August 11th, 2016

The IRS and the right

The IRS —up to its old tricks again:

The Washington, D.C., Circuit Court, overturning a June lower-court decision, let the suit go forward because, as LSU law professor Philip Hackney noted in the Surly Subgroup blog, “it found that the IRS had not voluntarily ceased its unlawful actions.”

In other words, the IRS is still doing what it was accused of in the first place and was supposed to halt.

In particular, the court reinstated two specific complaints made by True The Vote and other Tea Party groups that claimed the IRS had acted in a biased way toward conservative organizations that applied for tax-exempt status.

The two complaints were that the IRS had violated the group’s First Amendment rights, and that it had also violated the Administrative Procedures Act — both serious complaints that could land people in jail.

I am not feeling optimistic about these lawsuits, though. There has been too much false hope on this so far.

28 Responses to “The IRS and the right”

  1. carl in atlanta Says:

    Cleta Mitchell strikes me as a pretty hard-nosed lawyer. She’s been representing True the Vote for several years now.

    One problem she and her team face is that the Administrative State has become so ginormous and amorphous — and filled with legions of Dem-voting un-fireable unionized employees — that any given branch of it is virtually invulnerable. IMHO this Hydra-headed behemoth is the gravest threat this Republic has faced since at least the Civil War.

  2. Frog Says:

    C’mon, Neo: False hope?
    Hope becomes false or true when end-results are reached. Not before.

    carl in atlanta gets my full agreement.

  3. clarityseeker Says:

    “False hope”
    As ultimately determined when Obama broke his promise in the Fast and Furious case:
    “People who have screwed up will be held accountable,” Obama said in an interview with ABC News. It never happened—even worse, whistle blowers were demoted.
    http://www.politico.com/story/2011/10/obama-vows-fast-and-furious-action-066289#ixzz4H3fiaeO8
    ____
    “But I have got no patience for it, I will not tolerate it…” Obama (5/13/13) on the initial scandal.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/13/obama-irs-scandal_n_3266577.html

    Obama claimed he’d “get to the bottom of it” in the VA scandal. Never happened.
    Obama claimed he’d “get to the bottom of it” in the Benghazi scandal. Never happened.
    ___
    “False hope”
    The nature of it has been reinforced repeatedly by this scurrilous community organizer who rose to his prominent “Peter Principle” position.

  4. clarityseeker Says:

    Obama campaigned on “Hope”, “Change”, and “Transparency”.
    Where’s the HOPE for young blacks who are unemployed in the mid-20% range?
    Where is the HOPE for those millions of Americans who not only have NOT seen $2,000. decrease in healthcare payments, but have actually experienced significant increases? In costs. In premiums In deductibles.
    Where is the HOPE for those who would prefer to own their own home? Home ownership in America has plummeted under this pathetic president.
    Where is the HOPE for those millions who’ve not seen pay raises, salary increases for 15 years?
    Where is the HOPE for those families who’ve been impacted by the deaths of innocent loved ones; as a result of increased terrorist attacks on American soil?
    Where is the HOPE of Americans who have seen the worst economic growth under a president in the history of this country? Not one year registering above a dismal 3% annual rate. Eight years. Absolutely. Pathetic.
    “Transparency”? The least transparent president to ever inhabit the white house. Period.
    He has hid everything from his college transcripts and source of funding for same, to his executive order actions, to the design of, and the rollout of the ACA, to his involvement in misrepresenting America’s fight against ISIS.
    He promised that he would not sign any legislation prior to a “cooling off” period of 5 days after it was placed on his desk. A bald faced lie.
    Yeeeeesh…
    “HOPE”. Only the false version is what this guy administers.
    “CHANGE”?!? Yep, only for the worse. Unless one lies about his impact on America.
    “Transparency”?!? Laughable on its face.

  5. snopercod Says:

    Two bills have been introduced in the House to impeach Koskinen. Paul Ryan has locked them both up in committee. Whatever happened to that so-called “privileged” bill was supposed to be brought directly to the floor for a vote?

  6. stu Says:

    It is very simple, Democrats get a free pass and Republicans and conservatives in general get prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

  7. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    It may be too late because the patient (the public) may be too sick.

