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The IRS Scandal Mushrooms to Monstrous Proportions

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The highest office in the land and their deputies in the IRS and across all branches of government has and continues to target both groups and individuals who IRS vs Tea Party Right Side Newsoppose the them.

In May 2013, it was learned that from April 2010 to April 2012, the Internal Revenue Service had placed on hold the processing of applications for tax-exempt status that it had received from hundreds of organizations with such presumably conservative indicators as “Tea Party,” “Patriots,” or “9/12” in their names. During that period, the IRS approved only four applications from conservative groups while green-lighting applications from several dozen organizations whose names included the likely left-leaning terms “Progressive,” “Progress,” “Liberal,” or “Equality.”

In February 2014, it was further learned that of the already-existing nonprofits that were flagged for IRS surveillance (including monitoring of the groups’ activities, websites, and any other publicly available information), 83% were conservative. And, of the groups that the IRS selected for audit, 100% were conservative.

This section of Discover The Networks provides a timeline of this illegal, blatantly partisan practice by the IRS.

March 31, 2010: Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU)—the 150,000-member union that represents employees of the IRS and 30 other government agencies—visits President Obama at the White House. NTEU's Political Action Committee endorsed Obama in both 2008 and 2012, and gave hundreds of thousands of dollars in the 2010 and 2012 election cycles to anti-Tea Party candidates. (Source)

April 1, 2010: The day after Colleen Kelley's White House visit, IRS employees begin applying extra scrutiny to tax-exempt-status applications from conservative organizations whose names contain the words “Tea Party,” “Patriot,” “9-12,” “'Take Back the Country,” or “We the People.” (Source and Source)

August 2010: The IRS issues its first “BOLO” (“Be On The Lookout”) alert for “various local organizations in the Tea Party movement” that are seeking tax-exempt status as 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) groups. The IRS is also flagging applications by organizations that: (a) address such issues as government spending, government debt, and taxes; (b) promote the use of education, advocacy, and lobbying to “make America a better place to live”; or (c) criticize how the country is being run by the Obama administration. (Source and Source)

Winter 2010-2011: Judith Kindell, senior advisor to IRS Exempt Organizations Division Director Lois Lerner, tells IRS attorney Carter Hull, who oversaw the review of some tax-exemption applications by conservative Tea Party groups, that the IRS Chief Counsel’s office -- headed by Obama appointee William Wilkins -- will henceforth need to review all applications from conservative groups whose names contain the aforementioned trigger words. According to Hull, this is the first time in his 48-year career at the IRS that he has been instructed to forward any tax-exemption applications to another office. (Source and Source)

February 2011: In an email, IRS Exempt Organizations Division Director Lois Lerner Lerner advises her staff—including then Exempt Organizations Technical Manager Michael Seto and then Rulings and Agreements director Holly Paz—that a Tea Party matter is "very dangerous," and that this is something "Counsel and [Lerner adviser] Judy Kindell need to be in on." Lerner adds that Tea Party groups' tax-exemption applications could end up being the “vehicle to go to court” to get more clarity on a 2010 Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance rules. Thus, at this point, Lerner—contrary to false statements she will subsequently make—is well aware of the fact that groups with “Tea Party,” “Patriot,” or “9/12 Project” in their names are being flagged for additional and often burdensome scrutiny by the IRS. (Source and Source)

February 2011: In an email to Lois Lerner, a Federal Election Commission (FEC) investigator inquires about the status of the tax-exemption application of the American Future Fund, a conservative group. (The FEC and IRS have no authority to share this information under section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code.) Soon after this FEC inquiry, the American Future Fund receives a questionnaire from the IRS. (Source)


June 3, 2011: 
David Camp, Republican Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, sends a letter to then-IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman inquiring about a report that the IRS has been conducting an unusually large number of audits of conservative 501(c)(4) groups and taxpayers who have donated money to them. Lawmakers will subsequently send at least seven more letters asking the IRS to address complaints that conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status are being subjected to burdensome screening. (Source and Source)

July 1, 2011: 
The IRS responds to David Camp’s June 3 letter by stating that its “actions in this area were in no way influenced by political considerations.” According to the Agency, Exempt Organizations Division Director Lois Lerner has ordered the criteria for flagging tax-exempt applications for extra scrutiny to be changed, so as to apply more broadly to “organizations involved with political, lobbying, or advocacy for exemption under 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4).” (Source)

