In May 2013, the Washington Post reported that the IRS had illegally targeted conservative groups for additional reviews. Organizations with the words “tea party” or “patriot” were singled out for harassment, such as requiring them to provide a list of donors, details about their internet postings on social networking websites, and information about their family members.
When this was first reported by the media in May 2013, Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that had conducted these illegal activities, claimed that only low level employees had known about it, and that no high level IRS officials had known about it. However, soon afterward, NPR reported that an Inspector General report showed that Lerner had been lying, and that she herself had actually been aware of it since June 29, 2011. Even worse, during March and April of 2012, Lerner herself had actually written such letters to fifteen different conservative groups. In September 2013, a House committee released several of Lerner’s emails, which showed that she had targeted tea party groups, and that she had asked that their applications be delayed. In one of the emails from 2011, she had written “Tea Party Matter very dangerous.” In September 2013, after having been on paid leave for four months, Lerner had still not been fired by Obama. In September 2013, Lerner retired with a full pension. The IRS asked conservative groups what books they were reading. For a 27 month period that began in February 2010, the IRS gave exactly zero approvals to Tea Party organizations that had sent in applications. During that same time period, numerous liberal organizations with names including words such as “progress” or “progressive” did get approval. The IRS asked Christian Voices for Life, a pro-life organization, questions about its prayer vigils. According to the official White House visitor’s log, during Obama’s first four years as President, IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman made 157 visits to the White House. This is more visits to the White House – by a very large margin – than any other cabinet member during Obama’s first term. By comparison, during the four years that Mark Everson was IRS commissioner when Bush was president, Everson made only one visit to the White House. In June 2013, it was reported that The National Organization for Marriage, a conservative organization, had forensic evidence which proved that its donors’ private information had been illegally leaked by the IRS. The IRS employees who illegally leaked this private information could get five years in prison. However, Obama refused to file any charges against these IRS criminals. The IRS illegally leaked the private information of Christine O’Donnell the same day that she announced that she would run for U.S. Senate as a tea party candidate. In July 2013, it was reported that Obama had met with a key IRS official who was involved in the targeting just two days before the key official had told his colleagues how to target tea party groups. In February 2014, it was reported that during Obama’s presidency, 100% of the established 501(c)(4) groups that had been audited by the IRS were conservative. Although federal law requires the IRS to keep permanent, backup copies of all of its emails at an external location, in June 2014, it was reported that the IRS has canceled its email archiving contract with Sonasoft weeks after Lerner’s computer “crashed.” In July 2014, it was reported that after Lerner’s hard drive “crashed,” the IRS deliberately destroyed it, without making any attempt to recover her emails. Top IRS officials told Congressional investigators that the hard drive was irreparably damaged before they destroyed it. However, IRS technical experts who had examined the hard drive before the IRS destroyed it said that this was not true, and that the data could have been recovered.