Who is LOIS LERNER and Why you should know?

Research compiled by TRUthMAchine

Lois Gail Lerner along with CIA Director John Brennan and AG Eric Holder made Judicial Watch’s 2013 List of Washington’s “Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians”.  (Listed in alphabetical order.) [1]

1. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH)
2. CIA Director John Brennan
3. Senator Saxby Chambliss
4. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
5. Attorney General Eric Holder
6. Former IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller / Former IRS Official Lois Lerner
7. Former DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano
8. President Barack Obama
9. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV)
10. Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
While in bad company many still don’t recognize who she is and why that matters.  Lois Lerner’s saga is skewed by redactions, sealed documents, alias’, corruption of power, blackmail and a string of falsehoods by those involved.  Judicial Watch has led the forefront on FOIA requests for documentation regarding the abuse of power that her position as the Director of the Exemption Organization Unit of the Internal Revenue Service allowed.
From targeting the conservatives and specifically Tea Party groups to contempt of Congress, email scandals using alias’ to hide targeting to corrupt FBI declaring there was no evidence to prosecute her after losing emails to blackmailing GOP candidates in Senate race, her trail of misdeeds is long and troubling.  Below is a timeline of Lois Lerner’s Targeting of Conservatives by Ways and Means Committee and Judicial Watch documents that led to a DOJ Referral for Criminal Prosecution [2,3]
  • January 21, 2010:
    Citizen’s United Ruling: Supreme Court issues ruling in Citizens United case, which would lead to an active campaign by Democrats against conservative groups – a campaign Lerner was well aware of and reacted to.
  • January 27, 2010:
    President Obama Goes on the Attack: In his State of the Union address, President Obama states: “With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign corporations – to spend without limit in our elections. I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities.”
  • March-April 2010:
    IRS Targeting Begins: According to TIGTA, the IRS’s Determinations Unit “began searching for other requests for exemption involving the Tea Party, Patriots, 9/12 and IRC § 501(c)(4) applications involving political sounding names, e.g., ‘We the People’ or
    ‘Take Back the Country.’”
  • September 26, 2010:
    White House Steps Up Attacks: David Axelrod, then-senior advisor to President Obama, referred to Crossroads GPS and similar groups as “front groups for special interests. These are front groups for foreign-controlled companies, which would have been banned under the bill that we put through Congress, and they don’t want the American people to know, and the American people ought to be alert to that.”
  • October 12, 2010:
    Democrat Leaders Join Attack: Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin urges the IRS to investigate the tax status of Crossroads GPS and “other orgs” – though no other organizations were named.
  • October 19, 2010:
    Lerner on Alert: Speaking to students at Duke University, Lois Lerner states that 501(c)(4) organizations were spending money on campaign activity in the wake of the Citizens United decision and claimed, “[E]verybody is screaming at us, ‘fix it now before the election….”
  • February 2011:
    Lerner Calls Conservatives “Dangerous,” Start to Take Control: Lois Lerner sends email to IRS employees “Tea Party Matter very dangerous ….Cincy should probably NOT have these cases.”
  • March 24, 2011:
    Democrats Step Up Attacks: DCCC launches website to “expose donors of Crossroads GPS.”
  • June 3, 2011:
    Congressional Inquiries Begin: Chairman Camp sends letter to Commissioner Shulman inquiring about IRS targeting of taxpayers who donated money to conservative groups, as well as information regarding audits of 501(c)(4) organizations.
  • June 19, 2012:
    White House Continues to Attack: President Obama’s lawyer demands that Crossroads GPS disclose its donors, saying in a complaint to the Federal Election Commission that the group is plainly a “political committee” subject to federal reporting requirements.
  • February 1, 2012:
    Democrats Continue to Attack: National Public Radio reports that Senate Democrats, led by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), want to investigate groups such as Crossroads GPS.
  • July 10, 2012:
    Lerner’s Mindset Revealed: Lois Lerner, in response to a story sent to her regarding the complaint to the FEC against Crossroads GPS replies “Perhaps the FEC will save the day.”
  • July 17, 2012:
    Lerner Starts to Prepare Cover Story: Lerner sent an email to Holly Paz and Nikole Flax offering comments on a talking point that referred to an “uptick in political advocacy cases,” drafted for then-Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement Steve Miller. However, Lerner admits that, “I know we don’t have published SOI stats” to support such a claim.” [See letter to DOJ]
  • July 27, 2012:
