Lois Lerner –Top IRS Official — Took The Fifth Amendment — House and Senate Hearings On IRS Targeting Conservative Groups — Videos

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Treasury Inspector General

for Tax Administration

Office of Audit

Original Inspector general’s report on the IRS



Inspector general’s report on the IRS


IRS Official Lois Lerner Pleads The Fifth, Dismissed From Scandal Hearing

Glenn Beck – Lois Lerner, IRS dodge questions

Mad at the IRS? Blame It on the Citizens United Supreme Court Decision

The Other IRS Scandal”: David Cay Johnston on Dark Money Political Groups Seeking Tax-Exemption

How Republicans Have Abused 501(c)(4) Applications Since Citizens United

Dan Pfeiffer on IRS Scandal During ‘This Week’ Interview

IRS’s Tea-Party AUDIT: Explaining a 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4)

IRS in the spotlight: What’s a 501(c)(4)? By Martina Stewart, CNN

Glenn Beck » IRS, ObamaCare, And The White House

Dobson–I Was Targeted By IRS – TheBlazeTV – The Glenn Beck Radio Program – 2013.05.20

Rand Paul Suggests IRS Has ‘Written Policy’ About Targeting People ‘Opposed To The President’

Rand Paul on Benghazi and IRS Targeting of Tea Party Groups – State of the Union 5/19/2013

Paul Ryan Angry Over IRS, Benghazi on Fox News

Obama Has Declared WAR on American Values in IRS Scandal – Fox News Lou Dobbs

Jay Sekulow on Fox News: IRS Hearings Arrogant & Embarrassing

Heller Questions Secretary of the Treasury About IRS Scandal

Senate Finance Committee Hearing On IRS Scandal

C-SPAN Senator Hatch Opening Statement – IRS Hearing

A opening statement at the IRS scandal hearing by U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee.

Senator Hatch questions IRS during hearing

U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, questions Douglas Shulman, former Commissioner of Internal Revenue, and Steven Miller, outgoing acting IRS Commissioner Tuesday, May 21, 2013, during the IRS scandal hearing.

Thune at Finance on IRS Scandal

Crapo questions the IG for tax administration on the IRS scandal

Senator Roberts’ Remarks at Today’s IRS Scandal Hearing in the Senate Finance Committee

IRS Commissioner: I Orchestrated Planted Q&A On IRS Scandal

House Hearing On IRS Scandal

House hearing on IRS scandal 



















NOT REALLY FIRED YET Steven Miller Outgoing Acting IRS Commissioner

May 17 2013 House Ways and Means Hearing – Steven Miller testifying

IRS HEATED on Capitol Hill: IS THIS STILL AMERICA? Government Threatens average Americans?

IRS Commissioner: Targeting Conservatives is “Absolutely Not Illegal”

News Reports

Luke Russert: IRS Official ‘Winging This’ In Testimony, Saying ‘Hey, I’m The Fall Guy For This’

Jay Sekulow on Fox News: IRS Knew About Tageting Conservative Groups

Background Articles and Videos

How to Assert Your Rights with the Police

David Allen – Does the Fifth Amendment Apply to Tax Preparation Records

In Praise of the 5th Amendment – part 1

In Praise of the 5th Amendment – part 2

In Praise of the 5th Amendment – part 3

In Praise of the 5th Amendment – part 4

In Praise of the 5th Amendment – part 5

Top IRS official will invoke the Fifth Amendment in congressional hearing about  tea party targeting program

By David Martosko

The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday  afternoon that Lois Lerner, who heads up the Internal Revenue Service’s  tax-exempt division, plans to invoke the Fifth Amendment to the U.S.  Constitution in a hearing Wednesday before the House Committee on Oversight and  Government Affairs.

The Fifth Amendment provides that U.S.  citizens may not be compelled to offer testimony if telling the truth would  incriminate them.

Lerner’s defense lawyer, William W. Taylor  III, wrote to the committee on Tuesday that his client would refuse to answer  questions related to what she knew about the extra levels of scrutiny applied to  conservative nonprofit organizations that applied for tax-exempt status  beginning in 2010.

She also will decline to say why she didn’t  disclose what she knew to Congress, according to the LA  Times.

Lerner ‘has not committed any crime or made  any misrepresentation,’ Taylor’s  letter read, ‘but under the circumstances she  has no choice but to take  this course.’

