Sunday, October 23, 2016

Lois Lerner

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Remember three years ago, when Lois Lerner went on Capitol Hill and pleaded the fifth when it came to asking about the IRS targeting conservatives? Well, it has taken a few years and a lawsuit to get them to admit wrongdoing.

The IRS sent a list of 426 organizations that the federal agency target and delayed or denied approval. There are more. Over 40 decided not to be included in the class-action lawsuit.

The 426 total number of groups that was turned over is much higher than the 298 groups the IRS Commissioner, John Koskinen, admitted to back in 2013.

Most of the non-profit groups in the lawsuit say they had to wait years for approval or in some cases had to answer and give up unusual details that delayed the process. In some cases the IRS may have illegally delayed the right to some groups and there will be repercussions if found guilty.

One concern with the list that was turned over by the IRS, is that it has some obscure groups on it and some that have nothing to do with the conservative movement.

A lawyer for some of the groups says that the IRS could have placed some “outliers” on the list to make it look like that conservatives were not targeted as exclusively as they were.

The list still contains over 90 groups that have “patriot” or “tea” in the name. There were 26 groups that had the word “liberty” in the name.

At this point it is very clear that the IRS targeted groups on the right and especially the “tea party” organizations.

It has taken us over three years to get to the point where the IRS admits the large number of groups the illegally targeted, but it will still take some time before something happens.

Stay up to date on this case with Liberty News Now!

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The Justice Department announced on Friday that they’re closing the book on their two-year-old investigation into whether or not the IRS improperly targeted Tea Party groups in the run up to the 2010 and 2012 elections.

But their judgment is sure to cause anger: they announced there would be no charges filed. Not against Lois Lerner—the former IRS official at the center of the scandal. Not against anyone.

In a letter to Congress, obtained by CNN, Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik basically said there wasn’t enough evidence for the Department of Justice to do anything about it—despite the mountain of evidence that seemingly piled up over the last few years:

We found no evidence that any IRS official acted based on political, discriminatory, corrupt, or other inappropriate motives that would support a criminal prosecution. We also found no evidence that any official involved in the handling of tax-exempt applications or IRS leadership attempted to obstruct justice.

Based on the evidence developed in this investigation and the recommendation of experienced career prosecutors and supervising attorneys at the department, we are closing our investigation and will not seek any criminal charges.

The scandal had been colored for the extreme lengths Lerner went through to hide evidence. After first claiming that her data had been erased due to a hard drive crash, the IRS later admitted that the crash hadn’t been until months after the Justice Department had already issued a subpoena.

The data was later recovered on backup systems, after which Lerner tried to hinder the investigation by pleading her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

But, as it turns out, the investigation was all for naught—Lerner’s free to enjoy her forced “retirement” from the IRS.

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A criminal investigation into IRS officials involved in complying with congressional subpoenas for documents related to the treatment of Tea Party non-profit applications is in the offing by the Justice Department now that 33,000 e-mails – and possibly more – have been produced years after congressional investigators requested them.

After just two weeks on the job, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Office of Inspector General found back-up tapes containing almost 33,000 e-mail records related to the IRS targeting scandal against Tea Party groups that IRS officials said had been destroyed in sworn testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee as far back as May, 2013.

These past and present officials include former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, IRS Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner, U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin and current IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

The “discovery” of the lost e-mails between Lois Lerner and other IRS officials has injected new life into the long-running investigation by Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives into the IRS treatment of tax-exempt applications filed by conservative political groups leading up to President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.

Lerner, a long time Democrat party operative, testified under oath that she broke no laws and was innocent of all charges before invoking her Fifth Amendment right not to testify before the committee. The House voted to hold her in contempt of Congress.

Lerner has been accused of slow-walking non-profit tax applications filed by Tea Party and other conservative groups through the IRS approval process holding them up for years with repeated requests that lengthy questionnaires be completed and reviewed before approval could be considered in gross violation of IRS approval guidelines.

Subsequent to her appearance before Congress, Lerner resigned from her post at the IRS with a full pension.

When asked about the discovery of back-up tapes containing Lerner’s e-mails and their production to Congress pursuant to numerous subpoenas issued by Congress to the IRS, IRS data managers said the tapes have been available for inspection since the scandal broke but that agency higher ups never asked for them.

Republicans pointed to the “new evidence” as evidence that the IRS has been acting in bad faith with investigators conducting the congressional probe. Reporting for Reuters news service, Emily Stephenson writes about Congressional reaction quoted here:

“I’ve got to tell you, we have been patient, we have asked, we have issued subpoenas, we have held hearings,” said Representative Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican who leads the House Oversight Committee.

“It’s just shocking to me that you start (looking), two weeks later you’re able to find the emails,” he told Camus, referring to the Treasury inspector general’s office locating the emails after the IRS said it could not find them. The IRS is part of the Treasury Department.



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