The BBC And The IRS

The Director of the IRS’s tax-exempt enforcement division, Lois Lerner, has been placed on “administrative leave” after her publicly derided appearance in front of Congress the other day. Reality forces the BBC to report on a story they were quietly avoiding until the story got too big to ignore.

Lois Lerner on administrative leave in US tax scandal

There are some glaring omissions here, as well as the usual partisan bias we’ve come to expect from the BBC’s coverage of US issues. Instead of my usual lengthy and tedious essays parsing every little word, I’m going to try something different. This time I’m simply going to rewrite the piece as if I were an editor, taking the bulk of what’s already been written and adding important things I believe they left out, and making a few changes to remove the partisan bias.

Read the BBC article above, and then read my version. Please compare and contrast, and let me know which version better informs you.

The US tax official who supervised the bureau that targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny ahead of the 2012 election has been placed on leave, officials have said.

Lois Lerner’s suspension came the day after she refused to testify at a congressional hearing on the matter, and refused a request from the new acting IRS commissioner for her to resign.

Groups applying for tax-exempt status were singled out for extra screening if words like “Tea Party” and “patriot” appeared in their applications, while other groups with “Progress” or “Progressive” in their names sailed through the process and received no such scrutiny.

The practice has been widely condemned.

The Associated Press reported Ms Lerner had been replaced as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) director of exempt organisations.

Two top officials at the IRS have already said they would resign over the matter. One was on the job for just eight days before being forced out, while the other was already scheduled to step down within weeks.

Several congressional hearings have already been held as the Oversight Committee searches for evidence the practice was directed or condoned by the administration of President Barack Obama.

Order to cease

On Wednesday, Ms Lerner told members of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee she had not broken any laws or given false information to Congress.

But Ms Lerner said she would not answer the congressmen’s questions, citing her right under the US Constitution not to incriminate herself. Rep. Darrell Issa, the Republican chair of the committee, has since said that Ms Lerner’s profession of innocence was itself testimony, thus pre-emptively waiving her Fifth Amendment rights. Opinions differ on the legal basis for Rep. Issa’s decision. He intends to bring Ms Lerner back for further questioning at a later date.

She learned of the targeting in 2011 and ordered staff to cease, though lower-level staff apparently resumed until May 2012, according to a treasury department report. Ms Lerner brought the affair to the public’s attention on 10 May, when she disclosed the practice at a legal conference by planting a question about it with a friend on the panel.

In 2010-12, the IRS says it was inundated with new applications from groups seeking tax-exempt status, after the US Supreme Court loosened restrictions on political spending by organisations unaffiliated with candidates’ campaigns. According to a report by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, however, the data don’t back up that claim, and instead show that the extra scrutiny began before the uptick in filings.

Under US tax law, “social welfare” groups may apply for 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status but cannot engage primarily in political activity, although they are in some cases permitted to endorse candidates. Groups granted 501(c)(3) status may not endorse candidates or policies. The bulk of groups receiving special scrutiny were applying for 501(c)(4) status.

Staff members at an IRS office in Cincinnati, Ohio are understood to have compiled a list that included keywords such as “Tea Party” and “patriot” to select organisations for extra scrutiny from the large number of applications. The Washington Post has quoted staff members there as stating that they didn’t have such authority on their own and that the orders to do so came “from the top”.

IRS officials have denied any political motivation behind the practice, describing it as a way to handle the heavy workload. An inquiry by the US treasury department has found no evidence of any political influence from the Obama administration.

President Barack Obama has denounced the practice as unacceptable, and the FBI has launched a criminal inquiry.

PS: I make no comment on the photo the BBC used. It’s the one making all the rounds for obvious reasons, but I might have chosen the one where she’s consulting her lawyer instead.

UPDATE: News Sniffer shows that a BBC News Online editor actually redacted a few words in one sentence, making it appear more partisan.

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41 Responses to The BBC And The IRS

  1. Deborah says:

    If one reads the BBC version it appears almost like a statement put out by Ms Lerner’s lawyers; the case for her defense.

    I have many friends who would considered themselves well educated and well informed. They get most of their knowledge of world affairs from BBC News or newspapers. They might go to the internet for further information about a story they were particularly interested in. So here in the UK, would such people go to the BBC website for a story on the US IRS? I am sure if I asked most people in the UK they would know nothing about this story. It is also likely that they would not know that there had been rioting in Sweden until today – and as this is a sunny day on a bank holiday weekend they may not be watching BBC news and would still miss the riots in Sweden (I have heard very little about it until today when the BBC reports that last night there was less rioting in the ‘poorer’ parts of Stockholm. And other than knowing that there was a problem with a plane from Pakistan en route to Manchester and that the trouble was not ‘terror-related’ I guess that very little information has entered the psyche of the UK population about this incident.