  8. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    I remember that the IRS was once instrumental in getting Capone.
    Now it’s instrumental in protecting Clinton.

  9. geokstr Says:

    I followed this from before Lerner made her staged disclosure. Complaints from Tea Party groups about obstruction and harassment by the IRS were already out and had attracted congressional inquiries.

    It has always been my feeling that the failure of the GOP to take this seriously and pursue it aggressively was the first and biggest step leading to the divorce between the Republican Party and the Tea Parties. Even after they gave the GOP a smashing victory in the House and state and local elections in 2010, the big government Republicans were still the vast majority and despised what the TP stood for.

    Their tepid public response, the kabuki investigations, the slow-walking of the subpoenas and hearings all gave the Marxist administration and the media plenty of time to spin the narrative with lies, deception, misdirection; “they targeted leftist groups too, there’s no ties to the WH, the FBI is investigating, the Republicans are making this up, and the Tea Parties are just racists anyway.”

    Here it is, four years later, and we’re finally finding out that the WH was aware of this harassment back in 2011 how? By the diligent efforts of their own damn party to support the base that had handed it the Congress? No, it’s from the private lawsuits and FOIA efforts from those outside government.

    Not one single person has been held accountable for this, besides large bonuses and promotions, and a few forced premature retirements at lavish pensions with lifetime health coverage.

    I’m as pissed off at the GOP as any Trumpette, mostly for the same reasons, but there was no call to inflict Trump on us.

  10. DNW Says:

    Say Neo, I know that you cannot talk to your friends or social acquaintances about ideologies, and keep them (any more apparently than can most of us we seem to have learned) but what do they say about this?

    Does it trouble them at all?

  11. DNW Says:

    It has always been my feeling that the failure of the GOP to take this seriously and pursue it aggressively was the first and biggest step leading to the divorce between the Republican Party and the Tea Parties. Even after they gave the GOP a smashing victory in the House and state and local elections in 2010, the big government Republicans were still the vast majority and despised what the TP stood for. “

    Thinking of and anticipating everything as I do, ahem, I am shocked to realize I never considered this.

    Always just assumed that the Taxed Enough Already movement, or Tea Party, was as assiduously non-partisan as they claimed initially to be.

    But what excuse could the Republicans have had for not acting on their behalf and that of others, more vigorously, politically, and even disruptively, on principle?

    Fear of the press propaganda, I guess, and thereby losing the squishy voting middle to the side of the 35 or so percent of Americans who would be quite happy with a left fascist dictatorship …

  12. Daniel in Brookline Says:

    geokstr: That’s the reason for Trump. The Republicans had a golden opportunity to listen to The People, when they formed Tea Party organizations. Tea Partiers were polite, they were well-behaved… and they were ignored and neglected by the people they were helping.

    The response: Trump, who gets results, and is neither polite nor well-behaved. GOP, you had your chance, and you blew it.

    I’m reminded of JFK saying that those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

    What scares me is this — if Trump is successful, who comes after HIM?

  13. neo-neocon Says:

    DNW:

    One of the many sad things about this election is that most of my friends have made it clear (not all, but most) that they don’t like Hillary Clinton, and therefore but for Trump she was ripe for the picking. I don’t think the IRS scandal is high on their “don’t like” list, for the simple reason that they don’t follow the news that assiduously and probably the last thing they learned about it was the lie that the IRS was also auditing groups on the left, so everything was fair and balanced.

    That said, they don’t like Hillary, but every single one will vote for her because of Trump. Some (not all, but some) would have voted or strongly considered voting for any number of other Republicans—Rubio, Kasich, Fiorina, a few others (Cruz was less popular with them). But Trump is an absolute and resounding NO! for them and the one thing that could have united them behind Hillary Clinton.

  14. Bob_CA Says:

    Daniel in Brookline:
    “The response: Trump, who gets results, and is neither polite nor well-behaved. GOP, you had your chance, and you blew it.”

    Could you educate me on what exactly are the results that Trump has gotten?