August 4, 2011:
Staffers in the IRS's Rulings and Agreements office hold a meeting with the Chief Counsel’s office which is headed by William Wilkins. At this meeting, Wilkins is made aware that conservative groups are being targeted by the IRS. Appointed by President Obama in 2009, Wilkins is one of only two presidential appointees in the entire agency. In subsequent interviews, IRS lawyer Carter Hull, who oversaw the review of some tax-exemption applications by conservative Tea Party groups, tells congressional investigators that his superiors have told him that Wilkins’ office needs to be involved in additional reviews of previously screened tax-exemption applications because of “potential political activity.” (Source and Source)

October 6, 2011: Charles Boustany, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee, sends a letter to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman requesting information about the agency's dealings with the tax-exempt sector.  (Source)

November 18, 2011:
 The IRS responds to Chairman Boustany by providing some of the information he requested, but makes no mention of any knowledge that conservative groups are being targeted. (Source)

December 16, 2011:
House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee members meet with Exempt Organizations Division Director Lois Lerner and other IRS staff. Neither Lerner nor her colleagues mention that their agency has targeted conservative groups. (Source and Source)

January 2012: The IRS begins sending follow-up letters requesting that conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status provide voluminous and sensitive information, such as the names of all donors and the amounts of all their donations; a list of all issues important to the groups; an explanation of where the groups stand on those issues; and all emails sent to members of the groups. (Source)

February 24, 2012: During a briefing on the onerous follow-up letters received by some conservative organizations, Oversight and Government Reform Committee staffers ask IRS Exempt Organizations Division Director Lois Lerner whether the criteria for evaluating tax-exempt applications have changed at any point. Lerner replies that the criteria have not changed. (Source)

February 29, 2012: The IRS issues a 60-day extension (for compliance) to all groups that have received follow-up letters, and Lerner orders that no additional developmental letters be sent. (Source)

March 1, 2012: Charles Boustany, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee, sends a follow-up letter to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman with additional queries about reports that “the IRS has been questioning new tax-exempt applicants, including grassroots political entities such as Tea Party groups.” (Source)

March 1, 2012 - Top IRS officials meet to discuss media reports that conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status are being harassed/targeted. (Source)

March 12, 2012: The IRS responds to Boustany's letter with no mention of any knowledge that conservative groups are being targeted. (Source)

March 12, 2012: Democratic Senators Charles Schumer, Michael Bennet, Sheldon Whitehouse, Jeff Merkley, Tom Udall, Jeanne Shaheen, and Al Franken write a letter calling on the IRS to scrutinize conservative groups allegedly masquerading as 501(c)(4) “social welfare organizations.” A press release from Senator Schumer’s office, asserting that “the lack of clarity in the IRS rules has allowed political groups to improperly claim 501(c)4 status and may even be allowing donors to these groups to wrongly claim tax deductions for their contributions,” summarizes the terms of the letter:

“We urge the IRS to take these steps immediately to prevent abuse of the tax code by political groups focused on federal election activities.  But if the IRS is unable to issue administrative guidance in this area then we plan to introduce legislation to accomplish these important changes.” (Source)

March 22, 2012: The House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee holds its regularly scheduled 2012 hearing on the tax-return filing season and general IRS operations. Chairman Charles Boustany asks then-IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman about reports that the IRS has been targeting Tea Party groups. Shulman responds, “I can give you assurances…[t]here is absolutely no targeting.”  (Source, Source, Source, and Source)

March 23, 2012: The IRS sends a supplementary response (containing additional information) to the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee, and again makes no mention of any knowledge that conservative groups are being targeted. (Source)

March 27, 2012: Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and Subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) send Exempt Organizations Division Director Lois Lerner a letter requesting information related to the reports that conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status have been receiving extra scrutiny from the IRS. (Source)

March 2012: Oversight and Government Reform Committee representatives meet with staffers from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) to discuss IRS policies for scrutinizing organizations applying for tax-exempt status. In response, then-Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement Steven Miller directs the IRS to launch an internal review of the actions taken by the Exempt Organizations Division. (Source)

April 4 2012: During a telephone briefing, Lois Lerner tells Oversight and Government Reform Committee staff that the information which the IRS has been requesting in its additional follow-up letters to conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status is not beyond the bounds of ordinary practice. (Source)

April 23, 2012: House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Charles Boustany and 61 other House Republicans send a letter to IRS Deputy Director Steven Miller, inquiring about discriminatory practices against conservative groups. (Source and Source)

