IRS agent: We’re still applying extra scrutiny to Tea Party applications

posted at 12:41 pm on August 13, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

One might expect that the extra scrutiny applied to conservative political groups by the IRS would have ended after the practice got exposed three months ago.  At least according to a recent deposition from the House Ways and Means Committee investigation into the scandal, IRS agents still are being directed to automatically apply extra scrutiny to applications mentioning the Tea Party, even if no other political activity is indicated in the application:

Q: “If you saw – I am asking this currently, if today a Tea Party case, a group – a case from a Tea Party group came in to your desk, you received the file and there was no evidence of political activity, would you potentially approve that case? Is that something you would do?”

A:” At this point I would sent it to secondary screening, political advocacy.”

Q: “So, you would treat a Tea Party group as a political advocacy case even if there was no evidence of political activity on the application. Is that right?”

A: “Based on my current manager’s direction, uh-huh.”

The interview took place on August 1st, almost three months after the tax-exempt unit’s chief Lois Lerner abruptly apologized for the practice as a strategy to defuse the impact of a report from the Inspector General at Treasury.  An apology would indicate that the practice has ended, no? As CNS News’ Craig Bannister reminds us, that’s what Barack Obama himself promised nearly three months ago to the day:

I’ll do everything in my power to make sure nothing like this happens again by holding the responsible parties accountable, by putting in place new checks and new safeguards, and going forward, by making sure that the law is applied as it should be — in a fair and impartial way.  And we’re going to have to make sure that the laws are clear so that we can have confidence that they are enforced in a fair and impartial way, and that there’s not too much ambiguity surrounding these laws.

Instead, the orders continue for heightened scrutiny.  In Obama’s defense, there’s not too much ambiguity about what that means.

The admission prompted a demand from Rep. Dave Camp, chair of Ways and Means, and Rep. Charles Boustany, chair of the Oversight subcommittee, to IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel for an explanation.  They also demand a report on corrective action by no later than Friday:

The transcript illustrates that there is a remarkable similarity between the instructions given to screeners in 2010 and the direction IRS employees are currently receiving regarding the processing of applications bearing the name Tea Party. …

This revelation demonstrates a clear failure of the corrective action you promised.  We wrote to demand that you immediately issue instructions to all IRS employees that applications for exempt status shall not be subjected to higher scrutiny based on organization name or substantive beliefs and provide notice that any such targeting will be subject to discipline and referral to TIGTA for investigation.

Clearly, assurances aren’t going to stop this effort.  Subpoenas and a special prosecutor might be the only solutions — or at least the only way to get the IRS nervous enough to stop its targeting.

Update: The House Oversight Committee (the full committtee, not the Ways and Means subcommittee) has found a private e-mail account belonging to Lois Lerner through which official duties may have been conducted.  The committee issued this press release a few minutes ago:

Today, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, sent a letter to IRS official Lois Lerner seeking e-mails related to her official duties, in her non-government e-mail account.

“Through the course of the investigation, we have learned that you sent documents related to your official duties from your official IRS e-mail account to an msn.com e-mail account labeled ‘Lois Home,’” the letter sent to Lerner states. “This raises some serious questions concerning your use of a non-official e-mail account to conduct official business.”

“[T]he use of non-official e-mail accounts to conduct official business implicates federal records requirements,” Issa and Jordan continue. “It also creates difficulties in fulfilling the IRS’s obligations under the Freedom of Information Act and other litigation requests. Your use of non-official e-mail account also frustrates congressional oversight obligations.”

The letter requests all documents and communications housed in Lerner’s msn.com account or any other non-official account that reference her official IRS duties by August 27, 2013. You can read the complete letter here.

This puts another gloss on Lerner’s invocation of the Fifth Amendment.  It will be interesting to see if Oversight has found something significant already regarding targeting.  That might tend to give Lerner less leverage in immunity negotiations.

Update: I changed “official” to “agent” in the headline, as I think that gives a more accurate representation of the transcript.


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

No, the IRS Did Not Target Progressives Like It Targeted Conservatives
By David French

NPR’s politics blog has published a chart — compiled from a House Ways and Means staff analysis — of the different levels of IRS targeting between conservative and progressive groups. Bottom line? Far more conservative groups faced IRS scrutiny, they faced more questions, and were approved at a much lower rate than progressives. The chart is based on the IRS’s now-discredited “BOLO” (be on the lookout) lists.

