IRS Scandal: The Question!
The current flap over IRS targeting of political groups applying for tax-exempt status started on May 10th, 2013.
On that day leaker Lois Lerner answered a planted audience question at an otherwise mundane tax meeting.
Lerner’s bombshell answer has rocked the IRS like a low-yield nuclear detonation.
What was the question? What was her answer?
Surprisingly, it isn’t easy to find either one. Both question and answer should be everywhere you look, but they aren’t. Why?
The answer exposes the seamy underbelly of American journalism today.
I received a call from Lois Lerner, who told me that she wanted to address an issue after her prepared remarks at the [American Bar Association] Tax Section’s Exempt Organizations Committee Meeting, and asked if I would pose a question to her after her remarks
– Celia Roady, US News and World Report, 5/17/2013
Lois Lerner is Director of Tax-exempt Accounts at the IRS in Washington DC.
The Treasury Department’s Inspector General (IG) was set to publish a scathing audit report on IRS mishandling of tax-exempt accounts on May 14th.
Lois Lerner and her boss, acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller, put their heads together and hatched a bold scheme to preempt the IG’s audit. They’d leak the report themselves!!! That way they could spin the bad news to their best advantage.
Lerner was scheduled to make a presentation at an ABA tax meeting May 10th. They reasoned that Lerner could leak the story in advance by answering an innocuous planted audience question. Lerner would break the bad news and then whirl the spin machine at full tilt.
First, they needed a dupe to ask the question. Lerner chose Celia Roady, a prominent tax lawyer with the firm Morgan Lewis.
Lerner gave Roady the question and Roady asked it as requested as a favor to Lerner.
Lois, a few months ago there were some concerns about the IRS’s review of 501(c)(4) organizations, of applications from tea party organizations. I was just wondering if you could provide an update?
– Celia Roady, ABA Tax Section Annual Meeting, 5/10/2013
The full unedited text of Lerner’s prepared response is found at Election Law Blog, an insider’s lawyer blog out of UC Irvine. Read it.
Lerner said, “line people in Cincinnati… centralized work on these in one particular group” and that “centralization was perfectly fine“
No mention was made that the IG, already known to her, had determined that centralization wasn’t “fine”. That came out 4 days later.
They (Cincinnati) used names like Tea Party or Patriots and they selected cases simply because the applications had those names in the title. That was wrong, that was absolutely incorrect, insensitive, and inappropriate — that’s not how we go about selecting cases for further review. We don’t select for review because they have a particular name.
– Lois Lerner, ABA Tax Section Annual Meeting, 5/10/2013
No mention was made that the whole operation was directed by Lerner herself out of her DC office. That was brought out in July congressional testimony by those directly involved.
Lerner explained away the delay on approvals with, “They (Cincinnati) also, in some cases… some of them sat around for too long.“
Lerner’s now retired senior exemption’s specialist in DC, Carter Hill, testified before congress that those approvals were made ‘above his pay grade’.
Finally, Lerner explained the lengthy questionnaires saying, “They (Cincinati) also sent some letters out that were far too broad, asking questions of these organizations that weren’t really necessary“
Carter Hall, Lerner’s DC employee, testified that he helped design the questionnaires that Cincinnati was directed to send out and then return copies directly back to him.
Lerner said all wrongdoing was committed in the Cincinnati office by “line people” against IRS policy.
Later testimony and the released IG audit prove that just about everything in Lerner’s answer was lies to coverup her and the IRS Washington DC office involvement.
If all you read are mainstream newspapers and watch mainstream TV news then most things in this article are unknown to you. They were to me.
If you watch the much-hated Fox News or – GASP! – read the right-winger Wall Street Journal, then you know about some of these things.
Go ahead and look. You won’t read any of it in the New York Times or see it on CNN, ABC or NBC or most any of the lamestream media. That’s because almost none it has been reported.
What you have heard is more like an Obama campaign ad absolving government of all guilt.
After much searching, I found Lerner’s original question at a good, but 3rd tier news organization called TPM. I found Lerner’s answer in an an excellent, but obscure (to most Americans) lawyer blog by Rick Hasen called Election Law Blog.
And therein lies the rub. Government sanctioned restrictions on target organizations based only on their political beliefs is criminal. That is BIG news!
Why hasn’t something this important been thoroughly investigated, reported on by a watchdog press and the perpetrators brought to justice?
Sadly, the answer is the letter “D”. The perps have “D” as their political affiliation instead of “R”. If they were “R”s then cries of “Impeach!” would be shouted from the media rooftops.
Instead, in the wake of the scandal, it was announced Monday by an unnamed Democratic congressional aide that Lois Lerner is quietly retiring.
You could hear the crickets through the silence of the watchdog press response.