IRS digging through 64 million pages relevant to tea party targeting

** FILE ** Tea party supporter William Temple of Brunswick, Ga., protests President Obama’s health care law outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on Thursday, June 28, 2012. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

By Douglas Ernst -The Washington Times

It may take Congress considerable time to comb through the paper trail of the IRS targeting of conservative groups — the records stretch at least 64 million pages long.

CNS News reports that Acting IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel has informed Congress that the IRS is currently reviewing well over 64 million documents connected with officials “who may have potentially
relevant information” about the targeting.”

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IRS Demanded Info On Pro-Life Group’s Prayers – video

IRS out of control

Fox News
May 18, 2013

The Internal Revenue Service allegedly told two pro-life to reveal the content of their prayers and prayer meetings, according to the Thomas More Society.

An IRS office in California ordered Christian Voices for Life of Fort Bend County, Texas to explain the content of prayers “as if they were engaging in highly offensive or criminal behavior,” the Thomas More Society charged.

Agents also ordered Coalition for Life of Iowa to provide detailed information about the group’s prayer meetings.

Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) demanded that outgoing IRS commissioner Steven Miller answer questions about the incidents during Friday’s House Ways and Means Committee hearing. “Their question, specifically asked from the IRS to the Coalition for Life of Iowa: ‘Please detail the content of the members of your organization’s prayers.’”

Shock wanted to know if that was an appropriate question for the IRS to ask.

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IRS tells pro-life ministry to promote abortion

Evidence suggests problem of politicization of tax collector far bigger than admitted

IRS

SOURCE

The Internal Revenue Service already has confessed to targeting and trying to injure tea party, Constitution and patriot organizations, by demanding answers to arbitrary questions and delaying their applications for a tax status so they could operate.

Now WND has learned that the IRS also put an organization in its bull’s-eye that wanted to do nothing more than share its pro-life message with churches.

 Cherish Life Ministries was created to be a non-profit under the IRS 501(c)3 provision so that churches would feel comfortable working together.

Peter Shinn founded the group, because he already was working with ProlifeUnity.com, but as it did not carry the same tax code designation as a religious institution, some churches were reluctant to hear the message from its education materials.

And even more reluctant to participate, Shinn told WND.

The mission of the ProlifeUnity group is to “save the unborn and defend the defenseless, no exceptions, no compromise.”

It organizes pickets, works through email campaigns and takes “direct action” on the dispute.

So Shinn launched Cherish Life Ministries, a separate organization, to offer help to a coalition of churches that supports mothers struggling with unexpected pregnancies, promotes abstinence and advocates for an end to abortion in the community, state and nation.

“Our goal is to assist churches, organize and support a life ministry in defense of life and help function as an outreach to people struggling with unwanted pregnancies in the local community,” the site states.

Education materials are offered.

But Shinn said the IRS contacted him regarding his application for nonprofit status, and was told he didn’t qualify.

“The representative was telling me I had to provide information on all aspects of abortion, I couldn’t just educate the church from the pro-life perspective,” he said. “Every time I pressed her on this issue and asked her to clarify her position, she would state that it wasn’t what she was saying, and then, she would repeat it almost the same way.”

The IRS agent did not respond to a WND request for comment on the ministry’s position.

But Shinn said he was accused of setting up a political organization.

“I asked her why she said we were political organization and she said it was because we had said in our application that we did less than 5 percent political activity. I explained to her that this was what was stated in the application and all we were doing was acknowledging that we were doing less than 5 percent political activity,” he said.

He said the woman then accused him of having links to political activity on his website, even though he said he did not.

“She told me … they were going to deny my application,” he told WND. “She did get nervous though in the end when I pressed her that I wanted specific information about why I had to educate from a pro-abortion perspective not just pro-life. I explained to her that the Pro-Life Action League even has pro-life in their title and they certainly don’t teach pro-abortion topics and they are still 501(c)(3). I also told her that Planned Parenthood does not teach about pro-life issues yet they are also still a 501(c)(3).”

