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IRS leak week

IRS leak week

The IRS Scandal is alive and kicking.  Although it is being drowned out of media attention by the Obamacare and Benghazi scandals.

Two important revelations this week related to the targeting of conservative and Tea Party groups.

First, Lois Lerner has been caught feeding confidential tax information to the Federal Election Commissions, including the infamous questionaires.  Via Judicial Watch, which obtained the documents, IRS’ Lerner Disclosed Confidential Information about Tax Status of Conservative Groups to FEC:

Judicial Watch announced today that it has obtained email exchanges between former Internal Revenue Services (IRS) Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner and enforcement attorneys at the Federal Election Commission (FEC) indicating that 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. Included with the email exchanges were IRS questionnaires to a conservative group that contained questions of a hostile nature….

The bulk of the records obtained by Judicial Watch consist of extensive materials from the IRS’ files sent from Lerner to the FEC containing detailed, confidential information about the organizations. These include annual tax returns (Forms 990) and request for exempt recognition forms (Form 1024), Articles of Organization and other corporate documents, and correspondence between the nonprofit organizations and the IRS. Under Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code, it is a felony for an IRS official to disclose either “return information” or “taxpayer return information,” even to another government agency.

Earlier in the week Eliana Johnson at National review detailed the results of IRS leaks about the National Organization for Marriage to its political opponent, the pro-gay marriage Human Rights Campaitn.  Most outrageous is how the the law protects the identify of the illegal leaker.  Investigation IDs IRS Leaker:

A House committee investigating the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of right-leaning groups has identified the IRS agent who leaked the confidential donor list of the National Organization for Marriage, a conservative organization that opposes gay marriage. NOM’s donor list, contained in a Form 990 Schedule B, which it is required by law to file with the IRS, was obtained in March 2012 by its chief political opponent, the Human Rights Campaign, and subsequently became the subject of several national news stories that centered on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s donation to the group.

Though the House Ways and Means Committee, which began investigating the scandal in the wake of revelations that the IRS had inappropriately singled out conservative groups, has identified the individual who divulged the information as an employee in the IRS’s Exempt Organizations Division, it can’t divulge his name to the public or to NOM. It can’t even confirm when the leak took place, whether the perpetrator was disciplined, or even whether he is still employed by the IRS or the U.S. government. That’s because of a peculiarity of the Internal Revenue Code’s section 6103, which is intended to protect the confidentiality of taxpayer information. The law makes it a felony to disclose tax returns or related information to the public, but in an odd twist, the results of investigations conducted by congressional committees or by inspectors general are considered the confidential tax information of the alleged perpetrator.

Yet another week in which all of our fears about a politicized IRS are verified.

Remember, the IRS is involved in enforcing Obamacare.  Yet another reason to worry.

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Comments

All the agencies are going to be politicized when all top positions are filled with political appointees.

That also explains why the agencies have NO institutional memory. The entire top end gets replaced every 4 or 8 years.

Please correct me if I am wrong.

    Ragspierre in reply to assemblerhead. | November 1, 2013 at 10:45 am

    Yeah, you’re wrong.

    Hans Von Spovsky wrote a must-read piece years back detailing why Federal bureaucracies would always tend to be populated by Collectivists, regardless of who the head of the agency was.

    Often, you can see this expressed at State and the CIA, were you have people actively working to undermine a conservative-ish administration.

    The IRS only has two political appointees, and look at the mess they are in. Lois Lerner wasn’t a political appointee, but she sure acts like one.

    Perhaps, entire chucks of the bureaucracy should be rotated from the IRS to the Dept of Agriculture, etc. every 3 to 5 years, but don’t keep them together.
    Then again, Lerner moved from the FEC to the IRS and we see how that turned out.

    Maybe term limits for the bureaucracy with required breaks in the private sector.

      Aridog in reply to Neo. | November 1, 2013 at 11:08 am

      Lois Lerner was most certainly an appointee in the Senior Executive Service (SES) framework, and those tend to be quite political. What she is not is a “Presidential Appointee” like the Commissioner and Chief Counsel are…but don’t think for a moment that politics isn’t involved in all appointments above the Civil Service grades GS-01 through 15.

      If notice the photos of both Lois Lerner and of Steven Miller (Acting Commissioner at the time) before Congress both display dismissive and look-down-the-nose attitudes at mere mortals like us or Congress.

      Or may be my decades of military and federal service misinforms me.

        Paul in reply to Aridog. | November 1, 2013 at 11:59 am

        People who work in government are going to tend to be proggies by nature. And if they’re not when they go into that job they will learn over time “where their bread is buttered” and become proggie-ish or outright marxist over time. So it doesn’t matter who appointed or didn’t appoint her. What matters is that there are way too many government lackeys administering way too many government programs in way too many areas of our lives where they don’t belong all while confiscating way too much of our hard-earned income. We need to simply eliminate vast swaths of the government.

