An IRS “weaponization” round-up

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, Rare Staff

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The IRS is back and just as seedy as ever, despite a statement to the contrary President Obama made to Bill O’Reilly and the rest of the free world before Super Bowl XLVIII.

The IRS reemerged on the scandal scene thanks to Washington attorney and conservative activist, Cleta Mitchell, at a hearing before the Oversight Committee on Thursday.

Here’s her litany of diverse illegalities involving the IRS (h/t Breitbart):

“The lying has not stopped. There are lies upon lies in this ugly episode. The Commissioner of the IRS lied to Congress in March 2012 when he said there was absolutely no targeting … lying to Congress is a crime.”

“[T]he Department of Justice refuses to investigate who it was that was responsible for releasing confidential tax information of Koch Industries to the president’s Economic Advisor who in turn, released it to the press.”

“Or who released the National Organization of Marriage’s tax return? I represent NOM – we sued the IRS to try to get to the bottom of why our confidential tax information was made available to our political opponents. Where’s the FBI in investigating?….That is a criminal offense!”

“It is a criminal offense also for the IRS to release the confidential donors of the Texas Public Policy Foundation and the Republican governor’s Public Policy Council.”

Conservative organizations, whose donor information was released by the IRS … That’s a criminal offense! Who’s investigating that? And finally the lies… again — it is a felony to lie to a federal agency.”

Myriad unaddressed offenses aside, Mitchell had not even touched on the problems her own client is facing because of the IRS. Catherine Engelbrecht, president and founder of True the Vote, a conservative voting integrity group, appeared before the committee on Thursday and relayed her targeting story:

“My life before I spoke out for good government stands in stark contrast to the life I now lead. As a wife, a mother, and small businesswoman working with my husband, raising our children and participating in my church and PTA, the government collected my taxes and left me and my family in peace. But when I helped found and led True the Vote and King Street Patriots, I found myself a target of this federal government.

“Shortly after filing IRS forms to establish 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) tax exempt organizations, an assortment of federal entities including law enforcement agencies and a Congressman from Maryland, Elijah Cummings came knocking at my door. In nearly two decades of running our small business, my husband and I never dealt with any government agency, outside of filing our annual tax returns. We had never been audited, we had never been investigated, but all that changed upon submitting applications for the nonprofit statuses of True the Vote and King Street Patriots. Since that filing in 2010, my private businesses, my nonprofit organizations, and family have been subjected to more than 15 instances of audit or inquiry by federal agencies.”

At the very same hearing, (R-SC) Rep. Trey Gowdy unloaded what might be the most cogent and direct critique of the IRS to date given by a representative. Gowdy emphatically dismisses the idea that there isn’t a “smidgen of corruption” in the IRS. He says: First, the investigation has not been completed almost a year later. Second, 40 witnesses involving the prior scandals haven’t been interviewed, again almost a year later. And third, Lois Lerner, Director of the IRS Exempt Organizations division, invoked her 5th Amendment privilege when questioned back in May 2013. The video below is six minutes long, but it’s well worth your time.

I’d say it’s about time this investigation gets some legs.

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Matt Naham is an editorial assistant for Rare. Follow him on Twitter @matt_naham.

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