Shulman went through the first of at least two testimonies he is required to give concerning the #IRS scandal. Today, he appeared before the Senate Finance Committe. It did not go well for Mr. Shulman. He said he was “dismayed” and “saddened ” after reading the IG’s report that indicated targeting had gone on within the IRS concerning 501(c)(4) exemption. applications. In his usual instructive yet digressing style, he appeared to try and give the appearance of acceptance that the the questions concerning the fairness of the IRS’ actions, were justified. Yet he did not apologize and claimed he wasn’t responsible for what happened regarding the targeting. Sounds rather like a terrified USC trying to appeal to the IRS that he/she wasn’t responsible for not filing a tax return, or an FBAR, since he/she had no knowledge of it, doesn’t it? Apparently the panel was not particularly sympathetic to Shulman (or Miller).
See the video of his comments at:
Interestingly, Baucus took the unusual step of swearing each witness in. I wonder what level of risk that involves. I hear that famous phrase “under penalty of perjury” ringing deliciously in my ears!
“Shulman has come under fire for telling a House committee in March 2012 that the IRS was “absolutely” not targeting conservative groups. He was briefed on the program in May but never disclosed it to Congress before stepping down in November at the end of a six-year term.” If he could claim the IRS was not targeting in March 2012, it would appear that he knew it was going on. What difference does it make that he was briefed in May. What matters is that he knew, it was his responsibility to follow through and get to the bottom of it, given the seriousness of the matter. The fact he did not tell Congress is what should nail him. And what does that remind of us? Willfulness. Willful blindness (NOT!). Hm, what’s the penalty for that? Lying to Congress could land him 5 years in jail.
Mr. Shulman’s testimony “frustrated Republicans already irritated by Miller’s contentious appearance before the House Ways and Means Committee last Friday and shed little additional light on when key figures in the White House and Treasury found out about the IRS targeting.” I find it interesting that, although partisan-based, the Republicans seem to feel Obama is responsible so how could anyone not find Shulman responsible? It was his job to lead the IRS and knowing there was a problem, it is inexcusable that he did not investigate the full extent of it. Orrin Hatch said the fact Shulman and Miller found out in May 2012 and did not notify Congress amounted to “a lie of omission.”
A Democrat, Rep. Joseph Crowley, indicated he believed Shulman lied to Congress under oath when he told lawmakers last year that the agency did not give special attention to certain groups.
Baucus and Hatch sent a letter to the IRS on Monday seeking an exhaustive list of information about the case as part of a full investigation by their committee. There is a deadline (can’t find the original info) and there was no mention of any possibility of an extension. Hmmm, what kind of accuracy penalties, in addition to non-filing compliance, could we be looking at here? LOL!
According to The Hill, the Justice Department has launced a criminal investigation into the matter. And Lois Lerner will plead the 5th tomorrow when appearing before the House Oversight Committee.
Tune in tomorrow to the House Oversight Committee hearing where Mr. Shulman will appear again.
Day 17 of the IRS scandal…
Truthdig: Six Facts Lost in the IRS Scandal, by Kim Barker and Justin Elliott, ProPublica
You should refer to the article to expand on each ‘fact’:
1. Social welfare nonprofits are supposed to have social welfare, and not politics, as their “primary” purpose.
2. Donors to social welfare nonprofits are anonymous for a reason.
3. The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision meant that corporations could pay for political ads, anonymously, using social welfare nonprofits.
4. Social welfare nonprofits do not actually have to apply to the IRS for recognition as tax-exempt organizations.
5. Most of the money spent on elections by social welfare nonprofits supports Republicans.
6. Some social welfare groups promised in their applications, under penalty of perjury, that they wouldn’t get involved in elections. Then they did just that.
That’s one to bookmark, for sure.
I read that on Propublica and agree with all those points. The thing about Cross Roads GPS 501(c)(4) is this: I would bet they did NOT apply for the exemption following the fact of item 4. There is NO legal requirement. They are playing the lottery audit. Audit me if you dare!
