The campaign by the Internal Revenue Service to discriminate against conservative organizations during the run-up to the 2012 election is boiling over, with Congress considering criminal charges against IRS official Lois Lerner.
Lawsuits have been filed over the IRS actions, which included the agency demanding to know the content of Christian prayers.
Now, the Democrat defense claiming both liberal and conservative groups were targeted equally appears increasingly like a story created to cover up the reality.
A congressional report found no progressive groups received enhanced scrutiny, the Daily Caller reported.
There were seven “progressive” applications in the IRS backlog, but all were approved.
Jack Hayward at Jack Hayward at Human Events said it’s “simply delirious to compare the treatment of those politically targeted conservative groups and the half-dozen progressive organizations on the list.”
“If anything, the ‘evidence’ Democrats use to deny the existence of scandal only makes the scandal look worse,” he said.
“The few left-wing groups subjected to enhanced scrutiny were put under the IRS microscope for obvious, non-political reasons. To take the example that appears most frequently in liberal propaganda, the successor organizations to scandal-plagued left-wing group ACORN raised a few eyebrows at the Tax Exempt Organizations unit because they were using the same street addresses and officers as the supposedly defunct ACORN offices,” said Hayward.
“Even then, the House report says these thinly disguised ACORN groups ‘were apparently not subjected to the same systematic scrutiny and delay as tea party applicants,” he wrote.
The congressional report said the administration and congressional Democrats “have seized upon the notion that the IRS’s targeting was not just limited to conservative applicants.”
“These Democratic claims are flat-out wrong and have no basis in any thorough examination of the facts,” the report said. “Yet, the administration’s chief defenders continue to make these assertions in a concerted effort to deflect and distract from the truth about the IRS’s targeting of tax-exempt applicants.”
Analysts say the potential of a case being built against Lerner, who twice has refused to testify before Congress after arguing her innocence, could produce for Congress more information about the scandal.
One issues is the IRS contracting with the left-leaning Urban Institute to process applications.
“This scandal was not about tea party applications for tax-exempt status getting denied,” Hayward wrote. “That would have given us conclusions reached in a timely manner, which the affected groups could have appealed. Instead, they were subjected to endless inquisitions, with one tea party group still on hold after an astonishing fifty-one months.”
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight committee, said a vote will be held Thursday on a resolution to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress.
WND has reported extensively on the IRS links to the Urban Institute. In one report, the organization that the IRS describes as a “trusted partner” was documented as acting as the Obama administration’s propaganda tool for Obamacare.
The Urban Institute advocates for public health insurance, wealth distribution and tax hikes for higher income-earners. The supposedly “nonpartisan” organization’s employees have a record of donating nearly 100 percent of their political contributions to Democrats.
Also, UI’s president, Sarah Rosen Wartell, is the co-founder of the Center for American Progress, widely considered ground zero for the development of many of the Obama administration’s progressive policies.
Yet, in the story that WND broke, the IRS – the agency also tasked with enforcing penalties for Americans who fail to comply with Obamacare – is officially directing all U.S. nonprofits whose annual gross receipts are $50,000 or less to file their annual financial information electronically through the liberal Urban Institute.
The institute collects what is known as Form 990, which provides the public with financial information about the organization. The form, called the e-Postcard in its electronic online format, is also utilized by the government to keep up-to-date with nonprofits and prevent such organizations from abusing their tax-exempt status.
A WND investigation of the donations and backgrounds of Urban Institute officers and trustees, found:
- Sarah Rosen Wartell, president of the Urban Institute – with compensation of $366,691 from the organization in 2012 – is co-founder of the Center for American Progress, the left-leaning Washington activist team also led by John Podesta, who now is working in the White House on Obama’s executive orders. She donated $1,250 to Obama’s 2008 campaign and $5,950 to Democrats since 2002. Wartell served as President Bill Clinton’s special assistant for economic policy and deputy director of the National Economic Council. Podesta’s group recently has suggested such changes as the involvement of labor unions in higher education. That idea includes a specific set of courses for all students to take “across a range of disciplines.” His idea was to have the Department of Education go ahead with the plan without consulting Congress.
