By: Brent Parrish
In his recent pregame Super Bowl interview with President Obama, Bill O’Reilly pressed the president on the IRS scandal, asking him if there was any “corruption” in the decision-making to specifically target conservative groups applying for 501 (c)(4) tax-exempt status. President Obama responded by saying “no.”
When asked again, whether or not there was any “mass corruption” surrounding the IRS targeting, the president insisted there was (quote) “not even a smidgen of corruption.”
Yet yesterday, during a House Committee on Ways and Means committee hearing with the IRS commissioner John Koskinen, Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) revealed an email exchange (see below) between the IRS and the Treasury Department that shows both federal agencies were conspiring to secretly draft new rules to shutdown Tea Party groups.
The Daily Caller reported:
The Obama administration’s Treasury Department and former IRS official Lois Lerner conspired to draft new 501(c)(4) regulations to restrict the activity of conservative groups in a way that would not be disclosed publicly, according to the House Committee on Ways and Means.
The Treasury Department and Lerner started devising the new rules “off-plan,” meaning that their plans would not be published on the public schedule. They planned the new rules in 2012, while the IRS targeting of conservative groups was in full swing, and not after the scandal broke in order to clarify regulations as the administration has suggested.
The rules would place much more stringent controls on what would be considered political activity by the IRS, effectively limiting the standard practices of a wide array of non-profit groups.
The Washington Times reported:
Ms. Lerner, a former head of the division that reviewed those applications, was included on an email in 2012 in which staffers hinted at a secret effort to write the crackdown rules.
The email was released Wednesday by the House Ways and Means Committee, which said it shows Ms. Lerner’s involvement and proves that the rules were in the works for years, not a response to the scandal revealed in June. Republicans said that taints the whole process.
“If Treasury and the IRS fabricated the rationale for a rule change it would tend to raise questions about the integrity of the rule-making process,” said Rep. Dave Camp, Michigan Republican and the committee chairman, who has called on the IRS to cancel the rules change.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) blasted President Obama during the Oversight hearing for prejudging the outcome of an investigation that has not yet been completed. Gowdy asked how the president can claim there was “not a smidgen of corruption” when over 40 witnesses have not been interviewed and when Lois Lerner invoked her 5th Amendment privilege.
Despite the damning new revelations that undercut White House claims on the IRS’ motivation, Democrats like Rep. Sander M. Levin of Michigan–the ranking Democrat on the committee–countered by stating the Republicans were simply “trying to keep this issue alive for political purposes.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) even went so as to accuse one conservative activist of engaging in racism.
Rep. Elijah Cummings accused Katherine Engelbrechtt and her group True the Vote of racism because people trained by the group were monitoring elections in area that were mainly minority. Katherine Engelbrecht was targeted by the IRS, FBI, OSHA, and BATF all after she filed for tax exempt status. She refuted any notion of racism by the Congressman saying that her group only provides training and does not place people in polls.
Katherine Engelbrecht has reportedly filed an ethics complaint today against far left Rep. Cummings for harassment and intimidation.