Tag: Groups

Judge Orders IRS To Turn Over Secret List Of Conservative Groups It Targeted – Accuses Government Of Acting In Bad Faith

Court Rebukes IRS For Tea Party Targeting, Orders Release Of Secret List – Washington Times

.

.
A federal appeals court spanked the IRS Tuesday, saying it has taken laws designed to protect taxpayers from the government and turned them on their head, using them to try to protect the tax agency from the very tea party groups it targeted.

The judges ordered the IRS to quickly turn over the full list of groups it targeted so that a class-action lawsuit, filed by the NorCal Tea Party Patriots, can proceed. The judges also accused the Justice Department lawyers, who are representing the IRS in the case, of acting in bad faith – compounding the initial targeting – by fighting the disclosure.

“The lawyers in the Department of Justice have a long and storied tradition of defending the nation’s interests and enforcing its laws – all of them, not just selective ones – in a manner worthy of the Department’s name. The conduct of the IRS’s attorneys in the district court falls outside that tradition,” Judge Raymond Kethledge wrote in a unanimous opinion for a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. “We expect that the IRS will do better going forward.”

Justice Department officials declined to comment on the judicial drubbing, and the IRS didn’t respond to a request for comment on the unusually strong language Judge Kethledge used.

The case stems from the IRS‘ decision in 2010 to begin subjecting tea party and conservative groups to intrusive scrutiny when they applied for nonprofit status.

An inspector general found several hundred groups were asked inappropriate questions about their members’ activities, their fundraising and their political leanings.

The IRS has since apologized for its behavior, but insisted the targeting was a mistake born of overzealous employees confused by the law rather than a politically motivated attempt to stifle conservatives.

Tea party groups have been trying for years to get a full list of nonprofit groups that were targeted by the IRS, but the IRS had refused, saying that even the names of those who applied or were approved are considered secret taxpayer information. The IRS said section 6103 of the tax code prevented it from releasing that information.

Judge Kethledge, however, said that turned the law on its head.

“Section 6103 was enacted to protect taxpayers from the IRS, not the IRS from taxpayers,” he wrote.

Edward Greim, a lawyer at Graves Garrett who is representing NorCal Patriots, said they should be able to get a better idea of the IRS‘ decision-making once they see the list of groups that was targeted.

“What we’ll be able to see is how, starting in the spring of 2010, with the first one or two groups the IRS targeted, we’ll be able to see that number grow, and we’ll even be able to see at the tail end their possible covering up that conduct,” he said.

He said they suspect the IRS, aware that the inspector general was looking into the tax agency’s behavior, began adding in other groups to try to muddle the perception that only conservatives were being targeted.

Tuesday’s ruling is the second victory this year for NorCal Patriots.

In January U.S. District Judge Susan J. Dlott certified their case as a class-action lawsuit, signaling that she agreed with NorCal Patriots that the IRS did systematically target hundreds of groups for special scrutiny.

Certifying the class allows any of the more than 200 groups that were subjected to the criteria to join the lawsuit. But until the IRS complies with the appeals court’s ruling this week, the list of those groups is secret.

Now that the class has been certified, the case moves to the discovery stage, where the tea party groups’ lawyers will ask for all of the agency’s documents related to the targeting and will depose IRS employees about their actions.

The lawyers hope they’ll be able to learn details Congress was unable to shake free in its own investigations.

The Justice Department has concluded its own criminal investigation into the IRS and said the targeting was the result of bad management. But investigators said they found no criminal behavior, and specifically cleared former IRS head Lois G. Lerner, saying her fellow employees said she tried to correct the problems when she learned of them.

Republicans dismissed that investigation as a whitewash by the Obama administration.

.

.

*VIDEO* Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing On The IRS Targeting Of Conservative Groups (07/29/15)


Subcommittee On Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights And Federal Courts
Chairman: Ted Cruz
Witnesses: John Koskinen, Cleta Mitchell, Stephen Spaulding, Edward D. Greim, Lawrence Noble, Toby Marie Walker, Diana Aviv, Jenny Beth Martin, Gregory L. Colvin, Jay Sekulow

.

……………………….Click on image above to watch video.
………………— Note: hearing begins at about the 18:45 mark —

.
Click HERE to visit the official website of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee

.

