IRS Used Donor Lists to Target, Obama Defends on Stewart

Editor’s Note – As President Obama was interviewed by Jon Stewart on the Daily Show, purportedly for the last time, Obama tried to tell America again that the IRS Scandal was not a scandal.

Just like he did with Bill O’Reilly in the now infamous “Super Bowl” interview that there was “Not even mass corruption. Not even a smidgeon of corruption,” he doubles down despite mounting, and incontrovertible evidence to the contrary.

President Obama defended the IRS Tuesday in an interview with “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, saying the tea party-targeting scandal was actually Congress‘ fault for passing “a crummy law” and that the real problem is the agency doesn’t have enough money.

Mr. Obama, who has overseen a series of scandals at the IRS, the Veterans Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and now the Office of Personnel Management, was asked why government didn’t seem to be working on his watch.

But the president said he’s not to blame, using the IRS as an example of how what went wrong wasn’t his fault, and questioning whether tea party groups were ever targeted. (Read more at the Washington Times.)

The trouble is, that could not be farther from the truth. Judicial Watch, as always, exposes yet another ‘smoking gun’ document that proves how much Obama stretches the truth far past the breaking point of the term LIE!

Watch Obama and Stewart on the Daily Show here.

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It is just astounding, remember these facts:

One has to wonder what Obama must be thinking to believe he can tell such a blatant whopper in such cavalier fashion and not be called on it. A quick search of media coverage of the targeting scandal reveals the May, 2013 article in The Washington Post with the headline, “IRS admits targeting conservatives for tax scrutiny in 2012 election.”

“The Internal Revenue Service on Friday apologized for targeting groups with ‘tea party’ or ‘patriot’ in their names,” reported the Post, “confirming long-standing accusations by some conservatives that their applications for tax-exempt status were being improperly delayed and scrutinized.” (Read more at Western Journalism.)

Please read on about what Judicial Watch found and then refresh your memory with 19 facts that prove he is a liar and rewriting history to an audience of mush heads that gets their news from a comedian below:

Judicial Watch: New Documents Show IRS Used Donor Lists to Target Audits

Judicial Watch announced today that it has obtained documents from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that confirm that the IRS used donor lists to tax-exempt organizations to target those donors for audits.  The documents also show IRS officials specifically highlighted how the U.S. Chamber of Commerce may come under “high scrutiny” from the IRS.

The IRS produced the records in a Freedom of Information lawsuit seeking documents about selection of individuals for audit-based application information on donor lists submitted by Tea Party and other 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organizations (Judicial Watch v. Internal Revenue Service (No. 1:15-cv-00220)).

obama_oreilly_smidgeonA letter dated September 28, 2010, then-Democrat Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) informs then-IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman: “   I request that you and your agency survey major 501(c)(4), (c)(5) and (c)(6) organizations …”

In reply, in a letter dated February 17, 2011, Shulman writes: “In the work plan of the Exempt Organizations Division, we announced that beginning in FY2011, we are increasing our focus on section 501(c)(4), (5) and (6) organizations.”

In 2010, after receiving Baucus’s letter, the IRS considered the issue of auditing donors to 501(c)(4) organizations, alleging that a 35 percent gift tax would be due on donations in excess of $13,000.  The documents show that the IRS wanted to cross-check donor lists from 501(c)(4) organizations against gift tax filings and commence audits against taxpayers based on this information.

A gift tax on contributions to 501(c)(4)’s was considered by most to be a dead letter since the IRS had never enforced the rule after the Supreme Court ruled that such taxes violated the First Amendment.  The documents show that the IRS had not enforced the gift tax since 1982.

But then, in February 2011, at least five donors of an unnamed organization were audited.

The documents show that Crossroads GPS, associated with Republican Karl Rove, was specifically referenced by IRS officials in the context of applying the gift tax.  Seemingly in response to the Crossroads focus, on April 20, IRS attorney Lorraine Gardner emails a 501(c)(4) donor list to former Branch Chief in the IRS’ Office of the Chief Counsel James Hogan. Later, this information is apparently shared with IRS Estate Gift and Policy Manager Lisa Piehl while Gardner seeks “information about any of the donors.”

Emails to and from Lorraine Gardner also suggested bias against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  An IRS official (whose name is redacted) emails Gardner on May 13, 2011, a blog post responding to the IRS targeting of political and other activities of 501(c)(4), (5) and (6) organizations:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a 501(c)(6) organization and may find itself under high scrutiny.  One can only hope.

