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tv   Tonight From Washington  CSPAN  June 4, 2013 8:00pm-11:01pm EDT

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conservative activists testified on capitol hill tuesday about problems they experienced while applying for tax-exempt status. the house ways and means committee chairman of michigan said the committee has begun interviewing employees from the irs taxexempt office in cincinnati. this is three and a half hours.
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>> [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> good morning. the hearing will come to order. we will give the media a chance to leave. good morning. welcome everyone for being with us today. despite nearly two years of denial, last month the irs finally admitted the truth. three years ago the agency began systematically targeting individuals based on their political belief.
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however, with the agency has yet to had met and we still have to find out is how widespread this activity was coming and why it began in the first place. let's consider what we do know. in march of 2010, the irs put together a list that snared conservative groups and individuals based solely on their political beliefs. in may of 2011, the irs started sending letters threatening donors to conservatively nonprofits that they could be liable for gift taxes. in june of 2011, the ways and means committee initiated an investigation into the letters and highlighted concerns and individual taxpayers might be targeted for their political beliefs. in june of 2011, the senior leadership and washington, d.c. office of the irs also became aware that the irs workers had been using lists two target groups with names like liberty, tea party, patriots, 912, or make america a better place to live. in march of 2012 the
8:04 pm published the list of the organization for marriage, the conservative tax-exempt organization. in july of 2012, the administration to the treasury department was informed by the treasury inspector general of the take to what it is examining the targeting of groups by the irs. in may of 2013, the public and congress were finally told the practice had occurred and only after the scathing report the treasury inspector general but resulted in the irs officials about the targeting activity before the report is believed. just this weekend, "the wall street journal" reported that the irs gift tax letter that launched the initial and investigation was in fact a result of the conservative organization and its donors being targeted for their political beliefs. those are the facts we know. we also know that americans were affected by the culture of political intimidation and
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discrimination the was cultivated by this targeting. at its core, this investigation is about high and why the irs was allowed to use a ligon tax code to abuse individuals based on their beliefs. in a seemingly only based on their beliefs. and who are these americans? while their life stories are different but they all share in common that they are americans who did what we ask people to do every day. add their voices to the dialogue that defines our country and for pursuing that passion, for simply exercising the first amendment rights to freedom of association, of all irs singled them out. the american people better understand how far off track the irs has gone. their testimony will show the practice of treating certain americans differently on the basis of their beliefs was not limited to the discriminatory conduct revealed by the treasury
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inspector general for the administration's report which was released may 14th of this year. victims include tea party and monte party groups. 501c for organizations and 501c3 charitable organizations including religious organizations. all the witnesses receive interests of questionnaires from the irs agents across the country. some even had their confidential information leaked by the irs in the media which could have an impact of chilling free-speech to feed information requests include questions the were not only irrelevant, but also intimidating. not to mention a violation of privacy. those requests included asking for the following, copies of collectivities on face the court record. there is a maze of the past and present employees, whether they are a member or a family runs in the future. a list of past or present board members or members of the family
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that volunteer at a tax-exempt organization. information on the interaction with the media. details regarding the group's relationship with a private tax payer and a list of donors. the invited witnesses will put a small sample of americans who've been treated differently and discriminated against by the government because of their individual deeply held beliefs. there are many more. and again, i want to thank the witnesses for being with us today for the time you've taken to travel here and for sharing their stories and experiences. we might not know why this happens to replace the ashura learning firsthand from you about why they use the tax code to intimidate and harass you and help us take the steps necessary to make sure this never happens again. >> thank you very much. at the first hearing in everyday
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sense. each of us on a bipartisan basis have condemned the actions within the ira's exempt organization division. the irs failed to accurately and adequately inform the congress after they had all of the facts of what had occurred between 2010 and 2012. we have all said that the singling out by name was wrong. the president said allegis. the delay of over 13 months of processing applications were wrong. and the fact that the implications of some organizations have been pending for over three years he is an excusable. the inability to get clear guidance and how to measure of the collective in was wrong.
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in the burden some questions and inquiries that are totally inappropriate. the handling of these applications was gross mismanagement by the irs to extend organization division. that's why the day after the report was issued a call for the acting commissioner steve miller and the extent organizations division director. since our hearing, progress has been made to address the malfeasance that occurred within the irs exam organization division and to assure all of the facts come to the surface and that all identified problems are corrected so the american people may be restored. steve miller resigned as the odierno commissioner. the president appointed daniel as the acting on irs commissioner and the secretary
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lew instructed him to conduct a 30 day review and to implement the recommendations of the ig report. los lerner was placed on administrative leave by the commissioner. the commissioner appointed david fisher as the chief riss officer. mr. fischer previously served as the chief administrative office, officer and chief financial officer. yesterday he appointed a deputy commissioner and chief of staff, both with significant managerial and administrative experience. to the individuals testifying before us to each and all of you come to the organizations they represent and all the others caught up in this malfeasance,
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you are owed an apology. we say to you each of us is committed to doing our part to ensure that this doesn't happen again. the ig determined that the applications of the organizations were set aside for the review. one-third of the applications and were set aside, 96 contained the name tea party patriots. while the remaining 200 applications did not. the irs released a list of 176 advocacy organizations that had been approved for tax-exempt status through may 9th. the news organization tax analyst did release by the
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higher best its conclusion to the approved applicants. these organizations are the following. 46 with tea party patriots have 912 in their name. 76 of their conservative organizations. 48 non-conservative organizations and six organizations about which we can make that no determination. this is not a democratic or republican issue. this issue is a direct reflection on highly inappropriate actions within the irs exam organization division, and totally incompetent management within and over that division. tigta report highlights more problems than the singling out by name. the report found the irs
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employees for screen applications that had no indications of significant political the activities while closing cases did have such indications. to qualify to the tax-exempt status as social welfare organizations, the tax code provides that an organization must be operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare. the regulations, however, state that an organization will qualify for tax-exempt status operated primarily for social welfare purposes. overall, the data indicates an emerging use of the social welfare designation under the 501c4 to engage in political activities. 501 thank spends $92 million in the 2010 election. they spent 254 million in the 2012 election, the second
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largest category of organizations making political expenditures equal to that of political parties. in the tigta report the virus and that part of the treasury and would guidance on how to measure the primary activity of social welfare organizations include the priority guidance plan. we urge you to move with deliberate speed to implement this recommendation. in closing, i want to again on behalf of all of us on the democratic side, and i think on behalf of all of last think the witnesses for being here today and for discussing your experiences. please be assured that as you testify, please be assured that we take seriously our
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responsibility to ensure that congress gets to the bottom of what happened that the responses are held accountable and the safeguards are in place to ensure that this does not happen again. thank you. >> thank you. and again thank you for being here today and for the courage of stepping into the spotlight and giving voice to the hundreds of individuals who were affected by this activity. the committee has received each of your written statements and they've been distributed and they will be made a part of the formal hearing record. each of you will be recognized for five minutes for your oral remarks. we have a lighting system here, the green light will go until you have 30 seconds remaining and then there will be a yellow lights and red light. after each of you give your oral statements we will then move into questioning. the members will each have five minutes to question you and they
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will be subject to the same system so at times i am cutting that off to make sure every member has an opportunity to have their five minutes. the first witness is kevin of a nonprofit dedicated to high school and college students about the nation's founding to say the father of six children and comes to us today from tennessee. you are now recognized for five minutes. >> [inaudible] >> if you want to touch the microphone but in, please. >> thank you mr. chairman and to the honorable members of the committee. i'm the president and founder of lynchpins of liberty which is an american development enterprise. our motto is to challenge the imagination of the rising generation. we do this than entering high school and college students and political philosophy. we aim to mentor a high school and college ready students by teaching them about the great books and about the foundation
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of america's moral and constitutional orders. linchpin of liberty is one of those platoons described by alex de tocqueville a local institution to act as a check on the power of the state to moderate the despotism of the majority and to give people a case for freedom and the skills to be free. we are committed to a literary education and moral conviction that will allow citizens to maintain civil order. we aim to develop the imagination through the teaching of history and we believe that god is the measure of all things and that the soul is the essence of humanity. lynchpin students how they were unable to maintain freedom because of their pursuit of private gain and squandering resources on extravagance. from cicero we learn the necessity of the rules law and discovered the true all rights the reason and an agreement with nature. that virtue must not yield to power. lynchpins of liberty is inspired by augustine, the fourth century
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philosopher of freedom who wrote only in obedience to god to be find perfect liberty. we teach our students from george washington farewell address where we discover that religion and morality are indispensable supports for political prosperity. from montesquieu we learned they must conform to the natural law and that the republic can only be sustained by the virtue of its citizens. lynchpins of liberty recognizes that the state is a god ordained. necessary to protect against foreign enemies and that there can be no freedom without law. but there are limits to the authority of the state. the government cannot be alarmed to itself, and when the state usurps its legitimate authority by interfering in the realms of speech, religion, conscience, family association and ideas, we have a duty as human beings to ourselves and our prosperity to oppose and to protest the state's trust passing its
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limits. in order to raise money i filed an application with of the irs in january of 2011 seeking to obtain the 501c3 status as an educational organization. as of today, i have been waiting for 29 months without status. in the interim i lost the 30,000-dollar launch a grant from a reputable nonprofit whose executive director advised me that he had never seen such treatment of the 501c3 applicant in his 25 years of making grants. i also lost and continue to lose multiple thousands of my own money and i had to cease further activity for fear the irs would target me for further harassment. for two and a half years the irs has unlawfully delayed and obstructed my application for the determination of tax-exempt status by using unconstitutional criteria. the types of questions asked by the irs included asking me to identify the political will to the mission of my mentors and
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that i advise the irs on my position of virtually every issue of importance to me. for good measure i was asked to identify those who live trained and that i informed the federal government in detail what i am teaching my students. considering the motion of my organization is devoted to mentoring young people some of whom are miners can you imagine the reaction of the students' parents where i can turn over the names of their children to the irs? and to what end? is it not conceivable that i would be sued? what they threaten to audit the parents of those students? yet my failure to comply with the stunning inquiry would result in the denial of my application or subject me to perjury. moreover, contrary to the statement of the lowest lehrer the linchpin wasn't near the act of a few agents in cincinnati. on december 31st, 2011 after numerous repeated calls to the irs which went on return, i finally reached agent ron bell
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in the cincinnati. when i acquired as to why my application was taking so long, he said we have been waiting on guidance from a were superiors as to your organization and similar organizations. we have now received the guidance and you will receive your answer on the first out basis. although the linchpin of liberty is a 501c3 and not a fight 1c4 like the organizations here today we do share a common trait and that is our ideas. lynchpins of liberty exists to defend the cause of liberty and we reject the expansion of the state beyond its legitimate authority and we guard human liberty. >> i respectfully urge and appeal to this committee today which is a coequal branch of the federal government invested with authority and responsibility to check the power of the executive branch. i would ask that you act with courage and resolve for in so