He is asking the oversight committee to  excuse Lerner from testifying, claiming that calling her in a congressional  hearing would ‘have no purpose other than to embarrass or burden her’ since  members would not expect her to answer questions.

Ahmad Ali, a committee spokesman, told  MailOnline that ‘Ms. Lerner remains under subpoena from Chairman Issa to appear  at tomorrow’s hearing – the Committee has a Constitutional obligation to conduct  oversight.’

‘Chairman [Darrel] Issa remains hopeful that  she will ultimately decide to testify tomorrow about her knowledge of outrageous  IRS targeting of Americans for their political beliefs.’

The IRS applied special criteria to  conservative organizations seeking tax-exempt status, putting them on a ‘Be On  The Lookout’ (BOLO) list, based on the groups’ names and political  philosophies.

President Barack Obama has said he was  unaware of the program until May 10, when excerpts of an IRS Inspector General  Report on the practice were leaked to reporters.

But Jay Carney, the president’s chief  spokesman, confirmed Monday that senior White House staff, including White House  Counsel Kathy Ruemmler and Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, knew about the IRS’s  habits as early as April 24, and chose not to tell Obama.

The Inspector General report found that  Lerner and other IRS were notified in or before June 2011 that some staff in the  agency’s Cincinnati, Ohio office were using ‘tea party,’ ‘patriots’ and other  key words to add applicants to the BOLO list.

Once on that list, the groups were subjected  to additional auditing of their financial practices, their membership and their  political activities.

Despite knowing about the program, Lerner and  other senior IRS staffers withheld the information from Congress despite  receiving several requests from House committees whose members heard from  constituents that their tea party groups’ tax-exempt approvals were taking as  long as two years to be resolved.

The House Oversight and Government Affairs  Committee was among those that specifically asked the IRS whether it was  inspecting tea party groups more closely than other applicants, including those  on the political left.

Lerner herself launched her agency’s scandal  with a planted question-and-answer exchange during a May 10 American Bar  Association conference.

Asked the pre-arranged question, Lerner  responded by conceding that her employees had acted inappropriately.

‘Instead of referring to the cases as  advocacy cases, they actually used case names on this list,’ she told the  assembled tax lawyers.

‘They used names like “tea party” or  “Patriots,” and they selected cases simply because the applications had those  names in the title.That was wrong. That was absolutely incorrect, insensitive,  and inappropriate — that’s not how we go about selecting cases for further  review.’

She later claimed that the increase in  scrutiny of tea party groups was due to an influx of new applications from  right-wing organizations, following the Supreme Court’s ‘Citizens United’  ruling, which opened the floodgates to greater political participation by  nonprofit advocacy groups.

The Washington Post called that claim bogus,  however, with the newspaper’s fact checker awarding it a ‘four Pinocchios’  rating for dishonesty.

Read more:http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2328696/Lois-Lerner-Top-IRS-official-invoke-Fifth-Amendment-congressional-hearing-tea-party-targeting-program.html

Top IRS official will invoke 5th Amendment

By Richard Simon and Joseph Tanfani May 21, 2013, 1:17 p.m.

WASHINGTON — A top IRS official in the division that reviews nonprofit groups will invoke the 5th Amendment and refuse to answer questions before a House committee investigating the agency’s improper screening of conservative nonprofit groups.

Lois Lerner, the head of the exempt organizations division of the IRS, won’t answer questions about what she knew about the improper screening — or why she didn’t disclose it to Congress, according to a letter from her defense lawyer, William W. Taylor III. Lerner was scheduled to appear before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday.

“She has not committed any crime or made any misrepresentation but under the circumstances she has no choice but to take this course,” said a letter by Taylor to committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Vista). The letter, sent Monday, was obtained Tuesday by the Los Angeles Times.

DOCUMENT: The Inspector General’s report on the IRS

Taylor, a criminal defense attorney from the Washington firm Zuckerman Spaeder, said that the Department of Justice has launched a criminal investigation, and that the House committee has asked Lerner to explain why she provided “false or misleading information” to the committee four times last year.

Since Lerner won’t answer questions, Taylor asked that she be excused from appearing, saying that would “have no purpose other than to embarrass or burden her.” There was no immediate word whether the committee will grant her request.

According to an inspector general’s report, Lerner found out in June 2011 that some staff in the nonprofits division in Cincinnati had used terms such as “Tea Party” and “Patriots” to select some applications for additional screening of their political activities. She ordered changes.

