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Remember how the IRS under the Obama administration maliciously targeted conservatives, for which IRS officials like Lois Lerner were never held accountable?
Judicial Watch, the nonpartisan citizens’ watchdog group, has uncovered evidence that it wasn’t just Democrats: Republican Senator John McCain (Arizona) also urged the IRS to politically target individuals and non-profit groups for special auditing, for the express purpose of ruining them financially.
Judicial Watch today released newly obtained internal IRS documents, including material revealing that Sen. John McCain’s former staff director and chief counsel on the Senate Homeland Security Permanent Subcommittee, Henry Kerner, urged top IRS officials, includingthen-director of exempt organizations Lois Lerner, to “audit so many that it becomes financially ruinous.” Kerner was appointed by President Trump as Special Counsel for the United States Office of Special Counsel.
The explosive exchange was contained in notes taken by IRS employees at an April 30, 2013, meeting between Kerner, Lerner, and other high-ranking IRS officials. Just ten days following the meeting, former IRS director of exempt organizations Lois Lerner admitted that the IRS had a policy of improperly and deliberately delaying applications for tax-exempt status from conservative non-profit groups.
Lerner and other IRS officials met with select top staffers from the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee in a “marathon” meeting to discuss concerns raised by both Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that the IRS was not reining in political advocacy groups in response to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Senator McCain had been the chief sponsor of the McCain-Feingold Act and called the Citizens United decision, which overturned portions of the Act, one of the “worst decisions I have ever seen.”
[Note: Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010), is a landmark U.S. constitutional law, campaign finance, and corporate law case dealing with regulation of political campaign spending by organizations. On January 21, 2010, the Supreme Court ruled (5–4) that the free speech clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution prohibits the government from restricting independent expenditures for communications by nonprofit groups, for-profit corporations, labor unions, and other associations.]
In the full notes of an April 30 meeting, McCain’s high-ranking staffer Kerner recommends harassing non-profit groups until they are unable to continue operating. Kerner tells Lerner, Steve Miller, then chief of staff to IRS commissioner, Nikole Flax, and other IRS officials, “Maybe the solution is to audit so many that it is financially ruinous.” In response, Lerner responded that “it is her job to oversee it all:”
Henry Kerner asked how to get to the abuse of organizations claiming section 501 (c)(4) but designed to be primarily political. Lois Lerner said the system works, but not in real time. Henry Kerner noted that these organizations don’t disclose donors. Lois Lerner said that if they don’t meet the requirements, we can come in and revoke, but it doesn’t happen timely. Nan Marks said if the concern is that organizations engaging in this activity don’t disclose donors, then the system doesn’t work. Henry Kerner said that maybe the solution is to audit so many that it is financially ruinous. Nikole noted that we have budget constraints. Elise Bean suggested using the list of organizations that made independent expenditures. Lois Lerner said that it is her job to oversee it all, not just political campaign activity.
Judicial Watch previously reported on the 2013 meeting. Senator McCain then issued a statement decrying “false reports claiming that his office was somehow involved in IRS targeting of conservative groups.” The IRS previously blacked out the notes of the meeting but Judicial Watch found the notes among subsequent documents released by the agency.
Judicial Watch separately uncovered that Lerner was under significant pressure from both Democrats in Congress and the Obama DOJ and FBI to prosecute and jail the groups the IRS was already improperly targeting. In discussing pressure from Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (Democrat-Rhode Island) to prosecute these “political groups,” Lerner admitted, “it is ALL about 501(c)(4) orgs and political activity.”
The April 30, 2013 meeting came just under two weeks prior to Lerner’s admission during an ABA meeting that the IRS had “inappropriately” targeted conservative groups. In her May 2013 answer to a planted question, in which she admitted to the “absolutely incorrect, insensitive, and inappropriate” targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups, Lerner suggested the IRS targeting occurred due to an “uptick” in 501 (c)(4) applications to the IRS but in actuality, there had been a decrease in such applications in 2010.
