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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Obama: Acting IRS commissioner resigns

    'I'm angry about IRS misconduct'

    Obama: Acting IRS commissioner resigns

    President Barack Obama says he will work with Congress to make sure this never happens again. FULL STORY


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  2. #2
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    'Angry' Obama announces IRS leader's ouster after conservatives targeted

    By Dana Bash, Chelsea J. Carter and Tom Cohen, CNN
    updated 6:34 PM EDT, Wed May 15, 2013

    Gergen: IRS scandal not a partisan issue


    • NEW: President Obama says "Americans have a right to be angry ... and I am angry"
    • NEW: The acting director of the IRS has resigned, after being asked to, Obama says
    • IRS identifies two "rogue" employees, congressional source says
    • House Speaker John Boehner: "My question is who's going to jail?"

    Washington (CNN) -- [Breaking news update at 6:30 p.m.]
    President Barack Obama said Wednesday that the "misconduct" detailed in a report about the Internal Revenue Service's handling of requests from conservative groups is "inexcusable."
    "Americans have a right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it," he said.
    In the wake of the uproar, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew requested -- and has accepted -- the resignation of the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, according to Obama.
    The president also said his administration will work to enact "new safeguards to make sure that this kind of behavior cannot happen again."
    [Original story published at 5:51 p.m.]
    (CNN) -- The Internal Revenue Service has identified two "rogue" employees in the agency's Cincinnati office as being principally responsible for "overly aggressive" handling of requests by conservative groups for tax-exempt status, a congressional source told CNN.
    In a meeting on Capitol Hill, acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller described the employees as being "off the reservation," according to the source. It was not clear precisely what the alleged behavior involved.
    Miller said the staffers have already been disciplined, according to another source familiar with Miller's discussions with congressional investigators. The second source said Miller emphasized that the problem with IRS handling of tax-exempt status for tea party groups was not limited to these two employees.
    Miller met with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus of Montana on Tuesday to discuss an appearance before Congress.