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doing, the intent -- sorry, my time was running there. >> you may conclude. >> i would ask that you would act with the resolve to check the power of the executive branch because you will detect, and preserved human liberty for ourselves and our prosperity. thank you. >> thank you very much, mr. kookogey. our next witness is diane besom. >> thank you for having me today. my name is diane and i impressive end of the laurens county teen party. it is a social welfare organization that seeks to educate ourselves and our fellow citizens on various issues pertinent to living in a free country, and we also work to educate voters by vetting candidates and holding the forms during election years. we typically meet once a month
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and hold an annual rally. we held the first tea party rally in april of 29 and then formally organized and incorporated the state of south carolina in march of 2010. on july 22nd, 2010, we filed for the 501c4 status with the irs and paid the application fee of the $400. we've received a letter on august 11th, 2010 stating if more information was needed to process the application we would be contacted within approximately 90 days. after hearing nothing, i called the irs in the summer of 2011 which is a year after i filed and was told the case was still pending. but in the meantime we were still responsible for filing tax returns which we have done. on november 14, 2011, we received a letter stating that we may be required to file a form 90 postcard. nothing more was heard until september 6th 2012 when we
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received a communication from the irs requesting extremely burdensome additional information which includes the following, provided a copy of the articles in corporation which we had sent with our initial the application in 2010. information about all of our committees including legislative, educational and abetting and how much time and resources are devoted to these activities. they said about 20 pages copied from the web site and wanted confirmation that these were not in fact from the website. in the sites including facebook. as for detailed information about the meetings and events with of the agendas and any associated materials and if guest speaker made remarks concerning upcoming elections and whether our organization took a view on anything expressed and how much time and resources are devoted to these
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activities they want to know how much time was devoted to vetting candidates. the irs noted our website have a lot of the use of candidates running for local office. they wanted to know what offices the candidates are running for which was stated in the videos. a list of all the candidates for the offices and an explanation for those that didn't participate. copies of any written material including invitations to the candidates, copies of any introductory statements made by us, and copies of all questions asked of the candidates, whether the interviews were edited and a list of which were posted on the website and explanations for any not posted, the percentage of time and resources devoted to this. as regard to the candidates' forum we held, more questions asked in quitting the elective offices for which was held up a list of candidates and explanations for those who didn't participate, copies of the opening remarks from us, who asked the questions, copies of
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all questions asked, copies of written materials including invites to candidates and advertising, one of the videos posted were edited and the time and resources devoted to these activities they also ask for a list of expenses for the past three years and putting any amount expended for federal, state or local public office which i might add is zero. since i was already aware that it was targeting the tea party groups i immediately contacted and the agreed to represent us at no charge. nevertheless to comply with this information request, it took hours of time and, stress and aggravation. by the end of december we filed the requested information with the irs and then on january 31st we received a request for more information which included a request for the articles of incorporation, copies of e-mail sent out on the issues we deal with plus copies from our
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facebook. saddam e-mails sent to the group members why provided quite a few of those, copies of the ads placed on peepers, pictures submitted to local papers, press release and materials for distribution. we complied with these on march 5th, 2013 and is now june 4th, 2013. so nearly three years and today we have still heard nothing. i would like to know the group as a small-time operation with very little money and this represents a complete waste of time by the irs in terms of any money they would collect if it were not tax-exempt. nearly three years or more waiting for an answer is unacceptable. the irs needs to be investigated and held accountable for its incompetence, harassment and targeting of conservative groups. thank you. >> thank you belsom. our next guest is dr. john eastman for marriage and a professor chaplain university school of law. dr. eastman commend you are
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recognized for five minutes. >> to all members of the committee's the tree for taking these issues so seriously. i'm the chairman of the center for constitutional jurisprudence in public-interest law firm of the lead in the claremont institute and i'm on the board of directors of the legal foundation which serves as the co-counsel for the vote filed just last week on their slow walking by the irs and their status. i'm here today in my capacity as the chairman of the board of the organization for marriage because the agreed this conduct is taken against the organization which had its 501c for status come from the back in 2008 and kind of takes us to a different level. in march of 2012, the confidential portions of the '90 tax reforms including the schedule that is the list of major donors and their home addresses appear on the web site of the human rights campaign. the printed political opponent in the nationwide fight over traditional marriage. the copy of the tax return and
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the list of donors the was posted was redacted. the computer forensic people were able to only hear from the pds file and discovered that the new original document was posted there had originated from within the irs. it had internal irs stance placed on every document the irs receives that are electronically filed with the irs and placed on the documents by the computer system. we don't have a copy of the document with those irs stance on them. those on the exist within the irs and yet this was posted on the web site at the human rights campaign. you can imagine our shock and disgust over this. we guard our donors has almost every other nonprofit does particularly on the issue that we deal with which are so contentious that the donors once they are identified and intimidated and try to be chilled away from supporting the cause that we advance this is
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unacceptable conduct in our democracy. we immediately requested an investigation from the treasury's inspector general for the tax administration office as well as the department of justice. the second request was filed because these are felonies committed against the national organization for marriage pitting it's a felony punishable by 5,000-dollar fine and up to five years in federal prison for the illegal disclosure, the unauthorized disclosure of one's confidential tax returns. we are and nonprofit but that part of the tax return is as confidential as your individual 1040 forms. initially the investigated us to try to determine whether somebody from within our own ranks disclosed our confidential tax returns. when we pointed out we didn't have a copy of the version of the tax reform that had that stamp on it that is the last we heard of the investigation. that was last summer of 2012. we then begin filing a series of the freedom of information act
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request tigta and the irs to try to ascertain some of the information that had been discovered during an investigation that had been had. we were stonewalled in the freedom of information act request. the irs told us any documents they had would have been under the inspector general's terrorist action said they couldn't disclose them to us. we didn't ask for what was over at tigta. we asked for the files from onerous. the response was we'll be answered your request. we don't answer things twice. more stunning, may 3rd of this year in full what we privacy request we ask for the specific information that federal law allows us to request when there's been an investigation into the disclosure of the tax returns, the inspector general's office told us that the identity of the source of this felony against us with the self protected tax return information they could disclose to us. i ask you to think about the irony of that. there are a couple things it
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seems to me that this committee could look at to help share this problem. first-come clarify that it's not the case that the prohibition against disclosure of our tax returns shield the culprit who committed that. second, we have no ability to bring a criminal prosecution on our own and yet the department of justice hasn't done so. there's a civil penalty provision that is available but we can only bring the suit against the united states for a thousand dollars in the one disclosure, not the hundreds of thousands of disclosures done by the human rights campaign when they posted it on their website. i would like to see a clarification that would hold the people from the individual irs officials as well as their colors that are nongovernment employees liable to the taxpayers that they illegally disclosed. finally, i think because the investigation has yielded nothing, i think i would ask the
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committee to consider a subpoena for the folks of the human rights foundation and find out who posted on the web site and who hid the information, find out who received it and more importantly find out who disclosed this information. the head of the human rights campaign had recently been named the national co-chair of the obama reelection campaign. i hope the committee gets to the bottom of it. thank you for allowing me to testify. >> the next witness is the founder of the center and of chellie tea party. licensed as a psychotherapist practicing in southern california and among her work assists returning veterans that suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you. john adams' new facts are stubborn things. in this district they are hidden under the mantle of the office. they get used as tools or weapons but they wait for us.
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we must seek them with truth and put them into words what you and i speak different languages. you speak the language of power. i speak american grassroots. the language of liberty through providence, property and civic virtue. we seldom speak together about the rule of law unless it is ignored or violated. now is such a time. i have a story that bridges the distance between my state of california and this capital. what i say here must be said here. pilgrims brought to this continent the land of liberty guided here by the pursuit of life within the words of moses and christ. they persevere righteous freedom. we sit here in the shadows of washington, jefferson and lincoln and visit here in the memorial's to those that failed in the service to the country. they persevered for the righteous power. the spirit of patriots grants me
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the right to be here. it is my duty as an american citizen to [inaudible] today. in october, 2010, the san fernand of valley patriots and mom for-profit corporation in california applied the internal revenue service for the 501c for status of a tax-exempt social welfare organization. we were then and remain 80 pretty good affiliated with the national tea party patriot. we heard nothing until february 2012 when i received a packet from the irs is at organizations office in cincinnati ohio which included a questionnaire with 35 items divided into 80.73 we had 20 days to comply without penalty including penalties of perjury for failure to answer all questions that were true, correct and complete. generally the questions were demand are you now or have you ever been. the irs documentation of the
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meetings, rallies events and candidate forums. that included video and audio transcription notes, copies of all handouts, the political parties of the speakers and the issues list. the irs sought by the knipling information on employees data from the members plus employer identification numbers on businesses with which we associate. these are our donors. we have names like the printer who give a discount on handbills and the beauty consultant who donated posters for the tax ruling and the electrician who made a stand for the banner out of pipes and wires. they sought the details on the the association of tax-exempt organizations. these are our teachers and we have names, the heritage foundation, freedom works and the national center for constitutional studies where we learn american history. the tea party patriots where we learn grassroots skills and the rest of the pantry, our charity.
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the irs sought details of the communications with our legislators even in southern california that is protected free speech. my personal favorite was question number 33 which in relation to protest asks for a listing of our committed violations of local ordinances, breaches the public order or a rest and requested details on how we conduct or promote illegal activities. i think they need to fix its labelling machine. we are this and financially patriots not occupy oakland. i sought the process in july of 2012. we survive on my credit cards and the nation's like the patriots before us we persevered the rights of the republic presides over the citizens not in the tone of government, more on the self-evident truth. this dialogue is about the timoney upon the field of our founding documents to whisper the letters of irs strikes a
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note on mean street usa but when the behemoths tramples upon the grassroots, few here the snapping sound. now more people listen but few who know the truth speak to this reflects the reality of the government in america. this time we came to you. this time we came for truth and in time the lives will fall. leave the voice of the people is the voice of god and irresistible to america. our voice belongs to the free individuals and not to the collective mog. our voice is best heard dan the whispers to liberty strikes. and when liberty stands under heaven, the check to power for freedom. thank you. >> our next witness is the
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president of the coalition for the life of iowa until her recent return she was the founder and manager to become manager of and altering company. you are recognized for five minutes the it >> good morning. i'm the president of the coalition for life of iowa based in cedar rapids iowa. question for the life of iowa is a grassroots low-budget public charity founded in 2004 to provide the education and related activities on the conception. throughout our history, the organized and sponsored educational forums and engaged in peaceful, powerful activities in 2008 we sought the 501 seat retek six and recognition from the irs.
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i speak today said that what happened to us, the irs demonstrate improper questions and intolerance towards our message may not happen to others. the irs question is centered on the educational and potential political the activities our prayer groups. on april 27, 2009, the irs agents ms. richards sent me a letter asking about our educational forums. whether we were trying to influence legislation or political campaigns to date we have already answered now on the irs form 1023 application. i responded and bring all our questions fully. in the subsequent weeks the agent richards contacted me by telephone a few times.