He also told WND that the IRS had rewritten his proposed bylaws “to paint our organization as a political organization. I couldn’t believe they took it upon themselves to do that,” he told WND.

The result is that the IRS gave him 90 days “to prove that we are not involved in political issues at all.”

WND reported when the IRS story broke last week that Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., believes the IRS “confession” was made because Barack Obama wants to distract attention from the scandal of his administration’s behavior when Islamists attacked and killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya.

Bachmann, a former tax attorney and a leader of the congressional tea party caucus, told WND, “There’s no doubt this was not a coincidence that they dumped this story today, a Friday dump day This is when they put their negative stories out.”

But she said the looming storm cloud called Benghazi is the “soft underbelly” of the Obama administration and likely will keep Hillary Clinton from fulfilling her dream of occupying the Oval Office.

That would make it logical to release an IRS story that, while embarrassing, also could be cubbyholed as another “conservative” dispute with the White House.

She was referring to the ongoing hearings on the administration’s handling of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack by al-Qaida-linked terrorists on a U.S. foreign service post in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including the ambassador.

House Republicans allege the U.S. government knew of a terrorist threat but ignored it. After the attack, critics charge, the administration blamed the deaths on reaction to an obscure anti-Muslim video, despite evidence from the beginning that it was a premeditated terrorist attack.

Locked in a tight presidential race, a deliberate assault on American assets and the murder of Americans by al-Qaida on a date as significant as 9/11 would have damaged Obama’s campaign claim that his administration had al-Qaida under control.

Bachmann said the IRS announcement of misbehavior was intended to provoke conservatives and draw their anger and attention.

“I was in that Benghazi hearing,” she told WND. “I think the Obama administration is desperate to spin Benghazi, and they can’t. I think they saved this story up for a day like today so that conservatives would focus on this admission.”

It won’t work, she insisted.

“Conservatives can handle two shocking stories at the same time,” she said. “Both are equally unconstitutional and call into question the very president.”

The IRS confirmed on Friday that it had been targeting groups with “patriot,” “Constitution” or “tea party” in their names for punishment through additional questioning and delays.

The American Center for Law and Justice under Jay Sekulow’s leadership already had been fighting the battle.

“We knew from the very start that this intimidation tactic was coordinated and focused directly on specific organizations,” said Sekulow, chief counsel of the ACLJ.

“This admission by the IRS represents a significant victory for free speech and freedom of association. There was never any doubt that these organizations complied with the law and applied for tax exempt status for their activities as Americans have done for decades. And for the many tax-exempt groups we represent, this is an important day – and underscores the need to stand-up and defend your constitutional freedoms.”

The ACLJ has been representing nearly 30 tea party organizations that had been the target of intimidation tactics by the IRS under the Obama administration.

Among the details the IRS demanded:

  • “Have you attempted or will you attempt to influence the outcome of specific legislation? If so, provide the following … all communications, pamphlets, advertisements, and other materials.”
  • “Have you conducted or will you conduct candidate forums? If so, provide the following details… The issues that were discussed. Copies of all handouts provided.”
  • “The names of persons from your organization and the amount of time they will spend on the event. Indicate the name and amount of compensation that will be paid to each person.”
  • “All copies of your corporate minutes from inception.”
  • “Please identify your volunteers.”
  • “The names of donors, contributors, and grantors.”
  • “Do you encourage eligible voters to educate themselves, register to vote, and vote? Explain in detail how you do this.”
  • “You were formed 12/28/10. Provide actual financial information for 2010 & 2011, and a budget for 2012. Provide details regarding each item listed.”

Bachmann told WND it’s stunning that the Obama administration used “the federal agency feared most by Americans to intimidate conservative and tea party organizations during an election year.”

Since the IRS also is the chief enforcer of Obamacare requirements, she asked whether the IRS’s admission means it “will deny or delay access to health care” for conservatives.

At this point, she said, that “is a reasonable question to ask.”

Over the weekend, instead of dying, the IRS story turned white-hot.

Fox News reported the House Ways and Means Committee will be holding a hearing and the attacks began as early as 2010, only a little more than a year after Obama took office.