    Davis: White House needs transparency

    FBI to investigate IRS conduct

    Rep.: 'Laws were probably broken' by IRS
    Asked in a Senate hallway about his meeting with Miller, Baucus told CNN, "I did not learn as much from the meeting as I would have liked."
    "I told him that it was in his best interest to be totally cooperative -- that it's often the coverup that causes more problems than the original malfeasance," the senator said. "And just to be totally straight with me and everybody, and he said he would."
    President Barack Obama was scheduled to deliver a statement Wednesday from the East Room of the White House after a meeting with senior Treasury Department officials. During the meeting, Obama will be "making sure people are held accountable for their conduct, for their activities," White House press secretary Jay Carney said.
    A Democratic source told CNN's Dana Bash that Obama will discuss "IRS changes" when he makes his statement.
    Meanwhile, Republican congressional leaders on Wednesday accused Obama's administration of potentially criminal behavior in the handling of requests for tax-exempt status from conservative groups.
    Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell suggested criminal behavior had occurred, saying that the "very serious" allegations involve "an effort to bring the power of the federal government to bear on those the administration disagreed with in the middle of a heated national election."
    "It actually could be, could be criminal and we are determined to get the answers," McConnell said.
    House Speaker John Boehner was more definitive, declaring that "my question is, who's going to jail over this scandal?"
    He told reporters that "clearly someone violated the law" in what an IRS inspector general's report described as delayed processing of applications by groups associated with the political right wing.
    Attorney General Eric Holder, who ordered a criminal investigation into the situation, said Wednesday at a congressional hearing that the investigation will look at conduct of IRS offices nationwide.
    "The facts will take us where ever they take us," he said.
    While the allegations originated in the Cincinnati office, the Justice Department inquiry is based out of Washington, Holder said.
    The comments came as all 45 Senate Republicans sent the White House a letter that called for the administration to "comply with all requests related to congressional inquiries without any delay" involving the controversy.
    The letter called the scandal "yet another completely inexcusable attempt to chill the speech of political opponents and those who would question their government, consistent with a broader pattern of intimidation by arms of your administration to silence political dissent."
    Meanwhile, GOP Sen. John Thune of South Dakota called Wednesday for the acting commissioner of the IRS to step down.
    The clearly coordinated attacks were part of a GOP effort to increase pressure on the Obama administration over the controversy, one of three potential scandals that has the White House on the defensive less than four months into the president's second term.
    Read the IRS IG report
    According to the report by the agency's inspector general released Tuesday, the IRS developed and followed a faulty policy to determine whether the applicants were engaged in political activities, which would disqualify the groups from receiving tax-exempt status.
    The controversial move began in early 2010 and continued for more than 18 months, the report said, declaring that "the IRS used inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status based upon their names or policy positions instead of indications of potential political campaign intervention."
    In a statement released late Tuesday, Obama called the report findings "intolerable and inexcusable."
    "The federal government must conduct itself in a way that's worthy of the public's trust, and that's especially true for the IRS. The IRS must apply the law in a fair and impartial way, and its employees must act with utmost integrity. This report shows that some of its employees failed that test," the president said.
    Opinion: The real risk of the IRS scandal
    Obama also said he has directed Treasury Secretary Jack Lew "to hold those responsible for these failures accountable."
    However, law professor Jonathan Turley of George Washington University said it was unlikely that anyone would end up facing criminal charges.
    "It's a violation of federal law, but rarely do people go to jail for it," Turley told CNN on Wednesday.
    More often, criminal charges come from federal officials lying to cover up wrongdoing, rather than from following orders, he said.
    "The most likely conclusion is no one would be charged, if you look at history," Turley added.
    IRS officials, according to the report, did not consult anyone beyond the agency about the development of the additional screening criteria. They believed that the criteria they came up with were a screening shortcut meant to help with the influx of applications, the report said.
    Will the scandal affect 2014 elections?
    The controversial actions began after the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case that greatly expanded the ability of corporations, unions and other organizations to participate in election spending, though not through direct contributions to candidates or parties.
    After the ruling, the number of politically oriented groups seeking tax exempt status as social welfare organizations under section 501 (c) (4) of the federal tax code increased greatly at a time when the federal government, including the IRS, was dealing with austerity measures that reduced or stagnated personnel and resources.
    The IRS' top watchdog found that the criteria used to flag potential political applications resulted in substantial delays and the request of unnecessary information from the groups.
    Among the criteria used by IRS officials to flag applications was a "Be On the Look Out" list, which was discontinued in 2012, according to the report.
    The criteria included:
    -- Whether "Tea Party," "Patriots" or "9/12 Project" was referenced in the case file.
    -- Whether the issues outlined in the application included government spending, government debt or taxes.
    -- Whether there was advocating or lobbying to "make America a better place to live."
    -- Whether a statement in the case file criticized how the country is being run.
    -- Whether it advocated education about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
    The investigation by the Treasury inspector general for tax administration was initiated after congressional complaints began to surface in the media in 2012 that the IRS was targeting conservative groups and holding up applications.
    Obama struggles with rocky start to second term
    "Whether the inappropriate criterion was shorthand for all potential political cases or not, developing and using criteria that focuses on organization names and policy positions instead of the activities permitted under the Treasury regulations does not promote public confidence that tax-exempt laws are being adhered to impartially," the report said.
    The IRS welcomed the report, saying that it agreed that aspects of its original approach in handling the influx of tax-exempt applications was inappropriate.
    "The IRS is required by law to determine if organizations are engaging in a legally permissible level of political activity. Centralizing these cases was necessary to achieve consistent treatment," it said in a statement.
    In a written response included in the report, the IRS commissioner of the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division said there was no criminal behavior behind the actions of the agents, but rather inefficient management.
    IRS in the spotlight: What's a 501(c)(4)?
    "We believe the front-line career employees that made the decisions acted out of a desire for efficiency and not out of any political and partisan viewpoint," the commissioner wrote.
    The report's findings indicate that of the 298 cases reviewed by the IRS inspector general as potential political cases not eligible for tax exempt status: 72 contained the name "tea party," 11 contained "9/12" and 13 contained the word "patriots," according to the report. There were 202 cases that did not contain any such reference.
    Of those applications still open for review, 160 cases were open from 206 days to more than three years -- through two election cycles.
    Among the recommendations made by the Treasury inspector general: The IRS must better document reasons why applications are chosen for review, develop a process to track requests for assistance, develop and provide training to employees before each election cycle and immediately resolve outstanding cases.
    The report also called on Treasury to develop guidelines to explain social welfare activity -- the primary factor in obtaining tax-exempt status.
    Opinion: IRS abuses power in targeting tea party
    The Republican-led House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees the IRS, will hold a hearing on Friday. Miller, the acting IRS commissioner, and the Treasury inspector general investigating the complaints, J. Russell George, are scheduled to testify.