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some questions she was unable to answer and would put me on hold and check with her superior or superiors. in june of 2009, she told me verbally and the savings under the perjury or organized outside of planned parenthood. upon receiving such a letter she indicated what about the applications to go through. so we followed up and respectfully requested where in the form 1023 or elsewhere it stated that we couldn't protest the planned parenthood to aid the irs never answered or question. instead they continue questioning us. on june 22nd, 2009, the agent
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sent us additional written requests as followed pitted please explain how will your activities including the meetings held outside of planned parenthood or considered educational to read the organizations accent may present opinions of scientific organization on medical facts. please explain in detail the activities at the meetings. also, please provide the percentage of your organizations that were on the prayer groups as compared to the other activities in the organization. please explain in detail the signs that are being held outside and how they are considered educational. when we met at the next board meeting we were all disappointed with the irs request. we had worked so hard to get the application connect. we had attorneys skilled with the process helping us. we understood we could hold up signs with educational
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information about the portion and the sanctity of life without the irs questioning the validity. we never thought we would have to defend our prayer activities. as christians we knew that we needed to pray for a better solution to an unplanned pregnancy and abortion. why not at the source? personally i wondered who fights the irs? of what the repercussions be? would there even be the hope to win? since we focus on educational forums and picketing the protesting and some board members were willing to find the request letters but others refused to sign the statement that unfairly restricted first amendment rights. we had very little funds. one board member suggested we contact the thomas more society, the public-interest law firm. they helped the little guy with little problems. they took the case and found an attorney that specializes in
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this area. fortunately, with their help and after we submitted a lengthy letter detailing all and our constitutional rights, the irs granted us tax-exempt status just one week after our attorney sent that letter to the irs agent richards. no more mentioning was made of the irs required board statements about protesting and picketing outside of planned parenthood. we were fortunate, but not all are. our story has a happy ending. the dodgers can claim a charitable tax deduction for their contributions. with their help we can carry out educational and religious activities to promote respect for human life such as the march for life. they seek to save lives and help others and improve the community. may hour story of the irs over
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reaching spur the reform of the practices better treatment of the charitable institutions and continued protection of first amendment right. thank you letting me tell my story. >> our final witness is president of the party in alabama. you are recognized for five minutes. >> thank you for inviting me to be here today to write like to begin with a brief statement. you are primarily interested in hearing about the abuses of the internal revenue service. it's critically important to understand just not what these abuses were but will the irs is trying to stifle. i need to explain how that he party came into being. we've never been involved in politics before 2008. we have been patriotic and proud of the country and felt the united states is the greatest
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country in the world. in 2008 when we had our first 700 billion-dollar bailout, we along with millions of americans were very concerned. the government was out of control. but a few months later in january of 2009 we learned our government was going to spend another $787 billion with a protected industries we were worried and we knew we had to do something to sound the alarm. they were far beyond the habitual spending. the government was mortgaging america's future. and we knew that washington wasn't going to stop by itself. in the spring of 2009 we learned others were organizing tea party events around the nation to educate and empower the citizens who learned the government was out of control. so we made our plans. my husband and i filled out a permit to meet at a local park
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and the small town. my daughter and by walked through neighborhoods for the april 15th event. when they arrived we were blown away by a large crowd. few politicians can also, but they didn't speak. we wanted to give ordinary citizens the chance to speak their concerns. our yvette had no party affiliation. i couldn't tell you if the attendees were republicans, democrat or independent. it didn't matter to get political notion expressed is one that we collectively felt the representative government had failed us, and that was the birth of the team party. there are no dues, no price for membership, our agents are mostly educational. whatever expenses are incurred and paid for donations and t-shirt sales. we are patriotic americans and we peacefully assemble and petition our government. we exercise the right to free speech and we don't understand why the government tried to stop
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us. i am not here as a vessel and digging my lord for mercy to get i get mayborn free american woman, wife, mother and citizen and i am telling my government that you have forgotten your place. it's not your responsibility to look out for my well-being and to monitor my speech to the it's not your right to assert an agenda. the post that you occupy access to preserve american liberty. you have performed that duty and you have faltered. the abuse i will discuss occurred on your watch. and it's your responsibility to make sure it doesn't happen again. here are the facts of my case. we applied for a 501c4 in october of 2010. our application feet with past seven days later. we received a letter from robert dated november 2nd, 2010,
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stating that our application and our user fee payment had been received to beat it also stated we should be expecting to hear from someone within 90 days. however, the iraq did not initiate any contact with us for another 459 days. that is when i received a letter from the cincinnati office dated february feared, 2012. that letter stated that they couldn't process our application until we completed the questionnaire that requested approximately 90 pieces of additional information about our organization. the questionnaire stated that if the additional information wasn't returned by february 24th, our case would be closed. the demand for information and the questionnaire shocked me as someone that loved liberty and the first amendment. i was asked to hand over my list including the amount they gave and the date on which they gave them. the 501c4 organizations do not have to disclose the donor
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information. i knew that. why don't they? among the demands i found alarming inappropriate or that they wanted me to identify all of my volunteers. they wanted to know if any of our donors were volunteers had run or would be running for office in the near future. remember this is the 2012 election cycle. they wanted us to identify the office they would be running for. they wanted us to provide detailed content of all speeches ever given, the names of the speakers and the credentials. they wanted copies of written communications and content of all other forms of communications to any legislative body including my own representative. i was very uncomfortable with these questions as you can imagine. and my husband and i discussed forfeiting our application. however, within days of reading through these questions we knew we were being targeted because devotee party organizers in the nation were getting the same
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type of letters and questionnaires. that is when we decided to seek legal counsel. march 6, 2012 we retain the council of the center fall and justice and they represented us in this matter. two weeks later i received a letter dated march 16th, 2012 and the requested information. we received a letter received the tax exemption. this was 635 days after we applied. the tea party filled out a complete application. our organization fell within the boundaries of receiving the 50c status. get the application was singled out because we had tea party in our name. government agents made invasive and excessive demand for information they were not entitled to. the congressman and members of
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the committee this was not an accident. this is a willful act of intimidation to discourage the point of view. will the government did to our group in alabama is un-american. it isn't a matter of firing or resting individuals. the individual that sought to intimidate as they thought they should in the government culture that has little respect for its citizens. many of the agency and agencies of the federal government do not understand that they are servants of the people. they think they are our masters and they are mistaken. i'm not interested in scoring political points. i want to protect and preserve the america that i grew up in the america people across oceans and risk their lives to become a part of and i intensified it is slipping away.
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>> we will now move -- thank you for the testimony. we will move into the question and answer period of securing and i will begin. on may 17th, we heard from the inspector general at the irs that they targeted certain americans on the basis of their personal beliefs. they were subject to extreme really is inappropriate at best and unlawful questions tebeau i know for example and all the issues important to the organization to indicate your position at each issue. you were asked about prayer meetings and putting out a concerted education is defined and you asked to explain in detail the activities of the prayer meetings and the percentage of time your organizations than this on the proceedings to date and i would like to ask the panel to
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elaborate. or the inspector general's report findings consistent with your experience of targeting delays and intimidation. and i will start with you mr. kookogey. >> yes i would say the inspector general's report are consistent. i don't think the inspector general's report, however, is deep enough yet. we have more evidence among us not only this panel but other parties and organizations that it is much deeper to begin life and they have just scratched the surface. >> ms. belsom? >> i didn't read the inspector general's report, so what exactly was your question? >> of those things i mentioned with a consistent with your experience? >> it seemed like a gross over each of the ims. >> thank you.
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dr. eastman? >> we didn't have those particular problems but as this goalie's become more public of the communications i received seeking legal counsel have raised a concern a lot of americans have expressed pity if it is limited the irs the stories about people having osha starting investigations has citizens scared to death of what their government is capable of doing once they crossed the threshold that the cost. it's not just a virus. this is the beginning of this letter thread that is unraveling. americans are afraid of what is going on. and we have got to restore the credibility of government rather than the masters as our colleagues said. the number of stories i'm getting vindicates those concerns id is deeply troubling. >> in answer to your question, definitely yes.
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>> yes. they asked us to explain in detail the activities of the prayer meeting. also please provide the time of your organization spends on prayer groups as compared with the other activities in our organization. >> i would agree with the report. page 20 the lifted seven questions the deemed inappropriate. however, many of the questions that i was asked and others like the content of your prayers, some of the organizations we have been involved income dhaka questions asked about their family members and the questions i mentioned about running for office, they do not see those as inappropriate. so, i think we need to go back and look at those questions because most of them were inappropriate. >> and obviously getting a letter from a federal agent asking for those details of the detail pieces of information
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about the prayer meetings and these issues and what your family members are doing and talk i read some of those questions and i came to the conclusion that they thought there was a right and wrong and a right and wrong activity regarding prayer meetings for example. what was your impression when you received those questions? i will start with you ms. gerritson. >> i felt defensive for one thing because i felt like that wasn't any of their business to the i wasn't going to identify my volunteers. i was fearful for them. i knew they would be scared. the questions were chilling. i was shocked i was being asked those questions. >> the thing for us was having to agree that we would not protest or tickets at planned parenthood. and since there were no similar
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requests in the application, we had no idea what they were even trying to control. would that be considered protest ticketing? it was very troubling. >> dr. kenney? >> i immediately reached my target heart rate when i opened the envelope to the and i had anxiety and i felt betrayed. absolutely. >> a number of them called it expressing concern about that. the effort seemed to have been designed to subject them to abuse and intimidation, to hold them accountable for the cause of traditional marriage. to boycott their businesses to target their families, and more significantly for all purposes, to chill them from donating so we could keep up the political fight that we are in the middle of. there is an unbelievable
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chilling effect on what happened to us. >> i think that our organization -- the questions were not quite as intrusive but i was overwhelmed by the sheer level of minute detail of was being requested to try to go back and track down all this stuff it was very difficult. it was a stressful thing having to go through this and at this point, too, thinking back looking through this was the paperwork filed and when i look back through all this information sent to the irs and i heard about these 157 visits i believe it was between the head of the irs and president obama i'm very concerned. it just makes me very nervous about was my group being discussed, was our political activity being discussed and more we some how targeted for this, and it's very chilling.
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.. if you had a bank can you disclose confidential customer information, would you call that horrible customer service or something else? >> i would call it a felony and i would hope for the people who
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committed those i would bring indictments and civil liability for tax payers affect it current damages to don't have a are incalculable and i would prosecute those responsible. >> thank you. mr. levin has recognized his >> thank you very much. but me say a few things in response to your testimony. i do think it is our obligation should get the facts and not feel in conjecture. indeed, the lovely steel with conjecture, the less likely we are to get the facts. so let me just say to you, ms. martinek, i think we very much this degree, but i must say
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that the question about whether you are picketing are protesting before planned parenthood was totally worse than inappropriate. should not have been asked that. and as person of the irs are inquired of, i would think that may be looked into. mr. eastman, let me just say to you, this issue is raised at the hearing but inspect your general and mr. miller indicated in response to a question about the donor list, that he believes -- i believe we made a referral to the inspector general.
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he was later asked about that and he said, i quote, those two situations we went to titgia and those disclosures were an art than there had been disciplined in one of those cases where somebody not following procedures, but i will obviously let mr. george speak to that. that was his testimony. and then our chairman asked mr. george about that and it would appear from his testimony that it was being investigated by the inspect her general and that is all we know about it at this point. whether it continues to be investigated by the inspect your
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general. so let me just finish. i just want to emphasize that said in my opening statement that we also need to look at the larger issue of 501(c)(4)s of the statutory language in the reagan nation and how in fact it's now being utilized. but i want to finish by reading the last part of my opening statement. please be assured that i said this to beach in one of you and to the american public. please be assured that we take seriously our responsibility to ensure that congress gets to the bottom of what happened and those responsible are held accountable in the safeguard or please to ensure this does not happen again. we will do that. we on the democratic side will do that.
