The New American May 29 2013
The Obama administration’s key defense in the IRS scandal is falling apart. Up until now, the administration has relied upon the implicit claim that IRS targeting of conservative groups applying for non-profit status was simply the actions of a few rogue agents in the Cincinnati office of the IRS. But it is increasingly clear that the targeting of conservatives was directed from Washington, as multiple IRS offices have now been shown to have been involved in such efforts.
NBC News reported May 28, “Additional scrutiny of conservative organizations’ activities by the IRS did not solely originate in the agency’s Cincinnati office, with requests for information coming from other offices and often bearing the signatures of higher-ups at the agency, according to attorneys representing some of the targeted groups.” Reporting by the local Fox News affiliate has also belied the White House’s claim. And the conservative website the Daily Caller has identified at least five different offices of the IRS that targeted conservatives.
The signature of director of the IRS Exempt Organizations division Lois Lerner was on at least some of the letters demanding broad submission of information to the IRS from conservative organizations. Lerner — who was placed on administrative leave with pay last week after pleading the Fifth Amendment in congressional hearings — was based out of Washington. So her signature on letters of inquiry to conservative groups thoroughly debunks the White House party line.
Jay Sekulow, an attorney representing 27 conservative political advocacy organizations that applied to the IRS for tax-exempt status, provided some of the letters to NBC News. “We’ve dealt with 15 agents, including tax law specialists — that’s lawyers — from four different offices, including [the] Treasury [Department] in Washington, D.C.,” Sekulow told NBC News. “So the idea that this is a couple of rogue agents in Cincinnati is not correct.”