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  3. #3
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    Heart of Dixie
    They may need to go a little deeper.

    IRS sued for improperly seizing the medical records of 10 million Americans

    Caroline May
    Political Reporter

    Amid a firestorm about the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting conservative groups and wide concern that the tax service will be administering Obamacare, the IRS is also the subject of a class action lawsuit alleging that 15 of its agents improperly seized 10 million Americans’ medical records.

    Attorney Robert Barnes filed the lawsuit in mid-March on behalf of a John Doe Company and individuals whose records were seized in California Superior Court, according to a report from the Courthouse News Service.

    “This is an action involving the corruption and abuse of power by several Internal Revenue Service (‘IRS’) agents (collectively referred to as ‘Defendants’ herein) during a raid of John Doe Company, in the southern district of California, on March 11, 2011,” the complaint, quoted by Courthouse News, reads. “In a case involving solely a tax matter involving a former employee of the company, these agents stole more than 60,000,000 medical records of more than 10,000,000 Americans, including at least 1,000,000 Californians.”

    The complaint explains there was no warrant authorizing the seizure of the medical records and the records were not germane to the IRS search. The complaint alleges that the seizure violated the 4th Amendment, according to the extensive quotes from the complaint complied by Courthouse News.

    “These medical records contained intimate and private information of more than 10,000,000 Americans, information that by its nature includes information about treatment for any kind of medical concern, including psychological counseling, gynecological counseling, sexual or drug treatment, and a wide range of medical matters covering the most intimate and private of concerns,” the complaint reads.

    The records are believed to concern the medical records of every judge in California, every state court employee in California, members of the Screen Actors Guild and Directors Guild, and people in “all walks of life.”

    “The search warrant authorized the seizure of financial records related principally to a former employee of the company; it did not authorize any seizure of any health care or medical record of any persons, least of all third parties completely unrelated to the matter,” the complaint, as quoted by the news outlet explains further.

    “[E]ven though defendants knew that the records they were seizing were not included within the scope of the search warrant, the defendants nonetheless searched and seized the records without making any attempt to segregate the files from those that could possibly be related to the search warrant,” it adds. “In fact, no effort was made at all to even try maintaining the illusion of legitimacy and legality.”

    The complaint, as quoted by Courthouse News, further alleges that the agents used the company’s facilities to watch basketball, order pizza and Coca Cola “illustrating their complete disregard of the court’s order and the Plaintiffs’ Fourth Amendment rights.”
    The complaint seeks $25,000 in compensatory damages per individual, according to Courthouse News, a declaratory judgment protecting the information seized as well as the return and elimination of the records from all government databases.

    Read more:

  4. #4
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    PARADISE (San Diego)
    Read the IRS acting commissioner's resignation letter

    Posted by
    CNN Senior Producer Kevin Bohn

    (CNN) – In a letter to Internal Revenue Service employees, acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller announced "with regret" that he'll be leaving the agency in early June.

    "This has been an incredibly difficult time for the IRS given the events of the past few days, and there is a strong and immediate need to restore public trust in the nation's tax agency," said Miller, a 25-year IRS veteran. "I believe the Service will benefit from having a new acting commissioner in place during this challenging period."

    Read the full letter below.

    CNN obtained the memo shortly after President Barack Obama announced from the White House that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew requested Miller's resignation.

    May 15, 2013

    The internal message to IRS Employees from Acting IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller

    Dear Colleagues,

    It is with regret that I will be departing from the IRS as my acting assignment ends in early June. This has been an incredibly difficult time for the IRS given the events of the past few days, and there is a strong and immediate need to restore public trust in the nation's tax agency. I believe the Service will benefit from having a new Acting Commissioner in place during this challenging period. As I wrap up my time at the IRS, I will be focused on an orderly transition.

    While I recognize that much work needs to be done to restore faith in the IRS, I don't want anyone to lose sight of the fact that the IRS is comprised of incredibly dedicated and hard-working public servants. During my 25-year IRS career, I am profoundly proud to have worked alongside you and to be part of an institution that has worked hard to support the nation. I have strong confidence in the IRS leadership team to continue the important work of our agency.