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i trust on a bipartisan basis, will work together to do that. thank you. >> thank you did mr. johnson is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you wrote in this important hearing. the american people need, want and deserve to know the truth. if the response ability to hold those responsible fully accountable. i also thank the witnesses for sharing their stories. was particularly struck a several tea party witnesses. as you know, mr. chairman, in my district it appears the fiscal responsibility, the rule of law and limited government have also been a target of the irs. back in july 2010, the group applied for by one c. for -- 501(c)(4) status and the group has yet to receive a response. that's absurd. it's been nearly three years in february 2012 the irs sent the alan marriott feature its 19
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questions from including such relevant ones relating to the group's key officials. mr. chairman, and i to submit for the record to see if wbs news story with two groups targeted by the irs. let me just say what it says here. the irs wanted a list of all their volunteers, everything they did that one on accounting of every dollar donated and what it was spent on wanted records of every speaker of the group that ever hosted inquires they might have handed out. may i submit that for the record quick >> without objection. >> a pattern of intimidation is quite wrinkly in my view on american. the bottom line is the irs has been used as a political whack
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in -- but then. i understand you work with those return from combat with posttraumatic stress to shorter and i think it's a thank you for doing that. ms. kenney, can you describe your work? >> i work with veterans who have been deployed for iraq and iran, iraq mostly come in the desert communities and their families. the toll that deployment takes on families is extraordinary. i work with a therapy dog. i'm going to cry. i see people that are untouched. no one hugs a soldier unless they are family. but i have this one guy i see any ghosts where's my dog? he picks the dog up the entire session he pats my dog, little cd. they are on the front lines and everyone on this panel have their back and i hope you do,
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too. >> yes, ma'am. as you know, i was in the military and i understand not. thank you for doing this. considering the selfless work you do, did you ever think you got to do with pages and pages of intrusion questions from the irs? when you come home from a day of helping our troops who protect us every minute of everyday come in the last thing you want to do is deal with onerous questionnaires from the irs. can you talk about the burden of the iris questions and how many there were? >> the burden on me personally was extraordinary. i think i could have bought stock in kinko because there was almost 200 pages of document tatian, leaflets, agendas. i have one here because they asked, do we have the candidates of a certain party? this is a list of candidates i invited for one of our candidates forum, both
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democrats, republicans, back and forth. i heard nothing from any democratic candidate, not even aris vp regret. and some republicans that they couldn't come sent their presentation, so did the libertarians. our group is primarily educational. that is what we have operated as a 501(c)(4). we've done this to get word on the constitution, to get people informed on how to vote, where to go to vote, if you go to our website, you will see democrats, republicans, libertarian groups in los angeles county listed. >> how much time to the irs give you respond to those letters? >> 20 days after the first interrogatory there were three questionnaires sent. >> that made it impossible for you to answer those questions thank you for being here and the
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great work you do to help our veterans. i appreciate you standing up for them as they stand up for us. >> mr. wrangell. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let me thank each and everyone of you are making the effort to come here to point out where government has let us down in helping us to understand the problems those people directly and not firstly effective so we can better do our job. i don't want to forget ms. kenny and everyone listening, whatever you can do for the veterans, whatever anyone can do to help those people who put their lives at stake and are coming home to joblessness and homeless as, i want to commend you as did my colleague for what you do and
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hope it is encouragement so everybody can do some pain. now, with the irs, most of us know that this is an experienced telephone call from the irs somehow historically it's a very, very uncomfortable feeling. and i hope all of you would agree that the 90,000 people that work for the internal revenue service are dedicated, hard-working, civil servants, but we have found a cancer someplace in cincinnati and we have to find out what caused this so that no americans would be the type of bias and discrimination that some of you any of us who are not here have
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suffered. we have to make certain that it doesn't happen again, but even more important try to find out just how many people were contaminated by the presence of those people that has done this to her country. dr. eastman, i think you would agree we have to find criminal intent. we don't know how anyone could do something like this and think it was in the ordinary course of business, but as a formal federal prosecutor and u.s.a. doctor and lawyer and formal click to the united states supreme court knows that i've been trying to get the same information you spoke of in your testimony and they said it been investigated and could lead to a grand jury inquiry.
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i think if you and i kept in touch with each other i would be satisfied with you following whether or not our government is actually pursuing this investigation and the manner that you as an american could be proud that this branch of government intends to do the job that is it of us. and so, i don't want these hearings to just pass and indict an administration, but more importantly to indict the civil servant every day for the taxpayers and i just want to close, dr. eastman, and say when it comes to political support, most people know i'm a democrat to the marrow of my bones, but what makes our country great is
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everybody wants a better country and loves the country we are in and we need all of these views, but you came over with the pilgrims or came some other way. we are here to improve the quality of life for our country to be a beacon of democracy for the entire world. i don't know whether our political system can afford to be used in charitable organizations to get candidates elected. and i only ask you this is a professor of constitutional law, dr. eastman and the fact that people's identities should be confidential if it concerns the dvd. but if you are a democrat, put it out there. if you are republican, put it out there. if you're making contributions, do it, be proud of that, but it
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just sounds, dr. eastman, that the undercover sting to take an organization that is supposed to be primarily for the public good and be giving political campaign funds. >> dr. eastman come you have to respond briefly because time is expired. >> if he wants to get rid of tax-exempt status incredible plane field that would be fine. what is intolerable is to have one set of rules for one side and another for another. and quite frankly, what is happening to the national organization for marriage donors come the level of intimidation is starting to rival what went on. the supreme court shut down naacp alabama. there's a reason people want their activities confidential so they don't get harassed and intimidated out of participating in the political process. and when it rises to that level, i think it is important we help
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protect that confidentiality the law provides some people are not chilled away from exercising constitutional rights. >> time is expired, mr. rangel. >> mr. brady is recognized. a mac the potential abuse of power by the irs including targeting donors and organizations based on their political beliefs, linking private taxpayer information to the media to outside groups perhaps to campaign, concealing a program for almost two years and then misleading congress. and if you're deliberate investigation ought to begin by listening to the mother's abuses of power. thank you for being here today. for small business owner in the big west with housewife concerned citizen of alabama company you two are plenty tough, but how frightening is the government so powerful that it can target you an average
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american citizen for simply expressing our constitutional views engaged in this republic. how frightening is that power? >> well, for me it was very afraid name. i didn't even if we had a hope to try and stand up to it. personally, i thought we would just have to find the letter and get our 501(c)(3) if we didn't have the 501(c)(3), some of our donors maybe wouldn't contribute to us. so it was the power the irs had over a sin or the success of our group are not granting days. fortunately, some of our board members were strong about it i would not give up their first amendment rights. even that were not about protesting, that's nowhere about. we're about education, praying for an end to abortion.
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some of our members to elect a state defined. but but that's very small. still, we didn't want to give up the right we had to be alluded to that. but fortunately had some attorneys that helped us. it would've meant the attorneys, i don't know what would've happened. >> thank you. >> is very hard to put into words how scary it is been a huge government and government agency can, after an individual or a small organization. i think what is the most alarming and what is the most scary is when you allow the government to go so far and you don't stop them, they go further and pretty soon we are in tyranny and it's hard to put into words. it looks like using these agencies as a weapon against citizen feels scary and it feels like tyranny.
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>> mr. eastman, the white house continues to claim all this was done by a couple of rogue employees in cincinnati. do you believe the leaking of taxpayer information contained a few rogue employees in cincinnati? >> no i don't, representative brady. let me respond to congressman levin's information. it wasn't an advert that is given to her political opponents. this is an somebody dropped a piece of tax return on the sidewalk. they deliberately provided our donor list to the very political opponents of ours who'd been seeking that information for his longtime. the word no longer means anything. >> concerned citizens of south carolina, mr. koji, you teach civics class? did either of you believe this could happen in america? did you ever imagine the
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government could target you like this? >> i mean, that wasn't something i was thinking about. i thought we lived in a free republic, but honestly i feel our country has turned a corner into tyranny and i honestly have lost sleep over being in fear of what our government next. >> in my situation, we teach about this very thing. the irony is that it's happening right under her nose is viewed as a good lesson for my students albeit a frightening one. >> probably one you didn't include in your lesson plan originally. >> we did not. >> with a lot of work to do this investigation. it is going to be thorough, deliberate. it's important we hear from you comes to thank you for being here. >> mr. chairman. >> mr. mcdermott. >> thank you, mr. chairman. freedom of speech is no doubt one of our most important fundamental rights.
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it's unacceptable in every way for a government agency to unfairly scrutinize any organization because of their political affiliations. the irs has unequivocally made a mistake here. i'm sorry your organizations were singled out like this. while i think it was foolish account management and dangerously chosen this shark is so not hesitate to say the irs was wrong. as i listened to this discussion at which remind everyone what were talking about here. none of your organizations were kept for organizing our silence. we are talking about whether or not the american taxpayers will subsidize your work appeared were talking about a tax break. if you didn't come us for the tax break, you would've never had a question asked of you. you could go out and say anything you want in the world and i get the feeling many of you and my republican colleagues just don't believe or believe
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you should be free from political targeting, but free from any scrutiny at all. the purpose of this e3 or c. for tax exemption is to enable the promotion of public good, not political work. it is the responsibility of the irs to determine which groups determine the correct exempt status and which try to manipulate the system to avoid taxes and high political organizations and campaign donors. without oversight status for charities becomes the machine for political money laundering. you think that's far-fetched? you want to talk to speaker gingrich. speaker gingrich in 1997 was fined $300,000 by the ethics committee of the house of representatives for funneling money from the lincoln
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opportunity fund of which he was chairman to promote the takeover of the house and aroused republican not to this. now that is what happens when you don't ask questions. each of your groups of highly political from opposing the president health care reform to restrictions to gay marriage, you are all entrenched in some of the most controversial political issues in the country and with your application, you're asking the american public to pay for that work. many of your post and endorse candidates. the line between political activities and non-permitted political activity can be very fine and it is important taxpayers, the taxpayers know which side you fall on. if there were an organization promoting taxpayer funding for abortions, wouldn't you want to
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know what they were using the political money for her for what candidates they were backing? what about a group that wanted to promote voting without i.d. or what if in the midst of a few years ago there is an increase of communist candidates in this country is communist clubs want to be tax. wouldn't you want to be sure the self-declared free classification was correct? the mistake was the staff organizing organization used the names rather than the work they do and asked improper questions to figure that out. it's clearly wrong. it was in that and a lot of other things. but let's not get lost. the volkert's without any concern by mr. issa or anyone else on this committee. they were looking conspiracy where there wasn't.
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mr. issa said he could feel the menace got someone has broken the law. ask yourself which is more likely, abatement level employee overwhelmed by four times as many applications as before made irresponsible shortcuts or there's an wide plot to take down community organizers. let's not forget this happen under irs commissioner appointed by george bush and was investigated by a republican inspector general. what happened to you was unfair. it is unfair and incredibly inconvenient, but it was a mistake. our job is to make sure it never happens again. i haven't heard a single word here about what questions you think we have to ask you about your tax exempt request. anything else at the circus happening in the oversight committee or here is simply political theater. it is the diverting attention
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from what we have to do on this committee is rewriting the law if it's wrong. >> thank you. time is expired. mr. ryan is recognized. >> i'm going to dv for my original question in response to what i just heard. [cheers and applause] >> mr. chairman -- the committee will be in order. mr. ryan has the time. we are gingrich, we heard bush appeared with the former irs commissioner showman who know about political targeting that implied organizations responsible because they chose to apply for tax-exempt status. you are to blame my guess is the message here. do you think you are targeted based on political beliefs, religious beliefs or just because you chose to apply?