  15. DNW Says:

    neo-neocon Says:
    August 12th, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    DNW:

    One of the many sad things about this election is that most of my friends have made it clear (not all, but most) that they don’t like Hillary Clinton, and therefore but for Trump she was ripe for the picking. I don’t think the IRS scandal is high on their “don’t like” list, for the simple reason that they don’t follow the news that assiduously and probably the last thing they learned about it was the lie that the IRS was also auditing groups on the left, so everything was fair and balanced.”

    So if I read you correctly: 1, they really don’t pay much attention, and 2, the abuse of power per se doesn’t bother them too much and they have the convenientnt fig leaf of a belief that more or less “everyone was a victim” to some kind of what was basically a case of over zealousness.

    “That said, they don’t like Hillary, but every single one will vote for her because of Trump. Some (not all, but some) would have voted or strongly considered voting for any number of other Republicans—Rubio, Kasich, Fiorina, a few others (Cruz was less popular with them). But Trump is an absolute and resounding NO! for them and the one thing that could have united them behind Hillary Clinton.”

    Yes. If I recall your past comments on this, you got the impression that some of them might have favorably considered Rubio – though I cannot recall if even one told you outright that he would commit to Rubio in preference to Hillary – and that Cruz was as unlikely as Trump to get anyone’s actual vote.

    I did not believe it initially, but every time he seems able to rein his mouth in, his poll numbers improve. Frankly, it is my strong impression, (and I have previously believed that Trump would certainly lose), that if Trump could just keep his mouth shut apart from hammering on a small number of scripted points, he could take this election.

    -Illegal immigration and the threat to security
    -Administrative and Administration violations of the law
    -Hillary’s lack of honesty; wall street ties; and suspect physical health.
    -and if he can manage a coherent line on it the economy: as in where the hypocritical hell does she come off saying she is going to work to relieve the economic hardships and challenges Americans still face (as per her own speech the other day in Warren Mich) after the Dems have just had eight years in power? Job pool drop outs, the U 6, low wage replacement work the millennial cohort’s dead end prospects.

    Low hanging fruit, if only he can discipline himself to go for it.

  16. DNW Says:

    By the way, the Futuramic Tool and Engineering rebound success story she was touting at the start of her speech, seems in more objective terms to be a government contract award success story.

    Something she then characterizes as typifying an impending a private sector renaissance .

    Sounds as though she had the government contract dependent ownership and the community college folks enthused.

    However:

    “Futuramic employee John Morris of Warren said he likes Clinton, although many of his co-workers don’t.”

  17. neo-neocon Says:

    DNW:

    No, they weren’t okay with abuse of power. But because the IRS was (in their opinion) even-handed in their investigations of left and right, that was evidence to them that there most likely WAS NO abuse of power. In other words—and I think there is a logic to this—if the IRS was investigating groups on left and right equally, and the allegation was that they were somehow unfairly investigating and discriminating against groups on the right due to their leftist bias, then if in fact there had been an equal number of investigations of left and right it would have argued against such abuse and in favor of the idea that these were bona fide investigations and not persecutions.

    I think that’s obvious. Of course, it doesn’t make it true, even had the investigations been equal (which they weren’t). But it would be strong evidence that there was no discrimination, and therefore much easier to ignore as of no great import.

    And of course they didn’t commit to voting for someone like Rubio. Why would they? All of these discussions occurred during last fall and winter, when they were casting about for an alternative to Hillary. They all approached ME with this, not vice versa—that’s how motivated they were to look around. They were gathering information, were very unhappy with Hillary, and indicated that if any of a number of Republicans were nominated they were very interested and might indeed vote for that person—which would have been the first Republican they’d ever voted for in their lives.

    I would not expect any of them to come up to me saying they would vote for Rubio or Kasich for sure—it would be way premature for that. But the degree to which were troubled by and disgusted with Hillary was powerful. And the degree to which they were serious about alternatives was also strong. One thing they all made perfectly clear was that if Trump was nominated they would be choosing Hillary because he was 100% unacceptable to them. When he became the clear frontrunner, they all stopped asking me about the other candidates because the writing was on the wall.

    You seem to be trying to find a way to discount this information, but this was the reality. It was a reality that was one of the reasons I fought so hard against Trump’s nomination and have been so depressed ever since.

