IRS Conservative Witchhunt Started In 2011 With High-Level Officials Involved

Tyler Durden's picture

The IRS conservative targeting scandal is going from bad to worse.

Following the Friday revelations that despite all prior appeals to the contrary, the IRS did in fact apply political bias and prejudice in targeting conservative groups who had applied for exempt status (and who knows what other prejudice when targeting non-liberals entities - perhaps it is time to do an analysis of what the ratio of conservatives to liberals audited each year is?), culminating with the farcical response by an IRS official during the Friday press meeting...

... this may be just the beginning of a major political scandal which in addition to tangential fallout crushing the alleged "impartiality" of the Obama administration, additionally validates many of the heretofore right-wing "conspiracy theories." And as Zero Hedge has shown time and again, it is not a conspiracy theory if it is a conspiracy fact.

What makes things worse for the IRS, the US Treasury, its then-head Tim Geithner, and of course, Barack Obama, is that according to a draft report prepared by the Treasury Department's inspector general for tax administration, expected to be released this week, and seen by AP, is that senior IRS officials knew agents were targeting tea party groups as early as the spring/summer of 2011, well before the 2012 election as we announced before. What makes matters worse, is that it was not only "low-level" employees as the IRS tried to justify its prejudice on Friday, but high level personnel, among which at least one head of division that oversees tax-exempt organizations, and likely  all the way to the very top, that were well aware of the witch hunt.

From AP:

The IRS apologized Friday for what it acknowledged was "inappropriate" targeting of conservative political groups during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status. The agency blamed low-level employees, saying no high-level officials were aware.


But on June 29, 2011, Lois G. Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt organizations, learned at a meeting that groups were being targeted, according to the watchdog's report. At the meeting, she was told that groups with "Tea Party," ''Patriot" or "9/12 Project" in their names were being flagged for additional and often burdensome scrutiny, the report says. The 9-12 Project is a group started by conservative TV personality Glenn Beck.


Lerner instructed agents to change the criteria for flagging groups "immediately," the report says.

Attempts by the IRS to contain the fallout to lower level employees will become very complicated once it becomes public knowledge, that "on Aug. 4, 2011, staffers in the IRS' Rulings and Agreements office "held a meeting with chief counsel so that everyone would have the latest information on the issue.""

So everyone knew about it.

But this is a very sticky problem because at a congressional hearing March 22, 2012, IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, who had previously stated on the record that no groups had been targeted, testified under oath as follows: "There's absolutely no targeting. This is the kind of back and forth that happens to people" who apply for tax-exempt status, Shulman said at the House Ways and Means subcommittee hearing."


Of course, the IRS is scrambling to contain the fallout in the only way it (and JPMorgan, and Goldman Sachs, and every other organization caught with its pants down) knows - the news never got to the top:

"IRS senior leadership was not aware of this level of specific details at the time of the March 2012 hearing," the statement said. "The timeline does not contradict the commissioner's testimony. While exempt organizations officials knew of the situation earlier, the timeline reflects that IRS senior leadership did not have this level of detail."


Lerner's position is three levels below the commissioner.


"The timeline supports what the IRS acknowledged on Friday that mistakes were made," the statement continued. "There were not partisan reasons behind this."

What makes it even worse is that it was not just some radical conservative groups that had been targeted.

On Jan, 25, 2012, the criteria for flagging suspect groups was changed to, "political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding Government, educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, social economic reform/movement," the report says.

So, by implication those who still believe in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are if not enemies of the US, then certainly subject to far more scrutiny by the country's tax collectors?

Needless to say, the fury among republicans in Congress is palpable:

Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee's oversight subcommittee, said the report "raises serious questions as to who at IRS, Treasury and in the administration knew about this, why this practice was allowed to continue for as long as it did, and how widespread it was."


"This timeline reveals at least two extremely unethical actions by the IRS. One, as early as 2010, they targeted groups for political purposes. Two, they willfully and knowingly lied to Congress for years despite being aware that Congress was investigating this practice," Boustany said.


"This is an outrageous abuse of power. Going after organizations for referencing the Bill of Rights or expressing the intent to make this country a better place is repugnant," Boustany added. "There is no excuse for this behavior."

The White House, which would not want to touch this issue with a three trillion foot pole has logically distanced itself as far as possible:

On Friday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the administration expected the inspector general to conduct a thorough investigation, but he brushed aside calls for the White House itself to investigate.

However, one can be certain that with the ascendent GOP, smarting after a year of political debacles and strategic disasters, and feeling emboldened in the aftermath of the Benghazi scandal coverup which in itself is another slap in the face of the "most transparent administration" in history, that the scandal will not be contained to some low-level, Fabrice Tourre-wannabe. Unless of course both the right and the left were in on it. After all, Shulman was appointed by President George W. Bush. His 6-year term ended in November.

