$70,000 Tax Lien Placed On MSNBC Host Melissa Harris-Perry And Husband

MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry and her husband, James Perry, had a tax lien of roughly $70,000 placed on them by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Harris-Perry, who is also a political science professor at Wake Forest University, told The Winston-Salem Journal Wednesday that she did not know about the lien but was well aware of the debt.

According to the notice, it covers a tax period ending December 31, 2013.The couple reportedly paid off $21,721 and has to pay off $48,581. “We were aware that we would continue to need to work to pay off the 2013 debt,” Harris-Perry told the publication, noting they would pay off the debt as quickly as possible and that she established a payment plan with the IRS.

In the January 18 edition of her eponymous MSNBC television program, Harris-Perry took the opportunity to sharply criticize Republican Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas for his tax policy.

“Remember when you used your very first state-of-the-state back in 2011 to promise a reset of the Kansas tax code?,” Harris-Perry said at the time.

Well, you made good in May of 2012 when you signed historic tax cuts into law and claimed that as the state marched toward zero income tax it would quote ‘create tens of thousands of new jobs and help make Kansas the best place in America to start and grow a small business.’ You followed that up with even further income tax cuts in 2013.

But the jobs, and small business growth, and booming prosperity you hypothesized did not materialize. Instead, as a result of your experiment last April, Moody’s downgraded your state’s credit score. And Standard and Poors followed with a credit downgrade for Kansas in August.

The downgrades reflected a reality your sunny disposition did not. Your tax cuts have created a 1 billion dollar revenue loss and run up a staggering budgetary shortfall, estimated to be as large as 280 million dollars.

Harris-Perry is not the only MSNBC host with tax problems. A 2014 report published by The New York Times showed that Rev. Al Sharpton owed the IRS about $3 million.

h/t: Hot Air

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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Judge Orders IRS To Turn Over 298 Names Of Targeted Conservative Groups

A federal judge in Ohio ordered the IRS to turn over a list of 298 names of groups targeted by the agency for increased scrutiny in the lead up to the 2012 presidential election. The ruling comes as a setback to the IRS, potentially opening the door to a class action lawsuit against the agency by all the targeted groups.

The IRS argued that the agency could not hand over the list due to privacy laws; however, Judge Susan J. Dlott, who sits in the Southern District of Ohio, rejected that claim. She ruled that while the IRS does have the duty to protect the groups’ internal financial information, the public should know of the existence of those organizations on the list.

Judge Dlott also ordered the IRS to confirm whether a list of targeted groups obtained by USA Today and published by the newspaper in September 2013 is accurate.

The judge ruled that since those currently involved in the litigation are seeking to certify a class action lawsuit (i.e. confirm the criteria is met to bring the larger suit):

The return information sought is directly related to the issue of class certification in this federal court proceeding. The names of the putative class member organizations and their control dates — the date which the putative class member organizations submitted their applications for tax exempt status to the IRS — are directly related to the issue of class certification.

Mark Meckler, a tea party member and president of Citizens for Self Governance, which is funding the suit, stated that “We are at the precipice” of certifying the class action suit. The plaintiffs in the suit currently consist of 10 groups, among them the NorCal Tea Party Patriots, the Faith and Freedom Coalition of Ohio, and the Texas Public Policy Foundation. The groups initiated their suit in 2013.

With the entire list, coupled with the scope of a class action lawsuit, the plaintiffs believe they will be able to gain further access into the IRS internal workings, including how the agency chose which groups to target.

As reported in the Daily Signal, they describe themselves as:

“comprised of individual citizens who have joined together to exercise their rights to freedom of speech and expression” and who “dissent from the policies or ideology of the” current administration. They claimed that, on the basis of their beliefs, they had been subjected “to delays and intrusive scrutiny during the tax-exempt status application process.” According to the ten plaintiffs, this violated the Privacy Act, the First and Fifth Amendments, and 26 U.S.C. §6103, a federal statute that protects the confidentiality of tax return information.

The named defendants in addition to the IRS include the Treasury Department, Lois Lerner, and other individual IRS employees.

As reported by Western Journalism, Lerner, head of the IRS’ tax exempt division, admitted wrongdoing on a conference call with reporters in May of 2013. She said that her division had set aside groups with the terms “tea party” or “patriots” in their names for intrusive scrutiny and delayed their approval. She added that the conduct by IRS “front line” personnel was “absolutely inappropriate” and apologized to those groups affected. She has pled the Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination twice when brought before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Days after Lerner’s admission, the independent Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration released the results of its months-long investigation. The IG determined that “The IRS used inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status based upon their names or policy positions instead of indications of potential political campaign intervention.”

The report determined that the wrongful conduct had gone on for 18 months under Lerner’s leadership and resulted in “substantial delays” in processing applications for the targeted groups–and allowed “unnecessary information requests” to be issued to those groups. The IG investigation uncovered the list of 298 targeted groups. 

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Newly Released Lerner Email Reveals She Knew IRS Conduct ‘Might Raise Questions’

Judicial Watch released a new batch of IRS emails last week revealing that former IRS official Lois Lerner knew the criteria that her Exempt Organizations Division (EO) used in evaluating tax exempt groups “might raise questions” to those reviewing the agency’s actions. In another email, Lerner told her subordinate to “put together some training points to help them [IRS staffers] understand the potential pitfalls” of revealing too much information to Congress.

Regarding the IRS’ tax exempt review policies, Lerner wrote Troy Paterson, an inspector with Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA)–which was investigating the IRS’ conduct–in January 2013:

We understand why the criteria [the IRS used] might raise questions…I am willing to take the blame for not having provided sufficient direction initially, which may have resulted in front line staff doing things that appeared to be politically motivated, but I am not on board that anything that occurred here shows that the IRS was politically motivated in the actions taken.