.

USSC Shuts Down Obama’s Attempt To Force Christian Groups To Pay For Their Employees’ Abortion-Inducing Drugs

The Supreme Court Just Gave Obama Some Very Bad News – Tell Me Now

.

.
The Supreme Court just ruled against a major Obama agenda in a decision that is sure to leave the president devastated.

The highest court in the land just ruled against Obama’s attempt to force Christian organizations to pay for abortion-causing drugs for their employees. This is the fifth time the Supreme Court has ruled against President Obama.

Christians everywhere rejoiced at the decision and were thankful that their religious freedoms were being protected.

“How many times must the government lose in court before it gets the message?” asked Lori Windham, Senior Counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “For years now the government has been claiming that places like Catholic Charities and the Little Sisters of the Poor are not ‘religious employers’ worthy of an exemption.”

“That argument has always been absurd. Every time a religious plaintiff has gone to the Supreme Court for protection from the government’s discriminatory mandate the Court has protected them,” she added. “That’s what happened to the Little Sisters of the Poor, Wheaton College, Notre Dame, and Hobby Lobby.”

“The government really needs to give up on its illegal and unnecessary mandate,” Windham concluded. “The federal bureaucracy has lots of options for distributing contraceptives–they don’t need to coerce nuns and priests to do it for them.”

The Supreme Court has told Obama no time and time again, yet he just can’t seem to get the message. Hopefully, this time he finally will.

.

.

Tea Partiers Gear Up For Class-Action Lawsuit As Federal Judge Orders IRS To Turn Over List Of Targeted Groups

Federal Judge Orders IRS To Release List Of Tea Party Groups Targeted For Scrutiny – Washington Times

.
…………

.
A federal judge ordered the IRS this week to turn over the list of 298 groups it targeted for intrusive scrutiny as the agency defends against a potential class-action lawsuit by tea party groups who claim their constitutional rights were violated.

The IRS had argued it shouldn’t have to release the names because doing so would violate privacy laws, but Judge Susan J. Dlott, who sits in the Southern District of Ohio, rejected that claim and ordered the tax agency to turn over any lists or spreadsheets detailing the groups that were targeted and when they filed their applications.

Judge Dlott also ordered the IRS to say whether a partial list of targeted groups reported by USA Today is authentic as a number of tea party groups try to win certification for a class action lawsuit against the IRS.

“The return information sought is directly related to the issue of class certification in this federal court proceeding,” the judge said. “The names of the putative class member organizations and their control dates – the date which the putative class member organizations submitted their applications for tax exempt status to the IRS – are directly related to the issue of class certification.”

The judge has not yet certified the tea party groups as a class, and the information that they’ve obtained so far through depositions remains under seal. But backers say if they can be certified, then they will begin to try to pry loose some of the key information about how the IRS chose which groups it went after in its targeting.

“We’re at the precipice,” said Mark Meckler, a member of one of the tea party groups suing, and also president of Citizens for Self-Governance, which is funding the litigation.

The Ohio lawsuit is the only major legal jeopardy still remaining in the courts for the IRS — though the agency is still facing an FBI investigation, according to documents obtained by True the Vote, a tea party group, under the Freedom of Information Act.

Earlier this week the deporting U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C. informed House Speaker John A. Boehner he would not prosecute Lois G. Lerner, the former senior executive who’s at the center of the targeting scandal, for contempt of Congress. The prosecutor said Ms. Lerner didn’t waiver her Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination when she delivered an opening statement at a congressional hearing but then refused follow-up questions.

The scandal developed after the IRS acknowledged it singled out tea party groups for special scrutiny, and asked intrusive questions that agency executives later said were inappropriate. The IRS’s inspector general concluded that 298 groups were targeted, with all but a handful of them leaning toward the conservative side.

But the IRS has resisted releasing the official list, arguing that is private information.

“The Internal Revenue Service cannot disclose the identities of the potential class members because that is return information protected,” the administration said in its court filings.

The judge disagreed, saying exemptions in law apply to a case like this.

Several other cases had been filed in Washington, D.C., by tea party groups trying to force a judge to proactively halt any future targeting. The judge tossed those cases, saying that the IRS insists the targeting has ended, so there is no further action needed.

