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.


Silencing the Tea Party With New IRS Rules: by The Elephant's Child

During the long negotiations over the budget deal, Kim Strassel of the Wall Street Journal reports that Obama’s top priority was keeping the IRS clamp on Republican 501(c)(4) groups. The vehicle for that is the recently proposed IRS rule that redefines “educational activities” as excluding anything of a political nature that 501(c)(4) non-profits have routinely conducted.

This would be anything like moral opposition to ObamaCare’s contraception-coverage regulation. Or training poll-watchers, or other efforts to true the vote. This puts a muzzle on Tea Party groups who want to train their members in responding to political skullduggery, and intends to put them out of business. Democrats depend on fudging the vote with previously deceased voters, voting in more than one location, finding “extra” votes, and helping those who are not qualified voters — to vote, like illegals and felons.

Treasury is going to great lengths to keep the process behind the rule secret. The Obama supporter who was put in charge of the investigation of the IRS has unsurprisingly found no real fault, but only misunderstandings and a little mismanagement. The FBI could find no problem with the IRS, except careless mistakes and nothing that could be prosecuted. The 90-day comment period on the proposed IRS regulation ends on February 27.

Cleta Mitchell, an attorney who represents targeted tea party groups filed a Freedom of Information Act request with Treasury and the IRS in December, demanding documents or correspondence with the White House or outside groups in the formulation of this rule. By law, the government has 30 days to respond. Treasury sent a letter to Ms. Mitchell this week saying it wouldn’t have her documents until April — after the rule’s comment period closes. It added that if she didn’t like it, she can “file suit.” The IRS has not yet responded.


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