With Obama’s IRS scandal mushrooming by the day, we’ve been learning that some applications for 501(c)(4) status have languished for years and while some targeted groups have simply given up since delays were so long. Yet curiously, some groups favorable to Obama or actually run by an Obama have been mysteriously sped up through the process.
Lois Lerner, the senior IRS official at the center of the decision to target tea party groups for burdensome tax scrutiny, signed paperwork granting tax-exempt status to the Barack H. Obama Foundation, a shady charity headed by the president’s half-brother that operated illegally for years.
According to the organization’s filings, Lerner approved the foundation’s tax status within a month of filing, an unprecedented timeline that stands in stark contrast to conservative organizations that have been waiting for more than three years, in some cases, for approval.
Lerner also appears to have broken with the norms of tax-exemption approval by granting retroactive tax-exempt status to Malik Obama’s organization.
The National Legal and Policy Center filed an official complaint with the IRS in May 2011 asking why the foundation was being allowed to solicit tax-deductible contributions when it had not even applied for an IRS determination. In a New York Post article dated May 8, 2011, an officer of the foundation admitted, “We haven’t been able to find someone with the expertise” to apply for tax-exempt status.
Nevertheless, a month later, the Barack H. Obama Foundation had flown through the grueling application process. Lerner granted the organization a 501(c) determination and even gave it a retroactive tax exemption dating back to December 2008.
The group’s available paperwork suggests an extremely hurried application and approval process. For example, the group’s 990 filings for 2008 and 2009 were submitted to the IRS on May 30, 2011, and its 2010 filing was submitted on May 23, 2011.
It is illegal to operate for longer than 27 months without an IRS determination and solicit tax-deductible contributions.
But the first questions should go to the IRS in connection with the nonprofits:
* When Organizing for Action submitted its request a few months ago to be a 501(c)(4) tax-exempt group, just like the Wetumpka Tea Party of Alabama, did it receive an 88-page questionnaire in return? Did IRS agents in Cincinnati, Washington and California demand it turn over its list of donors?
* Enroll America started as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt group in 2010, the same time conservative groups began to face obstacles to IRS recognition. What information did it have to provide? Did anyone ask about its board chairman, Ron Pollack, whose own Families USA nonprofit was intimately involved in passing ObamaCare — a law that helped the group’s revenues soar from $4.3 million in 2010 to $11 million in 2011?
Politico reported these ties months ago. Has any IRS official shown an interest? The Politico article began, “Several former White House staffers have found a new way to promote ObamaCare: They’re spending millions in secret corporate and union cash, and they’re harnessing grass-roots tactics to some of the biggest names in the health-care industry.”
That’s why Obama’s ace from the Ohio ground ops campaign has a new job. And why Pollack told reporters that Enroll America “is going to be run like a political campaign.”
When Jennifer Stefano of suburban Philadelphia tried to start a tea party group, the IRS sent her so many questions that she figured it was easier to quit.
“In the documents that were sent to me, if you did not tell the whole truth by not putting all your personal information out there by Facebook, by Twitter, of your personal relationship with candidates and parties … it could be considered perjury and perjury carried jail time,” Stefano, 39, told ABC News.
“That was frightening and that’s why I shut it down. I shut my group down.”
So why does OFA gets special privileges? First, it only was spun off of Organizing for America in January, yet apparently by early February had 501(c)(4) status; not only that, they do not have to answer any questions about who they’re affiliated with or to disclose donors.
Organizing for Action — the successor organization to Obama’s re-election campaign — is not compelled by law to release any of its donor information because it was established as a 501(c)(4) ”social welfare” nonprofit group and falls under the auspices of the Internal Revenue Service. It may raise and spend unlimited amounts of money, but electing politicians cannot be its primary purpose.
So hundreds of conservative groups are targeted by the Obama IRS, yet somehow both Obama’s own group and his half-brother’s group sail through the process with nobody lifting a finger to investigate them. Heck, his brother even received preferential treatment and special tax breaks illegally. Plus, Obama’s HHS Secretary is now facing investigation for her shady tax-exempt group that has the full weight of the IRS behind it. It’s also noteworthy that at the same time conservative groups faced unusual scrutiny, hordes of liberal groups coasted through the process. Meanwhile, OFA is supposed to be an independent group that doesn’t have to disclose its donors. If they’re so independent, why does their website contain the name Obama in it? According to one report, the average time for the application process is 121 days, but the group targeted waited 547 days. Further, Obama’s group has an obvious political agenda and even fundraises off it. It also has connections to George Soros. Did the IRS ask OFA about him by any chance? This all stinks to high heaven and is worthy of investigation.