Looking at the numbers, the chart answers a question I’ve asked myself ever since the Left claimed that it had been targeted as well: If progressives experienced similar targeting, why didn’t they make any notable contemporaneous complaints? After all, conservatives raised the issue well over a year ago, members of Congress asked the IRS commissioner about it directly, and the New York Times was even moved by the complaints to write its now-clownish March 7, 2012, editorial claiming the IRS was merely “do[ing] its job.”

Perhaps progressives didn’t complain because their targeting experience involved seven groups that were asked an average of just five additional questions (rounded up to be generous) and were approved at a 100 percent rate.

By contrast, 104 ”phony scandal” conservative groups experienced an average of 15 additional questions (14.9 to be exact), only 46 percent were approved, and 56 groups are either waiting for a determination or have withdrawn in frustration. There is simply no comparison.

Verbaldouchebaggery is just another in a long list of useful idiots.

CW on August 13, 2013 at 3:27 PM

And, what happened last year was the Supreme Court – although the law had kept getting chipped away, chipped away in the Federal election arena – the Supreme Court dealt a huge blow, um, overturning hundred-year-old precedent that said, basically, that corporations could contribute directly to political campaigns and, um, everyone is up in arms cause they don’t like it. The Federal Elections Commission can’t do anything about it and they want the IRS to fix the problem. The IRS laws are not set up to fix the problem.

501(c)(4)s can do straight political activity. They can go out and pay for an ad that says ‘Vote for Joe Blow.’ That’s something they can do as long as their primary activity is their C-4 activity, which is social welfare.

So, everybody is screaming at us right now ‘Fix it now before the election! Can’t you see how much these people are spending?!?!’

I won’t know until I look at their 990s next year whether they have done more than their primary activity as political or not. So, I can’t tell….

- Lois Lerner, 2010

Who’s ‘everybody’? The Dems like Schumer and Durbin, who called on the IRS to give extra scrutiny to Tea Party and other conservative groups?

Resist We Much on August 13, 2013 at 3:28 PM

NOTICE the Chart is from the NPR Blog clown.

CW on August 13, 2013 at 3:28 PM

So …again… the apology was for what?

This is too entertaining.

CW on August 13, 2013 at 3:29 PM

Man, you don’t need to be so GDFP…

‘Emerge America’

Emerge America and its initial state programs were granted 501(c)(4) status by the IRS several years ago. Later, when a new state program applied for the same status, it was denied because Emerge works only with women who are in the Democratic Party, so the IRS determined this did not meet the definition of “social welfare” for the common good. We believed this denial triggered a review of the Emerge programs that had already been granted c4 status, and consequently those statuses were revoked.

verbaluce on August 13, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Of course not every liberal group was rubber stamped but the IRS own statistics on rates of denial and second look procedures show an obvious and undeniable targeting of conservative groups. The IRS and Obama have already admitted as much. So are Obama and the IRS telling lies? Or are you?

gwelf on August 13, 2013 at 3:29 PM

verbaluce on August 13, 2013 at 3:04 PM

ROFLMAO..holy chit you’re an ignorant little tw*t.

HumpBot Salvation on August 13, 2013 at 3:18 PM

If only.
Then I’d be as worked over all this as guys are.

verbaluce on August 13, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Well yea…name a single group that was subject to extra scutiny that was denied tax exempt status. You do that, ok?

Also, do you believe Ed’s quote above is the entire transcript of the agent’s testimony? The GOP release doesn’t share a link to all of it – maybe you can find?

verbaluce on August 13, 2013 at 2:52 PM

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/348756/true-scandal-jillian-kay-melchior

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/349066/it-didn%E2%80%99t-end-ian-tuttle

gwelf on August 13, 2013 at 3:02 PM

verbaluce?

gwelf on August 13, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Then I’d be as worked over all this as guys are.

verbaluce on August 13, 2013 at 3:30 PM

You’re either ignorant, naive, or dishonest. My bet ALL THREE.

So fuc ktard why the apology ? Thick headed ball sucking fluffer.

CW on August 13, 2013 at 3:32 PM

verbaluce on August 13, 2013 at 3:30 PM

So maybe you can explain to use why IRS officials and the IRS general consul are on the White House logs HUNDREDS of times when their predecessors in the Bush administration visited ONCE? And remember Obama hasn’t pushed any big tax code reforms to warrant this sort of thing – and when the IRS officials are asked why they visited they “don’t remember” except when it was for the Easter egg hunt.

gwelf on August 13, 2013 at 3:33 PM

Verbal’s dancing is a sight. Truly pathetic.

CW on August 13, 2013 at 3:34 PM

If only.
Then I’d be as worked over all this as guys are.

verbaluce on August 13, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Thanks for confirming you’re even too stupid to know how phucking ignorant you are. That and the fact you’re a scummy little fascist.

