American Elephants

Cleta Mitchell is A Dangerous Woman: She’s Taking On the IRS. by The Elephant's Child

Cleta Mitchell is a prominent Washington attorney who represents several clients victimized by the criminal misconduct of the IRS over the past four years. The president of the United States has claimed that the IRS scandal over agents targeting conservative groups is merely the result of “bone-headed decisions” by a few confused employees.  He assured Bill O’Reilly, there is not a “smidgen” of corruption involved in a once-trusted federal agency intimidating the president’s political opponents. But then the rules seem to be somewhat different in Chicago.

There are currently six separate investigations of this scandal underway. Two of them by the Obama administration are classic Chicago scams. Obama cronies tasked with investigating Obama cronies. to show that “there’s nothing to see here, just move along.”

This is the 275th day of the IRS scandal, as documented daily by Tax Law professor Paul Caron. He documents the threat to free speech, the rule changes devised to shut down opposition to Democrats and their policies.

Catherine Engelbrecht and her family run a small oil-field machinery business in Texas. In 2009, after seeing several instances of clear voter fraud as a poll-watcher, Mrs. Engelbrecht founded a couple of conservative political groups:”The King Street Patriots,” and “True The Vote”. In mid 2010, she applied to the IRS for nonprofit status.

Here’s the way that seems to work; At Thursday’s hearing, Jim Jordan (R-OH) asked if their business was ever visited by OSHA in their first 20 years of business? Never, was the response.

Once she filed for nonprofit status, they were visited twice by OSHA. The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms came twice. The IRS audited several times. The FBI visited 6 times.  All just coincidental, of course, though none had visited in the previous 20 years. In Chicago those kinds of intimidating coincidences regularly happen to opponents of the Democrat political machine.

A process of reviewing applications for exempt status had been for decades expected to take three to four weeks was converted to one that took three to four years, and in some cases still is not over.

In spite of, or because, of the six ongoing investigations that mostly seem devised to reach a passive conclusion, Democrats are at greater pains to ensure that the same conservative groups are silenced during the 2014 midterms.

Treasury and the IRS introduced a new rule during the Thanksgiving recess to “improve” the law governing nonprofits. What the rule does is recategorize as “political” all manner of educational activities that 501(c)(4) groups now engage in. This is IRS targeting, by administration design, with the straightforward political goal of putting” tea party groups out of business,” according to House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI). Note that the rule changes target only Tea Party groups, not unions or those who might support the Democrats.

Kim Strassel of the WSJ says that “with one little IRS rule it can shut up hundreds of groups that pose a direct threat”to Democrat prospects “by restricting  their ability to speak freely in an election season about spending or ObamaCare or jobs. And it gets away with it by positioning this new targeting as a fix for the first round.”

“The IRS has combed through the list of previously targeted tea party groups, compiling a list of their main activities and then restricting those functions.”

Newly sworn-in IRS Commissioner John Koskinen vowed during his confirmation hearing to restore public trust in the agency, and must now decide whether to aid in a new and blatantly political abuse of IRS powers. The White House is using the agency to win an election this fall.

Don’t like ObamaCare? Unhappy with the president’s policy on Iran? Want growth in the economy? Think there should be more attention to increasing employment opportunities? Information about those policies may be hard to get as Tea Party groups are targeted for intimidation.


Pay No Attention to the Excuses. There Is No Excuse! by The Elephant's Child

I don’t think I have ever heard anything quite a shocking as Steven Miller’s testimony before  the House Ways and Means Committee yesterday on the targeting of organizations that might have been able to raise money to oppose the reelection of Barack Obama.

” I do not believe that partisanship motivated the people who engaged in the practices described in the Inspector Generals’ report. …Foolish mistakes were made by people trying to be more efficient in their workload selection.  …We provided horrible customer service. It’s my belief that what happened here is not illegal, but it was unappropriate. It’s my belief that what happened here was not illegal, but I suppose that there are some facts that might come out that would indicate otherwise, but it’s not my area.”

So he said he is accountable and  pushed up his previously announced retirement by a couple of weeks. Mistakes were made. Always the passive voice. In an earlier day he might have been run out of town on a rail.

So the United States Treasury Department is crooked. The agency within that department that collects taxes and has the legal power to investigate citizens’ and businesses’ financial affairs believes that they are free to conduct their investigations in a manner which will determine the results of a national election. But that’s not illegal, it’s just trying to be more efficient. Not inappropriate. You cannot trust the Internal Revenue Service. They are not only untrustworthy, but they do not understand what is wrong with what they have done.

The President of the United States, in complete defiance of manners, custom, and the separation of powers defined by the Constitution, which he took an oath to defend, called out the Supreme Court of the United States in the middle of a State of the Union Speech to tell them they were wrong in their Citizens United decision that said corporations has the same right to donate money as unions did. So it starts right at the top, in spite of any allegation of innocence.

Targeting of pro-life groups began in 2009. An IRS agent told the Coalition for Life of Iowa that approval of their application for tax-exempt status was withheld. They were told to send a letter to the agency signed by the entire board—under perjury of the law—stating that they do not picket, protest or organize any other groups to picket or protest any Planned Parenthood clinic.

The Obama administration was aware of the IRS scandal five months before the election. Ace of Spades notes that it’s about a union: the National Treasury Employees Union (NETU). Anything indicating conservative leanings like “Tea Party,” “Patriot,” were not only denied tax exempt status to which they were entitled, donors to right-leaning think tanks names were illegally given to their opponents, but other agencies were directed to investigate such groups. The Tax Professor’s blog includes a long list of links for those who want to understand what the IRS is up to more clearly.

Meanwhile, you might want to investigate the Cayman Islands or other tax sheltering venues.

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