CPAC Panel: IRS Also Going After Donors of Conservative Groups
The ongoing Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal was a big topic on the second day of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) outside Washington D.C. and a one-time U.S. Senate candidate offered details of how the tax agency targeted her.
Christine O’Donnell, the Republican nominee in the 2010 special election to fill the Delaware U.S. Senate seat once held by Vice President Joe Biden, said the day she announced her candidacy her tax records were illegally accessed by someone inside the IRS. Subsequently, she was accused of having a tax lien on a property she no longer owned. “If it happened to me that means everyone in this room could be a target,” said O’Donnell, who is a political commentator, consultant and author.
The tax agency admitted her private records were illegally accessed but would not reveal who actually obtained them. That’s because, ironically, the same section (6103) of the tax code that says it’s illegal to release a citizen’s private information indirectly protects the perpetrator. This reasoning may seem absurd, but a respected tax attorney collaborated on the same panel. It’s bad enough that the IRS has access to tax records, O’Donnell reminds that Obamacare it will soon give the agency access to our medical records.
“This administration has an arrogance of thinking they’re untouchable and they can use the IRS as a political weapon,” O’Donnell said. The attorney who joined her on the panel, Cleta Mitchell, has represented a number of conservative organizations that have been targeted by the IRS under President Obama. She confirms that right-leaning groups aren’t the only ones on the IRS’s radar. Regular citizens who donate to the groups are also under attack.
At least four conservative organizations that Mitchell has worked with have had their donors’ names released publicly by the Obama IRS, she said. “People that donate to conservative groups are getting audited,” Mitchell confirmed, adding that it’s a consistent and concerted effort to go after conservative donors. That’s a huge part of the scandal that seldom gets reported, the attorney said. “It’s not just the Tea Party groups.”
Judicial Watch has been a leader in investigating the IRS’s illegal scheme against conservative groups and has sued the agency for records. The plot first came to light in an explosive 2013 Treasury Inspector General report that revealed the IRS had singled out groups with conservative-sounding terms such as patriot and Tea Party in their titles when applying for tax-exempt status. The questionable reviews continued for more than 18 months, the Treasury report says, and “delayed processing of targeted groups’ applications” preparing for the 2012 presidential election.
JW President Tom Fitton was a panelist in a Thursday CPAC panel sponsored by the Tea Party, that discussed the IRS scandal involving the targeting of conservative nonprofits. On Friday, Fitton was a panelist in a discussion about a post-Obama government. He warned that the next administration cannot ignore the corruption left by this one. As an example Fitton offered that George W. Bush did nothing to clean up all the Clinton corruption then it “metastasized during the Obama administration.”
Among the panelists sharing the stage with Fitton was Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard who ran as a Republican in California for the U.S. Senate. Fiorina brought up a great point regarding Obamacare. “We blame Obama for Obamacare but we didn’t stand up and offer a solution,” Fiorina said of conservatives. “We must offer a patient centered insurance solution,” Fiorina added, sharing with attendees that she’s a cancer survivor and understands the need for good quality insurance. “Health insurance should be a true free market like auto insurance, but it isn’t.”
The high-profile politicians that addressed the conference on Friday included Texas Governor Rick Perry, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. The civil libertarian has a huge following of young, mostly college-aged fans that filled the ballroom and delivered vigorous applause and standing ovations. Paul focused on NSA spying and other privacy issues, saying that the founding fathers would not have tolerated the spying and instead told the president “we will not trade our freedom for security, not now, not ever.”