    Democrats Attack, Again: Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) sends another letter to the IRS regarding Crossroads GPS and others, seeking a probe and status.
  • December 14, 2012:
    IRS Leaks: Crossroads GPS’s application is leaked to ProPublica, though the tax-exempt status of the group had not been determined, a violation of federal law.
  • November 2, 2012:
    Lerner Misleads TIGTA: Lerner sends misleading response to TIGTA investigatory audit questionnaire. [See letter to DOJ]
  • January 4, 2013:
    Lerner Leaps Into Action: Lerner organizes a meeting with Democracy 21 and also with the Office of Chief Counsel and the Office of Tax Policy at the Department of the Treasury for January 4. This begins a series of specific actions by Lerner that targets only conservative groups. [See letter to DOJ]
  • January 4, 2013:
    Lerner Pressures Review Committee: Lerner inquires to the status of Crossroads, and finds that the group had not been selected for audit. She subsequently sent an email to the Director of Examinations in Dallas, TX, Nanette Downing, demanding to know why the group had not yet been audited. In her email to Downing, she notes that she wants all moves regarding Crossroads to be coordinated in DC. [See letter to DOJ]
  • January 24, 2013:
    Lerner Ponders Job for Obama Organization: In response to a news story about the formation of the President’s Organizing For Action, a 501(c)(4), Lerner remarked to EO Senior Technical Advisor Sharon Light, “Oh—maybe I can get the DC office job!” [See letter to DOJ]
  • January 31, 2013:
    Lerner Attempts to Influence Independent Appeals Process: In an email to the Chief of IRS Appeals, Chris Wagner, Lerner offers unsolicited advice on the independent appeals process notwithstanding a prohibition against such contact. [See letter to DOJ]
  • May 10, 2013:
    Lerner Misleads Public: At an American Bar Association function, Lois Lerner, director of the IRS’s Exempt Organizations Division, publicly apologizes for what she claimed were inappropriate actions by the Cincinnati office of the IRS to subject conservative groups to extra scrutiny.
  • In June 2014the IRS claimed to have “lost” responsive emails belonging to Lerner and other IRS officials.
  • In July 2014 Judge Emmett Sullivan ordered the IRS to submit to the court a written declaration under oath about what happened to Lerner’s “lost” emails. The sworn declarations proved to be less than forthcoming.
  • In August 2014, Department of Justice attorneys for the IRS finally admitted Judicial Watch that Lerner’s emails, indeed all government computer records, are backed up by the federal government in case of a government-wide catastrophe. The IRS’ attorneys also disclosed that Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) was looking at several of these backup tapes.
  • In November 2014, the IRS told the court it had failed to search any of the IRS standard computer systems for the “missing” emails of Lerner and other IRS officials.
  • On February 26, 2015, TIGTA officials testified to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that it had received 744 backup tapes containing emails sent and received by Lerner.  This testimony showed that the IRS had misled Congress, Judge Sullivan, and Judicial Watch that Lerner’s emails were irretrievably lost. The testimony also revealed that IRS officials responsible for responding to the document requests never asked for the backup tapes and that 424 backup tapes containing Lerner’s emails had been destroyed during the pendency of Judicial Watch’s lawsuit and Congressional investigations.
  • In June 2015, Judicial Watch forced the IRS to admit in a court filing that it was in possession of 6,400 “newly discovered” Lerner emails. Judge Emmet Sullivan’s ordered the IRS to provide answers on the status of the Lerner emails the IRS had previously declared lost. Judicial Watch raised questions about the IRS’ handling of the missing emails issue in a court filing, demanding answers about Lerner’s emails that had been recovered from the backup tapes.
  • In July 2015, U.S District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan threatened to hold John Koskinen, the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, and Justice Department attorneys in contempt of court after the IRS failed to produce status reports and recovered Lerner emails, as he had ordered on July 1, 2015
  • On November 16, 2016, Judicial Watch received new documents that reveal top Obama IRS official admitted that the Cincinnati Office targeted groups based on ‘Guilt by Association’  ‘Q’s were not activity based, but guilt by association questions – like q’s asking party affiliation’ – Holly Paz, former IRS director of Office of Rulings and Agreements.  Judicial Watch announced today that it has obtained [1593 pages] [4]of new documents from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), including notes from a 2011 interoffice meeting revealing a top IRS official admitted that Cincinnati office agents were targeting organizations requesting tax exempt status based on “guilt by association” and “party affiliation.” According to former IRS Director of the Office of Rulings and Agreements Holly Paz, “they think they know what the org is really doing, rather than looking at actual activities.”