The subject line of the email highlights this anti-Chamber of Commerce comment:  “we are making headlines notice the end regarding 501(c)(6) applicability enjoy.”  This critical comment is forwarded to other IRS officials and shows up attached to another Gardner IRS email chain with the subject line “re: 501(c)(4)” that discusses a pending decision about a tax-exempt entity.

In early May, once the media began reporting on the IRS audits of donors, IRS officials reacted quickly.  One official acknowledges the issue “is a biggy” when a reporter from The New York Times contacts the IRS on May 9.

On May 13, 2011, former IRS Director of Legislative Affairs Floyd Williams discusses compliance with “interest” from Capitol Hill: “Not surprisingly, interest on the hill is picking up on this issue … with Majority Leader Reid’s office, has suggested the possibility of a briefing for the Senate Finance Committee staff on general issues related to section 501(c)(4) organizations I think we should do it as interest is likely to grow as we get closer to elections.”

Later that day, then-Director of the Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner weighs in with an email that confirms that she supported the gift tax audits.  Lerner acknowledges that “the courts have said specifically that contributions to 527 political organizations are not subject to the gift tax–nothing that I’m aware of that about contributions to organizations that are not political organizations.” Section 501(c)(4) organizations are not “political organizations.”  [Emphasis in original]

Lerner’s involvement and support for the new gift tax contradicts the IRS statement to the media at the time that audits were not part of a “broader effort looking at donations 501(c)(4)’s.”  In July 2011, the IRS retreated and soon-to-be Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller directed that “examination resources should not be expended on this issue” and that all audits of taxpayers “relating to the application of gift taxes” to 501(c)(4) organizations “should be closed.”

“These documents that we had to force out of the IRS prove that the agency used donor lists to audit supporters of organizations engaged in First Amendment-protected lawful political speech,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.  “And the snarky comments about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the obsession with Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS show that the IRS was targeting critics of the Obama administration.  President Obama may want to continue to lie about his IRS scandal.  These documents tell the truth – his IRS hated conservatives and was willing to illegally tax and audit citizens to shut down opposition to Barack Obama’s policies and reelection.”

Judicial Watch had filed a separate lawsuit for records about targeting of individuals for audit in November 2013.  In that litigation, the IRS had refused to search any email systems, including Lerner’s records. A federal court ruled the IRS’ search was sufficient and dismissed the lawsuit earlier this month.

In September 2014, another Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit forced the release of documents detailing that the IRS sought, obtained and maintained the names of donors to Tea Party and other conservative groups. IRS officials acknowledged in these documents that “such information was not needed.” The documents also show that the donor names were being used for a “secret research project.”

The House Ways and Means Committee announced at a May 7, 2014, hearing that, after scores of conservative groups provided donor information “to the IRS, nearly one in ten donors were subject to audit.”  In 2011, as many as five donors to the conservative 501(c)(4) organization Freedom’s Watch were audited, according to the Wall Street Journal. Bradley Blakeman, Freedom’s Watch’s former president, also alleges he was “personally targeted” by the IRS.

In February 2014, then-Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee Dave Camp (R-MI) detailed improper IRS targeting of existing conservative groups:

Additionally, we now know that the IRS targeted not only right-leaning applicants, but also right-leaning groups that were already operating as 501(c)(4)s.  At Washington, DC’s direction, dozens of groups operating as 501(c)(4)s were flagged for IRS surveillance, including monitoring of the groups’ activities, websites and any other publicly available information.  Of these groups, 83 percent were right-leaning.  And of the groups the IRS selected for audit, 100 percent were right-leaning.


Read the facts here from Forbes:

  1. In January 2010, the Supreme Court in Citizens United held it unconstitutional to ban free speech by corporations, unions and other organizations.
  2. In August 2010, the IRS distributed a BOLO (Be on the Lookout) list for Tea Party organizations applying for tax exempt status.
  3. In October 2010, IRS Exempt Organization chief Lois Lerner met with the DOJ about prosecuting conservative groups.
  4. By March 2012, amid reports of targeting, former IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman testifies there is “absolutely no targeting” by the IRS of conservative and/or Tea Party organizations. On November 9, 2012, Mr. Shulman stepped down, replaced by Steven Miller.
  5. On May 10, 2013, during a bar meeting, Ms. Lerner admits targeting, calling it “absolutely incorrect, insensitive, and inappropriate.” Four days later, on May 14, 2013, the Inspector General issued a report confirming targeting.
  6. On May 15, 2013, Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller resigned. President Obama named Daniel Werfel Acting Commissioner. Mr. Miller and Inspector General J. Russell George testified to the House Ways and Means Committee.
  7. On May 22, 2013, MsLerner professed her innocence then takes the Fifth. Next day, she is placed on administrative leave.
  8. On June 12, 2013, the IRS finally suspends BOLO lists for Tea Party names.
  9. On June 20, 2013, the IRS paid $70 million in bonuses. Ms. Lerner receives $42,000; former Commissioner Miller receives $100,000.
  10. On June 24, 2013, the IRS admitted that “inappropriate criteria” were used for tax-exempt status. Next day, Democrats claim progressives were targeted too.
  11. On September 24, 2013, Ms. Lerner’s retirement is announced, with full pension.
  12. On February 3, 2014, President Obama tells Fox there’s “not a smidgen of corruption” at the IRS.
  13. On March 11, 2014, the Committee on House Oversight and Reform issues a report on Lois Lerner.
  14. On April 7, 2014, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen confirms there are six investigations: four by Congressional committees, one by the DOJ, one by the TIGTA. Over 250 IRS employees spend 100,000 hours, costing taxpayers at least $14 million.
  15. On April 8, 2014, the Committee on House Oversight and Government Reform says it will pursue contempt charges against Ms. Lerner. On May 7, 2014, the House of Representatives holds Ms. Lerner in contempt of Congress.
  16. On June 13, 2014 (Friday the 13th!), the IRS first says it lost Ms. Lerner’s emails from 2009 to 2011. The IRS says hard drives and backups are destroyed, for 6 other IRS employees’ too. The IRS spent $10 million trying to recover them.
  17. On September 22, 2014, Ms. Lerner breaks silence to Politico, says she is the victim.
  18. In November-December 2014, the Inspector General recovers 30,000 backed up Lerner emails.
  19. On March 31, 2015, Obama Justice Department officials announce there will be no criminal charges for Lois Lerner.

The jokes are on us, and so are the lies – Williams & Stewart

Editor’s Note – Over the weekend, the NY Post published an opinion piece by Kyle Smith that examined the way people get their news, who they believe, and why, in a manner that nails it on the head. Well done Kyle Smith!

His piece addresses two major figures in the news recently, Brian Williams of NBC, and Jon Stewart of the Daily Show – and all the lies!

In a well-written, well-researched, and amusing critique of Stewart’s recent show where he tackled and defended Brian Williams, it represents the answer to the questions above.

He concludes the article by saying: “Brian Williams has become a joke for telling lies, but Jon Stewart is a liar for the way he told jokes.” Couldn’t have said it better.

To be frank, Smith did what we wish we could have done and have been trying for years, showing how societal memes rule the day. Showing how lies become ‘truth,’ and showing how disingenuous the media is today.

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Bill O’Reilly might take a valuable lesson from Smith’s piece, so the next time he gives air time to Stewart, he doesn’t lend legitimacy to Stewart so undeservedly. Alan Colmes, Juan Williams, Rachel Maddow, and Kiersten Powers could also learn a thing or two here.

If it ain’t “cool,” eyes glaze over, if it isn’t entertaining, yawns abound, if it ain’t pretty, the thumb on the clicker couldn’t hit ‘next’ fast enough. If it’s about how the left is lazy, hides, spreads lies, or rattles on with tired and untrue memes…crickets! Again, thank you Kyle Smith.

The only thing Smith did not address was the 800 pound ‘lying gorilla’ on all our screens daily; Obama – he of the liar-of-the-year fame. But then again, we all know that already – right? After all, this piece is already long, but well worth the read!

How Jon Stewart turned lies into comedy and brainwashed a generation

So Brian Williams goes out (for six months) humiliated and derided. Jon Stewart goes out (permanently, one hopes) the same day, but on a giant Comedy Homecoming King float, with a 21-gun salute from the media, his path strewn with roses and teardrops.

Why? Brian Williams lied about his personal exploits a few times. Jon Stewart was unabashedly and habitually dishonest.

Though Stewart has often claimed he does a “fake news show,” “The Daily Show” isn’t that. It’s a real news show punctuated with puns, jokes, asides and the occasional moment of staged sanctimony.