       22 likes

  2. chrisH says:

    I followed this BBC website story, ended up at Lee Rigby….again!
    The BBC says on their own page, that poor Michael was “sexually abused” on his safari holiday to Kenya( heaven forbid that he was out there causing trouble…NO!).
    The Muslim they interview by way of this “quote” specifically says that he was “sexually threatened”.
    Yet the BBC prefer “abuse” to “threatened”-despite the lad being specifically “Inspired” to say “abused”…he did not.
    Yet the BBC say that he did.
    Luvaduck…the BBC can no longer even quote verbatim from their own talking heads to camera anymore.
    Seems they just seem happy to believe what they want,, and to print what they hoped might have been said-to confirm their narrative and to keep a stitching as they do.
    Shameless liars. FFS, shut them down..or up, I don`t mind!

       31 likes

  3. OldBloke says:

    It is the *Borg* at work.

       5 likes

  4. 45543 says:

    BBC News: “We Decide, You Listen” (with apologies to…) .

       9 likes

  5. TPO says:

    Is there any coverage at all from the BBC concerning the Obama adminstration seizing telephone records of Associated Press, and now we are hearing that Eric Holder was definately in the loop in the granting of a warrant to obtain Fox News chief Washington corresponent, James Rosen’s phone and email records, asserting in the warrant application that Rosen was a a likely criminal “co-conspirator” and a “flight risk”.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/05/24/holder-probing-holder-obama-orders-doj-review-over-search-warrant-ag-likely/

    Even the Daily Mail has the story now:

    “Eric Holder WAS aware that FOX News reporter was to be snooped on after being labeled ‘co-conspirator’ in leak probe”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2330857/Eric-Holder-WAS-aware-FOX-News-reporter-snooped-labeled-conspirator-leak-probe.html

    The BBC? Well don’t hold your breath that anything will come out from them, especially that joke, Bunter Mardell, at least that is until they can spin the story in a favourable light for chimpy.

       21 likes

    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      There have been a couple of BBC reports on the AP issue, yes. After all, those are mainly fellow travelers. They’ve even mentioned that The Obamessiah has pursued more leakers than all previous Presidents combined.

      As for the persecution of Rosen and others at Fox, of course that’s been censored. I’m not sure they’ve mentioned what happened to Sharyl Attkinson from CBS, either.

      In their defense, the BBC doesn’t have time to report every little scandal or story which might make the President look bad. They’ve gone the lower-middle brow, wide appeal route in their newsgathering, and the US division is no longer really a serious news outlet. Too many accidents and sexy crimes and the kinds of agenda stories that interest them to cover instead. Just look at the content currently on the US & Canada page and you’ll see what I mean.

         15 likes

      • john in cheshire says:

        David, isn’t the obama administration following the same pattern of behaviour that our blair/brown gang of thugs followed? From all that I read of the US government’s actions, I see more and more the template that the UK labour party followed for 13 years; it can’t be coincidence.

           22 likes

        • David Preiser (USA) says:

          There are some similar Left-wing policies, sure. And perhaps with Mr. Brown there was a similar desire to destroy.

             14 likes

          • john in cheshire says:

            It’s not just the policies, it’s the methods they use; bullying the press for a start which was Mr Campbell’s forte; with-holding favours for those who don’t toe the line. Postal votes to rig elections; importing immigrants to flood the voting booths with compliant voters; handing out money like confetti to all and sundry; inverting truth, propagating misinformation, undermining state institutions – for us it was the House of Lords, for you it’s the Constitution. And all the while, spouting peace and rationality while vilifying everyone who is seen as an enemy.

               21 likes

        • TPO says:

          At a slight tangent to this, when Murdoch news outlets were found out to have indulged in “phone hacking” the BBC went into a feeding frenzy.
          When the Guardian was caught out suddenly the BBC pushed the Guardian’s defence that it was “in the public interest” and when the Guardian was caught out lying over the Milly Dowler hack the BBC said not one word

             32 likes

    • hippiepooter says:

      “Chimpy”, just who might he be?

         3 likes

  6. TPO says:

    Lat night I watched a number of people who had applied for tax exemption being interviewed on Fox News.
    I found their experiences at the hands of the IRS to be frighteningly sinister,
    From having applications deliberately delayed, to being threatened and being questioned about who their friends were, what their telephone numbers were and what were their friend’s political affiliations.
    One person who is now taking legal action against the IRS has now had her exemption application refused.

