June 25, 2017

IRS Scandal and Cover Up Shocked and Outraged Members of Congress

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen testimony before Congress

On June 20, 2014, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen testified during the House of Representative Ways and Means Committee hearing that the IRS destroyed the hard drive of Lois Lerner, the former IRS director of the office that oversees tax-exempt organizations, as well as other IRS employees. The IRS Commissioner buried in a letter to the Senate this alarming information that is obviously a cover-up. He said the Internal Revenue Service can’t provide emails sent between 2009 and 2011 which were requested by congressional investigators because of hard drive crashes. The IRS said that email stored on dead drives were lost forever because its email backup tapes were recycled every six months, and employees were responsible for keeping their emails.

How strange that Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen was so sure during his testimony before the House of Representative Ways and Means Committee and the Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearings that all the emails of Lois Lerner and other IRS employees under investigation just happened to have disappeared forever? The IRS Commissioner is a liar and should be fired for the dereliction of duty and for illegal cover up!

The IRS had a contract with email backup service vendor Sonasoft starting in 2005. This company listed the IRS as a customer. Did John Koskinen bother to check with Sonasoft to see if the backup company had the emails requested by Congress? Is he aware that the IRS has a contract with this company? Does he care? Or is he interested only in protecting the IRS employees that committed crimes under orders of the White House? When he was asked to apologize, Commissioner John Koskinen arrogantly and smugly claimed that he and his agency were innocent of any wrongdoing and that he had no reason to apologize.

Representative Paul Ryan, Republican from Wisconsin and former Republican Party vice presidential candidate in 2012, angrily told IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, “I don’t believe you!” Paul Ryan stated the following: “This is a pattern of abuse. A pattern of behavior that is not giving us any confidence that this agency is being impartial.”
Representative Dave Camp, Chairman of the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee stated the following: “The IRS is in charge of hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ information. And you are now saying your technology system was so poor that years’ worth of emails are forever unrecoverable? How does that put anyone at ease? How far would the excuse I lost it get with the IRS for an average American trying to file their yearly taxes who may have lost a few receipts.”

Representative Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said on Fox News on June 23, 2014 that former IRS official Lois Lerner acted on President Obama’s opposition to Citizens United in her targeting of conservative groups. Representative Issa stated the following: “I believe that Lois Lerner is hiding something. I believe the Justice Department, the IRS, and the White House are interested in her succeeding in hiding what she’s hiding, which is targeting of conservative groups based on their ideology in support of the president’s war on Citizens United, a Supreme Court decision that he didn’t like. This is something he vehemently opposes, and Lois Lerner acted on his opposition.”

Representative Darrell Issa was asked could it lead to political operatives of the president? The congressman answer yes, stating that his investigation is being “stymied.” He also said that the IRS did not seriously look into the emails Lerner exchanged with the White House and did not look into emails from Obama political operative David Axelrod.

Republicans in Congress and Americans don’t buy the lies and cover up of IRS officials. In an age where it seems like every email lives forever, it’s too much to believe that these particular e-mails, from this particular person, simply disappeared. The National Security Agency has the emails of all Americans, including Lois Lerner’s.
Congressional Republicans criticized IRS Commissioner John Koskinen for saying in March, 2014 that the agency would produce all of Lerner’s e-mails. “Transparency clearly did not compel the IRS to tell the truth,” Representative Darrell Issa, Republican from California and Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said to Koskinen during a hearing on June 23, 2014, “I’m sick and tired of your game-playing in response to congressional oversight.” Koskinen testified before Congress for the second time in four days.

In his prepared testimony for the hearing, Koskinen blamed the “aged equipment” that used by the IRS due to budget problems and said that so far this year, 2,000 IRS employees out of about 90,000 have suffered hard-drive crashes. This, of course, violates the law.

IRS CANCELLED Contract with Email-Storage Firm Weeks After Lerner’s Computer CrashThe IRS stated last week that the computer failure meant it couldn’t recover many of Lerner’s e-mails from 2009 to 2011, though it is providing lawmakers with 67,000. Lerner, who retired last year, oversaw employees who determined whether groups seeking nonprofit status were too political.