On May 14, 2013, a report by Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration revealed: “Early in Calendar Year 2010, the IRS began using inappropriate criteria to identify organizations applying for tax-exempt status” (e.g., lists of past and future donors). The illegal IRS reviews continued “for more than 18 months” and “delayed processing of targeted groups’ applications” in advance of the 2012 presidential election.
All these documents were forced out of the IRS as a result of an October 2013 Judicial Watch Freedom of Information (FOIA) lawsuit filed against the IRS after it failed to respond adequately to four FOIA requests sent in May 2013 (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Internal Revenue Service (No. 1:13-cv-01559)). Judicial Watch is seeking:
- All records related to the number of applications received or related to communications between the IRS and members of the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate regarding the review process for organizations applying for tax exempt status under 501(c)(4);
- All records concerning communications between the IRS and the Executive Branch or any other government agency regarding the review process for organizations applying for tax exempt status under 501(c)(4);
- Copies of any questionnaires and all records related to the preparation of questionnaires sent to organizations applying for 501(c)(4) tax exempt status.
- All records related to Lois Lerner’s communication with other IRS employees, as well as government or private entity outside the IRS regarding the review and approval process for 501 (c)(4) applicant organizations.
“The Obama IRS scandal is bipartisan – McCain and Democrats who wanted to regulate political speech lost at the Supreme Court, so they sought to use the IRS to harass innocent Americans,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The Obama IRS scandal is not over – as Judicial Watch continues to uncover smoking gun documents that raise questions about how the Obama administration weaponized the IRS, the FEC, FBI, and DOJ to target the First Amendment rights of Americans.”
Born in Munich, Germany, Henry Kerner was appointed by President Trump as special counsel for the U.S. Office of Special Counsel.
Please contact President Trump and your representatives in Congress to demand that Kerner be removed from the Office of Special Counsel, and prosecuted to the full extent of the law:
I sent President Trump a message via his Twitter and the White House contact form. This is the immediate response I received from the White House:
Thank you for contacting the White House. We are carefully reviewing your message.
President Donald J. Trump believes the strength of our country lies in the spirit of the American people and their willingness to stay informed and get involved. President Trump appreciates you taking the time to reach out.
The Office of Presidential Correspondence
I’m surprised the IRS hasn’t said they “lost” the documents. After all, they tried that route with Lying Lois Lerner (former Director of the IRS Exempt Organizations Division).
On October 14, 2014, for one night only, the documentary film, Unfair: Exposing the IRS, will screen in 674 theaters nationwide, courtesy of Fathom Events, a company that brings sports, concerts, speeches and other alternative entertainment to movie screens.
The movie is about abuse at the IRS, the agency responsible for collecting taxes in the U.S. Unfair is about the scandal revealed last year wherein Republican and some Democratic lawmakers accused Lois Lerner, at the time the director of the exempt organizations unit of the IRS, of delaying the applications of conservative groups seeking tax-free status from 2010-2013.
The scandal triggered several investigations, with the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration confirming that the IRS did, in fact, subject Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations to far more scrutiny than it did liberal groups. Lerner dismissed calls for her resignation and was eventually called to testify before a House Oversight Committee. She retired from the IRS late last year.
Scenes in Unfair include Lerner’s testimony, such as “I have not done anything wrong,” she tells congressional representatives, before adding: “I have decided to follow my counsel’s advice and not testify or answer any of the questions today.” Just after the scene is a clip of President Ebola advising, “The only people who don’t want to disclose the truth are people with something to hide.”
The movie was written and produced by radio host Craig Bergman and directed by Judd Saul. It was executive produced by John Sullivan, who co-directed Dinesh D’Souza’s two films, America this year and 2016: Obama’s America two years ago. The filmmakers are hoping to attract thousands of Tea Partiers to the one-night screening, which is followed by a recorded panel discussion with former GOP presidential candidates Alan Keyes and Mike Huckabee. The former is in the film, along with Glenn Beck, Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Michele Bachmann.