I asked this question (amongst others) of Steven Mopsick on Linkedin, and he agreed, but then expanded the reasons.
I also asked about the change application of language in the Statue which said they were to be engaged in ‘exclusively’ in social welfare activity, to the broader IRS regulatory guidance that they had to be “primarily” engaged. That seems to me to be changing the will of Congress, and how can they consitutionally do that?
Thanks, Just Me, Victoria, bubblebustin for all of today’s reading material.
Victoria, I”m glad you and others will be meeting like-minded FATCA protesters around the EU meeting. Thanks for keeping us advised and as much a part of it as we can by listening. It’s a time to say ‘godspeed’ to Sophia In’t Veld.
Hope as many as possible on Isaac Brock and Maple Sandbox will be able to listen in:
Well, we all know the value of IRS ‘pre-clearance’, don’t we? They pretty much do what they feel like doing, and would I be going out on a limb to say that every administration since Eisenhower has had the option to use the IRS to target their opponents? The cat’s out of the bag now though, and neither left nor right look too good due to the fact that it appears to have been going on for decades.
We all know what kind of political animal Karl “Ham” Rove is. Here Rove is suggesting that Stephen Colbert may have anger management issues in the stabbing his famous effigy of him:
The IRS Scandal, Day 18
“…….. lawmakers revealed that White House logs showed he (Shulman) had visited 118 times in 2010 and 2011, one committee member asked why. “The Easter Egg Roll with my kids,” Shulman replied.”
So, do you think that what with FATCA being such a pet project of Obama, that the topic of ‘foreign’ bank accounts, and the IRS pursuit of those deemed ‘taxable US persons’ and citizens abroad never came up on any of those visits?
We also know that Ambassador Jacobson had Obama’s ear, and that he spoke with IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman about the unrest of those deemed US citizen taxpayers in Canada, in the fall of 2011 – which Jacobson reports in his October 2011 speech to the Canadian Club; “….So last week I called the Commissioner of the United States Internal Revenue Service to see what we could do. I explained the problem to him.
The result is that both he and I are sympathetic to the concerns. We are going to work together to see if we can’t find a way to accommodate grandma — and others — here in Canada….” http://canada.usembassy.gov/ambassador/news-and-speeches/18-october-2011-ambassador-jacobsons-remarks-to-the-canadian-club.html
I’d like to know Obama’s thoughts on US extraterritorial persecution and double taxation of those abroad, including those in Canada. It beggars belief that Jacobson and Shulman wouldn’t have mentioned that the arrogant and peculiar US extraterritorial tax system was causing a disruption in the relationship with Canada – major trade partner, ally and neighbour. It beggars belief that Obama didn’t know or understand what the impact of FATCA on Canada would be. And on new US immigrants like his brother-in-law – formerly of Canada – who at some point must have had what then would later become ‘foreign’ Canadian accounts and assets with an FBAR reporting obligation.
We would all like to know Obama’s thoughts on this. He has to know, surely.
Not only does Obama have to know – given the ongoing FATCA IGA negotiations with Canada, and the public statements by Flaherty against FATCA and FBARs in the media, but Obama chose to remain silent, and never to address any of us ‘abroad’ about anything. As if we do not exist. As if he is not the President of ALL US citizens and taxpayers, but only the President of and accountable to some – homeland bankers, financiers, big fundraisers, etc. Not even a BS token mention of us. After the 2008 inclusion of those abroad as a group of concern to him. And no Obama support for Carolyn Maloney’s call for a Presidential Commission “To establish a commission to study how Federal laws and policies affect United States citizens living in foreign countries.” http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr597
Which is particularly hypocritical of Obama given his and the Democrat’s 2008 campaign promises http://obama.3cdn.net/610c7f29ee85b124a3_3cm6bxltu.pdf ‘BARACK OBAMA: SUPPORTING AMERICANS LIVING OVERSEAS’ “……Concerns of Americans Living Abroad:
“Obama believes it is important to understand the role of Americans abroad in determining U.S. policy. Obama will work with members of the Americans abroad community and the U.S. embassies to determine how the U.S. government can be responsive to the concerns
of overseas Americans. As a U.S. Senator, Obama has taken seriously the concerns of all Illinoisans, whether they are currently in Illinois or not. As president, Obama will work to establish a direct dialogue with Americans abroad. ….”