Which, of course, would mean that for all the theatrics and optics, both the right and the left are, indeed, one.

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Fuku Ben's picture

I see that Hillary didn't testify under oath and this allowed by both sides of the fake aisle

I'm sure we can expect the same complicit cover-up or scapegoating with the IRS too

Yet, a nun trespasses on a depeleted uranium site with practically zero security and gets a 20 year sentence

Anyone else sick of all this treasonous shit and hypocrisy yet?

cynicalskeptic's picture

Stay focused on the fake partisan divide and you won't realize that the current two party system is a Kabuki Play staged to entertain and distract the electorate while serving the rich and wealthy.

Jam Akin's picture

It does seem that the fruits of excessive hubris are coming home to roost stage left at kibuki theatre lately.

This just in's picture

Unfortunately, nothing is coming home to roost.  The media will ignore this, and the public will care only about the Voice.  We, as a free people, are fucked, plain and simple.

Crisismode's picture



This all sounds vaguely racist to me.


Should this not be reported to the Tylers immediately.


Someone is saying bad things about someone else.


This needs to be reported NOW.



john39's picture

note that fake conservatives were not targeted.  all about control and maintaining control under a fascist system.

Kinskian's picture

Fascists get blamed for everything around this place.

Kinskian's picture

National Socialism was a reaction to what we see taking place in the US. Under NS, German industry had a duty to the state and to the people. Hitler would never have allowed Krupp to lay-off German workers and move their jobs to lower cost third world countries, and foreign trade was to the Germans' advantage or not at all. I think "fascist" is over used, when "totalitarian" would be a better choice.

imapopulistnow's picture

When I was younger, like most of you, I would chuckle at the old farts who predicted we were going to have riots or a race war at any time.  Now that I am an old fart, perhaps I am just getting caught up into old fart thinking, but i see the following as a real possibility:

Obama's Administration (he was out golfing) has created a severe Constituional crisis between IRS, Bengahzi, media-government & banker-government interrelationships, and other stuff that we do not even know about but that may come out of the woodwork now that whistleblowers are feeling more emboldened to tell the truth.

Most white folks from the mid-west, rocky mountain states and south have very strong beliefs about the intgegrity of government, rule of law and the Constitution.  If more things come out, they will be shocked and horrified about what has happened to the values of this nation.  African-Americans have overwhelmingly voted for Obama with great pride.  Nothing can or will change this.  I understand. 

It is quite possible that there will be civil unrest between supporters of Obama and the government, and those who no longer trust it.

So, what is it.  Am I just thinking like an old fart, or do we run the risk of something really bad happening?

11b40's picture

You are just getting senile.
Tell me again about that rule of law thingy that most white folk believe in.
Would those be the red states that supported the administration that lied us into war, gave us the Department of Fatherland Security, exploding deficits, the housing bubble, the bank bailouts.... And the list could go on, but I need another drink,

We need to have a revolution, but you give Obummer way more credit than he deserves. He is no more than a tool, little different than the tool in the last administration, and the one before, and the one before, etc, wash, rinse, repeat.

tsx500's picture

    FORWARD  !!

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Those of you with the stamina and interest, keep reading the comments, all the way to the end.  There are some interesting things bubbling up.  Big scandals?  Who knows, especially with the compliant pussycat State Run Media.

CompassionateFascist's picture

Lerner...Shulman....(etc)....It's not the IRS. It's the JRS.

Pure Evil's picture

Come on, let's not take this shit to seriously.

Where's the guy with the popcorn so we can sit back and be entertained?

These are just the sub-plots within the sub-plots.

Everything you see is contrived, scripted, and plagiarized.

They can't even come up with new material.

Even 9/11 was a copycat of OKC, although they got a bigger bang for their fiat bucks.

I mean, come on, were starting to look like the crowed scene in 1984 where they allow the proles to show their anger when Goldstein is shown on the viewing screen, with a name like that he's gotta be a j-o-o.

Lore's picture

That too is an oversimplification.  (Orwell chose "Goldstein" for that very reason.)  The devil comes in many guises and hides behind any / all labels.  2+2 = Whatever he says.

What we are witnessing here, by effect if not by design, is a smear of important words like 'conservative' and 'Tea Party.'  Something positive is twisted and perverted into something negative.  'Conservative' used to connote maturity, morality, restraint, accountability. 'Tea Party' likewise surfaced a few years ago as a grassroots nonpartisan movement that resonated with hope, nostalgia, renewal, a spirit of rectitude, and return to 'conservatism.' Then the term got hijacked and co-opted for a hook to attract voters to a tasteless political sideshow.  The original spirit of 'Tea Party' seemed to transcend mere party politics before it was spoiled.  'Conservative' likewise used to be a good thing. Now, ironically, it's painted as backward, radical and dangerous. In the interest of preserving status quo characterized by growing imbalances, virtue is painted as vice. 

