Not surprisingly, the new documents JW obtained…reveal that 75% of the groups from which the lists were solicited were apparently conservative, with only 5% being liberal. So, Lerner and her IRS collaborators knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the donor lists they had wrongly solicited would be filled with the names of those who had opposed the Obama policies. …
[T]hese donor lists were “used,” as 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 email exchange, with the subject line “donor names,” included the following:
June 27, 2012: 8:59 AM — David L. Fish, IRS acting director of Exempt Organizations Rulings and Agreements,to Holly Paz:
Joseph Urban [IRS Technical Advisor, Tax Exempt and Government Entities] had actually started a secret research project on whether we could, consistent with 6104, argue that [REDACTED] Joe was quite agitated yesterday when I told him what we were doing. (He was involved when the initial question was raised, but we didn’t continue reading him in). At one point he started saying that this was a decision for Steve Miller–I told him we were already doing it, and that I didn’t know whether Lois had already talked to Nikole [former IRS Chief of Staff to IRS Commissioner Steve Miller] about this. Would not be surprised if he already started working on Lois.
June 27, 2012 9:02 AM — Holly Paz to David L. Fish:
Thanks for the heads up. The decision was made by Steve, based on advice from P and A. [Procedure and Administration]
In addition to using them for some “secret research project,” did the Obama IRS otherwise misuse the donor list names the agency knew it had no business having? Well, we have some clues. The Ways and Means Committee 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.