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U.S. Congress grills former IRS boss over tax scandal

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And yet the news media is reporting there are still groups that have waited 17 months or more, still waiting to be approved or denied. Please, explain this discrepancy.

An organization wanting to be considered for tax-exempt status has to have some kind of track record to demonstrate that their activities meet the criteria. In this case, a whole slew of newly formed organizations hit the IRS in the months following the passage of Citizens United.

The real scandal here comes with the reality that 501c4 status is sought out because of the anonymity it offers donors. When misused or abused, it means that very wealthy individuals can work behind the scenes to influence the outcomes of elections -- in addition to what they are doing out in the light. If that is, in fact, what is going on, the IRS needs to carefully inspect that.

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The IG report asserts that they are. I put more trust in that report than in conservative drivel.

And yet the news media is reporting there are still groups that have waited 17 months or more, still waiting to be approved or denied. Please, explain this discrepancy.

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yabits, they are not corrected.

The IG report asserts that they are. I put more trust in that report than in conservative drivel.

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IRS scandal - obviously not involved, though there is a cover-up here, as Obama people should have known months before the election that this was taking place. Also top officials lied to congress. Its hard to conceive that these officials would not have been aware of the IRS investigation.

I have to take this back. Its looking more and more likely that Obama knew or at least, should have known about it, before the election. Certainly his top people were aware of it, if they did not pass this along to him, that would say a lot about his competence, and the people with which he has surrounded himself with.

If Obama truly did not know about this, then I question why, now that all this is coming out, Obama still has not acted. The people who were involved in this, should have been fired immediately. Those who had the information, and which did not tell him, should likewise be terminated. There is simply no excuse for this.

Since the actions in the Cincinnati office were taking place mainly in 2010 and "corrected" by 2011, this appears more as though the IRS cleaned its own act. Nothing the IRS did was illegal in any way. However, as has been said, the manner in which these people tried to manage their workload served to heighten the distrust that so many have for the agency. I believe a lot of people should give them credit for cleaning their own mess, however.

yabits, they are not corrected. There are still groups who applied for tax-exempt status, who still, over a year later, have not been given it, or denied it. And this idea that it happened, only because of the poor overworked schlubs were trying to be more efficient is silly, and completely disregards reality. The fact of the matter is that the year this started, 2010, there were less applications for tax exempt status than in 2009.

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IRS scandal - obviously not involved, though there is a cover-up here, as Obama people should have known months before the election that this was taking place. Also top officials lied to congress. Its hard to conceive that these officials would not have been aware of the IRS investigation.

Since the actions in the Cincinnati office were taking place mainly in 2010 and "corrected" by 2011, this appears more as though the IRS cleaned its own act. Nothing the IRS did was illegal in any way. However, as has been said, the manner in which these people tried to manage their workload served to heighten the distrust that so many have for the agency. I believe a lot of people should give them credit for cleaning their own mess, however.

Generally speaking, I don't believe that injecting politics into it helps anyone.

About AP, I don't know enough about the issue and don't want to take things too far off-topic.

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It's somewhat ironic that conservatives are so willing and ready to play the victim card here. They seem to believe their phony howls of pain and indignation will somehow equate to the president being behind it all. But they are just projecting again: Believing that any man they personally despise so much would just have to do something in retaliation.

I grant that there are those, conspiracy nuts on the right, who see Obamas hand in everything. I am not one of them however. I don't see any way, or reason for Obama to personally be involved in a lot of these things.

IRS scandal - obviously not involved, though there is a cover-up here, as Obama people should have known months before the election that this was taking place. Also top officials lied to congress. Its hard to conceive that these officials would not have been aware of the IRS investigation. AP scandal - Going after media records is so significant, its easy to conceive that Obama might have been briefed on it. Though there is no evidence to this effect. Holder knew about it though, and there is no question, it should not have happened. Benghazi - He may not have been aware of its taking place, but someone made the call to leave the people hanging, someone made the call not to send in a team. Additionally, Obama was involved in the cover-up, going on tv, lying to the American people about it all being because of some video.

Well, yeah, he's doing something: He's winning increasing numbers of Americans over to his side, and, for that, the right-wingers are desperate for some way, any way, to bring him down.

Heh, which is why more and more Americans say the President is doing a bad job.