April 23, 2012: IRS Chief Counsel William Wilkins, who was appointed by President Obama in 2009, meets with Obama in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. (Source)

April 24, 2012: IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman (William Wilkins' boss) and two other IRS officials—Shulman's chief-of-staff and political aide Jonathan Davis and IRS spokesman Frank Keith—meet for eight-and-a-half hours with a top White House official, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) director Jeffrey Zients, at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building located at the White House complex. (Source and Source)

April 25, 2012: The IRS Chief Counsel’s office (led by William Wilkins) sends Washington-based IRS officials new guidelines on how to scrutinize Tea Party and conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status. (Source)

April 26, 2012: The IRS sends a second supplementary response to the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee but includes no information about its practice of targeting conservative groups. (Source)

April 26, 2012: Exempt Organizations Division Director Lois Lerner, responding to the March 27th letter from Chairmen Issa and Jordan, writes that the IRS letters to targeted conservative organizations were “in the ordinary course of the application process to obtain the information as the IRS deems necessary to make a determination whether the organization meets the legal requirements for tax-exempt status.” (Source)

May 3, 2012: The IRS, having completed its own internal review of the targeting scandal, concludes that there has been a substantial, inappropriate bias against conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status. IRS Deputy Director Steven Miller is informed of this finding. (Source, Source, and Source)

May 15, 2012: IRS Acting Commissioner Steven Miller identifies two "rogue" employees in the agency's Cincinnati office as being mainly responsible for the "overly aggressive" handling of requests by conservative groups for tax-exempt status. Miller says the staffers have already been disciplined. (Source)

May 2012: David Camp, Republican Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, sends a letter to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman requesting copies of all 501(c)(4) applications from 2010 and 2011. (Source)

May 2012: In 45-page letters to two lawmakers who inquired about the IRS targeting of conservative groups, Exempt Organizations Division Director Lois Lerner makes no mention of any such practice. (Source)

May 2012: IRS officials determine that there were seven types of information asked of conservative applicants, including donor information, that were inappropriate. (Source)

June 4, 2012: The Inspector General (IG) informs the Treasury Department's general counsel that he has been auditing the IRS’s screening of politically active groups seeking tax exemptions. The IG then gives the same information to Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin “shortly after.” This means that Obama administration officials are now fully aware of the matter. (Source)

June 15, 2012: IRS Deputy Director Steven Miller responds to an April 23 letter signed by Charles Boustany, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee, and 61 other House Republicans, but includes no information about the IRS’s discriminatory practices against conservative groups. Stating generally that the IRS has recently been seeing more tax-exempt applications from politically active groups and has been striving to “coordinate the handling of the case to ensure consistency,” Lerner does not concede that conservatives have been singled out. (Source and Source)

June 25, 2012: The House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee holds a hearing on charitable organizations. When asked about IRS harassment of conservative groups, IRS Deputy Director Steven Miller makes no reference to any discriminatory practices but says: “I am aware that some two hundred 501(c)(4) applications fell into this category [the determinations letter process]. We did group those organizations together to ensure consistency, to ensure quality.” During his testimony, Miller does not disclose what he was told on May 3 regarding the targeting of Tea Party groups. (Source and Source)

July 10, 2012: Sharon Light, then-advisor to Exempt Organizations Division Director Lois Lerner, emails Lerner a National Public Radio story on how outside money was making it difficult for Democrats to hold onto their Senate majority. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has already complained to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) that conservative groups should be treated as political committees, rather than as tax-exempt social welfare groups. "Perhaps the FEC will save the day," Ms. Lerner replies later that morning in an email. (Source)

September 11, 2012: IRS Deputy Commissioner Steven Miller writes a letter responding to Senator Orrin Hatch, the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, who has already written three times to the IRS about complaints related to the targeting of conservative groups. Miller again does not acknowledge the scrutiny to which conservative groups were subjected. (Source)

Fall 2012: Pursuant to a request by David Camp, Republican Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, the IRS makes all 501(c)(4) applications from 2010 and 2011 available to that Committee. (Source)

November 11, 2012 – Douglas Shulman steps down as IRS Director and is replaced by Steven Miller. (Source)

November 15, 2012: Exempt Organizations Division Director Lois Lerner and IRS staffers meet with House Ways and Means Committee staff but again do not mention their knowledge about the targeting of conservative groups. (Source and Source)

March 15, 2013 - New Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is informed of the IRS targeting probe. (Source)

