IRS Conducted “Secret Research Project” with Illegally Obtained Conservative Donor Lists
The latest dump of IRS emails provides further evidence of the nefarious and concerted effort within the IRS to target conservative groups.
In an email under the subject line “donor names,” then IRS acting director of Exempt Organizations Ruling and Agreements David Fish (who worked directly below Lois Lerner) discussed a “secret research project” with Holly Paz.
As the Wall Street Journal reports:
Perhaps the most intriguing of the new documents shows that IRS officials had some sort of “secret research project” going that related to the donor lists it had collected – inappropriately, as it turned out – from many conservative nonprofit groups.
The IRS demanded the donor lists in the course of reviewing dozens of conservative groups’ applications for tax-exempt status starting in 2010. An inspector general found in 2013 that the IRS targeted many of those conservative groups for improper scrutiny, including the demands for donor identities. . . .
If the project involved the IRS systematically targeting conservative donors for extra scrutiny too – as some GOP lawmakers suspect – that’s a very big deal.
That puts it mildly.
In fact, while that email doesn’t give many details about the “secret” program (after all it was a secret), it does state that a decision regarding the program and the donor lists reached all the way to then IRS Commissioner Steven Miller.
We know the IRS unconstitutionally targeted conservative groups. We know they illegally demanded, obtained, and held the donor lists of these conservative organizations. Now we learn that in 2012, the height of the targeting, the IRS was involved in a “secret research project” with this confidential, illegally obtained donor information.
That’s more than a big deal. It’s potentially criminal.
The very fact that the IRS was using the phrase “secret research project” should give every American pause. But the fact that this project was conducted as part of a well-orchestrated effort to target and silence conservative Americans is utterly disturbing.
There are several other incriminating emails revealed in the latest set of Lerner emails turned over to Judicial Watch as part of their ongoing FOIA lawsuit.
When the Treasury Inspector General was in the early stages of its audit in June 2012, Lerner demanded to be present when they wanted to speak with her deputy Holly Paz. In a flurry of emails on the morning of June 28, 2012, Paz informed Lerner that the IG would be interviewing her. Minutes later, Lerner shot back, “Not alone. Wait til I am there.” When Paz explained it was in relation to a letter from House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp regarding the targeting and not a Wall Street Journal article about a conservative group, Lerner responded, “Just as dangerous. I’ll talk to you soon. Be there in half hour.”
Congressional oversight is only “dangerous” when you have something to hide and are pushing a political agenda.
In fact, the IRS itself confirmed in internal emails the politically partisan nature of the IRS targeting. The email from a senior technical advisor to Lerner under the subject line “Bucketed cases” provides, “Of the 199 (c)(4) cases, approximately 3/4 appear to be conservative leaning . . . .” It also notes that a majority of the “(c)(3) cases” were “conservative leaning groups.” This July 18, 2012 email came while the IG was conducting its audit into the IRS targeting.
These latest revelations only further confirm the well-orchestrated effort by the IRS to target and silence conservative Americans and then cover their tracks. They also further show that the targeting reached higher and higher into the IRS.
The more we learn, the worse it gets. As new questions are being raised into the scope of the targeting scandal, it is more important than ever for a Special Counsel to be appointed to investigate the IRS.
We continue to press forward with our lawsuit against the IRS on behalf of 41 targeted conservative and pro-life groups from 22 states, with a preliminary ruling on the Obama Justice Department’s attempts to have the case thrown out expected any day.
Join the demand for an independent investigator into the IRS targeting scandal by signing our petition for a Special Counsel today.