Issa Fires Next Round in IRS Investigation

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By Ken Berry
The high-profile committee investigating the Tea Party scandal engulfing the IRS is continuing its efforts to find a "smoking gun." But Treasury officials aren't moving as fast as some Republicans would like. Now Darrell Issa (R-CA), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is back on the warpath. 
On November 8, Issa issued subpoenas directing Treasury Department Secretary Jack Lew to release documents and communication records relating to the Tea Party scandal, especially those involving non-Treasury sources.  
"Secretary Lew is responsible for providing all pertinent documents Treasury has in its possession, both within and outside the IRS," said Issa. "The committee is aware of responsive documents in Treasury's possession that have not been produced to the committee."
The House oversight committee is at the forefront of the government probes into alleged wrongdoings at the IRS' Exempt Organization (EO) division. Earlier this year, it was revealed that Tea Party and other conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status were targeted for extra scrutiny by EO personnel. The IRS has admitted transgressions, but it's not clear how far up the ladder, or how far sideways, the blame goes.  
The chairman's frustration with the slow pace of proceedings is starting to boil over. The committee has requested related information several times since the investigation began back in June. Although the Treasury Department has produced more than 1,000 pages of documents, the committee is still looking for more dirt. According to Issa, the Treasury hasn't provided sufficient information about its internal communications. 
The latest move was prompted by letter sent on October 24 from the Treasury Department to Issa concerning its inability to meet the October 2 deadline the committee chairman had imposed for supplying documents. "As we explained to your staff on that date and thereafter, because of the government shutdown, we were not able to meet that deadline," wrote Alastair Fitzpayne, assistant Treasury secretary for legislative affairs. "Nonetheless, Treasury is committed to cooperating with this committee, along with the three other congressional committees conducting investigations regarding this matter."
Fitzpayne also asserted that IRS had already complied with numerous requests. "Since my June 27 letter, the IRS has provided regular rolling productions of documents specifically requested by congressional committees, including over 400,000 unredacted pages of documents to those committees authorized to receive taxpayer-confidential information," he wrote.
The November 8 subpoenas issued by Issa seek all documents and communication records of officials discussing IRS procedures for reviewing applications for tax-exempt status, briefings delivered by Treasury Department officials, and communications between specific employees. The next move is up to the Treasury Department.
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I see IRS abuses nearly every day as a tax attorney specializing in IRS controversies.

What is needed is IRS misconduct hearings.

Mere accusations do not have "legs." Proven misconduct will facilitate a change in the IRS tax code.

I suspect that only a number of high-profile jail sentences will really change behavior.

That and flushing out a significant percentage of the staff and replacing them with those that hold opposing political views.

We need a "no limit" season on Revenooers!

I say we let out a few Cajuns next to IRS headquarters and tell them that IRS agents make great gumbo but that it's illegal to hunt them.

They'll be an endangered species in a year.

What was the misconduct? The statute says strictly social welfare purposes. No political activity. You know that.
The IRS people were simply doing their jobs.
The Tea Party lawsuit will collapse of its own weight.

As long as the Democrats see this as a partisan issue there will be little or no progress and the country will continue lurching toward tyranny and the subsequent revolution.

"Regular Rolling Productions" of BS. The amount of paper has nothing t do with the documents requesed.

Maybe Issa should submit a lengthy set of interrogatories to the IRS, askng things like:

"What did you pray about at your prayer breakfast?" "Provide a list of issues that are important to your organization, along with an accounting of the time spent working on each." "For each and every present or past Board member of your organization, explain in detail their past and present memberships in any political organizations, how much they were paid and by whom, and whether they intend ever to be a candidate for public office."

The list could go on and on, and probe into such detail that the IRS would not be able to conduct the business it was created to conduct.

Would that be wrong, pointless and counterproductive? You bet! But that is what the IRS did to the Tea Party groups.

Well, not pointless, because the point was to have the Tea Party groups so tied up that they couldn't function, and thereby remove a source of opposition to the President during a tough reelection campaign. It worked!

Yep. Because the Tea Party organizations are well-oiled machines.

I find it curious that the excuse provided by Treasury for missing the Oct. 2 deadline was the government shutdown. The shut down commenced on October 1, I assume the deadline was set at least 7-10 days prior. If they couldn't make the 10-02 deadline, why could they not comply 2-3 business days after the shut down was over? This type of excuse is often heard by elementary teachers.
Civil Service reform and staff cuts appear to be required. If they cannot do their jobs, a main function of which is to comply with their bosses (Congress as representatives of the People). I have always been reticent to criticize the IRS employees because I felt they were only doing their jobs, which is to enforce the tax laws as written by Congress, who are the real problem.

Where did the special prosecutors go? When Bush was president they seemed to swarm like flies.

Eric Holder would have to approve a Special Prosecutor. But he was chosen for Attorney General precisely because he doesn't make things difficult for his masters. In particular, as Deputy Attorney General under President Clinton, Holder was OK with Clinton's outrageous pardon of Marc Rich. Rich was a man who, far from having paid his debt to society, had fled to and stayed in Europe prior to his unusual pardon. But to the Clintons, Rich did pay his "debt" to the US, by donating $100,000 to Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign and a million dollars to the Democratic party. Hillary got her Senate seat (also bought in part with the pardons of 16 Puerto Rican terrorists, as well as of Hasidic community leaders who had embezzled $30 million from the U.S. government), and Holder was, 8 years later, rewarded with the AG job. Like Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder belongs nowhere near the levers of power. I was no fan of Janet Reno, but at least she was not so corrupt as to refuse to appoint any Special Prosecutors.

Scooter Libby, nowadays more famous as the fall guy in the outing of a covert CIA agent, was Marc Rich's lawyer. Perhaps he was just really good at his job.

Were there really swarms of special prosecutors going after Bush? The Reps controlled ever single aspect of the US Government from 2002-2007, and I don't recall any eagerness on their part to go after Bush.

Transparency is just a word without a meaning in the Obama Administration.

The slow pace and lack of results in the investigations that Issa directs is extraordinary and raises questions about Issa's true intents. I do believe that Obama and the people around him have found various ways to compromise and control key members of the Congress and the Federal Judiciary. I do not expect any of Issa's investigations to impact the implementation of Obama's agenda; their object is to pacify and distract Conservative Republicans while Obama marches, on course and on time, to this nation's ruin.

A Tempest in a Teapot. No pun intended.

The easy way is to indict, arrest and investigate. In that order, as soon as the committe reaches probable cause. Get a few dozen political appointees in the slammer, pending trial for felonies and the truly innocent will wail like stuck pigs.

What felonies were committed?

U.S.C. Title 18, Sec. 241, 242.

Impressive citation skills you have there. Too bad the scenario you describe (i.e. arresting a few dozen political appointees) isn't grounded in any reality.