Amazing IRS Scoop, Must Credit Clown Hall

I love stuff like this, all breathlessly reported:

Last night on The Kelly File Chief Counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice Jay Sekulo revealed that the former chief of staff to former IRS Commissioner Steven Miller, Nikole Flax, visited the White House 35 times after talking with former head of tax exempt groups Lois Lerner about working to criminally prosecute conservative tea party groups for “lying” about political activity. At the White House, Flax met with a top Obama aid during some of those visits.

It’s almost like they don’t know that the IRS is part of the Department of the Treasury, which, of course, is part of the executive branch. I’d go out on a limb and bet all sorts of people from the Treasury and the IRS visited the White House tens of thousands of times.

60 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    The funny part is that if there were no visits, the story would be that Obama allows the IRS to run amok.

  2. 2
    dmsilev says:

    Check out this story about the hearings the GOP had on the Hill; basically, they’re convinced there’s a cover-up because two years before the congressional “investigation” started, the IRS disposed of a dead hard-drive and this is therefore evidence that the IRS deliberately is hiding things from the investigation.

    In other words, causality is something that the Republicans don’t understand.

  3. 3
    Juju says:

    Jay Sekulo is an idiot.

  4. 4
    Botsplainer says:

    @dmsilev:

    Obama is clearly a time lord.

  5. 5

    Also, those groups weren’t ‘lying’, they were just regular lying. It’s a lie so common that official policy has long been to ignore it. These were particularly grievous cases.

  6. 6
    dmsilev says:

    @Botsplainer: Well, we knew *that*. But I don’t think it’s ever been proven that he’s taken his various henchmen back in time with him.

  7. 7
    scav says:

    Nefarious plot revealed: Government functioning in action! must be stopped, remember?

  8. 8
    Baud says:

    @dmsilev:

    Yeah, but

    Paul Ryan Slams IRS Chief: ‘I Don’t Believe You

  9. 9
    dmsilev says:

    @Baud: Yeah, well if that’s how you want to play, I give you the very next headline:

    Bergdahl’s Ex-Roommate: White House Knew He Was A Traitor

    I won’t be convinced until we hear what Bergdahl’s former girlfriend’s cousin’s next-door neighbor has to say on the matter.

  10. 10
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @dmsilev: This is such a brilliant and complicated cover up that Obama and Lois Lerner won’t even tell us who the victims of this great scandal are! They are truly the greatest and cleverest fiends since Cesar Romero, Burgess Meredith and Eartha Kitt really needed some cash back in the late sixties.

    Maybe we could all chip in and buy Darrell Issa an Adam West style Batman costume.

  11. 11
    Hunter Gathers says:

    @Botsplainer: He isn’t, but Michelle is. Her TARDIS is cleverly disguised as Joe Biden.

  12. 12
    Baud says:

    @dmsilev:

    I love that one. Not just that the roommate knew that Bergdahl was a traitor, but the roommate knows that Obama knows that Bergdahl was a traitor!

  13. 13
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    The totally insane part about this entire thing is that no one is asking the 600lb gorilla in the room question. Why the fuck did the IRS NOT criminally prosecute these organizations after they obviously lied about their political activity. If someone could point me to a Tea Party group that isn’t engaged in political activity I would appreciate it because I sure don’t know of one. Why are groups who are obviously engaged in political activity and who are doing their level best to influence elections able to operate as 501(3)(c)s and be tax exempt? Why the fuck are all the talking heads NOT asking that question?

  14. 14

    @Litlebritdifrnt:
    The talking heads are not asking it because they don’t even slightly understand the situation. Someone suggested there’s a scandal, and they want sooooo bad to tar Obama with a scandal, they’re chasing the bait with no curiosity about the truth. As for the actual reason the IRS did not prosecute them, apparently this stuff is normal and has been going on for a very long time and there’s an ongoing policy to ignore it. It involves churches, and that’s been considered too big a can of worms to open for decades.

  15. 15
    Keith P says:

    I should have stopped reading at “Jay Sekulo”.

  16. 16
    Thoughtful David says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt:
    As I understand it, the organizations were applying for tax-exempt status. If they were denied and had already carried out or began to carry out activities, then they would be prosecutable, assuming that they didn’t pay their taxes. But if they were approved for tax exempt status, then I what they had done would have been ok.
    Because I think all of them were approved in the end (whether they were legitimately non-profit or not–there’s your scandal!), there probably would be none of them that could be prosecuted.

  17. 17
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    @Thoughtful David:

    But the question remains, why are they eligible for tax exempt status considering their activities? From what I understand most of them claimed that their activities were going to be “educational” or “informational” which as we all know is absolute horse shit.

