WASHINGTON (AP) — The Internal Revenue Service apologized Friday for what it acknowledged was “inappropriate” targeting of conservative political groups during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status.
IRS agents singled out dozens of organizations for additional reviews because they included the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their exemption applications, said Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups. In some cases, groups were asked for lists of donors, which violates IRS policy in most cases, she said.
The agency — led at the time by a Bush administration appointee [note the AP’s attempt at covering for the admin there – ST] — blamed low-level employees, saying no high-level officials were aware. But that wasn’t good enough for Republicans in Congress, who are conducting several investigations and asked for more.
“I call on the White House to conduct a transparent, government-wide review aimed at assuring the American people that these thuggish practices are not under way at the IRS or elsewhere in the administration against anyone, regardless of their political views,” said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
White House spokesman Jay Carney declared it was indeed inappropriate for the IRS to target tea party groups. But he brushed aside questions about whether the White House itself would investigate.
Instead, Carney said the administration expects a thorough investigation by the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration. The inspector general has been looking into the issue since last summer, and his report is expected to come out next week, the IG’s office said Friday.
Many conservative groups complained during the campaign that they were being harassed by the IRS. They accused the agency of frustrating their attempts to become tax exempt by sending them lengthy, intrusive questionnaires.
The forms, which the groups have made available, sought information about group members’ political activities, including details of their postings on social networking websites and about family members.
IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman told Congress in March 2012 that the IRS was not targeting groups based on politics.
“There’s absolutely no targeting. This is the kind of back and forth that happens to people” who apply for tax-exempt status, Shulman told a House Ways and Means subcommittee.
Absolute, total, and complete BULL SH*T. This was an ELECTION YEAR and groups hostile to the re-election of President Obama were TARGETED BY THE Internal Revenue Service. John Hinderaker at Power Line explains:
The IRS claims that “the practice was initiated by low-level workers in Cincinnati and was not motivated by political bias.” That last point is risible. Of course it was motivated by political bias. Ms. Lerner says further that “no high level IRS officials knew about the practice.” That, too, seems extremely doubtful. If I knew the IRS was auditing Tea Party groups, how likely is it that no senior agency officials had heard about it?
Congress should investigate this, obviously. By Congress, I mean the House of Representatives. There is zero chance of the Democratic Senate investigating anything related to the Obama administration. (See David Gelernter’s essay posted immediately below.) Come to think of it, this may be one more reason why Obama is so single-mindedly devoted to winning back the House in 2014: the way his administration’s scandals are multiplying, an all-Democrat Congress provides insurance against having to leave office via helicopter.
Yep. And not to freak y’all out even worse, but there’s also this from Professor William Jacobson:
Remember, the IRS is the Obamacare mandate enforcer. What level of confidence do you have as to fair enforcement, and that “low level” IRS employees will not misuse information gained in connection with assuring compliance with the health insurance requirements? (I’ve been warning about that since August 14, 2009, IRS The New Health Care Enforcer.)
BTW, thank Mark Levin for this issue getting sunlight to begin with:
Let several other points be noted, though. First, I think our friend Mark Levin merits a lot of the credit for forcing the apology; he was the main one who forced the issue, legally. It was his Landmark Legal Foundation that sent the letter that pressured the IRS into coming clean.
Sunlight is, of course, always the best disinfectant when it comes to lies and corruption – especially in government.
As I noted on Twitter, this has been a bad week for the Obama administration, but a good one for America. Phineas pointed out earlier, the administration’s web of lies on Benghazi is unraveling thanks to more than one or two in the media finally giving a rip, and now comes the forced admission by the IRS that opponents of this President were targeted for audits during a re-election year. More questions will have to be answered on both, and in the case of the IRS, we need to know who ordered the 75 groups to be targeted and why (even though we all know why), and hearings are already in the works. Bottom line: The truth about the corruptocrat liars in the White House – and the Chicago Way types who surround them in a protective cocoon can no longer be contained by the our celebrity President’s allies in the mainstream press.
It’s about damned time.