Associated Press claims IRS targeted liberal groups, but refuses to actually name even one of them

The Associated Press is now claiming that the IRS targeted liberal groups. The article begins:

Democrats are unhappy that newly revealed Internal Revenue Service documents show the agency screened for progressive groups seeking tax-exempt status, not just the tea party organizations for which the IRS was already under fire.

Democrats also want to know why the Treasury Department inspector general who investigated IRS targeting of conservative groups didn’t mention that terms like “Progressives” and “Healthcare legislation” were on the same lists agency workers used to find applications to review closely.

“The Inspector General seriously erred in not making clear in both the audit report and his testimony on this matter that ‘Tea Party’ and ‘Progressives’ were included” in the lists IRS workers used to screen applications, Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., wrote Monday in a memo his aides distributed. Levin is the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee.

Despite continuing for an additional 22 paragraphs, the article does not name even one liberal group that was allegedly targeted. The article does not cite even one specific example of a liberal group being treated badly by the IRS. The article does not quote even one person from one liberal group claiming to have been treated unfairly.

This means two things.

First, it means that the IRS lied when it said it targeted liberal groups.

Secondly, it means that the Associated Press failed to do its job. Reporters are supposed to ask questions. Reporters are supposed to interview people. Reporters are supposed to seek out specific examples when claims such as this are made. Reporters are supposed to interview specific people from specific organizations.

When a claim such as this is made, reporters are not supposed to simply take the word of the person making the claim. Instead, reporters are supposed to seek out specific people who were affected by the claimed action, and ask them detailed questions about what happened.

That the Associated Press failed to do this – that it failed to seek out specific people from specific liberal organizations that the IRS has allegedly targeted – is proof that the Associated Press has failed to do its job, and that it does not care about reporting the actual facts of a story.

This failure of the Associated Press to properly do its job is much worse than the IRS having lied. That the IRS would lie is no surprise – everyone expects the IRS to lie. But people do expect Associated Press to report the facts. The fact that if failed to do so is is a tragedy much worse than the IRS having lied.

Just so we never forget, here are some of the things that the IRS did in its targeting of conservative orgnaizations. There is no liberal equivalent for any of these things:

In May 2013, the Washington Post reported that the IRS had illegally targeted conservative groups for additional reviews. Organizations with the words “tea party” or “patriot” were singled out for harassment, such as requiring them to provide a list of donors, details about their internet postings on social networking websites, and information about their family members.

When this was first reported by the media in May 2013, Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that had conducted these illegal activities, claimed that only low level employees had known about it, and that no high level IRS officials had known about it. However, soon afterward, NPR reported that an Inspector General report showed that Lerner had been lying, and that she herself had actually been aware of it since June 29, 2011. Even worse, during March and April of 2012, Lerner herself had actually written such letters to fifteen different conservative groups. One of these letters can be read here.

While testifying in May 2013, Lerner said, “I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws. I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations. And I have not provided false information to this or any other congressional committee.” However, afterward, she invoked her fifth amendment right to remain silent. The Washington Post reported that there was disagreement as to whether or not Lerner’s statement constituted a waiving of her fifth amendment right to remain silent. Soon afterward, she was placed on paid administrative leave.

The Washington Post reported that IRS officials at the IRS headquarters in Washington D.C. had sent such letters to conservatives groups. Reuters reported that higher level IRS officials had taken part in discussions about it as early as August 2011. However, 21 months later, on May 10, 2013, the Washington Post reported that President Obama had not done anything to investigate or fire the IRS employees who had engaged in this illegal harassment. As of May 14, 2013, none of the IRS employees who engaged in any of this illegal behavior had been disciplined, despite the fact that higher level IRS officials had known about their illegal behavior at least since August 2011.

On May 15, 2013, it was reported that Steven Miller, the acting IRS commissioner, had resigned. However, it was also reported that his assignment would have ended in early June anyway. He resigned – Obama did not fire him.

The IRS gave out confidential information about conservative groups. ProPublica wrote:

“The same IRS office that deliberately targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status in the run-up to the 2012 election released nine pending confidential applications of conservative groups to ProPublica late last year.”

