Issa Letter to Lois Lerner
Number of Pages:9
Date Created:February 25, 2014
Date Uploaded to the Library:April 11, 2014
Autogenerated text from PDF
DARRELL ISSA. CALIFORNIA ONE HUNDRED THIRTEENTH CONGRESS ELIJAH CUMMINGS, MARYLAND CHAIRMAN RANKING MINORITY MEMBER JOHN FLORIDA CAROLYN MALONEY. NEW YORK MICHAEL TURNER, OHIO ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, ctCongre tbe Wntteb tate JOHN DUNCAN. TENNESSEE DISTRICT COLUMBIA PATRICK McHENRY, CAROLINA JOHN TIERNEY. MASSACHUSETTS JIM JORDAN, OHIO WM. LACY CLAY, MISSOURI JASON CHAFFETZ. UTAH STEPHEN LYNCH, MASSACHUSETTS TIM WALBERG, MICHIGAN JIM COOPER. TENNESSEE ouse lepresentatibes JAMES LANKFORD, OKLAHOMA GERALD CONNOLLY, VIRGINIA JUSTIN AMASH, MICHIGAN JACKIE SPEIER, CALIFORNIA COMMITIEE OVERSIGHTAND GOVERNMENT REFORM PAUL GOSAR. ARIZONA MATTHEW CARTWRIGHT. PENNSYLVANIA PATRICK MEEHAN, PENNSYLVANIA MARK POCAN. WISCONSIN SCOTT DESJARLAIS, TENNESSEE 2157 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING TAMMY DUCKWORTH, ILLINOIS TREY GOWDY, SOUTH CAROLINA ROBIN KELLY. ILLINOIS BLAKE FARENTHOLD, TEXAS DANNY DAVIS, ILLINOIS 20515-6143 DOC HASTINGS, WASHINGTON PETER WELCH. VERMONT CYNTHIA LUMMIS, WYOMING TONY CARDENAS. CALIFORNIA MAJORITY (202) 225-5074 ROB WOODALL, GEORGIA STEVEN HORSFORD. NEVADA FACSIMILE (202) 225-3974 THOMAS MASSIE. KENTUCKY MICHELLE LUJAN GRISHAM. NEW MEXICO MINORITY (202) 225-5051 DOUG COLLINS. GEORGIA MARK MEADOWS, NORTH CAROLINA http://overslght.house.gov KERRY BENTIVOLIO, MICHIGAN RON DESANTIS, FLORIDA LAWRENCE BRADY May 14, 2013 STAFF DIRECTOR Ms. Lois Lerner Director, Exempt Organizations Division Internal Revenue Service Constitution Avenue, NW, Room 3000 Washington, D.C. 20224 Dear Ms. Lerner: The revelation that IRS targeted hundreds conservative groups for additional scrutiny their applications for tax-exempt status startling. The actions the IRS are W1Conscionable and appalling. All groups, regardless political ideology, have the right free speech, free expression, and equal treatment their government. addition IRS's admission serious wrongdoing, are concerned that information you have provided the Committee related this matter.on prior occasions was false misleading. write request your immediate cooperation with the Committee's oversight IRS's efforts single out conservative groups applying for tax exempt status for additional, and seemingly unprecedented, scrutiny. According information provided the Committee the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TI GTA), the IRS began single out conservative and Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny March 2010.According TIGTA, IRS employees used words phrases including "Tea Party," "Patriots," "9/12," "We the People," and "Take Back the Country" flag tax-exempt applications for extra scrutiny.According TIGTA, the IRS's Determinations Unit management requested its specialists the lookout for Tea Party applications.TIGT also informed the Committee that these criteria were place until July 2011 when directed that the criteria immediately changed. According TIGTA, the criteria were changed again January 2012 way that once again singled out conservative groups.TIGTA informed the Committee that the criteria changed "Political action type organizations involved limiting/expanding government, Telephone conference between Committee staff and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Admi.nistration (May 10, 2013). Id. Id. Id. Id. Ms. Lois Lerner May 14, 2013 educating the Constitution and 1.1 Rights, social economic reform/movemenf' based the Determinations Unit concerns that the July 2011 criteria was too generic. During May 2012, the criteria were once again changed way that does not appear explicitly target conservative groups. troubling that between January and May 2012, Determinations Unit staff was able continue targeting political groups despite the fact that had been told that such targeting was not appropriate. briefing May 13, 2013, IRS officials informed Committee staff that Tea Party and other applications flagged from early early 2012 were not appropriately read and individually considered their merits IRS reviewcrs.At the briefi ng, IRS officials confirmed .these flagged applications were essentially placed state purgatory where they often languished without action for periods long two years. IRS officials also confirmed Committee staff that all groups with Tea Party, Patriots, 9/12, other trigger words their names were treated the same inappropriate fashion IRS. Moreover, even though you were definitely aware the discriminatory criteria June 2011, IRS officials yesterday briefing stated that there was discussion any point about taking groups identified for extra scrutiny through the screening process out the bucket applications where they were initially placed. Eventually, IRS would send follow-up letters the organizations flagged for extra scrutiny. These follow-up letters made onerous requests for voluminous and sensitive information, such names all donors and amounts all their donations, list all issues important the groups and the groups' position these issues, and all e-mails sent members the groups. According [RS officials, approximately 300 groups received additional scrutiny May 2012. today, that number has grown groups. Thus, unclear whether conservative and Tea Party groups are continuing targeted even today. addition, while appears that IRS