The IRS Targetting Of Conservative Groups Was No “Low Level” Operation

ABC News has more details on the IRS inspector general report about the targeting of conservative groups by the IRS. Mary Katherine Hamm at HotAir detailed the intrusive questioning last week.

The targeting of conservatives by the IRS started earlier and was more extensive than the IRS acknowledged last week, according to a draft IRS inspector general report obtained by ABC News.

As we reported on “Good Morning America” this morning, the IRS began targeting “Tea Party or similar organizations” in March 2010. That was when the Cincinnati-based IRS unit responsible for overseeing the applications for tax exempt status starting using the phrases “Tea Party,” “patriots” and “9/12? to search for applications warranting greater scrutiny.

During this first phase, 10 Tea Party cases were identified. By April of 2010, 18 Tea Party organizations were targeted, including three that had already been approved for tax-exempt status.

By June 2011, the unit had flagged over 100 Tea Party-related applications and the criteria used to scrutinize organizations had grown considerably, flagging not just “Tea Party” or “Patriot” in group names, but also groups that were working on issues like “government debt,” “taxes” and even organizations making statements that “criticize how the country is being run.”

ABC shared an appendix to the IRS IG report (not the whole report), which details the timeline of events [PDF]. The contents of the timeline are telling:

The word “Director” appears 35 times in the timeline.
The word “Manager” appears 56 times in the timeline.
The word “Headquarters” appears 5 times in the timeline.
The word “Counsel” appears 4 times in the timeline.

Two additional items are worth noting. First, this was no “rogue” operation. IRS employees were trained in how to target conservative groups, and official “be on the lookout for” guidelines were worked through many layers of bureaucracy:

June 7, 2010 – Determinations Unit began training its specialists on emerging issues to watch for, including an emerging issue referred to as Tea Party Cases.

May 8, 2012 – The Determinations Unit Program Manager was informed that EO function Headquarters office employees planned to visit Cincinnati, Ohio, to provide training on cases and perform a review of the cases to recommend what additional actions, if any, were needed to make a determination.

May 14–15, 2012 – Training was held in Cincinnati, Ohio, on how to process identified potential political cases. The Senior Technical Advisor to the Director, EO, took over coordination of the team of specialists from the Determinations Unit.

Second, one of the most objectionable items requested from Tea Party-type groups was donor lists. The IG timeline shows that earlier this year the agency changed course on that requirement (while keeping the targeting program on track) by essentially telling groups that complained, “nevermind:”

May 21, 2012 The EO function determined that the requested donor information could be destroyed or returned to the applicant if not used to make the final determination of tax-exempt status. It does not need to be kept in the administrative file. A letter would be issued to the organizations informing them that the donor information was destroyed.

May 24, 2012 A telephone call script was developed to inform some organizations that had not responded to the additional information requests that it was not necessary to send the requested information and that their applications had been approved. Also, an additional paragraph was developed for the determination letter.

President Obama today expressed that the charge was “outrageous” and that those responsible had to “have to be held fully accountable.”

For what it’s worth, he said the same thing about Benghazi…

Shortlink:

Posted by on May 13, 2013.
Filed under Barack Obama, IRS, Politics.
Doug Johnson is a news junkie and long time blog reader, turned author.

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  • http://www.harlemghost.blogspot.com/ HarlemGhost

    Seal Team Six getting OBL was also a “low level” operation …

    • jim_m

      Wait, I thought that obama personally killed Bin Laden.

      • http://www.traveLightgame.com/ ljcarolyne

        To hear Obama tell it – He Did. We all know Obama didn’t do it, Bin Laden had been killed a long time ago. “What difference does it make NOW?”

  • 914

    The Titanic is about half submerged now. So long Barry..Have a nice trip.

    • Jwb10001

      Oh no you’ve got that all wrong everything that’s wrong is Bush’s fault. God aren’t you paying attention. No matter what team Obama does it’s either the fault of or just like Bush. We’ll be 6 or 7 years into Hillary’s presidency and they will still be laying everything at Bush’s feet.

  • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

    IRS Sent Tea Party Tax info to Progressive ProPublica

    Progressive ProPublica is reporting this themselves, it’s not rumor. ProPublica asked the IRS office that does the applications for Tax Exempt Status to send them the PUBLIC record approved forms so that ProPublica could investigate if any groups were getting exemptions when they shouldn’t. It was a part of what they do – THEY, ProPublica, were going to target conservative groups and try to find some that were improperly tax exempt.

    The IRS office sent over APPLICATIONS, which are NOT to be made public.

    ProPublica published 6 of those because they were newsworthy.

    This is the IRS sending confidential information to Progressive Advocacy Organizations.

    via Google+

    This was THE OFFICE at the IRS that would have had this stuff. It’s not low level staffers in a field office.

    • Jwb10001

      But you see Bush went into Iraq and stuff then Bush was the president when the economy started to have problems and Bush was a bad bad president and Bush! God when are you going to get it?

  • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves
  • Paul Hooson

    Controversial political organizations have always been historic targets by various government agencies, that’s nothing new. In 1955, it was estimated that of the 5,000 members of the Communist Party USA(CPUSA) that 1,500 of these 5,000 members were either undercover FBI agents or informants. Simply getting a little extra IRS scrutiny is pretty mild compared to widespread government infiltration of a some political groups that are considered to be on the government radar..

    • Shawn

      For corn’s sake, Paul…

      Are you actually equating the attempted subversion of the US government and it’s people by Communists, backed by the Soviet Union in 1955 with this?

      You call this “a little IRS scrutiny?” I call it a budding scandal.

      I found Obama’s reaction to this is quite stunning:

      “If, in fact, IRS personnel engaged in the kind of practices that had been reported on and were intentionally targeting conservative groups, then that’s outrageous and there’s no place for it,” Obama said Monday at a press conference. “And they have to be held fully accountable, because the IRS as an independent agency requires absolute integrity, and people have to have confidence that they’re applying it in a non-partisan way, applying the laws in a non-partisan way.”

      “Independent agency?”

      Obama, Constitutional scholar that he is, seems a bit confused..

      The IRS commissioner reports directly to the Department of Treasury, which is an EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, APPOINTED BY THE PRESIDENT.

      It is not some goofy, obscure entity that exists in a vacuum.

      This is a big, scary deal. Whether or not similar instances (under different circumstances) may have occurred in the past does not nullify it’s present importance. We are much more informed about this type of nefarious activity. And we should become more outraged as it occurs. It should be something which we all should take an active interest in.

      It’s not going away.

      This is only going to get bigger.

      • cirby

        Paul tried the “independent agency” line earlier, because both he and the President don’t seem to know anything about the actual structure of the US government.

        • Paul Hooson

          About 75 political organizations were simply asked to provide more information about their donors, etc. and none had their tax exempt status revoked. Probably, my business taxes are more cumbersome tax paperwork than these guys who get a tax-exempt free ride after filing some paperwork, so where’s the great evil or harm here?

          This seems much like a bunch of cry baby sissy types who are screaming bloody murder but can’t actually identify any actual harm done to them? One Alabama Tea Party group seemed much like tax protesters according to their Website, but chose to drop it’s nonprofit application. Maybe that one group has a legitimate claim here. Do you know anything about any of the other groups? I’d like to check out their Better Business Bureau spending disclosure statements and see if any had problems reporting how they actually spend their donation income.

          • Oysteria

            Hooson, you have a habit of piping in and then saying silly things. These people were still in the application process. How do they revoke a status one has yet to achieve? I’ll make it a point to label you a “cry baby sissy type” the next time the government singles you out for unwarranted scrutiny and asks for information from you that it’s unconstitutional for them to demand simply because you disagree with their policies.

          • Paul Hooson

            No, I’m actually a man compared to these guys who could use a little bit of testosterone. This Alabama group looked too much like tax protesters according to their Website, likely raising some issues about whether members of this group may be tax evaders. The extra paperwork supposedly made this group drop their nonprofit request. But, each group is different.

            Being a controversial biker type, I’m used to some issues with both government and police. Doesn’t really faze me. I’m a businessman. I do business regardless of the situation and deal with the problems as they come. People nickname me “Soldier”. Business is like a military operation for me.

          • cirby

            “How do they revoke a status one has yet to achieve?”