We’re well into the second term, and I can’t hear any dialogue, can you?
Thanks for reminding about those campaign promises. Nope, I don’t hear a thing.
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The IRS Scandal, Day 19
Accounting Today: Attacking the IRS: Ignorance or Stupidity?
Associated Press: Ohio Activists Go to DC as IRS Probe Unfolds
CBS News: Could the IRS Scandal Affect Next Year’s Midterms?
CNN: Fix Our Tax Headaches
Commentary: A Frequent Visitor to the White House
Daily Caller: Washington Launches Four Different Investigations Into IRS Scandal
Forbes: The IRS Fiasco Is Only the Tip of the Iceberg
Heritage Foundation: The IRS, Obamacare, and You: The Taxes
Huffington Post: Character and the IRS
The Hill: House Lawmakers Press on With IRS Investigation Over Recess
New York Times: Groups Targeted by IRS Tested Rules on Politics
Politico: 8 Key Players in IRS Scandal Story
Real Clear Politics: In Congress, Mixed Feelings on IRS Special Counsel
Reason: IRS Scandal Highlights the Dangers of Big Government
The Right Scoop: Tea Party Member Wants to Know Why His Name Became Part of IRS Questionnaire to Other Tea Party Groups
San Diego Union-Tribune: News Site Says IRS Slow-Walked Application
Wall Street Journal: For Baer, IRS Request May Be Minor Distraction
Wall Street Journal: NY Weekly Newspaper Owner Sues FBI, IRS
Washington Post: The IRS’s Unworkable Policy on Nonprofits
Thanks for keeping us updated on all the coverage, day by day. Am preoccupied with 1040nr, 8554 (what a perfectly miserable form) etc so limited time right now. Wouldn’t it be nice if the IRS abuse of expats was as galling to the Congress and the US public as this is.
I should get pre-occuppied with other things, and should follow your example. I do procrastinate. I better start of the friggin’ FBAR today.
@nobledreamer and @Just Me,
Yes, time to enjoy yet again, the seemingly impossible task of getting knowledgeable yet ‘affordable’ US tax assistance from ‘abroad’ that falls somewhere between the likes of HR Block (not cheap either http://www.hrblock.ca/services/US_tax_pricing.asp ) and entering into an opaque and unlimited ‘terms of agreement’ – as even one local (and small) accounting firm insists on (while simultaneously refusing to provide even a gross estimate of the anticipated fee) – for preparing a mere puny 1040, reporting income barely large enough to meet the reporting threshold, plus the labyrinthine final forms for the pitiful registered Canadian “foreign trust” savings account closed in holy sacrifice – gone to pay professional fees to attain the practically impossible to achieve – but oh so blessed and esoteric state of US tax and reporting ‘compliance’ from ‘abroad’ and buy out involuntary servitude – and try to buy elusive peace of mind – with the usual zero US tax owed of course). As we know, we can’t afford to make even an inadvertent mistake no matter how small or non-existent the ‘US taxable’ income, or else it’s the US hangman and financial ruin for the likes of us living and working dual citizens outside the US.
Maybe I can get the name of IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman’s preparer – since he too finds US taxes too complex to do himself: http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/irs-commissioner-i-find-tax-code-complex-so-i-use-preparer . Or maybe the recent Treasury Secretary knows somebody good – since Geithner actually owed years and tens of thousands of US taxes and omitted taxable income on his returns, and made improper deductions for his child’s camp fees among other tax sins. His preparers must have been really good – since the IRS didn’t even assess any penalties despite the spate of repeated years of noncompliance and the size of the omissions of US taxable income and tax outstanding http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2009/01/obama-geithner.html http://www.forbes.com/sites/paulroderickgregory/2013/01/17/wall-street-bonus-lew-to-replace-tax-avoider-geithner-at-treasury/ .