It contains real, unstaged sound bites about the day’s events and interviews about important policy matters.

Stewart is a journalist: an irresponsible and unprofessional one.

Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart onstage at O’Reilly Vs. Stewart 2012: The Rumble In The Air-Conditioned Auditorium. Photo: Getty Images
Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart onstage at O’Reilly Vs. Stewart 2012: The Rumble In The Air-Conditioned Auditorium.
Photo: Getty Images

He is especially beloved by others in the journo game. (For every 100 viewers, he generated about 10 fawning profiles in the slicks, all of them saying the same thing: The jester tells the truth!)

Any standard liberal publication was as likely to contain an unflattering thought about Stewart as L’Osservatore Romano is to run a hit piece on the pope.

The hacks have a special love for Stewart because he’s their id. They don’t just think he’s funny, they thrill to his every sarcastic quip. They wish they could get away with being so one-sided, snarky and dismissive.

They wish they could skip over all the boring phone calls and the due diligence and the pretend fairness and just blurt out to their ideological enemies in Stewart style, “What the f–k is wrong with you?”

Most other journalists aren’t allowed to swear or to slam powerful figures (lest they be denied chances to interview them in future). Their editors make them tone down their opinions and cloak them behind weasel words like “critics say.” Journalists have to dress up in neutrality drag every day, and it’s a bore.

Yet Stewart uses his funnyman status as a license to dispense with even the most minimal journalistic standards. Get both sides of the story? Hey, I’m just a comedian, man. Try to be responsible about what the real issues are? Dude, that’s too heavy, we just want to set up the next d- -k joke.

Stewart is often derided by the right as having minimal impact and low ratings. That’s not true. He and Stephen Colbert ruled the late-night ratings among 18- to 34-year-olds for most of the last five years, though Jimmy Fallon has lately surpassed both.

Jon Stewart’s defense of Brian Williams was “The Daily Show” in a nutshell — laugh off a scandal and change the subject. Photo: Getty Images
Jon Stewart’s defense of Brian Williams was “The Daily Show” in a nutshell — laugh off a scandal and change the subject.
Photo: Getty Images

About 522,000 Americans in that age range watch “The Daily Show” on an average night, but that means many millions of occasional viewers, with millions more watching clips online.

To a key audience, he was a strong influence. Longtime Cooper Union history professor Fred Siegel says his students constantly came to him repeating Stewart’s talking points.

College students, of course, are both little acquainted with realities of adult existence and walled off from conservative views, so they’re the perfect audience for Stewart’s shtick, which depends on assumptions that are as unquestioned as they are false.

This week’s “Daily Show” segment in which Stewart defended Williams was distilled, Everclear-strength Stewart. It was as amazing as watching Barbra Streisand run through a medley of her greatest hits in only seven minutes: In this little chunk of error, cliche, preening and deception, Stewart managed to pack an example of just about everything that is unbearable about his style. It bears close study.

Stewart made some mild jokes at the anchordude’s expense, interrupted with insufferable Jerry Lewis-style mugging, baby talk, high-pitched silly voices and the inevitable reference to whether Williams was “high” (authority figures getting high: always comedy gold to the campus audience).

Stewart slipped in a line of blatant editorializing: “Being caught is punishment enough, no?” Really? Why? If so, argue it, don’t just point the sheep in the direction you want.

Williams is a news anchor. A guy whose three main skills are being good-looking, an ability to read the English language out loud and seeming credible. To put his case in Stewart-ese: “If you want to be considered a trustworthy source of facts, maybe try NOT LYING!!!”

Declaring that media coverage of Williams’ lies was “overkill,” Stewart then built a wedding cake of bullcrap, layer after layer of untruth.

His first move was to change the subject. He used a variant of the rhetorical fallacy known as the “tu quoque” argument, or calling out alleged hypocrisy. Taken to its endpoint, tu quoque (“you, too”) reasoning means no one would ever slam anyone for anything because, hey, we’re all imperfect.

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Tu quoque-ism is a generally meaningless gotcha game that can, of course, be turned right around on Stewart: Hey, Jon, you really think you’re the guy to call foul on nuking media personalities who have made misstatements?

In high dudgeon, as though the thought weren’t already a cliche we’d all seen many times on Twitter and Facebook, Stewart declared sarcastically, “Finally, someone is being held to account for misleading America about the Iraq War.”

