The attorney for many conservative organization alleging illegal and unconstitutional treatment by the IRS says the Justice Department investigation into the misdeeds is a non-existent “sham” and the malfeasance goes far deeper than most Americans are aware.
The debate took on new life Sunday when President Obama told Bill O’Reilly of the Fox News Channel there was “not even a smidgen of corruption” committed by the IRS, that the issue had been thoroughly investigated and the only culprits were a couple of low-level staffers in Cincinnati who improperly applied the law.
Cleta Mitchell was one of several witnesses Thursday before a House hearing into the alleged IRS abuses. She says the president could not be more wrong. First, she asserts there is no completed investigation and she’s not even sure one ever existed.
“I have not been contacted until, interestingly enough, about two hours after I submitted my formal testimony which outlined all the things that if the FBI ever bothered to call me I would actually tell them. It became clear to me that the Democrats on the committee are calling and talking to the Department of Justice and getting information. I think that they had the Department of Justice call me. I still haven’t spoken to them,” Mitchell said.
“I know they haven’t talked to any of the organizations. I would have heard about that because I deal with so many of these groups on a regular basis,” she said. “So the FBI and the DOJ have not talked to any of the victims or the witnesses in this case and yet the president announces blithely on Sunday the conclusion of the investigation.”
Listen to Radio America’s interview with Cleta Mitchell:
Mitchell says this cavalier approach by Obama and others within the administration is why so many want an independent prosecutor on the case.
Notable in her absence at the hearing was Justice Department attorney Barbara Bosserman, who was believed to be the head of the Justice Department probe. Mitchell says it was the Justice Department that announced Barbara Bosserman, who maxed out her political donations to President Obama in 2012, was heading the investigation. Since the donor information became public, the DOJ says Bosserman is not heading the probe but is simply a member of the team.
Mitchell says that's still not good enough and demonstrates how badly the administration is trying to spin this story.
"They just can't get their story straight. My response to all of this is let's not lose sight of the fact that what happened to these people was real. It is real. It is ongoing and the scandal has not stopped," said Mitchell.
Mitchell says IRS harassment of groups filing for tax-exempt status continued as late as August 2013 and some groups are still waiting for approval more than three years after applying for that status.
Worse yet, she says, the Obama administration is not seeking to prevent such treatment of grassroots organizations in the future. Instead, it's looking to make those actions standard operating procedure.
"Basically what they are proposing to do is take all the activities in which 501 (c)4 organizations normally and regularly engage, whether it's voter registration, get out the vote, candidate debates, candidate forums, grassroots lobbying, organizing events where they have organizations come and speak. The IRS is proposing to call all of these things candidate-related political activities and say that while an organization could participate in those, none of those would count toward the primary purpose of the organization," Mitchell said.
"We have the federal government saying that a candidate debate is not in the public good. It doesn't count toward social welfare. Please. We would rather have everybody get their information about their candidates from the candidates' 30-second TV commercials? We think that's better than having a citizens group hosting a debate?," she said.
"This is so outrageous that I can't even believe that we would sit and even contemplate allowing the federal government to move forward with these proposed regulations," said Mitchell.
She says those wishing to fight the effort to impose these regulations on tax-exempt groups can join the fight at WeWillNotBeSilenced.org.