April 22, 2013: According to White House spokesman Jay Carney, this is the date when the White House Counsel first learns that the Inspector General will soon be completing its report about the IRS office in Cincinnati, which handles tax-exempt applications. (Source and Source)

May 9, 2013: At an American Bar Association (ABA) conference, attorney Celia Roady asks a planted question of Exempt Organizations Division Director Lois Lerner regarding the IRS targeting scandal. The Inspector General's report on the scandal was slated to be given to the White House the next day, and Lerner chose the ABA event as a venue for issuing a preemptive apology in advance of that report. Several days later, Cecilia Roady explains how this was arranged:

“On May 9, I received a call from Lois Lerner, who told me that she wanted to address an issue after her prepared remarks … and asked if I would pose a question to her after her remarks. I agreed to do so.… We had no discussion thereafter on the topic of the question, nor had we spoken about any of this before I received her call. She did not tell me, and I did not know, how she would answer the question.” (Source and Source)

May 10, 2013: Blaming low-level IRS employees in Cincinnati, Exempt Organizations Division Director Lois Lerner says that no high-level officials were aware of the IRS targeting of conservative groups until she began "seeing information in the press that raised questions for us." She apologizes on behalf of the IRS for the "inappropriate" targeting. This same day, White House counsel receives the Inspector General's report, and President Barack Obama is said to have heard of the matter for the first time. (Source, Source, and Source)

May 13, 2013:
President Obama claims to have learned about the IRS targeting just three days earlier: ”I first learned about it from the same news reports that I think most people learned about this. I think it was on Friday.” He says that if the IRS intentionally targeted conservatives, it was “outrageous.” The Democratic-controlled Senate Finance Committee joins Republican-led House committees in planning new investigations into the matter. (Source, Source, and Source)

May 13, 2013:
The Daily Mail reports that the IRS, in many of its audits of conservative groups, “demanded to know the names of all its financial donors and volunteers, as part of a 55-question inquisition into its application for tax-exempt status.” For example, the questionnaire: (a) wanted to know “the names of the donors, contributors, and grantors” for every year “from inception to the present”; (b) demanded a listing of “the amounts of each of the donations, contributions, and grants and the dates you received them”; and (c) and asked the targeted groups to “provide the details” about how they had “use[d] these donations, contributions, and grants.”

May 14, 2013:
White House press secretary Jay Carney says in a press conference that the White House was notified about the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups “several weeks ago.” Later in the press conference, however, Carney says that that he nor the President were notified individually. (Source)

May 14, 2013:
IRS Director Steven Miller says that his agency demonstrated “a lack of sensitivity” in trying to determine whether conservative groups were eligible for tax exemption. The Justice Department says it will conduct a criminal investigation, the Inspector General's report (titled “Inappropriate Criteria Were Used to Identify Tax-Exempt Applications for Review”) is released to the public, and President Obama calls the findings “intolerable and inexcusable.” (Source and Source)

May 15, 2013 – The IRS announces that IRS Director Steven Miller will be resigning in June, at which time he was already scheduled to leave anyway. (Source)

May 16, 2013: At a press conference, Julianna Goldman of Bloomberg News asks President Obama the following question (italics added for emphasis):

“Mr. President, I want to ask you about the IRS. Can you assure the American people that nobody in the White House knew about the agency’s actions before your Counsel’s Office found out on April 22nd? And when they did find out, do you think that you should have learned about it before you learned about it from news reports as you said last Friday? And also, are you opposed to there being a special counsel appointed to lead the Justice Department investigation?”

Obama replies, evasively:

“[L]et me make sure that I answer your specific question. I can assure you that I certainly did not know anything about the IG report before the IG report had been leaked through the press.”(Source)


May 16, 2013:
President Obama calls the IRS's targeting of conservative groups “outrageous and unacceptable.” He also reiterates that he was unaware of the targeting until news reports began coming out six days earlier. (Source)

May 17, 2013:
The New York Times reports that the White House actually learned of the IRS targeting on June 4, 2012—five months prior to the 2012 elections. (Source and Source)

May 17, 2013:
In a congressional hearing, acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller apologizes for “foolish mistakes” carried out by IRS employees “trying to be more efficient in their workload selection.” But he strongly pushes back against Republican assertions that the agency is politicized. Moreover, he maintains that he did not lie to Congress—even though he never revealed the targeting program in response to repeated requests from Republican lawmakers in recent years. “I did not mislead Congress,” he says. “I answered the questions as they were asked.” Miller also says that he takes “exception” to the term “targeting” because “It’s a loaded term.” (Source)

