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Friday, May 31, 2013

IRS Actively Protects Planned Parenthood, Threatening Tax Exempt Status Of Groups Opposed To PP

By Susan Duclos

The IRS targeting of conservatives, pro-Israel groups, pro-life groups and Mitt Romney donors, grows daily and McClatchy reports the IRS also actively worked to protect the nation's largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, by threatening the tax exempt status of pro-life groups unless they promised to not protest in front of Planned Parenthood facilities.

Sue Martinek of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, already knows what happened to her and others involved in the Coalition for Life of Iowa.

She first sought tax-exempt status for the group in 2008, maintaining contact by mail and phone with a woman identified only as Ms. Richards in the Cincinnati office of the IRS that’s now at the center of the scandal.

Martinek said the woman never offered a first name. A woman’s voice on a recording at her phone number doesn’t give a name, and messages left by McClatchy brought no response.

Richards told Martinek by phone in early 2009 that the group’s application had been approved, Martinek said. But Richards added a condition, according to Martinek. Board members first needed to sign a letter promising not to picket in front of Planned Parenthood offices, Martinek said.

“We were pretty surprised. But we had never gone through the process before,” Martinek said. “I was sort of, ‘If we have to, we have to, but this doesn’t seem a good thing to do.’ ”

A board member suggested contacting the Thomas More Society, a public-interest group that provides free legal help on conservative hot-button issues. It saw the IRS request to the Iowa group as forcing the group to abandon its First Amendment rights.

“We’re certainly not about protesting and picketing. That happens to be a small part of what we do. When we do go to Planned Parenthood, we’re going there to pray,” said Martinek, who said her group focused on educational forums and wasn’t a conduit for funneling money to political campaigns.

Ironically, Planned Parenthood does enjoy the type of tax-exempt status that Martinek’s group originally sought.

Much more over at McClatchy on other targeted individual and groups.

Other IRS Scandal Updates

CNN reports on the House investigation and interviews with the IRS employees "rogue" employees, some of which were reportedly promoted after targeting conservative groups, and some interesting details have emerged from that as well.

Last week, Issa revealed they had already interviewed a potentially key IRS worker in the Washington, D.C. office – Holly Paz. Paz is a director in the IRS tax exempt division.

During a hearing with IRS Inspector General J. Russell George, Issa said Paz told his aides she was allowed to sit in on meetings with her employees and inspector general investigators. Issa said that raises questions about the true independence and veracity of the inspector general's audit on tea party targeting.

ABC News reports that there are intimidation tactics being used to prevent IRS employees in the Ohio offices from speaking freely to journalists about the scandal.

One of them, who asked not be named, told ABC News that security guards did remind employees of the official policy not to talk with the press – a warning cemented by the punch line "or risk losing our jobs."

Even leaders of the local union that represents the IRS workers under fire took the admonition to heart, hanging up on reporters who wanted to ask questions about the scandal. One longtime IRS worker and union member called the response by the National Treasury Employees Union "dazzling."
On Thursday morning, after news that Miller was sacked, two ABC News journalists walked into the Peck Federal Building in Cincinnati looking for answers. The newsmen were screened at the door by security. They emptied their pockets as instructed, removed their belts, then went through the metal detectors.

We wanted to ask who about made the decisions in the unit and when the profiling started. And whether those decision makers been identified yet.

But the answers – like the people involved – remained elusive.

As we traveled the public hallways of the building – watched over by security cameras – an armed uniformed police officer with the Federal Protective Service followed us. We were looking for a particular office—of someone who would not want to be seen talking to reporters--but chose to bypass it because of our official babysitter.

Asked why we were being escorted in a public building, the officer identified himself as Insp. Mike Finkelstein and said he was only trying to make sure that the newsmen were not a "nuisance." He brushed aside further questions. The cop said a supervisor would call to explain.

One of the reporters wanted to know if the act of following the journalists was an effort intended to scare off any federal employee who might have considered speaking to the press. That's sure what it looked like; and, even if that wasn't the goal, it was the effect.

 To date, twenty-five conservative and Tea Party groups have filed lawsuits against Internal Revenue Service, Attorney General Eric Holder and top IRS officials, alleging that the Obama administration unlawfully targeted the groups because of their political beliefs and obstructed their applications for tax-exempt status. (Source)

With all the new details emerging, every day since this exploded in the news, is it any wonder that the majority of Americans, including the majority of Democrats, want a independent special prosecutor to investigate the IRS abuses, because as was reported by McClatchy, the Treasury Department inspector general's report dealt with targeting conservatives, but not the other targeted "lists" or the issues that are becoming public since the report was conducted and released.

The reason for the independent prosecutor is clear, it will take political posturing out of the investigation itself and is more likely to dig up the entire truth more-so than the inspector general or House investigations could.

Full Wake up America coverage on the IRS scandal can be found here.