10 Updates

UPDATED: Timeline Of IRS Tax Exempt Organization Scandal

May 7 2014, 8:14pm CDT | by

Despite today’s Contempt of Congress vote in the House, the tax exempt organization scandal at the Internal Revenue Service didn’t start with Lerner. And it won’t end with Lerner. As before,...

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12 weeks ago

UPDATED: Timeline Of IRS Tax Exempt Organization Scandal

May 7 2014, 8:14pm CDT | by

Despite today’s Contempt of Congress vote in the House, the tax exempt organization scandal at the Internal Revenue Service didn’t start with Lerner. And it won’t end with Lerner.

As before, the further we get away from the onset of the scandal, it’s easy to forget the chain of events. And context is important. So here’s an updated timeline with highlights of what happened and when:

  • July 2008. In the run up to the presidential election, Citizens United, a conservative lobbying group, wanted to air a series of commercials promoting a film targeting Hillary Clinton. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that they couldn’t, finding that it was a violation of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (also known as the McCain–Feingold Act). The group appealed.
  • August 18, 2008. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the matter and put it on the docket as No. 08-205.
  • March 24, 2009. Oral arguments began in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310. Citizens United was represented by Theodore B. Olson of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher (if that name sounds familiar, he successfully former President George W. Bush in Bush v. Gore) and the government was represented by Malcolm L. Stewart, of the Department of Justice.
  • September 9, 2009. After more than forty briefs amicus curiae were filed in the matter, including those from Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Institute for Justice and the National Rifle Association, the case was re-argued. Olson again represented Citizens United. Solicitor General Elena Kagan argued for the government (yes, that Elena Kagan who now sits on the Supreme Court).
  • January 21, 2010. The Supreme Court issued an opinion reversing the original decision in part, affirming the matter in part and remanded it back to the lower court. (downloads as a pdf) The Court found that it was unconstitutional to ban all free speech by corporations, unions and other organizations – even as it applied to political campaigns. Specifically, the Court found that the “government may not suppress political speech on the basis of the speaker’s corporate identity. No sufficient governmental interest justifies limits on the political speech of nonprofit or for-profit corporations.” As a result of the ruling, the number of nonprofit organizations applying for tax exempt status under section 501(c)(4) of the Tax Code increased dramatically.
  • March 2010. Internal Revenue Service employees in the Cincinnati office were asked to further scrutinize tax exempt applications using politically charged key words.
  • August 2010. The IRS distributes its first formal BOLO (Be on the Lookout) listing to those examining applications. The criteria in the BOLO listing were Tea Party organizations applying for section 501(c)(3) or section 501(c)(4) tax exempt status status.
  • June 2011. Terminology on the BOLO listings increased to include additional names (Patriots and 9/12 Project) as well as specific policy positions such as government spending, taxes and government debt. Then acting Director of Exempt Organizations, Lois Lerner, is advised of the practice.
  • July 8, 2011. The IRS announced that it would no longer pursue an investigation into donors who made contributions to nonprofit groups for the purpose of political ads. Specifically, the IRS reversed its position – held for the last thirty years – that those transfers were subject to federal gift tax.
  • November 2011. The Technical Unit at IRS provides written guidance on the matter. Applications which had been held for further review were on hold until this time. As many as forty cases were involved.
  • January 2012. The IRS continues the practice of flagging applications which use politically charged language. Additional information request letters are sent to certain organizations.
  • February 2012. The issue hits the media for the first time but attracts fairly little notice.
  • March 22, 2012. Former IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman testifies (downloads as a pdf) in front of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight that there was “absolutely no targeting” by the IRS of conservative and/or Tea Party organizations.
  • May 2012. Shulman is briefed by TIGTA about what was happening together with former Acting Commissioner Steven T. Miller.
  • June 2012. Following up on complaints, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) formally requests a Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) inquiry.
  • July 2012. The TIGTA inquiry begins.
  • November 11, 2012. Shulman resigns and is replaced by Miller.
  • April 2013. The White House is advised that TIGTA will issue a report on its findings regarding what happened.
  • May 10, 2013. During an American Bar Association meeting, Lerner admits that organizations were targeted because of their titles or beliefs, calling it “absolutely incorrect, insensitive, and inappropriate.”
  • May 14, 2013. TIGTA issues its initial report on the matter as Attorney General Eric Holder announces an FBI investigation.