May 20, 2013:
The Colfax, California-based NorCal Tea Party—claiming that its application for tax-exempt status has been wrongfully subjected to extra scrutiny—launches a lawsuit against the IRS. (Source)

May 21, 2013:
In a congressional hearing, former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, who stepped down from that post when his five-year term expired in November 2012, tells the Senate Finance Committee he did not learn all the facts about the targeting of conservative groups until he read the preceding week's Inspector General report confirming the targeting strategy. “I agree this is an issue that when someone spotted it, they should have brought it up the chain,” he says. “And they didn't. I don't know why.” Also during the hearing:

May 21, 2013: True the Vote, a conservative organization that fights for electoral integrity and was targeted by the IRS, files suit against the IRS in federal court. (Source)

May 22, 2013: At a congressional hearing into the targeting scandal, Lois Lerner (Director of the IRS Exempt Organizations Division) gives a self-serving opening statement and then immediately pleads the Fifth Amendment, refusing to answer any questions. Says Lerner:

“... My professional career has been devoted to fulfilling responsibilities of the agencies for which I have worked, and I am very proud of the work that I have done in government.... I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws, I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations, and I have not provided false information to this or any other congressional committee. And while I would very much like to answer the committee’s questions today, I’ve been advised by my counsel to assert my constitutional right not to testify or answer questions related to the subject matter of this hearing.... I know that some people will assume that I’ve done something wrong. I have not. One of the basic functions of the Fifth Amendment is to protect innocent individuals, and that is the protection I’m invoking today.” (Source)

May 23, 2013: Lois Lerner is placed on administrative leave from the IRS. (Source)

May 29, 2013:  CBS News reports that after Texas businesswoman Catherine Engelbrecht founded two conservative organizations, she was harassed to an extreme degree by the IRS as well as other government agencies. That prompted her to file a federal lawsuit in May 2013. According to CBS:

The trouble began shortly after Engelbrecht founded True the Vote, which trains election volunteers and aims to root out voter fraud, and King Street Patriots, a group with ideals similar to the Tea Party. Both sought tax-exempt status from the IRS in July 2010. And both organizations drew the ire of Democrats. Democrats accused True the Vote of intimidating voters in its poll watching efforts, which the group denies. And the Texas Democratic Party successfully sued King Street Patriots, arguing that it's an unregistered political action committee.

But Engelbrecht's attorney, Cleta Mitchell, says it's not just the Democratic Party that went after the conservative causes, but also the federal government. Within months of the groups filing for tax-exempt status, Engelbrecht claims she started getting hit by an onslaught of harassment: six FBI domestic terrorism inquiries, an IRS visit, two IRS business audits, two IRS personal audits, and inspections of her equipment manufacturing company by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Texas environmental quality officials....

All the while, the IRS tax-exempt applications seemed to languish. Engelbrecht says the IRS requested additional information from True the Vote five times, requiring thousands of pages of documentation. Engelbrecht estimates she's spent more than $100,000 in attorney and accountant fees to process the IRS requests. With its tax-exempt status in limbo, she says True the Vote had to return a $35,000 grant and cannot effectively fundraise. "I just kept thinking this can't be happening." Engelbrecht says, "it never ends."

Engelbrecht's attorney, Mitchell, says the IRS process for conservative groups was relatively painless, often taking just a few months, until about 2010 when there was an abrupt shift: simple questions became intrusive, lengthy interrogations requiring professional legal help. Applicants sometimes had to spend tens of thousands of dollars in attorney fees, they lost revenue, and in some cases, got so discouraged that they gave up on tax-exempt status altogether.

Washington, DC attorney John Pomeranz represents liberal organizations seeking tax-exemption. He told CBS News that he has found some of the IRS requests of tea party groups "new" and "very troubling," and said he doesn't recall getting similar demands for his liberal clients.  (Source)

May 31, 2013: It is reported that the IRS is being sued by 25 Tea Party groups in federal court over its illegal targeting practices. (Source)

June 2013: The Treasury Department's Inspector General reveals that just 6 liberal/left groups were targeted by the IRS, compared to 292 conservative groups. The IG also says that 100% of conservative groups seeking special tax status— i.e., all 292 of them—were put under IRS review, while only 30% of the liberal/left groups were put under such review. (Source, Source, and Source)

