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The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, led by Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) (R), speaks with Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) at Capitol Hill in Washington June 20, 2012. The House Oversight and Government Operations Committee is conside
In honor of the House Republican's farcical "Stop Government Abuse" week, let us pause for a moment and appreciate the work that two Democrats have done to expose the real taxpayer abuse scandal involving the IRS:
This morning, Reps. Sander Levin (D-Mich.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the Ranking Members of the House Ways and Means Committee and Oversight and Government Reform Committee, respectively, issued a document intended to put a price tag on the GOP’s efforts. Based on the IRS’s own review, the investigation has cost $14 million. [...]

As of this week, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen also concluded that 255 agency employees have logged almost 100,000 hours in accommodating congressional inquiries in this matter.

At no point has anyone inside or outside the Republican Party turned up any evidence that suggests any sort of politically motivated conspiracy to target conservative groups at the exclusion of others, yet House Government Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa insists on pushing ahead with a his political grandstanding. Today, he's having yet another hearing on the subject, even though there's literally no new evidence that bolsters his case. He says it's to protect the taxpayers from getting screwed by the IRS, but the reality is that it's a waste of time and money, and to the extent the taxpayers are getting screwed, he's the one responsible.

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Comment Preferences

  •  c'mon, jed ... (20+ / 0-)

    go for the GOLD !
    today's your DAY !

    boss buys your lunches for a week !!

    TRAILHEAD of accountability for Bush-2 Crimes? -- Addington's Perpwalk.

    by greenbird on Wed Feb 26, 2014 at 02:32:23 PM PST

    •  Let's Hijack GOP Hashtags! (7+ / 0-)

      Everyone who has Twitter accounts:

      -- Link to this post

      -- Include the GOP's hashtag "StopGovtAbuse" and/or "GovtWaste"

      Let's hijack their hashtags!

      Visit http://theuptake.org/ for Minnesota news as it happens.

      by Phoenix Woman on Wed Feb 26, 2014 at 05:46:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Two extremely important points are made by (0+ / 0-)

      Thomas Edsall in his column today:

      1.  The decisions to put organizations marked by the words “Tea Party,” “patriot” and “9/12 project” on BOLO lists were made while Douglas Shulman was the commissioner of the I.R.S. Shulman was appointed to a five-year term in 2008 by George W. Bush.

      2. organizations with the word “progressive” in the name were also subject to BOLO warnings at the I.R.S.

      These facts are buried in the Edsall column, but I think they deserve to be widely known.

  •  That's about what the 9/11 Commission spent, (10+ / 0-)

    is it not? And that would be about half of what Ken Starr "blew" on Clinton.

    Priorities.

    Signature (this will be attached to your comments)

    by here4tehbeer on Wed Feb 26, 2014 at 02:38:49 PM PST

  •  can we bill (14+ / 0-)

    this to Issa's bank accounts, wherever they are?

    (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

    by PJEvans on Wed Feb 26, 2014 at 02:39:38 PM PST

  •  And that's just one of many (11+ / 0-)

    conspiracy investigations led by that thug

    "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

    by Sybil Liberty on Wed Feb 26, 2014 at 02:42:09 PM PST

  •  Republican politics always cost lots of money. (9+ / 0-)

    Whether it's a "tax-cut" or investigation or " reform".  Always it costs money.  Takers.

    Hard to have a government when one-third of your representatives are insane and the other two-thirds have been sold to the highest bidder.

    by Rikon Snow on Wed Feb 26, 2014 at 02:48:12 PM PST

  •  It finally occurred to me that the reason Issa (12+ / 0-)

    dislikes government so much is that criminals usually hate government.

    You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

    by sewaneepat on Wed Feb 26, 2014 at 02:50:04 PM PST

  •  Issa is an outrageous diversion of resources... (10+ / 0-)

    ... in every sense. He is hostile, rude, bent on witch hunts and he is squandering time, energy and money.

    2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Wed Feb 26, 2014 at 02:56:10 PM PST

  •  The real motivation (12+ / 0-)

    behind the continued "investigation" is to run out the clock on investigating Karl Rove and the Koch Brothers election spending. With the IRS tied up the 501(c) abuses can't be investigated. Alex Wagner did a segment on it today, they're just wasting the IRS' time and running out the clock.

    •  Thomas Edsall had a column in the NYT today laying (7+ / 0-)

      all this out clearly, Why the IRS Scandal Won't Go Away. The IRS statute of limitations on Koch and Rove abuses in the lead up to the 2010 elections expires in November 2014, leading to the conclusion that

      attempts to determine the degree to which some 501(c)(4) groups “played fast and loose with the tax law will soon be lost to history.”
      The Cincinnati based Exempt Organizations Division of the I.R.S. has been completely tied up responding to spurious Congressional inquiries, rather than conducting needed investigations. This is what Issa is really up to. If we allow this to continue then we may lose our last best chance to claw our democracy back from the Plutocrats.