 

Ways and Means Committee Refers Lois Lerner to Department of Justice for Criminal Prosecution

Letter details actions taken by Lerner to deprive groups of their rights, impede the investigation – April 9, 2014 Press Releases [4]

Washington, DC – Today, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) announced that the Committee, acting under its authority granted in Sec. 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code, voted out a criminal referral letter to Department of Justice (DOJ) Attorney General Eric Holder regarding actions taken by IRS employee Lois Lerner. Chairman Camp, in sending the letter on behalf of the Committee, urged Holder to take a serious review of the evidence uncovered through the Committee’s investigation to determine whether Lerner violated criminal statutes.

The Committee uncovered three specific acts undertaken by Lerner that may have violated one or more criminal statutes documented in the letter:

Lerner used her position to improperly influence agency action against only conservative organizations, denying these groups due process and equal protection rights under the law. She showed extreme bias and prejudice towards conservative groups. The letter lays out evidence on how Lerner targeted conservative organization Crossroads GPS as well as other right-leaning groups, while turning a blind eye to similarly-organized liberal groups, like Priorities USA.
Lerner impeded official investigations by providing misleading statements in response to questions from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).
Lerner risked exposing, and may actually have disclosed, confidential taxpayer information, in apparent violation of Internal Revenue Code section 6103 by using her personal email to conduct official business.

If convicted of these crimes, Lerner could face up to 11 years in prison.

Upon releasing the letter, Chairman Camp stated, “This investigation has uncovered serious, unprecedented actions taken by Lois Lerner that deprived conservative groups of their rights under the Constitution. Almost a year ago we learned that the IRS subjected certain groups to extra scrutiny because of their political beliefs. At the time, Lois Lerner shamefully attempted to blame the mistreatment on low-level employees in Cincinnati. The investigation to date has demonstrated that the targeting did not happen until IRS headquarters in D.C. intervened. Today’s action highlights specific wrongdoing for the Department of Justice to pursue. DOJ has a responsibility to act, and Lois Lerner must be held accountable. It is also important that the American people know what really occurred at the IRS, so this powerful agency cannot target American taxpayers ever again.”

The Internal Revenue Code explicitly provides a procedure for the House Ways and Means Committee to release taxpayer information to the House under section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code. The letter to DOJ was marked up by the Committee in closed executive session. Upon approval of the letter, it was then made public to the House.

The letter to DOJ can be read below.

Chairman House Ways & Means Committee – April 9, 2014 letter to A.G. Eric Holder relative to IRS misconduct of Lois Lerner. (91 pages, pdf file — pages 1-14 letter [watch/monitor footnote references] and pages 15-97 miscellaneous evidentiary exhibits).  [5]

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Former IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller / Former IRS Official Lois Lerner:  [6]

Steve Miller, then head of the IRS, resigned in May 2013, after admitting to the targeting of anti-Obama Tea Party groups during the 2012 presidential election, which he offhandedly tossed off as “horrible customer service.” Under Miller, the IRS purposely stonewalled the approval of nonprofit applications from “Tea Party” and other conservative groups that were seeking tax exempt status. According to a report by the agency’s inspector general released in May 2013, for more than 18 months beginning in early 2010: “The IRS used inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status based upon their names or policy positions instead of indications of potential political campaign intervention.”

