By Columnist Jim Kouri
With most of the nation’s news media covering what President Barack Obama and his minions like to call the latest phony scandal – namely the prisoner swap which entailed trading five top Taliban terrorists for one suspected deserter – the American people probably missed the latest revelation on Monday involving Obama’s IRS “phony scandal,” according to documents from a Beltway watchdog group.
After the U.S. Justice Department in June turned over an IRS database to the House Oversight Committee in their response to a subpoena issued by the committee’s chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the Justice Department now says it was informed by Internal Revenue Service officials that the database contains confidential, legally protected information on taxpayers that shouldn’t have been submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the first place, according to Judicial Watch.
“At the very least, this information suggests that the IRS considered the political speech activities of non-profits to be worthy of investigation by federal law-enforcement officials,” the Issa stated in his letter the IRS chief.
According to FBI officials, the agency will return the entire database – which they had received in 2010 – to the IRS officials. Even so, Rep. Issa, R-Calif., and House Economic Growth, Job Creation and Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, on Monday sent a letter to Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen.
The letter demands additional information after the committee discovered that the IRS sent database disks containing 1.1 million pages of information from 501(c)(4) tax exempt organization in October 2010 to the FBI, just prior to the mid-term elections.
“We were extremely troubled by this new information, and by the fact that the IRS has withheld it from the Committee for over a year,” wrote Issa and Jordan to IRS Commissioner Koskinen. “We were astonished to learn days ago from the Justice Department that these 21 disks contained confidential taxpayer information protected by federal law. We ask that you immediately produce all material explaining how these disks were prepared and transmitted to the FBI.”
According to Issa and Jordan, in an e-mail dated Oct. 5, 2010, former IRS Director of Exempt Organizations Lois “Fifth Amendment” Lerner contacted an official with the Justice Department’s Election Crimes Branch named Richard Pilger, about his formatting preference for “the disks we spoke about.”
Pilger forwarded Lerner’s e-mail to an FBI agent, writing, “This is incoming data re 501c4 issues. Does FBI have a format preference?” He then responded to Lerner, “Thanks Lois – FBI says Raw format is best because they can put it into their systems like excel.”
Despite an intensive investigation of IRS targeting exclusively Tea Party and conservative non-profits, the IRS had not admitted to Congressional investigators that Lois Lerner sent a total of 21 database disks of tax exempt organizations to the FBI for surveillance purposes.
According to Issa, House investigators learned about the database shenanigans last in May during an interview with the DOJ’s Pilger, who allegedly weighed the possibility of initiating legal action including criminal prosecution against tax exempt organizations that engaged in political activity.
In their letter to the IRS Commissioner, Issa and Jordan slammed the IRS’s lack of cooperation;
“Despite two Committee subpoenas, the IRS has not produced material relating to these 21 disks and all associated information… The subpoena (to the IRS) created a legal requirement on you, as the Commissioner of the IRS, to identify and produce all subpoenaed material in an expeditious manner.
“Your choice to withhold this highly relevant material obstructs the Committee’s ongoing oversight obligations – especially when this information implicates violations of federal law.”