Tags: Issa | IRS | Scandal

IRS Scandal Spreads to Ranking Member

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Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 08:15 AM Current | Bio | Archive

There’s little wonder why a  House Oversight and Government Reform Committee ranking member, Elijah Cummings, D-Md., is anxious to end the investigation into IRS targeting of conservative groups seeking nonprofit status.

Evidence now indicates that his own office may have played a key role influencing the agency to single out my friend Catherine Englebrecht and her True the Vote organization for discriminatory abuse.

And just what suspicious activities prompted that special government scrutiny? They involved efforts to prevent voter fraud so that authorized citizens of both parties can exercise their rights to participate in fair election processes.

Catherine has paid dearly for this transgression through multi-agency assaults upon her family business, her volunteer organization, and the legal rights and public values we share as fellow Americans.

As noted in an April 9 letter sent to Rep. Cummings by House Oversight and Government Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and five Republican subcommittee chairs, new information has come to light that “raise serious questions about your actions and motivations for trying to bring this investigation to a premature end.”

This was in particular reference to a national television statement by Cumming just weeks after fact-finding commenced that the “case is solved.”

The letter went on to challenge earlier denials that his staff had pursued communications regarding True the Vote with IRS officials which were not properly disclosed to Majority Committee members or its staff which “may have led to additional agency scrutiny.”

Issa and his colleagues also expressed “disturbing concerns” that such actions were connected to efforts by Cummings to block committee efforts to obtain testimony from former IRS Exempt Organizations Director Lois Lerner who has subsequently been founded by the committee to be in contempt of Congress for withholding information.

Documents reveal that Lerner became directly involved with Cummings and his office upon receiving their request for True the Vote tax returns and other information through the IRS’s Legislative Affairs office in January 2013.

One follow-up email from Lerner to her deputy asked, “Did we find anything?” After receiving a response that there was no new information, Lerner wrote back, “Thanks — check tomorrow please.”

Not only did his office query the IRS about True the Vote, the questions they asked appeared to provide a template for the agency’s own information demands.

Five days after Cummings’s office sought “copies of all training materials used for volunteers, affiliates, or other entities,” the IRS sent True the Vote an email requesting “a copy of [True the Vote’s] volunteer registration form . . . the process you use to assign volunteers . . . how you keep your volunteer teams, and how your volunteers are deployed . . . following the training they receive from you.”

On three occasions the Cummings staff also sent a series of letters directly to Catherine Englebrecht demanding the same information that IRS requested. Such notices sought detailed information about True the Vote’s intellectual property rights, research software programs and databases; any affiliated for-profit organizations; and voter registration lists and other databases used by the organization, its volunteers or its affiliates.

Issa’s letter to Cummings observes that less than two weeks after his office sent its initial document request to True the Vote, the Service Employees International (SEIU) urged Lois Lerner to deny the organization’s application for tax-exempt status. Then on the following day, Cummings’ office sent Englebrecht a second request for documents which the Congressman publicly described as “Ramp[ing] Up your “Investigation” of True the Vote.

That investigation produced great stress and costs for Catherine Englebrecht and her family. Over four rounds of exchanges with the IRS involving more than 300 questions, she has submitted thousands of pages of answers. Some of those individual submissions have involved upward of 600 pages.

Her nonprofit organization has been questioned by the FBI on numerous occasions. She had her personal tax returns audited by the IRS for the first time, and also had her small precision parts manufacturing business tax returns audited by the IRS for the first time.

That business has also been subjected to two first-time unscheduled audits by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms plus another first-ever and unscheduled audit by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

When I asked Catherine why she decided to continue challenging the powerful government establishments at such great personal difficulty and cost, she replied: “We believe that our republic flourishes when citizens are confident their votes are secure and undiluted by those who would devalue their choices by cheating. These practices constitute the theft of basic rights. Election fraud undermines our belief that elected leaders govern with our consent. Every American — regardless of race, creed or political inclination — has an interest in ensuring our elections are both free and fair.”

To some, this apparently makes Catherine Englebrecht and what she stands for very dangerous.

Larry Bell is a professor and endowed professor at the University of Houston, where he directs the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture and heads the graduate program in space architecture. He is author of “Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax,” and his professional aerospace work has been featured on the History Channel and the Discovery Channel-Canada. Read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
 

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House Oversight and Government Reform Committee ranking member, Elijah Cummings, D-Md., is anxious to end the investigation into IRS targeting of conservative groups. Here's why.
Issa, IRS, Scandal
873
2014-15-16
Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 08:15 AM
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