As reported by CNN [7]:

Among the criteria used by IRS officials to flag applications was a “Be On the Look Out” list, or a BOLO, which was discontinued in 2012 according to the report. The criteria on the BOLO included:

  • Whether “Tea Party,” “Patriots” or “9/12 Project” was referenced in the case file.
  • Whether the issues outlined in the application included government spending, government debt or taxes.
  • Whether there was advocating or lobbying to “make America a better place to live.”
  • Whether a statement in the case file criticized how the country is being run.
  • Whether it advocated education about the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Miller was eagerly aided in his suppression of conservative groups by former IRS Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner. Subpoenaed to testify before Congress in May 2013, Lerner disdainfully refused to answer inquiries, demanding full immunity concerning her role in the targeting scandal. Eventually, the IRS acknowledged that while she was in charge, IRS agents improperly targeted Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status from 2010-2012. Lerner retired from the IRS on September 23 with full benefits, even after an internal investigation found she was guilty of “neglect of duties” and was going to call for her firing, “according to news reports” [8].

Subsequent to Lerner’s lavish retirement, Judicial Watch, in October 2013, obtained email exchanges between her and enforcement attorneys at the Federal Election Commission (FEC) indicating that under Lerner’s direction, the IRS provided detailed, confidential information concerning the tax exempt application status and returns of conservative groups to the FEC – in violation of federal law.

Not only did Miller and Lerner deliberately target conservative organizations for IRS harassment, they both lied about it in separate appearances before Congress [9]. In July 2012, Miller was asked at a congressional hearing, “What kind of … action is taking place at this time that you are aware of” to address complaints that groups seeking nonprofit status were being harassed. Claiming that an overload of applications had caused the problem, Miller covered up the fact that he had learned two months earlier that conservative groups were being inappropriately singled out for extra scrutiny. In May 2013, Lerner told a congressional committee that she found out about the harassment when she read about it “in the press” in early 2012. But, according to the IG report timeline 10], she was informed in June 2011 about the IRS’s BOLO criteria that included words such as “Tea Party” or “patriots.”

The true damage wrought by the Miller/Lerner witch-hunt may never be fully known. One can certainly speculate as to impact the Tea Party movement could have made had Miller and Lerner not cowed much of it into silence with their ruthless, reckless assault on Barack Obama’s political opponents. In short, the Obama IRS duo may have perfected the formula for stealing an election in plain sight.

EMAILS FOIA Request JW [11] 176 page pdf  First 8 excerpts shown.

Continues at the above link

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The below articles support the above referenced material and add more insight into the troubling response by the FBI for NOT PROSECUTING Ms. Lerner, Stephen Miller, Holly Paz et el for their actions.

IRS Officials Misled Congress, Public

IRS officials gave false or misleading information on numerous occasions regarding its now discredited practice of targeting conservative groups that sought nonprofit status.

Here are several specific incidents in which IRS officials gave false, misleading or incomplete information to Congress and the public:

  • Lois Lerner, director of the IRS’ exempt organizations division, falsely claimed that she first learned of employees singling out conservative groups in 2012, because of media reports. But the inspector general’s report shows she was briefed on the practice in June 2011 and took action to correct it.
  • Lerner told a House committee in May 2012 that the IRS is justified in requesting information from conservative groups about their donors and policy interests in certain cases. That’s true, but she failed to disclose that nearly a year earlier she learned that IRS staffers in Ohio were making what she deemed “unnecessary” requests for such information in dozens of instances.
  • Lerner blamed a heavy workload for the problem, telling reporters that the applications for 501(c)(4) nonprofit status had “more than doubled,” from 1,500 in 2010 to over 3,400 in 2012. That’s true, but use of the “inappropriate criteria” began in March 2010 and 501(c)(4) applications declined in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2010, according to the inspector general’s report.

Lerner, director of the IRS’ exempt organizations division since 2005, acknowledged the agency’s mistakes shortly before release of the [IG report] [12]. Lerner did so at an American Bar Association meeting on May 10, as reported by the Associated Press. Later that day, Lerner was asked in a media conference call how she learned of the problem, and she said “we started seeing information in the press that raised questions for us.” The press began reporting on conservative groups complaining about harsh scrutiny from the IRS in early 2012.

