web analytics
August 27, 2014 / 1 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Sander Levin’

IRS in Court Friday, its Documents Prove Z STREET’s Claims

Friday, July 19th, 2013

The more evidence is revealed regarding the Internal Revenue Service’s treatment of organizations whose ideological views conflict with those of this Administration’s, the more it becomes apparent that the claims made against the IRS by a small pro-Israel non-profit back in August, 2010 were not only probably true, but are demonstrably true.  Incredibly, the proof that Z STREET’s claims are true was found in documents created by the IRS itself, in submissions to investigators looking into IRS misbehavior regarding other non-profits.

And on Friday, July 19, as the IRS makes its first court hearing in any case regarding claims that it mistreated many non-profits because of the ideological positions of those organizations, the proof of its ideological motivations are now public.

This Friday, July 19, at 10:00 a.m., Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will hear the government’s motion to dismiss Z STREET’s claims against it in courtroom 17 in the Federal district court in Washington, D.C.

In a federal lawsuit filed in August, 2010, Z STREET claimed that the IRS had engaged in viewpoint discrimination while processing Z STREET’s application for status as non-profit.  The basis for its claim was that the IRS agent assigned to Z TREET’s file told Z STREET’s corporate counsel that the review of Z STREET’s application for tax exempt status would take a long time because the IRS had to “give special scrutiny to organizations connected to Israel,” and that the files of some of those organizations “were sent to a special unit in Washington, D.C. to determine whether the organization’s activity’s contradict the public policy of the Administration.”

This Wednesday, July 17, Z STREET (this reporter is the president of the organization) filed a supplemental memorandum with the court, submitting newly-discovered evidence that the IRS employees created a purely political category “Occupied Territory Advocacy” as the basis for additional review of an organization’s application for tax exempt status.

All of the information about this IRS categorization is contained in documents which the IRS had been required to submit during an investigation conducted by the Treasury Department’s Inspector General for Tax Affairs.  But these documents had not been made public earlier, because the IG’s mandate had been to look at organization’s whose applications were delayed on the basis of political orientation, the largest example being the Tea Party organizations.

However, on June 24, Rep. Sander Levin, (D-MICH), released a series of documents produced by the Internal Revenue Service.  Rep. Levin said he believed these materials proved the IRS had not only targeted conservative groups, but that it had also gone after “progressive” groups, i.e. liberal ones. Presumably, his goal was to prove that the IRS was not selective in its misbehavior, but had been an equal opportunity offender.  Levin believed that the 14 IRS documents which he released on June 24, 2013, made this point, and he then went on the offensive, lambasting the Treasury’s Inspector General, J. Russell George, for failing to raise this “fact” in his report.

Sympathetic media outlets immediately ran top-of-the fold headlines proclaiming, based upon statements made in a conference call given by Danny Werfel, the new Acting IRS Commissioner, with select members of the media, that the IRS had not only used the words “Tea Party” as a search term to target organizations for additional scrutiny, but that it had also targeted “progressives,” “Israel” and “Occupy.” Outlets which ran with this story, and used the claim in its headlines, included the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, and the Huffington Post.

But a detailed review of the IRS documents released by Levin, as well as a lengthy response by the Inspector General to Levin’s scathing letter, revealed that those documents did not prove what Levin and others hoped was being proved. In fact they proved something very different.

Although the term “progressives” was found as a category on several of the documents, just a few minutes’ perusal of that line item reveals that nothing was done with the organizations with that term in their title.  In fact, the Tab under which that term appears is “Potential Abusive Historical,” and the category had been moribund.  A note in one of the columns revealed that because those organizations were clearly engaged in political activity, IRS employees noted that they should have requested a 501(c)(4) and not the 501(c)(3) designation they sought.

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.

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/congress-widens-investigation-of-irs-includes-pro-israel-groups-targeted/2013/05/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: