IRS apologizes for targeting conservative groups

  • conservativej...

    Posts: 2465

    May 10, 2013 6:03 PM GMT
    WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service apologized Friday for subjecting Tea Party groups to additional scrutiny during the 2012 election, but denied any political motive.

    Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS unit that oversees tax-exempt groups, said organizations that included the words "tea party" or "patriot" in their applications for tax-exempt status were singled out for additional reviews. Her remarks came at an American Bar Association gathering.

    Lerner said the practice, initiated by low-level workers in Cincinnati, was wrong.

    "That was wrong. That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate. That's not how we go about selecting cases for further review," Lerner said at a conference sponsored by the American Bar Association.

    "The IRS would like to apologize for that," she added.

    In a follow-up statement, the IRS said it has fixed the system, and that an influx of tax-exempt applications in an election year contributed to the problem. "Mistakes were made initially, but they were in no way due to any political or partisan rationale," said the statement from IRS spokeswoman Sara Eguren.

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., asked the White House to conduct a government-wide review to ensure "that these thuggish practices are not underway at the IRS or elsewhere in the administration against anyone, regardless of their political views."

    Jenny Beth Martin, the national coordinator of Tea Party Patriots, said the apology wasn't good enough. She called on the IRS workers involved to resign and Congress to investigate.

    "The IRS has demonstrated the most disturbing, illegal and outrageous abuse of government power," Martin said in a statement."This deliberate targeting and harassment of tea party groups reaches a new low in illegal government activity and overreach. It is suspicious that the activity of these 'low-level workers' was unknown to IRS leadership at the time it occurred."

    Conservative groups complained during the election that they were being harassed by the IRS. They said the agency asked them an inordinate number of questions to justify their tax-exempt status, and 27 Tea Party groups joined with conservative lawyer Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice to push back on the IRS.

    Kentucky 9/12 Project is one of the conservative organizations that joined with Sekulow to complain of government overreach.

    Its executive director, Eric Wilson, said his group applied for tax-exempt status in December 2010. He said the IRS responded with an 88-page questionnaire that sought all the organization's correspondence, the names of its members -- along with details of group's activity on Facebook and Twitter. It was eventually granted its nonprofit designation last month.

    "I would love to say that I feel vindicated, but to think that the government has the capability to reach into the lives of people in our organization is not only scary but describes the times we live in today," Wilson said of the apology.

    Certain tax-exempt charitable groups can conduct political activities but it cannot be their primary activity.

    Congressional Republicans expressed surprise at the apology, even after pushing the IRS to explain persistent questioning of Tea Party groups since 2011.

    In March 2012, Rep. Charles Boustany Jr., R-La., asked the IRS to explain why it was "questioning new tax-exempt applicants, including grassroots political entities such as Tea Party groups, about their operations and donors."

    In response, the IRS acknowledged last June that there were backlogs in processing tax-exempt determinations for political groups, which were attributed to a spike in applications during an election year. But IRS Deputy Commissioner Steven T. Miller then assured Boustany that the office "took steps to coordinate the handling of the cases to ensure consistency."

    "As sometimes happens, however, coordination efforts resulted in some cases being in inventory for a longer time than expected," he wrote.

    Boustany, chairman of the oversight subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee, said the IRS had repeatedly denied the allegations.

    "Despite their unwillingness to cooperate, more than a year later, the IRS has now admitted to what we long suspected — it was targeting tea party groups," Boustany said in a statement. "The IRS's 'too little too late' response is unacceptable, and I will continue to work to ensure there are protections in place so no American, regardless of political affiliation, has their right to free speech threatened by the IRS."

    Contributing: Associated Press.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 10, 2013 8:50 PM GMT
    The Tea Party movement is rife with contradiction, incoherence and a wilful contempt for facts or reason. Tax the f*ckers till the pips squeak.
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    May 10, 2013 10:24 PM GMT
    Ex_Mil8 saidThe Tea Party movement is rife with contradiction, incoherence and a wilful contempt for facts or reason. Tax the f*ckers till the pips squeak.


    Spoken like a liberal who understands little of the tea partiers. Let's compare them however with how Occupy was treated. I'm curious - how do you feel about how coherent/contemptful occupy was?

    It's also telling that you as a liberal would choose to use the IRS to pursue those who you disagree with. You do realize that "what goes around, comes around"?
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    May 10, 2013 10:31 PM GMT
    In the press conference, IRS official notes "I’m not very good at math"
    http://dailycaller.com/2013/05/10/irs-official-im-not-very-good-at-math/
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    May 10, 2013 11:51 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    Ex_Mil8 saidThe Tea Party movement is rife with contradiction, incoherence and a wilful contempt for facts or reason. Tax the f*ckers till the pips squeak.


    Spoken like a liberal who understands little of the tea partiers. Let's compare them however with how Occupy was treated. I'm curious - how do you feel about how coherent/contemptful occupy was?

