IRS scandal

IRS finds yet another Lois Lerner email account

Lois Lerner had yet another personal email account used to conduct some IRS business, the tax agency confirmed in a new court filing late Monday that further complicates the administration’s efforts to be transparent about Ms. Lerner’s actions during the tea party targeting scandal. The admission came in an open-records lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest law firm that has sued to get a look at emails Ms. Lerner sent during the targeting. IRS lawyer Geoffrey J. Klimas told the court that as the agency was putting together a set of documents to turn over to Judicial Watch, it realized Ms. Lerner had used yet another email account, in addition to her official one and another personal one already known to the agency. “In addition to emails to or from an email account denominated ‘Lois G. Lerner‘ or ‘Lois Home,’ some emails responsive to Judicial Watch’s request may have been sent to or received from a personal email account denominated ‘Toby Miles,’” Mr. Klimas told Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, who is hearing the case. It is unclear who Toby Miles is, but Mr. Klimas said the IRS has concluded that was “a personal email account used by Lerner.” Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, said it was stunning the agency was just now admitting the existence of the address. “It is simply astonishing that years after this scandal erupted we are learning about an account Lois Lerner used that evidently hadn’t been searched,” he said, accusing the IRS of hiding Lerner-related information throughout — including the existence of the backup tapes of her official email account, which the agency’s inspector general easily found once it went looking for them. Mr. Klimas didn’t respond to an email seeking comment Monday evening, and a spokeswoman for the tax agency didn’t respond to an email and phone call. On Tuesday, the agency released a short statement saying the email address was known to Capitol Hill before this. In his court filing, Mr. Klimas argued that the IRS had previously hinted there may be other personal email accounts, pointing back to a footnote in a letter attached to a June 27, 2014, brief that mentioned “documents located on her personal home computer and email on her personal email account.” He altered that wording in his filing Monday, saying the database of Lerner emails turned over to Congress included messages from her “‘personal home computer and email on her personal email’ account(s).” The use of secret or extra email accounts has bedeviled the Obama administration, which is has tried to fend off a slew of lawsuits involving former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and her top aides, the White House’s top science adviser, top Environmental Protection Agency officials and the IRS. Those cases have flooded the federal district court in Washington. Indeed, Judge Sullivan, who is handling the current IRS case, is also presiding over Judicial Watch’s lawsuit seeking Mrs. Clinton’s emails. Last week, Judge Sullivan ordered the State Department to talk to the FBI about trying to recover messages that Mrs. Clinton may have kept on the email server she ran out of her home in New York. Mr. Fitton said just as Mrs. Clinton is facing questions over whether she kept classified information on her non-secure email account, Ms. Lerner should face questions about whether she exchanged protected taxpayer information from personal email accounts.

Agreed! Time to drag ol’ Lois Lerner back in front of Congress and allow her the opportunity to, again, assert her Fifth Amendment rights….and then, this time, they need to read her HER rights before arresting her. This is just more corruption in the Obama Administration coming to light. Look for a lot more in the coming months!

