Darrell Issa Started His IRS Investigation Because Karl Rove Was Denied Tax Exempt Status

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On Wednesday, the Republican controlled House Oversight and Government Control Committee voted to seek criminal charges against Lois Lerner for contempt of Congress.  In other words, the Republicans on the committee know there is no scandal.  However, in the name of keeping the theater alive, they’ve got to do something or at least look like they’re doing something.  And besides, Lerner’s actions made Darrell Issa look bad on Fox and just made Fox look the same as it usually does.

The odds of this resulting in a prosecution are pretty low.  Issa didn’t take the constitutionally necessary steps of overruling Lerner’s Fifth Amendment assertion and he wasn’t “clearly directing her to answer the committee’s questions.”

This doesn’t mean that Lerner is completely in the clear either because there is an ongoing investigation of the IRS’s handling of tax exempt groups and of Lerner’s role in it.

You may remember how Darell Issa embarrassed Fox when he was caught lying about Lerner’s next appearance before the committee.  You may also recall that when Lerner waved her rights, Issa took the unprecedented step of shutting down  the committee’s hearing without so much as allowing ranking member Elijah Cummings to speak. Issa wasted a year, millions of dollars and thousands of hours in labor desperately seeking an IRS persecution of right wing organizations where none existed.

Based on documents that were also released on Wednesday, and obtained by Pro Publica, the more likely motive for Issa’s obsession was a desire to intimidate the IRS into granting Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS tax exempt status. Crossroads was, by far, the Republican Party’s biggest source of dark money, giving $90 million to Republican candidates during the 2010 and 2012 elections.

This nexus between the IRS’s intent to deny Crossroads application for tax exemption status and the IRS “scandal” will come as no surprise to PoliticusUSA readers because Sarah Jones wrote about it back in May 2013.  In fact, she identified the nexus between the “investigation” and Crossroads in her May 22nd article on the subject.

By May 28th, Sarah identified the financial interest Republicans had in derailing existing audits  of Tea Party groups based on their violations of the rules by engaging in political activities.

Now we have documents  to prove that Sarah was correct on both p0ints.

In the application, Crossroads claimed that a small portion (30%)  of its resources would be used for “Activity To Influence Legislation and Policy Making” while 20% would be allocated to “research” and 50% of its finances would be used for “education”.

In fact, Crossroads spent $90 million to elect conservative politicians, raising red flags to election watchdog groups.  The IRS received 25 referrals or complaints about Crossroads activities.

By January 2013, the IRS was in the process of writing a letter of denial  to Crossroads.  Between May 13th and May 17th 2013, the IRS finished a draft of the letter and it was sent for review. Republicans began screaming IRS “scandal” on May 13th, 2013.

The documents also show that the IRS planned to deny the applications of 5 other conservative groups that had spent money on elections, after telling the IRS they wouldn’t do so.

Republicans claim that the IRS focused exclusively on conservative groups which only tells part of the story.  Most new Liberal counterparts don’t apply to the IRS.  In fact, the documents show that the most prominent liberal dark money group, Priorities USA did not apply to the IRS.

In other words, the IRS investigated conservative dark money groups who broke the rules because they broke the rules and because few Liberal dark money groups applied to the IRS.  It stands to reason that means conservative groups are therefore more likely to be scrutinized.

This wasn’t about going after conservative groups because they were conservative. Rather, it was about Issa and company trying to intimidate the IRS into breaking the very laws it is supposed to enforce for the benefit of right wing dark money groups.

Image: Talking Points Memo

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30 Replies to “Darrell Issa Started His IRS Investigation Because Karl Rove Was Denied Tax Exempt Status”

  1. Issa and the rest of the Roveites have beaten all of their witch hunts to death. Polls have shown that the public is sick of hearing about Benghazi, fast and furious, and yes the great IRS scandal. When you throw a scandal out there it had better have some meat on the bone.

    They haven’t done anything but make enemies. It’s obvious the IRS has no love for Issa and his merry band of marauders. The Justice Department could care less what Issa wants. Clearly AG Holder is doing nothing but casting aspersions on their asparagus.

    Ironically now Issa wants these same entities and individuals to go after Ms. Lerner. I’m sure they will get right on that.

    Issa and the rest will go down in history right next to good old Joe McCarthy. Couldn’t happen to a better bunch.

  2. The republicans will drag this out at least through the election because they have nothing else to offer.

  3. I wish someone would total up the cost to our country for all the bogus investigations the Republicans have created from their lies and distortions from the Clinton era through the Obama era, so far.

    We could have probably built new bridges for all the ones that are currently failing.

    It only there was a way to recoup that money from the Republicans. Anyone that starts a BS investigation should be required to forfeit all of their campaign war chest; and their guaranteed salary for life if they can’t prove their suspicions . They’d think twice before they’d start BS investigations wasting our time and money. And when they can’t prove their allegations they should have to pay the victim out of their personal fortunes for their defamation of that persons character.

  4. Republicans..the party of nothing owned by those who have everything…and demand what you have also…

  5. This doesn’t mean that Lerner is completely in the clear either because there is an ongoing investigation of the IRS’s handling of tax exempt groups and of Lerner’s role in it

    In other words, the Republicans on the committee know there is no scandal???????
    Issa wasted a year, millions of dollars and thousands of hours in labor desperately seeking an IRS persecution of right wing organizations where none existed???????

