A carefully crafted AP Opinion Piece discussing Lois Lerner’s “computer crash” observes, “But so far, they [congressional investigators] have not publicly produced evidence that anyone outside the agency directed the targeting [of conservatives groups] or even knew about it.”
The “observation” is just as laughable as the assertion that Lois Lerner’s emails have been lost in a computer crash.
Of course all that anyone needs to do is a bit of research. Back in January, I wrote an in-depth article on the history of animosity toward the Tea Party from the beginning. The Tea Party was already hated by the radical left, but the political pressure on the IRS to target 501 (c)(4) groups in the wake of the Citizens United supreme court ruling was intense.
The campaign to pressure the IRS into targeting Conservative groups was so blatantly obvious, that in October 2010, Eric Lichtblau of the New York Times wrote,
“With growing scrutiny of the role of tax-exempt groups in political campaigns, Congressional Republicans are pushing back against Democrats by warning about the possible misuse of the Internal Revenue Service to audit conservative groups.”
In 2010, Lois Lerner herself said, “So everybody is screaming at us right now ‘Fix it now before the election. Can’t you see how much these people are spending?'” She said, “Everyone is up in arms because they don’t like it” Lerner said, adding “Federal Election Commission can’t do anything about it; they want the IRS to fix the problem.”
But who is “everyone,” and why were they so upset about the Citizen’s United Supreme Court Ruling?
Although politicians and progressive activists will tell Americans that they want to reverse the “Citizens United” ruling to “get big money out of politics,” it is really about doing something – anything – to destroy the Tea Party or weaken the movement.
Consider the following from a New York Times OpEd on the Citizens United ruling:
“Unleashed by Citizens United, a handful of renegade billionaires made life miserable for Mitt Romney, the establishment candidate…. [and] turned the primary process into an open contest, giving full voice to the more extreme wings dominated by the Tea Party and the evangelical right.” [Emphasis added]
Because “full voice” is bad, right?
Or this, at the Huffington Post,
“The 2010 Citizens United decision and a subsequent lower court ruling opened the door to unlimited independent electoral spending by individuals, corporations and unions. Very conservative groups seized on the opportunity to pump more money into Republican primary elections and ultimately managed to elect some of the stars of the current crisis, including Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.).” [Emphasis added]
Anyone who is paying attention can see that concern was not expressed about 501(c)(4) groups like MoveOn.org, the Sierra Club, or other non-profit progressive groups. No, the fear was that conservative groups would have access to the same clout reserved for the unions and other radical left groups. The irony in all of this is that the Tea Party is not like the groups on the left, i.e., motivated by money and power.
The Tea Party is motivated by principle. Money has nothing to do with it.
The AP sickeningly says that there is no evidence to support that the IRS was influenced by outside groups to target the Tea Party and other conservative groups. But it does not take congressional investigators to see what was happening – and is still happening – to conservative groups.
As compiled at Tavern Keepers (links found at Tavern Keepers):
Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post wrote,
“The targeting of [conservative] groups began in early 2010, after the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC was announced on Jan. 21.”
In September 2010, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus “sent a letter to [former] IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman requesting an investigation into the use of tax-exempt groups for political advocacy.”
He wrote in part,
“Political campaigns and powerful individuals should not be able to use tax-exempt organizations as political pawns to serve their own special interests…”
Some, like Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin, called out conservative groups by name.
In October 2010, Durbin wrote in part,
“I ask that the IRS quickly examine the tax status of Crossroads GPS and other (c)(4) organizations that are directing millions of dollars into political advertising, and respond with your findings as soon as possible.”
In October 2010, the George Soros-funded Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center, on several occasions, urged the IRS
“to investigate whether Crossroads GPS, a 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organization, ‘is operating in violation of its tax status because it has a primary purpose of participating in political campaigns in support of, or in opposition to, candidates for public office.’”
But the requests to target 501(c)(4) groups kept coming.
A New York Times editorial in December 2011 called for the IRS to “crack down on the secret political money” by non-profit “partisan operatives ludicrously claiming to be ‘social welfare’ activists under the tax law…”
In March 2012, Senator Chuck Schumer, along with Senators Michael Bennet, Sheldon Whitehouse, Jeff Merkley, Tom Udall, Jeanne Shaheen and Al Franken were still pressuring the IRS, just two months before Lois Lerner apologized for the improper targeting of conservative groups.
In March 2012, former IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman’s wife Susan L. Anderson, the ‘Senior Program Advisor’ for Public Campaign, which “works closely” with Common Cause, was one of the groups that urged former IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman to ‘investigate activities of conservative donors,’ was revealed by Patrick Howley of the Daily Caller.
In September 2012, Senator Carl Levin said in part,
“The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) – the organization that grants these groups their tax-exempt status in the first place – should be protecting the voting public from these groups that pretend to be acting in the social welfare but are instead engaging in partisan politics.”
In October 2012, SEIU urged Former IRS head Doug Shulman to deny tax-exempt status to the group, “True the Vote.”
True the Vote’s founder, Catherine Engelbrecht, was targeted and harassed ‘within months’ of ‘filing for tax-exempt status,’ as reported by Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News.
These examples are by no means all-inclusive.
Clearly, those pressuring the IRS were radical progressives who wanted to diminish the voice of the Tea Party.
As far as the computer crash…
As reported at Liberty Unyielding, the IRS claimed that Lois Lerner’s computer crashed, and it was too expensive to back up emails so her emails were lost.
As Howard Portnoy reported, a DOJ attorney called the computer crash claim “laughable” and noted that “Government email servers are backed up every night. So if she actually had a hard drive fail, her emails would be recoverable from the backup.” The source further asked to not be identified.
“I’m serious about your keeping any identifying information out of the media. Things are very, very bad.”
The Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp posted a statement that called for “an immediate investigation and forensic audit by Department of Justice as well as the Inspector General.” With all due respect, this bland response is insulting.
Attorney General Eric Holder is sure to get to the bottom of the matter, right? Perhaps the Obama donor and “hate crime expert” leading the investigation has come up with some evidence?
Senator Ted Cruz has called for Eric Holder’s impeachment.
This author proposes:
The Ways and Means Committee needs to demand evidence of this “computer crash,” as well as any and all documentation of the crash, who was impacted at the IRS, what steps they took at the time to resolve the problem that caused the crash. Surely there were all kinds of tax-payer funded employees investigating this problem? Additionally, any and all documentation related to the so-called decision not to back up emails due to cost – and who was impacted by this decision – also needs to be produced.
Since congressional investigators seem to be completely ineffective, perhaps Judicial Watch should file a FOIA request.
In a story that has been overshadowed by the “computer crash” story, the FBI (the same FBI that has opted not to file charges against the IRS) “has returned a large database of taxpayer information it received from the Internal Revenue Service, amid an investigation into possible political targeting of conservative groups..” The IRS shared the information with the FBI illegally. The IRS sent the database to the FBI “shortly before the 2010 election.”
But the FBI never looked at it, FBI Director James Comey assured congressional investigators.
“Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, James Comey said FBI investigators didn’t examine the database, which included private taxpayer information that isn’t supposed to be shared without a judge’s order. ‘The only thing that was done, (was) analysts looked at the table of contents,’ Mr. Comey said.”
It seems that congressional investigators could easily find the evidence they need. It also seems that the majority of them have no intention of doing anything.