ABC’s Jonathan Karl reported officials high in the agency knew that was happening as early as 2011, and The Examiner said the IRS also singled out business owners who were critical of the Obama administration.

Politico noted some tea party organizations already have threatened to bring the misbehaving IRS officials into court.

“Given the sheer scope of malfeasance at the IRS, there may be a legal resource,” said Dan Backer, who represents conservative groups.

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IRS targeted groups that criticized the government, IG report says

IRS targeting those who speak out against the government

Juliet Eilperin
The Washington Post
May 13, 2013

At various points over the past two years, Internal Revenue Service officials targeted nonprofit groups that criticized the government and sought to educate Americans about the U.S. Constitution, according to documents in an audit conducted by the agency’s inspector general.

The documents, obtained by The Washington Post  from a congressional aide with knowledge of the findings, show that on June 29, 2011, IRS staffers held a briefing with senior agency official Lois G. Lerner in which they described giving special attention to instances where “statements in the case file criticize how the country is being run.” Lerner, who  oversees tax-exempt groups for the agency, raised objections and the agency revised its criteria a week later.

But six months later, the IRS applied a new political test to groups that applied for tax-exempt status as “social welfare” groups, the document says. On Jan. 15, 2012 the agency decided to target “political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding Government, educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, social economic reform movement.,” according to the appendix in the IG report, which was requested by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and has yet to be released.

The new revelations are likely to intensify criticism of the IRS, which has been under fire since agency officials acknowledged they had deliberately targeted groups with “tea party” or “patriot” in their name for heightened scrutiny.

Full story here.

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Firestorm over ‘political intimidation’ by IRS

Senator: Apology ‘not enough’ for threatening constitutional freedoms

SOURCE

Richard Nixon talked about doing it. And Bill Clinton took it a step further and actually attacked individuals through the processes and paperwork of the Internal Revenue Service.

Now America knows that the Obama administration did the same thing, after the IRS apologized today for inappropriately targeting and attacking conservative political groups during the 2012 election season.

The confirmation came from Lois Lerner, chief of the unit that oversees tax-exempt organizations across the country.

She blew out of the water those who charge that conservatives are “conspiracy” nuts on the issue of the IRS with her confirmation that groups that included the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their applications were put in a political bull’s-eye.

The American Center for Law and Justice under Jay Sekulow’s leadership had been fighting the battle already.

“We knew from the very start that this intimidation tactic was coordinated and focused directly on specific organizations,” said Sekulow, chief counsel of the ACLJ.

“This admission by the IRS represents a significant victory for free speech and freedom of association. There was never any doubt that these organizations complied with the law and applied for tax exempt status for their activities as Americans have done for decades. And for the many tax-exempt groups we represent, this is an important day – and underscores the need to stand-up and defend your constitutional freedoms.”

The ACLJ has been representing nearly 30 tea party organizations who had been the subject of intimidation tactics from the IRS under the Obama administration as they applied for various status levels under IRS regulations.

The federal government had demanded information that was outside the scope of legitimate inquiry and violated the First Amendment, the ACLJ explained.

The Obama IRS hierarchy, in fact, demanded that groups reveal the internal workings of their organizations – “including the identification of members, how they are selected, who they associate with, and even what they discuss.”

And the names and contact information for their relatives.

Sekulow said it took the threat of legal action from his organization “to get the IRS to make this admission.”

“And while many of the organizations we represent have finally been granted tax-exempt status, we demand the IRS immediately approve the pending applications for the remainder of our clients,” he said.

Sekulow, who served as a trial lawyer with the office of the chief counsel for the IRS earlier in his career, said the questions included those that simply were inappropriate and fall well outside the scope of legitimate IRS inquiry.