“Lois Lerner is the boogie man that the left put out as their scapegoat,” Bergman told The Hollywood Reporter. “This isn’t about rogue agents; this is a systemic problem that has been going on for 100 years, and I make the moral case against the system. Lois Lerner is just one bad guy on a long list of bad guys.”
But Lerner continues to portray herself as the victim.
On Monday, Oct. 6, independent journalist Jason Mattera, author of the just-released book Crapitalism: Liberals Who Make Millions Swiping Your Tax Dollars, released a video of Lerner threatening to call the police on him while he tried to interview her.
“Please let me in. These guys are the press and they aren’t leaving me alone,” she says while knocking on a neighbor’s door.
“Why should we leave you alone? You were trying to use the IRS to crush political dissent,” Mattera says in the video below.
IRS Strikes Deal With Atheists To Monitor Churches
Investors Business Daily, 7/31/14
First Amendment: Government’s assault on religious liberty has hit a new low as the IRS settles with atheists by promising to monitor sermons for mentions of the right to life and traditional marriage.
A lawsuit filed by the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) asserted that the Internal Revenue Service ignored complaints about churches’ violating their tax-exempt status by routinely promoting political issues, legislation and candidates from the pulpit.
The FFRF has temporarily withdrawn its suit in return for the IRS’s agreement to monitor sermons and homilies for proscribed speech that the foundation believes includes things like condemnation of gay marriage and criticism of ObamaCare for its contraceptive mandate.
The irony of this agreement is that it’s being enforced by the same Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division of the IRS that was once headed by Lois “Fifth Amendment” Lerner and that openly targeted Tea Party and other conservative groups.
Among the questions that the IRS asked of those targeted groups was the content of their prayers.
Those who objected to the monitoring of what is said and done in mosques for signs of terrorist activity have no problem with this one, though monitoring what’s said in houses of worship is a clear violation of the First Amendment. Can you say “chilling effect”?
Congress can make no laws prohibiting the free exercise of religion. So it’s not clear where the IRS gets off doing just that by spying on religious leaders lest they comment on issues and activities by government that are contrary to or impose on their religious consciences. Our country was founded by people fleeing this kind of government-monitored and mandated theology last practiced in the Soviet Union.
The FFRF cites as its authority the 1954 Johnson Amendment, which states that tax-exempt groups cannot endorse candidates. A 2009 court ruling determined that the IRS must staff someone to monitor church politicking.
The FFRF claims that the IRS has not adhered to the ruling and that the settlement amounts to enforcing both the Johnson Amendment and the court ruling.
But is the Catholic Church “politicking” when it proclaims its “Fortnight for Freedom” dedicated to opposing ObamaCare’s contraceptive mandate and the government’s forcing schools and charities it considers an extension of its faith to include it in insurance coverage or face crippling fines?
Are Protestant and evangelical churches “politicking” when they participate in “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” this year on Oct. 5 to encourage congregations to “vote their faith,” which they consider to be an exercise of free speech and freedom of religion?
The FFRF says that such events at “rogue churches” have “become an annual occasion for churches to violate the law with impunity.” But doesn’t the Constitution say that Congress can make no such laws?
Rather than “rogue churches,” it’s the rogue IRS that needs to be stopped.
In 2013, the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) revealed that it had selected for closer scrutiny conservative political groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Prominent among the targeted groups and individuals were Tea Party and Christian organizations and individuals.
Lois Lerner, who was the director of the IRS Exempt Organizations division, claimed that the extra scrutiny given conservative groups had not been centrally planned and had been done by lower-level “front line people” in the Cincinnati IRS office.
That’s a lie.
The nonpartisan citizen watchdog group Judicial Watch has obtained documents, including emails, showing the targeting of conservatives was directed from IRS headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Moreover, Democrat Sen. Carl Levin actively urged and colluded with the IRS, especially the agency’s Deputy Commissioner Steven Miller, on the political targeting of conservative groups and individuals.
