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Sunday, May 12, 2013

IRS Knew Tea Party Was Targeted In 2011- What About Romney Donors, Pro-Israel Groups?

By Susan Duclos

[Update- 5/13/13] IRS Targeting Timeline Goes Back To March-April 2010 

Original post below

Quick Recap

On Saturday I pointed out that the apology offered by Lois G. Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt organizations, for "inappropriately" targeting conservative groups with the words "Tea Party" and "Patriot," did not include any reference to other such complaints from Pro-Israel groups that were targeted for addition scrutiny based on whether their ideology contradicted the administrations policies. Lerner's apology also did not reference Romney donors that were targeted publicly on Obama's campaign website then became a target of an IRS audit.

I also pointed out that in White House spokesman Jay Carney's daily press briefing which turned into a frenzy of Benghazi questions, the first two questions were about the IRS scandal and in answer to both, he claimed the IRS an independent enforcement agency with only two political appointees.

QUESTION: Even if the president was critical of some of these groups both in 2010 and 2012, isn't it natural for the public to think that these things are politically motivated? What assurances (inaudible)?

CARNEY: Well, I think that, first of all, two things need to be noted, which is IRS is an independent enforcement agency, which I believe, as I understand it, contains only two political appointees within it. The individual who was running the IRS at the time was actually an appointee from the previous administration. 

In an AP exclusive on Saturday, it was reported that while the Lerner's apology is new, the knowledge of specific targeting based on political ideology, had been known, by Lerner, in June 2011.

But on June 29, 2011, Lois G. Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt organizations, learned at a meeting that groups were being targeted, according to the watchdog's report. At the meeting, she was told that groups with "Tea Party," ''Patriot" or "9/12 Project" in their names were being flagged for additional and often burdensome scrutiny, the report says.

The 9/12 Project is a group started by conservative TV personality Glenn Beck. In a statement to the AP, Beck suggested that the revelations were hardly news to him and other conservatives.

"In February 2012, TheBlaze first reported what the IRS now admits to — that they unfairly targeted conservative groups including the 9/12 project," Beck said, citing his website and TV network. "It is nice to see everyone else playing catch-up and finally asking the same questions that TheBlaze started raising over a year ago."

Lerner instructed agents to change the criteria for flagging groups "immediately," the report says.
The Treasury Department's inspector general for tax administration is expected to release the results of a nearly yearlong investigation in the coming week. The AP obtained part of the draft report, which has been shared with congressional aides.

Among the other revelations, on Aug. 4, 2011, staffers in the IRS' Rulings and Agreements office "held a meeting with chief counsel so that everyone would have the latest information on the issue."

On Jan, 25, 2012, the criteria for flagging suspect groups was changed to, "political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding Government, educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, social economic reform/movement," the report says.

 As it turns out, over 75 Tea Party and/or Patriot groups were targeted, according to Politico.

The Internal Revenue Service is in the process of confirming when its leadership was informed, according an IRS statement released Saturday.

“IRS senior leadership was not aware of this level of specific details at the time of the March 2012 hearing. The timeline does not contradict the Commissioner’s testimony. While Exempt Organizations officials knew of the situation earlier, the timeline reflects that IRS senior leadership did not have this level of detail,” the statement reads.

The revelation about senior leadership adds fuel to the agency’s admission Friday that at least 75 conservative groups were flagged for extra review because their tax documents contained the words “tea party” or “patriot.”

The House Ways and Means Oversight Committee has already issued a letter to the IRS commissioner demanding the IRS turn over all communications that contain the words “tea party” “patriot” or “conservative.”

The findings of an internal investigation will be included in the  Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report set to be released next week.

The report will also confirm that the IRS asked unnecessary questions of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status from the agency, the source said, and that there were delays in processing applications for conservative applicants and other c(4) groups.

TIME's Joe Klein- "Previous Presidents, including great ones like Roosevelt, have used the IRS against their enemies. But I don’t think Barack Obama ever wanted to be on the same page as Richard Nixon. In this specific case, he now is."

 What we are not seeing, is any answers on the pro-Israel group targeting, or the "coincidental" Romney donor IRS audits, but if one set of the president's "enemies list" was targeted by the IRS, it is not a leap in logic to think the others were as well.

As to Jay Carney's assertion that the IRS is independent,  and Lerner's claim that the “absolutely inappropriate” actions by “front-line people” were not driven by partisan motives, I call BS.


More WH Spin: IRS Also Targeted Pro-Israel Group To Determine If They Contradict Admin Policies

July 2012- IRS Really Is Obama's Gestapo Now - IRS Targets Romney Donor After Obama Publicly Targets Him