But some groups are still awaiting approval, including one that’s been pending for more than five years, which their lawyers argue means the IRS is still targeting despite its insistence that its program has ended.

Commissioner John Koskinen has said groups that are still waiting could take a deal, promising to limit their political activities to 40 percent of their business, but the groups argue that would mean giving up rights since they believe under current law politicking can be almost 50 percent of their activities.

.

.

Thanks Barack… Members Of Terrorist Groups Won’t Automatically Lose Their U.S. Passports

Members Of Terror Groups Won’t Automatically Lose U.S. Passports?! – Fox News Insider

.

.
As seen on The Kelly File:

Being a member of a terrorist group is apparently not grounds for revoking an American passport, Trace Gallagher reported tonight on “The Kelly File.”

On Sept. 2, when asked if joining a designated terrorist group is something for which you can lose your passport, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said, “It’s not as black and white as that.”

But yesterday, State Department deputy spokesperson Marie Harf said that being a member of a designated terrorist organization “does not automatically mean your passport will be revoked.”

Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney was on “The Kelly File” to discuss this issue.

“If you are a member of a terrorist group, you are aiding and abetting the enemy. Aiding and abetting the enemy is treason against our Constitution. So it would seem to me that automatically, even without having a trial, that your passport should be revoked. Automatically,” he said.

McInerney said we need legislation to clearly delineate “that you don’t go to Syria to study the Quran and be a member of a terrorist group.”

“We have a problem and we need to get it fixed,” he said.

.

.

*VIDEO* House Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee Hearing On IRS Targeting Of Conservative Groups



……………………….Click on image above to watch video.

.

.

Documents Show Lois Lerner Contacted Holder’s DOJ About Potential Prosecution Of Tax-Exempt Groups

JW Obtains IRS Documents Showing Lerner In Contact With DOJ About Potential Prosecution Of Tax-Exempt Groups – Judicial Watch

Judicial Watch today released a new batch of internal IRS documents revealing that former IRS official Lois Lerner communicated with the Department of Justice (DOJ) about whether it was possible to criminally prosecute certain tax-exempt entities. The documents were obtained as a result of an October 2013 Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) after the agency refused to respond to four FOIA requests dating back to May 2013.

.

.
The newly released IRS documents contain an email exchange between Lerner and Nikole C. Flax, then-Chief of Staff to then-Acting-IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller discussing plans to work with the DOJ to prosecute nonprofit groups that “lied” (Lerner’s quotation marks) about political activities. The exchange includes the following:

May 8, 2013: Lerner to Flax

I got a call today from Richard Pilger Director Elections Crimes Branch at DOJ… He wanted to know who at IRS the DOJ folks [sic] could talk to about Sen. Whitehouse idea at the hearing that DOJ could piece together false statement cases about applicants who “lied” on their 1024s – saying they weren’t planning on doing political activity, and then turning around and making large visible political expenditures. DOJ is feeling like it needs to respond, but want to talk to the right folks at IRS to see whether there are impediments from our side and what, if any damage this might do to IRS programs.

I told him that sounded like we might need several folks from IRS…

May 9, 2013: Flax to Lerner

I think we should do it – also need to include CI [Criminal Investigation Division], which we can help coordinate. Also, we need to reach out to FEC. Does it make sense to consider including them in this or keep it separate?

Lerner then “handed off” scheduling the issue to Senior Technical Adviser, Attorney Nancy Marks, who was then supposed to set up the meeting with the DOJ. Lerner also decided that it would be DOJ’s decision as to whether representatives from the Federal Election Commission would attend.

Democratic Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse had held a hearing on April 9 during which, “in questioning the witnesses from DOJ and IRS, Whitehouse asked why they have not prosecuted 501(c)(4) groups that have seemingly made false statements about their political activities.” Lerner described the impetus for this hearing in a March 27, 2013, email to top IRS staff:

As I mentioned yesterday – there are several groups of folks from the FEC world that are pushing tax fraud prosecution for c4s who report they are not conducting political activity when they are (or these folks think they are). One is my ex-boss Larry Noble (former General Counsel at the FEC), who is now president of Americans for Campaign Reform. This is their latest push to shut these down. One IRS prosecution would make an impact and they wouldn’t feel so comfortable doing the stuff.

