If I had done half the [bleep] Lois Lerner had, I’d have taken a flame thrower to my hard drive:
Judicial Watch today released a new batch of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) email documents revealing that under former IRS official Lois Lerner, the agency seems to acknowledge having needlessly solicited donor lists from non-profit political groups.
The new documents obtained by Judicial Watch also reveal that 75% of the groups from whom the lists were solicited were apparently conservative, with only 5% being liberal.
That’s a ratio of 15:1, my liberal friends. Still care to dispute that the chief witch in the IRS was on a witch hunt herself?
I didn’t think you did.
The documents came in response to an October 2013 Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Internal Revenue Service (No. 1:13-cv-01559)) filed against the IRS after the agency refused to respond to four FOIA requests dating back to May, 2013.
Key parts of this email and other documents the IRS produced to Judicial Watch have been blacked out. (Many of the documents are completely blacked out (or partially redacted) seemingly because they are allegedly “pre-decisional” or “deliberative,” information that might be exempt from disclosure under FOIA. The Obama administration’s decision to withhold this information is completely discretionary and is not required by law.)
The IRS ignored four previous FOIA requests, finally responding with a heavily-censored batch of emails and other documents.
In which we learn:
A subsequent IRS email thread on June 27, 2012, revealed that inappropriately obtained donor lists were being used for a “secret research project” and that a top official wanted then-Acting IRS Commissioner Steve Miller to decide how to handle the issue.
The documents produced do not detail the “secret research project” nor disclose how the IRS used the donor names the agency improperly obtained.
Alas, the subject of the “secret research project” was redacted. But doesn’t that make you feel special, conservatives? Any donor to any cause deemed unseemly by the IRS might have been part of this “secret research project”. (Isn’t that what Mengele called his research?)
Anyway, we know one thing the IRS did with the donor lists:
Then-IRS Commissioner Miller initially testified to Congress on May 17, 2013 that “instructions had been given to destroy any donor lists,” but donor lists were actually produced to the House Ways and Means Committee four months later. The House Ways and Means Committee also announced at May 7, 2014 hearing that, after scores of conservative groups provided donor information “to the IRS, nearly one in ten donors were subject to audit.” In 2011, as many as five donors to one conservative (c)(4) organization were audited, according to the Wall Street Journal. And this past June, the IRS admitted wrongdoing in releasing the conservative National Organization for Marriage’s (NOM) confidential tax return and donor list, which were published in March 2012 by the Human Rights Campaign. The Human Rights Campaign is the chief political rival to NOM; its outgoing president had been named a national co-chair of the Obama Reelection Campaign. The IRS reportedly agreed to pay NOM $50,000 to settle the lawsuit.
But it may be this exchange that puts Lois’s left-leaning proclivities in the least likeable light:
Shortly after this email exchange, another email chain on June 28 between Lerner and Holly Paz, the former director of the Office of Rulings and Agreements, shows that Lerner believed that the TIGTA and congressional inquiries into the IRS’s practices were “dangerous”:
June 28, 2012 8:57 AM — Paz to Lerner: “Now TIGTA wants to talk to me. I am guessing they read this morning’s paper. [Apparent reference to Wall Street Journal article concerning IRS scrutiny of Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS tax exempt status]Will keep you posted.”
June 28, 2012 9:13 AM — Lerner to Paz: “Not alone. Wait til I am there.”
June 28, 2012 09:17 AM — Paz to Lerner: “Sorry. Too late. He already called me. It was not about WSJ. Just him trying to get better understanding of the scope of the [House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave] Camp [R-MI] request.”
June 28, 2012 8:22 AM [9:22 most probably]— Lerner to Paz: “Just as dangerous. I’ll talk to you soon. Be there in half hour.”
As I say, I’d throw my computer into Hell’s Canyon if it had this much incriminating evidence on it. And I’d plead the 5th on advice of counsel too.
One last lie to dispel: the low-level workers in Cincinnati:
The new documents also include emails further contradicting President Obama’s February 2014 excuse that the IRS targeting was entirely the fault of “bonehead decisions in local offices.” Obama was parroting Lois Lerner’s May 2013 claim that the targeting of conservative groups was the fault of “low-level” employees in Cincinnati for the targeting of conservative groups. In the months leading up to the 2012 presidential election, Lerner and other top IRS officials made it clear that no “advocacy” applications should be approved or denied without express approval from Lerner’s office in Washington, DC:
June 20, 2012: — Email from IRS attorney Michael C. Seton to managers in Exempt Organizations division defining targeted groups’ approval procedures:
Please inform the reviewers and staff in your groups that before issuing any favorable or initial denial rulings on any cases with advocacy issues, the reviewers must notify me and you [Lerner and other senior IRS staffers] via e -mail and get our approval. No favorable or initial denial rulings can be issued without your and my approval.
That lie is almost as bad as the “anti-Muslim video” they blamed for Benghazi.I’m tempted to say it’s worse, but no one died. Only Democracy.