For example, IRS agents demanded answers to questions including:

  • “Have you attempted or will you attempt to influence the outcome of specific legislation? If so, provide the following … all communications, pamphlets, advertisements, and other materials.”
  • “Have you conducted or will you conduct candidate forums? If so, provide the following details… The issues that were discussed. Copies of all handouts provided.”
  • “The names of persons from your organization and the amount of time they will spend on the event. Indicate the name and amount of compensation that will be paid to each person…”
  • “All copies of your corporate minutes from inception.”
  • “Please identify your volunteers.”
  • “The names of donors, contributors, and grantors.”
  • “Do you encourage eligible voters to educate themselves, register to vote, and vote? Explain in detail how you do this.”
  • “You were formed 12/28/10. Provide actual financial information for 2010 & 2011, and a budget for 2012. Provide details regarding each item listed.”

The ACLJ also has called for congressional hearings on the problem, and more than 50,000 Americans have joined in that call.

Nixon talked about sending the IRS after his political enemies, but in fact that activity did not develop. It was Clinton who did it.

Among Clinton’s targets was WND founder and CEO Joseph Farah.

“As someone whose organization was a victim of this kind of illegal harassment and intimidation and political retribution during the Clinton administration – and who blew the whistle on it – my question is, ‘Who is going to be fired and prosecuted as a result of this admission?’” he said.

“Apologies are nice. But they don’t excuse people of crimes. When government officials abuse their power and break laws, they need to be punished as certainly and severely as ordinary citizens. In fact, to maintain trust in government, we need to ensure they are held to a higher standard. So what happens now? Who’s going to take the rap? Which law-enforcement agency is going to investigate? It would seem that an independent prosecutor is necessary unless the Congress is willing to take the lead.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the White House should do a review to assure “the American people that these thuggish practices are not under way at the IRS or elsewhere in the administration against anyone, regardless of their political views.”

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., told WND, the admission from the Obama administration is stunning, to have used “the federal agency feared most by Americans to intimidate conservative and tea party organizations during an election year.”

She questioned directly whether that means, since the IRS also is the chief enforcer of Obamacare requirements, whether “the IRS will deny or delay access to health care” for conservatives.

At this point, she said, that “is a reasonable question to ask.”

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said, “Although I am happy that it has finally admitted to placing politics over policy, the IRS owes conservative groups far more than a mere apology for their unfair treatment. It is crystal clear that additional safeguards are in order to prevent this obtrusive behavior in the future. This overt and excessive harassment of groups targeted for their political beliefs is despicable, and many questions remain. How were ‘low-level workers in Cincinnati’ able to initiate practices that completely undermine the IRS’s promise to treat all groups with an even hand? Even more, what were they hoping to do with the copious personal information they obtained from these groups?”

Portman last year along with Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, urge the IRS to stop politics from interfering in its activities.

“It is critical that the public have confidence that federal tax compliance efforts are pursued in a fair, even-handed, and transparent manner – without regard to politics of any kind,” the senators said at the time. “It is imperative that organizations applying for tax-exempt status are able to rely on a consistent and foreseeable review structure from the IRS. Any significant changes to the IRS review process should be implemented only after appropriate notice and opportunity for comment from the public and affected parties.”

Hatch said, “While I’m glad to see the IRS apologize for unfairly targeting conservative groups, this frankly isn’t enough. We need to have ironclad guarantees from the IRS that it will adopt significant protocols to ensure this kind of harassment of groups that have a constitutional right to express their own views never happens again. ”

He continued, “There can be no tolerance for the IRS being turned into a political weapon; it has a chilling and, frankly, Nixonian effect on those who wish to speak their mind. I will be discussing this further with the head of the IRS and expect a full briefing and report as to how this happened. The American people deserve to know who at the IRS learned about this unlawful activity, when they learned about it, and what they did, or did not, do when they did learned about it.”

WND reported on the situation a year ago with the ACLJ started representing tea party organizations.

The organization said at the time the IRS was “conditioning the grant of exemptions on the extensive violation of the tea party’s fundamental First Amendment freedoms.”

Stephanie Scruggs, who works with The912Project as well as United in Action, helped coordinate the information for the ACLJ.

She said the demands for information are incredible, citing one for copies of every single post to every single organization website page, Twitter feed and Facebook feed.

Another request demanded contact information for family members of each board member. And yet another wanted the name and contact for every person who ever had attended one of the group’s meetings.