    I know the BBC has belately been forced to acknowledge the IRS scandal, but is there any word at all from that joke, Bunter Mardell or anyone else in the BBC about the level of threats coming from the Obama run IRS?

       28 likes

  7. TPO says:

    Six monthe after Benghazi and the White House has release one hundred documents and emails. Just one hundred.

    The Congessional Committee is now going to obtain subpoenas to get their hands on the twenty five thousand other documents that the Obama White House is deliberately withholding.
    Any word from that joke of a reporter, Bunter Mardell about it?

       23 likes

    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      Mardell actually admitted recently that the Benghazi issue was more serious than he originally believed. Does that count? He also admitted that the IRS scrutiny of those Tea Party and other non-Left groups was clearly partisan. But don’t worry: none of this is His fault.

         21 likes

      • TPO says:

        No more than passing lip service.

        Had any of this been unravelling under a Republican president it would be 24 hour wall-to wall coverage from the loony left BBC with ‘expert’ after ‘expert’ trundled into every single BBC studio and BBC talking heads interviewing other BBC talking heads about what a third BBC talking head had said.

           23 likes

        • David Preiser (USA) says:

          Agreed. And had it been happening under a Republican President, Mardell and Co. wouldn’t have dismissed it as mere partisan attacks without foundation, and wouldn’t have dismissed the evidence provided in such condescending fashion.

             20 likes

  8. TPO says:

    Any word on the BBC about how the US State Department, the Department of Defence and the White House are deliberately hindering the Congressional hearing into the Benghazi tragedy by refusing the hearing access to the US personnel who were actually on the ground in Benghazi at the time of the terrorist attack on th US consulate.

    Of course not. Flying right under the radar of that joke, Bunter Mardell.

       18 likes

    • Chop says:

      Everything you pointed out TPO, I found out about…

      But NOT via the BBC, no, it was via that “swivel eyed, right wing loon” Jeff Kuhner.

      And the vile Libs claim the Right are evil…

         15 likes

  9. The Highland Rebel says:

    Al Beeb are well qualified to talk on income tax issues.

    Wasn’t it their own employees who salted away millions they stole from the licence fee payers and put it into offshore tax havens to avoid paying tax?

       19 likes

  10. chrisH says:

    1. Operation Fast and Furious
    2. Benghazi
    3. Associated Press snooping
    4. IRS extra measures for “right wing nutjobs” like the Tea Party.

    Anybody see the pattern?…if so, will someone tell the BBC about it.?
    Whilst Mardell is bouncing around with his greasy quiff for company.
    How much are we paying the only Donut that`s not fit for dunking?

       19 likes

    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      Your list adds up to what I’ve been saying all along, chris. For the BBC, there can be no legitimate opposition to Him or His policie, ever. All opposition is ultimately driven by some more sinister motive.

         18 likes

    • Jack de says:

      Wait until Orwellian Big Bother Obama care kicks in. The amount of computer power that has been given over to this is beyond belief..

         3 likes

      • David Preiser (USA) says:

        And the woman at the IRS in charge of implementing its myriad tax requirements was Commissioner of the Tax Exempt & Government Entities division at the IRS when all this started, and while it was in full swing.

        The BBC still hasn’t reported that.

           10 likes

        • Adi says:

          And Sebelius campaigns for and with The Wohn – which is another scandal since HHS is supposed to be apolitical.

          The “progressive” Messiah turns out to be one of the most corrupt politicians ever and this really, really hurts the Narrative. Moreover a lot of people are starting to wake up and I don’t see History treating too kind “the One we have been waiting for”, heh.

             3 likes

    • Arthur Penny says:

      The trouble is that there are insufficient white males around to vote against the Democrats in 2015. Schedenfreude is nice in some cases but it pains me to see so much that was good festering across the Atlantic.

         2 likes

      • David Preiser (USA) says:

        The Tea Party movement was started by women and is (slightly) majority female. After whatever pathetic amnesty compromise Congress comes up with for illegal immigrants passes, the racialist politics will die down (it is racialist, as La Raza doesn’t give a damn about helping the generations of illegal Chinese immigrants or Eastern European women brought in by sex traffickers), and Republican and Tea Party efforts to recruit Hispanics will gain more traction.

        It’s about values and competence. Let’s not sing from the fascist identity politics hymn sheet, please.