            How do you achieve a status that is being stalled for political reasons? The IRS has ADMITTED THEY WERE DOING THAT.

            It wasn’t “the extra paperwork.” It was the extra paperwork, the overly-intrusive (and nearly impossible to answer) questions, et bloody cetera. A lot of the time, they would answer the original ones, then get a different set with even more onerous questions.

          • Shawn

            Paul,

            What on God’s green Earth does your testosterone level have to do with the matter at hand?

            Does it make you feel like ‘you strong, others weak’ just because you say so?

            And I couldn’t give two squirts of piss if you are a self-described ‘controversial biker type.’ (?)

            To me that just means you disregard the speed limit riding your hog and personally reek of body-odor.

            Does it make you feel tough that “people” call you “Soldier?” Or that “Business is like a military operation” to you?

            Better watch out, Paul… The IRS may flag you for using the word ‘military’ in your posts.

            Stop tooting that pink oboe of yours and lay off the Viagra for a while.

            You’re self-appreciation is pretty embarrassing.

          • Paul Hooson

            My point is when you’re controversial you get checked out. A guy can be some dweeb accountant type, and you go totally under the radar. When you’re controversial, you can only expect some profiling.

          • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

            Which is why an applicant that had already been referred for criminal investigation but which was supportive of 0bama was approved, with retroactive effect, in less than a month…

            Pull the other one, it has bells on it.

          • jim_m

            In February 2010, the Champaign Tea Party in Illinois received approval of its tax-exempt status from the IRS in 90 days, no questions asked.

            That was the month before the Internal Revenue Service started singling out Tea Party groups for special treatment. There wouldn’t be another Tea Party application approved for 27 months.

            This is not about controversial. This is about political thuggery and using the power of government to oppress people’s constitutional rights. Obviously you think that this is OK.

          • cirby

            “About 75 political organizations were simply asked to provide more information about their donors, etc. and none had their tax exempt status revoked.”

            Let’s put that in a more-truthful way: “About 75 political organizations were simply asked to provide more information about their donors, etc. than was allowable by statute – in violation of the First Amendment.”

            You also sorta missed the point that a large number of the groups never got their applications approved, or only got it after a delay of a year or more. Quite a few are still waiting for approval.

    • LiberalNightmare

      So the point is that this isn’t so bad, because worse is happening?

  • GarandFan

    “President Obama today expressed that the charge was “outrageous” and
    that those responsible had to “have to be held fully accountable.”
    For what it’s worth, he said the same thing about Benghazi…

    And “Fast and Furious”…….we all know how that worked out.

  • Obamalikesmen

    Is Obama going to have himself arrested? Anyone who thinks this didn’t come from the top is either delusional or lying, neither are very good traits for government bureaucrats.

  • Commander_Chico

    I hope those organizations sue for the infringement on their rights and get damages and lawyers’ fees.

    The Rutherford Institute or ACLU can join in.

    • Jwb10001

      What about the government that enabled this should they just go on about their business? You know one of the charges in the Nixon impeachment was misuse of the IRS. This should cause several heads to roll.

      • Commander_Chico

        Lawsuits are often the best way to get at the truth. Heads will then roll if the truth demands it.

      • jim_m

        You could find documents signed by obama directing the unfair treatment of conservative organizations by the IRS and the illegal disclosure of their information to the media and still The House would split on strict partisan line to charge obama and a Harry Reid lead Senate would refuse to convict him.

        Don’t look for a real investigation of this. In a week the media will have circled the wagons and anyone criticizing obama on this will have been properly chastised.

        • Commander_Chico

          This will not go away, the DOJ’s secretly getting the AP’s phone records. It’s worse than whatever the IRS did.

          http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/14/justice-department-ap-phone-records-whistleblowers

          • jim_m

            Already leftist apologists from the Journolist are parroting the same line that this is not a scandal but it is an indication that 501(c) organizations are out of control and that the IRS was doing a legitimate task of trying to sort through which ones were on the up and up and which weren’t.

            I will be pleasantly surprised if the MSM lets anything come of this. Even though their own activities are being surveilled by a near fascist White House they won’t be likely to speak out. Heck, all the more likely since they are being watched by an admin that has threatened their access for deviating from the approved narrative multiple times before.

          • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

            Near facist?

            They’re just waiting for their brown shirts to arrive…

          • herddog505

            I agree. MiniTru’s in a bit of a panic at the moment because Barry was coming after THEM. However, I’m sure that, once they’ve thought about it – been politely reminded of his “historic” presidency and how terrible it would be for EVERYBODY (especially them) if anything happened to it – they’ll shut up and pass it off just as they did F&F, Benghazi, the Gulf Oil spill, using drones to assassinate Americans overseas, and all the other crimes, lies and f*ck-ups this pack of crooks has perpetrated.

  • Conservachef

    President Obama today expressed that the charge was “outrageous” and
    that those responsible had to “have to be held fully accountable.”

    PROBLEM SOLVED.

    Obama: “…and as president of the United States, it’s pretty clear to me that I’m
    responsible for folks who are working in the federal government and you
    know, Harry Truman said the buck stops with you…”

  • jim_m

    It’s not just the IRS. This sort of partisan political payback extends to every branch of the bureaucracy. Already we are hearing about similar tactics in the EPA.

    • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

      Government the Chicago Way.

      • jim_m

        Plus the obama admin just mandated unconstitutional suppression of free speech on college campuses.

        Among the forms of expression now punishable on America’s campuses by order of the federal government are:

        Any expression related to sexual topics that offends any person. This leaves a wide range of expressive activity—a campus performance of “The Vagina Monologues,” a presentation on safe sex practices, a debate about sexual morality, a discussion of gay marriage, or a classroom lecture on Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita—subject to discipline.

        Any sexually themed joke overheard by any person who finds that joke offensive for any reason.

        Any request for dates or any flirtation that is not welcomed by the recipient of such a request or flirtation.

        But what the heck, they can still go out and get unregulated abortions involuntary manslaughter.

        • Paul Hooson

          I can’t go for that at all. I’m a strong advocate of more sexual freedom of expression, not less.

  • jim_m

    ABC’s Trey Hardin is saying that this goes straight into the White House

    Trey Hardin: “I will tell you this on the IRS front. I’ve worked in this town for over 20 years in the White House and on Capitol Hill and I can say with a very strong sense of certainty that there are people very close to this president that not only knew what the IRS were doing but authorized it. It simply just does not happen at an agency level like that without political advisers likely in the West Wing certainly connected to the president’s ongoing campaign organization.”

    If this is in any way substantiated it is over for this admin. They will have completely delegitimized every initiative they are wanting to make.

    obama has sealed his legacy as the unchallenged worst President in history.

    • jim_m

      Politico is now reporting that the IRS went after Billy Graham

      The IRS came after Billy Graham, too, his son charged Tuesday in a letter to President Barack Obama.

      Franklin Graham, the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the family’s international humanitarian organization Samaritan’s Purse, said that the IRS notified the organizations in September that it was conducting a “review” of their activities for tax year 2010.

      With the IRS admitting it gave extra scrutiny to conservative political organizations, Graham says he now believes that the review was part of an Obama administration effort of “targeting and attempting to intimidate us.”

      The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association urging of voters to back “candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support
      the nation of Israel” during last year’s presidential race was the reason why IRS agents visited the North Carolina offices of both Graham groups, the letter accuses.

      The problem they are going to have now is proving that any scrutiny of a conservative group was NOT politically motivated.

  • Hawk_TX

    The Washington Examiner is reporting that the IRS pressured (extorted) a pro-life group to get them to take it easy on planned parenthood. If this isn’t a criminally prosecutable act of the IRS than nothing is. Lets see liberals try to explain this as mere bureaucratic delays, or deny that this was political.

    http://washingtonexaminer.com/report-irs-denied-tax-exempt-status-to-pro-lifers-on-behalf-of-planned-parenthood/article/2529750?custom_click=rss

  • Constitution First

    Remember it is the IRS that will be effectively running Socialized Medicine…

  • http://www.traveLightgame.com/ ljcarolyne

    All of this crap from the Obummer Regime is no low level – operation it’s low down, like LOW bummer. Motivation = Tyranny, Greed, Pure D Evil.