The IRS Is Not Off the Hook

During the hearing, Werfel dodged and weaved.  He used privacy, potential lawsuits, and personnel issues as excuses for why he couldn’t explain why, if there was no wrongdoing, some IRS personnel were let go (transferred, retired, shoved out, fired, forced to resign, promoted elsewhere, what have  you).

Werfel also used the excuse of the ongoing investigation to evade answering questions. If there may be criminal charges, he wouldn’t want to muck things up, would he? He couldn’t say how long the investigation would be ongoing.  (Past 2016?) He ran out the clock on many rounds of questioning–the representatives were given limited amounts of time during which to try to get to the truth.

Werfel couldn’t recall.  He didn’t know. He wasn’t at the agency when that happened. He didn’t have that information at hand. He wasn’t aware of that.  He very frequently didn’t have a “distinct recollection” of something.  He didn’t understand the question.

There’s no evidence to support that.  (Is he looking? Did he look? Will he look?  This is typical Democrat evasion: There’s no evidence until there is.  See “Monica Lewinsky” and “blue dress”.  In a lawyerly world, if there’s no evidence brought to light, then it didn’t happen, even if it did. If you don’t look for or find the evidence, then it didn’t happen, in their world.)

Werfel didn’t find any “intentional” targeting.  Another dodge.  “What difference, at this point, does it make” whether or not the targeting was intentional?  It’s the EFFECT of the targeting that’s the problem.  The violation of these groups’ constitutional right to participate on an equal basis in the political process is the problem.

As of the date of that hearing, nobody from the IRS or the FBI had interviewed anyone belonging to the discriminated-against groups!  What kind of investigation ignores the victims?

If Werfel doesn’t understand the effect of the targeting, then how can he fix the problem?  How does he even know what the problem is?  HOW will he restore the public trust, as he promised to do?  He’s definitely not off to a good start, especially by participating in black propaganda, seemingly at the behest of the administration.

During the hearing, Werfel originally stated that nobody at the White House (WH) reviewed his misleading report in advance; but then he immediately backtracked, mentioning that he and Obama had specifically discussed Werfel’s conclusion that there’s “no evidence” of political influence.

[Rep. Tim] Griffin: Did anyone at the White House review this statement?

Werfel: No.

Griffin: No one?

Werfel: Not that I’m aware of.

Griffin: Okay.  Anyone at Treasury?

Werfel: Yes… And let me just say, I did brief the President a few hours before the report went out – on the morning the report was issued – on Monday – and I did mention this conclusion.  I just wanted to make sure that was clear.

It was wise of him to remember not to let his original two responses stand, because the WH had already issued a press release noting that Obama was “briefed” on the report.  Treasury Secretary Lew was present at that briefing, too.

Obviously, the Obama administration was keeping close tabs on how Werfel was going to spin (whirl) his report.  How to explain his original response, though?  Does he not consider the president to be among “anyone at the White House?”  We know that some claim that Obama uses a “hidden hand” to run things, while others believe someone else is actually the power behind the Oval Office, but for Werfel to initially not include Obama as being “anyone at the White House?” Now that’s passing strange.

Does this situation remind you of the numerous iterations of the Benghazi talking points?  We begin to see a pattern of a supposedly hands-off president micromanaging how SCANDALS are spun, all to protect himself politically.

Early on in this scandal, Obama falsely stated that the IRS is an “independent agency.”  Yet former IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman visited the WH 157 times over the period of Tea Party persecution, according to the WH visitor log.  Shulman’s chief of staff visited the WH as many as 310 times, according to the same log.  Both facts suggest that something going on at the IRS was being very closely monitored by the Obama administration during the campaign, despite that Obama pretended to be hands off with regard to this “independent agency.”

Perhaps most egregious, during the hearing Werfel seemed to blame the victims by stating that when their applications were sent to political limbo, when they were being systematically targeted and denied the ability to participate in the 2010-2012 campaigns, they should have complained to the IRS!  According to Werfel’s report, they should have used the Taxpayer Advocate Service.

Speaking of the Taxpayer Advocate:  Not long after Werfel’s report came out, the advocate (Nina Olson) issued a report of her own, in which she concluded that

the tax agency’s Exempt Organizations unit trampled on eight of 10 rights in her Taxpayers Bill of Rights.

“Today, the IRS is an institution in crisis,” wrote Olson, who heads a semi-independent unit of the IRS that looks out for taxpayer interests. “As a consequence of this crisis, the IRS gives limited consideration to taxpayer rights or fundamental tax administration principles as it struggles to get its job done.” …

The IRS is supposed to report to the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) any time there’s a delay of more than 30 days beyond normal processing times, or any time there’s a systemic breakdown. The Exempt Organizations unit did neither — instead arguing that taxpayer advocates weren’t necessary.