      "The only thing we have to fear - is fear itself." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

      by orrg1 on Wed Feb 26, 2014 at 04:35:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Gives new meaning to tax and spend, does it not. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541
  •  Brings new meaning to saying "if you can't (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541

    dazzle 'em with brilliance, baffle 'em with B.S. (and excess paperwork)".
      Issa is doing the reverse of what we in the accounting profession sometimes do to IRS auditors when they ask for certain documentation - give them a huge stack of it to keep them busy for as long as possible on that particular issue so they have less time to look at others.

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Wed Feb 26, 2014 at 03:38:08 PM PST

  •  There's plenty of evidence (0+ / 0-)

    that conservative groups were targeted. See here

    And the reasoning has shifted multiple times. The question is why and by whom? With retirements and Lerner pleading the fifth, Wilkins saying "hI cannot recall" 80 times, two "sudden retirements", and three resignations we may never know. But it is most definitely a scandal.

    •  The "targeting" wasn't limited (6+ / 0-)

      A lot of new groups sprang up in the wake of the ephemeral Citizens United decision by the Roberts Court. It's in the IRS's purview to check up on those allegedly charitable groups to be sure they aren't spending money on political campaigns or illegally coordinating with campaigns. Yes, conservative groups were checked up on, and so were groups allied with the Occupy Wall Street movement, as well as other progressive groups.

      The IRS would have been guilty of neglect of its duties if it didn't require these groups to file the proper paperwork and to check that they were filled out truthfully.

      •  Please read (0+ / 0-)

        all the links I provided ( in a previous post noted in my comment above) before you assume things that are not accurate. Then get back to me.

        •  I read your links. Hmmm (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          anon004, ORswede, Amber6541, hepette

          Stories quoting Republicans, you take as fact. One of your links is a story that contradicts what you said. Nothing in your links provides anything like neutral evidence of wrong-doing. In other words, your only facts are a strong of resignations following the use of keyword searches by IRS employees tasked with enforcing the laws on nonprofits.

          You can believe whatever you like, but so far, no evidence that the IRS, directed from DC, targeted and harassed RW groups more than other groups.

          I particularly like your believing the Republican Congressman who denied that the increase in workload was part of why they used keyword searches. Charming amount of trust.

          Trying to stir things up by saying that there must be something behind resignations is a conspiracy theory tactic, not an evidence based thing.

          "Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everybody gets busy on the proof.” ― John Kenneth Galbraith

          by Urban Owl on Wed Feb 26, 2014 at 06:01:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nope, you obviously did not (0+ / 0-)

            read the links unless you consider the Washington Post and NPR "Republican". The links explain that conservative groups were targeted, the reasoning was changed three times, and multiple people in charge have resigned, retired, can't remember there last name, or simply refused to testify. If reverse the party labels and are honest,  how would you feel? which is MY point. This cannot set a precedent.

            As for this:

            "You can believe whatever you like, but so far, no evidence that the IRS, directed from DC, targeted and harassed RW groups more than other groups."

            Did you not read the NPR link? or USA Today?

            or this?

            "IRS officials at the agency’s Washington headquarters sent queries to conservative groups asking about their donors and other aspects of their operations, while officials in the El Monte and Laguna Niguel offices in California sent similar questionnaires to tea-party-affiliated groups, the documents show.

            IRS employees in Cincinnati told conservatives seeking the status of “social welfare” groups that a task force in Washington was overseeing their applications, according to interviews with the activists."  

            DC officials were involved.

            , and if there is no problem why did Lerner take the fifth and retire? You can believe this is some sort of bizarre coincidence (and it may be) but a thorough investigation os certainly called for. But denying reality isn't.

            •  That last sentence in your quote (0+ / 0-)

              "...according to interviews with the activists."

              That is an allegation, not a fact. The "activists" claimed they were uniquely singled out and claim they were told it was directed by someone in DC. You want to believe what those people say is true, fine, but it is not evidence.

              The NPR story is a report that Republicans on the House W&M committee claim that their "research" proves bias. Again, allegations by interested parties, no verification by the reporter (which would mean looking at the raw data, understanding how it was selected, etc.) and nothing that would constitute proof.

              Anyone being witch-hunted by a Congressional committee will take the 5th, and it is NOT an admission of guilt to do so.

