Imagine what Obama will have to say when he reads about this in the newspapers tomorrow.
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. At least one letter requesting information about one of the groups bears the signature of Lois Lerner, the suspended director of the IRS Exempt Organizations department in Washington.
Jay Sekulow, an attorney representing 27 conservative political advocacy organizations that applied to the Internal Revenue Service for tax-exempt status, provided some of the letters to NBC News. He said the groups’ contacts with the IRS prove that the practices went beyond a few “front line” employees in the Cincinnati office, as the IRS has maintained.
“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 said. “So the idea that this is a couple of rogue agents in Cincinnati is not correct.”
Among the letters were several that bore return IRS addresses other than Cincinnati, including IRS headquarters in Washington, and the signatures of IRS officials higher up the chain. Lerner’s signature, which appeared to be a stamp rather than an actual signature, appeared on a letter requesting additional information from the Ohio Liberty Council Corp.
It’s quite evident this was a deliberate plot from up high to stifle the Tea Party and other groups after their rousing successes in 2010. Either Obama had direct knowledge — as in engineering the whole thing — or direct subordinates of his did. In either case, he’s responsible. And the notion he only learned about this in the media is just not plausible.
Cleta Mitchell, another attorney representing conservative groups that allege they were targeted, said an IRS agent in Cincinnati told her a “task force” IRS office in Washington, D.C., was making the decisions about the processing of applications, and that she subsequently dealt with IRS representatives there.
“(The IRS agent in Cincinnati) told me that in fact the case would be transferred to a special task force out of Washington, and that he was told – he was the originally assigned agent – that he wasn’t allowed to make decisions, the decisions were all going to be made in Washington,” Mitchell said. “I know that this process was going on in Washington because I’ve dealt with those people.”