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and the rules underlying these applications are the most simple and clear-cut

I typo-ed this: It should have read: and the rules underlying these applications are not the most simple and clear-cut

They require knowledge and experience to navigate, and lots of "gray areas" exist. Add a flood of applications and high turnover and what emerges is a recipe for people feeling desperate enough to take short-cuts.

It's somewhat ironic that conservatives are so willing and ready to play the victim card here. They seem to believe their phony howls of pain and indignation will somehow equate to the president being behind it all. But they are just projecting again: Believing that any man they personally despise so much would just have to do something in retaliation.

Well, yeah, he's doing something: He's winning increasing numbers of Americans over to his side, and, for that, the right-wingers are desperate for some way, any way, to bring him down.

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The only reason they had any problems, was not because of some folks in Ohio, not because of department directives that created a bolo list, but only that a couple of poor schlubs were overworked.

That there is a finite number of IRS personnel in Cincinnati to handle tens of thousands of applications per year -- and that number is from 100 to 200 -- can be proven as factual. If anything, at least one IRS officer who became aware of the screening criteria counseled against it. There is no evidence she was over-ruled by her superiors.

I'm going to have to call this off. I don't feel right, picking on the helpless.

I'm getting the image of the knight guarding the bridge in ..the Holy Grail.

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Seems pretty obvious the IRS did something wrong, but you'd have to be clueless to want me to believe that the President ordered a "targeting" of 75 groups out of thousands. It's just illogical.

And it makes complete sense that these guys could have used those search words to make their jobs easier. People keep asking why they didn't "target" other groups, but I'd like to know exactly what keywords they would have used. "Tea Party" is an obvious one, there are no obvious ones on the left. If you don't agree then tell me what search words you would use.

As for the AP, may I ask if the DOJ used any techniques made legal under Bush?

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I'm not going to bother to address the idea that these groups should be tax exempt.

A group of between 100 to 200 employees have to process tens of thousands of tax-exempt organization requests per year, and the rules underlying these applications are the most simple and clear-cut. Combined with high turnover, the team got over-whelmed.

lol, you are doing a great job of just creating facts, and ignoring reality. What you are saying, is that the IRS is ignoring the truth. The only reason they had any problems, was not because of some folks in Ohio, not because of department directives that created a bolo list, but only that a couple of poor schlubs were overworked. You would have to be one of the most uninformed, idiotic person to accept this. If this is the best that you can come up with, I'm going to have to call this off. I don't feel right, picking on the helpless.

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I wonder if you would feel the same if the IRS added the word "Progressive" to their BOLO list? The hypocrisy of some people truly astounds me, and the desperation they demonstrate in their pathetic attempts to excuse the President and his administration.

There are several fundamental problems and differences in the scenario: First, as a liberal/progressive, it would not bother me a bit if those terms were added. One major reason is that liberals generally don't see government as "a problem" the way right-wingers do. We would expect government officials to do their jobs -- that is why we pay them.

Secondly, anyone who turns on the news since the early part of Obama's first term has gathered the perception that the "Tea Party" groups are extremely political in nature -- and thus their status as tax-exempt, non-political organizations would be dubious. The fact that there are people running for office who are referred to as "Tea Party Candidates," solidifies the perception. The fact that many hundreds of these groups suddenly flooded the IRS with applications for tax-exempt status had to seem very odd, if not suspicious. (I have not heard of any "Occupy candidates," but I am also not opposed in the least to any progressive group being subject to the same scrutiny as a right-wing organization.

A group of between 100 to 200 employees have to process tens of thousands of tax-exempt organization requests per year, and the rules underlying these applications are the most simple and clear-cut. Combined with high turnover, the team got over-whelmed.

But the bottom line is that I would not want any organization that is not entitled to tax-exempt status to receive it. I do not approve of President Obama's knee-jerk reaction to go after the people of the agency. It smacks too much of the Shirley Sherrod affair, when he and his people jumped the gun on what turned out to be a competent and dedicated employee.

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Bush 2 never went after media records, despite many damaging leaks that occurred under his watch. In fact, now that I think about it, I can't recall a single similar instance where the DOJ has sought media records, particularly not on such a scope and scale as this. Perhaps you can't point me to a link that shos the precedents?

I did a bit more research. DOJ has gone after reporters records in the past, just not on this scope, or scale. That has never happened before. Additionally, I take back what I said about it not happening under Bush 2. FBI went after Washington Post and NYT records, though it was in their Indonesia Bureau, not in the US.