Dairy farmer fighting feds after IRS milks him for $30,000

Randy Sowers built his dairy farm over three decades into a thriving business. After kick-starting with a $100,000 loan, today the South Mountain Creamery has 1,000 cows and 70 employees delivering milk, ice cream and other products to homes in the Washington, D.C., area. But the Maryland farmer’s operation suffered a big setback when the IRS swooped in to seize tens of thousands of hard-earned dollars from his account, claiming he violated an obscure banking law. And despite the federal agency all but admitting the law they used to seize the cash is flawed — and at least one member of Congress calling the move unconstitutional — Sowers is still fighting to get his money back. “We work hard for what we get, and the government can just come in and take that. It’s not what it’s supposed to be,” Sowers told Fox News. Sowers was targeted by the IRS under a controversial policy concerning the size of bank transactions. Banks are supposed to fill out extensive paperwork for every cash transaction over $10,000 – but to intentionally keep transactions under that threshold can be a violation called “structuring.” Sowers, 61, found himself accused of this after becoming, it seems, a victim of his own success. As his company got bigger over the years and his employees went to more and more weekend farmers markets, they ended up with a lot of cash come Monday morning. This is where the taxman trouble started, as he says the bank sought limited deposit amounts. “We’d had our festival and we get a lot [of] extra money,” Sowers explained. He said the bank teller told them they’d take their $12,000 in deposits, but they’d be “better off” if they kept it under $10,000, since “there is a lot of paperwork we have to fill out if you have to deposit more than $10,000.” Under the “structuring” laws, doing what the teller suggested is technically a crime. And so three years ago, Treasury agents showed up at the creamery with guns and badges. Sowers told them everything he could about his cash transactions, hoping to prove he wasn’t hiding anything. But as soon as they heard he sometimes had more than $10,000 and didn’t deposit all of it to stay under the reporting limits, they seized over $60,000 in his bank account. Out of fear of a jail sentence and a nearly half-million dollar fine, Sowers settled — letting the IRS keep about $30,000 of his hard-earned money. But he doesn’t think it’s right. “I’m not going to do anything wrong, it’s against my religion for one thing,” he said, while inspecting his herd on his farm. In February, he took his fight to Capitol Hill, testifying in an open-collar shirt and with a full beard. “We are just hard-working farmers, we don’t have time to be criminals,” he told lawmakers. Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., and others on the House Ways and Means Committee agreed during the hearing that something was wrong with a law that made Sowers and others’ above-board transactions illegal. “That law to me is unconstitutional, unreasonable and stupid,” Rangel said. Sowers’ run-in with the IRS is just one of several cases that have come to light where the feds seized an otherwise law-abiding business owner’s cash for supposed “structuring.” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has pledged they are changing their procedures, saying, “we’re simply saying that we’re not going to go after an asset seizure if there is no indication of illegal activity.” But the change is not retroactive, leaving people like Sowers in the lurch. At least two congressmen on the Ways and Means committee have taken up the case, writing letters to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew saying they believe Sowers should get his money back. Sowers says he’s not optimistic, but will keep fighting.

Another example of Obama’s heavy-handed, out-of-control, big government, fascist IRS nazis bullying the little guy.  In this case, it’s a poor dairy farmer in Maryland.  I mean.. c’mon..  Seriously?  And people wonder why the cost of their milk and butter keeps going up..  It’s because we have this liberal, fascist, nazi for a President that goes after farmers and other hard-working Americans who provide the food we eat.  It’s almost hard to even in America.  And yet people still vote for Democrats that do things like this..  I lose IQ points each time I try to think about, or understand, that..

IRS gets lashing from judge for refusing to release Lerner emails, other documents

A federal judge Wednesday rebuked the Obama administration’s IRS for refusing to divulge documents, including Lois G. Lerner’s emails, and warned that he would hold in contempt those who break his orders. Judge Emmet G. Sullivan called the administration’s defense “nonsensical” and said the IRS must release documents every Monday to Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest law firm that requested the documents under open records laws and then sued after the IRS didn’t comply. “Officers of the court who fail to comply with court orders will be held in contempt,” Judge Sullivan said in a published order. At a July 1 hearing, he ordered the IRS to turn over documents weekly. But after the hearing, the IRS approached Judicial Watch and proposed a new schedule. Judicial Watch said it would accept the schedule but wanted the IRS to make it official with the court — something the IRS refused to do. Judge Sullivan was not pleased. He noted that the government attorneys agreed that his initial instructions were clear but violated them anyway. “The government’s reasoning is nonsensical,” the judge wrote. The warning was issued even as the White House affirmed President Obama’s faith in the leadership of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, who top Republicans have said should be ousted for failing to right the troubled agency. Mr. Koskinen “is a man of the highest integrity,” said White House deputy press secretary Eric Schultz, who called him “the right person to lead this agency.” Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Utah Republican and chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, made his request Monday in a letter to Mr. Obama. He argued that Mr. Koskinen has repeatedly obstructed congressional investigations into the agency’s political targeting of taxpayers, and that the president vowed in 2013 to “work hand-in-hand with Congress to fix the problem.”