IRS Asked ‘Unnecessary’ Questions

The report also said that Lerner learned in early 2012 that the IRS sent letters to applicants seeking nonprofit status that asked “unnecessary, burdensome questions,” including asking groups to identify their donors and issues important to them.

The report says Lerner on Feb. 29 “stopped any more additional information request letters from being issued” until a review could be conducted and new guidelines could be issued. Lerner’s senior technical advisor conducted the review. On April 25, 2012, the internal review turned up evidence of what the IG report called “a list of troubling questions.” Lerner’s office identified seven “unnecessary” questions, including requests to identify donors and policy issues important to the group, the report says. [13]

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Lois Lerner pleads the 5th in order to avoid going to jail for her many lies… to the american people like Catherine Englebrecht and to congress… she is part of the Obama DOJ, FBI and IRS corruption

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“Both the FBI and Justice Department collaborated with Lois Lerner and the IRS to try to prosecute and jail Barack Obama’s political opponents. These FBI documents show the resulting compromised investigation looked the other way when it came to Obama’s IRS criminality.”

‘Smoking-gun documents’ show IRS knew about targeting of conservatives before 2012 election

by WorldTribune Staff, July 29, 2016

Top IRS officials knew the agency was targeting conservatives because of their ideology and political affiliation two years before disclosing it to Congress and the public, according to a Judicial Watch report released on July 28.

“These new smoking-gun documents show Obama FBI and Justice Department had plenty of evidence suggesting illegal targeting, perjury, and obstruction of justice,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

“Both the FBI and Justice Department collaborated with Lois Lerner and the IRS to try to prosecute and jail Barack Obama’s political opponents. These FBI documents show the resulting compromised investigation looked the other way when it came to Obama’s IRS criminality.”

“Senior IRS officials knew that agents were targeting conservative groups for special scrutiny as early as 2011,” the report said.

Lois Lerner revealed the targeting in May 2013 when she responded to a planted question at an American Bar Association conference. [14]

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How Lois Lerner Got a Pass

The prosecutor absolved the IRS witness on his last day on the job.

If Americans know anything about the IRS it’s that it accepts no excuses, and so they trudged wearily on Wednesday to pay their taxes. That’s in notable contrast to the free passes that keep flowing to the tax agency’s most famous former employee, Lois Lerner. [15]

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IRS scandal: Lois Lerner’s secret, personal email account was perfect cover

Former top IRS official Lois Lerner – at the center of a well-orchestrated scheme targeting conservative organizations – used an alias while at the IRS.

In new documents just released, an IRS attorney has confirmed that Lois Lerner used another email to conduct IRS business – under the name of “Toby Miles.”

That revelation prompts this question: why would the director of the Exempt Organizations Unit use an alias – a secret, personal email account while at the IRS?

You don’t have to think very long to come up with the answer.

Lois Lerner – who was permitted to retire from the agency with a reported $100,000 a year pension paid by taxpayers – is under investigation by Congress for her role in unlawfully targeting and discriminating against conservative organizations. [16]

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Lerner, Paz say they fear physical harm from enraged public, want IRS testimony sealed permanently

 – The Washington Times – Sunday, November 19, 2017

Former IRS executive Lois G. Lerner told a federal court last week that members of her family, including “young children,” face death threats and a real risk of physical harm if her explanation of the tea party targeting scandal becomes public.

Ms. Lerner and Holly Paz, her deputy at the IRS, filed documents in court Thursday saying tapes and transcripts of depositions they gave in a court case this year must remain sealed in perpetuity, or else they could spur an enraged public to retaliate.

“Whenever Mss. Lerner and Paz have been in the media spotlight, they have faced death threats and harassment,” attorneys for the two women argued.

Ms. Lerner and Ms. Paz gave taped depositions in a class-action lawsuit brought by tea party groups demanding answers and compensation for having been subjected to illegal targeting for their political beliefs. [17]

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[18]

Judicial Watch Files Amicus Curiae Brief Urging Federal Court to Unseal Depositions of IRS Officials Lerner, Paz in Tea Party Targeting Case

DECEMBER 18, 2017

Judicial Watch last week asked a federal court to unseal the depositions of Lois Lerner, the former director of the Exempt Organizations Unit of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and Holly Paz, her top aide and former IRS director of Office of Rulings and Agreements. Both played key roles in the targeting of conservative nonprofit groups opposed to Obama policies in the run up to the 2012 presidential election. [19]

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Here we will see the long history of coersion?, backmail?, corruption? that Lerner has employed throughout the past few decades against political entities that weren’t her cup of tea.