All those who bash and deride conspiracy theorists should take note:
Following on our tremendous Benghazi success, Judicial Watch uncovered stunning new documents detailing the extent to which the Obama IRS improperly targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status. And the news media is finally starting to stand up and take notice.
The latest batch of documents reveal that, contrary to claims by Lois Lerner and other top IRS officials, the handling of Tea Party applications was directed out of the agency’s Washington, DC, headquarters rather than out in the hinterlands. They show extensive pressure on the IRS by Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) to shut down conservative-leaning tax-exempt organizations. And they contain IRS emails directly contradicting Lerner’s misleading explanations, uncovered for the first time by JW, to investigators about the targeting of Tea Party organizations. […]
The new IRS documents came in response to an October 2013 Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed after the agency refused to respond to four FOIA requests dating back to May 2013. And they directly contradict the story President Obama was peddling when he told Bill O’Reilly as late as February 2014 that the IRS targeting was entirely the fault of “bonehead decisions in local offices.”
One key email string from July 2012 confirms beyond a shadow of a doubt that IRS’ Tea Party scrutiny was directed from Washington, DC. On July 6, 2010, Holly Paz (the former Washington-based Director of the IRS Rulings and Agreements Division and current Manager of Exempt Organizations Guidance) asks IRS headquarters lawyer Steven Grodnitzky “to let Cindy and Sharon know how we have been handling Tea Party applications in the last few months.” Cindy Thomas is the former director of the IRS Exempt Organizations office in Cincinnati and Sharon Camarillo was a Senior Manager in their Los Angeles office.
Grodnitzky, a top lawyer in the Exempt Organization Technical unit (EOT) in Washington, DC, responds:
EOT is working the Tea party applications in coordination with Cincy. We are developing a few applications here in DC and providing copies of our development letters with the agent to use as examples in the development of their cases. Chip Hull [another lawyer in IRS headquarters] is working these cases in EOT and working with the agent in Cincy, so any communication should include him as well. Because the Tea party applications are the subject of an SCR [Sensitive Case Report], we cannot resolve any of the cases without coordinating with Rob.
The reference to Rob is believed to be Rob Choi, then-Director of Rulings and Agreements in IRS’s Washington, DC, headquarters.
Another email string, from February – March 2010, includes a message from a California EO Determinations manager discussing a Tea Party application “currently being held in the Screening group.” It, too, confirms the Washington IRS headquarters’ involvement in the targeting scandal. The manager urges, “Please let ‘Washington’ know about this potentially embarrassing political case involving a ‘Tea Party’ organization. Recent media attention to this type of organization indicates to me that this is a ‘high profile’ case.” A co-worker responds: “I think sending it up here [DC] is a good idea given the potential for media interest.” It’s worth noting that, just as with Ben Rhodes’ Benghazi-related talking points email, Judicial Watch obtained a more complete version of this IRS email chain than was provided to a congressional committee. […]
The documents Judicial Watch obtained also include a chilling series of letters between Senator Levin (D-MI), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Investigations, and top IRS officials throughout 2012 discussing how to target conservative groups the senator claimed were “engaged in political activities.” In response to a March 30 Levin letter citing the “urgency of the issue,” then-Deputy Commissioner Steven Miller assures the senator that IRS regulations were flexible enough to allow IRS agents to “prepare individualized questions and requests” for select 501(c)(4) organizations – that is, conservative groups. The “urgency” was clearly the upcoming Obama re-election campaign.
The newly released IRS documents contain several letters and emails revealing an almost pathological obsession by Levin and IRS officials with determining what, if any, existing IRS policies could be used to revoke the nonprofit exemptions of active conservative groups and deny exemptions to new applicants. In a July 30, 2012, letter, Levin singles out 12 groups he wants investigated for “political activity.” Of the groups – which include the Club for Growth, Americans for Tax Reform, the 60 Plus Association, and the Susan B. Anthony List – only one, Priorities USA, is notably left-leaning.
