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Tag Archives: IRS


IRS spying on Americans — uses Stingray cellphone surveillance gear

Invoice reveals that the IRS possessed Stingray cellphone surveillance gear.

by Nicky Woolf and William Green     •     The Guardian

Often not much bigger than a suitcase, Stingray devices are easily portable in gathering information by imitating cellphone towers. Illustration: Electronic Frontier Foundation via Flickr

The Internal Revenue Service is the latest in a growing list of US federal agencies known to have possessed the sophisticated cellphone dragnet equipment known as Stingray, according to documents obtained by the Guardian.

Invoices obtained following a request under the Freedom of Information Act show purchases made in 2009 and 2012 by the federal tax agency with Harris Corporation, one of a number of companies that manufacture the devices. Privacy advocates said the revelation “shows the wide proliferation of this very invasive surveillance technology”.

The 2009 IRS/Harris Corp invoice is mostly redacted under section B(4) of the Freedom of Information Act, which is intended to protect trade secrets and privileged information. However, an invoice from 2012, which is also partially redacted, reports that the agency spent $65,652 on upgrading a Stingray II to a HailStorm, a more powerful version of the same device, as well as $6,000 on training from Harris Corporation. Continue reading


IRS tea party targeting accusations, legal issues persist after Justice ends probe

by Stephen Dinan     •     Washington Times

IRS new logoThe IRS is still holding up the nonprofit applications of tea party groups, including one that has been waiting nearly six years for approval, as conservatives panned the Justice Department’s announcement last week that it had cleared the tax agency, and former senior executive Lois G. Lerner, of any wrongdoing.

The Obama administration’s decision, outlined in a Friday afternoon letter to Congress, said the IRS did mishandle nonprofit status applications from conservative groups but said the bad behavior wasn’t criminal.

Still, the decision does not end the legal jeopardy for the tax agency, nor does it quell the political battle in which the IRS has lost billions of dollars in funding from a Congress that remains troubled by employees’ behavior. Continue reading


Impeach the IRS director

By George F. Will     •     Washington Post

Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen faces the House Ways and Means Committee in 2014. (J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)

“Look,” wrote Lois Lerner, echoing Horace Greeley, “my view is that Lincoln was our worst president not our best. He should [have] let the [S]outh go. We really do seem to have 2 totally different mindsets.” Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune, was referring to Southern secessionist states when he urged President-elect Lincoln to “let the erring sisters go in peace.”

Greeley favored separating the nation from certain mind-sets; Lerner favors suppressing certain mind-sets. At the Internal Revenue Service, she participated in delaying for up to five years — effectively denying — tax-exempt status for, and hence restricting political activity by, groups with conservative mind-sets. She retired after refusing to testify to congressional committees, invoking Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination. Continue reading


IRS needs a housecleaning, not retention bonuses

by Washington Examiner

IRS GangsterEarlier this year, Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen warned taxpayers that they would suffer delays and poor service from his agency during tax time. In doing so, he cited cuts to the IRS budget.

But as we noted at the time, this was a case of malingering and retaliation, not of real need at the IRS. The IRS had access to $500 million in fees that it could use to deliver needed services, but chose to use the money for a long list of other things.

One of those other things was bonuses for senior executives and nonunion managerial employees — a small line item, to be sure, but a rather incredible one to behold at an agency so publicly beset over widespread power-tripping and misconduct within its bureaucracy. Continue reading


IRS finds yet another Lois Lerner email account

‘Toby Miles’ account linked to government business

By Stephen Dinan     •     The Washington Times

Lois Lerner IRSLois 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. Continue reading


Federal Judge: IRS must say if White House sought taxpayers’ information

By Stephen Dinan     •     Washington Times

IRS new logoA federal judge Friday ordered the IRS to turn over the records of any requests from the White House seeking taxpayers’ private information from the tax agency, delivering a victory to a group that for two years has been trying to pry the data loose.

It’s not clear that there were any such requests — but Judge Amy Berman Jackson said the IRS cannot just refuse to say so by citing taxpayer confidentiality laws, known as section 6103 of the tax code.