June 5, 2013: It is reported that Sarah Hall Ingram, who headed the IRS’s Exempt Organizations Division in 2010 when the scandal-ridden agency began improperly targeting the tax-exempt nonprofit status of conservative groups, has logged 165 recorded visits to the White House since 2011. (Fully 155 of those were hosted by Jeanne Lambrew, deputy assistant to the president for health policy.) None of Ingram’s 165 meetings overlapped with those of former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, whose name has appeared in the White House visitor logs 157 times since September 15, 2009. In short, these two IRS officials have been responsible for more than 300 White House visits since the beginning of the Obama administration. (Source and Source)

July 18, 2013: Testifying before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, top IRS attorney Carter Hull—a 48-year IRS veteran who will soon retire—says that in the winter of 2010-11:

“[I] was assigned by my supervisor to work on two applications of tea party groups. In that same month, I became aware that a group of tea party applications were being held by EO (Exempt Organizations) determinations in Cincinnati. It was my understanding that the applications assigned to me would be ‘test cases’ to provide guidance for those other applications. I was also told by my supervisor that I was to coordinate the review of the tea party applications that were assigned to Elizabeth Hofacre in Cincinnati.”

The most damning part of Hull’s testimony involves a directive from Lois Lerner’s senior advisor, who told him that the applications would require further review and “should go to the [IRS] chief counsel”—i.e., William Wilkins, an Obama appointee. (Source and Source)

July 24, 2013: During an economic address at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, President Obama charges that Republicans have turned the IRS matter into part of "an endless parade of distractions, political posturing and phony scandals." (Source)

August 13, 2013: According to House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and his colleague, Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan, Exempt Organizations Division Director Lois Lerner has been using a non-official, personal email account to conduct official government business. This is a violation of U.S. law, which requires those employed by federal agencies to retain all of their emails in the event that they are someday needed for lawsuits or congressional investigations. (Source)

September 23, 2013: Lois Lerner, the woman at the center of the IRS Tea Party targeting scandal, retires from the agency after an internal investigation finds that she was guilty of “neglect of duties” and prepares to call for her dismissal. (Source)

October 9, 2013: It is learned that top IRS official Sarah Hall Ingram in 2012 discussed confidential taxpayer information with senior Obama White House officials -- including Lois Lerner, then head of the IRS Tax Exempt Organizations division -- as evidenced by a series of 2012 emails obtained by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. At that time, Ingram headed the IRS office responsible for overseeing tax-exempt nonprofit groups.

Specifically, Ingram sought to counsel the White House on how to handle a lawsuit filed by religious organizations opposing Obamacare’s mandate for contraception coverage. As the Daily Caller reports: "Email exchanges involving Ingram and White House officials — including White House health policy advisor Ellen Montz and deputy assistant to the president for health policy Jeanne Lambrew — contained confidential taxpayer information, according to Oversight." This was a violation of Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code, which forbids -- on pain of up to five years in prison -- a federal employee from “disclos[ing] any return or return information obtained by him in any manner in connection with his service as such an officer or an employee.”

in her October 9 testimony before Rep. Darrell Issa’s House Oversight Committee, Ingram says she cannot recall a document that contained confidential taxpayer information. (Source)

February 2, 2014: In an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, President Obama adamantly rejected the suggestion that the IRS had been used for political purposes by targeting Tea Party groups that sought tax-exempt status. “That’s not what happened,” Obama said, explaining that certain IRS officials had simply made some “some bone-headed decisions” due to their confusion about the proper procedure for implementing the law governing tax-exempt organizations. When asked whether corruption, or mass corruption, had been a factor, Obama replied: “Not even mass corruption—not even a smidgen of corruption.” Obama also acknowledged that then-IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman had been to the White House more than 100 times, but said he could not recall speaking to him on any of those occasions. (Source)

February 11, 2014: House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Michigan) says that his committee’s continuing investigation has found that the IRS targeting of conservative groups extended far beyond merely placing hurdles in the path of organizations that were seeking 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status. Says Camp:

“We now know that the IRS targeted not only right-leaning applicants, but also right-leaning groups that were already operating as 501(c)(4)s. At Washington, DC’s direction, dozens of groups operating as 501(c)(4)s were flagged for IRS surveillance, including monitoring of the groups’ activities, websites and any other publicly available information. Of these groups, 83% were right-leaning. And of the groups the IRS selected for audit, 100% were right-leaning.” (Source)

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