Weekly Update: IRS Scandal Gets Worse
SEPTEMBER 16, 2016
Democratic Senator Sought DOJ and IRS Prosecutions of Conservatives
Days Before 9/11 DHS Secretary Says Islam is Religion of Peace, ISIS Isn’t Islamic
Top State Officials Raised Questions about Clinton Emails Three Years Ago
It’s Official! Clean House is New York Times Bestseller!
It wasn’t just Obama’s Internal Revenue Service that sought to suppress conservative voices in order to help him retain the presidency in 2012.
We learned further of a dangerous enterprise involving a key Democratic Senator and the Obama Justice Department from 72 pages of Justice documents we released this week. They reveal email conversations between Department of Justice officials and the staff of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) regarding the criminal prosecution of Tea Party and other conservative groups for fanciful violation of IRS rules.
The conversations were in preparation for a briefing by Justice Department officials for Sen. Whitehouse’s staff and for a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism hearing on April 9, 2013. One internal agency email exchange indicates Sen. Whitehouse’s interest in seeking criminal prosecution of groups targeted by the IRS:
From: Erb, William (OLA)
Sent: Monday, April 08, 2013 4:54 PM
To: Raman, Mythill (CRM) [REDACTED] (CRM);Wroblewski, Jonathan (CRM); Hulser, Raymond (CRM); Smith, Jack (CRM); Burton, Faith (OLA); Levine, Doug (OLA); Suleiman, Daniel (CRM); Lenerz, Daniel J. (CRM); Shatz, Eileen M. (TAX); OBrien, Paul (CRM); [REDACTED] (CRM); [REDACTED] (CRM); Cimino, Ronald A. (TAX)
Cc: Buretta, John (CRM): Agrast, Mark D. (OLA); [REDACTED] (CRM)
Subject: RE: New Whitehouse question regarding Campaign Finance Investigation and Prosecution
All: New question from Sen. Whitehouse. Sen. Whitehouse is likely to ask AAAG Raman whether the Department of Justice is too deferential to IRS in deciding to prosecute 501(c) organizations that make fraudulent statements regarding their political activities in their IRS filings. Sen. Whitehouse is curious why, for example, if a 501(c) tax organization files were leaked, and they clearly showed that make false statements, why the Department of Justice wouldn’t prosecute the case by itself and not wait for the IRS. Looping in the Tax Division who also can help CRIM come up with a quick response. Thanks, Bill.
Later, at the Judiciary Subcommittee hearing, Sen. Whitehouse asked why the Department of Justice wasn’t prosecuting political groups on its own, independently of the IRS.
“I would urge that the Department and the Service get together and rethink whether in these two specific areas, which I think bear little resemblance to traditional tax violations and are in fact very plain-vanilla criminal cases, whether or not that deference to the IRS is actually serving the public interest at this point, or whether the Department could not proceed to … put together a criminal case showing a fairly straightforward false statement or a fairly [straightforward] shell corporation disclosure violation.”
The newly released emails show that following the hearing, at the request of Justice Department lawyers, Sen. Whitehouse’s staff sent over examples of the organizations Whitehouse had in mind for prosecution. They included American Future Fund, Crossroads GPS, Americans for Responsible Leadership, Freedom Path, American is Not Stupid, Inc., RightChange.com II, and A Better America Now. All of these are conservative organizations.
The new emails also show collaboration in the Department of Justice with officials in the IRS in preparing for the hearing. The IRS sent a draft of its planned testimony for the hearing to the Justice Department. Judicial Watch previously exposed a plan by the Obama IRS and Justice Department prosecutors to pursue criminal charges against the very Tea Party and anti-Obama groups that the IRS was targeting. We uncovered two years ago how Lerner described the impetus for the left-wing prosecution effort in 2013 email to top IRS staff:
As I mentioned yesterday — there are several groups of folks from the FEC world that are pushing tax fraud prosecution for c4s who report they are not conducting political activity when they are (or these folks think they are). One is my ex-boss Larry Noble (former General Counsel at the FEC), who is now president of Americans for Campaign Reform. This is their latest push to shut these down. One IRS prosecution would make an impact and they wouldn’t feel so comfortable doing the stuff.
So, don’t be fooled about how this is being articulated – it is ALL about 501(c)(4) orgs and political activity
But in an email sent a few minutes earlier, Lerner acknowledged prosecutions would evidently be at odds with the law:
Whether there was a false statement or fraud regarding an [sic] description of an alleged political expenditure that doesn’t say vote for or vote against is not realistic under current law. Everyone is looking for a magic bullet or scapegoat — there isn’t one. The law in this area is just hard.
The Obama administration prosecution effort seemingly ended with the exposure of the IRS targeting in a May 2013 report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). IRS official Lois Lerner did not reveal the targeting until just before the report’s release, in response to a planted question at an American Bar Association conference.
What’s going on here is obvious: an abuse of power by Democrats in Congress, who wanted to intimidate and possibly jail Obama’s political opponents to help secure Obama’s reelection. Americans should know that the courts have recently concluded that the Obama IRS abuses haven’t stopped – even as we approach another presidential election.
A 2013 study by scholars from the American Enterprise Institute and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University found that, “had the Tea Party groups continued to grow at the pace seen in 2009 and 2010, and had their effect on the 2012 vote been similar to that seen in 2010, they would have brought the Republican Party as many as 5 – 8.5 million votes compared to Obama’s victory margin of 5 million.”
Will the IRS help the Left steal another election in 2016?
How should a senior national security official commemorate the 15th anniversary of 9/11, an act of war carried out by radical Muslims? One would think our government leaders would avoid consorting with Islamic terrorist front groups on 9/11. Our Corruption Chronicles blog has an astonishing story about Jeh Johnson, the man at the helm of the Department of Homeland Security:
Days before the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history Obama’s Homeland Security secretary became the highest ranking government official—and first sitting cabinet member—to highlight a convention held annually by a radical Muslim group with extremist origins.
The Indiana-based nonprofit is called Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and it was founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the parent organization of Hamas and Al Qaeda. ISNA was an unindicted co-conspirator in a huge case involving an Islamic charity (Holy Land Foundation) that provided support to a foreign terrorist organization, mainly Hamas.
ISNA conferences often feature contentious speakers, including renowned Islamists and advocates of terrorism. Among them is Imam Warth Deen Umar, who referred to the 9/11 hijackers as martyrs that were secretly admired by Muslims and has called for violent jihad. At one ISNA convention Umar portrayed the Holocaust as punishment of Jews for being “serially disobedient to Allah,” according to a research conglomerate recognized as the world’s most comprehensive data center on radical Islamic terrorist groups.
The nonprofit, Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT), published a disturbing report on ISNA that documents its radical ideology and conference speakers throughout the years that include “some of the world famous Islamists and advocates of Jihad.”
About a week before the 15th anniversary of 9/11, Obama deployed Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to ISNA’s annual powwow in Chicago. The appearance likely amounted to a slap in the face to many Americans, especially survivors of the 2001 attacks. Johnson’s speech lasted about 22 minutes and he basically said ISIS/ISIL isn’t Islamic, that Islam is a religion of peace and that Islamophobia is the same as McCarthyism.
In a press release announcing the appearance, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) writes that Johnson will discuss the Obama administration’s “continued commitment to build bridges to Muslim American communities, and encourage Muslim Americans—particularly youth—to continue to fully participate in American society.”
Johnson didn’t exactly receive a warm reception and was booed repeatedly, especially as he exited the stage. He told the crowd that a group of terrorists is attempting to hijack their religion and that he and Obama “refuse to bend to the political pressure to call terrorism Islamic extremism.”
He went on to say that “we know that ISIL, though it claims the banner of Islam, occupies no part of your religion, a religion founded on peace.” Then Johnson proceeded to compare the discrimination and vilification suffered by Muslims to the plight of African Americans, in particular to “tar you with a broad brush of suspicion.”
Johnson proclaimed that the bullying and physical attacks experienced by Muslims nationwide are familiar to him as a black man. “I look out at this room of American Muslims and I see myself,” he said, adding that theirs is a similar struggle to the one his African American ancestors fought to win acceptance in the U.S.
Even with this craven apology, the Islamic supremacists booed him. As I said, an astonishing story.
In her attempts to hide her government email from the American people, Hillary Clinton had a willing co-conspirator in the Obama State Department she once ran.
This week we released 113 pages of State Department documents, revealing that in early August 2013 top State Department officials raised questions about Secretary Clinton’s emails and the number of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests seeking information about them.
According to the newly obtained emails, in August 2013 State officials were aware of 17 FOIA requests relating to requests for Clinton correspondence, including four that “specifically mention Emails or Email accounts.” Despite the large number of FOIA requests and growing concern among top agency officials, the State Department did not formally request that the former secretary of state produce the emails on the clintonemail.com server until October 2014.