  • May 15, 2013. IRS issues a statement on the scandal. Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller resigns.
  • May 16, 2013. After Miller’s resignation, President Obama names 42 year old Daniel Werfel as Acting Commissioner of the IRS.
  • May 17, 2013. Miller and TIGTA Inspector General J. Russell George testified at a hearing in front of the House Ways and Means Committee.
  • May 22, 2013. Lerner refuses to testify in front of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, pleading the Fifth Amendment.
  • May 23, 2013. Lerner is placed on administrative leave.
  • June 12, 2013. The use of BOLO lists is officially suspended.
  • June 20, 2013. News is made public that IRS is set to pay out $70 million in employee bonuses. At the same time, taxpayers learn that Lerner received $42,000 in bonus money while former Miller received $100,000.
  • June 24, 2013. The IRS issues its own report into the scandal together with an action plan. At the same time, the IRS admitted fault, saying that “inappropriate criteria” was used for review of organizations applying for tax-exempt status.
  • June 25, 2013. Democrats in the House claim that the IRS provided information which proves that progressive terms were also used as identifiers on the BOLO lists.
  • July 10, 2013. Congress threatens to slash the IRS budget as part of its punishment for the scandal.
  • September 24, 2013. The news is made public that Lerner will retire.
  • December 23, 2013. The IRS posts REG–134417–13, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Guidance for Tax-Exempt Social Welfare Organizations on Candidate-Related Political Activities. It receives a record number of public comments.
  • January 9, 2014. Rep. Issa and Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) send a letter to Attorney General Holder, expressing concern that Barbara Bosserman, a Department of Justice trial attorney tasked with leading the IRS tax exempt organization investigation, had been a donor to the Democrats.
  • January 14, 2014. Congressional leaders fume when sources indicate that no criminal charges will likely be considered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation following a lengthy investigation into tax exempt organization scandal.
  • March 11, 2014. The Committee on House Oversight and Reform issues a report on “Lois Lerner’s Involvement in the Targeting of Tax Exempt Organizations” (downloads as a pdf).
  • April 7, 2014. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen addresses the scandal at the National Press Club and confirms that there are six ongoing investigations: four conducted by Congressional committees, one by the Department of Justice and one by TIGTA. He says that more than 250 IRS employees have spent over 100,000 hours as part of these investigations and the cost to taxpayers has been at least $14 million.
  • April 8, 2014. The Committee on House Oversight and Government Reform announces that it would pursue contempt charges against Lerner.
  • April 10, 2014. The Committee votes along party lines to proceed with contempt charges against Lerner.
  • May 7, 2014. The House of Representatives passes H. Res. 574 by a vote of 231 to 187, holding Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress. The resolution read:

    Recommending that the House of Representatives find Lois G. Lerner, former Director, Exempt Organizations, Internal Revenue Service, in contempt of Congress for refusal to comply with a subpoena duly issued by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

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And we’re not done yet. I’ll post as details are available. There’s more to come… (Trust me!)

Want more taxgirl goodness? Pick your poison: receive posts by email, follow me on twitter (@taxgirl), hang out with me on Facebook or check out my YouTube channel. If you want to keep an eye on documents I’ve posted, check out my profile on Scribd. And finally, you can subscribe to my podcast on the site or via iTunes (it’s free).

 
Update
10

7 weeks ago

RM47mil KWSG contributions still unclaimed

Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan Raky ...
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Update
9

7 weeks ago

Gold shop lost almost RM1mil

Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KANGAR: A gold shop owner lost almost RM1 million after after the safe on in his shop was brok ...
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Update
8

7 weeks ago

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Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was rejected by th ...
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Update
7

7 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Mi ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

7 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Selatan’ in the southern states las ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

7 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over R ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

7 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry Minister Datu ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

7 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involving an allocation of RM20 millio ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

7 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan Bazaar Scheme 20 ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
1

8 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion Kinrara Damansara Skyway (Kidex) to ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

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