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Oh, so there is a "first amendment right" for the press to print highly sensitive information received from a government source unauthorized to disclose it? There are definitely precedents for the government to seize phone records to track down unauthorized leaks from government. The right-wingers aren't fooling anyone.

Perhaps you should take the time to read the first amendment. The answer is, yes. In fact it is generally accepted, that the Press can print anything that is not an outright lie, at any time they choose. Though doing so frequently would be irresponsible, and reprehensible. NYT is a frequent offender in this, though not as much now that their boy is in office. Bush 2 never went after media records, despite many damaging leaks that occurred under his watch. In fact, now that I think about it, I can't recall a single similar instance where the DOJ has sought media records, particularly not on such a scope and scale as this. Perhaps you can't point me to a link that shos the precedents?

LOL! Would a left-wing group calling itself The Anti-Tea-Party Education Fund have been scrutinized by the IRS? If the presumable answer is "Yes," the case is closed.

I wonder if you would feel the same if the IRS added the word "Progressive" to their BOLO list? The hypocrisy of some people truly astounds me, and the desperation they demonstrate in their pathetic attempts to excuse the President and his administration. These people would probably try to justify Obama putting a gun to someones head, and pulling the trigger! Actually, nevermind, given the drone strikes, and the lefts deafening silence, thats already happened.

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lol, you mean the way the DOJ has moved to rescind the 1st amendment rights of the Press?

Oh, so there is a "first amendment right" for the press to print highly sensitive information received from a government source unauthorized to disclose it? There are definitely precedents for the government to seize phone records to track down unauthorized leaks from government. The right-wingers aren't fooling anyone.

Hmm, you mean the IRS audited them, and acted in ways to cost them millions of dollars and a great deal of influence, coinciding with an election?

LOL! Would a left-wing group calling itself The Anti-Tea-Party Education Fund have been scrutinized by the IRS? If the presumable answer is "Yes," the case is closed. The IRS didn't care if the group was actually left or right -- if certain words were included in the name, they were scrutinized. Keep in mind that attempting to pre-register with the IRS as a 501(c)(4) organization is voluntary. From what I have read, the groups that do it do so because their status is doubtful to begin with.

No group is entitled to 501 status without any scrutiny.

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One can imagine the uproar from right-wingers if Obama moved to attempt to rescind the person's Fifth Amendment rights. Heads, right-wingnuts win; tails, Obama loses.

lol, you mean the way the DOJ has moved to rescind the 1st amendment rights of the Press?

"Excessive" by what standard? Would conservatives complain if ACORN and NAACP were scrutinized in the same manner? Wait a minute, I believe they were!

Hmm, you mean the IRS audited them, and acted in ways to cost them millions of dollars and a great deal of influence, coinciding with an election? Yeah, mind pointing to that story yabits? There is a significant difference between congressional oversight of public fund expenditure, and and being placed on an IRS blacklist. Trying to equate these, you really are flailing desperately.

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He was appointed by President George W Bush

We need to start taking a look at all of Bush's appointments. Democrats have every right to be angry about this.

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didn't Obama say that those involved should be held accountable for their actions. Pleading the fifth does not sound like being accountable for their actions to me.

One can imagine the uproar from right-wingers if Obama moved to attempt to rescind the person's Fifth Amendment rights. Heads, right-wingnuts win; tails, Obama loses.

Of course, she could always go in front of Congress and lie through her teeth to -- ostensibly -- protect others.

Just like Ollie North.

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But, but, but ... didn't Obama say that those involved should be held accountable for their actions. Pleading the fifth does not sound like being accountable for their actions to me.

http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=FA2C83E1-B64F-48FC-85A0-808CC71CB24F

First she needs to fire the lawyer. Issa just made the statement that she may have waived her right to use the 5th Amendment against self-incrimination by presenting facts in an opening statement (in which she potentially perjured herself already).

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Shulman was appointed by President George W. Bush even though he was a donor to the Democratic National Committee in the month prior to the re-election of President Bush in 2004.

There's much more the article left out about Shulman. But the statement above brings up two important insights into the character of many modern conservatives. First, however, more about Shulman:

He was born and raised in the Dayton, OH area. That part of southern Ohio is not exactly a liberal bastion. He holds a BA from Williams College. It is the highest ranked school in the United States. Over the past three years, Forbes magazine -- hardly liberal -- rated it higher then Harvard, Yale, Princeton and any Ivy League school. He then got a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government After that, he achieved his Juris Doctor's degree from Georgetown University, graduating magna cum laude.