employees have been disciplined for their actions, IRS officials indicated that one individual involved reviewing applications the Cincinnati office received promotion '"career enhancement. "13 The infonnation provided the Committee TIGT and IRS officials recent days conflicts with statements you made the Committee last year. First, during February 24, 2012, briefing the onerous follow-up letters received some conservative organizations, Committee staff asked you whether the criteria for evaluating tax exempt applications changed any point. You responded that the criteria had not changed. Id.7 Id. Id. Briefing IRS staff Committee staff (May 13, 2013). Id. /d. Id. Id. Briefing Ms. Lois Lerner and IRS staff Committee staff (Feb. 24, 2012). Ms. Lois Lerner May 14, 2013 Page Following the briefing, March 2012, article Roll Call, and additional complaints from many groups, sent you letter March 27, 2012, asking for information related the reports that conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status were receiving extra scrutiny from IRS. During phone call April you told Committee staff that the information IRS was requesting the additional follow-up letters was not out the ordinary. April 26, 2012, your first written response our letter, you VVTote that the letters those organizations were "in the ordinary course the application process obtain the info1mation the IRS deems necessary make determination whether the organization meets the legal requirements for tax-exempt status."At point during this period did you inform the Committee that February 29, 2012, you issued 60-day extension all groups who had received the onerous follow-up letters that you directed that all fu1iher development letters stopped. our March 27, 2012, Jetter asked you provide justification for IRS's authority, rationale, and precedent for commonly asked pieces information that IRS asked conservative groups the follow-up letters which seemed beyond the scope typical IRS inquiries. your second VVTitten response May 2012, you provided justification for all the areas.You even provided justification for IRS's request targeted groups for complete list donors with corresponding donation amounts. During briefing with Committee staff yesterday, IRS officials, including Nikole Flax, Chief Staff for the Office the IRS Commissioner, could not identify any other time during the agency's history when IRS asked groups for complete list donors with corresponding donation amounts.According however, some point May 2012, IRS identified seven types info1mation asked conservative groups, including the donor information) IRS's follow-up letters that were inappropriate.We are concerned that your answer the Committee May 2012, was misleading because the considerable overlap between the types information identified problematic and the types information IRS would subsequently identify inappropriate. Especially troubling the fact that June 2011 nearly year before you provided these answers the Committee --you were briefed the "be the look-out" memo being used the Detenninations Unit and instructed that changed immediately. Id16 Janie Lorber, 1RS Oversight Re;gnites Tea Party ire: Agency's !ready Controversial Role Dispute After uestionnaires Sent Conservative Groups, ROLL CALL, Mar. 12. Letter from Hon. Darrell Issa, Chairman, Comm. Oversight and Gov't Reform Hon. Jim Jordan, Chairman, Subcomm. Reg. Affairs, Stimulus Oversight Gov Spending, Ms. Lois Lerner, Director Exempt Organizations Division, IRS (Mar. 27, 2). Telephone conference between Committee staff and Lois Lerner and [RS staff (Apr. 12). Letter from Lois Lerner, Director Exempt Organizations Division, IRS, Hon. Darrell Issa, Chairman, Comm. Oversight and Gov't Reform Hon. Jim Jordan, Chairman, Subcomm. Reg. Affairs, Stimulus Oversight Gov't Spending (Apr. 26, 12). Briefing IRS staff Committee staff(May 13, 2013). Letter from Lois Lerner, Director Exempt Organizations Division, IRS, Hon. Darrell Issa, Chairman, Comm. Oversight and Gov't Reform and Hon. Jim Jordn, Chairman, Subcomm. Reg. Affairs, Stimulus Oversight Gov Spending, (May 12). Briefing IRS staff Committee staff(May 13, 13). Supra note Briefing staff Committee staff (May 13, 13). Ms. Lois Lerner May 14, 2013 Therefore, appears that you provided fafoe islead ing info1mation four separate occasions last year response the Committee's oversight ofIRS's treatment conservative groups applying for tax exempt status. Providing false misleading information Congress serious matter, with potential criminal liability.25 Moreover, despite repeated questions from the Committee over year ago and despite your intimate knowledge the situation, you failed inform the Committee ofIRS's plan, developed early 10, single out conservative groups and how that plan changed over time. You also failed inform the Committee that IRS launched its own internal review this matter .late March 2012, that the internal review was completed May 2012, finding significant problems the review process and substantial bias against conservative grous.26 point did you anyone else IRS inform Congress the results these findings.2 imperative that IRS provide full and complete information Congress and the American people about the development the agency's plan single out conservative groups, the revisions its plan over time, and the methods IRS emp loyed implement its plan. respectfully request that you brief