Then came the inevitable gotcha sound bites: News figures discussing intelligence on Saddam Hussein’s WMD program. Why such a bizarre tangent into an unrelated matter? Because in Stewart’s mind, and those of his viewers, everything has to be the fault of an evil Republican, preferably George W. Bush.

Near the end of the segment, Stewart, with the prototypical combination of blustering self-righteousness and sarcasm that crystallizes his appeal to the college mentality, wondered whether the news shows will now start examining the “media malfeasance that led our country into the most catastrophic foreign policy decision in decades.”

Then (using comic bathos) Stewart cut to more newscasters making apparently trivial points about Williams’ lying. Stewart’s logic is this: The media can’t report negatively on anything anymore, because they dropped the ball on Iraq.

Stewart doesn’t actually believe that: It’s just a cheap gambit meant to get his buddy Williams off the hook by minimizing his serial lying. If Stewart were a public defender, he’d be even funnier than he is as a comic.

What judge or jury could fail to bust out laughing if a defense attorney said, “I have no rebuttal of any of the charges against my client, but lots of other people not in this courtroom are guilty of stuff, too!”?LiesQuoteLenin

I look forward to the next time a Republican assistant municipal treasurer in Dirt Falls, Idaho, says something awkward about race and Stewart says, “I forgive this guy given that the actual vice president of the United States once said of Barack Obama, ‘I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.’”

Let’s look at the media reports on Iraq that Stewart is arguing make Williams’ untruths pale in comparison. Problem: Those reports were not lies. Journalists trying to figure out whether the war was justified called up credible experts with experience in the field and passed along what they said. As a more honest version of Stewart might say, “Dude. That’s not malfeasance. That’s Re. Por. Ting.”

Stewart added that “it’s like the Bush administration hired Temple Grandin to build a machine that kills the truth.” Even the audience of devotees seemed to find this simile baffling.

The idea that “Bush lied” is itself a lazy, ill-informed and false statement.

As Judge Laurence Silberman, co-chairman of the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, wrote in The Wall Street Journal last week, essentially nobody in the Washington intelligence community doubted the major report that Iraq had an active WMD program in 2002.

Obama.Bush.LiesThe National Intelligence Estimate delivered to the Senate and President Bush said there was a 90 percent certainty of WMDs. Democrat George Tenet, the Clinton CIA director who continued to serve under Bush, said the case for WMDs was a “slam dunk.”

John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid and Joe Biden all looked at the intelligence and voted to authorize force. Sen. Jay Rockefeller argued strongly for the war. Then, years later, when it wasn’t going so well, he published a highly politicized report ripping Bush.

There is a serious case to be made against the Iraq War, but it’s a lot more complicated than the playground taunt, “Bush lied about WMDs.” (“Hey, I’m a comic, you expect me to do serious? Please welcome our next guest, Henry Kissinger!”)

Yet another lie on top of that is the absurd implication that the news media were too soft on Bush. The only way you could possibly consider the media to be too conservative would be if you were an extremist well to their left, which Stewart is.

During the Iraq War buildup, even as overwhelming majorities in both houses of Congress authorized the use of force, 59 percent of the sound bites aired by the evening newscasts were antiwar, 29 percent pro-war.

To take another of innumerable examples, in 2006 Bush had about the same approval ratings that Obama suffered in 2014. The network news both commissioned far more polls when Bush stood to suffer, and reported on the Bush results far more.

Again, this isn’t close: The score was 52 to 2, as in 52 mentions of low Bush approval ratings versus two mentions of (even lower, at times) Obama approval ratings.

In every Gallup poll this century, more Americans called the media “too liberal” than “too conservative.” The numbers were 45 to 15 in 2003, the year of the Iraq invasion. In 2008, as Obama was being elected, it was 47 to 13. Last fall it was 44 to 19.

Thanks to polemicists and clowns, the myth that “Bush lied” has caught on, and now a majority of Americans believe it. Stewart-ism won the day.

Liberal comics make things up, liberal journalists chortle and praise and internalize the lies.

Before you know it, if you point out that Bill O’Reilly’s audience is just as well informed as NPR’s (as a Pew poll found), or that Sarah Palin never said, “I can see Russia from my house” (that was “Saturday Night Live”), you’re just a buzzkill.

Brian Williams has become a joke for telling lies, but Jon Stewart is a liar for the way he told jokes.