              You are promoting a story based on allegations that have never been verified. That is a CT, by definition.

              "Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everybody gets busy on the proof.” ― John Kenneth Galbraith

              by Urban Owl on Sun Mar 02, 2014 at 07:21:15 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Nonsense (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dirk McQuigley, hepette

          Blind quotes of anonymous aggrieved parties are hardly the stuff of a vendetta. Sell it somewhere else, because we don't buy it here.

          But a friendly word of free personal advice: Get your troll payments up front; your paymasters didn't get wealthy by paying for things. Look for a twenty on the dresser.

          •  Right. (0+ / 0-)

            You obviously did not read a thing. And just because I take a contrary ideological orthodox opinion makes me a troll? Enjoy your bubble. Please evaluate my comments and evidence at face value, through partisan eyes.

              •  Your photo & dictionary definition of gullible (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                manneckdesign, hepette

                Why are you pimping this weak-assed shit. Seriously dude, there isn't anything remotely illegal about what the IRS did. It's their fucking job to investigate whether 501Cs are legitimate. If they didn't, the same clowns who are complaining now, would complain the IRS is being lazy. That is unless you think it is perfectly acceptable for the Kochs and other billionaires to bilk taxpayers for their political activity by laundering their money through non-profits to steal elections.

                •  Why don't you (0+ / 0-)

                  respond to facts instead emotions? They CAN investigate on a fair basis when there are issues to pursue. They cannot hold up every application from one political persuasion for years without a rationale. Which is what they did. They specifically looked for key words from the right. Not at their applications on merit, but at their political tilt.

                  And then they lied about it as well.

                  It is perfectly acceptable for people to act within the law no matter their politics. That is my point. Just think of your response if the IRS did this to ALL progressive groups and Mitt Romney were in the WH?

    •  Sweet (0+ / 0-)

      It's a huge scandal and the IRS is lying.  So when do the perjury charges start?   Let's see some indictments.  If they can find some shit to charge baseball players, surely they can haul in some lowly bureaucrats.  

    •  Bullshit!!! (0+ / 0-)

      It's an eminence front. It's a put on. Bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit.

    •  As best that I can tell, your links are all (0+ / 0-)

      circular logic! Have you read any of the IRS requirements for a 501 (c) corporation? I have personally assisted in many 501 (c) 3 and 501(c) 4 applications for different organizations and can attest to the long investigations of most of them! If you are asking for a special privilege like TAX EXEMPTIONS you need to prove that you are following the rules! The 501 (c) 4 is for SOCIAL WELFARE ORGANIZATIONS like the Elks, Moose, Eagles, etc. and specifically excludes political activities as the main function! The letter and intent of the law was to allow these groups to raise funds for local assistance to those in need such as helping a family after a fire, or handing out turkeys to the poor at Thanksgiving, etc. The law specifically limits political activities to less than half of their time and funds and was intended for individual local groups to maybe take a stand on a LOCAL ELECTION by showing the members who they support for a local office.

      The IRS has always used keyword filters for enforcing the complex tax laws of this nation and they are added to and removed from the list nearly every year. I remember some years back where anyone taking a deduction for a "home office" was flagged for further review and possible audit. Another year might get you a flag for vehicle deductions. Do you really think that they have a person looking at every return for these flags? Off course not! The computer flags them on KEY WORD FILTERS! Just like the office in Cincinnati used key words for both "Tea party" and "Occupy" groups!

      What really ticks me off is that everyone in Congress knows how this works, but they let Darrel Issa WASTE 14 MILLION ON A NON ISSUE!!!  

      •  I hope your work was pro bono (0+ / 0-)

        Because you are wrong on numerous points:

        1- The articles, and there are hundreds more I am sure, point out what took place, why political organizations' applications were targeted, and the shifting explanations and suspicious number of people no longer available for comment.

        2-  "... and specifically excludes political activities as the main function!" Right, It allows political activity as long as it is not its primary function and use of time and resources. Which is evidently the case with these organizations that were targeted by political affiliation.

        A 501(c) 4  application would let them know what your organization plans to do and whether it met the criteria. Not that it needed years of extra delays and unnecessary  examination.

        3- "home office" is not a political or ideological reference. Big difference donut you think?

        4- The IRS has already concluded that using the political identifiers should not have been used, why don't you?

        5- It wasn't just 2 rouge agents in Cincinnati, and tea party and Occupy were not treated the same, read the NPR I linked.

  •  Here's an interesting analysis on why Issa (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maybeeso in michigan, Amber6541

    is continuing to do this

    NY Times

    Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don't vote.

    by Renie57 on Wed Feb 26, 2014 at 05:13:43 PM PST

  •  And how much did the 40-something attempts (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541

    to repeal Obamacare cost?

