Reports indicate that even as the Internal Revenue Service was placing undue scrutiny on the tax-exempt status of conservative groups, top government officials were advising black preachers on how to engage in political activity without endangering their tax exempt status leading up to the 2012 Presidential election.
According to The Daily Caller, Attorney General Eric Holder and then-IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman, and Peter Lorenzetti, a senior official at the agency, attended a May 2012 training session for members of the Conference of National Black Churches. The training session was organized by the Congressional Black Caucus.
“We’re going to, first of all, equip them with the information they need to know about what they can say and what they cannot say in the church that would violate their 501(c)(3) status with the IRS,” said Representative Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri), who chaired the CBC at the time. “In fact, we’re going to have the IRS administrator there. We’re going to have Attorney General Eric Holder there…the ACLU.”
George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley told The Daily Caller that he saw a number of major problems with the workshop.
“I viewed the meeting as highly problematic. Eric Holder heads the agency that prosecutes organizations who give false information to the government. The Justice Department coordinates with the IRS on actions taken against not-for-profits. These ministries are given not-for-profit status on the basis that they are not engaging in any political activities. Here, the Obama administration was clearly encouraging them to maximize their efforts by showing them where the lines were drawn in federal case law,” he said.
In other news, this week it was revealed that Lois Lerner, the former director of exempt organizations at the IRS, lied to Congress and was directly involved in targeting conservative groups.
Via The Wall Street Journal:
In a February 2011 email, Ms. Lerner advised her staff—including then Exempt Organizations Technical Manager Michael Seto and then Rulings and Agreements director Holly Paz—that a Tea Party matter is ‘very dangerous,’ and is something ‘Counsel and [Lerner adviser] Judy Kindell need to be in on.’ Ms. Lerner adds, “Cincy should probably NOT have these cases.”
Obama Administration narrative officially destroyed.