American Elephants

First Shoe Dropped on Friday, The Other Next Week! by The Elephant's Child

The IRS in the infamous Friday Night News Dump admitted that it had targeted conservative organizations —specifically Tea Party groups, or any group that has words like “Patriot,” “Constitution,”or “Declaration of Independence” in their materials. The IRS also admitted that they improperly demanded donor lists from some of these organizations. This is playing politics with tax records, and an appalling violation of the bedrock principle of American democracy that the coercive powers of government are never to be used for partisan purposes.  But groups with “progressive” or “progress” in their names were not similarly targeted.

So why are they admitting this late on a Spring Friday just before Mothers’ Day when the public is supposedly out buying flowers for their moms? That’s what you do when you hope no one will notice. It seems that a report is due out this next week from the IRS Inspector General. By next week, maybe it will all be old news and no one will pay attention. The Agency even use the timeless passive phrase designed to absolve any actual humans. “Mistakes Were Made.”

It is disturbing that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has not apologized to the American people and promised a full investigation. Nor had President Obama.  It was only low-level people in Cleveland who didn’t know any better.

The chairman of a House subcommittee is demanding more information from the IRS about its practice of searching the emails of  suspected tax fraudsters. Chairman Charles Boustany (R-LA) of the Ways and Means Committee according to an April article in The Hill, asked the IRS to provide information about whether it mines Facebook, Twitter or other social  media without a warrant, and what searches it has conducted since 2010. The ACLU released documents in which the agency claimed that it does not need a warrant to access emails, text messages and other electronic communications.

At Powerline, John Hinderaker notes that “this is not the first time the Obama administration has abused the IRS. In August 2010, Austin Goolsbee, who directed Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board and later chaired his Council of Economic Advisers gave a press briefing in which he discussed corporate income taxes. In that briefing, he suggested that he had access to confidential IRS data, and falsely accused the administration’s beta noire, Koch Industries of not paying corporate  income taxes.”

The claim was false, but how would an administration official have access to records that show how much a corporation pays in taxes.? Such access would be illegal.

Last month it was reported that dozens of IRS employees claim to be unemployed in order to receive welfare, housing allowances and food stamps. Twenty-four current and former IRS employees have been charged with stealing government benefits. They were indicted on charges that they illegally received more than $250,000 in benefits.

It is going to be very interesting to find out what the IRS Inspector General has to say, in his report next week.


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