web analytics
April 25, 2014 / 25 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Dave Camp’

Republicans and Democrats Ignore IRS Abuse of Pro-Israel Group

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Two Republican chairs of congressional committees which have been investigating for the past several months what some have called IRS-Gate, penned an opinion piece which appeared in the Washington Post on Tuesday, August 6.

Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Dave Camp (R-Mich.) are the chairmen of, respectively, the House committees on Oversight and Ways and Means. In their opinion piece, “The IRS Scandals Inconsistencies,” the members of congress criticize the Internal Revenue Service for targeting politically conservative groups for discriminatory treatment.

The Republican congressmen also criticize their colleagues from the Democratic party and this Democratic administration for changing their story repeatedly about what happened, who was responsible, and who then tried to convince the American people that this was “not much of a scandal,” and then they attempted “to smear the inspector general” by “falsely equating routine scrutiny of progressive groups to tea party applications.”

But the Democrats aren’t the only ones who repeatedly refuse to ignore admissible evidence produced by the IRS itself, that the tax agency clearly, unequivocally and blatantly engaged in viewpoint discrimination.

The Republicans have also been ignoring or hiding a group that was wronged, perhaps because that group – unlike the Tea Party organizations – does not have a set of political defenders.   Unlike every other entity involved in this entire scandal and its investigation, this other group is truly apolitical.  The ardently pro-Israel organization Z STREET (of which this reporter is the president) was demonstrably discriminated against by the IRS, yet every member of congress has thus far ignored the group’s plight.

Z STREET brought a lawsuit against the IRS in August, 2010, claiming that the IRS had engaged in viewpoint discrimination, thereby violating the group’s First Amendment right to free speech.  The basis for the lawsuit were the statements made by the IRS agent in charge of Z STREET’s application to Z STREET’s tax lawyer that one, “the IRS had to give special scrutiny to organizations connected to Israel” and that two, some organizations’ applications had to be “sent to a special unit in Washington, D.C. to determine whether the activities of the organization contradicted the public policies of this Administration.”

While the Justice Department, which represents the IRS in litigation, concocted several defenses to Z STREET’s claims, they ultimately came up with a justification they deemed so bulletproof they offered a set of sworn statements by IRS officials why the IRS applied special scrutiny to Z STREET’s application.  The justification?  It is because Z STREET supports “Israel, which is a country with a higher risk of terrorism,” and therefore Z STREET might be funding terrorists.

The IRS stuck to its guns on this “Israel as a terrorist state” defense.  However, they could not have predicted that the ranking member of the Democrats for Cong. Camp’s own committee – Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich) of the House Ways and Means Committee – was going to blow its cover.

That happened on June 24, when Cong. Levin released a series of documents produced by the IRS which he thought proved the IRS had targeted groups that were politically liberal (the term on the chart was “progressives”), and therefore the admitted targeting of politically conservative groups could not have been politically motivated.

But, as the Treasury Department’s Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George explained, and as becomes clear by merely reviewing the charts, the “progressives” were listed as an historical issue of concern, and the motivation for the interest was whether or not those organizations should have filed a 501(c)(4) application which is for politically active groups, rather than for a 501(c)(3) application which is for groups engaged in educating the public.

However, those same charts created and produced by the tax agency itself reveal that the IRS created a category called “Occupied Territory Advocacy,” which dealt with groups which discuss the “disputed territories in the Middle East.” This category did show up on the IRS BOLO (Be on the Look Out) tab of the charts, unlike the “progressives” category.

Whatever the heck the IRS is supposed to be doing when it examines applicants for tax exempt status, it should not be looking at the ideological positions the organization takes with respect to the Middle East conflict.  Especially when the organization is engaged solely in educating about the issues, and doesn’t use donors’ funds to give grants to anything, anywhere, for anything.

And, despite the sworn statements by IRS officials, the word “terrorism” is nowhere to be found on any of the charts created by the IRS to show what kinds of organizations received additional scrutiny of their applications for tax exemption.

But somehow that slam dunk example of blatant viewpoint discrimination, delivered with a ribbon and a bow from Cong. Levin, escaped the notice of everyone who claims to be “servants of the people.”

Nope, unless an organization has political juice, it appears neither the Democrats or the Republicans care when the constitutional rights of a group of Americans have been violated by a U.S. government agency.

A pox on both their houses.

Congress Widens IRS Investigation, Pro-Israel Groups Were Targeted

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

The chairman and the ranking committee member of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee released a letter the committee sent today, May 14, to Steve Miller, Acting Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service.  That letter informs Miller that the committee has greatly expanded the scope of its investigation into alleged misdeeds by the IRS.

Among other information that congress is now seeking is information about the IRS’s special scrutiny of organizations whose mission involve Israel.

Last week The Jewish Press connected the admitted increased scrutiny of certain conservative organizations by the IRS, and the alleged targeting by the agency of Z STREET, a pro-Israel organization.  That activity gave rise to a lawsuit filed against the IRS in 2010. (This reporter is the president of the organization that brought that lawsuit.)

Congressmen Dave Camp (R-MI)  and Sander Levin (D-MI) signed a 3 page, single space, 13 point  letter today, making clear that congress was greatly displeased with the lack of candor and responsiveness the IRS has displayed towards their committee’s now-nearly two year long investigation of the agency.

