June 16, 2014

“House committee: Obama encouraged IRS to target conservative groups”

Words can’t express my utter shock.  Well, unless the words were “yawn” and “duh”:

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Monday released a report that finds President Barack Obama and other top Democrats encouraged the IRS to investigate conservative groups seeking tax exempt status.

The report says this encouragement from the White House shows that the IRS targeting scandal was rooted in politics, and is not the result of lower-level officials, as the Obama administration has claimed.

“The committee’s investigation shows that as the president generated attention to the issue of nonprofit political speech in 2010, IRS employees followed his public messaging,” according to the 77-page report. “With jurisdiction over nonprofits and tax law, IRS employees read and acted upon the news reports.

“In this way, the IRS targeting is – and always has been – rooted in political machinations. Put simply, as the president’s political rhetoric drove the national dialogue and shaped public opinion, the IRS received and responded to the political stimuli.”

The report finds that Obama’s involvement began at his January, 2010 State of the Union speech, in which he criticized the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Citizens United case. Democrats said that ruling unfairly unleashed a wave of political spending by corporations, since it struck down limits on political donations by companies.

In the weeks and months following that speech, Obama called conservative groups with tax-exempt status “shadowy” entities with “innocuous” and “benign-sounding” names. Obama also urged a “fix” to the decision, which he said let these groups “pose” as non-profit groups.

The report then details several emails from Lois Lerner, the director of tax exempt organizations at the IRS, who said the IRS needed to take steps to resolve Obama’s complaints.

The report cites emails in which Lerner said there was pressure on the IRS to “fix the problem,” that “everyone is up in arms” about the Citizens United case. In one email, she wrote that “everybody is screaming at [the IRS] right now: fix it before the election,” according to the committee.

“In response to a news article about the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s complaint against Americans for Prosperity, Lois Lerner wrote to her boss: ‘We won’t be able to stay out of this – we need a plan!’ ” the Committee wrote. “Lerner later initiated a project to examine 501(c)(4) political speech in response to an article in a tax-law journal.”

The report says the Justice Department also internalized Obama’s rhetoric. It quotes Justice’s Public Integrity Section Chief Jack Smith, who cited a New York Times story in late 2010 about non-profits funding campaigns, and said that “this seems egregious to me.”

It finds that at Smith’s direction, Justice met with Lerner and other IRS employees to examine the issue, and that led to a Justice Department request for information about various non-profit groups.

Just last week, Issa said the IRS appears to have violated the law by handing this information over, in a format that included confidential taxpayer information.


“[T]he causal relationship between this rhetoric and the IRS targeting is clear,” Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said Monday. “The President declared repeatedly that conservative groups ‘posing’ as nonprofits with ‘benign-sounding’ names were ‘a threat to our democracy.’ The IRS listened and, in turn, it subjected conservative groups to systematic scrutiny and delay.”

But beyond simply heeding Obama’s warnings, the report found that the IRS worked closely with Democrats on the issue.

“The IRS received tips from Democratic sources about upcoming actions concerning nonprofit political speech, and the IRS even assisted Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.) in preparing letters to the agency criticizing nonprofit political speech,” the committee wrote.

Obama’s rebuke to SCOTUS over Citizens United was enough to set the ball rolling.  The rest was taken up by his foot soldiers.  All of which is part of a pattern in this presidency, as well as an MO for the hierarchical progressive “governing” dynamic.

All of which remains beside the point:  a select committee with a special prosecutor should have been empaneled long ago; this “server crash” nonsense would then hold no credibility (not that it does now to all but the least sentient among us).  I’ve said from day one that Boehner and the GOP leadership had no interest in pursuing this beyond mere political theater.  And I believe now as I did when this story broke that the reason for this is that a number of establishment Republicans — of the very kind who are now so interested in “crushing the TEA Party” — were complicit, either actively or by turning a blind eye to what they knew was happening.

A government using its tax collection apparatus as a partisan force is so deeply troubling — and so deeply incongruous with representative republicanism — that unless and until this becomes a full-blown national scandal, I will hold out little hope that our constitutional system can be salvaged.

There are only two ways left to fight the federal, big government fan dance both parties are engaged in:  a convention of the states or an assertion by states of their 10th amendment rights, coupled with a refusal to follow dictates and / or bureaucratic regulations being used to target industries that fuel the economy of particular states or particular geographical locales.  And then the second way.


Posted by Jeff G. @ 11:16am

Comments (32)

  1. according to the 77-page report

    aka Mark Levin show prep.

    Get ready for some mike-shredding outrage today.

  2. Relatedly: “The court’s 9-0 verdict concluded that the use of the Ohio law would hinder freedom of speech.”

  3. Okay, now that we have the President actually sending his IRS shock troops after his political enemies, that should be enough to qualify as “high crimes and misdemeanors”, especially given the fact that Nixon was being impeached for exactly the same thing.

    Obama, OTOH, isn’t going to do the honorable thing, even assuming the House Judiciary Committee bothers to write up, never mind discuss and vote on, Articles of Impeachment.

    So now what? We just accept that the President is corrupt and that there is nothing the People can do about it? We accept that his Administration is violating the Constitution, and civil rights of all citizens, failing to ensure that the laws be faithfully executed, ruining the economy and America’s national security, throwing away any shred of national integrity by erasing the border and still acting to shore up his power structure domestically by arming the government to a level never before seen (i.e., the Dept of Agriculture buying machine guns and Dept of Education creating SWAT teams armed with MRAPs)?

    What’s next? “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

    “You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence.” — Charles A. Beard

  4. – We all knew he was, and is, giving instructions to his commie sheep with every speech, nothing surprising here.

    – What is disheartening is the system our founders put in place for dealing with this sort of traitorous, seditious behavior is simply being ignored.

  5. There Will Be Blood.

  6. – This old hag is a morally bankrupt moron. How the hell do people like this rise to levels of importance.

    – Oh, shes Nan from Sin-fran. Never mind.

  7. Have 30 million Americans written their congressmen and Senators demanding the immediate impeachment of the executive? For nothing stops them. Or say 60 million, or 100 million, for that matter. Who then does the ignoring?

    Be free, little birds. Be free.

  8. We don’t accept the Tyranny as normal, Drumwaster.

    The thing is, we have to bring/lead enough people along the path to the light before we can act effectively.

    The thing is, though, we may not have enough time to accomplish this.

    In some ways, The Founders had it easier than we do, because they had a much, much smaller population and the from distance from the Despots was great, their responses slow due to this fact — to name but two factors.

    How do we rouse and awaken enough people within a Society so fractured into so many groupings — Hell, even on the Rightosphere there are so many separate little factions [or cliques, if you will] that coordination of effort [especially messaging and activism] is damn difficult.

    Can modern versions of the Committees Of Correspondence be set-up?

    That would be a big challenge because so many of us — rightly, justifiably — do not trust many who claim they are conservatives or Classical Liberals.

    The situation we Patriots find ourselves in is a direct result of the loss of Virtue as an aspiration among nearly all Americans.

    I’m frustrated and I have no doubt you all are too.

    [apologies for any meandering]

  9. Huh.

    Levin ain’t touched it.

  10. tomorrow is another 4 days

  11. especially if your legal team sues the fed gov’t for a living

  12. and levin dealt with this with epa

  13. We don’t accept the Tyranny as normal, Drumwaster.

    We may not have to accept it, but anyone with a pair of eyes must “admit” it. The question is what can be done?

    I have made calls to my Congressman, and both Senators, but since I live near Palm Springs, my Congressman is a first-term Democrat whose most important assignment is on the House VA Committee, with barely enough authority to wipe his own butt, if he can get an order countersigned by Pelosi. The problem is that this is a problem for the Judiciary Committee, and the closest member of that committee is Darrel Issa (CA-49).

    I called his office, and they admitted that they cannot yet make any statements about it, and I pointed out that we are getting awfully close to admitting that the House has no intention of doing anything to stop the clear violations. Even if the Senate would never convict, if the House doesn’t even bother to try, then the system is well and truly shattered, and that leaves those of us who took an oath to “preserve, protect and defend” to decide which of them falls among the “domestic” category.

    Shorter: “Outlaw”, bitches. Time to start trying to set up means of communication that cannot be monitored by NSA. (Imagine how much tougher the Founders would have had it if George III could read their mail without ever breaking the sealing wax and listen in on all of their tavern conversations without having to buy a pint.)

  14. Oh, and my Senators are Babs “Call Me Senator” Boxer and Dianne “guns for me but not for thee” Feinstein, so those were wasted calls.

  15. -Same here, Drum, as I live in New England.

    -Ham radio?

  16. “Committees Of Correspondence”? “Ham radio”?

    Your comments in this thread are edifying as is now normal, Bob. Cheers.