  18. 18
    kdaug says:

    @Baud:

    73% of Americans to Paul Ryan “We don’t believe you”

  19. 19
    Joel Hanes says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt:

    Why the fuck did the IRS NOT criminally prosecute these organizations after they obviously lied about their political activity.

    For the same reason that nothing has yet happened to Cliven Bundy: because the executive believes that at this time, acting against these criminals will so inflame the reactionary right as to be dangerous to the nation. Obama, being near, must play a nearly perfect non-uppity Jackie Robinson while in office, particularly in the run-up to elections.

    I predict that sometime after the November elections, Federal law-enforcement will have a quiet word or three with Mr. Bundy, and it will be the beginning of the process that will jail him.

    Prosecution of Teahadi groups for election-law violations will probably never come; the Supreme Court is undermining the legal bases, and activist conservative judges such as Randa in Wisconsin are eager to shut down investigations into these fairly ill-defined crimes.

    Must be truly bitter to be fomer Alabama Dem. Governor Don Siegelman, jailed for something that was clearly legal.

  20. 20
    Randy P says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Hey! I *loved* the Adam West Batman show, and Burgess Meredith’s Penguin was one of my favorite characters. Of course I was about 8 years old then, so my tastes might not have been fully refined. I had no idea how silly the show was, I took it dead seriously.

  21. 21

    It’s almost like they don’t know that the IRS is part of the Department of the Treasury, which, of course, is part of the executive branch. I’d go out on a limb and bet all sorts of people from the Treasury and the IRS visited the White House tens of thousands of times.

    They don’t care. The IRS made some conservative groups designed to do political work that applied for tax exempt status as social welfare groups jump through a few extra hoops in order to not have to pay taxes.

    Good Lord, that there is just like Obama and Lois Lerner came to their homes and personally nailed them to a cross.

    Doesn’t matter how benign something is, it’s all evidence of Obama’s personal wrongdoing.

    Besides, the Benghazi! Benghazi! Benghazi! story is dead. Most Americans not listening to Alex Jones and wearing tin foil have concluded that we should have brought Bergdahl home and are content to let the Army work out whether or not he did something wrong. Most Americans likewise don’t think we should go back to Iraq and would kindly like the Republican hawks that dragged us into it in the first place to shut up.

    Really, they’re just trying to breathe life back into any dead horse they can to keep the rubes energized about November.

    The real danger will be if they succeed in getting the Senate and keeping the House and their out of control base (and Tea Party Caucus) starts expecting them to stop the Kenyan usurper and they find themselves forced into backing up their stupidity with impeachment charges.

  22. 22
    John Revolta says:

    In further news, FLASH! Secretary of State John Kerry has LEFT THE COUNTRY!! The wily Kerry was seen boarding a JET PLANE which was later reported to have TAKEN OFF and LEFT U.S. AIRSPACE!!! What is the crafty OBAMA trying to PULL NOW??!!!

  23. 23
    Thoughtful David says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt:
    Yup, that’s the real scandal. I think Frankensteinbeck at No. 14 also has a good reason for why some, especially churches, get away with it: nobody wants to touch it.

  24. 24
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    …they find themselves forced into backing up their stupidity with impeachment charges.

    Here’s what I always say when I hear them spout the “I-word”. Please Proceed”.

  25. 25
    piratedan says:

    IOKIYAR is in effect always, how dare you investigate us to evaluate us for performing acts that we all know full well are politically motivated and even consider us to be not qualified for non-exempt status. Outrage! Usurper! Uppitiness!

    If only someone had the balls to cut these fuckers off at the knees, then perhaps they would learn to shut the fuck up instead of all of this hubristic victimhood, instead, we get this breathless faux fainting couch bullshit. You want a scandal, you want outrage, it sure as fuck ain’t here, it’s in the fact that you can hit these dipshits in the forehead with a 2 by 4 with their hypocrisy and these nimrods still get voted into office with hardly a firing neural synapse, there’s your scandal.

  26. 26
    burnspbesq says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt:

    The totally insane part about this entire thing is that no one is asking the 600lb gorilla in the room question. Why the fuck did the IRS NOT criminally prosecute these organizations after they obviously lied about their political activity. If someone could point me to a Tea Party group that isn’t engaged in political activity I would appreciate it because I sure don’t know of one. Why are groups who are obviously engaged in political activity and who are doing their level best to influence elections able to operate as 501(3)(c)s and be tax exempt? Why the fuck are all the talking heads NOT asking that question?