It's fascinating. Imagine the stress some people must feel.

Xavier Doe's picture

What we are looking at IMO, is the outright criminalization of the use of those words in implying their original meaning, so that only the leftist caricatures of those words remain in the public square.  The bullies that hold the levers of power are trying, in their own small way, to convert those terms into scarlet letters.  Once that is accomplished, why not hold up the tax-exempt status of any organization attempting to trade on the proverbial marks of the beast?

Which is all a real pisser because I was just about to register my own tax-exempt organization, Tea Party Tea Party Tea Party Patriot Patriot Patriot IRS Suck My Balls Dot Org.

Lore's picture

Good post.

Language is being manipulated to stop people from THINKING.  Remember how hard the media drilled "WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION" into public consciousness?  "ISLAMO-FASCISM" is another thoughtstopper.  "AL QAEDA" seems to be a kind of inside joke.  Every incident that seems like some kind of intrigue gets blanketed in the media with "AL QAEDA... AL QAEDA... AL QAEDA..." 

Cathartes Aura's picture

with respect, language has always been "manipulated to stop people from thinking" - that's what hierarchies (religions, nationstates/corporations) do, they co-opt, twist meaning, and pit peoples against other peoples.  the difference this time is it's being done to your "side/team/whatever" - but know that this isn't a first, this has centuries of history behind it.

obviously, it works, for them, whoever "they" are for you.

Lore's picture

Absolutely, you're right. Language is an ancient weapon.

Lore's picture

Parroted for obvious relevance to the discussion further up the page:

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”George Orwell

“Truth is Treason in Empire of lies” - George Orwell

Dapper Dan's picture

Twenty people on President Richard Nixon’s enemies list were named in the 1971 memo released to the Senate Watergate Committee in 1973.

There were 200 additional enemies on a separate list.

The memo proposed the use of “federal machinery,” including IRS audits and litigation, to “screw our political enemies.”

People never change, only the technology/circumstances change.

20834A's picture

What asshole would down vote a mere observation of FACT?

NoDebt's picture

Richard Nixon, I'm guessing.  Clickin' from the grave!

Sorry, didn't mean to crack wise in such a serious thread.  I guess I'm just old enough not to be shocked by this.  Every administration has used the IRS as their attack dog against political opposition- they're the one entity that can touch EVERYTHING and ANYTHING because they can go wherever money goes. 

Just that it's happening more now because the IRS is bigger and more powerful than ever.  You know how many new auditors they hired in the last few years?  The code is so vast and complex that everyone is guilty of something.  Just a matter of who they choose to go after. 

Nothing like this EVER starts from a 'low level' in the IRS.  Never.  Those people were given their marching orders from above. 

tenpanhandle's picture

Yes?...and look what happened to Nixon.

sun tzu's picture

Illinois, New York, California, the most corrupt and oppresive states in the Union.

Detroit, Newark, Chicago, the most corrupt cities in the country. 

One party rule

TheObsoleteMan's picture

Interesting, you left out Washington DC from the list of most corrupt cities! It is king of the hill. New Orleans is pretty crooked too. Could easily give the others lessons in corruption.

jeff montanye's picture

reviewing the equally (and perhaps more originally) authoritarian and corrupt bush administration, heavily backed by the white folks from the interior/south, i'm not sure i see this strong support for the rule of law/constitution and integrity of government that you do. what i do see is the tribalism of different tribes.

one can only hope the whistleblowers are emboldened, but the uniquely vicious attacks by obama upon them asks much of their courage.  however they do exist. thank you sibel edmonds, bradley manning, andrew mcguire, et. al.


James_Cole's picture


reviewing the equally (and perhaps more originally) authoritarian and corrupt bush administration, heavily backed by the white folks from the interior/south, i'm not sure i see this strong support for the rule of law/constitution and integrity of government that you do. 

Speaking of fascists, Reagan's old buddy Rios Montt got sentenced for genocide (80 yrs) in Guatemala. Apparently a legal first for a country. 

United States has never really had any substantial interest in justice, democracy etc. (lots of lip service), but this is an interesting precedent to see some of these guys get in trouble for war crimes committed with the help of the US. 

Interestingly, Obama just met with the current leader of Guatemala who was actually closely involved with the rape / murder etc. of innocent men, women & children.

New boss, same as the old boss - on both sides. 


Ignatius's picture

Note also that Latin America is one place that has NOT participated in rendition and torture. Recent experience with that worn out plot, I suppose.