- Freeman Hrabowski, vice chairman of the Urban Institute board of trustees, donated $5,000 to the Obama victory fund in 2008 and $1,000 to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. In 2012, he donated $5,000 to Obama’s victory fund. Since 2004, he has donated $21,900 – all to Democrat candidates.
- Jamie S. Gorelick, vice chairman of the Urban Institute board of trustees, served as President Bill Clinton’s deputy attorney general from 1994 to 1997 and also as vice chairman of Fannie Mae from 1997 to 2003, the year Fannie Mae was accused of improper accounting after it showed $9 billion in unrecorded losses. Gorelick was paid more than $26 million as a top Fannie Mae executive before the mortgage giant received a taxpayer-funded bailout. Gorelick is also reportedly the official blamed for the pre-Sept. 11 “wall of separation” that prevented the CIA and FBI from comparing investigation notes. She was appointed by former Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D., to serve on the 9-11 Commission. Since 2000, Gorelick has contributed at least $257,150 to Democrat candidates and leftist organizations – including $10,000 to Obama’s 2008 victory fund and $10,000 to his 2012 victory fund – and only $6,500 to Republicans. She is also a major donor to the Urban Institute.
- Robert Solow, former vice chairman of the Urban Institute board of trustees, is a Nobel-Prize winning economist who is known for counseling Democrats. Solow said he voted for Obama “with the greatest of pleasure” and donated to the president’s 2008 campaign.
WND also reported on some of the extreme government contracts directed to the Urban Institute, including a half million dollars to understand the life of a “gay” hooker in New York City.
The organization was also awarded nearly $3 million in taxpayer funds to study “housing discrimination” against homosexuals.
True the Vote President Catherine Englebrecht, whose organization was among those targeted by the IRS, said she was not surprised by the cozy relationship between the Obama administration and a liberal organization.
“They are weaponizing government against private individuals and nonprofit organizations that oppose current policy or the performance of this administration. They want them silenced. It doesn’t shock me in the least,” she said.
Listen to Radio America’s interview with Catherine Englebrecht:
WND's original report explained how the avowedly "progressive" organization was given responsibility to handle paperwork from those conservative organizations.
An IRS page directs groups to file with the Urban Institute, although apparently other providers also can file the Form 990 documentation, which is required of every nonprofit, small and large.
The IRS.gov page on the "Annual Electronic Filing Requirement for Small Exempt Organizations – Form 990-N (e-Postcard)" includes instructions to file online, and includes a direct link to the Urban Institute.
It's for "most small tax-exempt organizations whose annual gross receipts are normally $50,000 or less," since they are "required" to electronically submit Form 990-N, unless they choose an alternative Form 990 or Form 990-EZ.
"The organization that fails to file required e-Postcards … for three consecutive years will automatically lose its tax-exempt status," the IRS warns.
There, in the "How to File" box, are instructions to use "this link" to file. The IRS explains: "When you access the system, you will leave the IRS site and file the e-Postcard with the IRS through our trusted partner, Urban Institute. The form must be completed and filed electronically. There is no paper form."
That link leads to a page offering operations to "File your Electronic Form 990-N (e-Postcard)." You can register as a "New User" and you can "Create your Form 990-N" and "Submit your Form 990-N."
The page URL is "epostcard.form990.org," and it carries the logo of the Urban Institute.
The issue of IRS targeting of tea-party and conservative groups arose in May 2013 when the agency admitted in a news conference that groups with "tea party" or "patriots" in their names were flagged for extra IRS review.
Dozens of organizations ultimately filed lawsuits over the targeting, and members have testified about the questions they faced from the IRS, such as about the content of their prayers, whether they would promise not to protest the Planned Parenthood abortion agenda, and others.