Lois Lerner Targeted Dick Durbin Senate Opponent

June 3, 2013

Scandal: Before his 2010 letter urging the IRS to target conservatives, the Senate majority whip’s 1996 campaign benefited from the targeting of his opponent by a Federal Election Commission official with a familiar name.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the IRS scandal may have its roots in Illinois politics with the 1996 targeting of Illinois conservative AL SALVI by a familiar name, Lois Lerner, then head of the Enforcement Division of the Federal Elections Commission.

That year, Democrat U.S. REP. DICK DURBIN and REPUBLICAN REP. AL SALVI were locked in a battle for the U.S. Senate seat Durbin would eventually win.

As the journal Illinois Review details, Salvi was confronted with an “October surprise,” not one, but two, FEC complaints filed against him — one by Illinois Democrats about the way he reported a loan he made to himself, and another by the Democratic Senatorial Committee about a reported business donation.

The late inning complaints stalled Salvo’s campaign against Durbin. “We couldn’t get our message out because day after day, the media carried story after story about the FEC complaint,” Salvi told Illinois Review.

This tactic of keeping political opponents busy was repeated by IRS EXEMPT ORANIZATIONS DIVISION CHIEF (LOIS) LERNER on her targeting of Tea Party and other conservative groups in the 2012 presidential campaign.

Salvi recognized Lerner when she invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination before REP. DARRELL ISSA’s HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE as the woman who made him an offer: “Promise me you will never run for office again, and we’ll drop this case.”

This was an offer he could and did refuse, running again in 1998 for Illinois state treasurer.

“That’s the woman,” Salvi said. “And I didn’t plead the Fifth like she did.”

Nearly four years and $100,000 in legal fees later, federal Judge George Lindbergh dismissed the frivolous FEC case against Salvi for lending his campaign his own money, leaving FEC attorney Lerner, who was present and actively arguing before the judge, dismayed. “We never lose!” Lerner said, in a veiled threat to Salvi afterwards.

In an action reminiscent of the harassment of Tea Party activist Catherine Englebrecht, who was visited by an alphabet soup of federal agencies including the ATF, the IRS and OSHA after she sought tax exempt status for her group, Salvi received other special scrutiny.

The FBI was called in at one point to gather evidence on the case. According to Salvi, two FBI agents unexpectedly visited the Salvis’ home, and interrogated his elderly mother about her $2,000 check to her son’s campaign and where she got “that kind of money.”

Salvi told the Illinois Review that at that time other conservative groups such as the Christian Coalition were also being targeted by FEC demands. At one point, representatives from several investigated conservative groups even convened on a conference call to compare notes on how the Clinton administration was scouring their organizations’ financial and activity records.

The rest, as they say, is political history.

Salvi would become a political trivia question as Durbin rose to power and prominence in the U.S. Senate. From that position, Durbin in October 2010 queried IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman about the tax exemption status of Crossroads GPS — a job that would find its way to now-IRS official Lois Lerner.

Why target Crossroads GPS? Aside from its effectiveness and connection to campaign guru Karl Rove, Crossroads GPS ran ads opposing the 2010 campaign of Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias for the U.S. Senate seat held by Roland Burris. Burris was appointed to fill the vacancy left when Barack Obama was elected president by the now incarcerated Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who tried to auction off the seat.

How nicely these political dots connect. Such corruption and intimidation is the “Chicago Way.”

It is not surprising that Durbin wanted Lerner to target conservatives. He may very well owe his Senate seat to her doing so. [20]

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A lesson on abuse of power by Obama and his Senate allies

Republicans on Capitol Hill are outraged by the announcement that the Department of Justice would stick with the Obama administration decision not to prosecute Lois Lerner. She, of course, was the face of the IRS scandal in which the tax agency delayed approvals of nonprofit status for conservative groups that were doing the same type of public education and voter mobilization that liberal groups have done for ages.

