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May 14, 2013

A Lawless Agency In Need Of A Special Prosecutor

That is all I can say about the IRS at this time.

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It began with the little trickle of disclosure on Friday. It continues to grow.

There’s the unauthorized release of confidential documents for political purposes.

The division of the Internal Revenue Service that improperly scrutinized the tax-exempt status of conservative groups sent confidential information on 31 conservative groups to the well-funded liberal nonprofit journalism organization ProPublica, according to a revelation made by ProPublica Monday.

“The same IRS office that deliberately targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status in the run-up to the 2012 election released nine pending confidential applications of conservative groups to ProPublica late last year,” according to the ProPublica report.

“In response to a request for the applications for 67 different nonprofits last November, the Cincinnati office of the IRS sent ProPublica applications or documentation for 31 groups. Nine of those applications had not yet been approved — meaning they were not supposed to be made public. (We made six of those public, after redacting their financial information, deeming that they were newsworthy.),” according to ProPublica.

We also have accusations of the IRS targeting a journalist after he dared to ask tough questions of the president in an interview

Larry Connors, a veteran local news anchor at KMOV Channel 4 in St. Louis, says that the Internal Revenue Service has been targeting him since an April 2012 interview he conducted with President Obama -- a fact that he dismissed as coincidence until the recent reports about the IRS targeting conservative groups.

"Shortly after I did my April 2012 interview with President Obama, my wife, friends and some viewers suggested that I might need to watch out for the IRS. I don't accept 'conspiracy theories', but I do know that almost immediately after the interview, the IRS started hammering me," Connors wrote on his Facebook page late Monday night.

We also now find out that one of the major players in the scandal has a history of going after critics of Democrat presidents.

Steven T. Miller, the acting IRS commissioner who managed the division that has admitted targeting anti-Obama Tea Party groups, was one of several agents who investigated anti-Clinton organizations including Judicial Watch during that Democrat's administration, according to court documents and interviews.

Miller, who headed the IRS Services and Enforcement Division from 2009 until the end of last year, is named in court documents as part of a trio of Internal Revenue Service officials who allegedly characterized the 1998-2001 investigation of Judicial Watch as politically motivated.

According to court papers, one agent in the case reportedly told the legal watchdog group, "What do you expect when you sue the president?" Miller reportedly added that the Judicial Watch audit, coming after the group sent the White House a lengthy Freedom of Information Act request, "had created at least the appearance of a problem."

And then there is the “minor detail” that it was not just one rogue office targeting conservative groups – it was several, including the office right in Washington, DC.

Internal Revenue Service officials in Washington and at least two other offices were involved in the targeting of 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.

So what we have here is not an isolated office – we have a pattern of conduct that spans two states and the District of Columbia! The same sorts of inquiries are being made of the same sorts of groups – it cannot be coincidence. And add to that the fact that senior management found out about the issue much earlier than previously disclosed and you have the makings of a serious scandal.

The timeline of events makes it clear that there is still much we have not been told and that there has been a pattern of deceit by the IRS regarding these matters. Indeed, the timeline shows that evidence was intentionally withheld from Congress by those who knew about the targeting of these groups. After all, the first hints of a problem emerged in 2010, and upper level officials knew by the spring of 2012. Why is it that they did not disclose this matter to Congress in the summer of 2012 when there were questions asked about it? Why did they hide the information until after the 2012 presidential election? I think the answers are obvious.

And they are still hiding from the truth. Consider the fact that the IRS will not say whether it will comply with Congressional requests for documents related to this scandal. The agency should be complying immediately, not stonewalling. But then again, they’ve been stonewalling on this issue for three years – why should they change now.

But more disturbing is what we know from the White House. The White House counsel’s office knew about this matter last month, but the President claims not to have known until it hit the press last Friday. I’ve been asking if he is so disengaged (and therefore incompetent), but others look at it and find the denial unconvincing and instead conclude that Barack Obama is part of this corrupt cover-up. I think time will tell on this one – and I don’t discount the possibility (probability?) that Obama is corrupt.

The reality, though, is that this one may be too big for Congress to investigate alone. We're dealing with federal crimes having been committed here -- at least by low-level employees and quite possibly by higher-ups -- to advance the agenda of the President of the United States and cripple his critics. As a result, the Justice Department cannot ethically be involved in the investigation or prosecution of any case arising from this matter -- not that Eric Holder is smart enough or ethical enough to recognize that fact. I therefore support the call by Gov. Bobby Jindal and Gov. Scott Walker for a special prosecutor to investigate the matter wholly independent of corrupt administration under which and on behalf of which it occurred,.





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