Yes, in 2004, he made a $500 donation to the DNC. According to Political Moneyline, it is the only political donation he is on record as making. Ever.

So the first key insight into the conservative mind is that anything you achieve in your career can come to naught, or under complete suspicion, if you ever happen to donate a few bucks to the wrong party, even one time. The implication is that George W. Bush should not have hired this person because his one-time donation has tarred him and made him suspect.

We're not even sure about the conditions that caused him to make this one-time gift. Did he make a bet with a Democrat -- and lost it -- over whether Bush would find WMD in Iraq?

The second key insight into the conservative mind comes with the realization of why it is so important to them to keep all their contributions --like those to Tea Party groups -- confidential. Sensing their own lack of integrity, they realize that a stellar academic and business reputation can be put in jeopardy by giving a few dollars to the wrong people -- in this case the "evil" Democrats. We are supposed to believe that Shulman's 2004 donation puts his ability to perform his job under a permanent cloud of suspicion. This is why it was so important to include the "fact" of this one-time donation.

And should someone who has donated to Republican causes be held under the same kind of suspicion? Or should we more properly suspect people who want to keep things hidden from view?

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Lerner’s lawyer stated in a letter to the committee that Lerner “intended to invoke her 5th amendment right and refuse to answer questions”

But, but, but ... didn't Obama say that those involved should be held accountable for their actions. Pleading the fifth does not sound like being accountable for their actions to me.

RR

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Huh, how about that. A Bush appointee running the IRS while the Tea Party was being targeted for extra scrutiny.

Article left this part out:

Shulman was appointed by President George W. Bush even though he was a donor to the Democratic National Committee in the month prior to the re-election of President Bush in 2004.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Shulman

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I'm saying several of the Democratic Senators that are condemning the IRS this week were the same ones pressuring the agency to act on many of the same groups as recently as a year ago, even threatening legislative action if they did not.

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“Clearly a Mack truck is being driven through a 501(c)(4) loophole,” Baucus said, arguing that once the immediate scandal clears the law itself should be reformed to make it clearer which groups should qualify.

In the long run, the Tea Party groups have only hurt themselves here. The biggest problem is that these politically-based groups should not qualify for tax-exempt status. The IRS-workers know this, as well as most reasonable Americans.

So, instead of keeping their mouths shut, the conservatives have urinated all over themselves in the attempt to create a phony issue in which to entrap the president. Bachmann of Minnesota is claiming that her constituents are asking her why there's no move to impeach Obama. This nutter is the face of the new Republican Party.

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And the Senators that.sent letters to Shulman in 2011-2012 pressuring the IRS to investigate tax-exempt groups they believed were engaged in political activities were all Democrats.

And you actually expect conservative lawbreakers to be of concern to Republicans? How naive can you get?

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Senators grilled retired IRS boss Douglas Shulman about what he readily acknowledged was “inexcusable” behavior by agents who, from 2010, singled out right-leaning groups for excessive scrutiny.

"Excessive" by what standard? Would conservatives complain if ACORN and NAACP were scrutinized in the same manner?

Wait a minute, I believe they were!

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" Of course, the president feigns innocence at being completely out of the loop when it was known by top level White House staff…"

No, he claims ignorance, to which some would agree, but here he pulls a Schultz-style " I know nassing!" Bwaa! Guess he didn't get the memo, right?

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And the Senators that.sent letters to Shulman in 2011-2012 pressuring the IRS to investigate tax-exempt groups they believed were engaged in political activities were all Democrats. The agency head responsible, an Obama contributor, responded by making it a priority to investigate the tax-exempt status of political nonprofits, and developing the now-infamous questionnaire sent to these groups. Obama's re-election campaign also used a leaked document from the IRS to attack Mitt Romney during the election,

Of course, the president feigns innocence at being completely out of the loop when it was known by top level White House staff and according to his Press Sec. didn't couldn't even be bothered to ask why he was only learning about the scandal via the media....

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Huh, how about that. A Bush appointee running the IRS while the Tea Party was being targeted for extra scrutiny. This is looking more like the aftermath of a power struggle between establishment Republicans and upstart Tea rebels. File this one in the same infighting category as the spat between the elder George Bush and ("who the hell is") Grover Norquist. Now I can see why the Tea-drenched Rand Paul is urging caution on this hot potato.

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