           1 likes

  11. TPO says:

    Janet Daly over at the Telegraph hits the nail on the head.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/barackobama/10080031/Even-for-liberals-Obama-has-crossed-a-line.html

    Does she read this blog by any chance?

       12 likes

  12. stuart says:

    i agree with every comment that david preiser (usa) has posted.

       2 likes

  13. Since David P is the last sane person on this site... says:

    So these people were applying to the IRS for special tax treatment? And are surprised they were investigated? It’s not a constitutional right for your “charity” to automatically get tax exempt status is it?
    Indeed wasn’t the IRS applying simple profiling to this problem? Funny how the right whines when it’s them but gets angry the airlines don’t lock everyone with a turban in a cage and forbid them to fly.

       5 likes

    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      I notice you’re unable to address the issue of BBC bias, and so chose to argue the political story itself.

      Are you serious about this claim that the groups deserved this kind of scrutiny and that the IRS acted properly? Even though the President Himself says it was wrong? The issue is not that the groups were checked out, full stop, but that their applications were held up, blocked, deliberately, by means of all the egregious questions and moving goal posts. Never mind that the singling out of these groups began before the big wave of applications really started. You seem sure that none of those groups actually deserved their tax-exempt status, so would you care to tell the class just how many of those groups were ultimately denied 501(c)(4) status?

      Meanwhile, as you can clearly read in my own version of the article above (for which I can provide plenty of sources, if you’d like to pretend you’re unaware of all of it), groups with “Progressive” in their names came under no such scrutiny and were easily granted their status.

      The law was not applied equally, and this government organization was politically compromised. Your claim is without merit.

         16 likes

      • hippiepooter says:

        Hey, when someone supports BBC bias, no suprise they back Obama abusing his power to intimidate opponents!

           9 likes

        • David Preiser (USA) says:

          And three people liked the comment attacking the Right, but none dared address the issue of BBC biased reporting I raised. Interesting.

             9 likes

    • Old Timer says:

      I think you should do a little more homework it is not just the right who are complaining. It is also the liberal/left wing press who feel that the Almighty Obama has exceeded his authority and telling porky pies. Again.

      As for the turban comment, what have you got against Sikhs? You are plainly a racist to make such a stupid comment.

         6 likes

    • hippiepooter says:

      Great point funny guy!

      Hey, do tell, if you had to travel and had the choice of getting on a plane where Muslims were being profiled for special attention or Christians, which plane would you rather get on?

      Yeah, thought so.

         6 likes

  14. Beeboidal says:

    Supreme Court decision – January 21st, 2010.

    Obama: The decision “gives the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington – while undermining the influence of average Americans who make small contributions to support their preferred candidates.”- January 21st, 2010

    His administration is going “to get to work immediately with Congress on this issue. We are going to talk with bipartisan congressional leaders to develop a forceful response to this decision. The public interest requires nothing less.” – January 21st, 2010.

    Obama : “I can’t think of anything more devastating to the public interest.” – January 23rd, 2010.

    Obama : “Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities.” – January 27th, 2010.

    IRS start Tea Party screening – March/April 2010.

    Mad as hell about this, wasn’t he? I wonder whatever happened to that forceful bipartisan congressional response?

       4 likes

    • David Preiser (USA) says:

      Don’t forget that the President Himself has publicly called out Fox News:

      “It’s very hard for me to swallow that one,” Obama told CNBC when asked whether he thinks the media is too easy on him. “First of all, I’ve got one television station entirely devoted to attacking my administration.”

      The interviewer quickly assumed Obama was referring to Fox News, a suggestion the president didn’t disagree with.

      “Well, that’s a pretty big megaphone,” he said. “And you’d be hard-pressed, if you watched the entire day, to find a positive story about me on that front.”

      and Rush Limbaugh and Grover Norquist, while praising St. Jon of Greenwich Village:

      Frankly, I know that there are good, decent Republicans on Capitol Hill who, in a different environment, would welcome the capacity to work with me. But right now, in an atmosphere in which folks like Rush Limbaugh and Grover Norquist are defining what it means to be a true conservative, they are lying low.
      There is no greater form of political intimidation, or example for impressionable government apparatchiks to follow. BBC: He’s the coolest ever….ZZZZZzzzzzzzz

      If some defender of the indefensible finds an example of Bush doing it, don’t bother asking if that’s okay. It isn’t, nor does it justify this President doing it. And it doesn’t excuse the BBC acting as if He’s magically above it all and it’s only the evil orcs in Washington preventing Him from saving us all from ourselves.

         4 likes