Clark Bent's picture

If this is such a matter of utter indifference to you, one wonders why you choose to write. Or to introduce obscure names to smear the deceased President, in my view the last President we actually had that made any pretense to representing the country and not the ruling class. 

James_Cole's picture

If this is such a matter of utter indifference to you, one wonders why you choose to write.

It's obviously not a matter of indifference, it's encouraging to see progress being made prosecuting war criminals (not within the United States of course).

Or to introduce obscure names to smear the deceased President, in my view the last President we actually had that made any pretense to representing the country and not the ruling class. 

Obscure names only to the ignorant, look up Regans views of the man.

In any case, nothing I say about Reagan could further smear his abysmal legacy - it's all there in the record - up there with the worst human beings on the planet. Americans are wholly ignorant of their own history so Reagan is revered in the US, but that's simply a testament to brain washing & nothing to do with record.  

wisefool's picture

You are not old compared to some :) But thanks for being somebody to talk to. Was working with 60 year old equipment today, and glad to have it, 'cause I know how they had to do it 100 years ago.

Technolgogy makes power, 8oz. of gasoline can push 8 gallons of hydraulic fluid, that can lift 2,000 lbs and carry it anywhere you want to go. Cleptocratic Human Nature abhors a power vacum. It would have taken 4 guys all day to do what that tech did. So naturally we should put those 4 guys to work with a tax code, a badge and a gun. Furthermore,  it is important that their bosses can not do math.

To your point, I do not think there will be any civil unrest. It is simply not worth entertaining those 4 guys in any way shape or form. For all those midwestern and mountain states mystical pioneers you mentioned, the vast majority are hooked tighter to the tax code than the constitution, cause they are driving brand new gear and just starting the depreciation cycle. Ask anybody who has seen typical USDA form. The introductory reporting income levels are $0-$500,000, $500,000 - $1MM, $1MM+. (net) double the figures for gross income brackets.

The problem nor solution is civil unrest or constitutionality. The problem is that tax attorneys (as mentioned in this article) make far more money than engineers, scientists and many medical doctors. What profession would you suggest for your children? What will they suggest for their children? Who is going to invent things like the internet when the giants in Al Gore's generation retire? Bah, just being an old fart in good company.

Mr. Magniloquent's picture

Your first mistake was believe that any of this began with Obama. That's the old fart thinking. Otherwise, you're on the correct path.

Zigs's picture

I am from the Midwest and can report that many of the formerly "believing in integrity" folks out here are fat and lazy from feasting on the government teat. 

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

America has changed a lot.

Gold, bitchez.

Freddie's picture

People need to wake up. It is far far worse than people imagine.  TV and Hollywoodwith their media buddies keep lying for Obama and are destroying the country.  If you still watch TV and Hollywood's shit then you support it.  Don't tell me "i only watch Fox Al Waleed" because everything on TV supports O. 

Your cable and sat TV bill divides the money up so you are supporting CNN, MSNBC, ABC/Disney, et al.  Keep going to Disney World or the other theme parks or cruise ships and you support it.


gatorengineer's picture

You had me until rocky mountain states... You mean like tax the pot colorado, and never met an illegal I didnt like New Mexico?

imapopulistnow's picture

Yeh, I should have excluded the "rocky mountain high in Colorado" crowd.

insanelysane's picture

It is not a racist thing at all.  It is about a government beauracracy becoming a monarchy of sorts where Washington insiders are Lords and Ladies, Dukes and Duchesses, Counts and Contesses.  The FED is printing money and giving it to elites so they can "legally" purchase all things of worth in the country.  Everyone else becomes a serf.

Debt-Is-Not-Money's picture

"Am I just thinking like an old fart, or do we run the risk of something really bad happening?"

As one old fart to another, yes.

Just remember to blame the dog!

20834A's picture

I've been saying this to everyone I talk to- it's not fascism that is taking over America, it's totalitarian democracy. Please, please read these links and help spread real understanding.




Mr. Magniloquent's picture

You're splitting hairs. With Fascism, we have a "democratic" government that synergizes with corporations for mutual benefit at the expense of ordinary people. With Totalitarian Democracy, we have a "democratic" government that synergizes with corporations for mutual benefit at the expense of ordinary people. Does preference matter?

James_Cole's picture

Also called 'inverse totalitarianism.'

Totalitarian democracy has the same end in mind but is far more successful in its method. 

wisefool's picture

This is where Mitt Romney screwed up. His base always has been the tax free crowd. When you have that crew, why would you reject 47% of the population, who actually admire you?

sun tzu's picture

Because the parasites are obama's base

Ident 7777 economy's picture


That goes for corporate cronyism too. All those guarteed loans to Solyndra and subsidies to Tesla et al.


Toss in ethanol subsidies to farmers as well.