Progressives (especially liberal white women with non-STEM degrees) often ask me how I can be a conservative since I don’t fit their preconceived notion of a white male Republican. I could talk about how conservative policies are better for my life plans, but usually I just start with a story of something that the Obama administration did that scared me personally – namely, using the IRS to attack conservative groups right before the 2012 elections, so that Obama would win re-election.
Nothing was ever done to the IRS leaders who persecuted this conservative groups under the Obama administration, of course.
However, there might be a happy ending to this story under a Republican administration, as the Daily Signal reports:
Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady and tax policy subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions Wednesday, noting the Obama administration refused to review the information the committee gathered in its extensive investigation into the matter.
According to the congressmen, there is clear evidence Lerner willfully partook in criminal activity during her tenure as the Exempt Organizations division director, yet former President Barak Obama insisted there was “not a smidgeon of corruption” at the agency.
“On April 9, 2014, the House Committee on Ways and Means voted to send a letter to the Department of Justice referring former IRS Exempt Organizations Division Director Lois G. Lerner for criminal prosecution,” Brady and Roskam wrote. “As indicated in the attached letter, the Committee’s nearly three-year investigation uncovered evidence of willful misconduct on the part of Ms. Lerner. Despite this fact, and for what many believe were purely partisan reasons, the prior administration refused to review Ms. Lerner’s misconduct.”
The lawmakers cited evidence showing Lerner provided misleading information to Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s questions and the use of her personal email, which put taxpayers’ confidential information at risk of exposure, as reasons for reopening the investigation.
The DOJ announced in October 2015 it would not pursue criminal charges against Lerner at the close of its two-year probe. The investigation faced challenges due to Lerner’s crashed hard drive, the absence of email archives, and the destruction of over 400 electronic backup tapes, and it was unable to prove the IRS official “intentionally discriminated against an applicant based upon viewpoint” and cited line-employees’ “ignorance, inertia” and “negligence” for delays in tea party applications for r 501(c )(3) status.
“It is clear that when the DOJ announced in October 2015 that it would not bring charges against Lois Lerner, the agency was following President Obama’s signal on how he wanted the investigation to be handled,” they continued. “Taxpayers deserve to know that the DOJ’s previous evaluation was not tainted by politics.”
For now, thought conservative lawmakers are at least trying to get some mony taken out of the IRS budget.
Jim Jordan, my favorite Congressman, explains in USA Today:
Part of my time in Washington has involved investigating the IRS targeting of conservative groups. For a sustained period, the IRS systematically targeted Americans based on their political beliefs.
Congressional efforts to investigate the matter were thwarted. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen was brought in to clean up the mess, but under his watch, 422 back-up tapes containing potentially 24,000 emails relevant to the scandal were destroyed. Such actions leave the American people with little trust in the IRS.
Not only did the IRS violate the First Amendment with its targeting, the agency may have violated the Fourth with the use of “Stingray” surveillance technology. Last year, the House Oversight Committee held a hearing about the technology, which tricks cellphones into pinging off a Stingray device to reveal the phone’s location. Such technology might have a place at the FBI, but why does a tax collecting agency need a device that can track citizens’ whereabouts?
These issues, along with other egregious examples of wasteful spending (one IRS employee spent $43,726 at a Ritz Carlton near Washington, D.C.) warrant the Congress to use its power of the purse to demand accountability.
Likewise, it’s up to leaders at the IRS to prioritize their budget on the agency’s core mission: collecting tax revenue and serving its customers, the American taxpayers. Instead of using taxpayer dollars to violate constitutional rights, the agency should refocus on its priorities. Applying budget cuts in a way that hurts its core mission is just another in a long line of poor decisions by IRS leadership.
Given the history of waste, disregard for civil liberties and lack of internal controls at the IRS, it is no surprise that the Trump administration would like to cut the budget. Doing so sends a signal that this Congress and administration will not reward unlawful behavior.
It seems pretty to me at least that the previous administration repeatedly used government power to target and attack those who disagreed with their communist – pacificist policies. I’d like to see Jeff Sessions punish the progressives from the last administration so that they learn the hard way to obey the law, even if they have no sense of morality. If we had electe Ted Cruz, then he would have just abolished the IRS outright, and that would be a wonderful thing.