by Tom Fitton –
Following up on some mega disclosures last week, this week we released 105 pages of newly obtained FBI “302” documents revealing that, beginning in 2010 and lasting through the Obama reelection campaign in 2012, the IRS orchestrated a deliberate policy of burying conservative groups’ tax exemption applications in bureaucratic delays.
Interviews with numerous Cincinnati IRS employees in mid-2013 reveal that “Tea Party” group applications were automatically denied approval and assigned to a special “Group 7822” for an extended “inventory” process while waiting for decisions from IRS headquarters in Washington, DC.
One IRS manager “asked why progressive cases were not segregated similar to the Tea Party cases, but she did not get any satisfactory answers.” FBI 302 documents are detailed narratives of FBI investigation interviews. The Obama Justice Department and FBI investigations into the Obama IRS scandal resulted in no criminal charges.
According to a Cincinnati “Group Manager” interview in July of 2013:
Group 7822 was composed of 12 to 15 people and was simply a place for the Tea Party cases to be held in inventory while the agent waited to receive guidance from the Washington office. There had been no precedence previously on these issues. If the case said it supports politics and political activity, it would be put into Group 7822. [Redacted] and then [Redacted] held the cases in inventory.
A second Cincinnati Group Manager interviewed in July 2013 told the FBI 302 interviewers a similar story, pinning the blame directly on the IRS Washington headquarters:
In the 14-month period when [Redacted] had the cases, he would ask for updates on guidance and was told they were still waiting on DC. He recalls receiving emails with contradictory guidance on whether the 501-c-3 or 501-c-4 cases should be denied. It was his understanding that a team would come and work the Tea Party cases when the guidance was provided … Nobody told him directly where the delay was in resolving the Tea Party issue. DC is like a black hole.
The FBI 302 interviews with Cincinnati IRS employees reveal that the agency adopted a series of policies assuring that Tea Party and other conservative group tax-exempt applications would not be approved before the November 2012 presidential election. The strategy relied upon the IRS’ multi-tier “bucketing” system that determined from the time an application was received whether it would be quickly approved or indefinitely delayed.
The first bucket – the “incomplete bucket” – automatically kicked the application back to the applicant because of missing documents. The second bucket – the “merit close” – meant the application met all the criteria and was quickly approved. The third and fourth buckets meant that other issues needed to be addressed by the applicant. According to FBI interviews with Cincinnati agency employees, top Washington IRS officials issued directives making certain that no BOLO (Be on the Look Out) Tea Party applications could be put in the “merit closed” bucket.
The strategy began in 2010, when the IRS Washington headquarters created its BOLO list and applied the term “Tea Party” to all political advocacy tax exemption applications. According to a Cincinnati Quality Assurance Specialist interviewed by the FBI, “The Tea Party was added to the emerging issues tab of the BOLO list in July or August 2010.”
Another Cincinnati agency official explained to the FBI what this designation meant to Tea Party and other conservative organizations: “If an item was on the BOLO list, that case could not be merit closed by the screeners/classifiers.
[Emphasis added] A Cincinnati Grade 13 Revenue Agent explained to the FBI how this ended a Tea Party group’s hopes for early, or perhaps even eventual, IRS approval:
[Redacted] saw a few applications that were Tea Party cases and he sent them to a special group to work. [Redacted] identified cases by seeing if they had the Tea Party name or had verbiage that lined up with the Tea Party beliefs. If he saw this, he sent it for development because he knew he could not approve the case.
The “special group” the IRS employee sent the Tea Party applications to was known inside the IRS as Group 7822. As reported to the FBI by a Cincinnati Group Manager, “Group 7822 was composed of 12 to 15 people and was simply a place for the Tea Party cases to be held in inventory while the agent waited to receive guidance from the Washington office.” He added, “In his experience, getting guidance from Washington takes a while; but this seemed to take longer. It was typical for cases to sit and wait until they got guidance on how to apply the tax law.”
Another Cincinnati IRS employee explained to FBI 302 interviewers that for those Tea Party groups consigned to Group 7822 to await Washington approval, the wait could be almost interminable:
The cases were old. He did not think that was right because the applicants were waiting so long…. He believes the problem was getting a response from Washington. People developing cases would not receive feedback from Washington for a long time.
A Cincinnati quality assurance specialist told the FBI interviewers in detail of her frustrations with trying to get feedback in order to process Tea Party cases:
They called them “Tea Party cases.” She knew they were conservative groups from the stuff in the news in April 2010. Initially, she was assigned 20 cases. She received instructions from either [Redacted] or [Redacted] to contact EO Technical …
It then started to take longer and longer for [Redacted] to respond … By September 2010, he did not get back to her at all … The Tea Party cases started to backlog since [Redacted] was no longer responding … She knew the Tea Party was vocal in the news, and could see the perception that big government, the IRS, was holding cases. She expressed her frustration about the delay. She felt that every taxpayer deserves determination, approval or denial.