But neither Lerner nor anyone else at the IRS told Congress, even after repeated queries from several committees, including the House Oversight panel, about whether some groups had been singled out unfairly.


IRS’s Lois Lerner to take the Fifth


Embattled IRS official Lois Lerner will invoke her Fifth Amendment right not  to incriminate herself when she appears before the House Oversight Committee on  Wednesday.

In a letter to Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Lerner’s attorney  William W. Taylor III cites the Justice Department’s criminal investigation into  the issue of whether the IRS singled out tea party and other conservative groups  for extra scrutiny.

Embattled IRS official Lois Lerner will invoke her Fifth Amendment right not  to incriminate herself when she appears before the House Oversight Committee on  Wednesday.

In a letter to Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), Lerner’s attorney  William W. Taylor III cites the Justice Department’s criminal investigation into  the issue of whether the IRS singled out tea party and other conservative groups  for extra scrutiny.

“Just when you think things can’t get any stranger around here, they take a  twist,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) told POLITICO, adding, “this is a very  serious matter.”

Taylor’s letter requests that Lerner be excused from testifying, but Issa has  issued a subpoena to compel her appearance.

“Requiring her to appear at the hearing merely to assert her Fifth Amendment  privilege would have no purpose other than to embarrass or burden her,” Taylor  wrote.

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said Lerner’s decision shows she is “afraid” to  face Congress and account for her actions.

The decision to take the fifth is a “slap in the face” to Americans, said  Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.).

“What’s she hiding?” Buchanan asked. “The American people demand and deserve  answers. Pleading the Fifth is a direct slap in the face of every American  taxpayer betrayed by the IRS’s gross abuse of power.”

Issa has accused Lerner of lying to Congress on four separate occasions last  year. He and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) wrote a letter to Lerner last week asking  her to brief the Oversight Committee on the disparities in her comments before  the scandal broke on the criteria used to flag conservative applications for  tax-exempt status.

“It appears that you provided false or misleading information on four  separate occasions last year in response to the Committee’s oversight of the  IRS’s treatment of conservative groups applying for tax exempt status,” Issa and  Jordan wrote.

The California Republican has cast himself as the chief investigator of the  administration and had demanded Lerner’s presence to better understand when the  IRS learned of the extent of the targeting program.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, said  he expects Lerner to appear before the panel Wednesday, but had suggested she  may invoke her Fifth Amendment right.

“She might, she very well may,” Cummings told reporters Tuesday afternoon  when asked if she could invoke the Fifth Amendment. “We’ll see when she comes.  She will be there.”

The question was prompted by Cummings correcting himself after saying she  would be testifying on Wednesday.

“She should be testifying. She should be there tomorrow,” Cummings said,  correcting himself. “I expected her to be there.”

Asked whether she could show up and not testify, he said, “I can’t answer  that right now.”

Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin, former IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman  and J. Russell George, the IRS inspector general who conducted the  investigation, are scheduled to testify.

Taylor has been involved in several high-profile cases in recent years,  including the defense of former IMF President Dominique Strauss-Kahn against  criminal assault charges and leading the team that obtained dismissal of claims  against former NYSE official and Home Depot co-founder Kenneth Langone,  according to the website  of his firm, Zuckerman Spaeder.

He has given over $100,000 to Democratic candidates and causes over the  years, according to Federal Election Commission records. Taylor donated $57,000  to the Obama Victory Fund in 2008 and $10,000 to the Obama Victory Fund 2012  last year.

The Los Angeles Times first reported Lerner’s intention to invoke the Fifth  Amendment.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/05/lois-lerner-could-plead-the-fifth-rep-cummings-says-91686.html#ixzz2TyFY25U8

How the IRS seeded the clouds in 2010 for a political deluge three years later

By Zachary A. Goldfarb and Kimberly Kindy,

In early 2010, an Internal Revenue Service team in Cincinnati began noticing a stream of applications from groups with ­political-sounding names, setting in motion a dragnet aimed at ­separating legitimate tax-exempt groups from those working to get candidates elected.

The IRS officials decided to single out one type of political group for particular scrutiny. “These cases involve various local organizations in the Tea Party movement,” read one internal IRS e-mail sent at the time.

