous prosecution could not even mount a case that would convict him on manslaughter (death during the commission of a crime…er…”child abuse”).

Axeman on July 16, 2013 at 9:29 AM

This latest revelation should demonstrate the necessity of an independent investigator/prosecutor.

I want the government officials named. I want to know which candidates and donors had their civil rights violated. I want to know what the IRS did when they discovered these improper probes.

Time to de-fund the entire organization until they start giving answers instead of refusing to do anything but admit that mistakes were made even as top officials plead the Fifth when asked questions about their official duties.

Happy Nomad on July 16, 2013 at 9:30 AM

What we do know is that relying on the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute cases of abuse and lawbreaking in the IRS is a fool’s errand.
====================

Yup,Black Panther Night WeildingStickGoons as an example!!

canopfor on July 16, 2013 at 9:30 AM

and 2006 was during the Bush administration and preceded Douglas Schulman’s tenure as IRS Commissioner, too.

While the case occurred in 2006 when did it become known that violations of rights happened. If it was known prior to the End of Bush’s term then he should be tarred and feathered for it as much as we have been tarring and feather Obama.

chemman on July 16, 2013 at 9:32 AM

Nobody will be fired.

The GOP will not speak out.

What have we become?

faraway on July 16, 2013 at 9:25 AM

It’s the same reason that they could not oppose the Clinton’s and their 900 illegally-held FBI files. The representatives of conservatives have forgotten honor. They have enough skeletons in their closet to fall to blackmail. The Clinton FBI files were almost entirely on political foes, and when Gingrich got in the way of the Clintons the details of his divorce “came out”.

Axeman on July 16, 2013 at 9:34 AM

While the case occurred in 2006 when did it become known that violations of rights happened. If it was known prior to the End of Bush’s term then he should be tarred and feathered for it as much as we have been tarring and feather Obama.

chemman on July 16, 2013 at 9:32 AM

Two points. It doesn’t follow that GWB or the rat-eared coward had direct knowledge of these crimes. A good footsoldier will provide plausible deniability. It is clear that the rat-eared coward has instilled a culture of corruption in the IRS that wasn’t there under previous administrations.

Secondly, we only have the IRS admission that these crimes were rare and dated back to 2006. Nothing about this corrupt administration should be taken on trust.

Happy Nomad on July 16, 2013 at 9:36 AM

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Ben.
Ben who?
Benghaz…awww, screw it. Who cares, anyway?

This one’s so much more fun, and look, it’s Booooosh’s fault. But tell me more about Trayvon.

That’s not to say that those aren’t also significant. But look at how the whole Mid-East disaster (even Syria, and especially Benghazi) has aged out of the sheeple’s stack. I mean, it was so long ago and so far away. And apparently, public outrage IS a zero-sum game.

bofh on July 16, 2013 at 9:37 AM

There is a rot that has spread through all the bureaucracies, State, Defense, all of them. There was a coup in this country and no one noticed.

Flange on July 16, 2013 at 9:26 AM

Like with China and its 2000+ year old bureaucracy the bureaucracy is the real government. It protects itself and it grows itself. That is why it really hasn’t mattered which party was in control. The bureaucracies took the laws passed by congress and made the regulations to enforce them. It is the regulation making that runs the country.

chemman on July 16, 2013 at 9:38 AM

2006? Hmm, right before the Dems retook Congress. I’m sure that’s just a coincidence though, right?

Doughboy on July 16, 2013 at 9:25 AM

Absolutely “just” a corinkydink that the hard-core leftists that are the backbone of “civil servants” would do this.

Second look at a poll tax?

Steve Eggleston on July 16, 2013 at 9:38 AM

and may push Congress to call for an independent investigator.

May? Everyone at the IRS and DOJ should be wearing orange jumpsuits and leg shackles at this point for what they’ve done, and we get this tepid “we might get miffed” response from the people lording it over us.

The federal agencies have gone rogue, hell the POTUS has gone rogue, and our elected reps sit on their thumbs and worry about the “optics” of doing something about it before the 2014 election. Piss off.

Bishop on July 16, 2013 at 9:39 AM

This probably goes back to the Clinton Administration and probably became SOP for the Apparatchik’s.

Abolish the IRS!

workingclass artist on July 16, 2013 at 9:40 AM

Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

http://oversight.house.gov/

canopfor on July 16, 2013 at 9:41 AM

Here’s the question: why should I be a law-abiding citizen if the very people elected to represent me, and the agencies they provide oversight for, don’t follow the law?

Bishop on July 16, 2013 at 9:43 AM

David Plouffe declined to comment, upon advice of his attorney.

