Our story begins in 2009 when many Tea Party groups applied for tax exempt status for their organizations. They were applying for tax exempt status under Section 501c(4) of the IRS code. With this status contributors to these groups can deduct their payments from their taxes. Without this designation they do not have the ability to raise money.
In 2010, none of these groups had received a ruling on their applications. The groups were starving for funds, and had to curtail their political activities for the mid-term elections. The groups started going public about the lack of action by the IRS. Members of Congress started investigating the tax agency to see if the complaints were justified.
It was determined that liberal groups were being approved in a matter of weeks while the conservative groups languished without rulings being made. As long as the agency had the applications “in process,” the groups could not appeal to the courts.
Information about the IRS withholding the approval of the groups began to slip out and the media became interested. Lois Lerner, the department head in charge of the applications apologized during a speech for the IRS’s action just before a story was to be released. Lerner was called before Congress. She read a statement saying she did nothing improper and then took the Fifth Amendment saying she could not be forced to testify against or incriminate herself.
Lerner’s emails were subpoenaed by Congress. The IRS stalled fulfilling the request. After eight months of stalling, the IRS said all of Lerner’s emails had been lost.
The groups that became vocal about their applications found their problems were only starting. Suddenly, their private businesses were being investigated by the Occupation, Safety and Health Association (OSHA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Labor Department, and other federal agencies. Emails were uncovered by Congress between Lois Lerner and the other agencies. Lerner was again brought before Congress for an explanation. She again refused to testify and took advantage of the Fifth Amendment again. Congress found her in Contempt of Congress and turned the matter over to the nation’s top Federal cop, Eric Holder. Holder has been investigating for three years without questioning any witnesses or forwarding the matter for trial.
The IRS Commissioner, Douglas Shulman, visited the White House more often than the Secretary of Defense or the Secretary of State. Because of the growing scandal, he resigned in 2013. The new Commissioner, John Koskinen, was approved by a large margin by the Senate as the 48th Commissioner of the IRS in late 2013. Koskinen is a smart cookie. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Duke University. He graduated Cum Laude from Yale three years later. John held many positions in and out of government over the years, each position with distinction. His reputation has been above reproach.
Koskinen testified none of the Lerner emails could be recovered. The Republicans challenged Koskinen on his efforts to recover the missing documents.
Last month, the Treasury Department found all of Lois Lerner’s emails. Many of these were between Lerner and the White House. The White House has been scrubbing the emails of sensitive personal tax information on individuals before releasing them to Congress. Now the government says it will not release any of the emails to Congress because of the sensitive info.
My immediate questions are:
1. Why did the White House have this information that everyone testified never was transmitted to the White House?
2. Why won’t Holder prosecute Lois Lerner?
3. Why has Congress refused to bring in the other agencies to testify?
4. Why has the President said, “not a smidgen of improper activity took place?”
5. Why is the White House (Obama) refusing to turn over the emails that they said had personal, private information that proved a crime was committed?
These are just the starting points. There is so much more to learn. This will go on much longer than Obama’s term of office. If all the Federal Agencies are being used to go after the Presidents enemies, then a wholesale cleaning of these agencies is in order.