Senate Finance Working to Release IRS Targeting Report

Sources close to the matter at the Senate Finance Committee say the committee is planning to meet in a private, closed session in the next two weeks to finally wrap up its bipartisan report on its two-year probe into the IRS’s targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups before the presidential and mid-term elections. Both the top Republican and Democrat on the panel, chair Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), have said that they want to release the report before the Senate goes on its recess on August 7, but have yet to set a date for the closed meeting. The committee needs to keep the session closed in order to protect taxpayer information, sources tell FOX Business Network. The report will likely concur with what the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration [TIGTA] has said, that in March 2014, IRS workers improperly destroyed 422 backup tapes containing anywhere from 1,300 to 24,000 emails to and from former IRS official Lois Lerner. Those findings “will definitely” be in it, an official says. “We haven’t set the date yet, we’re looking to get it done by August recess,” an official says, reiterating that this is a bipartisan report, the panel has been intent on issuing “an accurate report” that will be the final say on the matter. To date, committee investigators have interviewed more than 30 current and former IRS and Treasury employees and have reviewed nearly 1.5 million pages of documents. The IRS’s improper erasure occurred a month after agency officials were notified that Lerner’s emails had gone missing. Lerner was the head of the IRS unit overseeing tax-exempt nonprofits during the time the groups were targeted. Whether incompetence or willful cover up is to blame is key in calling IRS workers to account, since at issue is alleged obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) has said that the destruction occurred “just 30 days after President Obama, on the eve of the Super Bowl, told a TV interviewer that there is ‘not a smidgen of corruption’ at the IRS.” IRS workers destroyed the tapes about nine months after the IRS had received a congressional order to protect such evidence. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration [TIGTA] J. Russell George, has determined that the IRS did improperly target conservative and tea party groups for extra scrutiny. Specifically, the inspector general has testified: “As Ms. Lerner’s hard drive could not be recovered and the 422 tapes most likely to have contained Ms. Lerner’s emails from 2010 and 2011 were erased in March 2014, we were unable to recover all of the missing emails.” The watchdog added: “Comparing the IRS email transaction logs to the IRS production to the Congress revealed there could be as many as 23,000 to 24,000 additional missing emails. As a result of the investigative process, TIGTA was successful in recovering over 1,000 emails that the IRS did not produce to the Congress, DOJ, or TIGTA.” In addition, the IRS inspector general had said: “The investigation also revealed that prior to our investigation and our efforts to recover Ms. Lerner’s missing emails, the IRS did not search for, review or examine the two separate sources of backup tapes, the server hard drives, or the loaner laptops that ultimately produced new, previously undisclosed emails.” Agency officials also apparently did not search for or probe Lerner’s BlackBerry. At issue, too, is the fact that instant messages such as text messages used by Lerner and other IRS workers apparently were not backed up on government servers. IRS workers erased the backup tapes a month after IRS officials were notified that thousands of Lerner’s emails were missing due to a hard drive crash. Lerner’s hard drive allegedly “crashed” in June 2011. Lerner has pled the Fifth and has refused to testify in front of Congress about her role in the targeting scandal. The IRS official retired in September 2013, and qualifies for an estimated $102,600 pension.

This will be interesting…

Republicans weigh impeachment for IRS commissioner

House Republicans are considering launching impeachment proceedings against IRS Commissioner John Koskinen or other agency officials in connection with the destruction of emails potentially tied to the scandal over Tea Party targeting. National Review first reported that Republicans are looking at the possibility. A House oversight committee aide confirmed to that the panel, led by Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, indeed is “looking into it.” “We haven’t come to any conclusions,” the source said. Speaking with Fox News on Friday, oversight committee member Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, also appeared to acknowledge the discussions. Asked why lawmakers might consider impeachment articles, Jordan cited Koskinen’s questionable committee testimony. “Every time Mr. Koskinen comes and testifies, we subsequently learn that something he said wasn’t quite accurate,” Jordan told Fox News. He did not elaborate on the impeachment option. But the development comes as Republicans, including Jordan, fume over the revelation that 422 backup tapes were destroyed shortly after officials discovered emails related to the Tea Party scandal had been lost. J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, revealed Thursday that up to 24,000 emails may never be recovered because the tapes were “magnetically erased” in March 2014. George said those tapes “likely contained” 2010 and 2011 emails to and from former IRS official Lois Lerner, a central figure in the controversy over conservative groups targeted for additional scrutiny as they sought nonprofit status. George said his office found no direct evidence the tapes were destroyed to hide information from Congress or law enforcement. But the destruction nevertheless defied a preservation order — and Republicans complained that despite the destruction, Koskinen testified to Congress three weeks later that they would provide documents to Congress. “Three weeks before he said that … they’d already destroyed 422 tapes,” Jordan said Friday. “Those kind of actions are, I think, something that we have to look into very seriously, and that’s what the committee’s doing.”

Good! It’s about time! Time to kick Koskinen to the curb!