Both parties found that Geithner’s tax noncompliance was entirely understandable, and the IRS, Treasury agreed, just as President Obama said; http://cnsnews.com/news/article/obama-calls-treasury-secretary-s-failure-pay-taxes-innocent-mistake
Like I said, maybe I can get the name of his tax advisors and get some of that ‘understanding’ too? Maybe I’ll just attach a note to my returns and say if there are any errors, “I’ll have a Geithner” please. Thank you in advance for your understanding.” Maybe that would help all the minnow and krill who were threatened by Geithner and Shulman into entering OVD – has anyone tried that yet? Funny that IRS Commissioner Shulman didn’t advise getting a personal pass from the President as a valid ‘last best chance’ option for the rest of us to ‘come into compliance’. It’s not listed on the IRS site as an option either.
Once again, facing the usual deal with IRS forms and instructions for those filing from ‘abroad’, that are even more incomprehensible than those that homelanders like recent IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman finds complex – but with results that spell disaster for a non-US family living ‘abroad’ if any even accidental error is made. Ex. Two or more forms for applying for a particular form’s extension – seemingly for the same purpose – but applicable to a whole list of other forms and purposes. Mailing to US addresses that are PO boxes – and not courier friendly, and paying extra just so that I can prove they’ve been successfully received by the gaping maw of the vast and all powerful slavering beast. Is it to be Utah or Texas or Pennsylvania? Is it to be Processing Center A or B or South or North? Which address and US postal code on which of several IRS webpages is correct when – inevitably – they conflict? Send copies to both or all just in case?
It may take my whole monthly income to pay for help with the basic return plus forms. Contrast that with the Canadian return – in which I got a refund – as a result of being currently barely taxable where I actually live and earn.
No price is of course too high to pay for US citizenship. You know, …. ask not what ‘your country’… but what you can do for ‘your’ country… blah blah blah”. Perhaps I should step up and volunteer to pay something towards the US debt since I don’t and haven’t owed any. I think there is that option somewhere? I might have to make up for the US tax and penalties that US homelanders like this and the previous Treasury Secretaries haven’t paid. Or for the US tax that the current Commerce Secretary Pritzker and her family have managed to work around; For example, see this interview; “……….President Obama had already attempted to nominate Penny Pritzker—he did nominate her in his first term, but she ultimately had to pull out. Can you talk about what the reasons were, and especially this issue of offshore accounts and the family’s infighting over the enormous wealth and dividing it up?
DAVID MOBERG: Well, basically, the nomination was withdrawn for fear of the bad publicity that might come out concerning all these different activities of the Pritzkers. The family itself, including Penny Pritzker, have long relied on a variety of schemes of avoiding paying taxes, which itself is hardly the kind of model that one would hope for from a commerce secretary. And much of that has been done through offshore accounts and shelters of money. A lot of accounts depict Penny Pritzker as if she were simply kind of an unwitting beneficiary of things done by other people or, in some cases, an unwitting victim of things done by other people, so that the offshore accounts are often described as having been set up before she reached adulthood. Well, she’s been an adult quite a long while, and there was no need for her to continue to shelter income in these tax havens overseas. So, I think that the administration was worried about how this would look. But increasingly, it doesn’t seem to care that much. And given the kind of kid gloves treatment from both most of the Republicans and Democrats on the committee, there seems to be good reason for them not to worry about any bad publicity this time around……..” See http://www.democracynow.org/2013/5/28/obama_taps_billionaire_fundraiser_penny_pritzker
Myself, I know that we have to step up and pay a second set of federal taxes – to the US government, even though we don’t live, work or earn there, and even if we don’t receive any benefit – because here’s the hard truth – we can’t all be Shulmans or Geithners, or Pritzkers – or even decent US taxpayers and people like Apple and General Electric http://www.ibtimes.com/ge-pfizer-microsoft-apple-other-major-us-corporations-are-parking-more-cash-abroad-avoid-paying;
Personally, I think we all deserve gold watches with the IRS seal – or maybe engraved wall plaques from Senators Schumer, Levin, et al., in recognition that in addition to being totally compliant taxpayers in Canada and other countries, we also get the chance to be totally compliant with the US as well – even though we were only born there, or had a US parent. We are blessed with the opportunity to spend our hard earned Canadian savings (already taxed once) on propping up the US from abroad – and paying incredible amounts to tax professionals to do so – proving yet again, in the sacred and holy annual ritual, that we owe the US nothing, and that we have been sanctified by passing through the purifying flame of IRS certified compliance – and are cleared of all presupposed criminal taint for yet another 365 days. Except for when we’re not sanctified, and they send us an erroneous 3520 penalty notices http://www.aicpa.org/press/pressreleases/2012/pages/erroneous-irs-letters-to-taxpayers-filing-foreign-trust-form-is-widespread-problem-aicpa-tells-irs.aspx .