“This court questions whether section 6103 should or would shield records that indicate confidential taxpayer information was misused, or that government officials made an improper attempt to access that information,” the judge wrote in denying the IRS’s request to close out the case. Continue reading


Federal Judge Threatens To Hold IRS Commissioner, DOJ Lawyers in Contempt of Court over Lerner

Judicial Watch

Lois Lerner IRSJudicial Watch announced that U.S District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan today threatened to hold the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service and Justice Department attorneys in contempt of court after the IRS failed to produce status reports and newly recovered emails of Lois Lerner, former director of the Exempt Organizations Unit of the IRS, as he had ordered on July 1, 2015.

During the status hearing today, Sullivan warned that the failure to follow his order was serious and the IRS and Justice Department’s excuses for not following his July 1 order were “indefensible, ridiculous, and absurd.” He asked the IRS’ Justice Department lawyer Geoffrey Klimas, “Why didn’t the IRS comply” with his court order and “why shouldn’t the Court hold the Commissioner of the IRS in contempt.” Judge Sullivan referenced his contempt findings against Justice Department prosecutors in the prosecution of late Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) and reminded the Justice Department attorney he had the ability to detain him for contempt. Warning he would tolerate no further disregard of his orders, Judge Sullivan said, “I will haul into court the IRS Commissioner to hold him personally in contempt.” Continue reading


Lois Lerner: GOP is “Evil and Dishonest” and targeting of conservatives was an “honest mistake”

by Andrew Kugle     •     Washington Free Beacon


Former IRS official Lois Lerner said that Republicans are “evil and dishonest,” in a email dated March 26, according to Fox News reporter James Rosen.

In the email, Lois Lerner described the time when she was called back to testify about the IRS targeting of conservatives before Congress.

“They called me back to testify, on IRS ‘scandal,” Lerner wrote. “I took the fifth again and they had been so evil and dishonest in my lawyer’s dealings with them.”

Rosen also reported that Lerner said the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling was the worst thing to happen to the United States.


Jailtime For IRS’ Political Hacks

by IBD Editorial Staff     •     Investor’s Business Daily

After a year’s stalling by the IRS, the Senate Finance Committee has released its bipartisan report, denouncing the tax-collection agency’s partisanship and incompetence. When are these people going to jail?

The Senate report wasn’t entirely satisfactory, given that its criticism was primarily in the compromise language of “gross mismanagement” to describe the agency’s targeting of Tea Party dissident groups.

Using legal technicalities to silence and repress political dissent under the color of the nation’s most feared enforcement agency isn’t mismanagement. It’s a crime.

It’s incompatible with democracy and it shatters public confidence in the rule of law. It’s the very crime the State Department is now condemning in Venezuela: the use of legal technicalities to halt popular opposition candidates from running for office. Until now, this kind of activity has had no precedent in our country, and it must be stopped before it becomes the standard. Continue reading


IRS Scandal – Blame It All On Lois Lerner And Move On?

by Peter J Reilly     •     Forbes

Lois Lerner IRSAccording to statements by Senators Hatch and Wyden the Senate Finance Committee report on the IRS scandal (now on Day 818 by TaxProf count) with the snappy title – The Internal Revenue Service’s Processing of 501(c)(3) And 501(c)(4) Application For Tax-Exempt Status Submitted By “Political Advocacy” Organizations From 2010-2013 – absolutely proves that there was political targeting and that there was not political targeting – depending on how you look at it. (Links to various documents can be found here but you have to poke around a bit.)

The Search For The Smoking Gun

Republicans have been hoping that there would be a smoking gun in all those interviews and documents. I mean wouldn’t it be great if there were a taped conversation in which President Obama ordered the IRS to harass the Tea Party. Senator Wyden indicates that nothing anywhere near to that has turned up. Senator Hatch, on the other hand, thinks the smoking gun has been hiding in plain sight.

“Regardless of whether an explicit directive was given, the President gave the order to target conservative groups at every opportunity – the State of the Union, in press conferences, and in TV interviews. He didn’t send a “smoking gun” email because he did not need to – he gave the order for all to hear. And his political allies at the IRS followed those orders.” Continue reading


Lois Lerner’s IRS Granted Only ONE Conservative Group Non-Profit Status in Three Years

by Alexander Hendrie     •     Americans for Tax Reform

IRS new logoLois Lerner’s political beliefs led to tea party and conservative groups receiving disparate and unfair treatment when applying for non-profit status, according to a detailed report compiled by the Senate Finance Committee.