HumpBot Salvation on August 13, 2013 at 3:36 PM

WASHI

NGTON — The Internal Revenue Service apologized Friday for what it acknowledged was “inappropriate” targeting of conservative political groups during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status.

IRS agents singled out dozens of organizations for additional reviews because they included the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their exemption applications, said Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups. In some cases, groups were asked for lists of donors, which violates IRS policy in most cases, she said.-

Huffpo.

Why the hell did they apologize?

CW on August 13, 2013 at 3:39 PM

Yep ….what I thought. No answer. Chuckle.

CW on August 13, 2013 at 3:42 PM

gwelf on August 13, 2013 at 3:33 PM

You have to admit, neither conclusion – that it’s all true or that it’s all false – bodes well for your team.
If false, you’ve been played like yo-yos by those who bank on your paranoia and fear about Obama and the government.
If true, then indeed the tyrannical Dems are diabolically victorious and you’ll never defeat their clever schemes.
(maniacal laugh, maniacal laugh)

verbaluce on August 13, 2013 at 3:43 PM

verbaluce on August 13, 2013 at 3:25 PM

You’re claim again:

Also, there were indeed progressive groups singled out, ‘harassed’(!) for 3 years, and then in fact denied tax exempt status.

Yes, Emerge America, which already had tax exempt status, seems to fit that mold quite well…you probably should have just chosen to STFU.

NotCoach on August 13, 2013 at 3:45 PM

Thick headed ball sucking fluffer.

CW on August 13, 2013 at 3:32 PM

gwelf,
If you ever find yourself truly puzzled as to why progressives win in the end…

verbaluce on August 13, 2013 at 3:47 PM

You have to admit, neither conclusion – that it’s all true or that it’s all false – bodes well for your team.
If false, you’ve been played like yo-yos by those who bank on your paranoia and fear about Obama and the government.
If true, then indeed the tyrannical Dems are diabolically victorious and you’ll never defeat their clever schemes.
(maniacal laugh, maniacal laugh)

verbaluce on August 13, 2013 at 3:43 PM

So confronted with the facts and having your evasions shot down you’re changing the subject and mocking people.

So you’re completely indifferent to the serial harassment of your fellow citizens stifling their participation in the political process and in the civic square. How compassionate you are.

gwelf on August 13, 2013 at 3:48 PM

gwelf,
If you ever find yourself truly puzzled as to why progressives win in the end…

verbaluce on August 13, 2013 at 3:47 PM

Yeah, liberals win because CW calls you names. Not because you lie, support tyranny, disdain the rule of law, and rely on a dependent underclass to win elections.

gwelf on August 13, 2013 at 3:49 PM

verbaluce on August 13, 2013 at 3:47 PM

Funny which posts and comments you choose to address.

Very telling.

Thanks for proving my point.

CW on August 13, 2013 at 3:51 PM

So confronted with the facts and having your evasions shot down you’re changing the subject and mocking people.

gwelf on August 13, 2013 at 3:48 PM

That’s what it does. I asked the clown around 5 times to explain why the IRS apologized if they did nothing wrong.

NOTICE what it chose to address.

Too funny. Too obvious.

CW on August 13, 2013 at 3:53 PM

If you ever find yourself truly puzzled as to why progressives win in the end…

verbaluce on August 13, 2013 at 3:47 PM

Yes progs never name call, never.

Seriously, do you get paid for the boot licking? You should.

CW on August 13, 2013 at 3:54 PM

Again,if Romney had won and it was HIS AG doing the investigation people would be going to jail.

Holder will not put anyone with knowledge of the inner conversations between the WH and the IRS in a position to bargain with them. I won’t happen.

The great thing about this is when and if the Rep get the WH back, they should publicly announce for the next four years they are following the “Holder Rule” which simply states there are no scandals.

Period.

It is the new America Obama wanted to guide us into.

Frightening.

archer52 on August 13, 2013 at 3:55 PM

So clown you going to answer?

LOL. Sheesh you’re a joke. You and I know it . You keep on spinning now dear. Down deep you know you’re as bought as anyone. You’ve sold your self-respect.

CW on August 13, 2013 at 3:56 PM

Notice all-

The obvious water carrying by VerbaltheClown.

I mean this is just too much.

Clown you keep avoiding the hard questions ya hear. Just too funny.

CW on August 13, 2013 at 3:57 PM

Notice how the clown avoided my post above:

Perhaps progressives didn’t complain because their targeting experience involved seven groups that were asked an average of just five additional questions (rounded up to be generous) and were approved at a 100 percent rate.