  17. “-Ham radio?”

    go outlaw – no license

  18. “The situation we Patriots find ourselves in is a direct result of the loss of Virtue as an aspiration among nearly all Americans.”

    This as well.

  19. “There are only two ways left to fight the federal, big government fan dance both parties are engaged in: a convention of the states or an assertion by states of their 10th amendment rights, coupled with a refusal to follow dictates and / or bureaucratic regulations being used to target industries that fuel the economy of particular states or particular geographical locales. And then the second way.”

    I put the cart before the carriage with my comments in this thread as this was the passage that was echoing in my ears and so I was skipping ahead as it were.

    It does sorta seem like the second way is by far the most likely now though, right? Widespread governmental malfeasance and barely a yawn anywhere? The field of easy, positive outcomes keeps narrowing.

  20. whatever happens to Food Stamp this Lois Lerner whore needs to be behind bars yesterday

    if she has the grace to plead guilty I say we let her have conjugal-type oral-pleasuring visits with Eric Holder

    that will help her pass the time

  21. The problem with the Constitution is that it is NOT a contract between the citizens and the government, but a collective agreement of We The People, and establishing a form of government intended to secure our natural rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

    It is up to We The People to curb the excesses of that government, and if We The People will not do it, and the government has ruled (through the judiciary) that no one individual has standing to sue to enforce the Constitution, and that what the government does is not in violation (regardless of the fact that the plain text says quite the opposite), then those of us who swore an oath to preserve, protect and defend are left with no options.

    “Shall not be infringed”. “Shall make no laws”. “No tax or duty shall be laid”. “Shall not be violated”. “Nor shall private property be taken”.

    Words are cheap.

  22. impeachment

    When Things Change

  23. this Lois Lerner whore needs to be behind bars yesterday

    Or dealt with as Telemachus dealt with the faithless chambermaids [Od. 22, 460-473]. He stretched ’em.

  24. Mr. sdferr it begoogles me – rapishly and also culturalishly

    in my soul

    that this Lois Lerner cunt – in the summer of 2014

    has not for herself her own wikipedia page

    and yet????!??

    please to explain


    they should be treated equal-like

  25. Said the third one.

  26. i wanna take that lil pup and rub it all over me like sumpin you git at Bath & Body Works butcept in jocular puppy form

    OMG SO CUTE!@!!


  27. -Thank you for the kind words, bh.

    -Even if we conclude that The Second Way is our only recourse, we still confront the problem of us all being scattered across an immense geographical area. The Continentals were able to inflict major losses of men and face on the British in Concord and Lexington because they were able to come together physically ‘at a minute’s notice’.

    While we few [we happy few?] have the Will and Spirit to mount as zealous an effort as the Colonists, we lack the ability right now to marshal the power and efforts of the Minutemen.

  28. To your point at 8:55 last evening, Drum, how about a little Samuel Adams:

    [responding to a letter from his cousin John]: A Republic, you tell me, is a Government in which “the People have an essential share in the sovereignty;” Is not the whole sovereignty, my friend, essentially in the People? Is not Government designed for the Welfare and happiness of all the People? and is it not the uncontroulable essential right of the People to amend, and alter, or annul their Constitution, and frame a new one, whenever they shall think it will better promote their own welfare, and happiness to do it? That the Sovereignty resides in the People is a political doctrine which I have never heard an American Politician seriously deny…. -25 November 1790

    Well, if the old ‘Idolator Of Republicanism’ were alive to day, he wouldn’t be for long – he’d stroke-out seeing how big and wide the Denial River has become.

  29. Maybe, though, Samuel wouldn’t be that surprised…

    [from the same letter]: . This Constitution was evidently founded in the expectation of the further progress, and “extraordinary degrees” of virtue. It injoyns the encouragement of all Seminaries of Literature, which are the nurseries of Virtue depending upon these for the support of Government, rather than Titles, Splendor, or Force. Mr Hume may call this a “Chimerical Project.” I am far from thinking the People can be deceived by urging upon them a dependance on the more general prevalence of Knowledge, and Virtue: It is one of the most essential means of further, and still further improvements in Society, and of correcting, and amending moral sentiments, and habits, and political institutions; till “by human means” directed by divine influence, Men shall be prepared for that “happy, and holy State” when the Messiah is to reign.

    Even if we manage to save The American Republic, our victory will be short-lived if we do not restore Virtue in all of our Souls.