Committee staff about this matter tomonow, May 15, 2013, and that you produce the following information soon possible, but later than 5:00 p.m. May 17, 2013: All documents and communications refening relating IRS's evaluation applications for tax exempt status between January 2009, and the present that contai the following words phrases: Tea Party Patriot 9/12 Constitution Bill Rights Debt the People Government Spending America better place live Take back the country All documents and communications between January 2009, and the present referring relating processes, procedures, criteria for evaluating applications for tax exempt status, including but not limited all documents between among ,ois Lerner, Steve See U.S.C. which states pertinent part: [W]hoever, any matter within the jurisdiction the executive, legislative, judicial branch the Government the United States, knowingly and willfully makes any materially false, fictitious, fraudulent statement representation; makes uses any false writing document knowing the same contain any materially false, fictitious, fraudulent statement entry shall fined under this title, imprisoned not more than years .... Briefing IRS staff Committee staff(May 13, 2013). Id. Ms. Lois Lerner May 1'4, 2013 Page Miller and Douglas Shulman. For purposes this request, the Committee not seeking information about any specific entity's application for tax exempt status this time. When producing documents the Committee, please deliver production sets the Majority Staff Room 2157 the Rayburn House Office Building and the Minority Staff Room 2471 the Rayburn House Office Building. The Committee prefers, possible, receive all documents electronic format. The Committee Oversight and Government Reform the principal oversight committee the House Representatives and may "any time" investigate "any matter" set forth House Rule attachment this Jettr provides additional information about responding the Committee's request. you have any questions about this request, please contact Christopher Hixon Brian Blase the Committee Staff (202) 225-5074. Thank you for your attention this matter. Sincerely, Chai1man Enclosure cc: The Honorable Elijah Cummings, Ranking Minority Member The Honorable Matthew Cartwright, Ranking Minority Member Subcommittee Economic Growth, Job Creation and Regulatory Affairs ARRELL ISSA, CALIFORNIA ELUAt-l CUM ARY AND .HAlRMA RANKI MINORITY MEMBER ONE HUNDRED C01 GRESS COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT iND REFORM 2157 RAYRURN Hou.sE OFFlc Bu1LOJr-JG WASHI GTON, 20515-6143 .-1joriry (202) 5071 Mrnori1v ('.'07) :??5-505 Committee Document complying with this req uestl you are required produce all responsive documents that are your possession) custody, control, whether held you your past present agents, employees, and representatives acting your behalf. You should also produce docmnents that you have legal right obtain, you have right copy which you have access, wel documents that you have placed the temporary possession, custody, control third party. Requested records, documents, data infonnation should not destroyed, modified, removed, transferred otherwise made inaccessible the Committee. the event that any entity, organization individual denoted this request has been, also known any other narne than that herein denoted, the request sha!l read also include that altem at( identification. The Committees preference receive documents e[ectronic fonn (i.e., CD, memory stick, thumb drive) _lieu paper productions. Documents produced electronic fonnat shou also organized, identified, and indexed electronically. Electronic document productions should pre red acCDrding the following standards: (a) The production should consist single page Tagged Image File ("TIF"), files accompanied Concordance-format load file; Opticon reference file, and file defining the fields and character lengths the load file. (b) Document numbers the load file should match document Bates numbers and TIF file names. (c) the production completed through se1ies multiple partial productions, field names and file order all load files should match. (d) All electronic documents produced the Commit1ee should clude the following fields metadata specific each document; BEGDOC, ENDDOC, TEXT) BEGATTACH, ENDATTACH, PAGECOUNT)CUSTODIAN, RECORDTYPE) DATE, TIME, SENTDATE, SENTTIME, BEGINDATE, BEGfNTIMEl ENDDATE, ENDTIME, AUTHOR, FROM, CC, TO, BCC, SUBJECT, TITLE, FILENAME, FILEEXT, FILESIZE, DATECREATED, TIMECREATED, DATELASTMOD) TIMELASTMOD, fNTMSGID, rNTMSGHEADER, NATIVEUNK, INTFILPATH, EXCEPTlON, BEGATTACH. Documents produced the Coinrnittee should include index describing the contents the production. the extent more than one CD, hard drive, memory stick, thumb drive, box folder produced, each CD, hard d1ive, memory stick, thumb drive, box folder should contain index describing its contents. Documents prod uced respo nse this request shall produced together w[th cop ies file labels) dividers identifying markers with which they were associ ted when the req est was served. When you produce documents, you shou identify the paragraph the Committee's schedule which the docwnents respond shal not basis for refusal produce documents that any other person entity also possesses non-identical identica copies the sam documents. 