“Another Agency Goes IRS”

[E]vidence is emerging that officials at another agency, the Federal Election Commission, used their enforcement power as an anti-conservative sword.

The House Ways and Means Committee this week released emails showing that, in 2008 and 2009, the FEC’s general counsel staff sought tax information about conservative political groups from Lois Lerner of the IRS. Ms. Lerner is the IRS official who took the Fifth before Congress rather than tell her side of the story. She had previously worked at . . . the FEC’s general counsel office.

Such a request is a no-no in many ways. The FEC staff was investigating these groups without the approval of its commissioners in clear violation of FEC rules. And the IRS is legally barred from releasing confidential tax information—including to the FEC. The emails show that Ms. Lerner asked her staff to provide information to the FEC, and Ways and Means is seeking more documents.

The suspicion of political motivation is compounded by disclosures this week by Don McGahn, one of three Republican FEC commissioners. He released documents that show a litany of FEC staff abuses—including unauthorized investigations, unsanctioned work with law enforcement, and cases when documents were kept from commissioners. These abuses were largely aimed at investigating conservative political groups.

from WSJ.com.

These “phoney scandals” seem like major scandals to me; I don’t understand why they aren’t taken more seriously. Groupthink?

….The timing of the correspondence between Lerner and the FEC suggests the FEC attorney sought information from the IRS in order to influence an upcoming vote by the six FEC commissioners.from NRO

Meanwhile, we’re still arguing over whether the IRS targeted conservatives…

A House Ways and Means Committee staff analysis of the applications of 111 conservative and progressive groups applying for tax exempt status found conservative applicants faced “more questions, more denials, more delays,” says committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich.

That is, when the IRS sent groups letters asking for further information, conservative groups were asked more questions — on average, three times more. All of the groups with “progressive” in their name were ultimately approved, while only 46 percent of conservative groups won approval. Others are still waiting for an answer or gave up.

from NPR

…even though that doesn’t make much sense….

…that the IRS was an equal opportunity abuser….has never made any sense nor has it stood up to even the first fact of the IRS scandal. When IRS enforcer Lois Lerner planted the question that opened the scandal up, the IRS admitted at that point that it had unfairly targeted conservative groups. That’s what she was apologizing for.from PJ Media

More Spying On US Citizens – By Our Own Government

I didn’t realize the government was collecting data on Google search histories of ordinary citizens:

The National Security Agency should complete construction of its 1 million square foot data center near Bluffdale, Utah, this year. As Wired first reported last year, its purpose is to intercept, analyze and store data passing through both domestic and foreign communications networks — including the e-mails, phone calls and Google search history of U.S. citizens.

Free & Fair Elections

There’s this:

There is an immediate political reason why it is important to deny that the IRS abuses had any political effect: If they did have a political effect, then the question becomes whether that effect was sufficient to change the outcome of the 2012 election. That is to say, unless Plouffe’s denial is true, the very legitimacy of the president’s re-election is in doubt.

I’d say this is a big deal, but quite frankly there have been so many scandals that ought to have been recognized as a big deal – but weren’t (yawn) – that I can only wait and see if this is going to be Important.

The Wall Street Journal seems to report on lots of things nobody else cares about.

Also from the Best of the Web (and also creepy): a widely unpopular organization may have a legitimate complaint – but will anyone outside the WSJ care?

Washington, D.C. — The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today renewed its demand that the Internal Revenue Service reveal the identity of the employee or employees responsible for stealing the organization’s confidential Form 990 tax return and leaking it to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). At the time of the theft, the HRC had long-sought to know the identity of NOM’s major donors and its chief executive was a co-chair of President Obama’s reelection campaign. The Form 990 that was leaked to the HRC contained the identity of numerous major donors to the organization.

“There is little question that one or more employees at the IRS stole our confidential tax return and leaked it to our political enemies, in violation of federal law,” said Brian Brown, NOM’s president. “The only questions are who did it, and whether there was any knowledge or coordination between people in the White House, the Obama reelection campaign and the Human Rights Campaign. We and the American people deserve answers.”