    It's also telling that you as a liberal would choose to use the IRS to pursue those who you disagree with. You do realize that "what goes around, comes around"?


    I was writing in the style of Freedomisntfree (who I have yet to see you criticize, however outrageous his comments).

    As it happens, I don't have much time for Occupy either.
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    May 11, 2013 12:06 AM GMT
    Here Ex_Mil, I doubt either of the other posters bothered to look this one up as to why it was given the questionnaire.

    "Kentucky 9/12 Project is one of the conservative organizations that joined with Sekulow to complain of government overreach.

    Its executive director, Eric Wilson, said his group applied for tax-exempt status in December 2010. He said the IRS responded with an 88-page questionnaire that sought all the organization's correspondence, the names of its members -- along with details of group's activity on Facebook and Twitter. It was eventually granted its nonprofit designation last month.

    "I would love to say that I feel vindicated, but to think that the government has the capability to reach into the lives of people in our organization is not only scary but describes the times we live in today," Wilson said of the apology.

    Certain tax-exempt charitable groups can conduct political activities but it cannot be their primary activity."

    So lets' look at how Kentucky 9/12 project came to be and what it's charitable work (that's supposed to be it's primary activity) is.

    " The 9-12 Project was created as the result of Beck's "We Surround Them" campaign, a series of segments and specials on Beck's television program in early 2009 which purported to bring back government accountability.[11] Viewers were asked to incorporate these values first in their personal lives, then expect them of those they elected to office and holding the elected accountable. At one point during the campaign, viewers were asked to submit pictures if they believed at least seven of the nine founding principles and felt they were alone in believing these principles. Many of the pictures were used to form a collage that once lined one of the walls in Glenn Beck's Fox News Channel studio.[citation needed] The 9-12 Project grew out of that campaign, as a result of the original call Beck took on his nationally syndicated talk radio show, from "Ed" of New Haven, Connecticut. During that phone call in late January, 2009, "Ed" said that he felt powerless against the government. Beck told him that he would figure out a way to prove to him that he isn't alone, and that "they," the powers that be, don't surround "us", the American people, but rather, "We Surround Them!"
    Following the Taxpayer March on Washington on September 12, 2009, Beck introduced a campaign for the 9-12 project called "Re-found America". The campaign aims to find 56 Re-Founders, who are Congressional politicians who agree to stand against corruption and abuses of power, and become whistle blowers, exposing the evidence of corruption.[12]

    So now we need to know what they are a charity for.
  • musclmed

    Posts: 3274

    May 11, 2013 12:14 AM GMT
    maybe you do not know because you are in Canada, but tax exempt status doesn't just extend to "charities" . Certain non for profit organizations can have this status.

    Example "Media Matters",, hardly a charity. But claims it is a not for profit and enjoys tax exempt status.

    When the IRS singles out one group based party affiliate or political beliefs this is clearly an illegal act.

    I suspect the apology is part of a amelioration campaign as the inspector general is investigating the policy. The IRS rarely apologizes for anything.

    Overall not a good week for the Executive branch.
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    May 11, 2013 3:47 AM GMT
    musclmed saidmaybe you do not know because you are in Canada, but tax exempt status doesn't just extend to "charities" . Certain non for profit organizations can have this status.

    Example "Media Matters",, hardly a charity. But claims it is a not for profit and enjoys tax exempt status.

    When the IRS singles out one group based party affiliate or political beliefs this is clearly an illegal act.

    I suspect the apology is part of a amelioration campaign as the inspector general is investigating the policy. The IRS rarely apologizes for anything.

    Overall not a good week for the Executive branch.


    Well thanks, but what about, "Certain tax-exempt charitable groups can conduct political activities but it cannot be their primary activity."

    intrigued,

    -Doug

    PS I'm not excusing your tax authorities, but really curious about the wording of the rules. If they were going to go by party etc for singling out samples, they really should have done it equally across the political spectrum. Now I wonder; did they investigate liberal or any other political party's requests for charitable status to the same degree?

    Now here's interesting one; Investigated for supporting Obama:

    http://fftc.pgdc.com/pgdc/irs-investigate-churchs-political-activities
  • musclmed

    Posts: 3274

    May 11, 2013 3:18 PM GMT
    yes thats the point . They singled out applications for words such as "patriot" , "tea party".

