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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

IRS Flagged "Patriot" Groups Beyond Cincinnati, Report

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Joe Wright

More information is coming to light in the wake of the Friday revelations that the Cincinnati division of the IRS targeted Tea Party and patriot groups for scrutiny. As reported by ABA Journal:

Speaking at a meeting of the ABA Section of Taxation, Lois Lerner, who heads the Internal Revenue Service unit that oversees tax-exempt groups, said low-level workers in Cincinnati flagged the groups with "tea party" and "patriot" in their names. The groups were applying for 501(c)(4) status as “social welfare” groups, and they do not meet the standard if they are “primarily engaged” in political activity. 
However, the scope of the investigation has widened to include Washington D.C. and California after the Washington Post received documents to suggest that the same focus on conservative-based groups was being undertaken in those locations as well.

The fact that the IRS was conducting what appears to be a targeted campaign against certain political groups in the heart of Washington D.C. has even wider ramifications than previously believed. Rather than a limited, one-time error in judgement, this campaign is beginning to feel systemic.

According to the Washington Post:
Internal Revenue Service officials in Washington and at least two other offices were involved with investigating conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, making clear that the effort reached well beyond the branch in Cincinnati that was initially blamed, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post. 
IRS officials at the agency’s Washington headquarters sent queries to conservative groups asking about their donors and other aspects of their operations, while officials in the El Monte and Laguna Niguel offices in California sent similar questionnaires to tea-party-affiliated groups, the documents show.
...“For the IRS to say it was some low-level group in Cincinnati is simply false,” said Cleta Mitchell, a partner in the law firm Foley & Lardner who sought to communicate with IRS headquarters about the delay in granting tax-exempt status to True the Vote. 
Moreover, details of the IRS’s efforts to target conservative groups reached the highest levels of the agency in May 2012, far earlier than has been disclosed, according to Republican congressional aides briefed by the IRS and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration ­(TIGTA) on the details of their reviews. (Source)
The Internal Revenue Service with a budget of $13.3 billion has proven to be one of the most dangerous U.S. government agencies. The IRS was created 100 years ago, making the private Federal Reserve Bank and the government IRS fraternal twins in creating a system of indentured servitude. In fact, the IRS is increasingly being viewed as the collection division of the Fed, raking in a staggering $2.3 trillion annually. Despite that massive amount, the IRS has a distinguished record of ignoring the shenanigans of major corporations and federal employees, while focusing harshly on the average private citizen and small businesses in particular.

Now, however, it is becoming more obvious that another role of the IRS is its use as a political weapon. Also highlighted by ABA Journal is the opinion of the New York Times, citing "uneven scrutiny" which states:
Its story says the IRS singled out mostly local tea party organizations for extra scrutiny even as it failed to respond to complaints that large groups like those founded by Karl Rove and former Obama administration aides violated tax-exempt guidelines by spending tens of millions of dollars on political advertising. The large groups claim they are engaged in issue advocacy rather than political advocacy, which means investigations of their status would be conducted by the Internal Revenue Service rather than the Federal Election Commission.
In light of another disturbing revelation that the Obama administration secretly spied on the establishment outlet, Associated Press, it would appear that there is large power struggle taking place, which indicates either a furtherance of business as usual, or a more dangerous sea change in just how far government is willing to go to demonize its enemies and usurp the constitutional rights of anyone who stands in its way.

Please view the video below featuring Judge Andrew Napolitano as he highlights the fact that this type of IRS targeting violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution. He points out that this is not necessarily new (among either party), but the fact that the IRS admits it is a worrisome development and action should be taken to reign in the use of the IRS as a political weapon.

The question also remains: Has the full extent of the unconstitutional actions of the IRS been uncovered? The answer is probably in the question. Lastly, we should keep in mind that this is the same organization which is being given increased power and authority to examine private healthcare records beginning in January. Clearly, the IRS is one of the most lethal organizations to our civil rights and prosperity.

What is your view? What steps should we be taking to abolish this behemoth? Please leave your comments below.

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