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>> are believed, our views. >> with the acting commissioner miller here a couple weeks ago and we asked him, did groups with the word organizing a progressive in their name targeted? the answer was no. this is one of the facts we now know. people were singled out because of their beliefs. back to my original line here. mr. kookogey -- sorry. you're 29 months quick >> 29 months and counting. >> i've not been approved. >> one of your inquiries many questions asking to provide a list of members and donors. the political affiliation of your mentors in your political position on virtually every issue important to you. >> yes, sir. >> montesquieu, cicero, tocqueville, washington and its 29 months of waiting, right
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quick >> yes, sir. >> mr. eastman, i want to get this one nailed down. dr. eastman, excuse me. you have proved that the irs an individual or group of individuals committed a felony. you approved this and nothing has occurred to see or find justice. is that correct quick >> that's correct. the federal law requires we be notified if there's an indictment brought we have not been. federal law allows us to request information about whether it's the status of the investigation and any action taken. we were refused any answer to that request as well. we've identified the document came from within the irs. >> that is protected by law. you have proved the irs victor
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confidential donor information to a group that opposes your point of view in your donors were harassed as a result of that, is that correct quick >> yes. >> ms. martinek, right next door in iowa i work with groups similar to what you do in iowa. the irs told you that if your board signed the letter stating they would no longer picketer protests on behalf of the pro-life movement at planned parenthood that then they could receive their tax exempt status. is that correct? >> that is correct. >> surrender your rights and approve the application. >> that is correct. she said it was ready to go through. everything was in order and as soon as they received the letter, the application would go through. >> we have not heard any testimony this is happening to groups that have the opposite views. so to sit just that the citizens
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are to blame for applying -- i don't understand how anyone can make a conclusion. i yield. >> thank you. mr. lewis is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i think each of you for being here. i notice the makeup for this panel from the south than other parts of the country. i grew up in alabama, went to school in tennessee and i live in georgia, but i'm happy to see people from other parts of the country. no organization or individual whether progressive or can evidence deserves the type of treatment you received our experience. the groups applied for tax-exempt status based solely on political views is completely
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unacceptable. it is a disservice to the american people. but let me be clear, it is also to apply a partisan lan to initiate a concern all americans. since the days of the bush administration they have been scrutinized. every single person knows this. we must be honest with ourselves and with each other. this has nothing to do with red versus blue and for the past 10 years come to irs commissioners have been republican appointees appointed by president george bush. between 2004 and 2006, many liberal groups including the naacp, a progressive church in environmental group would target by the bush administration. where is the sense of righteous
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indignation? of members of this committee, we must exercise our oversight to honesty and fairness of the american people expect and deserve. as we sit here today, let us also remember we have many good, hard-working employees. we must not let the action of misguided views cause replication of the entire agency. if anything, we must come together and find a bipartisan solution to a bipartisan problem. i want to thank each of you for taking the time coming here i'm especially from alabama, not too far from montgomery where i grew up. thank you for being here and thank you, mr. chairman. i yield my time.
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>> mr. nuñez is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. among the iris agencies to demand answers to questions coming received a letter from ms. lois lerner washington is the comment that correct? >> yes, sir. >> ms. gerritson coming also received a letter from his lerner? and mrs. kenney have you also received a letter from his lerner? now? >> in the materials i gave, yes. >> in her mouth received letters from lois lerner? mr. chairman, we have three witnesses here who received letters from lois lerner last week or two weeks ago mr. miller suggested this was defined to cincinnati. we have a conflicting statement between what mr. miller sad and what happened to win a ticket to the bottom of that. mr. eastman, can you name the inspector general for tax administration officials you
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expressed your case with quick >> i can provide that after the hearing. >> if you could provide this after the hearing i appreciate it. >> denote the leak of your tax information included donors, did it come from washington d.c. are sent to 90 or do you now? >> i don't have any reason to believe it came from cincinnati. arafat announces in utah in the wash and novices who we've been dealing with. >> mr. chairman, we should figure out or perhaps the inspector general has the information to speed up the process on the investigation of where the information was leaked from because that would dispel the cincinnati narrative that's out there. ms. martinek, the irs agent who handled your case is ms. richards quite >> that's correct. >> at ms. richards had a first
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name? >> should never give her first name. >> did you correspond with every other irs agent by your case? >> i did not, but attorney sally wagon maker did. >> could you provide the names of who she corresponded with what this committee? >> yes. >> did ms. richards indication is discussing your case are seeking guidance from anyone else in the irs? >> she did a couple times put me on hold and then said i will check with my supervisors. >> within cincinnati or so miles? >> i don't know that. >> ms. belsom, you are contacted by ms. joseph her. you correspond with any other agents about your case? >> now.
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>> did mr. indicate he was talking to someone else within the agency? >> we had the initial letter and make out with them. >> your mother came from washington or cincinnati? >> the address he gave him a letter that he signed at cincinnati. >> okay. >> mr. chairman, my today's testimony, we should bring these, mr. steel, say, nine and ms. richards who does not a first name, try to figure out who those people are and bring them and conduct interviews with these folks and i also remain concerned about mrs. lerner who pleaded the fifth and said she didn't do anything wrong. we should get her before this committee mr. joseph grant promoted weeks before and then
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resigned immediately. they could maybe shed some light on who violated the constitutional rights of these essays and many rights of many americans. i don't act. >> thank you. mr. nielsen recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. what we've heard today in previous hearings is certainly very troubling. the iris touches every american and its critical americans trust the irs for not being committed are afraid. reports including today's testimony of targeting based on political views, religion or opposition to the policies is certainly unacceptable. i'm also troubled by the mismanagement of the iris and handling tax exemption application; the site of the screening process. acting commissioner miller last week, based on questioning i offered highlighted one of the
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constituents that follow the advice to be penalized a few years later. the american assuredly should provide without punishment. the failure by the irs to provide congress with information and oversight role certainly zonic said the bowl as well. it's unbelievable to me that while ms. lerner testified before this committee a few days before her apology at the aba conference, without informing the committee as to what she was going to say at the aba conference. that demonstrated a lack of regard for her role. i appreciate very much your hearing calling it today. we need to get to these problems and work together to identify solutions that will be a bipartisan basis. but we can't forget something here are even more creatures than some of the actions of the irs and that is the underlying
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problem. 501(c)(4)s are engaged in political or dvd. after citizens united, the irs is flooded with applications for groups seeking 501(c)(4) status. why was that? in large part, super pacs must disclose donors, which 501(c)(4)s do not. that is not meant as a political statement. the lack of transparency of 501(c)(4) status is equally troubling in both cases. in reference to mr. ryan's statement earlier, there were democratic groups targeted. testimony indicated that in that should be noted as well. i hope, mr. chairman, you include a thorough review of 501(c)(4) status as we seek to address the issue. ms. kenney, just a question.
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i appreciate very much her work with veterans, including the fact there are 10 and 700,000 new veterans. the number will probably reach 2 million as you know. you did in your opening testimony indicate an invitation to extend a wide range of groups and candidates, but you also indicated democrats did not attend based upon invitation is extended. what you think that would be? >> at no idea. >> mr. t. various recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman. the testimony has been breathtaking. i want to remind the members of the committee that this is far beyond 501(c)(4) status. you may recall that gemini introduced at the last hearing, question number 26 and i'd like
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to work with you to submit some information on that case, congresswoman schmidt was his congressmen and she submitted to the irs questions regarding why mr. tomas was questioned on a 501(c)(3) application for a suburban cincinnati organization to this day they have not received their status and to this day, this american doesn't know why he was question number 26. i like to work with you, mr. chairman and trying to get answers to both organizations. i was shocked to find out on friday with a question from a lawyer in my district dealing with the irs. this lawyer represents an organization that is a taxable nonprofit, a taxable nonprofit. they filed their first tax
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return with the irs in february of this year, mr. chairman. the organization name is we the people convention inc. in ohio. they received a letter from the irs on april 30th and it says dear taxpayer, february 21st, we received your form 1120. we are sorry we cannot process your return is filed. our records indicate the above name account, we the people as a political corporation and thus is a political corporation are required to file form of levin 20 plo and tax exempt status. the irs had no information other than the name with the people for an organization that wanted to pay taxes and their return
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was rejected in april of this year, mr. chairman. the lawyer brought back to the irs, by the way, not the tax-exempt division. another division within the irs info corrections operations within the irs and the letter from the lawyer says this organization was formed as a nonprofit corporation in february 2011, stated purpose of ohio citizens for the purpose of sharing information and ideas about this state as well as any lawful purposes. the organization focus on planning on holding the annual meeting to discuss the affairs is not involved in any act of it is designed to directly or indirectly influence any election come unless the organizations that meet the statutory test to claim tax exempt status under irc section 527 and if i attempted to claim such status. mr. chairman, for only scratching the surface of where this goes.
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not the tax exempt organization. this organization is they taxable nonprofit. for the members of this committee who think this is about just tax exempt status, which by the way is legal, this shows we are only scratching the surface, mr. chairman. i appreciate your leadership on this. the testimony is fabulous. my mom and dad came to america across the atlantic and i've got to tell you, ladies and gentlemen, this is shocking to me. i yield back. >> mr. doggett. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for your testimony today. the leicester in the subject focused as the inspector general of the revenue service. a career republican worked with two republican senators appointed by president george w. bush and how broad investigative powers. he identified wrongdoing at the irs. i agree with his findings,
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agreed that whether it's one of these organizations can any of the 298 applications that mr. levin identified from his report satisfied, 96 of them appearing to be of perhaps a political organization like the groups here today and perhaps one like texas in my hometown, which received a similar letter and has dissimilar the least of us expressed here today. whatever the political beliefs, the inspector general is right. folk should never have to worry about whether the tax collector is looking at political beliefs or activities in making a decision. the inspector general had more to say, however, after the strong opening statement of our chairman about what the reports signified. i asked him specifically if he had found any evidence of the corruption at the irs as
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charged. he said no, he had not. i asked since there was a charge in our hearing whether a tax system is brought at the core. he indicated no, definitely not. i asked whether there is any evidence to support his thorough investigation to charge the chairman of the iris pics who wins and loses in america. he responded, i don't believe that is the case. i agree with him on those findings as well. indeed, there is a question in a serious problem at the irs with regard to the issue of which groups in our country, the taxpayers should subsidize. we do not subsidize the democratic or republican or libertarian party and we should not. we should not subsidize groups that in a similar way to promote political and committee.