MTF on July 16, 2013 at 9:44 AM

It is the regulation making that runs the country.

chemman on July 16, 2013 at 9:38 AM

Just like voting, it doesn’t matter who votes, it matters who counts the votes. It doesn’t matter who makes the law, it matters who implements it, and how they implement it.

Flange on July 16, 2013 at 9:44 AM

workingclass artist on July 16, 2013 at 9:40 AM

The moment we developed a permanent bureaucracy, civil service, this was going to happen. So in my estimation it goes much farther back than Clinton. This is one of those unintended (?) consequences of what seemed like a good idea at the time.

chemman on July 16, 2013 at 9:44 AM

Those 2 rogue Cincinnati agents had mad talent, huh?

hillsoftx on July 16, 2013 at 9:45 AM

May? Everyone at the IRS and DOJ should be wearing orange jumpsuits and leg shackles at this point for what they’ve done, and we get this tepid “we might get miffed” response from the people lording it over us.

The federal agencies have gone rogue, hell the POTUS has gone rogue, and our elected reps sit on their thumbs and worry about the “optics” of doing something about it before the 2014 election. Piss off.

Bishop on July 16, 2013 at 9:39 AM

All I can think of is this when I read the “we might get miffed” line

Hans Blix: Or else we will be very, very angry with you… And we will write you a letter, telling you how angry we are.

Gatsu on July 16, 2013 at 9:45 AM

Ain’t gonna happen….gotra focus on Zimmerman…. he won’t call for a special prosecutor

cmsinaz on July 16, 2013 at 9:46 AM

Here’s the question: why should I be a law-abiding citizen if the very people elected to represent me, and the agencies they provide oversight for, don’t follow the law?

Bishop on July 16, 2013 at 9:43 AM

My guess would be that you won’t do that because you are a self-governed person of honor. Good question though.

chemman on July 16, 2013 at 9:49 AM

Watch us roll over and play dead!!!
@GOP

ted c on July 16, 2013 at 9:54 AM

“…If they did nothing wrong, what’s the problem?”

That will be one of the stupid statements made…

right2bright on July 16, 2013 at 9:56 AM

The Department of Justice declined to prosecute any of the cases, and Grassley wants to know why:

‘Cuz public enemy #2 is running a protection racket for public enemy #1′s gangstas.

antipc on July 16, 2013 at 9:59 AM

Here’s the question: why should I be a law-abiding citizen if the very people elected to represent me, and the agencies they provide oversight for, don’t follow the law?

Bishop on July 16, 2013 at 9:43 AM

“They” will get immunity or a promotion, while YOU will go directly to jail, no $200 dollars, and you can’t pass go.

Rovin on July 16, 2013 at 10:00 AM

DoJ won’t prosecute because the people who they go after will sing about where the instructions came from.

guinneach on July 16, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Enforcement arm of Obamacare.

It curdles the marrow.

socalcon on July 16, 2013 at 10:09 AM

DoJ won’t prosecute because the people who they go after will sing about where the instructions came from.

guinneach on July 16, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Ding,ding,ding—we have a winner!

Rovin on July 16, 2013 at 10:12 AM

the Justice Department has declined to prosecute any of the cases

Surprised? And “Justice” SHOULD BE IN QUOTES.

GarandFan on July 16, 2013 at 10:28 AM

The moment we developed a permanent bureaucracy, civil service, this was going to happen. So in my estimation it goes much farther back than Clinton. This is one of those unintended (?) consequences of what seemed like a good idea at the time.

chemman on July 16, 2013 at 9:44 AM

You’re probably right.

workingclass artist on July 16, 2013 at 10:36 AM

Surprised? And “Justice” SHOULD BE IN QUOTES.

GarandFan on July 16, 2013 at 10:28 AM

Either that or the word “social” inserted. DOSJ.

antipc on July 16, 2013 at 10:36 AM

What we do know is that relying on the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute cases of abuse and lawbreaking in the IRS is a fool’s errand.

Just what has the Justice Department been doing for the last 5 years? Anything?

scalleywag on July 16, 2013 at 10:40 AM

And on back in 2005, to 2002, to 1998, to 1995, to 1992, to 1985, to… Wait… What year was the IRS founded?

It has been the pressuring tool of essentially every White House since its inception.

But you guys like to think its something new and it’s those blasted darn democrats! If only we had the republicans back in the White House and majority we wouldn’t have these things happening!

Riiiiiiight…. ;)

Wool, eyes, useful idiots.

Genuine on July 16, 2013 at 10:42 AM

Congress should have already appointed a special prosecutor. The fact that they have not is further evidence of the workless bunch of rino waste we have in that body.

paulsur on July 16, 2013 at 10:45 AM

Maybe we need the Justice Dept about as much as we need the IRS.

scalleywag on July 16, 2013 at 10:47 AM

Here’s the question: why should I be a law-abiding citizen if the very people elected to represent me, and the agencies they provide oversight for, don’t follow the law?

