IRS Scandal: No End To Lois Lerner’s Lawlessness

Justice: IRS official Lois Lerner didn’t merely target conservative groups to take away their tax-free status, as first suspected, but also handed over more than a million pages of tax returns to the Justice Department. That’s a crime.

It’s now apparent, if it wasn’t before, that the Internal Revenue Service — which was created solely to collect revenues due the government, not to persecute the administration’s political enemies — has become a kind of rogue agency.

Its chief, John Koskinen, is being threatened with impeachment for not telling the truth in testimony before Congress. But Lerner, more than even Koskinen, has become a symbol of IRS arrogance and illegality.

As Eliana Johnson of the National Review reported this week, Lerner transmitted some 1.25 million pages of tax returns of mostly Tea Party and conservative groups to the Justice Department in October 2010. In Johnson’s words, this was “likely the largest unauthorized disclosure of tax-return information in history.”

For some perspective, this took place at the start of a three-year period during which the same groups found their applications for tax-free status inexplicably held up, while those for liberal groups were more or less routinely rubber-stamped.

But the actual transmission of their tax returns as part of a fishing expedition by Lerner is the big problem here — because she also transmitted IRS Schedule B data, which includes the names and addresses of contributors to those conservative groups. That’s a big no-no.

Unfortunately for Lerner, tax returns are nearly sacrosanct under the law. Only an active investigation into criminal acts would allow the IRS to give the tax returns to the Justice Department. And then, by law, Justice would have to specifically request them. They didn’t in this case.

By the way, a good-government group called the Cause of Action Institute has been dredging all this information up as part of its ongoing litigation in the case. We wish them luck.

“The IRS, in the midst of its political targeting of groups engaged in policy advocacy, was engaging in the disclosure of millions of records aimed at ginning up prosecutions of these groups without going through the legally required channels,” Dan Epstein, executive director of Cause of Action, told the National Review.

So it looks like Lerner broke the law — again. But will she be punished? Not likely.

President Obama’s Justice Department already passed on prosecuting Lerner in 2015, despite strong evidence of criminal wrongdoing. IRS chief Koskinen, who is less guilty and less implicated than Lerner in all of this IRS skulduggery, is more likely to be impeached than Lerner is to be brought before a judge.

Loretta Lynch’s Justice Department, it seems, is just as politicized these days as the IRS.

Washington’s Bureaucracy Strikes Again by Sen. Mike Lee

If you want to understand the corruption, deceit, and might-makes-right culture at the core of the federal government’s dysfunction and disgrace today, look no farther than the two big stories out of Washington last week.

On Monday, President Barack Obama’s Treasury Department released sweeping new regulations effectively rewriting the tax code to make it even more difficult for U.S. companies to escape the double taxation on overseas earnings currently extracted by the IRS. Rather than trying to lower the U.S. corporate income tax rate—which is the highest in the industrialized world—the Obama administration wants to make it even more costly to do business in America.

Not to be outdone by the economic folly of their colleagues at the Treasury Department, bureaucrats at the Department of Labor have published 1,000 pages of new regulations—collectively called “the fiduciary rule”—targeting the investment industry that will make it more expensive and less likely for low and middle-income Americans to save for their future. Working Americans already face a host of obstacles that prevent them from saving for retirement or unexpected financial hardships, and observers from across the political spectrum agree that these new regulations will only further discourage private savings.

Source: The Daily Signal

Storming The IRS Gates: An Occupy Movement Worth Supporting

Taxation: A federal judge says the IRS can’t be trusted. Well, he’s right. So when will people in this country finally rise up and force Washington to get rid of this awful agency?

Because a holiday called Emancipation Day was celebrated Friday in the capital district, Americans have a few extra days to file their taxes this year. But the IRS remains, as does its institutionalized abuse of taxpayers. There is no emancipation from the torment of taxation, nor the agents of its collection, on the horizon.

Americans need relief, however. Taxes eat away at our substance, and the IRS makes this all the more intolerable because it decided long ago to be a wedge of enmity between a growing federal government and an ostensibly free people. This strained relationship has deteriorated to the point that the IRS targeted for persecution groups and individuals that it doesn’t like. Organizations that identified as Tea Party and conservative were harassed to the point that some of the victims decided to sue.

It’s hard to be upbeat on April 15, even when tax filing day is delayed. Yet there is a scintilla of hope to be found when a federal official rightly characterizes the IRS as an institution whose word is of little value.

“It’s hard to find the IRS to be an agency we can trust,” Judge David B. Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, said Thursday during oral arguments in one of the lawsuits filed against the tax collector in the targeting scandal.

The Washington Times reported that during the hearing Sentelle “said there is strong evidence that the IRS violated the constitutional rights of the groups when it delayed their nonprofit status applications and asked inappropriate questions about their political beliefs.”

What’s more, there’s good reason to think that the mistreatment of Tea Party and right-of-center groups has never stopped.

This should deeply concern us all, even those who aren’t Tea Party supporters. The IRS is not a political arm of the government that’s free to be used to suppress to dissenters. It is merely a tax collector.

Yet it has the power of accuser, judge, jury and executioner. It makes lives miserable, a practice some in the agency seem to enjoy — it’s their amusement. The IRS can be a bully, a thug, an intimidator. It rolls on without checks and balances. One lower court even said that there were no remedies available to make it pay for its misconduct.

Such an agency has no place in a nation founded on freedom. Americans were to never have masters. Liberty was our birthright — as it should be for every human. The IRS violates these principles and deserves to feel the heat and the jabs that only torch-and-pitchfork patriots can bring.