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this congress is very clear on that point, clear in 1913 and repeated reclassifications of what is now 501(c)(4). instead they must be operated for the promotion of social welfare. only at a later time through a rule that seems to conflict directly with the clear wording of the statute to the irs act to get assault discussion to explore organizations just like those before us today? i think the irs is wrong here. it did so during the administration of president dwight eisenhower in 1959 ended her recent years, particularly after this decision and citizens united suggested we would have tens of billions, hundreds of millions of tax subsidize money
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poured in the secret undisclosed contributors into the election process to pollute our democracy. an organization before the last election, citizen's responsibility and ethics in washington petitioned the irs to ask about this and go back to the original, clear, unequivocal wording of the statute that existed since 1913. the irs did not respond, except with it we will think about it type letter. the citizens first and stability and ethics in washington has petitioned again this year for the treasury department to act on this matter. i have asked them, as have other members of the congress to do the same. i don't believe the internal revenue service, the treasury department should be providing tax subsidies to organizations
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not engaged and social welfare whether it's progress texas or any other name they want to apply to themselves. this is the second hearing in a very short. time. we have now hunt some 37 votes on whether to repeal the affordable health care at. i am sure this is not the last hearing on this topic in the two are closely related. the internal revenue service has been poured rules to play. it is to assess those working middle-class families who are entitled to receive some premium assistance in acquiring insurance in the irs needs to carry out that job effectively and fully. the two are directly related, the goal of ensuring the irs
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cannot fulfill its responsibilities. i got that. >> i went out for the record the inspector general report was in on it and inspector general indicated he would be completing a full investigation of this matter in the future. i will recognize mr. recker for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. supreme court authority decided this issue and some of our friends may disagree with the supreme court's decision, just like some of us on the side of the might disagree with the supreme court's decision on forcing americans to buy health insurance. but it is the law to land. so let's step back and see where we are. last week or two weeks ago we had a dream or mr. george and mr. miller appeared. mr. miller accepted tig strip port. he accepted it fully. on the other hand he said i don't agree with the use of the
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word targeted in the report come even know what was use 16 times. mr. miller would not even agree that certain organizations and/or individuals were treated differently in this process. he did however say is the chairman said, we provided poor customer service -- poor customer service. so i did not a lot of time to ask mr. miller additional questions, but i'm trying zeiger tsao. as mr. miller asked to resign by the president of the united states because he provided poor customer service? well, if mr. miller provided poor customer service and was asked to resign by the president, who was provided poor customer service that should be asked to resign? under mr. miller -- under ms. lerner, under the other names brought up would be my
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question. rather we know that he was more than four customer service because mr. miller goes on to say, well, while it was just poor customer service, i want to apologize and then he came up with excuses. and then he said, you know, there's really no intent here to treat anybody differently or wrongly. this was an upper baker employees employees to be efficient, to be efficient by asking you hundreds of questions about your personal lives? that is efficiency? i don't think so. the word inadvertent was used as we talked about dr. eastman's release of information, tax information. that's not inadvertent and there
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is more investigation to do. i said many times in this forum, most people know i'm a retired police officer, 33 years as a cop. there's a lot of questions to ask here. when asked mr. miller who we spoke to about this to find out who came up with the criteria that all of you had to respond to, he didn't remember first, but finally gave me the title of a person he spoke to. if it has been with the name of person? he said nancy marks. did any of you speak with nancy marks or receive any communication on all from nancy marks? >> mr. chairman, i was suggest along with mr. nuñez and we think about having nancy marks appear in front of this panel to find out what she knew because mr. miller couldn't remember about what the the conversation was about.
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there were other names that have been brought appeared today and i would just basketcase and the other names than any of the panel before this committee today, g of names of people you contact did come in that you spoken with, that she received e-mails, can you provide those? i will just start its say your name on work time. >> mr. kookogey. >> mr. kookogey, you can you provide me with names you had communication with? do not guess, the first agent on my case for sheila mae robinson. then my case was switched to the task of mr. ron l. and he was the one who abides abides in his rating on guidance from superiors as americanization and other similar organizations. that was passed to mr. mitch steele in the most recent letter, which came as recently as may 6th westermann woman whose name i can't pronounce.
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>> we can get it from you later. >> just mr. herr. >> wait a couple investigators and inspector general's office to binge on what. i'll provide those names -- >> mitch steele. >> other names possibly? >> colley put comes to mind. >> ms. martinek. >> i will provide that. robert show. i have an i.d. number for one of the workers. under another's name. ronald dahl, stephen c. oak, lois lerner and in the last page of my testimony is my timeline and all of these names are in there as well as the i.d. number. >> thank you. >> thank you. mr. thompson is recognized.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank the witnesses for taking time to be here. it's important to figure all this out. ms. kenney come i want to thank you for your work with veterans, being one myself i appreciate that very, very much and i also want to stay for the record what i said the last time we had a hearing on this. i believe it is outrageous, inappropriate, wrong we must do everything we can do to fix it to make sure it never happens again. ms. belsom, you said something along the lines that this needs to be investigated. those responsible need to be held accountable for any targeting of conservative groups. i agree, but i also believe any targeting of any group, anybody that does that needs to be held accountable. it's important we hear about these abuses. however, we know it's bad, wrong
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and we all know this never happen again. we know we need to fix it. mr. chairman, it's time we stipulate that it's wrong, and he says, that it never should have happened and we need to know what we need to do to get it fixed. we need to make sure it never happens to conservative groups and never happens to liberal groups. need to make sure it never happens to any group. the ig report said the cincinnati staff of the irs had questions about the law and how it was to be applied and they were given adequate guidance, nor supervision, even after they asked for it. that's bad management. at its best is bad management and i think the subsequent stories we've seen about these staff retrieves the irs has been taking anything bolsters the
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fact that there's huge bad management and not organization. but the truth is we share them a bit of that responsibility. we have oversight over that operation and we need to be bearing down to figure out how in the world you can even do that stuff without somebody knowing about it, without somebody recognizing it. the idea that you take your staff and go someplace and make not even a b. rated film to try and build some sort of better staff arrangements. not one of us could do that in our office. this committee can do that. why is it a bureaucracy can do that? we have a responsibility in this committee and we got to get to doing our work and make sure that we fix this problem. we don't need to hear any more witnesses. we know it was that. it was terrible what you and
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everybody else had to go through. ..
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these documents were taken from the and one of them has a reduction. can you explain what's going on? >> these are the scheduled forms attached. like all nonprofits we have to make but the schedule that is a list of the donors is confidential as the private tax returns. the document on the left with a reduction across the center at the human rights campaign. the document on the right is that same pt yet final but with a reduction removed and you see across the center diagonally the internal irs document number that is affixed by the computer and at the top of the page using the language this is a life tax return from the internal system for official use only. >> so this was the first time that you became aware of this on the and was taken from your adversarial
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group. >> from any of the media outlets and then linked to that disclosed tax return. >> to determine what course of action or the department of treasury was going to take. >> we filed specific requests with the inspector general for tax administration and because they are a felony violation that issue here we filed a request with the department of justice criminal division as well. >> and you were stonewalled. >> the investigations of the agents involved wanted to close off the possibility this had just been leaked by somebody in our own organization. i think the document speaks for itself but i suppose it's possible that somebody might have asked for a copy of our own tax return back and went to the
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trouble so they wanted to close that door but once that door was closed the was the last we heard of the investigation since almost a year ago. >> but the document put the number out there and it indicates this came from the irs. >> the internal manual specifically says that that's put on every tax return automatically for any return that gets electronically filed in the irs and it's not a document we had in our records but week filed the clean version and once it is filed that is a document that gets placed on the irs documents for the internal use only. >> you've been not notified despite the request and other means of action. stomach the federal law requires that we be notified if anybody is in charge of the illegal
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disclosure of the returns. we have reached he believed to received no such notification. the request tied directly to be disclosed as the tax payer the status of the investigation remains open or closed and whether our complaints were substantiated or not substantiated this is the language from the regulation as self. any result was protected tax payer information. >> the ranking member avoiding speculation in his opening statement i can say, and it's pretty evident we have seen a egregious abuse and intimidation and mismanagement and this cannot be tolerated in our system of government. we have to get the facts of what happened and those responsible will be held under account.
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the the thing we have to do is restore the checks and balances which provides the opportunity for oversight. this is a egregious and we have to get to the bottom of it. the irs can no longer with all this information. >> who decides who gets to participate in the public square? is it bureaucrats or is it the american people? >> i am heartened today and there is an omnibus feeling about what is going on but i naturally heartened by the example of those that have come forward because you know what you did, you kept faith in america you kept faith.
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god bless you for being faithful. and we are here in the country and some of us trying to reach out now and we are all in this together and we are trying to say look, this is a great country that we have and it is worth celebrating come it is worth defending and articulating these founding values. and i am so deeply appreciative of your willingness to keep faith when it was overwhelming. but look history is filled with this and it works out well when those that are entrusted with responsibility listen to the complaints of the public and sort out fact from fiction and then do our work. i'm telling you what, based on your faithfulness this comes to a good end. an unrelated federal agency, the
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federal election commission intervened on a fairly in the 1996 election for the united states senate in the state of illinois. a friend of mine, former law partner was the nominee falsely accused of breaking federal law. the commission sued him and the case was dismissed. they tried to manipulate him into paying an outrageous fine. the commission that losing and losing and losing it. finally he said i would like to speak to the person with authority in the case because surely if they understood the fact they would dismiss this case. the person at the other end of the phone and enforcement at the time said we will dismiss the case if you pledge to never run for office again. >> the person at the other in the was blowing -- reed.
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>> i'm just saying, as we are listening a cumulatively that have been trampled. about the first of the first freedoms that is our freedom to worship, our freedom to avoid government compulsion as it relates well to matters of faith and you have described long arm of the federal government coming in to you, coming into your organization and essentially telling you -- we will tell you what to think. we will tell you how to pray. heaven help us. this congress opens on a daily basis in prayer. moments ago it opened in prayer.
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we have prayer groups that are honeycombs throughout the capitol praying for mercy for what this country and for wisdom, praying for strength, for clarity and we have got a federal agency that comes in and tries to get into your business it's an outrage. so when you are sending today from those of us on this committee is a sense of clarity of what is going on. this isn't about ambiguity into law or any such thing. this is about abuse of power. so what you have done and i thank you for doing this, what you have done is you have claimed of bell and rallied people around you to make this right. so i know i speak for many on this committee. we will get this right. i yield back. >> mr. blumenauer is recognized.