    I want to thank everyone for all of their support and friendship during my career in government service. And I especially want to thank each and every one of you for your continued commitment to the nation's taxpayers.

    Last edited by JohnDoe2; 05-15-2013 at 08:20 PM.

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  5. #5
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    Heart of Dixie
    Director of IRS Tax-Exempt Determinations Office Is Obama Donor
    By Eliana Johnson
    May 15, 2013 6:57 PM

    The director of the Office of Rulings and Agreements, which oversees the determinatons of tax-exempt organizations, is a donor to Barack Obama. Holly Pazdonated $2,000 to Obama’s 2008 campaign, according to Open Secrets, which maintains a database of individual political donations.

    An inspector general’s report released yesterday concluded that the IRS improperly targeted Tea Party and other conservative groups for undue scrutiny, and Paz heads the office in which the wrongdoing is said to have occurred. National Review Online reported earlier today that agency officials are currently copying the hard drives of every employee on Paz’s watch. That data will be made available to investigators working on a second IG investigation focusing on the potential criminal activity individual agency employees.

    The House Oversight Committe is requesting that Paz and four other employees be made available for transcribed interviews starting next week.

    Data from the Center for Responsive Politics indicate that Paz’s donations are consistent with broader trends at the IRS, where agency employees donated overwhelming to President Obama in both the 2012 and 2008 presiential Elections.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    Soros Gave $6.1 Million to Groups Linked to Pressure on IRS to Target Conservative Nonprofits

    Government actions followed letters about right-wing organizations.
    Published: 5/15/2013 4:17 PM ET
    By Mike Ciandella

    As IRS efforts targeting politically-conservative groups gained momentum, George Soros-funded liberal groups repeatedly called on the IRS to investigate conservative nonprofit organizations.

    While the first reported instances of extra IRS scrutiny for conservative groups began in Cincinnati in March of 2010, the attacks began to pick up steam on a national level soon after Soros-funded groups began firing off letters to the IRS in October of that year - following the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling.

    The talking points of these groups then bounced around a carefully created progressive "echo chamber," until they eventually made their way into established media outlets. Key IRS policy changes about how it investigated conservative groups took place soon after it received three separate letters sent by Soros-funded liberal organizations.

    Several Soros-funded groups including the Campaign Legal Center, Democracy 21, the Center for Public Integrity, Mother Jones and Alternet have worked to pressure the IRS to target conservative nonprofit groups. The subsequent IRS investigation flagged more than 100 tea party-related applications for higher scrutiny, including applications that included the words "Tea Party" and "patriot."

    The IRS scandal can be traced back to a series of letters that the liberal groups Campaign Legal Center (CLC) and Democracy 21 sent to the IRS back in 2010 and 2011. Both groups were funded by George's Soros's Open Society Foundations. The CLC received $677,000 and Democracy 21 got $365,000 from the Soros-backed foundation, according to the Foundation's 990 tax forms.

    The letters specifically targeted conservative Super PACs like Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS, asking the IRS to scrutinize them more thoroughly to determine whether or not they should retain their tax-exempt status.

    On Oct. 5, 2010, when the first letter was sent to the IRS, calling specifically for the agency to "investigate" Crossroads GPS. The letter claimed Crossroads was "impermissibly using its tax status to spend tens of millions of dollars in the 2010 congressional races while hiding the donors funding these expenditures from the American people." Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer wrote a blog post for the liberal Huffington Post to promote it, and the effort to get the media to notice the anti-conservative campaign began.

    On June 27, 2011, a second letter by the CLC and Democracy 21 complained about enforcement of 501(c)(4) tax regulations, asking "that the IRS issue new regulations that better enforce the law." Two days later, an IRS senior agency official was briefed on a new policy targeting groups which "criticize how the country is being run," according to a Washington Post story. According to the Post, this policy was later revised.

    A third letter by the CLC and Democracy 21, on Sept 28, 2011, got media traction. The letter showed the escalation of the left's complaint about 501(c)(4) groups. It challenged "the eligibility of four organizations engaged in campaign activity to be treated as 501(c)(4) tax exempt organizations." The four organizations included Crossroads GPS, Priorities USA, American Action Network and Americans Elect.