Bishop on July 16, 2013 at 9:43 AM

“They” will get immunity or a promotion, while YOU will go directly to jail, no $200 dollars, and you can’t pass go.

Rovin on July 16, 2013 at 10:00 AM

A police state is that form of government in which if the authorities make a mistake, they apologize, but if you make a mistake, the authorities kill you.

-Robert Sheckley, in Futuropolis (Dragon’s Dream, 1986)

Except that, in either case, the end result is likely to be your defenestration by said authorities, as they must maintain their aura of infallibility.

The worst thing that can happen to an autocratic regime’ is for the populace to perceive it as anything less than perfect. People will put up with an amazing amount of abuse from their “betters”, as long as they think those betters at least know what they’re doing in the broad sense. Case in point; Imperial China for over three millennia.

But let them realize that their rulers are at best semi-competent, and that their abuse of the hoi polloi is mainly for their own ego gratification rather than a necessary “tool of excellence”, and watch how fast the rulers end up in tumbrels. Cases in point; China 1925 on, France 1789 and again in 1799, Italy under Mussolini- he wasn’t overthrown for dragging Italy into the war, he was hoofed out for crashing the economy.

By that standard, this government, both the bureaucracy and the elected side, is in big trouble. That transcends mere “party” affiliations.

clear ether

eon

eon on July 16, 2013 at 10:55 AM

“This is pretty straightforward,” said Obama. “If, in fact, IRS personnel engaged in the kind of practices that have been reported on and were intentionally targeting conservative groups, then that is outrageous, and there is no place for it, and they have to be held fully accountable, because the IRS as an independent agency requires absolute integrity and people have to have confidence that they are applying the laws in a non-partisan way. You should feel that way regardless of party.”

“But I have got no patience with it, I will not tolerate it, and we will make sure that we find out exactly what happened on this,” he added.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/13/obama-irs-scandal_n_3266577.html

Just words…

Fallon on July 16, 2013 at 10:57 AM

Here’s the question: why should I be a law-abiding citizen if the very people elected to represent me, and the agencies they provide oversight for, don’t follow the law?

Bishop on July 16, 2013 at 9:43 AM

An agitator’s prime goal is to get us to think in these terms and thereby foment chaos to destroy existing systems and authorities, t be replaced by systems of their choosing.

We should therefore resist thinking in these terms.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on July 16, 2013 at 11:27 AM

The presidential election of 2012 was stolen; that’s the bottom line. President Asterisk McChoomer. The Republicans should block everything Congress does until 2016 for this reason alone.

slickwillie2001 on July 16, 2013 at 11:32 AM

Remember that Clinton fired every single US Attorney when he took office and stacked Justice with his own people. When Bush came into office in 2001, he left all of Clinton’s people there. In his second term, he tried to get rid of only 8 US Attorneys and you would have thought he was trying to commit a crime with the stink that was raised.

The reason DoJ didn’t get into it was probably because it was a Democrat DoJ with the exception of the AG and probably a couple of very high level hires.

crosspatch on July 16, 2013 at 11:40 AM

And on back in 2005, to 2002, to 1998, to 1995, to 1992, to 1985, to… Wait… What year was the IRS founded?

It has been the pressuring tool of essentially every White House since its inception.

But you guys like to think its something new and it’s those blasted darn democrats! If only we had the republicans back in the White House and majority we wouldn’t have these things happening!

Riiiiiiight…. ;)

Wool, eyes, useful idiots.

Genuine on July 16, 2013 at 10:42 AM

1862, and taxes have been used as punishments of one’s enemies since the first tax was collected.

Steve Eggleston on July 16, 2013 at 3:10 PM

1862, and taxes have been used as punishments of one’s enemies since the first tax was collected.
Steve Eggleston on July 16, 2013 at 3:10 PM

But, but, but…

*Gasp*

We’re all shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, and outraged to learn that this is going on! If only people hadn’t voted for democrats it NEVER would be happening in our great nation. The shining beacon on the hill!

Genuine on July 16, 2013 at 3:23 PM

I will keep asking:

Did the #NSA monitor Romney Campaign using #PRISM ?

Did they share that info with White House?

#2012ElectionStolen

patch on July 16, 2013 at 4:25 PM

I have a list of people that I would like to see improperly probed starting with obama,holder,pelosi,reid and durbin to name a few and I don’t care if it’s done by the IRS or Saddams old crew.

tim c on July 16, 2013 at 6:29 PM