Wall Street Journal: Another IRS Abuse

Remember the IRS Scandal?

Remember Lois Lerner?

If you’re like most in the mainstream media or, if your a Democrat,  you may not think they are important. While the latest VA scandal and the Bergdahl prison swap scandal are not having a major impact on the President’s approval numbers, Allahpundit at Hotair notes:

Democrats have checked out, but they’re not going to abandon O five months out from a midterm election. If the abandonment comes, it’ll come next year, once Hillary has declared and they have a new de facto leader of the party. And even if Obama doesn’t fall any farther in the near term, odds are good that he’s not going to become more popular either: Politico has a piece out today tracking the numbers for every president since FDR and noting that, typically, the best you can hope for deep in your second term is stasis. When it’s that late in the game, if your numbers are moving, chances are they’re only moving downward. Which is to say, whether or not the current job approval represents O’s floor, it’s probably very close to being his ceiling.

Most of the media has moved on from the IRS scandal but the Wall Street Journal reports the latest developments:

In a Monday letter to Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen, Reps. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) and Jim Jordan (R., Ohio) of the House Oversight Committee reveal still another IRS abuse of conservatives.

In October of 2010, apparently without a court order, the IRS sent 21 computer disks containing 1.1 million pages of tax-return documents to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. According to the Justice Department, the massive data dump included public returns from non-profit groups but also taxpayer information that by law the IRS is required to keep confidential. Reps. Issa and Jordan ask in their letter for information relating to the preparation and transmittal of the data.

How did these documents wind up at the FBI? In September of 2010, IRS officials including Lois Lerner and Sarah Hall Ingram helped the New York Times prepare a story about non-profit policy groups which “heavily favored Republicans” in their purchases of issue advertising.

The day after the article appeared, Justice Department Public Integrity Section Chief Jack Smith noted the story in an email to colleagues and asked whether they could charge the groups with conspiracy to violate U.S. laws. Mr. Smith also suggested scheduling a meeting with Ms. Ingram, who like Ms. Lerner was a senior official overseeing tax-exempt organizations at the IRS.

By early October Ms. Lerner was e-mailing Richard Pilger, director of the Election Crimes Branch at Justice, about “getting you the disks we spoke about” and asking in which format Justice would prefer to receive the data.

Mr. Pilger responded, “Thanks, Lois—FBI says Raw format is best because they can put it into their systems like excel.”

So far the Oversight Committee has found no evidence that a court order was ever requested or issued to allow the IRS to release confidential data. Reps. Issa and Jordan are also wondering why, despite subpoenas sent to the IRS last year, they never learned about this “database” until a recent interview with Mr. Pilger. And the lawmakers say that during a recent interview with Mr. Smith, a Justice attorney intervened to prevent him from answering questions about possible discussions he had with Mr. Pilger.

Last month, 26 House Democrats joined with Republicans in voting to urge Attorney General Eric Holder “to appoint a special counsel to investigate the targeting of conservative nonprofit groups by the Internal Revenue Service.” The new revelations of taxpayer abuse ensure that Congressional pressure for a more thorough investigation will continue.

 

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