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Beginning in 2010, several different IRS offices – including those in Cincinnati, Ohio; El Monte, California; Laguna Niguel, California; and Washington D.C. systematically discriminated against conservative groups. The targeting was not the work of a few “rogue” agents, as IRS commissioner Steven Miller initially claimed.
The IRS targeted organizations who “criticize how the country is being run” - singling out those with “tea party”, “9/12” and “patriot” in their names.
The agency harassed right-leaning 501(c)(3) applicants with intrusive questions, including “please detail the content of your members’ prayers."
160 such applications were delayed for over 200 days – some for more than three years and two election cycles.
During this period, the IRS approved applications from several dozen groups who used words like “progressive”, “liberal” and “equality.” Media Trackers, a conservative applicant that had been delayed for 16 months, was approved in three weeks after it reapplied under the name “Greenhouse Solutions.”
The White House account of these events has changed several times. While the White House initially maintained that it had learned about the scandal through the media, it has since been revealed that both Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew were aware of the scandal a month prior.
Under the Obama Administration, IRS higher-ups have treated themselves to extravagant entertainment and lavish conferences on the taxpayers’ dime. The agency spent over $60,000 producing two short films for fun. In one instance, the IRS “paid for the construction of an elaborate mock-up of the bridge of the starship Enterprise.” The IRS also spent millions on luxurious accommodations for its managers – in violation of its own policies - and paid $135,000 fees to at least 15 outside speakers. One speaker was paid $17,000 to discuss “leadership through art.”
Democrats have attempted to shield themselves from blame by pointing out that IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman was a Bush appointee. Shulman’s wife, however, is a senior employee at liberal group Public Campaign, an organization “dedicated to sweeping campaign reform that aims to dramatically reduce the role of big special interest money in American politics.”
Sarah Hall Ingram, who ran the IRS’ tax-exempt division during the targeting, is now the director of the IRS’ ObamaCare office. Since graduating from Georgetown Law, Ingram has never worked anywhere except the IRS. Interestingly, Ingram has visited the White House 165 times.
The IRS has been put in charge of enforcing ObamaCare. Federal agencies are currently assembling a “Federal Data Services Hub” in what has been called “the largest consolidation of personal data in the history of the republic” by USA Today. Under ObamaCare, government-approved health insurance providers will submit reports about their customers to this database - where they will be monitored and cross-checked by the IRS. Although only 10% of Americans now say they have confidence in the IRS, we are apparently expected to trust the agency to oversee our healthcare.
As the second ObamaCare open enrollment period came to a close over the weekend, more Americans learned that they owe Uncle Sam money because they received subsidies that were too great, in many cases because they had underestimated their income levels for 2014 when they applied for coverage through the health insurance exchanges.
The practice known as Civil Asset Forfeiture is getting more attention these days, and deservedly so. Americans need to know that there is a legal mechanism for the government to empty their bank accounts, even if they haven’t been convicted or formally accused - of a crime.
We all know that Congress has some big ticket items on its agenda for next year - repealing ObamaCare, balancing the budget, reining the president’s executive authority, but receiving less attention than perhaps they should are a number of smaller regulatory battles in which the new Republican majority could make a real difference.
Washington, DC- Following news that the Obama administration refused to release documents that could prove the IRS shared taxpayer returns with the White House, FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe released the following statement:
There's a new scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service. Already deserved criticism for its targeting of conservative organizations and promulgating rules allowing ObamaCare subsidies in states that have opted out of ObamaCare, the powerful tax agency is now under fire for seizing bank accounts of Americans who've done absolutely nothing wrong.
Lois Lerner really doesn't want to answer questions about her role in the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative and Tea Party organizations. The former head of the powerful tax agency's Exempt Organization Division refused to testify in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in May 2013, invoking her Fifth Amendment rights.