The real problem was never one of a few rogue IRS employees engaging in criminality. Rather, the IRS scandal was about abuse of power by elected officials, who consciously sought to weaponize the IRS against their political adversaries.

The president launched a public relations campaign to have the IRS investigate nonprofit organizations that were espousing conservative views and mobilizing voters, most notably the numerous, nascent “tea party” organizations… These organizations were doing what nonprofits such as the Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood and the NAACP have done for decades. But Obama repeatedly attacked the tea party organizations as “shadowy groups with harmless sounding names” engaged in a “corporate takeover of our democracy.”

…The president was joined by numerous Democratic senators in demanding the IRS take aggressive action. SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE (D-R.I.) summoned Patricia Haynes, then deputy chief of criminal investigation at the IRS, before his subcommittee on terrorism and berated her for not criminally prosecuting conservative nonprofits.

SEN. CARL LEVIN (D-Mich.) wrote several letters to acting IRS COMMISSIONER DOUGLAS SHULMAN demanding investigations of nine specific conservative organizations, then announced that his Senate committee would hold hearings on the IRS’s “failure” to prosecute and investigate grassroots conservative organizations, hearings he had to put on hold when the IRS targeting scandal broke a few days letter. SENS. DICK DURBIN (D-Ill.), CHARLES SCHUMER (D-N.Y.), MICHAEL BENNET (D-Colo.), AL FRANKEN (D-Minn.), JEANNE SHAHEEN (D-N.H.), JEFF MERKLEY (D-Ore.) and TOM UDALL (D-N.M.) also improperly pressured the IRS to investigate specific conservative organizations.

In short, with Obama informing the civil service that he considered tea party organizations dangerous and a threat to democratic values and with leaders in the Senate majority placing intense pressure on the IRS to target conservative groups, IRS bureaucrats reacted by flagging these organizations and awaiting instructions from above. Applications by conservative groups were pulled aside, forwarded to a special unit in Washington, and disappeared into a black hole.

The IRS scandal is one of abuse of power, regardless of criminality. Obama and his Senate allies issued baseless accusations that ordinary, politically engaged citizens were violating the law en masse, improperly pressuring the IRS to hamper their lawful activities. The IRS, unfortunately, took their threats to heart. A 2013 study by researchers at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Stockholm University concluded that the IRS harassment of tea party groups cost Mitt Romney between 5 million and 8.5 million votes in 2012 versus Obama’s 5 million vote margin of victory. It is hard to believe that this was not the intent of Obama and the Democratic senators who pressured the IRS to target tea party organizations, freezing their activities.

In the end, Lerner is something of a sideshow. The real problems are first, the {former} president and leaders in Congress should not use their power to pressure the bureaucracy to do their partisan bidding, and second, if you give government the tools to regulate political speech, the government will weaponize them for partisan gain by the party in power. No “criminal” behavior is necessary. That, and not the tea party, is what threatened democracy then and now. Too bad that’s not the IRS scandal Congress chose to focus on. [21]

IRS Exemption: IRS taking their cues from White House delayed, ignored, rejected nonprofit status apps from groups deemed to be right-wing or pro-Israel. IRS executive Lois Lerner was held in contempt of Congress, Holder’s DOJ refused to prosecute her.

SOURCES:

[1] Judicial Watch: Top Corrupt Politicians 2013

[2] Ways and Means Committee

[3] Judicial Watch: Timeline

[4] Judicial Watch: 1593 Page report

[5] Ways and Means Committee Letter

[6] Judicial Watch: Top Corrupt Politicians

[7] CNN

[8] JewishVoiceNY

[9] FactCheck

[10] Treasury.gov

[11] Judicial Watch: Email FOIA Response

[12] Oversight.House.gov

[13] FactCheck

[14] World Tribune

[15] WSJ.com

[16] FoxNews

[17] Washington Times

[18] Twitter: Judicial Watch

[19] Judicial Watch: Unsealing Deposition

[20] Investors.com

[21] The Hill