    It is under investigation, and no one has claimed any liberal group was singled out.
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    May 12, 2013 5:59 PM GMT
    They also targeted a pro-Israeli group... it gets worse:
    http://www.buzzfeed.com/bensmith/pro-israel-group-sees-same-conduct-in-irss-tea-party-campaig
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    May 12, 2013 6:06 PM GMT
    Twitter comment:
    https://twitter.com/LADowd/status/332936125733826560
    "Sorry about our massive abuse power while mining your data, but trust us with your health records!"
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    May 12, 2013 10:34 PM GMT
    Oh com'on... they apologized - doesnt that make it all better? LOL
  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    May 12, 2013 10:51 PM GMT
    The TEA party stands for Taxed Enough Already... The IRS probably expected them to be tax dodgers. This is not really surprising! I think the former majority isn't used to being treated unfairly. I can sympathize with them to a degree, but then I remember that they hate gays and I don't feel so bad.icon_rolleyes.gif
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    May 12, 2013 11:31 PM GMT
    HottJoe saidThe TEA party stands for Taxed Enough Already... The IRS probably expected them to be tax dodgers. This is not really surprising! I think the former majority isn't used to being treated unfairly. I can sympathize with them to a degree, but then I remember that they hate gays and I don't feel so bad.icon_rolleyes.gif


    Sort of like the Koch brothers who openly support gay marriage?
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    May 13, 2013 1:08 PM GMT
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324715704578478851998004528.html?mod=rss_mobile_uber_feed

    IRS Scrutiny Was Deeper Than Thought. “Government investigators have found that the Internal Revenue Service scrutinized conservative groups for raising political concerns over government spending, debt and taxes or even for advocating making America a better place to live, according to new details likely to inflame a widening IRS controversy. The latest details about the IRS handling of applications for tax-exempt status by tea party, patriot and other conservative groups in recent years were provided to congressional investigators by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. The findings were reviewed Sunday by The Wall Street Journal.”


    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/05/12/irs-targeted-groups-that-criticized-the-government-ig-report-says/

    “The new revelations are likely to intensify criticism of the IRS, which has been under fire since agency officials acknowledged they had deliberately targeted groups with ‘tea party’ or ‘patriot’ in their name for heightened scrutiny.”


    http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2013/05/why-irs-abruptly-apologized-tea-party/65136/
    “The focus will now become whether or not IRS commissioner Doug Shulman knew about the questions when he testified that no Tea Party groups were being targeted for unfair scrutiny in front of Congress in 2012. The report doesn’t shay whether or not Shulman was informed about the Tea Party questioning, but it does show the IRS’s chief counsel was. It’s standard procedure for the counsel and commissioner to discuss this sort of thing before a Congressional hearing.”
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    May 13, 2013 2:56 PM GMT
    topathlete saidWill culture of corruption taint this administration even by the the mainstream, normally loyal press? Along with the Benghazi cover-up and lies, once distrust becomes widespread, the entire foundation of the administration could start to crumble.

    Dennis Kucinich Slams IRS’s Tea Party ‘Political Targeting’, ‘How Can It Not Be?’
    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/dennis-kucinich-slams-irss-tea-party-political-targeting-how-can-it-not-be/
    Asked by Chris Wallace whether he buys the IRS claim that this was just an isolated bureaucratic offense by select IRS agents in Cincinnati, Kucinich said the buck stops at the top.

    “The tone is set from the top,” Kucinich said.


    Even CBS is now covering it
    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57584099/lawmakers-decry-outrageous-irs-conduct-as-targeting-scandal-deepens/


    http://www.nationaljournal.com/politics/irs-blunder-gives-republicans-ammunition-in-effort-to-defund-the-agency-20130510
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    May 13, 2013 7:46 PM GMT
    But IRS said they were sooooo sorry. LOL
  • musclmed

    Posts: 3274

    May 13, 2013 7:53 PM GMT
    i heard a local radio interview with a lawyer who worked for 10 years in the IRS in the division that handles "tax exempt" status.

    He said that the unit was highly specialized and highly regulated by the IRS administrators. Questions to groups apply for the status go though lawyer clearance and it would be highly unlikely , one or two "low level" employees would be making such decisions.


    Even though congress was investigating these charges. The IRS kept quiet. And changed the criteria to any mention of the "bill of rights", "limiting governement" etc.




    AP Exclusive: Watchdog report says senior IRS officials knew tea party groups targeted in 20

    [url]http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/irs-apologizes-for-inappropriately-targeting-conservative-political-groups-in-2012-election/2013/05/11/ea5d5790-ba0e-11e2-b568-6917f6ac6d9d_story.html
    [/url]
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    May 13, 2013 10:07 PM GMT
    Too many people think "good, screw them evil right wingers", but they fail to realize that if the parties were reversed, they'd be jumping up and down and screeching for years on end. Can't have it both was.....
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    May 15, 2013 6:21 PM GMT
    musclmed saidyes thats the point . They singled out applications for words such as "patriot" , "tea party".

    It is under investigation, and no one has claimed any liberal group was singled out.



    Here:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/05/15/1209257/-Liberal-groups-received-same-IRS-letter-that-ignited-Tea-Party-nbsp-outrage


    ...and:

    "the only group to have its application denied was a liberal group"