    And if Donald Trump could have “disciplined” himself and shut his mouth from spewing out all of his gratuitous extraneous miscellaneous garbage, he would have already done so, IMHO. I believe that his personality traits are character-driven and unalterable, based on what I’ve seen so far. It would be nice if he would surprise me on that, but I doubt that he will and so far he has not.

  18. DNW Says:

    ” … of course they didn’t commit to voting for someone like Rubio. Why would they? …”

    Well, it’s called framing a hypothetical, not a categorical.

    Not: “I want to vote for Rubio regardless” of course, but rather “Knowing what I know of each: If Rubio or Clinton: then Rubio.”

    And thus I wrote, ” … though I cannot recall if even one told you outright that he would commit to Rubio in preference to Hillary”

    See, I did qualify it.

    “All of these discussions occurred during last fall and winter, when they were casting about for an alternative to Hillary. They all approached ME with this, not vice versa—that’s how motivated they were to look around.

    They were gathering information, were very unhappy with Hillary, and indicated that if any of a number of Republicans were nominated they were very interested and might indeed vote for that person—which would have been the first Republican they’d ever voted for in their lives.

    I would not expect any of them to come up to me saying they would vote for Rubio or Kasich for sure—it would be way premature for that. But the degree to which were troubled by and disgusted with Hillary was powerful. And the degree to which they were serious about alternatives was also strong. “

    But this leads us nowhere really. They categorically will not vote for Trump no matter what; and will vote for any Democrat candidate in preference. Nor had any stated that there was in fact a Republican who impressed them enough as a hypothetical alternative to affirm that they would likely vote for him if offered the choice.

    Now it may have been early days when you last saw them, but the primary process had gone on for some time and unless you had someone saying to you, that that Rubio guy looks like a solid alternative to Hillary, there is not really any demonstrable substance to their talk. It costs nothing to talk. People sometimes like to browse too if it costs nothing; and if it makes them feel as though they are giving their consciences an honest civic duty workout at the same time, so much the better.

    “One thing they all made perfectly clear was that if Trump was nominated they would be choosing Hillary because he was 100% unacceptable to them. When he became the clear frontrunner, they all stopped asking me about the other candidates because the writing was on the wall.

    You seem to be trying to find a way to discount this information, but this was the reality. “

    I don’t doubt the “information”, insofar as you’re relating of the content these social exchanges goes.

    I am discounting the fact that the supposed “information” they were giving you, was indicative of any serious intent to vote a Republican alternative to Hillary who was not a virtual Democrat.

    “It was a reality that was one of the reasons I fought so hard against Trump’s nomination and have been so depressed ever since.”

    Don’t be depressed on those grounds. You didn’t lose a potential sale. The routine they were going through was not the behavior of an actual buyer.

  19. neo-neocon Says:

    DNW:

    You are wrong.

    They very much were indicating that (a) they detested Hillary and didn’t want to vote for her (b) they were extremely interested in alternatives other than Trump, and were strongly considering voting for any of those people, and were asking me which one I preferred because they trusted me. They planned to look into that candidate (and others) further. They knew I had studied the Republican candidates longer and in greater detail than they, and had thought about the question a lot.

    They brought this up to me, which was unprecedented in my experience. And there were quite a few people who felt that way. All of them mentioned Rubio and Kasich in particular as being the ones that they might indeed choose as alternatives.

    In other words (and in your own words)—yes they all “stated that there was in fact a Republican who impressed them enough as a hypothetical alternative to affirm that they would likely vote for him if offered the choice.” That is exactly what they were saying; only difference is how you interpret the word “likely” (and there wasn’t just one of the candidates they were interested in, there were usually at least two). We weren’t talking percentages; I didn’t ask them “How likely? 50% likely or 90% likely?” It was likely enough that they were very serious, very interested, and they had spontaneously told me how upset they were with Hillary and how they were seriously thinking of voting for a Republican if one that was acceptable to them was nominated, and at the time that looked as though it had a chance of happening.

