The 2013 IRS scandal reached closer to the White House today. Two key committee chairmen in the House of Representatives sent a letter to Acting IRS Commish Daniel Werfel. In it they said some of the extra “review” of Tea Party and other conservative non-profit applications took place in the IRS chief counsel’s office. The problem: the chief counsel of the IRS gets his appointment directly from the President, same as the Commish.
IRS scandal: the latest
New York office of the IRS. Photo: Matthew G. Bisanz, CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported License.
The House Standing Committees on Ways and Means (Dave Camp, chairman) and Oversight and Government Reform (Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman) have never stopped looking into the IRS scandal. IRS employee Liz Hofacre, of the infamous Cincy Office, will testify before the Oversight Committee tomorrow. She has said before: two rogue agents in the Cincy Office could never have carried out extra review of Tea Party, Patriotic, and other conservative organizations without a supervisor signing off on it. Lois Lerner, who ran the Tax-exempt Division, said rogue agents did the deeds. (The Cincinnati Office handles nearly every Form 1023 and 1024 the IRS gets. Those are the Applications for Recognition of Exemption under Sections 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code.)
Newsmax.com had the detailed report that points to the chief counsel’s office having a role in the IRS scandal. The Washington Times was cagier, saying only that “officials in Washington” had a hand in “reviewing” these Forms 1023 and 1024.
The Times report also touched on “scrutiny” of liberal groups. It quotes J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, on this aspect of the IRS scandal. According to Mr. George, some “progressive” groups came in for extra looks. But that involved only a small proportion of such applications. Whereas every single group with a conservative purpose came in for the extra treatment.
Justice Department ignores IRS scandal
The chief counsel’s office isn’t the only office the IRS scandal touched. The Justice Department is in trouble, too. Why? Because if any office in government would prosecute IRS agents or supervisors involved in the scandal, they would. And they’re not doing it.
And at least one U.S. Senator (Charles Grassley, R-Iowa) wants to know why. He wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder. He wants to know who decided not to prosecute, and why. He suspects a political motive.
It’s one thing merely to suspect a political motive. CNAV suspects one. It’s quite another for a U. S. Senator to put that suspicion in writing.
The particular thing that Senator Grassley takes issue with, is the IRS accessing political donors’ tax records, and giving them to liberal groups.
The IRS is required to act with neutrality and professionalism, not political bias. The Justice Department should answer completely and not hide behind taxpayer confidentiality laws to avoid accountability for its decision not to prosecute a violation of taxpayer confidentiality laws.
But this is the same Justice Department that proscribed a man for defending himself, and is trying to revoke Americans’ right of self-defense. That they should give the IRS a pass for making trouble for the political enemies of the de facto President, should surprise no one.