The woman who helped expose IRS abuse of conservative activists has more news to share: The abuse continues, and she sees no evidence that the White House, the IRS or the Justice Department is doing anything to end it. “This is not in the past tense. This is still going on,” says Cleta Mitchell, perhaps the country’s pre-eminent expert on campaign-finance and political tax law.
In 2012, Ms. Mitchell worked to persuade members of Congress that reports of IRS harassment of conservative groups were credible. GOP lawmakers demanded information from the IRS and triggered the internal audit that finally forced the agency last month to acknowledge abuses it had previously denied. Now Ms. Mitchell is determined to end the abuse and identify the culprits.
Don’t bet against her. A partner at elite international law firm Foley and Lardner, Ms. Mitchell is sketching out a road map to uncover the truth and force reform—whether or not the Obama administration cooperates.
So far it looks like the administration will not. Ms. Mitchell represents nine conservative organizations that, beginning around 2010, were subjected to unusual delays, in many cases unlawful demands for information, and in some cases unlawful releases of their confidential data. But she reports that despite filling out the paperwork required by law and regulation, only one of the nine has received the customary IRS approval letter to operate as a tax-exempt group. She says another client received a new letter from the IRS with “very bizarre questions” as recently as three weeks ago.
The Justice Department is allegedly conducting a criminal investigation of the IRS abuse. Has anyone from Justice contacted her or her clients to gather evidence? “Not about this. The FBI’s contacted some tea party leaders about their meetings and who comes to their meetings,” she says. “I guess they viewed the tea party as domestic terrorists.” She is puzzled that the feds aren’t asking about IRS targeting: “You’d think that they would, wouldn’t you?”
Read more at The Wall Street Journal. By James Freeman.