          Aridog in reply to Paul. | November 1, 2013 at 1:54 pm

          Would you be willing to reduce the levels of senior executive management by 50% and the number of SES folk in each level by 50%. then move on to reduce Generals and Admirals in the military by 50%?

          I would and I retired from there and I am intimately familiar with how much waste management levels there are…fact is I’d be willing to cut even further. Most of the SES or higher folk set or mangle policy and actually do no real work, few have any hands on experience with t he fields they oversee. They have “assistant deputy assistants” for that. Are you aware that Anyone at the SES level is a “flag rank” officer just like Generals and Admirals? Well they are and the each have their own little flag that must be displayed when they visit the untermenschen civil servants in district and field offices.

          Here is an article on the excess military flag ranks and Paul Light writing the WSJ back in April 2012 summarized the civilian executive service between 1961 and 2009 as having grown from 7 levels to 18 levels per cabinet level agency. Worse, each level went from staff of 451 to 2600 per level today, and that doesn’t include the 7.5 million outside contractors employed by the government.

          My last gasp is this: every single time any government agency “reorganizes” it grows at the executive level and shrinks at the worker bee levels. Look no further than Department of Homeland Security for astounding growth with little gain in efficiency.

          Ragspierre in reply to Paul. | November 1, 2013 at 2:40 pm

          Excellent exposition, Ari. Thank you!

          dhmosquito in reply to Paul. | November 1, 2013 at 4:21 pm

          After having worked for 37 years as a Naval Engineer, it was my observation, at least toward the last several years of my employment, that the duties the SES types considered to be of utmost importance were to ensure attendance of those they supervised in refreshers, lectures, or group exercises in EEO, “Diversity”, “Black History Month”, “Prevention of Sexual Harassment”, “Prevention of Human Trafficking”, “TQL”, “TQM”, and similarly worthless exercises. (And I won’t even go into the perceived need by the SESers to integrate “LEAN Six Sigma,” a manufacturing efficiency technique, into, of all things, innovative Research & Development Programs. What a fiasco. I understand that that little exercise has pretty much died off, after millions, maybe billions, were spent on it in NAVSEA.) I could understand the need for refreshers for security, and fraud, waste, and abuse, but after awhile technical personnel started to wonder how they would find time to do the jobs for which they were employed.

          chuck

Help me out here Professor; I haven’t had my coffee yet. If we have proof that the top IRS and FEC directors were knowingly committing felonies in exchanging confidential information, must we rely on the DOJ (Eric Holder) to prosecute?

    IANAL, but use the NLRB’s behavior following a federal court ruling that they cannot have a quorum, due to non-recess direct member appointments, as an example. The NLRB ignored the ruling and so did DOJ and Holder.

    The question for the entirety of this administration has been who will enforce any law the administration disapproves of?

    We have an election in my town next Tuesday, so I think I will show up there with nightsticks or truncheons in my hands to hang around at the polling place doorway. The Philadelphia example says I should be just fine even if not a Democrat like the administration.

    Oh, wait….

    platypus in reply to Mike-in-Mass. | November 1, 2013 at 11:19 am

    Effectively, he’s the only game in town. The House could pass a bill appointing a special prosecutor but we can see by experience that Dingy Harry would never go along. This is why AG Weaselface is laughing at his contempt-of-congress charge.

Disclosure of tax info to unauthorized recipients is the ultimate sin of any tax agency worker. There had better be serious ramifications.

    Musson in reply to Sozo. | November 1, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    This is the new STANDARD. From now on, the IRS is an efforcement arm of the DNC. The abuses were made public and no one was held accountable – so that just solidifies lawbreaking as the new norm.

Chuckin Houston | November 1, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Does anyone not believe that Lois Lerner also provided the Obama campaign with Romney’s complete tax returns? This is the reason behind Harry Reid’s over-the-top charges that “Romney hadn’t paid any income tax.” It was to goad Romney into releasing his detailed returns in order to prove Harry a liar. (Romney had already released summary returns showing his income and the tax paid, etc.). The Obama campaign couldn’t openly use the detailed info in camapaign ads without admitting law breaking. I believe they the attack ads ready to go, but first needed to goad Romney into releasing his detailed returns. Any abolutely legal investment, deduction or source of income, no matter small, that could’ve been made to look bad to Low Information Voters would have been seized upon.

    It is my belief that Romney’s forms were probably violated by hundreds of IRS agents. Who knows how many of them ‘released’ the information.

      Musson in reply to Musson. | November 1, 2013 at 3:52 pm

      I used to work in a Hospital and saw first hand how HIPPA regs were violated everytime a famous patient was admitted. When a NASCAR driver came to the hospital over 240 nurses and doctors reviewed his files (each violation was logged by IT).

People like her don’t deserve the respect or civil behavior normally accorded to honest, ethical people.

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