A few hours north in Fremont, Ohio, the owners of a drainage supply shop, Tom and Marion Bower, were wondering why it was taking so long to get a tax exemption for their new tea party group.“I didn’t think any of us thought we’d be targeted,” said Marion Bower, of American Patriots Against Government Excess. “We started the group because we wanted to learn about our country and educate people. Now I’m becoming a little paranoid. If they can do this, what else can they do?”Groups such as the Bowers’ were among more than a hundred conservative organizations singled out for extra screening by the IRS, part of an attempt to identify politically active groups not eligible for tax exemptions. The revelations, described in detail last week by the IRS watchdog, have caused a political earthquake — prompting the resignations of two top IRS officials, a criminal investigation and multiple congressional probes, including hearings scheduled for this week.The story of the IRS’s policy of targeting right-leaning groups, which played out over several years in Cincinnati, Washington, and dozens of other cities and towns, was one of a bureaucracy caught in a morass of uncertainty and outside pressure. The actions also confirmed the suspicions of many conservatives after they had complained for years of harassment by the tax agency.According to the inspector general’s report, as IRS officials in Cincinnati tried to decide what to do about the groups — political advocacy organizations seeking what is known as 501 (c)(4) status — they sent out intrusive questionnaires seeking donor lists, copies of meeting minutes and reams of other documents. Applications sat around for months, sometimes years; some organizations ended up folding while awaiting answers that never came.

IRS officials in Cincinnati were ignorant of the law and did not recognize that they should not scrutinize groups solely based on terms such as “tea party,” “patriots” and other conservative-sounding descriptions in their names, the inspector general’s report said. Many liberal-leaning and nonpolitical groups were also caught up in the effort.

At the same time, the IRS faced growing criticism from the outside that it was not doing enough to examine an increasing number of politically active groups seeking tax-exempt status.

“You had a lot of pressure on the IRS to figure out who and what should be a (c)(4) and complaints being filed by groups saying they had erred in granting (c)(4) status,” said Trevor Potter, president of the Campaign Legal Center and a former Federal Elections Commission chairman. “You had (c)(4)s on both the Democratic and Republican side spending a lot on politics. That’s the background of how we got here.”

Rise of the tea party

On July 4, 2009, the Bowers threw a tea party event in a strip mall by their home in Fremont, about 40 miles from Toledo. The speakers’ stage was a flatbed trailer. The pair worried about how big of a crowd they could possibly draw in a town with fewer than 17,000 residents. Then 500 people showed up.

The Bowers decided there was enough interest to start their own nonprofit group and applied to the IRS in December 2009 as a 501(c)(4). The couple held weekly meetings at their shop, inviting local politicians to speak, showing films and discussing books. A woven basket was put out for cash donations, which usually amounted to no more than $15.“We saw we weren’t the only ones worried about things,” Tom Bower said. “Others thought our country was going in the wrong direction.”The desire by the Bowers to form a nonprofit group reflected two broader trends in American politics. First was the rise of the tea party movement — hundreds of local organizations, frustrated by spending in Washington and the growing national debt, whose power would soon be seen in local, state and, in 2010, congressional elections.Second, campaign finance laws were changing. In January 2010, the Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission that corporations and unions could spend unlimited funds on elections, setting off a tidal wave of political spending that would wash over the next two election cycles.Nonprofit groups that do not have to pay taxes are supposed to ensure that political activity is not their primary purpose, so evidence that some of the new organizations seeking tax-exempt status were fronts for campaign organizations drew bipartisan interest. Good-government groups started pressuring the IRS to more closely scrutinize applicants. One such group, Democracy 21, wrote a series of letters to the IRS arguing that many of the groups should not receive favored tax status.

“In all of these cases, the groups were claiming (c)(4) status basically for the purpose of hiding their donors,” said Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer.

The IRS is not well equipped to make political judgements. Its accountants and lawyers are sticklers and technocrats, trying to enforce the letter of the law. When the law is left vague — as it is for 501(c)(4)s and political advocacy groups — it could take years to come up with clear guidelines.

“Unless there is a higher-up push to get something done and get guidance done, it doesn’t happen,” said Louisiana State University law professor Philip Hackney, who worked in the chief counsel’s office of the IRS from 2006 to 2011.

By late summer 2010, the IRS officials in Cincinnati, part of what was called a “determinations unit,” decided they needed a better way to track the influx of advocacy groups. It had been an informal process before — just e-mails sent out among the team highlighting groups that might need closer scrutiny.

They created a spreadsheet of group names and activities to watch, called a “be on the lookout” list, or BOLO, borrowing jargon used by police. The list soon included 40 groups, including 22 with “tea party” in their names.

