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On Tax Day, the Republican National Committee announced it is suing the IRS for stonewalling Freedom of Information Act request for documents

Posted by on Apr. 15, 2014 at 10:46 AM
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On Tax Day, RNC Sues The IRS

On Tax Day, the Republican National Committee announced it is suing the IRS  for stonewalling Freedom of Information Act request for documents about the tax agency's politicized scrutiny of conservative and Tea Party groups.

The RNC filed the request on May 21, 2013, in an attempt to expose the documents and emails surrounding agency’s process in handling applications of non-profit organizations such as conservative and Tea Party groups.

“We’re filing this suit because the Obama administration has a responsibility to be transparent and accountable to the American people. The IRS has a legal obligation to answer our inquiry for these records,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. “On Tax Day especially Americans deserve to know whether they can trust the agency to which they’re sending their taxes.

After the RNC filed the request, the IRS has requested several extensions, which has already delayed the release by 226 business days.

by on Apr. 15, 2014 at 10:46 AM
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Ednarooni160
by Eds on Apr. 15, 2014 at 10:48 AM

ALSO:

IRS chief: New rule on the way for tax-exempt groups

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen says the IRS is prepared to rewrite a proposed rule regulating the political activities of non-profit groups on Capital Download with Susan Page. Shannon Rae Green

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WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service is prepared to rewrite a proposed rule regulating the political activities of non-profit groups to address complaints from the right and left that it goes too far, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said Monday.

"In all likelihood we will re-propose a redefined rule and ask for more public comment," Koskinen told USA TODAY's Capital Download. It's a process he predicts will take "until the end of the year and beyond" to complete. The proposed regulation of groups known as 501(c)(4)s drew a record 150,000 comments before the deadline in late February.

He said the new rule would take into account backlash from conservative Tea Party groups as well as some liberal advocacy organizations that the agency's proposal – intended to address concerns that the tax-exempt groups were engaged in partisan warfare – would bar, even voter education and registration programs.

He was interviewed on the eve of Tax Day, the April 15 deadline for Americans to file their returns.

"I think we have to take all of that into consideration," Koskinen told the weekly video newsmaker series. "There are very thoughtful comments and concerns, and one of the questions that has evoked a lot of comment is, once you define what political activity is, to what organizations should it apply in the 501(c) context and how much of it should be allowed? All of that is going to be very important."

Efforts by organizations to get the non-profit designation, which doesn't require them to disclose their sources of funding, sparked a firestorm over allegations the IRS gave tougher scrutiny to organizations with names that signaled an affiliation with the Tea Party movement than it did to progressive-sounding groups. That is the subject of a half-dozen investigations on Capitol Hill.

When he took office in January, Koskinen told reporters he believed the IRS was "on the home stretch" of the inquiries – an assessment he acknowledges now seems optimistic. He said complying with documents subpoenaed by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by California Republican Darrell Issa, will take years to complete and produce "a lot of irrelevant, vast volumes of material."

Was the committee on a fishing expedition? "I wouldn't want to second-guess what their requests are," he said, adding that the agency would comply with them.

He said he was "pleased" that Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, told him last week that his committee would issue its report "in the relatively near future," perhaps as soon as June. "We'll take a look at the findings and any recommendations they have, decide if there's anything beyond what we've already done that we need to do, and then we need to move forward," Koskinen said.

Koskinen, 74, came out of retirement to head the troubled tax agency after a career that included stints as a top manager at Freddie Mac, the Office of Management and Budget and the District of Columbia government.

He calls today's task tougher than a previous assignment leading the federal government's response to Y2K, the transition to the year 2000 that threatened to create havoc with the world's computers. He says his current job is more difficult because the IRS has been unable to get adequate funding, even though money spent on enforcement generates revenue.

"If you gave us the $500 million of our sequester funds (slashed under automatic spending cuts) we would have given you back $2 to $3 billion more, and people shrug and move on," he said. The agency now employs 10,000 fewer people and receives $900 million less in federal funds than it did four years ago.

Opposition to the Affordable Care Act, which requires the IRS to assess penalties on most taxpayers who fail to get health insurance, may be one factor complicating the agency's requests on Capitol Hill.