Be that as it may:
Proudly I’ll wear my implanted IRS chip broadcasting an electronic message that attests to my state of bliss (if and when I can get an acknowledgement that I have achieved it):
“I paid a tax professional a thousand Canadian dollars to report ZERO US tax owing, for the pleasure of achieving IRS compliance from ‘abroad’; and I didn’t even get a lousy t-shirt”.
And since the assets in my joint ‘foreign’ bank account are all derived from Canadian sources – including the post-Canada Revenue taxed earnings of a Canadian-only spouse, I expect my non-US spouse to get something too – it’s only fair, since those assets are now transparent to the US government – privacy be damned – even though my spouse is not and has never been a ‘US taxable person’, and owes the US no information or anything else. Marriage vows to a US taxable person should read: “till death or US extraterritorial taxation and FBARs do us part”. Like the Valentine’s Day card you can download off the IRS site: “You know your non-US partner truly loves you when they agree to subject their personal and banking information to identity theft, the Homeland Security and Patriot Act, FATCA and the US Bank Secrecy laws in order to keep you from going to jail”. Now that’s what the US Treasury calls commitment – and what other countries call a human rights violation.
But I digress.
@Badger… You make me chuckle with our commentary. It is so entertaining rant in a dark humor sort of way… I think I will send it to a few that don’t get it. 🙂
Happy to get out a bit from the darkness of my repetitive and unwanted thoughts centered on the US. I think it’s called perseveration. I am a true US patriot – the US is on my mind first thing in the morning and last thing at night, and when I wake up to use the toilet midway. Sorry, too much information.
Glad that I managed to be at least somewhat diverting, and not just tedious. Amused myself. And I was serious about the difficulty in finding competent yet affordable help. Seriously, this small local tax firm wanted me to sign an unlimited terms of agreement when all I asked about initially was help filing a specific extension form. That’s what we’ve come to. I’ve spoken to people on the other end of the spectrum – one who is an enrolled agent – but had no idea what I was talking about – and sounded like they were going to wing it. Affordable, but probably incompetent and a catastrophe waiting to happen if I’d just gone with her fee. One way or the other, though I barely earn enough to be taxed where I actually live, the US is forcing me to jump through hoops that eat up about a month’s worth of my part-time earnings. And I already know I won’t owe anything. But in Form Nation USA, no sacrifice is too great to make certain that I’m not a money-laundering-drug-lord-terrorfunding-criminal-tax-evader until the IRS says so. No need to take Canada Revenue’s word for it. Nope. Greater than one million of us here are constantly in need of US law superimposed above and in addition to that of Canada. Actually, they’d like to get there first and let Canada lick the bowl, but so far that isn’t an option. Maybe next tax treaty round. Canada lets them tax all our ‘nontaxable’ registered savings, and penalize Canadian mutual funds and other investments, and there is the new Obamacare tax. And the sale of our principal residence. Let me see, that’s pretty much all we have. Apparently the IRS thinks it is more likely to hit the motherlode in Canada than looking into Pritzker’s family trust ‘offshore’. Or Lew’s. Probably because they have a friend in a high place. I don’t know the POTUS intimately like they do.
That was some of your best ranting ever! Now try to look on the bright side. If you have been saving all of your comments at Brock and elsewhere (certainly hope you have been) you have enough material for a book and with the inevitable awakening of a majority of the 7 million expats (there’s your customers) you could be looking at a future revenue stream to pay for all the costs you are incurring thanks to Form Nation — even if there is yet another complicated form required to report book earnings and there’s a 99.9% chance that the IRS has such a form. 🙂
I’m with Em. Best rant ever and a book would be fantastic. “I’ll take a Geithner” LOL!!!!!
Day 22, and no let up in the number of articles about our friends at the IRS…
The IRS Scandal, Day 22
The links are here…
Bloomberg: Four IRS Employees Set to Be Interviewed in Congressional Probe
CBS News: House Investigators to Question Cincinnati IRS Employees
Daily Beast: Boy, the Head of the IRS Went to the White House a Lot, by Megan McArdle
Daily Caller op-ed: The IRS Targeting Was Wrong, Even If Some of the Targeted Groups Did Break Law, by Jim Huffman
The Hill: House Questioning IRS Staffers in Ohio
The Hill: WWJD About the IRS?
Human Events: IRS Commish Had a Close Relationship With White House
Investor’s Business Daily: 157 Shulman WH Visits: IRS Fish Rots From the Head
L.A. Times: The Right Way to Investigate the IRS
McClatchy: IRS May Have Targeted Conservatives More Broadly
Dick Morris: Full Dimensions of IRS Scandal Emerge
New York Post: Chief of IRS During Targeting of Tea Party Visited White House 157 Times
Bill O’Reilly: Is There Now a Smoking Gun in the IRS Scandal?
Politico: Cincinnati IRS to Face House Panels
Reuters: Embattled IRS Staff Remain in Jobs Despite U.S. Tax Review Scandal
Time: One Nation, Tax Exempt
U.S. News & World Report: Economic Intelligence A Big IRS Job and Fewer People to Do It
U.S. News & World Report: Lois Lerner: Career Government Employee Under Fire
U.S. News & World Report: One-Third of Tax-Exempt Groups Scrutinized by IRS Were Not Conservative
USA Today op-ed: IRS Commits Political Sabotage, by John Eastman
Wall Street Journal op-ed: An Antidote to Cynicism Poisoning: Restoring Public Faith Will Require a Full Investigation of the IRS’s Politicization, by Peggy Noonan
Wall Street Journal: A Tax-Exempt IRS Primer: Breaking Down the Liberal Excuse for Selective Tax Enforcement
Washington Examiner: Tea Party Groups Sue IRS, Claim Targeting Was Widespread
Washington Monthly: Lois Lerner: Totalitarian Menace
Washington Post: White House: No Special Prosecutor for IRS Scandal
Washington Post: Who Handles Hot Potatoes Like the IRS Probe? A Look at 4 Types of Washington Investigations
Weekly Standard: Goolsbee’s Mysterious Tweet About the Koch Brothers’ Taxes
Weekly Standard: ‘Pro-Israel Groups Felt Wrath of Obama IRS’
I must say, I really enjoy seeing Bush appointed Shulman’s face showing up in this political ad…
@Em, Just me and nobledreamer. Happy to entertain someone other than just myself.
Wouldn’t it have been great if we weren’t soon to commemorate the upcoming 2nd anniversary of the CBC reports of the August-September 2011 ‘last best compliance chance’ ‘special offer’ from the US Treasury and IRS? Sad to think that there is enough here to fill a book, but cheering to see that IBS managed to amass and share such a wealth of material.
Perhaps something as yet unexpected will happen to lift all this darkness away………one can always hope!
At least we’ve all discovered each other!