10. any the requested information only reasonably available machine-readable fonn (such computer server) hard drive> com puter backup tape), you shoul consult with the Comm ttee staff detennine the appropriate fonnat which produce the infonnation. 11. compliance with the request cannot made ful the specified rdurn date, compli ance shall made the extent poss ble that date. explanation why full compliance not possi sl1all provided along with any partial production. 12. the event that cum ent withheld the basis privilege, provide privilege log containing the following information concerning any such docum ent: (a) the privilege asserted; (b) the type document; (c) the general subject matter; (d) the date, author and add ressee; and (e) the relationship the author and address each other. 13. any docum ent responsive this request was, but longer is, your possession, custody, control, ident the document (stating its date, author, subject and recipients) and explain the circumstances under which the document ceased your possession> custody, control. 14. date other descriptive detail set fotih this request referring docum ent inaccurate) but the actual date other descriptive detail known you otherwise apparent from the context the request, you are required produce all documents which would respons ive the date other descriptive deta were correct. 15. Unless otherw specified, the time peri covered this request from January 2009 the present. 16. This request continui nature and applies any newly-discovered info tion Any record, document, compilation data infonnation, not produced because has not been located iscovered the return date> shall produced immediately upon subsequent oca tion discovery. 17. All docu ments shall Bates-stamped sequentially and produced sequentially. Two sets documents shall delivered) one set the Majority Staff and one set the Minority Staff. When documents are produced the Committee, prod ucti sets shall delivered the Maj ority Staff Room 2157 the Rayburn House Office Building and the Minority Staff Room the Rayburn House Office Building. 19. Upon completion the document production, you should submit written certification, signed you your counsel> stating that: diligent search has been completed documents your possession, custody, control which reasonably could conta responsive docum ents; and (2) all documents located during the search that are responsive have been produced the Committee. Schedule Definitions The tenn document" means any written, recorded, graphic matter any nature whatsoever, regard ess how recorded, and whether original copy, including, but not limited to, the following: memoranda, repo rts, expense reports, books, manuals, instructions, nanci reports, working papers records, notes, letters, notices, confinnations, telegrams, receipts, appraisals, pamphlets, agazines, newspapers, prospectuses, inter-office and intra office communications, electronic mail (e-mail), contra cts, cables, notations any type conversation, tel ephone cal meeting other communication, letins, printed matter, com puter printouts, teletypes, invoices, transcripts diaries, analyses, returns, summaries, minutes, bills, accounts, estimates> proj ecti ons, comparisons, messages, correspondence) press releases1 circulars, financial statements, reviews, opini ons, offers, studies !lnd investigDtions, questionnaires and surveys1 and work sheets (and all drafts, preliminary versions, alterations, modifications, revisions, anges, and amendments any the foregoing, we.ll any attachments appendices thereto), and graphic orat reco rds representations any (including without limitation, photogra phs charts, graphs1 microfiche, microfilm, videotape, recordings and motion pictures), and electronic, mechanical, and electric record representations any kind (including, without limitation, pes, cassettes, disks) and recordings) and other written, printed, typed, her graphic recorded matter any kind nature, however produced reproduced, and whether preserved writing, film> tape, disk, videotape otherwise. document bearing any notati not part tl1e original text considered separate document. draft non-identical copy separate document within the meaning this tenn. The tenn ' otherwise. The terms '"and" and or') shall construed broadly and either conjunctively disjunctively bring within the scope this request any formation which might otherwise construed outside its scope. The singular includes plural number, and vice versa. The masculine includes the feminine and neuter genders. The tenns "person" ''persons" mean natural persons, finns, pa1inerships, associations, corporations, subsidiaries, divisions, departments, joint ventures, proprietorships, syndicates, other legal, business government entities, and all subsidiaries, affiliates, divisions departments, branches, other units thereof. The tenn "identify,'1 when used question about individuals, means provide the following infonnation: (a) the individual's complete name Dnd title; and (b) the individual's business address i:lnd phone number. The term "referring relating,'' with respect any given subject, means anything that constitutes, contains, embodies, reflects, identifies, states, refers to, deals with pertinent that subject any manner whatsoever. The term "employee" means agent, borrowed ployee, casual employee, consultant, contractor, facto employee, independent contractor, joint adventurer, loaned employee> part-time ployee, pennanent employee, provisional employee> subcontractor, any other type service prov ider.