The ACLJ said the intimidating letters implicated both free speech and free association issues.

IRS officials earlier defended their demands, telling Fox, “When determining whether an organization is eligible for tax-exempt status, including 501(c)4 social welfare organizations, all the facts and circumstances of that specific organization must be considered to determine whether it is eligible. … To be tax-exempt … they must be primarily engaged in the promotion of social welfare.”

The spokesman continued, “Career civil servants make all decisions on exemption applications in a fair, impartial manner and do so without regard to political party affiliation or ideology.”

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio., had cited the possibility of political retaliation against conservations last summer.

“The fact that Americans were targeted by the IRS because of their political beliefs is unconscionable,” he said.

The IRS said it singled out groups that referenced “tea party” or “patriot.”

Officials blamed “low-level workers in Cincinnati” for the practice and claimed it “was not motivated by political bias.” It was not explained how “low-level workers” were able to single out and target 300 groups the IRS admitted were involved.

Jenny Beth Martin, of Tea Party Patriots, wasn’t exactly buying the government’s latest story.

“It is suspicious that the activity of these ‘low-level workers’ was unknown to IRS leadership at the time it occurred,” she told AP. “President Obama must also apologize for his administration ignoring repeated complaints by these broad grassroots organizations of harassment by the IRS in 2012, and make concrete and transparent steps today to ensure this never happens again.”

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Is There a Conservative Argument for Gay Marriage?

There is a small but steadily growing idea among conservatives that they can support gay marriage and remain conservative. My position is that this is not possible. Here’s why.

SOURCE

Gay marriage does not exist as a stand-alone policy issue. Nor is it a conservative issue, because it requires the natural family to be dismantled at the level of public policy. True conservatives support limited government, and they understand that there are other institutions which serve to limit government power. Two of these institutions are the natural family and religion.

Same sex marriage, which as a policy removes the gender requirement for marriage, is a great vehicle for those who wish to increase the scope and power of the government, as it forces these other institutions to diminish. These other institutions can no longer act as an effective barrier against government intrusion into the personal details of people’s lives. As these institutions diminish, government will step into the vacuum.

In order to accommodate gay couples into the institution of marriage, all gendered words are removed from the law, words such as bride, groom, husband, wife, mother, father. These are replaced with gender-neutral words such as partner, party, applicant, and parent.

Some here may recall that in 2011, the Dept. of State tried to replace the words “mother and father” with “parent 1 and parent 2” from passport applications in a bow to LGBT pressure. I predict that as so-called gay marriage gains traction, there will be stronger and stronger calls to remove these words from birth certificates as well. France is completely up in arms over gay marriage for precisely this reason – it unhinges biological parents from their children at the policy level. In Canada it has already happened.

This change means that marriage, as a public policy for every couple and family, becomes genderless. Individuals have gender, of course, but to accommodate gay couples, there is no “gay marriage” as a public policy. A policy of accommodating gay couples into the institution of marriage might look like “bride and groom” for traditional couples, with the addition of “bride and bride” or “groom and groom” for gay couples, but that’s not what happens. It’s “partner 1 and partner 2” or “party A and party B” or “applicant A and applicant B” as the policy … and it applies to ALL couples, not just gay ones. The new policy removes the traditional requirement that one of each gender be present in the union.

People don’t realize that in addition to there being no gay marriage as a policy under genderless marriage, there is also no traditional marriage. Some on the left will ask: “How does gay marriage harm YOUR marriage?” The answer is quite simple: traditional marriage will cease to exist as a public policy. Without gender, how can it?

So the next logical questions should be these:

1. Does marriage exist without sex?
2. Do we really believe that it will be a good thing to eliminate traditional marriage as a distinct policy?
3. What will society look like after a generation has passed without traditional marriage as a distinct policy?

There is, in my mind, absolutely no case for a true conservative to support sexless marriage as a public policy. Liberals, yes. It fits into their worldview quite well to have each individual beholden to the state and to no other institution such as their own natural family or their church … but conservatives? No way.

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