Included among the 17 FOIA requests was a Judicial Watch lawsuit seeking records pertaining to possible conflicts of interest between the actions taken by Hillary Clinton as secretary of state and Bill Clinton’s activities. That lawsuit produced 276 pages of internal State Department records revealing that within two days of the deadly terrorist attack on Benghazi, Mohamed Yusuf al-Magariaf, the president of Libya’s National Congress, asked to participate in a Clinton Global Initiative function and “meet President Clinton.” Those records showed Hillary Clinton’s staff coordinated with the Clinton Foundation’s staff to have her thank Clinton Global Initiative project sponsors for their “commitments” during a Foundation speech on September 25, 2009. The lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Dept. of State (No. 1:13-cv-00772)) was filed on May 28, 2013.
In a 2014 joint expose with the Washington Examiner Judicial Watch’s Chief Investigative Reporter Micah Morrison reported:
[F]ormer President Clinton gave 215 speeches and earned $48 million while his wife presided over U.S. foreign policy, raising questions about whether the Clintons fulfilled ethics agreements related to the Clinton Foundation during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.
According to documents obtained by Judicial Watch and released … in an ongoing Freedom of Information Act case, State Department officials charged with reviewing Bill Clinton’s proposed speeches did not object to a single one.
The new State Department documents were obtained by Judicial Watch under court order in a March 2016, FOIA lawsuit against the agency for all records “about the processing of a December 2012 FOIA request filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington [CREW]” (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:16-cv-00574)). In December 2012, CREW filed a FOIA request with the Department of State for “records sufficient to show the number of email accounts of or associated with Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton.” In May 2013, the agency responded that “no records responsive to your request were located.” Earlier this year, the State Department Office of Inspector General concluded that the “no records response” sent in response to this request was “inaccurate and incomplete.”
According to the new records, by early August 2013 top State Department officials raised questions about FOIA requests seeking information related to the Clinton emails:
From: Grafeld, Margaret P
Sent: Wednesday, August 07, 2013 10:47 AM
To: Walter, Sheryl; Hackett, John
Subject: Fw: IPS significant FOIA Report
… Finally, John, you mentioned yesterday requests for Secretary Clinton’s emails; may I get copies, pls and thx.
Margaret Grafeld was the deputy assistant secretary for global information services. Sheryl Walter was the State Department director, office of information programs and services/global information services. John Hackett was the deputy director, office of information programs and services.
From: Walter, Sheryl L
Sent: Wednesday, August 07, 2013 10:51 AM
To: Hermesman, Geoffrey F [and others]
Subject: FW: IPS Significant FOIA Report
… Geoff, can you get a copy of all requests related to Clinton’s emails?
[Geoffrey Hermesman was a State Department program analyst.]
From: Hermesman, Geoffrey F
Sent: Wednesday, August 07, 2013 12:54 PM
To: Sheryl Walter [and others]
Subject: RE: IPS significant FOIA Report
A search of the F2 database identified 17 FOIA cases that contain Clinton in the subject line and can be further construed as requests for correspondence between the Secretary and other individuals and/or organizations. Of these, four specifically mention Emails or Email accounts.
From: Finnegan, Karen M
Sent: Wednesday, August 07, 2013 4:10 PM
To: Walter, Sheryl L [and others]
Subject: RE: IPS Significant FOIA Report
Sheryl: To follow-up on my early response, Cristina is handling the Judicial Watch case, CA No. 2013-772 (DDC) (J. Kollar-Kotelly), that seeks access to all communications (including e-mail) between the Department and President Clinton and/or his foundation regarding clearing his speeches [Redacted]
Karen Finnegan was division chief of the State Department’s freedom of information program.
Last month, Judicial Watch released 10 pages of Department records that included an email sent by State Department spokesman Brock Johnson alerting Cheryl Mills, Hillary Clinton’s then-chief of staff, that a “significant” Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests had been made for records showing the number of email accounts used by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
These new emails suggest that the Obama State Department knew about the Clinton email problem at least three years but covered it up. What happened in 2013 to cause the sudden interest in Clinton emails at the Obama State Department? Why are we only finding out about this interest now? Any criminal investigation of the Clinton email scandal must include officials in the Obama administration.
I am pleased to report that my new Judicial Watch book, Clean House: Exposing our Government’s Secrets and Lies, has debuted at #11 on the New York Times Hardcover Non-Fiction List and is already #18 on the Times “Combined Print and E-Book Best Sellers.” And is now officially a national bestseller. Also this week, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post all list the book among the top best-selling hardcover non-fiction books in the country!
Please remember your purchase of Clean House will help JW directly and serve as your educational “field guide” to DC government corruption. The book will become your go-to source on the IRS scandal, Benghazi, the immigration crisis and, of course, the Clinton email scandal.
You can find the book here. Help us keep the momentum going for yet another week on the national bestseller lists.
Until next week …