And an Exempt Organizations Determinations manager in the Cincinnati IRS office told the FBI interviewers that while she did not think Tea Party organizations were targeted, “The Tea Party designation [in the BOLOs] looks bad, especially since progressive cases were not included in these categories … [Redacted] asked why progressive cases were not segregated similar to the Tea Party cases, but she did not get any satisfactory answers.”
We previously released 294 pages of FBI 302 documents revealing that top Washington IRS officials, including Lois Lerner, who was interviewed in June 2013 and again in October 2013, knew that the agency was specifically targeting Tea Party and other conservative organizations two full years before disclosing it to Congress and the public. We’ve documented how Lois Lerner and the IRS worked with Obama Justice Department and FBI in an effort to prosecute the very groups the IRS was suppressing. Between this and the actual investigation being compromised by an Obama donor at the Justice Department (see below), the Obama Justice Department and FBI investigations into the Obama IRS scandal resulted in no criminal charges.
You can see how the FBI described the unlawful and purposeful bureaucratic delays orchestrated by top IRS officials in Washington, DC. That the FBI learned this concerns at least one IRS official about how the Obama IRS targeting of conservatives was ignored. It is incredibly corrupt that no criminal prosecutions were pursued.
Let’s all be prepared to push the next president’s Justice Department to follow up on this information in a renewed criminal investigation.
Obama Donor/DOJ Prosecutor
Compromised Integrity of IRS Scandal Inquiry
This week we also released a remarkable letter from the Justice Department admitting that Democratic Party/Obama campaign donor and Justice Department attorney Barbara Bosserman spent 1,529.25 hours investigating the IRS’ targeting of conservative organizations in 2010 and 2012.
According to Federal Election Commission records, Bosserman contributed $6,750 to Obama campaigns and the DNC from 2004 to 2012, including 12 separate contributions to Obama for America between 2008 and 2012. The Obama Justice Department and FBI investigations into the Obama IRS scandal resulted in no criminal charges.
The letter results from our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) appeal filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on February 16, 2016, which sought to overturn a lower court’s ruling allowing the Department of Justice to withhold these records (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 15-5271)).
After over two years, the Justice Department finally agreed to identify the number of hours just prior to the scheduling of oral arguments during which the agency would have had to justify the withholding of the information.
In February 2014 we filed a FOIA request for:
All Justice Department records from the Interactive Case Management System [a web-based system for storing and accessing information about contacts, calendars, cases, documents, time tracking, and billing, etc.] detailing the number of hours DOJ Attorney Barbara Bosserman expended on the investigation of the Internal Revenue Service targeting conservative organizations seeking tax-exempt status in the 2010 and 2012 elections cycles.
Subsequently, Judicial Watch sued the agency for failing to respond to the FOIA request. (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:14-cv-01024)).
In what House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darryl Issa (R-CA) called “a startling conflict of interest, ” Bosserman was appointed by then-Attorney General Eric Holder to oversee the FBI investigation despite her being a substantial contributor to the political campaigns of Barack Obama and to the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
This lawsuit forced the Obama Justice Department to confirm the existence of a criminal investigation into the IRS’ abuses and that Bosserman, a major donor to Obama’s political campaigns and the Democratic National Committee, was part of the team of lawyers criminally investigating the issue.
In a joint letter to Holder on January 8, 2014, Issa and House Subcommittee on Economic Growth Chairman Jim Jordon (R-OH) asked that Bosserman be removed from the investigation, charging that her “conflict of interest has tainted any information she has gathered.” Holder refused to remove Bosserman, and she failed to appear at a February 6 House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing titled: “The IRS Targeting Investigation: What is the Administration Doing?”
These numbers, extracted from the Obama administration after two years of hard fought litigation, show the central role that a conflicted Obama donor played in the Justice Department investigation of the Obama IRS scandal.
Is it any surprise that this compromised investigation found no reason to prosecute anyone in the Obama IRS scandal?
Breaking the Law is an Obama Administration Policy
You and I are less safe on the streets these days because President Barack Obama and his Justice Department reward localities that openly break the law. Our Corruption Chronicles blog has the disturbing story:
The Obama Administration rewards sanctuary states, counties and cities that shield violent illegal immigrants from deportation with hundreds of millions of dollars in federal grants and one of the biggest recipients recently made headlines for protecting a serial criminal who murdered a young woman.