In addition to seeking information about the IRS dealing with organization’s whose mission deals with Israel, the Ways and Means Committee is also seeking information about any other kinds of organizations the IRS chose to scrutinize based upon those organization’s political views.

The tone of the letter makes clear that Acting Commissioner Miller is in for a grueling hearing this Friday.  The congressmen use euphemisms, but what they are accusing the IRS of doing was lying to the Committee, repeatedly – either by commission or omission – about actions it has now admitted taking.  Now they want to know, essentially, who decided that the committee would be told lies, and how far up the chain of command did the lying go, in addition to the underlying inappropriate conduct.

Congress is also demanding to know what information about the now-admitted, and perhaps additional to be admitted misdeeds was shared with the Treasury Department and with the White House, and when that information was shared.

One of the most jarring paragraphs in any letter sent to a government agency by a congressional committee is found in the May 14 letter from Congressmen Camp and Levin:

The IRS, through its officials, is legally and ethically bound to tell the truth to Congress and the American people.  In this situation, the IRS had a continuing obligation to update and correct information provided to Congress if it was later determined to be incomplete or inaccurate.  Why did your agency fail to be completely forthcoming with the Committee in its responses to the Committee’s ongoing investigation and in testimony before the Committee regarding the IRS’s practice of targeting conservative groups?

It is also clear that the Ways and Means Committee will be holding additional hearings into alleged widespread misdeeds.  The new material congress seeks must be supplied to the Ways and Means Committee by May 21, a week from today.

Perhaps the only thing that is not yet clear is who made the decisions to employ the vast power of the IRS to engage in inappropriate, bullying activity of particular groups of Americans, and how and who made the decisions to cover up that activity.  It appears congress intends to find out the answers to those questions.

It’s going to be a long, hot summer for the IRS.

 

IRS Punished Conservative Non-Profits, Perhaps Also Pro-Israel Groups

Saturday, May 11th, 2013

For more than a year the U.S. Congress has been investigating whether the Internal Revenue Service was inappropriately treating conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, or burdening such groups with requests and demands which are impermissible, as many had claimed.

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.”

Z STREET’s lawsuit claims the IRS activity constitutes viewpoint discrimination and a violation of its constitutionally protected right of free speech.  The organization is seeking, among other things, complete disclosure to the public regarding the origin, development, approval, substance and application of the IRS policy to treat pro-Israel organizations differently than it does other organizations. (disclosure: this reporter was the founder and president of Z STREET when the litigation was filed.)

At least one purely religious Jewish organization, one not focused on Israel, was the recipient of bizarre and highly inappropriate questions about Israel.  Those questions also came from the same non-profit division of the IRS at issue for inappropriately targeting politically conservative groups. The IRS required that Jewish organization to state “whether [it] supports the existence of the land of Israel,” and also demanded the organization “[d]escribe [its] religious belief system toward the land of Israel.”

For years the IRS has denied it took any such inappropriate actions and has done its best to prevent Z STREET from pursuing its claim of viewpoint discrimination. The IRS even took the position that because Israel is a country “where terrorism happens,” the service was justified in taking additional time to determine whether Z STREET was involved with funding terrorism.  Z STREET is a purely educational organization that has never funded anything, either in Israel or anywhere else.

Coincidentally, after two and a half years of non-movement, the very first hearing in Z STREET v IRS was recently scheduled for the afternoon of Tuesday, July 2, in the Federal District Court of the District of Columbia.

Representatives of several tea party groups rejected the apology offered by the IRS, and insist that steps be taken to prevent such blatant discrimination in the future.

Blogger Puts Congressional Aide’s Get Refusal In Context

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, is becoming the focus of a tough social media campaign, according to Fox News. Not for anything he himself has done, but for the refusal of his adviser, Aharon Friedman, to give his ex-wife a proper get.

Without a get she can’t start a new life with another Jewish man, which some have likened to domestic abuse. So now political Jews have decided to put the pressure on Congressman Camp, hoping for some trickle down pressure.

They go on his Facebook page, leaving messages like “Give Tamar her freedom like every human deserves!”

There’s an online petition going on, too. What can I tell you, this Internet thing seems to be catching on with folks…

But I was curious to hear the man’s side (typical, right?) and found some explanation by Sarah Wildman on Huffington (what can I say, my curiosity is without boundaries). Wildman writes:

The Epstein-Friedman case is complicated. Friedman was granted a joint-custody agreement in the civil courts, one that gives him three weekends a month, but weekends that start at 6 p.m. In Philadelphia. On Friday nights. Which means, for a Sabbath-observant Jew, Friedman can’t really see his daughter until Sunday. That’s wrenching, that’s awful; that, many believe, is unfair. The kid is so far away to begin with – and Friedman, by all accounts, begged his wife to move back to the D.C. metro area so he can see the girl more.

So Friedman is holding back the get until he gets to visit his daughter. It’s messy and really shouldn’t go sooo public, which is why I’ve stayed away from it all this time. But now I saw a reason to touch it, to provide CONTEXT.

Now you can have your megaphone back…


You get the feeling the private and the public is getting a tad mixed here? just wondering…

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/a-congressman-and-his-adviser-in-hot-water-with-jews-over-get-refusal/2012/03/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: