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IRS Tag

Back in May 2018, attorney Michael Avenatti published what looked like bank records related to President Donald Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen, who in turn demanded the court force Avenatti to reveal his source. Avenatti claimed that Cohen lacked evidence that he received or distributed any bank records. At the time, Cohen represented Stormy Daniels in her case against Trump. Well, now an IRS employee has been charged with providing Cohen's information to Avenatti.

Two big items happened today concerning the IRS. No, the agency still exists and we have to pay taxes. However, the agency has apologized for targeting conservative groups due to their political beliefs during President Barack Obama's administration. Also, it's now official that IRS Commissioner John Koskinen will leave in November as President Donald Trump announced a new leader.

Lois Lerner was the IRS official at the center of the scandal over targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups. The evidence was overwhelming that Tea Party and conservative groups had applications for tax exempt status delayed or denied, while liberal groups did not, and that this targeting was deliberate. Documents and hard drives went missing, Lerner pleaded the 5th, and there were years of obfuscation and delay in producing documents and information. The House Oversight Committee produced this video in 2014 summarizing what had happened:

The IRS seems to be in a constant state of administrative shambles.  Former IRS employees fired for falsifying documents, illegally accessing taxpayer information, and a range of other conduct, ethics, and legal issues are being rehired by the same agency that fired them.  This rehiring reportedly occurs despite flags and notes on the former-employee's personnel file. The IRS claims that it's too "cost prohibitive" to verify that the employees they hire had not already been fired by the agency. You can't make this stuff up.

The House Ways and Means Committee has passed a bill that limits when the IRS can take action on taxpayer assets. From The Hill:
The bill concerns cases where taxpayers are suspected of “structuring” transactions under $10,000 to avoid bank-reporting requirements. Under the legislation, the IRS would only be able to seize funds in suspected structuring cases when the funds came from illegal sources or the transactions were structured in order to conceal other criminal activity. Additionally, the legislation would establish a process to review seizures.

In March of 2015, more than twenty armed agents rolled up to Mii’s Bridal & Tuxedo in Garland, Texas. The store's owners, Tony and Somnuek Thangsongcharoen, were given two hours to cough up $10,000 to avoid seizure of their property for a tax bill of $31,422. When they were unable to provide the IRS with a check, agents proceeded with the seizure and auctioned off everything of value.

It has been almost five years since news broke that officials at the IRS used the power of government to harass members of the Tea Party and other conservative groups. The media has largely ignored the scandal and so far, no one has gone to jail. Earlier this month, IRS officials claimed they couldn't testify because their lives were at risk. USA Today reported:
IRS officials say lives at risk in tea party bias case Details about tea party bias claims against the IRS could remain secret because current and former agency officials say their lives are in danger if they publicly testify about the case.

Chris Matthews has invited liberals at the IRS to leak the audit status of President Trump's tax return. On this evening's Hardball, Matthews said: "we know there's no audit [of Trump.] Can't the IRS just make a statement, he's not under audit? Just make the announcement. By the way, that would be a good leak. Somebody at the IRS just leaking. I thought they were all liberals over there. Why doesn't somebody just leak it?" Pursuant to 26 US Code Sec. 7213, disclosing an individual's return information is "a felony punishable upon conviction by a fine in any amount not exceeding $5,000, or imprisonment of not more than 5 years, or both."
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