Why didn’t the IRS  refer these delays to the Taxpayer Advocate?  Anyone care to hazard a guess?

To illustrate that this scandal isn’t going away, despite Mr. Whirl’s yeoman-like attempt to bury it, another hearing is scheduled for tomorrow:

Thursday’s Oversight Committee hearing on the IRS’s targeting of tea-party groups is likely to be a showdown between Internal Revenue Service officials based in Washington, D.C., and a Cincinnati agent who accused them of micromanaging her work. Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa is calling Washington lawyers Carter Hull and Steven Grodnitzky as well as a Cincinnati-based agent, Elizabeth Hofacre, to testify on Thursday, according to a congressional source. …

The witnesses called to the hearing reflect the shift in the committee’s investigation away from the IRS’s Cincinnati office and toward the agency’s headquarters in Washington. Questions from lawmakers are likely to focus on who in D.C. asked that tea-party applications be elevated for review, who wrote and approved the intrusive questions sent to so many groups, and why their applications were not processed efficiently.

A full list of witnesses will be found hereCSPAN should carry the proceedings live.  Stay tuned.  But in breaking news:

Top House committee chairmen said Wednesday [today] that they have learned that the IRS sent some tea party groups’ applications for tax-exempt status through special scrutiny at the direction of agency officials in Washington, in a revelation that appears to confirm political targeting.

The committee chairmen released partial excerpts of interviews with IRS employees that show they were prepared to rule on some of the tea party groups’ applications, but Lois Lerner, an official at the root of the investigation, overruled them and instead created the complex and intrusive inquiries that have become the center of a Washington scandal.

Carter Hull, a tax law specialist with 48 years of experience at the IRS, said he was told to send some of the applications to the IRS‘ chief counsel’s office. The chief counsel is one of two political appointees in the IRS. …

[E]very group with “tea party,” “patriot” or “9/12” in its name was subject to special scrutiny by the IRS.

Continued on next page:

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77 responses to “The IRS Is Not Off the Hook

      • Good point, Papoose. I forgot the link to Biden.

        “More than two years after her upstart Senate campaign rocked the Delaware political world, Christine O’Donnell got an unexpected contact from a U.S. Treasury Department agent warning that her private tax records may have been breached.

        The phone message earlier this year shocked the battled-scarred candidate, a tea party favorite who knocked off Republican mainstay Michael Castle in the primary before losing in a bid to win Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s former seat. …

        Now Mr. Martel, a criminal investigator for the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration, was telling her that an official in Delaware state government had improperly accessed her records on that very same day. Beyond that, Ms. O’Donnell and Senate investigators who have tried to help her have run into a wall of silence, leaving more questions than answers about whether abuses of the IRS system extend to private individuals and not just the tax-exempt groups already identified as victims.

        Investigators for Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, an influential Republican who serves on the Finance and Judiciary committees, have uncovered one key issue: a backdoor system in which state officials can access Americans’ private tax records in the name of investigating with little oversight or accountability.

        But the Justice Department has declined to prosecute any of the offenders. Treasury officials have refused to give Mr. Grassley any specifics on the cases or to describe the disposition of Ms. O’Donnell’s case, claiming even people who improperly access tax records have an assumption of privacy under federal tax laws. …”

        She was also TARGETED for the same Alinsky tactics the left and the media, too, used against GOVERNOR Sarah Palin. Remember? Both of them were dumb bimbos.

      • This is a great find, Papoose. TY. Check out this part; doesn’t it sound so very familiar?

        “Ms. O’Donnell has spent the past six months trying to find out more about what happened to her personally, with little success.

        Investigators have told her the probe has been closed, without offering an explanation. Ms. O’Donnell’s attempts to get records about the possible misuse of her tax files through Freedom of Information Act requests have been delayed or denied. …”

        • More: “She fought through a three-year audit into her personal finances that ended with her repaying $1,100 to the federal government. Family and friends also were subjected to audits, though they were cleared, she said.

          She had been warned that such events were possible.

          As she was considering a Senate run, Ms. O’Donnell said she was told by a prominent political figure in Delaware that if she challenged Mr. Castle, the IRS and others would “F with her head.”

          Ms. O’Donnell said she has reason to believe her political opponents were behind the scheme.

