In a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit (note, not request) the watchdog group Judicial Watch obtained documents confirming every negative supposition surrounding the IRS in the now years-ongoing political targeting scandal. Judicial Watch’s blockbuster findings show that the IRS did indeed intentionally and repeatedly target conservative groups for negative attention from the tax agency.
The incredible revelations show that former Democratic Senator and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee Max Baucus, of Montana, had a personal hand in siccing the IRS attack dogs on the various conservative groups with a hostile letter, and further show the IRS used donor lists from tax exempt groups to more effectively harass conservative organizations.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, made a lengthy statement confirming the revelations.
“You have political targeting that is factual at this point,” he said. “There are no ifs, ands or buts. You had groups within the IRS who were politically targeting conservatives and impeding their First Amendment rights.”
Former House Oversight Committee Chairman and California Rep. Darrell Issa took that a step further, saying that the IRS is still targeting conservative groups. “It is clearly still a procedure,” he said in an appearance on Fox News’ America’s Newsroom. “The fact is, [IRS Commissioner John Koskinen] is a spokesperson for the president and is part of the delay and cover-up,” he continued. “This is becoming an old story, and the president … is actually trying to take back his words from 2013 when he admitted this was unreasonable targeting. [Barack Obama] He wants to talk about how there is not enough money and blame a law passed before he was born that served us well and from then until now when it was suddenly broken.”
Issa referred to an appearance by Obama earlier in the week on The Daily Show, in which the president first blamed congress for the scandal, before having the temerity to say the “real scandal around the IRS is that they have been so poorly funded that they cannot go after these folks who are deliberately avoiding tax payments.”
Obama’s statements are refuted by clear evidence. Part of the Judicial Watch revelations was that William Wilkins, appointed by Obama, personally signed off on the harassment strategy.
William Wilkins, Obama-appointed IRS Chief Counsel, personally signed off on C4 donor targeting memo. pic.twitter.com/jWTbGNmvDd
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) July 23, 2015
Chaffetz, for his part, doesn’t plan to let this end quietly. “You’re going to continue to hear more about this,” he said. “Because when the targeting became evident, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee put in place a subpoena for the documents – a small window of Lois Lerner’s e-mails. Internally, the IRS put a preservation order in place — don’t destroy or get rid of any of these documents. These documents and e-mails were in the possession of the IRS. And on March 4, 2014, they destroyed them” he said.
“Imagine if the IRS had given you a summons for you to produce documents. You had them in your possession, and then you destroyed them. What would happen to you? Do you think they would say, ‘Oh, darn it!’ No, which is why Congress has to stand up for itself. You cannot — with a duly issued subpoena and eternal preservation order in place — go out and destroy documents and say there is no consequence to that; nobody’s going to be held accountable, and nobody is at fault.
“And yet that’s essentially what we’ve heard from the President… You know this ridiculous law the president is talking about? It was passed in 1913. He makes it look as if we had passed this law. That little detail he said on the Daily Show, you’re going to see that surface. We will continue to pursue this, and I promise you – there will be news on the IRS side as early as next week. So stay tuned.”
Conservatives certainly will take that advice.