IRS Admits Targeting Tea Party and Patriot Groups in 2012

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


obama

We’ve moved from “It never happened” over to “It happened, but it was only a few low-level employees.”

The Internal Revenue Service is apologizing for inappropriately flagging conservative political groups for additional reviews during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status.

Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS unit that oversees tax-exempt groups, said organizations that included the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their applications for tax-exempt status were singled out for additional reviews.

Lerner said the practice, initiated by low-level workers in Cincinnati, was wrong and she apologized while speaking at a conference in Washington.

That’s a fairly generic statement, but what does additional reviews really mean?

Specifically, the letter cites the feds’ information demands that went “far beyond the appropriate level of inquiry regarding the religious, charitable and/or educational activities of a tax exempt entity. The inquiries are not relevant to these permitted activities. Inquiries extend to organizational policy positions and priorities, personal and political affiliations, and associations of staff, board members and even family members of staff and board members.”

And they included questions like these…

Provide a list of all issues that are important to your organization. Indicate your position regarding each issue.

That’s not a review of spending, it’s political targeting and intimidation. JFK did it with the IRS and it was more egregious than Watergate, though as usual, the Dems were not held accountable.

Called the “Ideological Organizations Project,” the covert Kennedy scheme lasted through the Johnson years into the mid-1960s.

Reached by telephone for an interview, Caplin, who cofounded the Washington law firm Caplin & Drysdale upon leaving the IRS, admitted there was some direction from the administration to look at right-wing groups. But he said he insisted the IRS draw up a list of liberal groups to make sure there was balance.

But Andrew said his research showed the list of liberal groups largely was a cover for strikes against Kennedy’s political opponents on the right. He points to an internal IRS report that found “75 percent of the audits completed were of right-wing groups.” Furthermore, Andrew argues that the groups were targeted because of their prominence rather than any alleged tax problems. Caplin had written in a memo that “we are not certain any of these organizations or their benefactors are failing to comply with the tax laws.” Andrew noted that “both the Birch Society and Robert Welch Inc., moreover, had been examined in 1960 [before Kennedy came to office], but the IRS had been unable to uncover significant problems. They were included for 1961 [quoting the IRS] ‘because of widespread interest in the activities of these organizations.’”

The question is what the Obama version of JFK’s “Ideological Organizations Project” is called.

  • ElizabethMC

    If this had happened to liberal groups, it would have been front page news and the topic of TV news. Since it happened to conservatives, it won't be of interest to the main stream. After all, they did appologize…

    • Bobby

      Conservatives are worthless. They don’t need to be in the news. They have Fox. If it wasn’t for liberals we’d be drinking tea and eating beans on toast.

      • truebearing

        If it wasn't for conservatives, we'd be imprisoned or murdered by our totalitarianist governments…like the 150,000,000 killed by leftist regimes in the 20th Century.

        Wake up, little Bobby.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        "If it wasn't for liberals we'd be drinking tea and eating beans on toast."

        That's the perspective of most of the prison population in the West. What's the problem?

  • Chezwick

    In the hey-day of Nixon's dirty-tricks, he couldn't prevail upon the IRS to audit the DNC Chairman, Larry O'Brian. Tricky Dick and his inner circle sat around brain-storming how to move the IRS bureaucracy…someone even suggested sending the agency an anonymous letter claiming O'Brian was a tax cheat. That's how impotent they were. In the end, they gave up the effort.

    Contrast that state of affairs with today, when Obama can use the IRS to put pressure on anyone he damn well pleases…..and it's not even considered scandalous.

    We've come a long way.

    • UraFecalLiberal

      The best remedy is to repeal the amendment legalizing the Income Tax. If state can live and prosper without it, then the Feds can too.

      • Defcon 4

        The best solution is secession from a corrupt federal government.

    • pagegl

      The Clintons used audits also. Which is kind of ironic given Hillary's position during the Watergate investigations.

  • Chezwick

    "Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS unit that oversees tax-exempt groups, said organizations that included the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their applications for tax-exempt status were singled out for additional reviews."

    Folks, according to the AP, she went on to say that it "wasn't political." Now I ask, if the trigger for IRS targeting was having the words "Tea Pert" and "Patriot" in one's organization, how could it possibly have NOT been political.

    More Orwellian new-speak.

    • Defcon 4

      Our federal government seems to have embraced the islamic vision of honesty and truthfulness.

      • Looking4Sanity

        Thank Bill Clinton for that.

  • Edward Cline

    The IRS is staffed with congenital liars, from top to bottom.

  • pagegl

    I wonder if the "low-level" workers got promotions.

  • gee59

    So now that they have admitted to criminal activity – anybody taking bets on anybody at all ever being held accountable?

    Like the Benghazi-gate the Media will ignore this too

  • fanlad

    IRS becoming a political strong arm of the progressives. Keep in mind, the progressives can not live with out revenue from the cash cow, i.e. the american taxpayer.
    Remember the show "raw hide", and the song they sang; "Round' em up head 'em raw hide". Feeling like a cow or steer lately?

  • EarlyBird

    Heads should roll. Regardless of how "low level" the staffers might have been, using the full force of the US government to harrass and shut down Americans for political purposes is an outrage against the American way.

    This is the real scandal that needs investigating.

    Benghazi was incompetence, Clinton's and Obama's stonewalling is shameful, but it's not a scandal. The GOP is going to overplay Benghazi because they seem to be stupid, while not making nearly enough about this whole IRS thing.

    • Feisty Hayseed

      @EarlyBird: You show your True Colors in your ham-handed and feeble attempt to appear to be outraged about the events described in this article only to pivot to a typical Liberal / Progressive / Leftist / Statist / Authoritarian / Democrat / Democratic Socialist attempt to downplay, "sweep under the rug" the hubris, arrogance, ignorance, indifference and calculated LIES told repeatedly by the Obama Administration and the stonewalling and cover-up that continues to this day (with your feeble attempts to assist). How very lame and insipid.

    • Defcon 4

      I wonder why you never seem to mind the Dearbornistan police departments systematic violation of the civil rights of non muslims in Dearbornistan?

    • Looking4Sanity

      Anything to distract from Oballah's complicity in the murder of Americans, right, Hadji?

  • truebearing

    No one should be comforted by this apology from the IRS. The orders to harass conservatives was given at the highest levels of the Obama administration, contrary to their blatant lie that it somehow originated with low-level employees. Now the lowlife IRS employees, who were acting on orders from above, will be thrown under the Left's bus (aka steamroller),taking all the blame.

    This apology is like the dishonest, lame explanation the Left offered repeatedly when ACORN operatives got busted for voter fraud. It's always a low level worker, a renegade, that isn't representative of the entire group. BS.

    The Left operates like a lizard that will sacrifice its tail to a predator, only to grow a new one later. These useful idiots are the lizard's tail of the Obama manipulated IRS. They are expendable — as all individuals are to the Left. And the Left doesn't care what the consequences are because the taxpayers will end up paying, and the lizard's tail will be regrown instantly with the inexhaustible supply of morons being programmed to become sacrificial appendages of their totalitarian state.

    if you want to kill the lizard, chop off the head.

  • honeybadger

    Bottom line is who gave the order? Has to be a paper/e-mail trail to the top.

    • Defcon 4

      Considering who controls the "Justice" Dept. we'll never know.

  • Defcon 4

    Isn't it nice that they're not targeting the islamofascist groups whose mission statements include overthrowing the US Constitution and replacing it w/Sharia law? Or, alternatively, islamofascist groups that fund islamofascist terrorism? No taxation without representation.