As the 2012 presidential election drew nearer, Levin sent a series of letters to the IRS intensifying his campaign against predominantly conservative nonprofit groups:
In perhaps the most revealing letter from the IRS to Levin, Miller on June 4, 2012, takes 16 pages to carefully outline for Levin what IRS regulations and policies may and may not be used to evaluate political groups – and assures him that the agency has considerable leeway in picking and choosing which groups the IRS could subject to additional scrutiny by tailoring its investigations:
There is no standard questionnaire used to obtain information about political activities. Although there is a template development letter that describes the general information on the case development process, the letter does not specify the information to be requested from any particular organization . . . Consequently, revenue agents prepare individualized questions and requests for documents relevant to the application. . .
Let me make it clear: These new documents show conclusively that officials in the Washington IRS headquarters were responsible for the illegal delays of Tea Party applications. And they also confirm the unprecedented pressure from congressional Democrats to go after President Obama’s political opponents. So, the IRS scandal has now ensnared Congress. In mid-April, you will recall, Judicial Watch released a batch of IRS documents (produced earlier in this litigation) revealing that Lerner had communicated with the Department of Justice about whether it was possible to criminally prosecute certain tax-exempt entities.
As a result of the Judicial Watch revelations in the Benghazi scandal, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has now convened a special Select Committee to investigate the matter. I would suggest another Select Committee should be convened to get to the bottom of the Obama IRS’ abuse.
While it is proper for the federal government to use the judicial system to go after tax cheats, it is ENTIRELY improper for the government to SELECTIVELY go after suspected tax cheats on a partisan basis.
That is what Obama and his IRS are doing, which the nonpartisan citizen watchdog group Judicial Watch has discovered from emails of former IRS official Lois Lerner, but only after filing repeated Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits.
Those emails also show that:
APRIL 16, 2014
May 9, 2013, email reveals IRS plans to meet with Department of Justice over whether to prosecute groups that “lied” about plans for political activity
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today released a new batch of internal IRS documents revealing that former IRS official Lois Lerner communicated with the Department of Justice (DOJ) about whether it was possible to criminally prosecute certain tax-exempt entities. The documents were obtained as a result of an October 2013 Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) after the agency refused to respond to four FOIA requests dating back to May 2013.
The newly released IRS documents contain an email exchange between Lerner and Nikole C. Flax, then-Chief of Staff to then-Acting IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller discussing plans to work with the DOJ to prosecute nonprofit groups that “lied” (Lerner’s quotation marks) about political activities. The exchange includes the following:
I got a call today from Richard Pilger Director Elections Crimes Branch at DOJ … He wanted to know who at IRS the DOJ folk s [sic] could talk to about Sen. Whitehouse idea at the hearing that DOJ could piece together false statement cases about applicants who “lied” on their 1024s –saying they weren’t planning on doing political activity, and then turning around and making large visible political expenditures. DOJ is feeling like it needs to respond, but want to talk to the right folks at IRS to see whether there are impediments from our side and what, if any damage this might do to IRS programs.
I told him that sounded like we might need several folks from IRS…
I think we should do it – also need to include CI [Criminal Investigation Division], which we can help coordinate. Also, we need to reach out to FEC. Does it make sense to consider including them in this or keep it separate?
Lerner then “handed off” scheduling the issue to Senior Technical Adviser, Attorney Nancy Marks, who was then supposed to set up the meeting with the DOJ. Lerner also decided that it would be DOJ’s decision as to whether representatives from the Federal Election Commission would attend.
Democratic Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse had held a hearing on April 9 during which, “in questioning the witnesses from DOJ and IRS, Whitehouse asked why they have not prosecuted 501(c)(4) groups that have seemingly made false statements about their political activities.” Lerner described the impetus for this hearing in a March 27, 2013, email to top IRS staff:
As I mentioned yesterday — there are several groups of folks from the FEC world that are pushing tax fraud prosecution for c4s who report they are not conducting political activity when they are (or these folks think they are). One is my ex-boss Larry Noble (former General Counsel at the FEC), who is now president of Americans for Campaign Reform. This is their latest push to shut these down. One IRS prosecution would make an impact and they wouldn’t feel so comfortable doing the stuff.
So, don’t be fooled about how this is being articulated – it is ALL about 501(c)(4) orgs and political activity
But in an email sent a few minutes earlier, Lerner acknowledged prosecutions would evidently be at odds with the law:
Whether there was a false statement or fraud regarding an [sic] description of an alleged political expenditure that doesn’t say vote for or vote against is not realistic under current law. Everyone is looking for a magic bullet or scapegoat — there isn’t one. The law in this area is just hard.
The documents also include email exchanges showing that before Lerner’s May 10, 2013, speech to the American Bar Association blaming “low-level” employees in Cincinnati for targeting tax-exempt organizations, the IRS Exempt Organizations division was scrambling to defuse the emerging targeting scandal:
The new documents obtained by Judicial Watch also include emails exchanged after Lerner’s May 10 ABA speech:
The Judicial Watch FOIA requests came on the heels of an explosive May 14, 2013, Treasury Inspector General report revealing that the IRS had singled out groups with conservative-sounding terms such as “patriot” and “Tea Party” in their titles when applying for tax-exempt status. The IG probe determined that “Early in Calendar Year 2010, the IRS began using inappropriate criteria to identify organizations applying for tax-exempt status to (e.g., lists of past and future donors).” According to the report, the illegal IRS reviews continued for more than 18 months and “delayed processing of targeted groups’ applications” preparing for the 2012 presidential election.
Lerner, who headed the IRS division that handles applications for tax-exempt status, refused to testify at a May 2013 hearing before Rep. Darrell Issa’s (R-CA) House Oversight Committee, demanding immunity concerning her role in the targeting scandal. Lerner retired from the IRS with full benefits on September 23 after an internal investigation found she was guilty of “neglect of duties” and was going to call for her ouster, according to news reports. On April 9, 2014, the Ways and Means Committee referred Lois Lerner to the DOJ for criminal prosecution. On April 10, 2014, the House Oversight Committee voted to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress.
“These new emails show that the day before she broke the news of the IRS scandal, Lois Lerner was talking to a top Obama Justice Department official about whether the DOJ could prosecute the very same organizations that the IRS had already improperly targeted,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The IRS emails show Eric Holder’s Department of Justice is now implicated and conflicted in the IRS scandal. No wonder we had to sue in federal court to get these documents.”
By now, unless you’re a know-nothing LIV (Low Information Voter), you’ve heard and seen plenty about the IRS singling out conservatives and Christians for special scrutiny. (See “Groups & individuals targeted by Obama’s IRS witchhunt,” May 15, 2013.)
Less known is another travesty in President Lucifer’s IRS-gate: The IRS had fast-tracked a charity run by Obama’s half-brother, Abon’go “Roy” Malik Obama, for tax-exempt approval.
The charity is called the Barack H. Obama Foundation, named after the Obama brothers’ Kenyan dad, Barack H. Obama, Sr. Its mission statement is “to provide people everywhere with resources to uplift their welfare and living standards in memory of Barack H. Obama: in the region of his birth, Kenya, and beyond.”
First reported by The Daily Caller, the Barack H. Obama Foundation was speedily approved for IRS exemption by Lois Lerner, the IRS senior official at the center of the targeting of conservative organizations that have waited over two years to receive tax exempt status. More astonishing still is the fact that the BHO Foundation was given retroactive tax-exempt status despite never having bothered to apply for it. The IRS also overlooked the foundation’s history of soliciting donations before receiving tax-exempt status.
Now, there is another layer of stench added to Malik Obama’s tax-exempt foundation:
Charles C. Johnson reports for The Daily Caller, May 20, 2013, that on its website barackhobamafoundation.org, the Barack H. Obama Foundation lists its address as 107 S. West St. #401, Alexandria, Va.
Here’s a pic of 107 S. West St., #401, Alexandria, VA:
107 S. West St., #401, is a UPS store!