    Well, the Teahadist groups were applying for 501(c)(4) status, not 501(c)(3). The regs say that “the promotion of social welfare does not include direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.” Some of the applications were pretty forthright that that was precisely what they intended to do, while others were just vague enough. There really isn’t much evidence of actual criminal behavior, unless you want to start looking to prosecute people under Code Section 7206(1), the false-return provision.

  27. 27
    Morzer says:

    @dmsilev:

    But what about their pets?

    “Hamster belonging to a friend of someone who once saw Bergdahl across a crowded room tells all!”

  28. 28
    burnspbesq says:

    @Thoughtful David:

    If they were denied and had already carried out or began to carry out activities, then they would be prosecutable, assuming that they didn’t pay their taxes.

    No way. No way you can establish willfulness. The defense is “we believed in good faith that we qualified for exemption, and we had to start operating while we were waiting for our application to be acted on.”

  29. 29
    dmsilev says:

    @Morzer: To be fair, the hamster could probably tell a more coherent story than at least 60% of the right-wing blogosphere.

  30. 30
    The Republic of Stupdity says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Well, clearly Issa already has the codpiece…

  31. 31
    Ruckus says:

    @dmsilev:
    You are either being generous with only 60% or you really hate hamsters.

  32. 32
    jon says:

    If it was a Health and Human Services hard drive, it would be “OMG! It has private info on it!” if it wasn’t destroyed. With an IRS hard drive, they can freak out either way: either it’s “OMG! It has private tax info of CITIZENS!” or “COVER UP CONFIRMED!”

    The great thing about being a thoughtful conservative is that reality can always bend to your thoughts.

  33. 33
    Cassidy says:

    Her TARDIS is cleverly disguised as Joe Biden.

    Newsmax: Michelle caught riding Joe! Hanky Panky in the White House!

  34. 34
    Hawes says:

    Weren’t IRS officials meeting in the West Wing repeatedly over how to enforce Obamacare directives?

    Ahhhhhh, it all comes full circle. I see that the South Dakota GOP wants to impeach.

    Please proceed, fucksticks.

  35. 35
    The Republic of Stupdity says:

    @jon: Just like a spoon… or perhaps a spork…

  36. 36
    A.J. says:

    From the same people who denied Jack Abramoff evar! visited the White House.

  37. 37
    kindness says:

    See and defending office protocol, meetings and crashed hard drives as ‘normal’ we’re zombie soshulist dirty libs. Oh, and Benghazi!!1!

    It’s a no win game.

    Except elections. We gotta win more elections.

  38. 38
    PopeRatzo says:

    So the IRS loses business records. What’s the big deal? I still can’t find a set of keys from 2007.

    We have to be willing to throw our bodies in front of any oncoming criticism of the Obama Administration, because if there’s something rotten there, what does that say about us?

  39. 39
    PopeRatzo says:

    @kindness:

    And the IRS plum forgot to back up that data, for Lois and coincidentally the other six people involved in the investigation.

    Hey, it can happen. Backups of business records. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

  40. 40
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Are the Naderite Emo-Progs jumping on Darrell Issa’s dung wagon to make a point about Dronze or Snowald or Catfood or the Haunting Memory of RAAAHM! or the heartbreak of psoriasis or something?

  41. 41
    Gordon, the Big Express Engine says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: nice Tom Waits reference. Get away from me kid, you bother me…

  42. 42
    WaterGirl says:

    @PopeRatzo: It’s my understanding that they kept their backups for 6 months, and after that they started recording over them.

  43. 43
    PopeRatzo says:

    @burnspbesq:

    The regs say that “the promotion of social welfare does not include direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.”

    Exactly. So why not just document the groups’ applications’ inconsistencies with the law and deny them? Why fuck around with these silly “investigations” to try to bury them in paperwork?

    It’s a cock-up. And it’s making fuckwit Darrel Issa’s day on top of it. Who the fuck are these political appointees at the IRS, anyway? What kind of jackoffs do this stuff? You cannot make these kind of unforced errors when your boss is already in a shitstorm. The politics of it matter a lot less to me than the sheer crappy incompetence and the clumsy attempt to obstruct justice.

    But it’s OK, because it will be forgotten about when we re-invade Iraq. It will be interesting to see how gung ho the Loyalists get for Iraq 3.

  44. 44
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Botsplainer:It was established years ago that Obama traveled back in time to plant announcements of his own birth in Honolulu papers in order to cover up his true Kenyan origins.

    It’s hardly surprising that Obama would travel back in time to destroy the hard disk with unquestionably incriminating emails that indicated that Lerner was acting directly on his orders to grant tax exempt status to a bunch of teabagger organizations.