By contrast, 104 ”phony scandal” conservative groups experienced an average of 15 additional questions (14.9 to be exact), only 46 percent were approved, and 56 groups are either waiting for a determination or have withdrawn in frustration. There is simply no comparison.

Yeh I can see why.

CW on August 13, 2013 at 3:59 PM

I think I heard circus music as Verbaldouchebaggery fled the thread.

CW on August 13, 2013 at 4:01 PM

Do you acknowledge that there are indeed groups that should not qualify for tax exempt status?

verbaluce on August 13, 2013 at 2:31 PM

Barack Obama and Lois Lerner do not think so, and in fact believe that “progressive” groups, especially those that exist to worship and enrich Barack Obama, should get whatever they want.

Now, is Barack Obama wrong, verbaluce? Don’t you agree that Barack Obama and Barack Obama minion Lois Lerner using their power to grant these organizations tax exemptions ILLEGALLY is wrong?

This is how to deal with Obama puppets like you, verbaluce. Expose how you endorse and support Obama’s criminality. You can’t and won’t criticize Obama, and your admitting Lerner screwed up implodes your entire attempt to blather her witch hunts were justified.

northdallasthirty on August 13, 2013 at 4:09 PM

Well yea…name a single group that was subject to extra scutiny that was denied tax exempt status. You do that, ok?

Geez…really!? I guess I will play along with your childish games. Here is ONE SINGLE GROUP that so far has been denied, since it has been almost three years, and they still haven’t heard back.

“The most extreme case we’ve got is a group called Tea Party Patriots that was filed in December 2010 and is still awaiting action by the Internal Revenue Service,” Alan Dye, a partner at Webster Chamberlain & Bean who specializes in non-profit organizations, told The Daily Caller.

And others have just given up since it has taken so long, opting to dissolve instead due to costs.

Heidi Abegg, senior counsel at Webster Chamberlain & Bean, added that she knew of two other groups that faced similar delays, both of which ultimately withdrew their applications.

“For the one, the wait was just too long,” she explained. “The other one, it had been so long they decided to just dissolve rather than to spend money to keep it open.”

They might as well have been denied.

Oh….wait…I found ten more!

Monday the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which represents 27 Tea Party groups revealed they are still waiting for tax-exempt statuses for 10 of their Tea Party clients: Albuquerque Tea Party, Allen Area Patriots, Greater Phoenix Tea Party Patriots, Greenwich Tea Party Patriots, Laurens County Tea Party, Linchpins of Liberty, Myrtle Beach Tea Party, North East Tarrant Tea Party, Patriots Educating Concerned Americans Now (PECAN), and Unite in Action.

I’m sure their letter is in the mail. They should just wait a little longer. You know how slow those government workers are!/

Riddle me this (if you decide to answer), why the huge difference in the numbers of liberal versus conservative groups in scrutiny?

That is, why only 30% of liberal groups, compared to 100% scrutiny for Tea Party?

I already know the answer, I just want to see if you will be honest.

Patriot Vet on August 13, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Troll ran. What a clown.

CW on August 13, 2013 at 5:14 PM

verbaluce?

Bmore on August 13, 2013 at 5:26 PM

Sorry guys – I ain’t 24/7 here like some of you.
And I getting as bored with this as it seems many at HA are…had to dig far down on the homepage to fine this post.
(Ain’t no Palin chat, this one.)

CW – you’re a buffoon. Or at least you write as one. I can’t really see that you’d be frustrated that I don’t respond to you. You are a funny one.

So you’re completely indifferent to the serial harassment of your fellow citizens stifling their participation in the political process and in the civic square. How compassionate you are.

gwelf on August 13, 2013 at 3:48 PM

No. I do not see ‘serial harassment of my fellow human beings’ here. As it often the case, a theory is posited, built upon wildly, and then treated as fact. So therefore, you see me as ‘completely indifferent’ to what I view as mostly fiction….thus ‘proving’ I lack ‘compassion’. I mean, you got me no matter what, right?
What I don’t have sympathy for is this now incessant cry of victim-hood from the right/cons. When is it gonna end? Might you be able to consider any other reason for electoral and legislative failures than some deep conspiracy to halt you at the door?
Anyway, bottom line is this ‘scandal’ fizzled months ago. And the angst here over it is just the waning pulse.
Thread will be off the homepage shortly.

verbaluce on August 13, 2013 at 5:57 PM

Use tabs verbaluce. It saves effort looking for the threads.

Bmore on August 13, 2013 at 6:04 PM

verbaluce on August 13, 2013 at 5:57 PM

Yeh what I thought:

1) You cannot dismiss the NPR research that supports targeting of Conservative groups.
2) You have no answer as to why (if there really was nothing) the IRS apologized.

Thanks for playing! You lost to a buffoon. You even look dumber now.

CW on August 13, 2013 at 6:11 PM

Just hilarious.

CW on August 13, 2013 at 6:11 PM

Once again the troll proves the obvious.

CW on August 13, 2013 at 6:12 PM

Use tabs verbaluce. It saves effort looking for the threads.

Bmore on August 13, 2013 at 6:04 PM

Thanks.

verbaluce on August 13, 2013 at 6:15 PM

Always interesting what the loser choose to address. Telling.

CW on August 13, 2013 at 6:19 PM

So confronted with the facts and having your evasions shot down you’re changing the subject and mocking people.

gwelf on August 13, 2013 at 3:48 PM

Funny to see umbrage at mockery here – but my intent was to be humorous – not mocking
Apologies.

To be clear, I am not being confronted by facts. A very clear example of this is the post itself. Ed went along with the selective quoting of the interview with the IRS agent. The GOP released ONLY this passage, and Ed and others ONLY repeated it.
Dems, again, released the full transcript…which not surprisingly doesn’t quite have the same shocking value as when you just pull a few lines.
So I’m going off more information…not less.

verbaluce on August 13, 2013 at 6:21 PM

Yep trolls always are very particular in their responses. This one has very little and is dishonest. Notice at least 6 times he’s been asked to tell us why the IRS apologized for doing nothing wrong.

CW on August 13, 2013 at 6:21 PM

To be clear, I am not being confronted by facts.

verbaluce on August 13, 2013 at 6:21 PM

Yes no facts in the post about the NPR chart.

None./

Yep none in the many posts above. None. /(see patriot vet, north dallas etc etc).

That is how you operate. You summarily dismiss facts as not being facts. You’re so obviously a lapdog.

CW on August 13, 2013 at 6:23 PM

Geez…really!? I guess I will play along with your childish games. Here is ONE SINGLE GROUP that so far has been denied, since it has been almost three years, and they still haven’t heard back.

“The most extreme case we’ve got is a group called Tea Party Patriots that was filed in December 2010 and is still awaiting action by the Internal Revenue Service,” Alan Dye, a partner at Webster Chamberlain & Bean who specializes in non-profit organizations, told The Daily Caller.

And others have just given up since it has taken so long, opting to dissolve instead due to costs.

Heidi Abegg, senior counsel at Webster Chamberlain & Bean, added that she knew of two other groups that faced similar delays, both of which ultimately withdrew their applications.

“For the one, the wait was just too long,” she explained. “The other one, it had been so long they decided to just dissolve rather than to spend money to keep it open.”

They might as well have been denied.

Oh….wait…I found ten more!

Monday the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which represents 27 Tea Party groups revealed they are still waiting for tax-exempt statuses for 10 of their Tea Party clients: Albuquerque Tea Party, Allen Area Patriots, Greater Phoenix Tea Party Patriots, Greenwich Tea Party Patriots, Laurens County Tea Party, Linchpins of Liberty, Myrtle Beach Tea Party, North East Tarrant Tea Party, Patriots Educating Concerned Americans Now (PECAN), and Unite in Action.

I’m sure their letter is in the mail. They should just wait a little longer. You know how slow those government workers are!/

Riddle me this (if you decide to answer), why the huge difference in the numbers of liberal versus conservative groups in scrutiny?

That is, why only 30% of liberal groups, compared to 100% scrutiny for Tea Party?

I already know the answer, I just want to see if you will be honest.

Patriot Vet on August 13, 2013 at 5:00 PM

CW on August 13, 2013 at 6:24 PM

Time for a lot of folks at IRS to go to prison. Following orders is, as we all know, not a valid excuse since Nuremberg made it official.

dogsoldier on August 13, 2013 at 6:48 PM

What I don’t have sympathy for is this now incessant cry of victim-hood from the right/cons left/libtards.

FIFY

Patriot Vet on August 13, 2013 at 7:20 PM

Then there’s this:

NSA snooping out of control

Let’s see; with the IRS in charge of Obamacare, how long will it be until you’re denied medical treatment because of something you said in an email?

People (including the CEO of Google) say “if you’re doing nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about”. I guess that depends on what’s meant by “wrong”, doesn’t it?

mr.blacksheep on August 16, 2013 at 7:05 AM

Comment pages: 1 2