Though it went virtually uncovered by the mainstream media, Judicial Watch released a new raft of damaging IRS emails on September 4.
The emails confirm that the agency – under Lois Lerner’s leadership – used its investigative powers to obtain donor lists from conservative non-profit political groups.
This new treasure trove of documents came in response to a court order from an October 2013 Freedom of Information Act lawsuit (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Internal Revenue Service)… and the results are frightening.
In fact, the new documents prove that the most insidious claims against the IRS are all true.
Secret Government Agendas
According to Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton, a May 21, 2012 memo from the IRS Deputy Associate Chief Counsel claimed that the information they’d gathered wasn’t needed and wasn’t used to determine exempt status.
But a year later, on May 10, 2013, Lerner finally conceded that the requests for donor names were “not appropriate, not usual.”
Even more shocking is what the IRS did with these lists.
An IRS email thread dated June 27, 2012 revealed that these donor lists were used in a “secret research project.”
One top IRS official wanted then-acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller to decide how to handle the illegal data. The email exchange, with the subject line “donor names,” was sent from David L. Fish, IRS Acting Director of Exempt Organizations Rulings and Agreements, to Holly Paz, and it said:
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“Joseph Urban [IRS Technical Advisor, Tax Exempt and Government Entities] had actually started a secret research project on whether we could, consistent with 6104, argue that [REDACTED]. Joe was quite agitated yesterday when I told him what we were doing. (He was involved when the initial question was raised, but we didn’t continue reading him in.) At one point he started saying that this was a decision for Steven Miller – I told him we were already doing it, and that I didn’t know whether Lois had already talked to Nikole [former IRS Chief of Staff to IRS Commissioner Steven Miller] about this. Would not be surprised if he already started working on Lois.”
From the tone and substance of the email, it’s clear that these officials knew they were in the wrong.
On top of that, a pattern has emerged in which the IRS claims to have destroyed records, and then they miraculously appear.
For example, on May 17, 2013, then-IRS Commissioner Miller testified to Congress that “instructions had been given to destroy any donor lists.” But then the donor lists were produced to the House Ways and Means Committee four months later. And now it’s happening again.
Thankfully, the full story of the illegal morass related to unwarranted delays and requests of data is finally oozing out. The big question now is: Will anyone be held accountable for the crimes?
Your eyes on the Hill,