    In addition, now that it’s Trump vs. Hillary, they have not wavered in their extreme upset with Hillary, and they have continued to mention it to me. It’s just that Trump is completely unacceptable to them. They are quite depressed about the situation, by the way. Very distressed about the state of the country and this election. About as distressed as most of the people on this blog.

    I believe that several of them would have voted for Rubio or Kasich or some of the others (maybe not Cruz, though) had any of them been the nominee.

  20. OM Says:

    Neo:

    I find it astounding that DNW considers his interpretation plausible, second hand, not knowing any of the particulars of your interactions. You are patient, and gracious.

  21. DNW Says:

    I wonder if my careful response of August 12th, 2016 at 3:25 pm , was even read. Or if it was read, if it somehow provoked an initial reaction which somehow made it difficult to understand.

    Perhaps it’s the limitations of language or vocabulary, the possible ambiguities in the senses of “likely”, or “commit”, or the meaning of “informed”.

    But whatever it is, I cannot for the life of me fathom what it is in substantive terms that Neo’s acquaintances were, in the final analysis positively asserting, apart from some expression of considerable discontent with Hillary’s character.

    Neo contended and I earlier granted that they intended no categorical commitment to any individual Republican contender.

    I then allowed as how failing a categorical formulation, their intentions still might mean something less than zero, in positive terms, if those intentions were reformulated as a hypothetical proposition. Thus, say for example, and since his name was most mentioned: If Rubio or Hillary; then, Rubio.

    But even this was, I believe I have been informed, too strong a formulation. Back when they opened the door a crack, it was too early to know much about Rubio. And subsequently, at the time of the initial debates, perhaps there was no communication with Neo.

    Which leaves a palpable what, exactly? It seems to me, merely with certain – quite possibly posturing – professions that their disquietude had them diligently shopping around; even to browsing in the Republican bin.

    That is all very nice and civil and broadminded of course. But what it counted for in substantive terms, and in terms of comprehensible logical alternatives, is precisely nothing.

    It counts as a no money down, no test drive, no specific model, suggestion that a brand switch might be in the offing and that your Make might be in contention, and that a couple of your models don’t look so bad that one might not categorically rule out a switch.

    Which is the only categorical or substantive proposition in the whole schmear, i.e.,: I will not rule an alternative to Hillary out of court.

    Now I make no claim whatsoever to know better than Neo, what her acquaintances said to her. I don’t have their actual words, I have never met them, do not know who they are, their character nor their minds; and have only her description of the framing of their overtures.

    And based on that recounting of those overtures, I believe, unlike her, that they added up in terms of logic and substance, to virtually nothing.

    Nothing that is, but an eruption of some inner turmoil, which in all probability and experience, would finally resolve itself with the decision, after all was said and done, that: “No thanks, I’ve done my civic duty, and I’ve concluded that I’ll stick with the devil I know. The one who has at least the same sociopolitical values I do.”

    They weren’t going to buy. They were just trying to feel less guilty regarding what they were already almost certain to do.

    Now of course, Neo could probably cast this into further relief, if she were to encounter them again, and also have the opportunity to ask them this question. “Knowing what you know now, if Rubio had been the Republican nominee, can you say that you would be sure to vote for him in preference to Hillary or anyone else?”

    If we had that, we would at least have some kind of positive assertion to work with.

    Of course you would still have to ask yourself if you believed what they said.

  22. DNW Says:

    If this phrasing, “their intentions still might mean something less than zero”, seems to imply a mathematical rather than a logical or rhetorical figure, then consider it as meaning this:

    “their intentions still might come to propositionally mean something more than nothing”

  23. neo-neocon Says:

    DNW:

    If you’re just saying “Maybe they wouldn’t have voted for a GOP candidate, if someone other than Trump had been nominated, because they didn’t sign a contract written in blood to that effect”—then well, of course they might not have voted for the GOP candidate.

    My point is that what they said was not “nothing” and is still not nothing. They were very serious and very perturbed, and continue to be so. They approached me on this, which is highly unusual and had never happened before. Our interactions indicated to me that many of them were extremely serious about this and very ready to abandon Hillary, but for Trump.

