Obama’s Tax Audit Strategy

Did the IRS scandal begin when the Obama administration aggressively tried to deny tax-exempt status to pro-Israeli groups that funded settlements on the West Bank in defiance of its wishes? The IRS seems to have used tax audits to try to cripple these Jewish groups. When the Citizens United decision came down, did President Obama turn the guns focused on the conservative Jewish groups to fire on Republican political organizations?

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The Washington Free Beacon reports that the idea of using the IRS to undermine settlement activity surfaced barely two months after Obama took office. On March 26, 2009, the Washington Post questioned the tax-exempt status of pro-settlement Jewish groups.

The next day, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee asked the IRS to investigate groups “raising funds for the development of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.”

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President Obama enjoyed warm relations with the ADC and had sent a video greeting to its annual conference.

Meanwhile, Arab pressure to audit the settlement groups escalated. In October 2009, a cable revealed by WikiLeaks, recounted a meeting between the chief negotiator for the Palestinian Authority Ahmad Quraya and U.S. Consul General Daniel Rubinstein. The cable noted that Quraya gave Rubinstein “a copy of an article … in Israeli daily Haaretz newspaper on August 17, entitled ‘American Non-profit Organization Raises Funds for Settlement’ and asked the U.S. to review the situation with an eye toward eliminating organizations’ tax-exempt status if they are funding settlement activity.”

The Free Beacon notes that the following week, J Street, a pro-Palestinian lobbying group, also demanded an investigation into U.S. charities that contribute to settlements.

HaYovel, a group that sends volunteers to work in West Bank vineyards, was the first one audited six months after its role was prominently featured in a New York Times article. The Times quoted a senior State Department administration official calling such groups “a problem” and “unhelpful to the efforts that we’re trying to make.”?Daniel Kurtzer, a senior Obama Middle East adviser, said that the groups “drove us crazy.”

“We bookend that [New York Times] story. We were the first [group mentioned]. They [the IRS] really kind of focused on us,” said HaYovel’s founder Tommy Waller. It was the first of many Jewish pro-settlement groups to experience IRS audits.

When the Citizens United decision came down, outraging the Obama administration, the IRS already had begun to use the agency’s power to audit and intimidate Jewish groups promoting West Bank settlements. The idea of using the same M.O. to go after tax-exempt groups that sprang up in the wake of the Court’s decision likely was another fruit of the same tree.

Was the president personally involved? The 36 visits to the White House by Acting IRS Director Douglas Schulman — including four personal meetings with the president — in a two year period after the Court ruling bear further scrutiny. By comparison, the Bush-43 IRS director visited the building only once in his tenure.

Schulman’s meetings with White House staff likely focused on the IRS’ role in administering Obamacare, but the chances that the audit of conservative groups was discussed cannot be ruled out, especially in view of the work of Schulman’s wife, Susan L. Anderson.

Anderson, works for Public Campaign, an organization “dedicated to sweeping campaign reform that aims to dramatically reduce the role of special interests in American politics” and funded by groups like MoveOn.org and the American Federation of Labor.

Anderson, who supported the Occupy Wall Street campaign, appears to have occupied the IRS through her husband. According to Breitbart.com, Anderson’s tweets indicate that she worked for Obama and had an obsession with cutting Karl Rove’s Crossroads group down to size.

On June 20, 2012, for example, she tweeted “Karl Rove Crossroads get money out.” She appealed to supporters to come to a demonstration to “CONFRONT Karl Rove plus American Crossroads REBUILD THE AMERICAN DREAM.”

Anderson’s activities and Schulman’s White House visits need further Congressional scrutiny. Who knows where it might lead?

Also see,

Full Dimensions of IRS Scandal Emerge

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