A few months later, on May 10, 2013, Lerner admitted on a conference call with reporters that her division had wrongfully targeted groups with “tea party” or “patriots” in their names in the run up to the 2012 presidential election. She added that the conduct by IRS “front line” personnel was “absolutely inappropriate” and apologized to those groups affected. (Read a transcript of her remarks to the ABA regarding the targeting of conservative groups here.)

Four days after Lerner’s call with reporters, TIGTA released its audit, which found that “The IRS used inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status based upon their names or policy positions instead of indications of potential political campaign intervention.” The report determined that the wrongful conduct had gone on for 18 months under Lerner’s leadership and resulted in “substantial delays” in processing applications for the targeted groups–and allowed “unnecessary information requests” to be issued to those groups.

As reported by Western Journalism, Lerner pled the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination twice when called before the House Oversight Committee.

In another email released by Judicial Watch from Feb. 2012, Lerner wanted her employees trained to limit what was put into writing for fear it could be seen by the public or Congress. She wrote her subordinate Holly Paz, the former Director of the Office of Rulings and Agreements, concerning cases that had been reviewed:

We are all a bit concerned about the mention of specific Congress people, practitioners and political parties.Our filed folks are not as sensitive as we are to the fact that anything we write can be public–or at least be seen by Congress. We talked with Nan [Downing – Director of EO Examinations] and she thought it would be great if R & A [Rulings and Agreements] could put together some training points to help them understand the potential pitfalls…

I realize everyone is very busy, but I’d like you and Tom [Miller EO adviser] to get together to work out a reasonable plan for completing the review and reporting back on some of the issues he thinks we’d need to cover. If you need more info, we can talk. Thanks

Like Lerner, the IRS placed Paz on administrative leave shortly after TIGTA released its audit in May 2013. Paz reported directly to Lerner and oversaw the tax law specialists who provided guidance to the agents in Cincinnati reviewing “tea party” and other applicants, as well as the department involved with processing the applications.

She came under scrutiny after revealing she knew the findings of an internal IRS review conducted a year before TIGTA reached the same conclusions, but did not notify Congress. She also insisted on sitting in on nearly all the interviews TIGTA conducted with her subordinates, which then-House Oversight Committee Chair Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., found completely “astonishing.” “In those, of course, one of the questions the IG had to ask was, ‘Did anyone tell you to do this?’ If that question was asked, their own superior was in the room.”

According to National Review:

Others have either retired or been placed on administrative leave, including [IRS] Washington lawyer Carter Hull, who has been accused of micromanaging the processing of tea-party cases, and who, according to IRS sources, requested his retirement package on March 12; Joseph Grant, the commissioner of the agency’s Tax-Exempt and Government Entities division and Lois Lerner’s boss, who retired on June 3 just days after receiving a promotion; former IRS commissioner Steven Miller, who resigned days after news of the scandal broke

Lois Lerner, after being placed on paid administrative leave in May 2013, retired in September of that year.

One final revelation from the emails is that 11 days before Lerner’s May 14, 2013 admission of targeting conservative groups, Lerner met with top staffers from the Senate’s Government Affairs Committee in response to concerns raised by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Carl Levin, D-Mich., that the IRS was not doing enough to rein in political advocacy groups.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Here’s A Hilarious Tax Day Song BLASTING The IRS!

Okay, so most of you are not fans of tax day. Even if you’re getting a refund (something becoming increasingly rare), the process is exhausting. Not to mention, all of you, every single one of you is likely filing them improperly. There’s that underlying fear that if the government chooses to target you, they can get you. That lunch with a client at the diner down the street? Technically not a business expense. So you held a meeting in your house once? Not really a write off as a home office.

Either way, Remy of GoRemy created a video that’s both hilarious and accurate, to make today’s bitter tax pill just a little easier to swallow. Also, super catchy! Enjoy!

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Grover Norquist: IRS ‘Pushed’ Conservative Groups Around To Ensure 2012 Obama Reelection Victory

Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) targeted Tea Party and other conservative organizations so President Obama would be guaranteed victory in his 2012 reelection bid, writes Americans For Tax Reform President Grover Norquist in a new book.

“Had the Tea Party repeated and built on their activism of 2009 and 2010 in 2011 and 2012, Obama would have lost the election. What happened to the Tea Party boost? It didn’t grow from 2010. It appeared to weaken,” writes Norquist in the newly released book End the IRS Before It Ends Us, according to The Washington Examiner. “The Tea Party didn’t fall down the stairs, it was pushed.”

Norquist’s book, according to a preview, “makes the case for a major tax reform, including a possible flat tax.”

“On the current path, America will coast through inertia to ever-growing government and taxation, as entitlements consume more of our national economy,” he warns.

“In our modern kneecapping, President Obama was Tonya Harding,” lamented Norquist in the book. “The American people who had voted strongly in 2010 and threatened the president’s chances of winning in 2010 were Nancy Kerrigan.”

Former IRS official Lois Lerner, who oversaw the IRS division which handles tax-exempt status, resigned in September 2013 after the agency conceded to imposing what The Associated Press (AP) described as “extra scrutiny” over conservative-leaning organizations in 2010 and 2012.

Although Lerner was held in contempt, and calls were made for her to be investigated by a special prosecutor by Congress, the Justice Department announced earlier this month that Lerner would not face contempt charges.

“Ms. Lerner did not waive her Fifth Amendment privilege by making general claims of innocence…The Constitution would provide Ms. Lerner with an absolute defense if she were prosecuted for contempt,” wrote outgoing U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Ronald Machen to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

A total of 30,000 emails, which could have shed more light on the scandal, were lost in February, according to IRS Deputy Inspector General Timothy Camus.

h/t: Newsmax

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Photo credit:  Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom