Did the IRS target conservative groups for tax audits?

posted at 9:21 am on February 12, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Did the IRS actions targeting conservative groups go beyond just hassling them over their tax-exempt applications? House Ways and Means chair Dave Camp (R-MI) declared yesterday that the IRS also targeted conservative groups with existing tax exemptions for audits, which would expand the boundaries of the IRS targeting scandal significantly:

On Tuesday, House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R., Mich.) said his committee’s continuing investigation has found that the IRS also singled out established conservative tax-exempt groups for audits.

“We now know that the IRS targeted not only right-leaning applicants, but also right-leaning groups that were already operating as 501(c)(4)s,” Mr. Camp said in a statement. “At Washington, DC’s direction, dozens of groups operating as 501(c)(4)s were flagged for IRS surveillance, including monitoring of the groups’ activities, websites and any other publicly available information. Of these groups, 83% were right-leaning. And of the groups the IRS selected for audit, 100% were right-leaning.”

Democrats objected to Camp’s declaration, calling it an election-year stunt:

“Instead of this prestigious committee using its broad jurisdiction to address critical issues that confront us, it has been consumed by a tireless effort by Republicans to find political scandal, regardless of what the truth holds, as they look toward the November election,” said Rep. Sander Levin (D., Mich.).

Jeff Dunetz has the entire Camp statement, which emphasizes that Treasury still has not provided “thousands” of documents relevant to the investigation into the targeting scandal:

It is important to note that the Committee has made these discoveries without even having the full universe of documents requested from the IRS – including thousands of documents from Lois Lerner that have not yet been provided. Simply put, our investigation is not yet over, the document collection is not yet complete, and I don’t believe the IRS or the FBI has interviewed a single victim. The notion that the Administration would rush forward with rules intended to remove these groups from the public forum, is simply unacceptable.

Under these proposed rules, activities such as candidate forums, get out the vote efforts, and voter registration would now be considered “political activity” for 501(c)(4) groups. It is notable to mention that these activities would not be considered political for 501(c)(3)s – who cannot engage in any political activity – or unions.

I have long made clear that this Committee will fight any and all efforts to restrict the rights of groups to organize, speak out and educate the public. The legislation before us today would prevent these rules from being implemented by this Administration for one year. This timeframe would allow Congress to finish our investigation and ensure that the agency processes what is already a record number of public comments – more than 23,000 so far – so that the IRS and Treasury can really get to the merits of why these rules were formed.

Katie Pavlich highlights testimony from Cleta Mitchell, who represented one of the organizations claiming to have been targeted, who blasted the IRS and Treasury last week:

The legislation to delay the rule-making at IRS passed out of committee yesterday, 23-13, and should sail to approval in the House. It will probably have to get attached to other legislation for the Senate to pass it, as it’s unlikely that Harry Reid will allow a stand-alone vote on anything that limits executive power in this so-called “year of action” at the White House. Besides, Democrats will need all they help they can get in the midterms.

 


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Is the Pope Catholic?

ConstantineXI on February 12, 2014 at 9:22 AM

Did the IRS target conservative groups for tax audits?

Does Michelle Obama have really lousy fashion sense?

myiq2xu on February 12, 2014 at 9:22 AM

This administration?

Ya think?

TimBuk3 on February 12, 2014 at 9:27 AM

Yes, but our current crop of GOP leadership won’t actually do anything about it.

They will hold hearings, but that is it. Hearings are just that – hearings. But no actual action will be taken about it.

tcufrog on February 12, 2014 at 9:27 AM

And don’t forget Catherine Englebrecht suddenly becoming very interesting to a half dozen government agencies.

http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/61052

gwelf on February 12, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Those two boneheaded guys in Cincinnati were some busy little bees.

I can see why Lerner would plead the 5th, would you want to admit you hired people who worked so hard in a country where working hard is now frowned upon?

Bishop on February 12, 2014 at 9:32 AM

Not once did she look down at a note, 7 mins of passionate truth…and a gutless FBI/GOP to drop the felony hammer on so many involved…

hillsoftx on February 12, 2014 at 9:32 AM

Did the IRS target conservative groups for tax audits?

Is the East Coast bracing for the more snow?

Happy Nomad on February 12, 2014 at 9:32 AM

What gets me is this expectation that the IRS – for specifically the income tax – can ever be neutral and apolitical. The only way to ensure that is to not have it at all, but our masters in Congress on both sides of the aisle will never agree to that. So in that sense, it is a phony scandal. Or at least it’s not the real one that people should be worried about.

jr.ewing.78 on February 12, 2014 at 9:33 AM

Our current crop of GOP leadership has blood on their hands with this scandal… they refuse to take measures and action against the perpetrators.

They are just as responsible as the dems, IRS, and administration here.

tcufrog on February 12, 2014 at 9:34 AM

A WARNING to IRS and other bureaucrats abusing American Citizens:

You may be riding high now, but Presidential Regimes don’t last forever. There will be a day of reckoning. “Just following orders” is NOT a valid defense. You will be prosecuted eventually, if not by the DOJ, by the Several States.

ConstantineXI on February 12, 2014 at 9:36 AM

Yes, but our current crop of GOP leadership won’t actually do anything about it.

They will hold hearings, but that is it. Hearings are just that – hearings. But no actual action will be taken about it.

tcufrog on February 12, 2014 at 9:27 AM

The GOP’s strategy for this situation is to hold hearings and rile up the “party faithful” and score some political points. However, they want to avoid actually stopping it, since the harassment of Tea Party groups is useful to keep themselves in power.

Doomberg on February 12, 2014 at 9:37 AM

I haven’t been this shocked since I learned that bears might be doing their bodily functions in the woods.

J.S.K. on February 12, 2014 at 9:37 AM

Did the IRS target conservative groups for tax audits?

…can Old McDonald…spell C O W !

KOOLAID2 on February 12, 2014 at 9:38 AM

They better be really busy behind the scenes because this is taking too danged long. I want to see Ms. Lerner testifying, with lots of emails to explain.

Cindy Munford on February 12, 2014 at 9:38 AM

Is water wet?

yaedon on February 12, 2014 at 9:38 AM

since the harassment of Tea Party groups is useful to keep themselves in power.

Doomberg on February 12, 2014 at 9:37 AM

Yep. People need to buy a clue on why both parties hate the Tea Party.

Cindy Munford on February 12, 2014 at 9:39 AM

Is this going to be another troll free thread…

until verbaluce shows up to deny any of this is happening? =)

gwelf on February 12, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Oh good, more hearings. Heads will roll shortly, no doubt. /

Midas on February 12, 2014 at 9:42 AM

“Not a smidgen”
-Obama

Gatsu on February 12, 2014 at 9:43 AM

OF COURSE they’ve been using the IRS as a tool of political retribution. In other news, water is wet.

Now that they’ve succeeded in a way even Nixon never dreamed of, they’ve established a new baseline for how to abuse and harass those who disagree with you. Eventually, those same tools will be used against them. They opened a can of worms that cannot be resealed. Idiots.

xNavigator on February 12, 2014 at 9:43 AM

Is this the most transparent and uniting freedom and liberty seeking president we ever had in our history?

garydt on February 12, 2014 at 9:44 AM

Just remember, folks:

This is a complete non-scandal. We just had a couple of rogue agents out of single office. And the Preezy didn’t hear even a whiff of this until he saw it on the news, just like you. He is outraged by this conduct and will get to the bottom of it.

Utter lawlessness.

And to all those trolls and pundits who insist this is all above board:

If that’s the case, why does the IRS not turn over all of the requested documentation? Why do they and the Treasury continue to slow walk all of this? Why not simply give Congress everything it’s asking for including all pertinent testimony and emails and be done with it?

yaedon on February 12, 2014 at 9:44 AM

Did the IRS target conservative groups for tax audits?

Is this a trick question?

Oldnuke on February 12, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Most corrupt administration, evah!

GarandFan on February 12, 2014 at 9:48 AM

They admitted it for Pete’s sake. King Barry said it was “Outrageous” and Herr Schumer not only confirmed it but wants an executive order to continue.
http://freebeacon.com/schumer-calls-for-using-irs-to-curtail-tea-party-activities/

Buttercup on February 12, 2014 at 9:48 AM

This stinks to high heaven, and should really bring this administration down, but the continuing congressional investigations seem to go nowhere. The average voter, as far as I can tell, is largely unaware of this, and even those with some inkling tend to consider it the “same old same old.” The administration will just continue to stonewall and “smidgeonize” it. I don’t even care to read much more about this until I read about indictments promising real jail time. They have a way of focusing the mind and making even the most reluctant sing like canaries.

SacredFire on February 12, 2014 at 9:49 AM

Cleta Mitchell appears to be the only one with balls enough to tell the truth. Maybe we can recruit her for 2016.

goflyers on February 12, 2014 at 9:49 AM

Just the sight of her arrogant lying mug tells me the IRS in it up to their hairlines. You can bet there’s more corruption to be found………after the elections, if we’re lucky.

antipc on February 12, 2014 at 9:50 AM

Also important:

A weaponized IRS would not be possible for long without protection from a complicit FBI and DoJ…

…and a loyal, subservient, lapdog media that gets its talking points from the White House…

…and an “opposition” party full of surrender weasels who secretly want conservatives harassed and put in their place as much as the lawless administration.

yaedon on February 12, 2014 at 9:53 AM

Scratch a liberal and you will find a fascist lurking close to the surface.

The state is their god and they will do anything to either support it or crush opposition to it. This persecution by the IRS is only the opening salvo. Fascists can never have enough power.

Micah68 on February 12, 2014 at 9:53 AM

The IRS is corrupt and a major house cleaning of the top-middle managers ranks should be done.

albill on February 12, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Suggest an independent prosecutor to investigate why Congressman Issa is dragging his feet on this IRS investigation…

albill on February 12, 2014 at 9:55 AM

Yes. And there will be angry pronouncements at the hearings. Then crickets.

TerryW on February 12, 2014 at 9:57 AM

I’ve heard from individuals too. Particularly if they donated to the main bugbears of the left. I hope the PACS are polling their donors for suspicious audits.

HakerA on February 12, 2014 at 9:58 AM

Even if it’s true, why can’t Obama do anything he wants to?

Shy Guy on February 12, 2014 at 10:03 AM

Aw, c’mon! There’s “not a smidgen of evidence”. Would this Administration lie to you?

oldennis on February 12, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Not only do they target Conservative groups, but individuals. I know of a conservative editorial writer for a newspaper in the south who has been audited twice in the past three years, AND, a foundation he established was visited by the infamous Cincinnati office.

giorgio111 on February 12, 2014 at 10:12 AM

On a more serious note, this kind of harassment has to stop and stop now. It will only become worse if it’s tolerated this time. The Washington bureaucracy is full of liberals and people whose little bit of power has gone to their heads.

oldennis on February 12, 2014 at 10:12 AM

Did the IRS target conservative groups for tax audits?

Natch.

rukiddingme on February 12, 2014 at 10:14 AM

You can bet there’s more corruption to be found
antipc on February 12, 2014 at 9:50 AM

Nope, not even a smidgen… /sarc….

oscarwilde on February 12, 2014 at 10:16 AM

To quote Instapundit,

“Reminder: In 2009, Barack Obama “Joked” About Auditing His Enemies.”

makattak on February 12, 2014 at 10:20 AM

Liberals who think this is ok should remember that dictators will eventually turn on their supporters. Also when this bunch of criminals finally go down people will not only be angry at the administration but also at those who protected and enabled them. And a case can be made for calling them accessories.

crankyoldlady on February 12, 2014 at 10:20 AM

What symbol will conservatives have to wear on their sleeves when the time comes? Will we be sent to reeducation camps or just walled off from the rest of society?
We’ll know they’re coming for us when they go for the guns. And we’ll know what to do.

Capt Blasto on February 12, 2014 at 10:21 AM

Weaponized government.

What a concept.

Eric in Hollywood on February 12, 2014 at 10:21 AM

People need to do hard time for this. It’s outrageous.

Dusty on February 12, 2014 at 10:30 AM

Does a zebra have stripes?

yaedon on February 12, 2014 at 10:36 AM

And for more presidentially approved lawlessness and abuse, try this one:
http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/370909/obama-adds-irrationality-lawlessness-while-threatening-prosecution-andrew-c-mccarthy

onlineanalyst on February 12, 2014 at 10:36 AM

Does the first lady wear $12,000 dresses?

yaedon on February 12, 2014 at 10:37 AM

Is a shark’s butt water tight?

Hard Right on February 12, 2014 at 10:40 AM

What symbol will conservatives have to wear on their sleeves when the time comes? Will we be sent to reeducation camps or just walled off from the rest of society?
We’ll know they’re coming for us when they go for the guns. And we’ll know what to do.
Capt Blasto on February 12, 2014 at 10:21 AM

The Gadsden Flag. Well, it IS yellow. Fascists love to make their scapegoats wear yellow patches to identify them.

ConstantineXI on February 12, 2014 at 10:44 AM

Liberals who think this is ok should remember that dictators will eventually turn on their supporters. Also when this bunch of criminals finally go down people will not only be angry at the administration but also at those who protected and enabled them. And a case can be made for calling them accessories.
crankyoldlady on February 12, 2014 at 10:20 AM

Exactly. After the Revolution, when the Republic is victorious, we will have war crimes trials for Lois Lerner and other fascist criminals.

ConstantineXI on February 12, 2014 at 10:45 AM

Year’s ago, before we had a king, law would have insisted her conviction of treason by now and the sentence would possibly have been right after her choice of which wall to stand in front of.
I mean it is a terrorist vermin, but its still a lady. She should get to choose which wall.
I pray for the day constitutional law is once again reinstituted. Maybe someone of proper authority should, until then, prohibit her from leaving the country.

onomo on February 12, 2014 at 11:05 AM

I assume this is perfectly OK with our lefty trolls. By any means necessary and all that, right?

stvnscott on February 12, 2014 at 11:12 AM

Exactly. After the Revolution, when the Republic is victorious, we will have war crimes trials for Lois Lerner and other fascist criminals.

ConstantineXI on February 12, 2014 at 10:45 AM

Ooh. That probably should be pointed out to our government representatives at all levels with direct sincerity. Once this regime begins arresting without due process and murdering, and history clearly tells us it everntually will at despotic levels, all efforts to “work with” these despots will be recognized as collusion and their collaboration with this regime will fall under war crimes.

onomo on February 12, 2014 at 11:14 AM

I assume this is perfectly OK with our lefty trolls. By any means necessary and all that, right?

stvnscott on February 12, 2014 at 11:12 AM

From my experience from those on the national socialist left, they think that it’s just overblown and not big deal.

They’re moral relativism dictates that oppression of the opposition is fine.

Requiring ID from people just to vote however…

DinaRehn on February 12, 2014 at 11:21 AM

In the “old days”, the people would just burn them out.

Sgt Stryker on February 12, 2014 at 11:24 AM

Richard Nixon resigned before the formal impeachment articles were voted on by the House in 1974. But the second of those impeachment articles were on his abuse of power in attempting to leverage the IRS as a political tool against his political enemies.

(Testimony indicated that the WH was ultimately unable to get the IRS to follow through because of the bureaucracy of the organization and the fact that many of those middle managers were pro-Democrat and resisted the WH efforts.)

Despite the President’s claim that there is not ‘one smidgen of corruption’ at the IRS, we’re left with the fact that when there is smoke, there is fire….and a massive cover-up appears to be underway (facilitated and assisted by the bankrupt Democrats in the House) to hide the Administration’s abuses of power for political expediency and gain. How does this reconcile with what was done to Nixon – since that effort was attempted, but unsuccessful, and this one was not only successful, but apparently remains underway?

Athos on February 12, 2014 at 11:24 AM

Once again, Hot Air bravely leading the way by asking the question for which we’ve had an answer for months.

rrpjr on February 12, 2014 at 11:28 AM

Administration response…crickets…

vnvet on February 12, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Administration response…crickets…”RAA-CISTS!!!”

vnvet on February 12, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Modified for accuracy.

Eric in Hollywood on February 12, 2014 at 11:43 AM

Abolish the IRS

SouthernGent on February 12, 2014 at 12:15 PM

No one has been charged with a crime.
No one has been fired.
Congress is toothless and the government is completely crooked from the top to the bottom, including the legal system which is a complete fraud as well.

This is a lawless country.

earlgrey on February 12, 2014 at 12:34 PM

Less than a century ago, the people…ALL the people…would have been so outraged at the actions of the IRS that our elected representatives would have been tripping over each other to take action and fire those responsible and make sure it didn’t happen again. And that would have been people on all sides of the political spectrum, because if allowed to continue it would apply to all. But not so today. Why?

Do you suppose that it has anything to do with the fact that a member of the House represents over 700,000 constituents, and therefore does not fear a complaining “rabble” of a thousand? Or that a Senator represents, on average, more than 2.8 million, and therefore has even less fear of his “constituents” (if that term even has any bearing anymore)! I wonder.

TKPedersen42 on February 12, 2014 at 12:46 PM

Can anyone explain why the IRS needs to audit political groups in the first place? What do such groups need to pay taxes on? Is political association and speech protected under the First Amendment? Did ACORN pay taxes?

brindle on February 12, 2014 at 1:12 PM

There is no bigger scandal, ever, than this one.

To target any group, liberals or conservative, by the IRS is absolutely chilling.

There is no more powerful group than the IRS, when it comes to controlling the population.

Taxation, from the beginning of time, has been a way of controlling without using the military…

Why the American people are not up in arms about this, they should be marching in the streets.

right2bright on February 12, 2014 at 1:50 PM

Ms. Mitchell is impressive but until we have politicians outraged at this behavior that permeates this administration nothing will be done.

Laws are written as well as ignored to protect politicians.

Vince on February 12, 2014 at 1:51 PM

In response to – TKPedersen42 on February 12, 2014 at 12:46 PM

Back in the day the country actually HAD Newspapers and newsmen that sought out TRUTH and WROTE about the activities of government at ALL levels. See: H.L. Mencken, (“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”), et al.
AND
We had a population that actually could READ and comprehend the meaning of the writers, the significance of the stories and the voters had a vocabulary of more than 200 words.

Missilengr on February 12, 2014 at 2:45 PM