• Congressional probe finds IRS guilty of targeting tea party, conservative groups
By John Friend
The countless scandals, criminal intrigues and partisan shenanigans of the Obama administration are well known to readers of AMERICAN FREE PRESS, so recent revelations that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) specifically targeted tea party and other conservative-oriented political advocacy groups should come as no surprise.
AFP first reported on these charges in depth in the June 24 edition. An on-going House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform investigation into the IRS and its practices of granting tax-exempt status to political advocacy groups recently determined that the IRS, under the leadership of Lois Lerner, who headed the exempt organizations division at the agency, was indeed guilty of engaging in “disparate treatment of conservative-oriented tax-exempt applications.”
Tea party and other conservative-oriented political advocacy groups, along with leading congressional Republicans, have long charged the IRS with politically targeting such organizations for additional scrutiny in their efforts to receive tax-exempt status.
Mrs. Lerner, who was at the center of the controversy surrounding the IRS’ treatment of conservative-oriented groups, voluntarily retired from the IRS on September 23. It is suspected that she was going to be fired following the release of an internal IRS investigation that revealed she was guilty of “neglect of duties,” The Washington Times reported. She is now reportedly seeking immunity as congressional investigators look into who else played a role in targeting conservative-oriented groups.
Representative Darrell Issa, the California Republican who chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said despite Mrs. Lerner’s resignation, she still may be called to account for the actions the IRS took under her direction.
“We still don’t know why Lois Lerner, as a senior IRS official, had such a personal interest in directing scrutiny and why she denied improper conduct to Congress,” Representative Issa recently explained. “Her departure does not answer these questions or diminish the committee’s interest in hearing her testimony.”
Congressional Democrats deny the IRS had political motivations or specific directives from the Obama administration to target Tea Party and other conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status, arguing there is still no substantial, credible evidence for making such claims. However, according to the investigation by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Mrs. Lerner openly acknowledged “that the IRS engaged in inappropriate targeting of conservative-oriented tax-exempt applicants.”
Ms. Lerner’s email correspondence was subpoenaed and released by the House Committee on Ways and Means, which is also investigating the IRS and its policies. These show that the agency “specifically targeted tea party applications and directed that they be held up in 2011 in order to come up with an agency policy,” the Times reported.
An IRS inspector general report released last May showed that 298 groups were given special scrutiny during their application process for receiving tax-exempt status during a two-year time period between 2010 and 2012. Of the 298 groups flagged for special scrutiny, 248 were considered conservative-oriented, according to analysis conducted by the Ways and Means Committee.
As more and more evidence surfaces that the Obama administration operates more like a criminal mafia rather than a legitimate, responsible government of one of the most powerful countries in the world, patriotic Americans of all political stripes are becoming increasingly more and more alienated from the government that allegedly represents them.
John Friend is a writer who lives in California.