The IRS scandal started with the allegation that conservative groups were targeted for harassment. That is all true, and more. But the IRS was not simply trying to hamper conservatives. It seems now that it was actively spying on at least one group at the behest of ranking Oversight Democrat Congressman, Elijah Cummings (MD).
According to the Washington Free Beacon:
Emails released by the GOP-led Oversight Committee show Democratic staff requested information from the IRS’ tax-exempt division on True The Vote, a conservative group that monitors polling places for voter fraud.
Republicans and conservative activists say the IRS tax-exempt division, led by former official Lois Lerner, targeted dozens of conservative groups because of their politics while ignoring similar progressive organizations.
Cummings publicly requested information from True the Vote in October 2012 on its volunteer activities and training.
Five days later, the IRS sent True the Vote a letter requesting the group provide the agency with copies of its volunteer registration forms and additional information on its volunteer activities.
Cummings’ staff requested more information from the IRS about True the Vote in January 2013. The request was channeled from the IRS’ Legislative Affairs office to several other IRS officials, including Lerner.
Three days later, Lerner wrote to her deputy Holly Paz: “Did we find anything?” Paz wrote that she hadn’t heard back, to which Lerner replied: “thanks—check tomorrow please.”
Naturally, Cummings is now accusing Committee Chairman Darrell Issa of “McCarthyism.” While this incident stands out because it involves working with a Democrat congressman as his personal NSA, this also matches other behavior. As the Wall Street Journal reports,
The most troubling new evidence are documents showing that Ms. Lerner actively corresponded with liberal campaign-finance groups Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center, which had asked the IRS to investigate if conservative groups including Crossroads GPS were violating their tax-exempt status. After personally meeting with the two liberal outfits, Ms. Lerner contacted the director of the Exempt Organizations Examinations Unit in Dallas to ask why Crossroads had not been audited.
“You should know that we are working on a denial of the application,” Ms. Lerner wrote in an email. “Please make sure all moves regarding the org are coordinated up here before we do anything.” The Cincinnati agent assigned to the case at the time, Joseph Herr, noted on his timesheet, “[b]ased on conference, begin reviewing case information, tax law and draft/template advocacy denial letter, all to think about how best to compose the denial letter.”
As I have written before, the IRS should be abolished on fourth amendment grounds alone. It is a way for enemies to get a “peek” into a political organization’s information in order to neutralize them. The IRS is a tool for cheating in politics.