“In response to a request for the applications for 67 different nonprofits last November, the Cincinnati office of the IRS sent ProPublica applications or documentation for 31 groups. Nine of those applications had not yet been approved—meaning they were not supposed to be made public.”

“No unapproved applications from liberal groups were sent to ProPublica.”

President Obama either lied about when he first knew about this – or was too busy playing golf and attending fundraisers to read the memos that were sent to him. The Daily Caller wrote:

“White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a press conference Tuesday that the White House was notified about the IRS targeting tea party groups ‘several weeks ago.’ This comes a day after President Obama said he found out about it from news reports on Friday of last week.”

“During a press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday, President Obama was asked about the IRS scandal. He responded, ‘I first learned about it from the same news reports that I think most people learned about this. I think it was on Friday.’

“However, Carney said Tuesday that first a report had to be compiled by the IRS’s inspector general and then when it was completed, it was passed on to the administration.”

“‘A notification is appropriate and routine and that is what happened and that happened several weeks ago,’ Carney said.”

When Media Trackers, a conservative organization, applied to the IRS for non-profit status, after waiting 16 months, it got no response. But when it reapplied with a liberal sounding name, it got approval in just three weeks. Yahoo wrote:

“In May 2011, Drew Ryun, a conservative activist and former Republican National Committee staffer, began filling out the Internal Revenue Service application to achieve nonprofit status for a new conservative watchdog group.”

“When September 2012 arrived with still no word from the IRS, Ryun determined that Media Trackers would likely never obtain standalone nonprofit status, and he tried a new approach: He applied for permanent nonprofit status for a separate group called Greenhouse Solutions, a pre-existing organization that was reaching the end of its determination period.”

“The IRS approved Greenhouse Solutions’ request for permanent nonprofit status in three weeks.”

Politico reported:

“The same Internal Revenue Service office that singled out Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny also challenged Israel-related organizations, at least one of which filed suit over the agency’s handling of its application for tax-exempt status.”

“The trouble for the Israel-focused groups seems to have had different origins than that experienced by conservative groups, but at times the effort seems to have been equally ham-handed.”

The IRS asked conservative groups what books they were reading.

Although the IRS went 18 months or longer without responding to conservative organizations’ applications, the IRS demanded that these same organizations answer the IRS’s intrusive questions within a few weeks.

After the Waco Tea Party sent an application to the IRS, the IRS waited 19 months to respond. In its response, the IRS asked for printouts of its web page and social networking sites, copies of all of its newsletters, bulletins and fliers, and copies of all stories written about it. The IRS also asked for transcripts of its radio interviews.

As one example of how the IRS treated conservative organizations differently from liberal ones, Politico reported:

“Chris Littleton, one of the co-founders of the Ohio Liberty Coalition, said the group got a grilling from the IRS when it submitted its application, in letters the group has posted on its website. The IRS also gave him so much grief when he tried to apply for tax-exempt status for another group, American Junto, that ‘we just gave up on it,’ he said.”

“But when he submitted an application for a third group — Ohioans for Health Care Freedom, now renamed Ohio Rising — ‘it went through just fine,’ Littleton said. ‘They never asked a single set of questions.’”

After the  Greater Phoenix Tea Party Patriots sent in their application, it took  two years for the IRS to respond. The IRS response included 35 questions. When the group’s cofounder called the IRS, the IRS agent claimed that he had their group’s file right in front of him. But when the group’s confounder asked the IRS agent a question, the IRS agent asked, “What’s your group’s name again?”

Tea Party groups who spoke with each other said they were all getting the same questions from the IRS.

The Washington Post reported that some IRS employees were “ignorant about tax laws, defiant of their supervisors, and blind to the appearance of impropriety.”

In 2012, the IRS leaked confidential information about Mitt Romney to the co-chairman of President Obama’s re-election committee.

For a 27 month period that began in February 2010, the IRS gave exactly zero approvals to Tea Party organizations that had sent in applications. During that same time period, numerous  liberal organizations with names including words such as “progress” or “progressive” did get approval.

After True the Vote, a conservative organization which was founded by Catherine Engelbrecht, sent its application to the IRS, the IRS went three years without responding. During that three year period, Engelbrecht and her family’s small manufacturing business were audited by the IRS, and were investigated by OSHA, the ATF, and the FBI.

Democratic U.S. Senators pressured the IRS to target conservative groups. In May 2013, U.S. News & World Report wrote:

“Over the last three years, Democratic senators repeatedly and publicly pressured the IRS to engage in the very activities that they are only now condemning today. At the same time, Republicans repeatedly and publicly warned against this abuse of government power and pointed to a series of red flags that strongly suggested conservative political organizations were being targeted by the IRS. Those warnings were deliberately ignored by the Obama administration and Democratic leaders in Congress.”

“From Max Baucus to Chuck Schumer to Jeanne Shaheen, key Senate Democrats publicly pressured the IRS to target groups that held differing political views and who, in their view, had the temerity to engage in the political process. The IRS listened to them and acted.”

In order to get approval, the IRS required members of Coalition for Life of Iowa, a pro-life organization, to sign a promise to avoid protesting in front of Planned Parenthood.

The IRS asked Christian Voices for Life, a pro-life organization, questions about its prayer vigils.

According to the official White House visitor’s log, during Obama’s first four years as President, IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman made 157 visits to the White House. This is more visits to the White House – by a very large margin – than any other cabinet member during Obama’s first term. By comparison, during the four years that Mark Everson was IRS commissioner when Bush was president, Everson made only one visit to the White House.

Shulman donated $500 to the Democratic National Committee in October 2004.

During Congressional testimony that had taken place in March 2012, Shulman falsely said that the IRS had not targeted conservative groups.

Shulman’s wife, Susan L. Anderson, is the senior program advisor for Public Campaign, a liberal organization. The Dailer Caller wrote of this group:

Public Campaign receives “major funding” from the pro-Obamacare alliance Health Care for America NOW!, which is comprised of the labor unions AFL-CIO, AFSCME, SEIU, and the progressive activist organization Move On, among others.

Public Campaign also receives funding from the liberal Ford Foundation, the Common Cause Education Fund, and Barbra Streisand’s The Streisand Foundation, among other foundations and private donors.

Stephen Seok was one of the IRS agents who wrote threatening letters to conservative groups. After doing so, he was given a  promotion.

In June 2013, it was reported that two IRS employees had violated government ethics rules at a 2010 conference when they received $1,100 in free food and other items. One of them was Fred Schindler, the director of implementation oversight at the IRS Affordable Care Act office. The other was Donald Toda, a California-based employee. Obama did not fire them. Instead, he gave both of them paid leave. By comparison, in 1981, President Reagan fired 11,359 air-traffic controllers who had been illegally striking.

In June 2013, it was reported that The National Organization for Marriage, a conservative organization, had forensic evidence which proved that its donors’ private information had been illegally leaked by the IRS. The IRS employee(s) who illegally leaked this private information could get five years in prison.

Jon Stewart said of this:

“Well, congratulations, President Barack Obama. Conspiracy theorists who generally can survive in anaerobic environments have just had an algae bloom dropped on their f***ing heads, thus removing the last arrow in your pro-governance quiver: skepticism about your opponents.”

Michael Macleod-Ball, chief of staff at the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office, said of this:

“Even the appearance of playing partisan politics with the tax code is about as constitutionally troubling as it gets. With the recent push to grant federal agencies broad new powers to mandate donor disclosure for advocacy groups on both the left and the right, there must be clear checks in place to prevent this from ever happening again.”

 

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June 25, 2013. Tags: , , , , . IRS, Media bias, Politics.

2 Comments

  1. dellinger80 replied:

    Reblogged this on Cantankerous Gentlemen and commented:
    Opps. They maybe targeted 3 so that it could look mixed when this all came out against like hundereds of c3 and c4 affiliated with any form of limited gov thinking.

    • danfromsquirrelhill replied:

      Well, Obama’s brother’s “charity” was “targeted” for extra fast approval. Perhaps these other liberal groups were also “targeted” for extra fast approval. So far, I have not heard even one liberal group claim that it was treated badly.

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