    How can you write there is no scandal when you also write there is an ongoing investigation? I watched this on c-span and I have to say it looked as if Elijah Cummings is busted and that is who Lois Lerner has been protecting the whole time and it looks awful that Elijah says repeatedly that this investigation needs to end. I mean isn’t that what anyone would say that was directly involved?

    I’m neither a republican nor a democrat, I do have a brain and can clearly see that the people writing these spins think american citizens are STUPID!!!

  6. Issa should be brought up on charges for wasting tax payers money on false allegations. He should be removed from the chairmanship and eventually removed from Congress.

  7. No Criminal Charges Expected In FBI Investigation Into IRS Scandal- OF COURSE THERE IS NO CRIMINAL CHARGES EXPECTED IN THE FBI INVESTIGATION, WHO IN THERE RIGHT MIND WOULD CHARGE THEMSELVES AND SAY THERE GUILTY, NO ONE THAT’S WHO. If the investigations were done properly that means the people involved should never ever be on the board of these hearings and should not be head of investigation into this WE ALL KNOW THIS AS IT IS SIMPLE COMMON SENSE.

    You need to stop reading right wing propaganda- As I said I watched it myself on c-span as it happened no need for any propaganda

  8. First of all there was no scandal. The IRS WAS DOING WHAT IT WAS SUPPOSE TO DO. No Reich wing teabagging groups were denied their exemption although there were progressive groups that were denied. You say you watch it on C-span let me guess the alleged car thief arsonist Issa hearings. You cant make this shit up

  9. It is her constitutional right. I AGREE, I also agree it is Catherine Engelbrecht’s right to have her personal tax information protected from intolerance and ignorance.

    Section 6103 generally prohibits the release of tax information by an IRS employee

    Try to have an intelligent convo and all you got is how issa is my hero or calling people teabaggers. Yet I hear the republicans are full of hate? I see intolerance on the highest levels if people don’t agree there wrong NOW SHUT DOWN THE INVESTIGATION

  10. You got to be joking!!! Catherine Engelbrecht who has led the charge of voter suppression with true the vote.
    Fact checking Ron Johnson ‘victim’ Catherine Engelbrecht’s OSHA claims

    Read more: http://host.madison.com/news/local/writers/steven_elbow/fact-checking-ron-johnson-victim-catherine-engelbrecht-s-osha-claims/article_3d237f86-9893-5b7b-be0b-55fb66dc0ce4.html#ixzz2yc0qgA9c

    She was never a target of the IRS other than the grifting she done and you should stop lying and I bet you a dollar your source is right wing bullshit. You are getting into the realm of being an idiot. You’re right I have no patience for the stupid

  11. Catherine Engelbrecht who has led the charge of voter suppression with true the vote-
    THATS YOUR OPINION AND I RESPECT THAT BUT NOT EVERYONE FEELS THAT WAY.

    I signed up for obamacare in person and was asked for id proof of who i was?
    Is this health insurance suppression?

    If asking for an id to vote on who our leaders are to be in this nation is suppression then every single thing we ask for id for is ONE IN THE SAME.

    The problem is certain people want to have there cake and eat it too.
    IT IS NOT SUPPRESSION FOR ACA TO ASK FOR PROOF OF WHO YOU ARE IN ORDER TO RECEIVE HEALTH INSURANCE OR ANYTHING ELSE THAT REQUIRES ID BUT……

    IT IS HOWEVER VOTER SUPPRESSION TO ASK THE VERY SAME QUESTION FOR VOTERS TO SHOW ID. BIASED MUCH

  12. Hey idiot.

    Its ok to ask for voter ID. Its not ok to force people to use a certain ID that they dont have. Its not ok to not accept college ID’s that have been used for years and years. Its not ok to wrap asking for voter ID in the same bill where they shut down voter locations where people vote democrat. Its not ok to try to repress the vote by using voter ID.

    Do you get the picture? Voter ID has nothing to do with the ACA. Stop whining

  13. “You may also recall that when Lerner waved her rights, Issa took the unprecedented step of shutting down the committee’s hearing without so much as allowing ranking member Elijah Cummings to speak.”

    She didn’t WAIVE her rights, she invoked them.

  14. To Monroe; Of course you have to show ID for ACA they have to know who they are insuring. Voting is a private matter. Kinda why they give you a booth or other private place to cast your ballot anonymously.
    By the way how is that Obamacare working for ya?

  15. @monroe, typically I’m one of the people who even responds to post like yours but that convolued nonsense was REALLY embarrassing. SERIOUSLY? since you doubt the GOP’s voter suppression I strongly suggest YOU read what republican phyllis schlafly ADMITTED about the voter suppression scam, I suggest YOU read what republican FORMER GOP chairman jim greer said, he CLEARLY ADMITTED the GOP is involved with voter suppression, go research it and tell us what you think!!

  16. To Monroe…I am not against voter IDs as long as the ID process is simple, fair, and FREE. They ask for my driver’s license here in MI, and then they scan it in some machine. Fine. But what if I lived in NYC and didn’t drive? What if I worked 2 minimum wage jobs, and had neither the time nor the cash to figure out where to even get an ID card? What if I were 85 years old, known at my precinct, and refused a ballot because I never had a birth certificate? That is all voter suppression. Period.

  17. What are the tax consequences dollar wise to the denial of tax exempt status to these groups? Do they pay a corporate tax on the donations they receive, how does it work?

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