Something seriously afoul here.
An apology just doesn’t cut it. Now that there is someone officially on record admitting wrong doing on behalf of the IRS, it’s time to take the whole issue further and get a congressional investigation with subpoena power underway. Let the heads roll where they may.
Friday, May 10, the IRS person in charge of the division dealing with non-profits, Lois Lerner, apologized for actions taken by the agency which were based on political affiliation.
“That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate. That’s not how we go about selecting cases for further review,” Lerner said at a conference sponsored by the American Bar Association.
“The IRS would like to apologize for that,” she added.
How did the IRS do this? By singling out dozens of organizations for additional reviews because they included the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their exemption applications, Lerner admitted.
The Ways and Means Committee has been seeking information on precisely this activity and “the IRS repeatedly denied they were targeting conservative grassroots organizations,” said committee chair Dave Camp (R-MI) in response to the revelation. He announced that the committee will soon hold hearings on this now-admitted practice by the IRS.
Camp stated in a press release issued just after the admission of wrongdoing by the IRS, “The IRS absolutely must be non-partisan in its enforcement of our tax laws. The admission by the agency that it targeted American taxpayers based on politics is both shocking and disappointing. The Committee on Ways and Means will thoroughly investigate this matter and will soon hold a hearing to get to the bottom of this situation. We will hold the IRS accountable for its actions.”
PRO-ISRAEL GROUP SUED IRS CLAIMING TARGETING PRACTICE
While they are at it, the committee might want to ask the IRS whether their list of targets extended beyond political party discrimination. There is evidence the IRS also targeted pro-Israel groups whose positions were potentially inconsistent with the administration’s.
For example, in 2010, the passionately pro-Israel organization Z STREET filed a lawsuit against the IRS, claiming it had been told by an IRS agent that because the organization was “connected to Israel,” its application for tax-exempt status would receive additional scrutiny. This admission was made in response to a query about the lengthy reveiw of Z STREET’s tax exempt status application.
In addition, the IRS agent told a Z STREET representative that the applications of some of those Israel-related organizations have been assigned to “a special unit in the D.C. office to determine whether the organization’s activities contradict the Administration’s public policies.”
Pro-Israel Group Sees “Same Conduct” In IRS’s Tea Party Campaign
Z Street charged in 2010 that the Obama Administration was persecuting it for its policy views. Does Israel activism “contradict the Administration’s public policies?” an IRS agent allegedly asked.
The head of a Jewish group that says it was targeted by the Internal Revenue Service over its opposition to President Obama’s Israel policy said Saturday that she sees parallels between the tax agency’s treatment of Tea Party groups and her own case.
The Zionist group Z Street sued the IRS in the summer of 2010, alleging that a federal agent, Diane Gentry, told the group’s lawyer that the agency was “carefully scrutinizing organizations that are in any way connected with Israel.”
The group alleged that the agent told them that “a special unit” was examining whether its activities — in pushing a hawkishly pro-Israel line — “contradict the Administration’s public policies,” referring to a provision of the tax code which can deny nonprofit status to groups that oppose “established public policy.” The provision, rarely used, has been invoked to deny that status to racist groups.