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>> thank you mr. chairman. i appreciate the patience of the witness is coming today and sharing their stories. especially the disclosure of the confidential tax information. i'm looking forward to the kennedy moving forward as i think everybody has expressed to get to the bottom of that. i appreciate our colleague mr. thompson talking about the treaty doing its job, figuring out what we do going forward. part of it is becoming clear to me that there is a fundamental flaw in the way that we have allowed the clear statute to be modeled by the regulation that invites abuse. it pits we autocrats in the position they can legitimately start probing around these
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questions. and i think that is inappropriate. part of the problem that i see is illustrated by part of dr. eastman's testimony where he talks about his chief adversary in their political struggles, the human rights campaign. that doesn't sound in my mind when we are dealing primarily with promoting the common good and general welfare somehow we are talking about political adversaries. the national organization for marriage established in 2007 to pass a proposition to marry the person they love. promoting social welfare and internal national organization of marriage documents last year
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the state of the organization to drive a wedge between gay and black by promoting african-american spokespeople for marriage provoking same-sex marriage supporters denouncing the spokesmen and women as bigots and to interpret the association of latinos and to the dominant culture by making the stance against same-sex marriage the badge of latino community. and none of this has been denied by the national association for marriage. they portray them as a social radical ceasing to cast same-sex marriage and a negative light connected to issues like pornography. social welfare and, i think not to it's everybody's right to purchase a paid in politics, and
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you should. but i think having organizations as being social welfare organizations and involved in the political combat harkens back to by the statute 100 years ago said that they were prohibited and wholeheartedly agree that my colleague saying we ought to stop this regulation interpretation from 1959 that invites people to raise money and keep the secret than to engage in political activity, and some of it i think not necessarily promoting the social welfare of our country everybody ought to play by the same rules. we have to eliminate opportunities for bureaucrats and the internal revenue service making these judgments about whether it is primarily social welfare or not it shouldn't be
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involved with politics at all until we do our job as a committee to reinstate that original intent and be overruled that regulation. we won't be doing our job completely, root out the problems, find out the confidential information and make sure that this is administered properly down in the ranks of the irs but let's stop this charade pretending that these are social welfare organizations and admit that they are political, treat them as such and play by the same rules that everybody on the committee plays when we are involved in politics. thank you. >> thank you mr. treen putative i want to thank you for continuing this evaluation of what has been described during
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the hearing is chilling, shocking, fearful, unbelievable, frightening, intimidating against citizens. sometimes when we walked out of the capitol in the evening we have some significant emotions about something that has just occurred during the course of that day. we find ourselves in a situation where our government is inactivity with citizens that results in those descriptions. i want to echo the compliments. thank you for your trust and faith in our government and in
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our system. it's that trust that is being eroded and our system of government only works if that exists, and our job is to restore that trust and your involvement to be coming your participation today over the past number of years we will help greatly restore that trust. one way to do that by the way is to institute fundamental tax reform. have an irs that is not powerful. how about that just processes the form. an irs that says you've identified what you make coming you've identified what kind of exemptions may exist and this is where you go and maybe it is that simple. i am stunned as the magnitude of
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one the disclosure to bring before us today and i am sorry that i wasn't aware of it, the significance of it and people have asked you very specific questions and to inform the american people and the committee i want to ask about your donors being listed publicly you mentioned they were harassed. put some flesh on that. how have they been harassed? >> i can begin with a story of proposition 8 and before i get to that i have to really respond to this said on the other side. it's your kind of statement that has empowered the irs agents to make determinations about which organizations qualify for the public goods and which do not. [applause]
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year did you receive about your prayer gatherings. >> we were told that they ended with their interrogation is one in mid 2012 but that isn't your experience, is it? >> are you talking to me? >> we've turned and everything on march 5th i believe in 2015 and nothing since them. >> i just make that point because the inspector general said that the challenges occurred between march of 2010 and ended in 2012. clearly that isn't the case. thank you. mr. buchanan. >> thank you mr. chairman for
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this important hearing and i also want to thank our witnesses. i applaud your leadership in terms of the efforts. all of us have a different background and we came here in 2007. one of the things i tried to do is when i got here, nobody was listening to washington soon as much as anybody here i know a lot of our colleagues on both sides i do a lot of town halls and a lot of meetings and i started at 2,007 and i can tell you one thing with a lot of conservative groups and i did go to the tea party groups and many of them didn't want politicians there. but the bottom line they were scared to death what was going on in this country and i don't -- have heard a lot of those conversations in terms of the deficit, the stimulus, and i felt we were going broke as a country and that's why i applaud what you are doing here today in your leadership from that standpoint we had 130 billion-dollar deficit in
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2006 and 2007 and that period of time. the deficit went up to 3.3 trillion for four years and i can tell you that is what brought a lot of the energy. a different issues, but at the floor of a lot of these conservative groups they can do the math when you go from 8 trillion to 16,000,000,000,020,000,000,000,0 00, and i've heard a lot about that and obviously as a business guy in balancing budgets, 49 out of the 50 governors have to do it and people are very concerned not just about themselves but more importantly about their children and their grandchildren as i represent the state of florida and a lot of people have done well this year in my district and they were concerned about the next two generations. there is no question that your targeted and humiliated to some extent. but how did that impede the growth to your organizations in terms of realizing your full
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potential? and i want to start out you mentioned one aspect from your standpoint it affected you and your organization in terms of a donor that could have contributed but you couldn't get your paper work put in time. what impact did it have in terms of realizing your full potential as an organization? can you comment on that please? >> as you noted, we were promised a 30,000-dollar grant upon achieving the status. because that status has taken so long, the organization came to us and said we will have to move that off the books and when you get the status, you can reply. this also added that it was unbelievable in his mind in the 25 years being an executive director of granting money to all sorts of nonprofits. he'd never seen anything like this. he'd never seen any nonprofit not get through in two or three months. as to the impact, a lot of
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people know it's all about the stone washing trust. if one credible foundation puts money into the organization, i can use that then to go to other organizations and say this organization has trusted my organization. will you now contribute? because i couldn't get status from everything effectively stopped and since may, 2011, i've been dormant modeling of the inability to raise money but out of abject fear the government had a target on my back. >> can you comment what impact did they keep you or your organization from a full potential? >> i just want to make a couple comments before i answer that. there seems to be some misconceptions about what ac for organization is. i'm totally outraged by the accusation that we are subsidized by taxpayers. people making donations that isn't a tax deductible amount.
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we are not getting any money from the tax figures. what we are saying is if we want to have a group and people pay their dues or they make a donation that at the end of the year or whatever which has always been taxed when the person earned it to begin with so this is an outrage and we are taking money from starving children to fund our group. that being the case, i can't say there's this investigation ongoing for the past three years that has really and he did us because the donations are not tax-deductible. so people have donated as they saw fit. and we have just operated as if we were seen for as it's been pending. >> let me put this in the context. in the proposition 8 in california, the opposing sides raise roughly equal land amounts of money. but with the disclosure and the intimidation campaign that has been brought and which is highlighted on the disclosure,
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the last round of initiatives on the ballot last november, the pro traditional marriage slide. the chilling effect to the cause of traditional marriages pervasive and is having consequences on the outcome of elections to get on the key policy issue before the american people. >> mr. kind is recognized. >> i want to thank the witnesses for your testimony today. we have a problem on our hands and hopefully this committee will be able to move forward on a bipartisan fashion to fix it as soon as possible because if there is any truth at the core of our democracy, it is the pervasive feeling that you are being treated unfairly. you are being singled out and discriminated in some fashion. i am a former athlete myself and i was the biggest fan of the refugees on the field. but i knew they played an important role in the game.
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you may not agree in the call the meek they are an essential part. and i would hope the answer is as simple as reforming the tax code that has become too complex and it becomes a processing unit and nothing else. but even president reagan believed in trust but verify. let's be honest if we were all angels we wouldn't have the need for the government in our lives but we do need some verification. and there are some terminologies here that i think the irs is wrestling with and there's an important role for the contras and the committee to help clarify as we move forward to ensure that this never happens again. it is a clear difference between an organization that is primarily engaged in political like to the one that is primarily engaged in social welfare and i think that is what they are struggling with here because the inspector general in the report was clear he found based on his interviews in the preliminary investigation that took place there was no political motivation behind well was going on. now there are reports and the progress of group singled out as
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well. we were hoping to be able to call a witness on our side to be part of the camel and ask them to testify. we could have called someone from the chicago nunes cooperative, the clean elections texas or in addition we might have called someone from emerge america and its affiliate's the head the tax-exempt applications and revoked to lead the to under 76 irs approved advocacy organizations approved through may of 2013. they took a look at those that were approved. they were conservative organizations. 48 were non-conservative organizations. there wasn't sufficient information to be able to determine between the two. but nevertheless i think each of you have a legitimate cause and concern and complaint before us today and it's going to be our obligation to do a better job working with the irs who i also happen to believe is overburdened with the tax-exempt applications over the last
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couple years and the cincinnati office is the very small office of roughly nine people trying to process all of these applications. i think the criteria was clearly wrong and we need to look into that. liu was used the way was and is also a question of insufficient resources and staff to deal with the delude of applications that did come in. let me ask you whether or not you think it would be appropriate for an organization politically involved in an activity to be a logical fi as a 501c4 organization. do you think there would be appropriate? >> i think your question is hypothetical. i can only speak for my own experience >> this is a determination you have to make. >> but you are asking me. >> would be asked as a witness here today to you have a clear definition of what is engagement
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in social welfare or what is engagement and political activity? do you have a clear definition in your mind? >> i can only answer from my own experience since i am not a lawyer. my experience is that we were obeying a wall and our personal group is about education, about the political -- and i believe you believe that with all your heart. let me ask the same question to you have a definition in your mind of what is selectivity or social welfare activity? >> i would be glad to answer that. i did a search of other 501 thank organizations and there were groups such as america vote, a california league of conservation voters, citizens for tax justice, democratic leadership council, environment california, engender writes maryland, georgia right-to-life, health care for america now,
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national -- >> do you have a definition in your mind what constitutes political left the or social welfare? >> can you define political? >> i'm not doing this to single you out or criticize. but it highlights the point i'm making that the definition is very subjective and when you have a subjective definition asking the agency to apply your judgment you will get subjective judgments from that to be a i think as we move forward we need a bright line rules of these activities of what is allowed and what isn't allowed and when you have that you have instances like this on both sides of groups being singled out for additional questions and scrutiny and then the feeling of unfairness sets in. that is what we are wrestling with. >> i want to note that the minority was given the opportunity to call a witness but didn't present a witness affected by taxpayer activity. that's why there is no minority
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witness at the table today. we were given that opportunity i just want to make sure that the gentleman is aware of that. >> thank you mr. tremaine and to the witnesses. the american people are being led to believe that you are big muscles of political strength that are being subsidized by taxpayers and have some unfair advantage over those that share a different believe in you. for the record, perhaps these groups might share -- can you tell roughly what your annual budget is clacks >> in 2010 the budget was 453,000 -- >> $4,453 for the entire year? >> it was 3,003 dress $71 for
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2011. >> 50% increase. >> in 2012 we had a son that's enabled us to promote our organization so we did have approximately $9,000. >> okay. ms. kenney. >> forgive me for laughing. >> our annual budget is in the negative. >> are you a space organization? [laughter] >> the first year we had a - $1,300. the second year i don't remember. those were from legal fees to actually begin the process of filing for a 501c4 and other activities. >> so basically the harassment in the questions that you are asked caused your organization to try to defend its constitutional right to buy an equal protection under the law? >> yes because it also dried up
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our ability to have people participate in a structure where they could donate. >> how about your budget? >> i don't have the exact numbers, but i can tell you we have less than $5,000 at the end of each month. one year when we took a big bus trip to washington, we had $18,000 but as soon as we paid off the bus that went down. usually under 5,000. >> states haven't been over 50,000 to use >> nope. >> you understand the outrage by members of the committee for the double standard that members on this committee seem to have for their frustration come out rage from opposition to groups that seek the 501c4 and 501 seat three status who may be on the opposite side of your issues and we know have organized and raised far more than all of you
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collectively. one group in particular that we know about is organizing for action, a group organized by the president's men, political advisers which we know has raised millions of dollars and by going to read on the web site but they say their mission is to be organizing for action is a nonprofit organization established to support president obama and achieving enactment of his agenda. i would ask my colleagues on the other side of the nile is that political? and why would an organization -- >> would the gentleman yield? >> malae will not. >> are those names disclosed? the names of the president's committee?
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sarva contributors disclosed? with a be on the record saying the names should be disclosed. stack but we aren't having a debate whether we agree with citizens united or a debate about whether we want to change the 501c3 or 501c4. i would submit if that is the goal perhaps introduce legislation to do so. the problem as they have discriminated against people based on their political views. [applause] for anyone to defend from discriminating -- >> i will have to ask the guests in the committee to briefly refrain from applause or any other emotion or attention. we need to keep a decorum in the committee so i would respectfully ask members refrain from clapping and cheering.