          “An official with this investigation told me that there was evidence linking this inappropriate use of my tax records with the Delaware political leadership, Delaware political leaders on both sides of the aisle,” she said, though she declined to identify the official with whom she spoke.”

          Nothing about this in my local paper or the other national paper I read daily. Gee, isn’t THIS news? Imagine if this were, say, Hillary Clinton’s or Barack Obama’s tax records. Note the reference to “both sides of the aisle.” The story talks about Karl Rove. Remember how the DemoncRATS and the likes of Rove teamed up to demonize the Tea Party?

          • http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jul/19/delware-officials-admit-snooping-gop-candidate-chr/

            Delaware officials admit tax snooping; won’t identify Christine O’Donnell as target

            The director of Delaware’s tax-collection office said Friday that his agency accessed the federal tax records in 2010 of an unnamed taxpayer, believed to be former GOP Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell.

            Patrick Carter, director of the state’s division of revenue, would not identify Ms. O’Donnell as the taxpayer but said he approved the inquiry “for routine purposes.”

            “A state Division of Revenue investigator accessed records on or after March 20, 2010 following information that came to the attention of the division,” Mr. Carter said in a statement. “The record access led the state revenue investigator to conclude there was no basis for further state investigation of a taxpayer and no action was taken by the state Division of Revenue against the taxpayer.” …”

            Right. Perhaps so, but they SAW what they WANTED TO SEE on the pretext of a “routine purpose.” And to whom was said information transmitted, if anyone? http://www.delawareonline.com/article/20130719/NEWS02/130719020/Delaware-officials-defend-decision-access-Christine-O-Donnell-s-tax-records?nclick_check=1

            “… Patrick Carter, director of the Delaware Division of Revenue in the state Finance Department, says he approved access to a taxpayer’s federal records for “routine” purposes and was questioned by a federal investigator on the matter earlier this year. State tax auditor David Smith was the official who accessed the records, Carter said. …”

            • http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jul/23/records-of-christine-odonnell-tax-snooping-disappe/ OUTRAGEOUS, BUT NOT SURPRISING. What hasn’t been disappeared when it threatens to harm Barry and his DemoncRAT allies?

              “Records of Christine O’Donnell tax snooping disappear

              Delaware state officials have told Congress that they likely destroyed the computer records that would show when and how often they accessed Christine O’Donnell’s personal tax records and acknowledged that a newspaper article was used as the sole justification for snooping into the former GOP Senate candidate’s tax history.

              The revelations to Sen. Chuck Grassley’s office came Tuesday as the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration, the government’s chief watchdog for the Internal Revenue Service, formally reopened its investigation into the matter by re-interviewing Ms. O’Donnell.

              “It is an active investigation now,” Ms. O’Donnell told The Washington Times after meeting with the same Treasury agent who first informed her in January that her tax records were improperly accessed. …

              “The state says it looked at Ms. O’Donnell’s federal records because of a newspaper article describing a federal tax lien against her,” Mr. Grassley said. “Does the state look at every taxpayer who faces a federal lien or only those who happen to appear in a newspaper article? Is it routine for a state employee to email his boss about looking at a taxpayer’s records on a Saturday, when the article appeared? It’s hard to evaluate what happened in the O’Donnell case without answering these questions, and I’ll continue to work to get more information.””

              They should just subpoena the records from the NSA.

    • WOW! I guess we now know at least one of the political candidates who was targeted by the IRS and I guess it’s JUST A COINCIDENCE that she’s a Tea Partier:

      “… [T]he U.S. Treasury Department told Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, that at least four politicians had their private information examined improperly by the IRS.

      Former Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell said she is one of them. She said the day she announced her run for the U.S. Senate in 2010, the government placed a tax lien on her house.

      The problem is she didn’t own the house at the time. The IRS later withdrew the lien, calling it a “computer glitch.” [“inadvertent mistake?”]

      But in January, O’Donnell was informed by a criminal investigator for the Treasury Department that her records had been improperly accessed on the day she decided to run. [So it ought to be easy to find the IRS EMPLOYEE cum DemoncRAT plant who did this, but I’m guessing this is the case that HOLDER of the DOJ decided not to prosecute, as was mentioned in yesterday’s hearing. I hope Grassley gets to the bottom of this.]

      O’Donnell claimed she had been warned that if she ran for Senate, the IRS would “(expletive) her head.”

