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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.
Following a report that the Internal Revenue Service will make it possible for innocent Americans to get back money that has been wrongly seized by the tax agency, FreedomWorks Director of Communications Jason Pye commented:
This week, the House will consider a bill that would stop the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from collecting identifying information about donors to tax-exempt organizations. The IRS, in repeatedly using tax disclosures to create political targets, has prompted a chilling effect on First Amendment rights and political free speech.
As one of our over 5.7 million FreedomWorks activists nationwide, I urge you to contact your representative and ask them to vote YES on H.R. 5053, the Preventing IRS Abuse and Protecting Free Speech Act, introduced by Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.). This bill would stop the IRS from collecting and releasing information about donors to tax-exempt organizations, chilling political speech. H.R. 5053 is expected to be considered on the House floor as soon as tomorrow.
Following House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte’s (R-Va.) decision to hold hearings on the articles of impeachment introduced against IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, FreedomWorks CEO Adam Brandon commented:
A federal judge has ordered the Internal Revenue Service to pay the legal fees of Lyndon McLellan, a convenience store owner based in Fairmont, North Carolina, whose bank account was wrongfully seized by the powerful tax agency in July 2014. The IRS had previously agreed to drop the attempted forfeiture of the $107,702.66 it stole from McLellan.
Included in the handful of conservative policy victories at the end of 2015 was the passage of the Wrongful Convictions Tax Relief Act, which was introduced by Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas). The bill was included in the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, otherwise known as the "tax extenders" package. In July, FreedomWorks released a letter of support for the Wrongful Convictions Tax Relief Act.
Following the news that the Internal Revenue Service withdrew its proposed giving regulations, which would have pressured non-profits to collect the Social Security numbers of donors, FreedomWorks Foundation CEO Adam Brandon commented:
“If your policy is so good, why does it have to be mandatory?”
This is the eminently sensible question posed by people who question the need for government to dictate our purchases. Although often asked, it seldom receives an answer. When it does, it usually amounts to some slightly more diplomatic variation on “people are too stupid to make their own decisions.” Oh, what benevolent masters we have.
ObamaCare is only the most recent example in a long line of mandatory programs that are supposedly “for our own good,” but it’s a big one and provides a good example of the futility of trying to force people to act against their own best interests.