So, don’t be fooled about how this is being articulated – it is ALL about 501(c)(4) orgs and political activity.

But in an email sent a few minutes earlier, Lerner acknowledged prosecutions would evidently be at odds with the law:

Whether there was a false statement or fraud regarding an [sic] description of an alleged political expenditure that doesn’t say vote for or vote against is not realistic under current law. Everyone is looking for a magic bullet or scapegoat – there isn’t one. The law in this area is just hard.

The documents also include email exchanges showing that before Lerner’s May 10, 2013, speech to the American Bar Association blaming “low-level” employees in Cincinnati for targeting tax-exempt organizations, the IRS Exempt Organizations division was scrambling to defuse the emerging targeting scandal:

May 1, 2013: After receiving an email from an assistant showing that 501(c)(4) applications had increased from 1591 in 2010 to 3398 in 2012 , Lerner wrote back, “Looks to me like 2010-2012 doubled too. Oh well – thanks.”

May 2, 2013: Discussing an upcoming conference call with approximately 100 congressional staffers on May 22, Lerner cautions aides, “Need to be careful not to mention sequester/furlough unless asked although can allude to budget and resources restraints.”

May 2, 2013: In response to an email reminding her about the upcoming conference call with congressional staffers, Lerner responded, “Arrgh – I just saw it. Sharon [White] could skate, but Cindy [Thomas] is the person who could answer that stuff. We need to give them some type of language in the event that type of question comes up” [apparently in reference to earlier email referencing “sensitive issues”].

The new documents obtained by Judicial Watch also include emails exchanged after Lerner’s May 10 ABA speech:

May 10, 2013: In an email to an aide responding to a request for information from a Washington Post reporter, Lerner admits that she “can’t confirm that there was anyone on the other side of the political spectrum” who had been targeted by the IRS. She then adds that “The one with the names used were only know [sic] because they have been very loud in the press.”

May 10, 2013: An email from former Cincinnati program manager Cindy Thomas excoriates Lerner for her comments blaming “low-level” employees in its Cincinnati office for targeting tax-exempt organizations that had “Tea Party” or “Patriots” in their names during the 2012 election. Highlighting the words “low-level workers” in bold-face type each of the seven times she used it in short, pungent email, Thomas asked, “How am I supposed to keep the low-level workers motivated when the public believes they are nothing more than low-level workers and now will have no respect for how they are working cases?” Lerner’s response nearly an hour later was a terse, “I will be back shortly and give you a call.”

May 15, 2013: In an email from an aide to Lerner, the aide specifically mentions “Tea Party Organizations”, the “Tea Party movement,” and “Tea Party Patriots” as organizations targeted by the IRS.

The Judicial Watch FOIA requests came on the heels of an explosive May 14, 2013, Treasury Inspector General report revealing that the IRS had singled out groups with conservative-sounding terms such as “patriot” and “Tea Party” in their titles when applying for tax-exempt status. The IG probe determined that “Early in Calendar Year 2010, the IRS began using inappropriate criteria to identify organizations applying for tax-exempt status to (e.g., lists of past and future donors).” According to the report, the illegal IRS reviews continued for more than 18 months and “delayed processing of targeted groups’ applications” preparing for the 2012 presidential election.

Lerner, who headed the IRS division that handles applications for tax-exempt status, refused to testify at a May 2013 hearing before Rep. Darrell Issa’s (R-CA) House Oversight Committee, demanding immunity concerning her role in the targeting scandal. Lerner retired from the IRS with full benefits on September 23 after an internal investigation found she was guilty of “neglect of duties” and was going to call for her ouster, according to news reports. On April 9, 2014, the Ways and Means Committee referred Lois Lerner to the DOJ for criminal prosecution. On April 10, 2014, the House Oversight Committee voted to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress.

“These new emails show that the day before she broke the news of the IRS scandal, Lois Lerner was talking to a top Obama Justice Department official about whether the DOJ could prosecute the very same organizations that the IRS had already improperly targeted,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The IRS emails show Eric Holder’s Department of Justice is now implicated and conflicted in the IRS scandal. No wonder we had to sue in federal court to get these documents.”

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

.