    You don’t have to believe it, but that’s what I gleaned from my interactions with them. But the greater point is that Trump made that possibility impossible; because he is the nominee they are now determined to vote for her in order to stop him.

  24. DNW Says:

    “DNW:

    If you’re just saying “Maybe they wouldn’t have voted for a GOP candidate, if someone other than Trump had been nominated, because they didn’t sign a contract written in blood to that effect”—then well, of course they might not have voted for the GOP candidate. “

    I cannot believe the way this exchange has gone. Why not simply quote what I actually wrote, rather than rhetorically constructing an question I never posed, and then enclosing it in ostensibly paraphrasing quotes, in order to rebut it?

    Here is a simple way one could get to the root of the matter.

    One need only ask one’s self if at any time any person from the class of persons purportedly under discussion, has actually said that, given X Republican option in opposition to Hillary, they would vote for that option. Certainly there was some sufficient time between a year ago and the locking up by Trump of the nomination for this to have occurred were they truly serious and motivated.

    Hand wringing, and indications that one might be driven to do a little opposition candidate tire-kicking have just about the same political value as their cash value does in the marketplace.

    At any rate, when the quoting readily available text goes by the wayside in preference to the construction of pantomimes, it’s probably best to call it a day.

  25. neo-neocon Says:

    DNW:

    I’ve explained over and over why there was no reason for them to take some sort of pledge like that. I wasn’t quizzing them on that, nor do I even remember verbatim what they said (maybe they even did make some pledge and I don’t remember it), since all of these discussions occurred during the early days of the primaries, probably no later than January or February.

    Understand that we do not discuss politics often. This was them bringing it up to me, which was unusual. They seemed extremely serious. What happened—and I believe I’ve already alluded to this—was that in a couple of months or less (by March and certainly by April) it had become clear that Trump was almost certainly going to be the nominee.

    So the candidates they were interested in faded, and there was no reason for them to come to me again saying “Oh, I absolutely would have voted for them if they hadn’t faded!”

    I have no idea why you keep harping on this idea of some sort of solemn pledge from them, something I wouldn’t have expected from these people. They are all moderate Democrats (yes, such people exist) who do not live and breathe politics but do pay some attention to it and take voting seriously. They have also told me in recent months how distressed they are at both alternatives this year. They have made it clear that their vote for Hillary is extremely reluctant and due almost entirely (or entirely) to the Trump alternative.

    I would not expect more from them on the subject. We discuss it very seldom. I’m not in the habit of grilling people on this. But it is my strong impression that some of these people would have voted for Rubio, Kasich, or several other candidates over Hillary.

  26. neo-neocon Says:

    DNW:

    One more thing—I wasn’t throwing aside what you actually said and pretending you said something else. I was attempting to get at the question of whether my paraphrase was what you may have actually meant by some of what you said (and I used the word “if”). That’s because I’m having trouble understanding why you seem to want some sort of pledge (at least, that’s my interpretation of what you want from these people) before you credit my description and impression of what they said and what it meant.

    Words and thoughts are not always clear. Sometimes they are hard to interpret and it’s hard to understand the thoughts behind them. I’m merely trying to understand an argument from you that I find a bit strange. You may find it strange that I find it strange, but I do find it slightly strange that you are arguing so vociferously against my own impressions of my own conversations with friends, as summarized here.

    In summary, of course I don’t know for sure what they would have done, but they gave every indication of giving serious consideration to voting for certain GOP candidates rather than Hillary. They even seemed fairly eager to do so, considering that they had not voted for any GOP candidates before.

  27. DNW Says:

    For goodness sakes, Neo. Where did I use the word pledge, or imply the hypothetical was in any sense to be taken as one.

    All we are talking about here is a simple declarative consequent following upon the antecedent of a conditional proposition.

    That’s all.

  28. neo-neocon Says:

    DNW:

    What you described as being what they should have said in order for it to have meant something sounds like a pledge to me—not in the sense of a sworn oath on a Bible, but in the sense of a promise or commitment or strong strong intention. You seem to have wanted more than they gave (call it what you will), and I’m saying they gave enough to convince me that they had a very good chance of voting for that person, had that person been nominated. Which was my original point.

    That’s about it, as I see it.

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