House report: Cash-strapped IRS prioritized bonuses, union activity over helping taxpayers

While facing budget cuts, the IRS nevertheless prioritized worker bonuses, union activity and the implementation of President Obama’s health care law over assisting taxpayers during tax season, according to a new report released Wednesday by the House Ways and Means Committee. The findings, in a Republican-led report, were released ahead of a subcommittee hearing Wednesday morning with IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. At the hearing, Koskinen stressed that the agency is significantly under-funded, and those cuts have consequences. He said less funding means there will be a decline in service for taxpayers, and pledged that service would improve if they got more money. “Customer service — both on the phone and in person — has been far worse than anyone would want. It’s simply a matter of not having enough people to answer the phones and provide service at our walk-in sites as a result of cuts to our budget,” he said. But Republicans argued the IRS is making bad spending choices. “I would just suggest to you that there’s hardly a person in America today that isn’t doing more with less, that hasn’t tightened their belt and learned how to work with less,” Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., said. The IRS has faced congressional budget cuts of $1.2 billion since 2010, and has faced criticism in recent years over the targeting of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status and reports of wasteful spending. The new report said the cuts were intended to “force the IRS to manage its resources more effectively and immediately stop inappropriate activities.” However, while cuts were made in part to focus the agency on customer service, the report asserted that “spending decisions entirely under the IRS’s control led to 16 million fewer taxpayers receiving IRS assistance this filing season.” The panel found the IRS had cut customer services while continuing to hand out bonuses to employees, allowing staff to conduct union activities, failing to collect debt owed by employees of the federal government and spending over $1.2 billion on implementing ObamaCare. Even though the IRS’s budget for taxpayer assistance remained flat from fiscal year 2014 to 2015, the level of over-the-phone customer service significantly decreased, with the agency shifting staff in customer service to focus on written correspondence instead of telephone calls. Meanwhile, the number of calls doubled in that period. The panel found that wait times increased from 18.7 minutes to 34.4 minutes, and answered calls decreased from 6.6 million to 5.3 million. “In January 2015, the IRS commissioner estimated that taxpayer service would decline while delays in tax refunds would increase. While the IRS commissioner has blamed this solely on budget cuts, in reality the IRS deliberately diverted resources away from taxpayer services,” the report found. Despite the drop in service, there was no significant decrease in bonuses for IRS employees. Notably, in November 2014, despite another round of budget cuts at the IRS, Koskinen announced that employees would receive bonuses at the same level as for the previous year, unless they had substantiated conduct issues, the report said. While acknowledging that the agency has cut the amount of time spent on discretionary union activity, the report questioned why it could not have been decreased further, asserting that “the amount of resources spent on discretionary union activity could have assisted nearly 2.5 million taxpayers.”

The IRS is a cesspool of waste, fraud, and abuse of tax-payer dollars. They absolutely should do more with FAR less. And, to think that they’re spending millions and BILLIONS of our hard-earned tax dollars on nonsense like implementing Obamacare, union activities and on and on..but NOT taking care of tax payers and their needs…which is, ostensibly, their flippin’ mission!

GOP Sen. Presses Obama Administration On Criminal Probe Of IRS Targeting of Conservatives

On Tax Day, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) pressed the Obama administration for an update on the criminal investigation into the alleged misconduct of IRS personnel in the handling of conservative organizations’ tax exempt status. “It’s unclear whether all of these cases are open or closed,” Grassley said Wednesday. “The investigative agencies should account for their work. The scandal damaged the public trust in the IRS. Building back any of that trust requires investigation and accountability for any misconduct.” In a letter to the Acting Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George, the Iowa lawmaker requested more information about the investigation — or lack thereof. “In May of 2013, Attorney General Holder announced that he had ordered the investigation. In January of 2014, the Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed law-enforcement officials, reported that the FBI did not at that time plan to file any criminal charges as a result of the investigation, but noted that the case was ongoing and would likely remain open for months,” Grassley wrote in the letter. Earlier this month, the Justice Department announced it would not seek criminal contempt charges for one of the most significant figures in the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups, ex-IRS official Lois Lerner, over her refusal to testify before Congress on the matter. The Department said it was still investigating the underlying matter of targeting. Grassley requested information about the status of the probe, including the names of the officials investigating, when they were assigned to the case, the number of hours spent investigating, investigators’ possible interaction with IRS employees prior to the investigation, and efforts to preserve evidence. “In order to evaluate the extent to which your organizations are actively investigating this issue,” Grassley wants answers by May 15.

Kudos to Sen. Grassley (R-IA) for putting the heat on Obama and AG Eric Holder.  The IRS, and the Obama Administration in general, thinks its above the law.