Representative Issa sent Koskinen a list of questions on June 22, 2014, regarding the technology failures and when Koskinen learned about them. The IRS commissioner, who took over the IRS in 2013, said earlier this year that the agency would produce all of Lerner’s e-mails. The IRS has provided thousands of Lerner´s e-mails, including some from the two-year period in question, by obtaining them from other people on the messages.

Richard Rubin wrote an article entitled “Lois Lerner´s Hard Drive Central as Issa Investigates the IRS“ which was published by Bloomberg Business Week on June 23,2014. He reported that Karen Evans, administrator for information technology at the Office of Management and Budget from 2003 to 2009 stated the following:
“It’s feasible that she (Lerner) loses her hard drive, that the server would be cycled through. Most operations people have plans in place that you can recover e-mail because you don’t want everybody screaming and yelling at you. It’s a thing that you try to avoid. There may still be a way to find more of Lerner’s e-mails, if the IRS has retained e-mail transfer data showing the header information. That would allow the tax agency to know who Lerner was corresponding with.”

Issa’s committee plans to continue its hearing tomorrow. He said the panel issued a subpoena to Jennifer O’Connor, a former IRS official now on the White House counsel’s staff, for her testimony at tomorrow’s hearing.

Tom Fitton, President of Judicial Watch, wrote an article entitled “Internal Revenue Service is Gaming Congress Over Lost Emails” in Judicial Watch Weekly Update on June 20, 2014. He wrote that the IRS could still access the Lois Lerner´s lost emails. Fitton explained that the IRS is supposed to have a failsafe methodology in place for protecting any and all emails sent by its employees according to the law which states the following:

“1.15.6.8 (06-01-2010)
Security of Electronic Records
1. IRS offices will implement and maintain an effective record security program that incorporates the following:
A. Ensures that only authorized personnel have access to electronic records.
B. Provides for backup and recovery of records to protect against information loss or corruption.
C. Ensures that an appropriate agency personnel are trained to safeguard sensitive or classified electronic records.
D. Minimizes the risk of unauthorized alteration or erasure of electronic records.
E. Ensures that electronic record security is included in computer systems security plans prepared pursuant to the Computer Security Act of 1987.”

Fitton pointed out the following: “The IRS is once again gaming Congress… Judicial Watch has already obtained and released some highly damaging emails from within the now thoroughly corrupted and discredited Obama IRS. So, one can only imagine how devastating the ones they are now fighting must be to Obama and his minions.”
Thanks to Judicial Watch the nation found out that the corrupt Lois Lerner directly communicated with the Department of Justice about whether it was possibly to criminally prosecute certain tax-exempt entities. The documents obtained by Judicial Watch showed the enormous pressure on the IRS by Senator Carl Levin, Democrat from Michigan, to shut down conservative tax-exempt organizations. The emails by Lois Lerner’s show clearly her misleading explanations to investigators about the targeting of Tea Party, conservative and religious organizations.

Tom Fitton concluded his article by stating the following:

“If a private entity had done something similar in a federal investigation, the FBI would have raided the entity’s premises and locked it down to search for and secure evidence. Does anyone think that Eric Holder’s Justice Department or the conflicted FBI is going to do this to the IRS? We will do what we can in the courts to hold this Obama administration to account for these latest affront to the rule of law. And, if the past is any prologue, we will get key information long before Congress and the lax and liberal media do.”

The liar and corrupt Lois Lerner

Lois Lerner, the IRS director of the office that oversees tax-exempt organizations involved in the growing scandal, was issued a subpoena and had to testify before the House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee on May 22, 2013. Lerner denied any wrongdoing and stated the following: “I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws. I have not violated any IRS rules and regulations, and I have not provided false information to this or any other Congressional committee.” Lerner told the committee her work history and explained that she joined the tax-exempt division in 2001 and that she was promoted to head the division in 2006. She was responsible for 900 employees and had a budget of almost $100 million.

When members of Congress began to ask her questions, she invoked the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and she refused to answer any questions. Despite many attempts by Representative Darrell Issa of California, Chairman of the House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Lois Lerner did not answer a single question. Issa dismissed her over the complaints of other representatives who stated that her opening statement of denial of wrongdoing did not allow Lerner to then invoke the Fifth Amendment.