      “Whether it’s one, eight or 80 (cases), it’s an abuse of power at the IRS. It’s using the IRS as a political weapon, and that shouldn’t be done,” O’Donnell told The Washington Times. “

  1. http://aclj.org/free-speech-2/aclj-calls-testimony-linking-irs-targeting-irs-chief-counsel-extremely-disturbing

    “… Rep. Darrell Issa – chairman of the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform – released a letter detailing testimony from Carter Hull, a now-retired Washington tax specialist who was responsible for providing guidance on reviewing tax-exempt applications for Tea Party groups. Hull told Congressional investigators that Lois Lerner, Director of Exempt Organizations who is now on paid leave, directed that the Tea Party applications be sent directly to the office of IRS Chief Counsel William Wilkins for specific review and examination prior to the 2010 election.

    “This is one of the most extremely disturbing revelations yet,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. “It is now clear that the IRS Chief Counsel, appointed by President Obama in 2009, was involved in examining and reviewing applications from Tea Party groups – many that were basically shut out of the 2010 election process because of delays in handling of their applications. This development raises significant questions about what the White House knew and when. In a politically charged run-up to the 2010 election, why was one of President Obama’s most trusted and partisan appointees involved in examining the applications for Tea Party groups? We look forward to tomorrow’s testimony [now over] and further information about the origins of this unlawful and unconstitutional scheme that violated the First Amendment rights of our clients.” …”

    That letter linked above asks for priority attention to their requests for all communications between the IRS, the IRS Counsel’s office, and THE WH.

    • http://aclj.org/free-speech-2/irs-scandal-escalates

      “… IRS Chief Counsel William Wilkins is a direct political appointee of President Obama in 2009 and significantly calls into question the Obama Administration’s ever evolving timeline of who knew what when, but even more importation who directed and orchestrated the targeting of the Tea Party.

      President Obama’s IRS claimed IRS Chief Counsel, one of two politically appointed IRS positions, was not aware of the IRS targeting until this year. Yet, testimony from multiple IRS lawyers in Washington, D.C., released by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform now directly implicate IRS Chief Counsel’s office. According to multiple IRS attorneys in D.C., including tax law specialist Carter Hull, who oversaw the review of the Tea Party cases, Lois Lerner, former Director at the Exempt Organizations Division, and her top advisor directed that certain Tea Party applications as part of a “test” group be sent to her office and IRS Chief Counsel for review in the winter of 2010-2011.

      Chief Counsel’s office, after months more of delay, then demanded Mr. Hull make further inquiries of the Tea Party. According to the testimony, it was Chief Counsel’s office that was demanding to know more information about the conservative groups’ activities “right before the [2010] election period. In other words, immediately before.

      In addition, the testimony indicates that the Chief Counsel’s office was heavily involved in preparing a template for handling these cases, something Mr. Hull testified was impractical “because these organizations, all of them are different. A template wouldn’t work.” Yet, as he testified, a template was prepared by someone in Chief Counsel’s office in conjunction with other tax law specialists. Even more disturbing he testified that after three years, IRS Chief Counsel’s office had not made a determination about these “test” Tea Party cases, even though in 2011, Mr. Hull had all the information he needed to make a recommendation as to their request for tax-exempt status. …”

      In a way, I’m very glad that someone of the caliber of Jay Sekulow is now experiencing the kind of stonewalling that we “birthers” have experienced in trying to pry information out of this administration. Also with the “scrubbing” of information from the record. Maybe he and others like Gowdy will have the ability to crack this nut.

    • Yes, but note the media blackout. There can BE no “scandal” with no coverage, and Barry’s a master at inveigling the media to look the other way and at giving them plenty of distractions–like an impromptu speech about Trayvon Martin.

  2. Another Tea Party person persecuted by the IRS: http://dailycaller.com/2013/07/26/feds-investigate-redneck-day-at-arizona-high-school-have-nothing-better-to-do/#ixzz2aAru4LD1

    Exclusive: IRS watchdog reviewing claims of improper audit of Tea Party farmer

    The IRS’s internal watchdog is reviewing allegations that the agency improperly audited a Tea Party owner of a small Virginia farm whose repeated clashes with a local environmental group and the county over zoning laws have made her a cause celebre for property-rights advocates. …

    Amid the publicity, Boneta last year also received notice of an IRS audit – an audit she believes is directly related to her disagreements with the environmental group and the county and is intended to frighten her into backing down.

    “The audit had the effect of really scaring me,” she told the Washington Examiner. “If that was the intention, it worked. I was terrified. The auditor asked me questions that were uniquely related to my litigation with Fauquier County and the Piedmont Environmental Council. If not collusion, how could this be possible?

    A spokesman for the PEC said the group has nothing to do with the zoning issues she was having nor the audit. …”

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