    Oh…wait….

  45. 45
    Fcb says:

    Theirs not to govern wise,
    Theirs but to squeal child cries

  46. 46
    Thoughtful David says:

    @burnspbesq:
    Yeah, that sounds right. I’m not a lawyer–just pretending.

  47. 47
    D58826 says:

    Since Obama has mastered time travel, why doesn’t he go back to before their grandparents met and sabotage the first date. That way Issa et al would never have been born.

  48. 48
    J R in WV says:

    I’m with the crowd that asks why did clearly political groups obviously intending to conduct political activity ever get tax free status?

    Why aren’t all of those groups’ leadership (whoever signed the tax statements/applications) in jail facing prosecution for violating the tax laws?

    I’ll never forget the day right after Ron Reagan was inaugurated. Mrs JR was elected Secretary Treasurer of a nationwide local. As such she signed forms completed by CPAs and lawyers expert in labor law and submitted to the Labor Department. She received a phone call from a newly appointed Republican executive at the Labor Dept, who gleefully told her that “We can confiscate your property, your home, if there is any misstatement on these forms!”

    Even though her signature was pro forma, and the forms were completed by expert firms contracted to do exactly that, complete the forms accurately.

    What was repulsive and despicable was the glee the bitch expressed that she was going to get to ruin the life of a labor union officer!

    So… Now that a whole bunch of extremist Republicans have violated Tax Law intentionally, and obviously, I want them hung out to dry! Only fair, right?

  49. 49
    Suffern ACE says:

    Nope. This isn’t going away any time soon. No matter how much fun y’all want to make of it.

  50. 50
    Ponta says:

    If you recall, this is not the first time we’ve heard this kind of claim. Almost exactly a year ago, the Fox headline was, “Former IRS chief Shulman reportedly visited White House at least 157 times” (thus “proving” a conspiracy) when actually, that was the number of times he had been cleared for a visit–but he had only signed in 11 times in 4 years, 8 of the 11 times for healthcare-related meetings.

    So, I am not overly impressed by this new report.

  51. 51
    PopeRatzo says:

    @WaterGirl:

    @PopeRatzo: It’s my understanding that they kept their backups for 6 months, and after that they started recording over them.

    Do you know how long the IRS expects tax payers to keep their business records? Six months? And just those emails? Please.

    You know, at some point, even the most committed Republican ideologues abandoned Richard Nixon. And Nixon never promised the “most transparent administration in history”.

  52. 52

    If I could understand that first sentence, I might be outraged.

    Where do I click to buy Clown Hall some punctuation marks? I understand that no editor will work there for longer than it takes for the check to clear, but fergawdsakes I’m trying to read the internets +3 here, at least provide marks that indicate thought was taken.

    /grammar nut>

  53. 53
    Chopper says:

    @PopeRatzo:

    The IRS keeps taxpayer records for a long time. Emails, however, are not those sort of records. They’re fucking emails.

  54. 54
    Hal says:

    @PopeRatzo:

    But it’s OK, because it will be forgotten about when we re-invade Iraq. It will be interesting to see how gung ho the Loyalists get for Iraq 3.

    We’re re-invading Iraq? I didn’t know that. I guess Obama’s perfectly clear statement that we are not going back into Iraq has been retracted.

  55. 55
    Omnes Omnibus (the first of his name) says:

    @Hal: The lad’s a bit daft.

  56. 56
  57. 57
    Carolinus says:

    It’s crazy how many moronic non-troversies the Right has generated off of querying the White House visitor log database that the Obama admin made publicly searchable:
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/brie.....or-records

    The same with their publicly searchable stimulus database and their FEMA grant database.

    No good transparency deed ever seems to have much political or public upside, nor is used for anything besides partisan muckraking.

  58. 58
    Algerine says:

    @Botsplainer:

    Well duuuuh. How else did he cause the Great Recession and plant his birth announcements in Hawaiian newspapers? I’m surprised Conservatives haven’t caught on that he also used his Tardis to go back with his companion Acorn and commit widespread voter fraud that kept Barry Goldwater from getting elected in ’64.

  59. 59
    Zinsky says:

    Given that they have no interest in responsible governance and no plans whatsoever to address the most pressing problems we face, of course Republicans are going to try to turn this IRS non-scandal into a BFD. It’s so sad and pathetic that most Americans don’t realized how sclerotic and diseased the Republican Party is.

  60. 60
    kd bart says:

    Also, the IRS has a part in administering ACA. Of course, Senior Execs are going to be at White House meetings dealing with that law.

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