    The government shutdown over "I don't know what we want but we have to get something" cost what?  $40 billion, wasn't it?

    It was how many million to hire an outside law firm to defend the clearly unconstitutional DOMA?

    How many million has been spent to find that when Congress cuts funding for security for diplomatic personnel in dangerous places, they have a tragic tendency to get killed?

    And sadly, I'm sure there are more examples I don't remember.

  •  Are the dogs and ponies (0+ / 0-)

    dead yet?
    Maybe Issa is hoping to kill everyone by "death through viewgraphs" or more like "can you see the ghost yet?  I can!

  •  14 million (0+ / 0-)

    and 100,000 hours and counting. I'd say we can't afford republicans. They throw taxpayer money around like there is no end to it. We've really got to get rid of them before they destroy America more than they already have. If they did that in China it would get them a bullet behind their ear. Aren't they lucky they are here. Not us so much because of them but them for sure.

  •  Pay up (0+ / 0-)

    Until the Republiclowns pay for their folly ( Ask the Kock brothers for the money) all further inquiries should be shut down. As citizens we should demand that until this money, and any future money for such foolishness is taken from the bloated PENTAGON budget no further time will be wasted. Better yet send Issa the bill. If he doesn't pay, off to debtors prison with him.

  •  ISSA (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sacares

    IS A CRIMINAL AND SHOULD HAVE NEVER BEEN ALLOWED TO RUN FOR OFFICE IN THE FIRST PLACE..

  •  Taxpayer Abuse Scandal (0+ / 0-)

    This is an ordinary, effective marketing scheme to constantly get himself some publicity, try to make the IRS look bad, and make it appear that conservatives are the victims. And he gets to use other people's money--i.e. OURS--for constant public hearings. He needs to be cut off, and billed for at least half of that $14 million price tag. Cut him off NOW.

    Never make the mistake Of the Man who claims 20 years experience, When he has actually had One year of experience 20 times.

    by tesseliot on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 03:45:12 PM PST

  •  CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT (0+ / 0-)

    Seems to me that a class action suit, American Taxpayer VS. Darrell Issa and his sick and disgusting bobble headed followers is in order. The Republicans scream their guts out about budget and cost cutting but yet LOVE spending OUR money on witch hunting, pretend scandals and conspiracy mongering over and over and over again. Hate driven and incompetent fools have no business doing THE PEOPLE'S business. We need to recover the millions these asses throw down the rat hole of stupidity. Remove Republicans 2014.

  •  Trying to impeach President Clinton, when he was (0+ / 0-)

    only a few months away from his last year in office, of his 2nd term and would not be able to run again, the Republicans were bound and determined to impeach him.  It didn't matter how much taxpayer money they wasted,  they were going to impeach him.  It was comical, though, to watch how nothing seemed to bother President Clinton and he more or less laughed off their efforts.  I don't remember if they actually were able to officially impeach him, but I know he served out his term until Bush took over.  Was it only meant to embarrass him and the Democrats, no matter how much Taxpayer money they wasted?

  •  Define irony... (0+ / 0-)

    The idea of the House Republicans launching their "Stop Government Abuse" week is so farcical, it's veritably laughable. Only the conservatives would be so hypocritical as to pony up gazillions of taxpayer dollars to pay for this sham, bogus investigation.

    My question about the recent antics of Tea Party Republicans at the local, state and federal governmenet levels is, DON'T THESE LAZY, LYING, THIEVING BUMS HAVE BETTER, MORE IMPORTANT ISSUES TO ADDRESS? The irony here is that they're abusing taxpayer money to underwrite the cost of this wasteful Congressional investigation into their "Stop Government Abuse" week. Classic conservatism.

  •  Get the word out (0+ / 0-)

    Every time a Democrat is on television they should mention this so that the people will be aware of these so called conservatives lies. If the public is aware of the lies that the Republican keep telling them and that they are trying to suppress the votes, they will punish the Republican liars.

  •  I think he is simply (0+ / 0-)

    trying to justify is position of power -- by investigating so thoroughly, even things he knows are not really abuse, he is able to show his constituents AND his party that he really is necessary.

  •  All this BLAH, BLAH, BLAH.... (0+ / 0-)

    and still, no one has made one single positive move toward ordering the IRS to enforce the law AS IT IS WRITTEN.

    If the IRS would simply enforce the law as it is written, there would no longer be all these tax exempt political organizations.

    Any discussion other than this simple principle is nothing but gold-plated, diamond-studded BULLSHIT.

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