After What This Congressmen Just Did, Eric Holder Could Finally Be Impeached!Congressman Issa later said that he may call her back at another time. Apparently when a person makes a statement to a Congressional committee and later invokes the Fifth Amendment, the committee may force that person to come back and answer questions on the statement that was made. If the person refuses, then the committee may declare that person in contempt of Congress as it happened to the corrupt Attorney General Eric Holder.

It is quite obvious that Lerner lied to Congress in previous Congressional hearings when she said that the IRS was not targeting conservative organizations. Displaying arrogance similar to President Barack Obama, she left the meeting with her lawyer. Lois Lerner needs to be investigated, indicted, prosecuted and if convicted, sent to jail. Other IRS officials, who misled members of Congress and engaged in cover-ups and in abuse of power and illegal persecution of conservative organizations and donors to the presidential campaign of Mitt Romney, need to be investigated, indicted, prosecuted and if found guilty, sent to prison.

J. Russell George, the Treasury Department Inspector General for the Office of Tax Administration, told the committee that the IRS employees in the Cincinnati office that handled applications for conservative tax-exempt organizations did not cooperate in his investigation. Inspector General stated that the IRS employees have blocked efforts to learn who developed the illegal controversial questions demanded of conservative organizations. George said the following: “We have had some difficulty in terms of getting clarity from some of the employees we’ve interviewed.”

It was Inspector General George who found out that Lerner knew that her employees were targeting for special scrutiny conservative organizations when they applied for tax-exempt status as social welfare groups. Mr. George stated to the committee that he could not rule out whether conservative taxpayers also might have been targeted for audits or other forms of scrutiny. Of course, we are aware that some major donors of the presidential campaign of Romney were, indeed, targeted for IRS income tax audits and Labor Department investigations.

Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform were especially tough on the former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, the Bush administration appointee who left in November, 2012, after his five-year term expired. The committee found out that Shulman had visited the Obama White House 118 times in 2010 and 2011.

Shulman stated that he was absolutely sure that he had no conversations at the White House about targeting conservative organizations. Shulman said he could not remember why he went to the White House so frequently. Suddenly, he seemed to develop amnesia. He said he was at the White House for a variety of reasons, including discussions about the new role of the IRS under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and also for the Easter Egg Roll with his children. However, the White House’s logs show that Shulman met only with to West Wing officials working on healthcare.

Former Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Mark Everson, who served under President Bush, said he remembers making only one trip to the White House in the entire time that he was in office. Everson stated that: “I fear the IRS is on the slippery slope as regards to its traditional independence due to being so intertwined with a major domestic policy initiative like healthcare reform.”

Representative Jim Jordan, Republican from Ohio, said to Shulman the following: “You started targeting the very groups that came into existence because they opposed what you were talking about in the White House, 118 different visits there. You started targeting them the very month that the Affordable Care Act became law.” It was obvious by the questions raised by some members of the committee that they were very skeptical of the testimony by the former head of the IRS. Chairman Darrell Issa said that Shulman frequent visits to the White House make it hard to believe that the IRS and White House officials never talked about the investigation into the IRS targeting of conservative groups, which was going on at the time. Issa said “in my view, it’s hard to believe it didn’t come up in passing.”

How can one believe that in 118 visits to the White House, some White House official would not have asked Shulman to target organizations or Republican donors that would have actively oppose the president’s reelection? The frequent meetings makes it very difficult to believe the White House´s claims that it could not have instigated the targeting of conservative groups because it took a hands off approach to the IRS, going as far as to describe that the IRS as an independent agency of the Obama administration even though it is a part of the Treasury Department. Shulman’s testimony, was simply not credible. Shulman is a liar!

On May 23, 2013, the next day after Lois Lerner took the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination and refused to answer representatives’ questions, she was placed on administrative leave. However, Lerner continued to keep her annual salary of $177,000 until she resigned in 2013. Lerner was replaced by Ken Corbin who will now be the acting director of the embattled tax- exempt division of the IRS. Lerner was the IRS official who first publicly disclosed on May 10, 2013 that IRS agents have been targeting tea party and other conservative groups for additional scrutiny. At the time Lerner apologized on behalf of the IRS, but her apology brought about a storm of criticism from Congress and the president.