    The Soros-funded Center for Public Integrity ($2,716,32 8 published a "study" on 501(c)(4) groups, on October 31, which drew heavily from, and referenced, the CLC and Democracy 21. The Center for Public Integrity has strong media connections and boasts an advisory board that includes Ben Sherwood, president of ABC News, and Michele Norris, an NPR host, as well as a board of directors with such prominent names as Huffington Post CEO Arianna Huffington, Steve Kroft of CBS News's "60 Minutes" and Craig Newmark (founder of Craigslist).

    This study then led to a Mother Jones article about a month later, on November 18, which was reposted on the left-wing blog Alternet on November 21. By December of 2011, the topic had been picked up in a New York Times editorial, and then began receiving other media coverage. Thateditorial called for "the Internal Revenue Service to crack down on the secret political money already flooding the 2012 campaign from partisan operatives ludicrously claiming to be 'social welfare' activists."
    On Jan. 15, 2012, the IRS targeted groups focused on limiting government or educating people about the Constitution and Bill of Rights

    Alternet and Mother Jones are both members of The Media Consortium, which is designed to do exactly what happened here. The Media Consortium was created to be a progressive "echo chamber," where 63 separate left-wing media outlets can network and share ideas, as well as cross-promote stories. Other members of the Consortium include such liberal outlets as The Nation, Democracy Now! and The American Prospect. The consortium has also received $675,000 in Soros funds since 2000. Alternet ($285,000) and Mother Jones ($485,000) have both also received individual funding from Soros's Open Society Foundations.

    This isn't the only time the IRS has targeted conservative groups recently, nor is it the only connection between the IRS and Soros-funded groups. The IRS gave the left-wing journalism site ProPublica the applications for nine conservative groups pending tax-exempt status.

    The IRS also released the confidential donor lists of the National Organization for Marriage to the liberal Human Rights Campaign. Both the Human Rights Campaign ($2,716,32 8 and ProPublica ($300,000) are also Soros-funded. Despite its blatant liberal leanings, ProPublica boasts a staff of well-known journalists, including veterans of The New York Times and The Wall Street journal, as well as of liberal operations like the Center for American Progress and The Nation, and has even won two Pulitzer Prizes.

    Timeline Shows Influence of Soros-Funded Groups

    • March 1-17, 2010: First ten reported cases of targeting by the IRS against groups that had ties to the "tea party or similar organizations."
    • Sept. 16, 2010: TIME article "The New GOP Money Stampede" quotes Wertheimer;
    • Sept. 23, 2010: DISCLOSE act, a campaign finance disclosure act specifically targeting a Tea Party group, in the writing of which the CLC participated, fails in the Senate;
    • Sept. 28, 2010: Democrat Senator Max Baucus writes a letter to the IRS, citing the TIME article;
    • Oct. 5, 2010: Democracy 21 and Campaign Legal Center petition IRS, Wertheimer writes HuffPo article;
    • Oct. 7, 2010: Legal brief from HoltzmanVogel PLLC against the Democracy 21 petition;
    • Oct. 14, 2010: Dick Durbin asks IRS to investigate American Crossroads, HuffPo coverage;
    • June 27, 2011: Second petition to the IRS by CLC and Democracy 21;
    • June 29, 2011: IRS senior agency official Lois Lerner briefed on efforts to target groups which "criticize how the country is being run";
    • Sept. 28, 2011: CLC and Democracy 21 petition IRS again, this time about four conservative groups;
    • Oct. 31, 2011: CPI "investigation";
    • Nov. 18, 2011: Mother Jones article;
    • Nov. 21, 2011: Alternet repost of Mother Jones Article;
    • Dec. 29, 2011: New York Times oped;
    • Jan. 15, 2012: IRS targeted groups focusing on limiting government or educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights;
    • February 2012: First articles promoting this issue appear in New York Times, Washington Post and LA Times

    $6.1 Million in Soros Funding Since 2000
    Center for Public Integrity: $2,716,328
    Campaign Legal Center: $677,000
    Media Consortium: $675,000
    Mother Jones: $485,000
    Democracy 21: $365,000
    ProPublica: $300,000
    Alternet: $285,000
    Human Rights Campaign: $600,000

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    Heart of Dixie

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