"We're sort of in the middle a political bulls-eye," he said. "Together with the Affordable Care Act, the issues surrounding the qualifications of 501(c)(4) social-welfare organizations has been a battle in public media for the past year. The combination of the two has made getting more funding difficult."

He warns the IRS could be headed toward disaster when new responsibilities, including the Obamacare mandates, kick in a year from now. "If we keep going at this level, with the increased responsibilities, at some point we risk crippling the agency," he cautioned, "and that won't be good for the government and it won't be good for taxpayers."

One consequence already is a reduced chance of being audited. "They're lower than they have been," he said, then added: "I wouldn't encourage anybody to depend upon us not auditing them. As I've told people, the roulette wheel is spinning."

-Celestial-
by Platinum Member on Apr. 15, 2014 at 12:46 PM
1 mom liked this
Republicans are just plain stupid


Worry about the American people instead of the groups you help fund every year.

Actions speak louder than words.
SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Apr. 15, 2014 at 12:46 PM
3 moms liked this

clapping

It's about time.

momoftransgirl
by Member on Apr. 15, 2014 at 4:03 PM

This is all just stupid sour grapes. The RNC is a big failure and imploding fast. Sueing the IRS isn't going to turn the party around it's too far gone. 

MsDenuninani
by Bronze Member on Apr. 15, 2014 at 4:21 PM

The IRS has sovereign immunity.

Thus, if this headline is accurate, I hope the RNC gets sanctioned under Rule 11, which provides sanctions for frivolous lawsuits.

grandmab125
by Platinum Member on Apr. 15, 2014 at 5:15 PM
2 moms liked this

 According to the Dept of Labor, FOIA requests are supposed to be responded to within 22 days, not counting weekends and holidays.  They can stall some, but not a whole freaking year.

Congress has been way to timid in the various investigations they are holding.  They have no gonads.  They should have sued the gov't months ago.

From DOL website....

VI. How Long Will It Take to Answer My FOIA Request?

Under the statute, federal agencies are required to respond to a FOIA request within twenty working days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays. This period does not begin until the request is actually received by the component that maintains the records sought.

Under the FOIA, a component may extend the response time for an additional ten business days when: (1) the component needs to collect responsive records from field offices; (2) the request involves a "voluminous" amount of records which must be located, compiled, and reviewed; or (3) the component must consult with another agency which has a substantial interest in the responsive material or with two or more other components of the Department of Labor. When such an extension is needed, the component will notify you of this and offer you the opportunity to modify or limit your request. Alternatively, you may agree to a different timetable for processing your request.

An agency component may toll (or stop) the time from running to respond to a FOIA request. Tolling can only occur if the request is properly made and the clock has already started. The number of times an agency component can toll the time is limited. An agency component can only toll the 20-day clock in two situations: a) one time when the agency is waiting for information it has requested from the requester; or b) as many times as necessary in order to clarify any issue with the requester regarding fee assessment.

grandmab125
by Platinum Member on Apr. 15, 2014 at 5:18 PM
3 moms liked this

 And if this was the dems who couldn't get the info they requested under FOIA from the Bush admin, you'd be having hissy fits all over the place.

Quoting momoftransgirl:

This is all just stupid sour grapes. The RNC is a big failure and imploding fast. Sueing the IRS isn't going to turn the party around it's too far gone. 

 

momoftransgirl
by Member on Apr. 15, 2014 at 8:24 PM

I'm not a democrat. I would be saying something similar had it been the "dems" 

Quoting grandmab125:

 And if this was the dems who couldn't get the info they requested under FOIA from the Bush admin, you'd be having hissy fits all over the place.

Quoting momoftransgirl:

This is all just stupid sour grapes. The RNC is a big failure and imploding fast. Sueing the IRS isn't going to turn the party around it's too far gone. 

 


numbr1wmn
by Nikki on Apr. 18, 2014 at 8:10 AM
3 moms liked this

 

Quoting -Celestial-: Republicans are just plain stupid Worry about the American people instead of the groups you help fund every year. Actions speak louder than words.

 LOL what is funny is that Democrats are so stupid because your afraid Mr. Obama and his asshole administraion is going to get nailed on this.!!!!

Teooper1
by on Apr. 18, 2014 at 12:54 PM
About time! Somebody has got to get the IRS under control. We become more like the countries we hate everyday!
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