In 2014, Lerner, former Director of the IRS Exempt Organizations Division was held in Contempt of Congress for her role in the 2013 IRS controversy and refusal to testify. The bill, was introduced into the House of Representatives on May 7, 2014 by Representative Darrell Issa, Republican from California. The bill passed with a vote of 231-187 on May 7, 2014. All of the Republicans voted in favor of the bill, along with only six Democrats. The resolution holds Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify at a congressional hearing.

Lerner had found out in June 2011 that IRS agents were singling out groups with “Tea Party” and “Patriot” in their applications. It finally stopped in May 2012. However, some conservative organizations are still waiting for approval after almost two years. Illegal road blocks were placed on almost 500 tea party and patriot groups.
One Tea Party organization was asked to provide a list and a summary of each book that was read by its members, yet progressive organizations that supported the president that requested tax-exempt status were quickly approved. As stated previously, Lerner misled Congress by denying what her division was doing. Many representatives and senators in Congress stated that they had been misled by her as well as the fired interim head of the IRS Steve Miller.

Douglas Shulman told two congressional committees that he first learned in the spring of 2012 what was happening to conservative organizations that were illegally and improperly singled out for additional scrutiny. Shulman also said that after learning that this illegal practice had stopped and that the Inspector General of the Treasury Department was investigating, he did not tell anyone in the Treasury Department or the White House about it. This is also hard to believe. The usual procedure when wrongdoing is discovered in a government agency is to alert your immediate supervisor. Unless you want to give the individual or individuals who issued the illegal persecution order “plausible denial”, which is a strong possibility in the growing scandal at the IRS.

Reince Priebus, Chairman of the Republican National Committee since January 2011, stated to Newsweek on May 24, 2013 that “everyone involved in the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups should be fired. Priebus stated the following: “The infringement on people’s liberties using the IRS is the worst of all (scandal) as far as using government to intimidate people. It doesn’t get any worse than this. When you consider the fact that our country was founded on religious and economic freedom and now we have an administration that will take the tax man to intimidate people who didn’t agree with him politically, that’s a big problem. To what level it rises is yet to be seen, but the president and the administration could do a lot in making this move alone much quicker.”

Priebus feels that the Obama administration can conduct a serious internal review and get rid of those people that were violated the rules and regulations of the IRS. He thinks that the IRS can release quickly all documents that Congress has requested, the documents and correspondence among employees and bosses of the IRS that were involved in the scandal.

Priebus is sure that the Obama administration can find easily the records of letters and traffic going out of both the Cincinnati office and the IRS headquarter about what groups were being harassed and questioned. He stated the following: “There should be consequences-that’s a reasonable position to take, but on a higher level of the administration, whether it’s at the White House or within the IRS.”

Conclusion

The president, of course, should be devoted to the task of defending Americans from the frequent abuses committed by public officials of his government, whether it’s coming from officials at the White House, the IRS, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Justice Department or any other department or agency of his administration. Instead, President Obama has chosen to stonewall and cover-up the IRS scandal as well as the rest of the frequent and serious scandals of his administration. President Barack Obama has governed with aggressive tactics that not only has violated the Constitution, but have undermined democracy by expanding presidential power and weakening the Congress.

The president has promoted a “culture of intimidation” that is clearly anti-American and is clearly unacceptable. Obama has constantly lashed out against his political opponents, reporters in the media who have questioned his policies and conservative organizations and individuals who supported politicians of the Republican Party. His constant demonizing of those that disagree with his policies has led to the IRS and other scandals. These are the tactics of dictators of the Third World and should not be happening in the land of the free and the home of the brave. We deserve better government!

It is very obvious to this writer that the scandal is growing as new alarming revelations are coming forward. Congress would like to know if anyone in the White House directed the IRS to harass and intimidate conservative organizations and donors to the presidential campaign of Governor Mitt Romney. If it can be proven that President Barack Obama issued the order or directed a White House official to do it, the House of Representatives would have no choice but to impeach the president. It is quite clear that the president has lost his moral standing as a leader of our nation and of the free world.

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