We’re not advocating a physical occupation, of course. But concerned citizens should put unprecedented political pressure on Washington to rid us of this meddlesome bureaucracy. Every year millions of Americans pay the IRS. Now it’s the IRS’ turn to pay.

Source: IBD Editorials

Not Even a ‘Smidgen’ of Corruption at IRS, Mr. President? Appeals Court Begs to Differ! By John W. Lillpop

During a February, 2014 interview with Bill O’Reilly of FOX News, President Barack Obama firmly asserted that there was “not even a smidgen of corruption at the IRS,” in the case involving Lois Lerner and the unlawful IRS targeting of conservative groups for special scrutiny by the powerful agency.

Instead, Obama attributed the matter to ‘bone-headed decisions.’

Those who have been paying even the slightest attention to the travails of Lois Lerner will remember that this anti-conservative partisan democrat escaped justice from the Obama administration without so much as even a “smidgen” of accountability for her untoward behavior, whether criminal or simply ‘bone-headed’ stupidity.

Now, more than two years later, a federal judge who was apparently paying attention has determined the IRS took laws designed to protect taxpayers from the government and used said Laws to try to protect

the tax agency from the very tea party groups it targeted.

As reported at the reference:

A federal appeals court spanked the IRS Tuesday, saying it has taken laws designed to protect taxpayers from the government and turned them on their head, using them to try to protect the tax agency from the very tea party groups it targeted.

The judges ordered the IRS to quickly turn over the full list of groups it targeted so that a class-action lawsuit, filed by the NorCal Tea Party Patriots, can proceed. The judges also accused the Justice Department lawyers, who are representing the IRS in the case, of acting in bad faith — compounding the initial targeting — by fighting the disclosure.

“The lawyers in the Department of Justice have a long and storied tradition of defending the nation’s interests and enforcing its laws — all of them, not just selective ones — in a manner worthy of the Department’s name. The conduct of the IRS’s attorneys in the district court falls outside that tradition,” Judge Raymond Kethledge wrote in a unanimous opinion for a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. “We expect that the IRS will do better going forward.”

While this reporter has nothing approaching even an elementary education or understanding of the Law, this pummeling by Judge Kethledge sounds suspiciously like more than just a “smidgen” of corruption!

Further, this revelation is particularly disturbing in light of the fact that the future of Hillary Rodham Clinton and her candidacy for the US presidency may very well rest in the hands of the same Obama Department of Justice.

Bottom Line: Will America be told that the Hillary Clinton dossier includes not even a ‘smidgen’ of information that might implicit her in criminal acts and or disqualify her from holding the highest office in the land?

If so, given Obama’s anti-law legacy, why would any discerning American believe such a statement?

 

What Is the Fair Share of Taxes? by Walter Williams

Presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders, along with President Obama, say they want high-income earners, otherwise known as the rich, to pay their fair share of income taxes. None of these people, as well as the uninformed in the media and our campus intellectual elites, will say precisely what is the “fair share” of taxes. That is because they would look ignorant and silly, so they stick with simply saying that the rich should pay more. Let’s you and I take a peek at who pays what in federal income taxes.

The following represents 2012 income tax data recently released by the Internal Revenue Service, compiled by the Tax Foundation. The top 1 percent, 1.37 million taxpayers earning $434,682 and more, paid 38 percent of all federal income taxes. The top 5 percent, those earning $175,817 and more, paid 59 percent. The top 10 percent of income earners, those earning $125,195 and up, paid 70 percent of all federal income taxes. The top 25 percent, those earning $73,354 and up, paid 86 percent. The bottom 50 percent, people earning $36,055 and less, paid a little less than 3 percent of federal income taxes. According to estimates by the Tax Policy Center, slightly over 45 percent of American households have no federal income tax liability.

With this information in hand, you might ask the next person who says the rich do not pay their fair share of taxes: Exactly what percentage of total federal income taxes should the 1-percenters pay? I seriously doubt whether you will get any kind of coherent answer. By the way, since 1-percenter income starts at $435,000, it might be pointed out that $400,000 or $500,000 a year is not even yacht or Learjet money. Plus, if one has two kids in college, a big mortgage and car payments, I doubt he would declare himself rich.

Our demagogues also claim that corporations do not pay their fair share of taxes. The fact of the matter, which even leftist economists understand but might not publicly admit, is corporations do not pay taxes. An important subject area in economics, called tax incidence, says the entity upon whom a tax is levied does not necessarily bear the full burden of the tax. Some of the tax burden can be shifted to another party. If a tax is levied on a corporation, and if the corporation hopes to survive, it will have one of three responses to that tax or some combination thereof. It will raise the price of its product, lower dividends or lay off workers. In each case a flesh-and-blood person is made worse off. The important point is that a corporation is a legal fiction and as such does not pay taxes. As it turns out, corporations are merely tax collectors for the government.

Politicians love to trick people by suggesting that they will not impose taxes on them but on some other entity instead. To demonstrate the trick, suppose you are a homeowner and a politician tells you that he is not going to tax you, he is just going to tax your land. You would easily see the political chicanery. Land cannot and does not pay taxes. Again, only people pay taxes.

Leftist politicians often call for raising the death tax, euphemistically called inheritance tax. The inheritance tax brings in less than 1 percent of federal revenue. It is on the books because it serves the interests of jealousy, envy and our collective desire to tax the so-called rich. The effects of inheritance taxes are economically damaging. It has this impact because in order for people to pay the death tax, they often must sell producing assets, such as farms, factories, stocks and bonds. These are high-powered dollars that are shifted from productive activity to government consumptive activity.

Too many Americans are ignorant of tax issues and thus fall easy prey to the nation’s charlatans and quacks.

Source: Human Events