The determinations unit wanted to send additional questions to the groups to determine whether they were too involved in political campaigns to receive tax-exempt status. They requested help from headquarters officials in Washington to draft the language of such letters.

But no definitive help was forthcoming, according to the inspector general’s report. Months passed without agreement on what should be asked, frustrating the team in Cincinnati.

Questions, more questionsThe Bowers were frustrated, too. In 2010, they had called the IRS to see what was happening with their application. “They said they were behind but they were getting to it,” Marion Bower said. The same thing happened in the spring of 2011.It took two years from when they applied to get a response. In a letter, the IRS said it wanted copies and recordings of all speeches given at their group’s meetings. They wanted notes and copies of every handout or brochure distributed at all events they organized or participated in. It took three weeks to gather the materials, which amounted to about 80 pages, the Bowers said.Marion Bower told them about films they showed, including the “American Heritage Series,” consisting of 10 DVDs about the early history of the United States recounted by evangelical minister David Barton, and a book the group read about the Founding Fathers, “The 5000 Year Leap.”“They wanted a lot of information, and they wanted it quickly,” Bower said. “Each set of questions had a subset of questions. And none of them were yes or no. But the questions themselves did not seem that outrageous with the first letter.”

A second letter came with dozens of additional questions. The IRS wanted a synopsis of films the group may have shown or books the group may have read. Bower was outraged.

“I’m a 68-year-old woman. I don’t do book reports anymore, and I certainly don’t do them for the IRS,” she said. “I sent them copies of everything, including the book. It’s not a very thick book, and it’s not ‘Mein Kampf,’ for Pete’s sake. They can read it if they want.”

In early March 2012, the group mailed off its second package of documents to the IRS and waited.

As the Bowers’ case dragged on, the IRS determinations unit was stuck in bureaucratic sludge. In June 2011, the Washington official who oversees the unit, Lois G. Lerner, organized a meeting to discuss its work on political advocacy groups. She expressed concerns about the broad reach of the BOLO list.

About 100 groups had made it on the list simply because their names included reference to the “tea party,” “patriots” or “9/12,” a term associated with conservative commentator Glenn Beck. Other criteria included a focus on government spending, debt or taxes; a focus on how to “make America a better place”; or critical comments about how the country is being run.

Lerner asked that the criteria be changed to a more neutral theme — organizations involved in politics, lobbying or advocacy. A “triage” was also conducted, trying to determine which groups actually required scrutiny.

But as Lerner pressed to broaden the criteria, the Cincinnati unit began to send letters out to conservative groups. Some asked for donor information.

Still, the determinations unit was having trouble using the general criteria advocated by Lerner. It decided on an alternative phrasing: “political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding government, educating on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, social economic reform/movement.”

At the end of February 2012, Lerner stopped the letters. But it was too late. Conservative groups began complaining, sparking media interest. Lawmakers lodged complaints. In March, eight months before Election Day, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee contacted the IRS inspector general to ask what was going on.

Throughout 2012, Lerner and other officials were quietly trying to come up with new policies for examining nonprofits. Higher-level officials, including then-IRS Commissioner Douglas H. Shulman, a George W. Bush appointee, and his deputy, career employee Steven T. Miller, became aware of the problems. They instituted new internal rules in an effort to make sure the issues did not recur.

But the IRS did not tell the public or Congress about what was going on. On May 9 of this year, knowing that the inspector general’s report was imminent, Lerner called a member of the IRS’s tax-exempt advisory council. Lerner requested that the council member ask her at a conference the next day about the status of tax-exempt organizations that were facing additional scrutiny.

The next morning, Lerner responded to the planted question, acknowledging that the IRS had improperly scrutinized conservative groups. She apologized. She held a conference call later that day in which she struggled to answer a fusillade of questions from reporters, at one point exclaiming in response to a query about the specific number of groups targeted, “I’m not good at math.”

By Wednesday, Obama had demanded and received Miller’s resignation and appointed a new acting IRS commissioner, Daniel Werfel, a budget adviser who has served in Republican and Democrat administrations.

On Friday, Miller was testifying on Capitol Hill, at the first in a series of hearings scheduled for coming weeks. Miller said that the IRS was guilty of “horrible customer service” but that its motives were not political.↓

Marion Bower was in the audience. “I really didn’t want to come,” she said. “But what they did was wrong. I felt it was time for me to speak up so this doesn’t happen again to someone else.”


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