Because of Lerner’s bias, only one conservative political advocacy organization was granted tax exempt status over a period of more than three years:

“Due to the circuitous process implemented by Lerner, only one conservative political advocacy organization was granted tax-exempt status between February 2009 and May 2012. Lerner’s bias against these applicants unquestionably led to these delays, and is particularly evident when compared to the IRS’s treatment of other applications, discussed immediately below.” Continue reading


Senate Report Finds IRS ‘Delinquent’ in Targeting of Conservative Groups

Rep. Jordan says report shows IRS Commissioner has to go

by Ali Meyer     •     Washington Free Beacon

irs-targets-conservativesThe Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was “delinquent” in its handling of processing Tea Party and conservative groups applications for tax-exempt status, according to a Senate Finance Committee’s report released on Wednesday.

The bipartisan report was the result of the Committee’s two-year investigation into the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups.

“Our investigation found that from 2010 to 2013, IRS management was delinquent in its responsibility to provide effective control, guidance, and direction over the processing of applications for tax-exempt status filed by Tea Party and other political advocacy organizations,” the committee said.

Republicans argue that the targeting of conservative groups was driven by the Obama administration’s political agenda, while Democrats claim that there was no evidence of political interference. Continue reading


Bad Gifts From the IRS

Rep. Peter Roskam is trying to rein in the agency’s use of the gift tax to intimidate political donors.

Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., questions ousted IRS Chief Steve Miller and J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, as they testify during a hearing at the House Ways and Means Committee on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) practice of targeting applicants for tax-exempt status based on political leanings on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Friday, May 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

 

by Peter Roff     •     U.S. News

Even as Internal Revenue Service Chairman John Koskinen has repeatedly traveled to Capitol Hill for the purpose of justifying the continued existence of his agency, Republicans in the House of Representatives were moving to checks its authority, bit by bit but in important ways.

Last week, the Committee on Ways and Means gave its unanimous approval to legislation clarifying the IRS’s authority to levy a “gift tax” on donations made to certain types of not-for-profit groups under the federal tax code.

The bill, H.R. 1104, the Fair Treatment for All Donations Act, offered by Illinois Republican Rep. Peter Roskam, clears up an apparent ambiguity in the tax code, making it clear that contributions to 501(c)(4), (c)(5), and (c)(6) social welfare organizations, labor unions, agricultural organizations and business leagues are not subject to the federal gift tax as some inside the agency seem, by their behavior, to believe might be the case. Continue reading


Jailtime For IRS’ Political Hacks

by IBD Editorial Staff     •     Investor’s Business Daily

Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen testifies on Capitol Hill on June 2, 2015. AP

After a year’s stalling by the IRS, the Senate Finance Committee has released its bipartisan report, denouncing the tax-collection agency’s partisanship and incompetence. When are these people going to jail?

The Senate report wasn’t entirely satisfactory, given that its criticism was primarily in the compromise language of “gross mismanagement” to describe the agency’s targeting of Tea Party dissident groups.

Using legal technicalities to silence and repress political dissent under the color of the nation’s most feared enforcement agency isn’t mismanagement. It’s a crime.

It’s incompatible with democracy and it shatters public confidence in the rule of law. It’s the very crime the State Department is now condemning in Venezuela: the use of legal technicalities to halt popular opposition candidates from running for office. Until now, this kind of activity has had no precedent in our country, and it must be stopped before it becomes the standard. Continue reading


Federal judge threatens to hold IRS chief in contempt

Fox News

A federal judge threatened to hold IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in contempt Wednesday after the IRS failed to produce, as ordered, newly recovered emails of former IRS official Lois Lerner.

U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan had ordered the IRS on July 1 to turn over Lerner emails on a weekly basis in response to a lawsuit by the watchdog group Judicial Watch.

The lawsuit focused on the 2013 scandal in which the IRS acknowledged agents had improperly singled out Tea Party and other conservative groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status during the 2010 and 2012 elections.

However at a U.S. District Court hearing in Washington Wednesday, Sullivan threatened to hold officials, including Koskinen, in contempt for not producing the documents as ordered every Monday. Continue reading


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