Since the founding of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), a sacrosanct rule in American politics has been that the IRS would never be used to target political enemies.
However, we now know that this rule was violated by Democrats just a few short months after Barack Obama assumed power.
Last week, the legal advocacy organization, Judicial Watch, released incriminating emails that prove the IRS abused its authority by singling out Tea Party conservatives for punitive actions. The most damaging email was sent by Lois Lerner, the now-disgraced IRS honcho who’s still refusing to testify before Congress, and it revealed that raw political motives were behind the efforts.
Since the emails weren’t covered extensively in the mainstream media, I wanted to emphasize these revelations and the intense IRS corruption that they brought to light.
Clear and Indisputable Proof
On March 30, 2012, Democratic Sen. Carl Levin wrote a letter to then-IRS Commissioner, Douglas Shulman, discussing the issue of political activity by nonprofit applicants. Levin asked if the IRS was sending out additional information requests to applicant groups.
“Some entities claiming tax-exempt status as social welfare organizations under 26 U.S.C.&501(c)(4) appear to be engaged in political activities more appropriate for political organizations claiming tax-exempt status under 26 U.S.C.&527,” Sen. Levin wrote. “Because of the urgency of the issues involved in this matter, please provide the following information by April 20, 2012.”
This email is the smoking gun that proves there was political pressure behind the IRS moves. Correspondence between Senator Levin and Shulman powerfully implies that Levin wasn’t simply looking for information about the actions of the IRS. Rather, Levin seems to be guiding the IRS and calling for retaliatory processes.
Another email, sent by Lerner in April 2013, includes a description of the criteria for targeting. The list is a “BOLO” (government lingo for “be on the lookout”) directive targeting any nonprofit applicant linked to the Tea Party.
The email specifically named “organizations meeting any of the following criteria as falling within the BOLO’s reference to ‘Tea Party’ organizations: 1. ‘Tea Party,’ ‘Patriots,’ or ‘9/12 Project’ is referenced in the case file. 2. Issues include government spending, government debt and taxes. 3. Educate the public through advocacy/legislative activities to make America a better place to live. 4. Statements in the case file that are critical of how the country is being run.”
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Why anyone would be against an organization wanting to “make America a better place to live,” I’ll never understand. Either way, this is the criteria set by Lerner for IRS targeting.
In addition to the Lerner email, Judicial Watch released two other highly damaging pieces of internal IRS correspondence.
In another email, Holly Paz, then-Director of the IRS Rulings and Agreements Division, directed IRS lawyer Steven Grodnitzky “to let Cindy and Sharon know how we have been handling Tea Party applications in the last few months.”
Grodnitzky was assigned to the IRS headquarters’ Exempt Organizations Technical Unit. When he responded to Paz, he assured her that their colleagues were “working the Tea Party applications in coordination with [Cincinnati]. We are developing a few applications here in D.C., and providing copies of our development letters with the agent to use as examples in the development of their cases.”
These emails rip to shreds the Obama administration’s oft-repeated lie that the targeting effort was exclusive to the Cincinnati IRS office. It’s now obvious that there was an organized, deliberate campaign to target Tea Party groups.
Not surprisingly, once word of the IRS-Tea Party scandal erupted, we heard nearly universal indignation and condemnation. President Obama said, “If you’ve got the IRS operating in anything less than a neutral and non-partisan way, then that is outrageous… People have to be held accountable, and it’s got to be fixed.”
That’s all fine and good… but as the scandal has dragged on, has anyone been held to account? So far, the answer is, “No.”
Your eyes on the Hill,