The money flows through the Department of Justice (DOJ), the agency responsible for enforcing the law and defending the interests of the United States. The DOJ is also charged with providing federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime, according to its mission statement, and seeking just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior.
Apparently this doesn’t apply to local governments that support the president’s broad open borders policies, even when they violate federal law. The DOJ doled out $342,168,401 to 10 sanctuary states and cities that proudly reject federal claims for criminal illegal aliens earmarked for removal, according to the agency’s independent watchdog.
Among them is Connecticut, a trailblazer in the sanctuary movement that received more than $69 million in grants from the DOJ. Connecticut has long protected illegal immigrants with sanctuary policies and even offers them special drivers’ licenses, known as Drive Only. The state also gives illegal aliens discounted tuition at public colleges and universities and authorities work hard to restrict the feds from deporting illegal immigrants. Last year an illegal immigrant who had spent 17 years in prison for attempted murder stabbed a 25-year-old woman to death in Norwich, a city of about 40,000 residents. The murderer had been earmarked for deportation at least three times.
California, also a renowned sanctuary state that offers illegal immigrants a number of taxpayer-funded perks, topped the list with $132,409,635 in DOJ grants. Judicial Watch has investigated the state’s illegal sanctuary policies for years and back in 2008 launched a California public records request with the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department to obtain the arrest and booking information on Edwin Ramos, an illegal alien from El Salvador who murdered three innocent American citizens. Ramos was a member of a renowned violent street gang and had been convicted of two felonies as a juvenile (a gang-related assault on a bus passenger and the attempted robbery of a pregnant woman), yet he was allowed to remain in the country.
Last year Judicial Watch obtained records showing that violent crime—including murder and rape—in the Bay area has skyrocketed since the San Francisco Sheriff and City Council expanded illegal alien sanctuary policies in 2013. Under the ordinance San Francisco law enforcement agencies are required to ignore most U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers. Judicial Watch is also investigating whether the city violated the law again with its sanctuary policy that led to the release of Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an illegal immigrant deported five times who gunned down Kate Steinle at one of the most popular tourist spots in San Francisco.
Two cities—New York and Chicago—got $60,091,942 and $28,523,222 respectively from the DOJ and Philadelphia followed with $16,505,312. South Florida’s Miami-Dade County received $10,778,815, Milwaukee, Wisconsin got $7,539,572, Cook County, Illinois $6,018,544, Clark County, Nevada $6,257,9851 and Orleans Parish, Louisiana $4,737,964.
In some cases elected officials in these municipalities brag about defying federal immigration laws – with no consequences.
• The mayor of Chicago is mentioned in the DOJ Inspector General report for publicly stating: “We are not going to turn people over to ICE, and we are not going to check their immigration status.” The city also prohibits employees from cooperating with federal immigration authorities, the report says.
• The Orleans Parish (La.) Sheriff’s Office has an “ICE Procedures” policy that states the agency shall not initiate any immigration status investigation into individuals in their custody or provide the feds with information on an inmate’s release date or address.
• Philadelphia’s mayor issued an executive order stating that the pending release of the subject of an ICE immigration detainer shall not be provided to the agency unless the person has been convicted of a felony.
• New York enacted a law years ago restricting jail personnel from communicating with ICE regarding an inmate’s release date, incarceration status or court dates. The law resulted in ICE closing its office on Riker’s Island and ceasing operations on any other NYC Department of Corrections property, the report reveals.
It’s beyond comprehension that these law-breaking local governments are being rewarded with federal funds distributed by the agency responsible for enforcing the law.
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The good news is the Justice Department IG agrees with Judicial Watch’s legal concerns about sanctuary cities – concerns that we have sued repeatedly over (most recently in San Francisco ). In city after city, the IG concludes that sanctuary policies that tie the hands of police cooperation with the feds on immigration matters are “inconsistent with the plain language of Section 1373 [federal law] prohibiting a local government from restricting a local official from sending immigration status information to ICE.”
Because of this IG analysis – and most importantly pressure from Congressman John Culbertson (R-TX) – the Obama Justice Department reversed course and is now requiring recipients of Justice Department grant monies to certify that they are complying with federal immigration law. Cities with sanctuary policies can’t do this – so the spigot of tax dollars for this lawlessness may actually be turned off finally.
We often criticize how Congress has dropped the ball on immigration matters and the rule of law. However, Congressman Culberson, head of a powerful appropriations subcommittee, used the law and the powers granted to his office under the U.S. Constitution, to force the Obama administration to comply with and enforce the law. You can see the details here. The battle isn’t over yet – and Judicial Watch independently will monitor the Obama gang’s compliance. In the meantime, you may want to share your views on Rep. Culberson’s effective work with him directly.
Tom Fitton – President
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Washington, D.C. 20024