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>> for anyone to suggest that these individuals should be limited more so than others because of their political belief is nothing more than discrimination. there would be clarity of this was a white versus black conventions verses christians but because it is conservative versus liberal, they're seems to be some questions and rather than work united in a bipartisan way to root out the very cancer that my colleague described we are trying to chop off the head of the patient, and say all is well. we need to get to the bottom of this and identify the cancer and this needs to be removed from this organization. >> mr. paulson is recognized. >> thank you for holding this hearing. i want to thank all of you critiquing the time. it's a tragedy that you have to
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be here today. i want to commend you for being here today. no citizen should have to be here defending their constitutional rights and you shared how your rights have been violated. i think that you are brave for being here listening to the emotion and the testimony not just because you are nervous about testing but in your mind you can't help but be careful about having a larger target on your back potentially. this isn't a mistake as mentioned by the irs. this isn't poor customer service as the acting commissioner testified just few weeks ago to read this abuse was a systemic. we know the number of christa were targeted and it is systemic because the number of individuals that are all irs workers that have been named as a part of your testimony that he
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will also be helpful to further interviewing to get information from and the larger question is who helped direct this activity and refusing to answer questions. >> mr. kookogey, if i could just ask you a question because you did testify that back in december of 2011 made numerous and repeated calls to the irs that were unreturned and finally it did reach an agent in cincinnati and you inquired about why the application was taking so long and he said he had been waiting on guidance from his superiors. can you just comment you mentioned it wasn't just someone downhaul. that is sort of the feeling you got. >> although he didn't indicate exactly where it was. am i correct that these are
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recorded so we could probably find out if he did indeed specified at least that's what i remember any time i called the irs the said the calls may be record. so my conversation may indeed be recorded but if i remember him saying is we are waiting on guidance from our superiors to your organization and similar organizations. he didn't say where it was from but was implicit wasn't on the hall with and it was from washington or some other office. he'd been waiting for some time. it wasn't just putting me on hold to talk to someone else. >> you also made a comment about conversations with irs workers working with their superiors as well? too that's correct. ms. richards did tell me on an occasion she would ask to put me on hold and she would check with her superiors to answer the question i was asking her to be a disconnect your testimony is going to get back to the fact so we can actually figure out who was directing the starting to
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get ms. belsom, i was going to ask the question because we did hear from the inspector general as part of the audit. in march of 2010, as it is apparently been that targeting started and went forward. but we were told to apply the acting commissioner that all of that targeting activity stopped in june of 2012. have you continued to receive any correspondence regarding the status of your application? >> yeah. i heard nothing basically until september of 2012. we got the letter with the whole list of questions. so, -- >> after june of 2012 you have considered to be continued to receive information regarding the status. >> the other issue with that we will continue to questions about is the concept of donors because
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we've just scratched the surface and dr. eastman testified to that i had a conversation with a donor in my state who's been a contributor to certain political causes and he's been fearful of stepping out and voicing his concern about some of these activities that now he's being more involved and i'm thinking we are going to hear from some more down the road as this investigation continues. and i yield back. >> thank you. i think it's critical of the committee continues its investigation into what we all agree. there are those on the panel here apparently -- thank you, panelists. but on our side of the room that have tried to define a -- some of us tried to divide but don't really want to clean up the irs like we do and that is a propaganda game. i understand it. i want to express your by
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partisanship. they recognize the irs with the applications is wrong. we have a shared interest of working with you in a bipartisan way to find out what really happened and to fix it. if we are the problem and it's not the organization, it is us that is at fault and we need to change the test to see if that organization qualifies. when you ask everybody, not a few. we agree on that. we don't need unsubstantiated obligations against one another. we have to look where the facts are. no one gives a god-given right to a tax-exempt status and none of the panelists said that was contrary to that. the law, government tax exempt
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organizations created by congress, the proven derelict we have to change what they are. for us not to change the law would mean this could happen with the facility down the road so all kind of issues and groups advocating those issues. so i think we need to focus on writing these rules. should it be a test based on how much money you spend, could it be time? after this, we can't afford not to be specific. so i have some questions for the witnesses. mr. chairman, the national organization -- why did your organization choose not to become -- you don't have to answer but i'm curious -- blood
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did you choose not to become a 527 organization under the tax law? >> because that isn't what we do under our organization when we get involved in political campaigns or those that support our cause we set up political action committees as it is required by law and pursue that route. when we are pursuing educational functions, we use that through our nonprofit education foundation to be and for the activities of the tax code set out as compliant the 501c4 we operate those under the 501c4. >> we both realize if you are a 527 if you apply that that means they have to be what? >> we follow the same rules. >> so they chose to become a
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501c4. >> that particular one did. >> like all other organizations on a particular category the test to go through in other words when you make an application you have to comply with what are some stupid questions. we both agree to that. but in the final analysis that is information given to determine whether you are eligible for that exemption. some of the questions are going to go through that line we talked about before and that is what is politically and what is not to read that is a tough question. >> it oftentimes is clear and there is no contention that's ever been made that our activities are not appropriate.
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>> you have every right to profess or you believe then. >> to have the confidentiality protected as the wall provides. >> this is the question when you get down to it when you have reached so far when you are going to express that issue and what you believe then and doing something overtly to demonstrate where you feel you are right and this other organization whatever it may be is wrong. doesn't it get to be the question of political or not. you're politics is different than mine and what is political to you may not be political to me. >> no such felony occurred.
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>> no one has recognized him for five minutes. >> i have a letter today that i would like to put in the record from the northeast he party. their treasured her is a gentleman has any cpa for 40 years and they receive their objection. >> each in the testimony i have here that he was subjected exactly to the same scrutiny after 15 months he had a
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questionnaire and he states unequivocally this was the most complicated questionnaire he had ever received in response and very quickly ascertained that this was being targeted specifically because of their belief. they were asked questions about a true vote and about training sessions. they were asked for names and all of you have received very similar questions. it is happening to all of us in our districts. a year ago about this time i wrote a letter to the acting commissioner asking if this was actually going on. he wrote a letter back and said it was not and then mr. dress of grant wrote a letter back that said this wasn't going on. just as recently as a few weeks
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ago, we questioned the acting commissioner and still said this isn't going on. when we finally can him down on the question he basically said. he had lawyer up. since then, i would like to walk you through a little bit of what's happened. what's happened is a result of the fact that across the nation and each one of you and all of our -- risk commissioner writes
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a letter back and says it's not happening here you have to operate on some promise of truth, and we have been in this committee subjected to untrue statements and they've been put in writing. commissioner, retired and resigned they fired and then retired. joseph grant resigned. louis has taken the fifth
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amendment and has been relieved. not yet confirmed woeful is the most common answer to the committee yesterday was he did not know, he was not aware, and he would have to get back to them. now this committee has heard a lot of that especially from his lerner in the last year. the question i'd like to ask to each of you is what do you think the irs commissioner should do once the committee is successful in exposing everyone at the irs that orchestrated this policy. >> i think it's contexture to be i don't think it's appropriate for me to determine what the commissioner should do. i can only speak for what i would like to see done to the whole matter and that is to get to the truth and if there is criminal activity we have the
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moral courage to pursue it and not to politicize it and say we will just apologize if we fail to pay more taxes we get criminal penalties so it's not acceptable for the onerous to say i'm sorry. >> i would like to see a huge transformation of the taxes are done and as far as i feel like just a person concerned in my community i'd start an organization and work to educate citizens and have candidates to speak and that candidates that sort of thing i shouldn't need to have to worry about the money collected from dues. we are not finding any political candidates and i just think i don't want to be involved in the irs it's a nightmare and i would like something done to reduce the average citizens aggravation
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and having to deal with the irs. we need to get rid of the tax system that we have and go to something much simpler like a fair tax. >> briefly in addition to the felony charges on our particular issue you need to hold an individual responsible with civil liability to the taxpayers whose disclosures were done so that they could pursue it even if the department of justice pond. >> of the rules law must be followed and if it is violated it must be remedied civil or criminal. >> the irs needs to uniformly process their applications without offending any of the first amendment rights. >> i will make it easy just firing a few people will not fix the problem. just like mr. rangel said it's a cancer inside of the agency and it's got to be routed from the bottom.
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>> ms. black is recognized. >> thank you mr. chairman and all of you for being here today. mr. kookogey thank you for representing tennessee but we have other groups such as the tea party. i think prior to the exposure of what has most recently happened in all irs if we were to ask the american people about their impression of the irs we would hear the word year, powerlessness, intimidation, maybe this trust. and those are words that would have been used prior to this but what has happened has confirmed that. it certainly is a sad day for our country where our founding fathers set up the bill of rights to ensure us we wouldn't have a government that would intimidate the very citizens of the country. so it is a really sad time that we have come to this point where we have actually confirmed what many people would have said prior to this spigot if i could ask the staff to bring up one of
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the pieces of information in the final here. mr. kookogey, i bring this up because this comes as a result of the question that was asked of you come and this is question number 24 on your questionnaire where they ask you the names of the students then you would be educating. can you give me any thoughts of why this would be a particular interest in order to establish your 501c4 status? >> it's unbelievable. i can't even answer. i've been thinking about it for 29 months while they would want to know the name of the seven the greater sign teaching western civilization, political philosophy, the basic theories of economic. why in the world with a want to know the name of these students but perhaps intimidation of them and their parents to discriminate them from being taught under am i tutelage. >> something we wouldn't expect
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here in the united states putting it we would be looking at some communist countries if we were to think about this kind of activity. one of my colleagues said that none of you were silenced and what i would like to know, and maybe we can start over here with you, ms. gerritson. do you feel what was occurring here in both the intimidation and not getting the status, did it silence you? >> obviously i am here. so it didn't silence -- >> but being able to do what your group was intended. >> i have members that have come up to meet and are not fearful. they don't want to write their name on any sign up for that we may have. i also have people been telling me that they are getting audited for the first time ever. i can't put a number on how much -- hauer it has hindered our organization but it has because people have told me. >> we have not been silenced.
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but if we didn't have a sensitivity to the society and attorneys, we may have been. >> so you have some folks to help you out. >> had we not, we couldn't have fought. >> we are not silenced but there is a hand over our mouth because our educational opportunities everything from creating pressures or pamphlets on the constitution to buy such things as bookmarks that educate people about the constitution, that has been limited to the post cards on getting the voter information. that has been constructed because we simply don't have the funds. >> thank you. mr. eastman? >> my nature is to not be silenced by anything but the number one, and then i do something like this is thank you for standing up for us.
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you must be very brave kid and i don't think it's a brave. i think it is a citizenship duty that we stand at every chance we get. >> fight clich if we don't speak up now the time may be lost. without the aclj there was a time i was ready to say forget this whole thing. and it's very chilling. and i just think -- >> i know that it's going to come really quickly. you're first amendment rights are being violated. mr. kookogey, -- >> whether or not it was chilling is evidence today because some of the democrats on this kennedy implied what is social welfare to them but what might be to us is somehow negotiable. >> i yield back.
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>> thank you. mr. young is recognized. >> thank you mr. chairman. since the issue of groups targeted has come to light, i continually encourage everyone i speak to to let the fact lead us to wherever they may. we don't want to draw premature conclusions. follow the facts. the more fact we learn and putting in this hearing the more concerned i get that there's some organized effort to stifle conservative political activity. given the pattern of intimidation and obstruction we have seen from the irs, i at least understand why some are ready to jump to conclusions. but perhaps what is the most frustrating to me is the we still need some any answers, the answers we are not getting from so many of the higher ups and others that represent us and our federal government. while we wait for those answers,
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far too many members of congress are masquerading as journalists suddenly downplay the gravity of the situation. we hear that time and again. then they draw conclusions of their own. but not proabortion. in marriage equality groups treated similarly in ? it's been more than suggested, suggested
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here in the hearing it's about citizens united. and about 501(c)(4) groups and the undisclosed donor list. i think some some of my colleagues help disabuse of of the notion. i want to know why groups filing for 501 like the content of the prayers? why were they left in limbo if this is about the abuse of 501(c)(4) status? lastly we heard it's about organizations trying to game the system. but if it's about organizations, why was the irs so concerned about individual donors to these organizations? why in the months prior to a major federal election, the donor information for conservative groups and candidates get to illegally released by the irs? we want to know the answer to that question.


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