Remember Lois Lerner?
Marion Algier - AskMarion:
The Daily Caller: The Obama administration’s Treasury Department and former IRS official Lois Lerner conspired to draft new 501(c)(4) regulations to restrict the activity of conservative groups in a way that would not be disclosed publicly, according to the House Committee on Ways and Means.
The Treasury Department and Lerner started devising the new rules “off-plan,” meaning that their plans would not be published on the public schedule. They planned the new rules in 2012, while the IRS targeting of conservative groups was in full swing, and not after the scandal broke in order to clarify regulations as the administration has suggested.
The rules place would place much more stringent controls on what would be considered political activity by the IRS, effectively limiting the standard practices of a wide array of non-profit groups.
“Don’t know who in your organizations is keeping tabs on c4s, but since we mentioned potentially addressing them (off -plan) in 2013, I’ve got my radar up and this seemed interesting…,” Treasury official Ruth Madrigal wrote in a June 14, 2012 email to Lerner and others obtained by Ways and Means and provided to The Daily Caller.
Ways and Means chairman Rep. Dave Camp blasted the off-the-record plan during a hearing Wednesday with IRS commissioner John Koskinen, and called for the administration’s newly proposed 501(c)(4) rules to be halted until criminal investigations into the IRS targeting scandal are complete.
“If Treasury and the IRS fabricated the rationale for a rule change it would tend to raise questions about the integrity of the rule-making process,” Camp said.
“I want to be perfectly clear – this committee will fight any and all efforts to restrict the rights of groups to organize, speak out and educate the public, just as unions are allowed to do so. We will get to the bottom of this, and I expect the IRS to produce – quickly – the outstanding documents the committee has requested,” Camp said.
“I believe the IRS has a long way to go in restoring its credibility. But, you can take a first step by complying with this committee’s request and stopping all action against 501(c)(4) groups until the appropriate investigations are completed.”
The new rules define more previously acceptable activities by nonprofit groups as prohibited “candidate-related political activity.” Communications and activities including voter registration drives and publishing voter guides, among others, are now classified as political activity. Grants and donations that 501(c)(4)’s give to other nonprofits are now subject to new record-keeping and increased scrutiny to prevent the money’s use for broadly-defined political activity.
The rules were “drafted in a manner, in my view, to shut down tea party groups” Rep. Camp said earlier this week.
New IRS commissioner Koskinen said that the rules should “put to rest all of the issues surrounding applications for tax-exempt status.”
But Madrigal’s email to Lerner proves that the regulations were being developed long before the IRS needed to publicly put anything “to rest.”
At least 292 conservative groups were subjected to unfair targeting between 2010 and 2012, against six liberal groups that were allegedly given similar treatment.
“They are both over-broad and under-inclusive,” said Foley & Lardner LLP partner Cleta Mitchell on the new rules.
“They’ve taken everything that 501(c)(4) organizations do in the normal course of business and proposed to convert that all to candidate-related activity, even if a candidate is never mentioned.”
Mitchell said that the rules are being “rushed through” for political purposes.
“The objective is to get the rules in place before the 2014 election,” Mitchell said.
Hmmmm… Remember the O’Reilly-Obama pre-Super Bowl interview just last weekend where the President said there was not a smidgen of corruption involved in the IRS situation where conservative groups were targeted?
Transcript of IRS Portion of the Interview:
O’REILLY: I’ve got to get to the IRS…
O’REILLY: — because I don’t know what happened there and I’m hoping maybe you can tell us. Douglas Shulman, former IRS chief, he was cleared into the White House 157 times, more than any of your cabinet members, more than any other IRS guy in the history, by far.
OK, why was Douglas Shulman here 157 times?
OBAMA: Mr. Shulman, as the head of the IRS, is constantly coming in, because at the time, we were trying to set up the, uh, HealthCare.gov and the IRS…
O’REILLY: What did he have to do with that?
OBAMA: — and the IRS is involved in making sure that that works as part of the overall health care team.
O’REILLY: So it was all health care?
OBAMA: Number two, we’ve also got the IRS involved when it comes to some of the financial reforms to make sure that we don’t have taxpayer funded bailouts in the future. So you had all these different agendas in which the head of the IRS is naturally involved.
O’REILLY: Did you speak to him a lot…
OBAMA: — (INAUDIBLE).
O’REILLY: — yourself?
OBAMA: I do not recall meeting with him in any of these meetings that are pretty routine meetings that we had.
O’REILLY: OK, so you don’t — you don’t recall seeing Shulman, because what some people are saying is that the IRS was used…
O’REILLY: — at a — at a local level in Cincinnati, and maybe other places to go after…
OBAMA: Absolutely wrong.
O’REILLY: — to go after.
OBAMA: Absolutely wrong.
O’REILLY: But how do you know that, because we — we still don’t know what happened there?
OBAMA: Bill, we do — that’s not what happened. They — folks have, again, had multiple hearings on this. I mean these kinds of things keep on surfacing, in part because you and your TV station will promote them.
O’REILLY: But don’t…
OBAMA: But when (INAUDIBLE)…
O’REILLY: — think there are unanswered questions?
OBAMA: Bill, when you actually look at this stuff, there have been multiple hearings on it. What happened here was it that you’ve got a…
O’REILLY: But there’s no definition on it.
OBAMA: — you’ve got a 501(c)(4) law that people think is focusing. No — that the folks did not know how to implement…
OBAMA: — because it basically says…
O’REILLY: — so you’re saying there was no…
OBAMA: — if you are involved…
O’REILLY: — no corruption there at all, none?
OBAMA: That’s not what I’m saying.
OBAMA: That’s actually…
O’REILLY: No, no, but I want to know what…
OBAMA: — (INAUDIBLE)…
O’REILLY: — you’re saying. You’re the leader of the country.
O’REILLY: You’re saying no corruption?
OBAMA: There were some — there were some bone-headed decisions…
O’REILLY: Bone-headed decisions…
OBAMA: — out of — out of a local office…
O’REILLY: But no mass corruption?
OBAMA: Not even mass corruption, not even a smidgeon of corruption, I would say.
Then on Wednesday, 02.05.14, the new chief of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, John Koskinen (74), a lawyer with little tax experience but with a reputation as a troubleshooter, apologized and promised that one of his priorities is to restore public trust in the IRS on the one hand but played down the IRS scandal as a minor issue with a handful of conservative political groups as if the matter was minor and settled (which it isn’t) on the other hand… just as new of the Lerner off-plan has emerged.
It has also come to light that virtually the first thing Koskinen did after taking office as IRS Commissioner was to give out $62 million in bonuses to boost moral among IRS workers… Really? How about the moral of average Americans and those who have been targeted by the IRS with audits and delays of approval for their 501(c)(4)? Sounds a lot like same old same old to me?!?
Is it me… or does something just not ring true here?