(Republican Insider) – You know something we haven’t heard anything about for a really long time? The IRS targeting scandal back during Obama’s reelection campaign in 2012. Do you remember that? When folks at the Internal Revenue Service were purposefully targeting conservative groups as a means of basically intimidating them into no longer opposing the reelection of former President Barack Obama?
Well, according to a new report from Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog organization, we have some updates about what’s happening with the case.
“Judicial Watch announced today that it received previously sealed court documents, including depositions of IRS officials Lois Lerner, the former director of the Exempt Organizations Unit of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and Holly Paz, her top aide and former IRS director of Office of Rulings and Agreements, which show that they knew most Tea Party organizations were legally entitled to tax-exempt status in the run up to the Obama reelection in 2012,” Judicial Watch stated in his update.
“The release comes in the December 2017 amicus curiae brief (friend of the court) filed by Judicial Watch in NorCal Tea Party Patriots, et al. v. The Internal Revenue Service, et al. (No. 1:13-cv-00341). Judicial Watch argued that the documents sought may shed light on government misconduct, and the shielding of internal government deliberations does not serve the public’s interest,” the report went on to add.
The depositions from both Lerner and Paz were sealed by Judge Barrett back in April 2017, after the legal teams for Lerner and Paz made the claim the two officials were receiving threats. The court has now ordered that these depositions finally see the light of day four years after the plaintiffs made the request for the depositions be unsealed and even that only after plaintiffs filed writ of mandamus in order to make the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit take action.
The conservative watchdog group submitted what is called a “friend of the court” brief, or amicus curiae, that supported the plaintiffs’ request for the depositions to be unsealed.
“The sworn depositions were given in 2017 by Lerner and Paz. In the newly unsealed deposition transcripts, the two IRS officials repeatedly have memory lapses and regularly plead ignorance of the fundamental matters in question,” the report continued.
“The unsealed Lerner and Paz deposition transcripts reveal through sworn testimony the bureaucratic tangle created by the Obama IRS to single out, delay and deny the processing of conservative, especially Tea Party non-profit groups’ applications for tax-exempt status and to disclose their donors’ names. At the same time, Paz admits under questioning that she knew from the beginning there was not sufficient legal basis to deny most of the targeted groups tax exempt status,” the report continued.
“[T]he organizations had filed applications representing …what they were organized for and what they have done and also their intended activities, and you thought that … for the majority of those applications that would warrant the recognition of exemption?” the attorney asked.
Paz replied by saying, “My recollection is that at the time, my thinking was that the majority of the (c)(4) applications, while they may have indicated some amount of political activity, that we would not have enough basis to make a determination that that would be their primary activity and deny them exempt status.”
The next question asked, “And, therefore, they would receive an approval or recognition of exemption?”
“Correct,” he responded.
“The records also include an unsealed court filing by NorCal Tea Party Patriots that provides a detailed description of the ordinary process by which the IRS determines whether to grant an organization tax exempt status and how the process under Lerner deviated from that norm after the IRS brought Tea Party groups under special scrutiny following the Citizens’ United Supreme Court decision. (The Citizens United decision held that the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting independent expenditures for political campaigns by corporations, including nonprofit corporations, labor unions, and other associations.)” Judicial Watch reported.
The NorCal Tea Party Patriots described the targeting from Lerner as the IRS official being concerning that applicants for exemption would rely on the decision in the Citizens United case as a means to challenge regulations concerning political activities.
“Lerner particularly worried that Tea Party groups would seek to challenge IRS regulations. In an email exchange concerning the February 1, 2011, SCR [Sensitive Case Report], Lerner told Paz and others: ‘Tea Party Matter very dangerous…This could be the vehicle to go to court on the issue of whether Citizen’s United [sic] overturning the ban on corporate spending applies to tax exempt rules. Counsel and Judy Kindell need to be in on this one please needs to be in this. Cincy should probably NOT have these cases—Holly please see what exactly they have please,'” the report continued.
Later on in that particular exchange, Lerner gave directions for those under her charge to look for a reason other than political activity to deny Tea Party applicants an exemption under 501 ©(3) rules in order to keep them from being able to challenge exemption rules that are based on Citizens United.
“Thanks—even if we go with a 4 on the Tea Party cases, they may want to argue they should be 3s, so it would be great if we can get there without saying the only reason they don’t get a 3 is political activity,” the directive said.
“These new transcripts expose new details and the cover-up of how the Obama IRS intentionally suppressed the Tea Party movement during the 2012 presidential campaign,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton went on to say. “These documents show how the Obama administration easily used the IRS to suppress an entire political movement threatening his reelection. The Obama IRS abuse is the epitome of election interference. Given this largely unchecked abuse by the IRS, the Biden administration’s massive new expansion of the IRS should concern all Americans.”
There were basically no consequences for the individuals involved in the targeting of Tea Party groups. Lerner was actually able to retire from her job with full benefits intact back in September 2013.
One of the disclosures that Judicial Watch revealed said, “In September 2014, a Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit forced the release of documents detailing that the IRS sought, obtained and maintained the names of donors to Tea Party and other conservative groups. IRS officials acknowledged in these documents that ‘such information was not needed.’ The documents also show that the donor names were being used for a ‘secret research project.'”
“In April 2015, Judicial Watch released court ordered IRS documents that included an email from Lerner asking that a program be set up to ‘put together some training points to help them [IRS staffers] understand the potential pitfalls’ of revealing too much information to Congress. The documents also contain a Lerner email from 2013 in which she says she is willing to take the blame on some aspects of the scandal. She also indicates that she “understands why the IRS criteria’ leading to the targeting of Tea Party and other opponents of the President Obama ‘might raise questions,'” the report continued.
And that is just the tip of the iceberg.
As you can see, the radical left has been working on weaponizing federal agencies against the people of this country for a long, long time. The only difference between what happened with the IRS back then and what it’s being prepared to do now is that back then the government tried to hide and deny their true intentions.
Now they are more or less doing things right in front of our eyes without a second thought. It’s hard to believe, but it’s true. And on top of that, we have the Federal Bureau of Investigation being used as a weapon to attack a former acting president as a means of trying to prevent him from running for office in the future, thus protecting the current president from potential political opposition.
We’re watching our government transform into the kind of institution our founders desperately attempted to protect us from.
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