Tuesday, June 11, 2013

'Probably nobody's going to jail'

Aaron Blake, at the Washington Post, on the IRS crimes, with my commentary:

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) wants to know “who’s going to jail” over the IRS scandal. 
But ousted acting IRS commissioner Steven Miller says no laws were violated when the agency targeted conservative groups. 
So who’s right? Did the IRS’s conduct take a step beyond mere “wrongdoing” and venture into criminal territory? 
They committed crimes. Obviously. I mean, violating the Constitutional rights of thousands of Americans, using the government as a campaign office, and lying under oath are at least as serious as posting a YouTube video, and that guy's still in jail.
In short: We don’t know yet. But it’s also quite possible that nobody will ever be convicted of breaking the law in the IRS scandal. 
They won't be convicted if the fix is in.
“I am not aware of any statute that prohibits IRS targeting of applicants,” said Republican lawyer Jan Baran, who served as general counsel to George H.W. Bush and the RNC. Other politically inclined lawyers agree. 
Right. Conspiracy by government officials to violate Constitutional rights, to use government resources for politicking, and to lie about it under oath aren't really against the law. Just a silly misunderstanding.
Essentially, there are three types of laws that might conceivably have been broken, as Attorney General Eric Holder acknowledged in his testimony before a House committee Wednesday: 
1) Civil rights laws that protect people from being discriminated against by the government 
2) The Hatch Act, which prevents civil servants from engaging in partisan political activity 
3) Perjury laws, which prevent people from lying to Congress 
All three are laws, and all three were broken, probably by many criminals at the IRS, and perhaps by co-conspirators at other agencies.
For the third law to have been broken, Republicans would have to prove that IRS officials knew of improper targeting of conservatives and testified to the opposite effect. They have noted that then-IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman testified in March 2012 that there was no such targeting going on. 
But for that to be perjury, Shulman would have had to know that he was lying. Miller admitted Friday that Shulman was wrong but suggested he wasn’t aware of the targeting.As for the first two laws, it likely would have to be proved that the staff members involved in targeting the conservative groups were deliberately doing so for political purposes. 
“It was incorrect, but whether it was untruthful or not … ” Miller said, tailing off. He later added: “To my knowledge, I don’t believe he knew at the time.” 
“You would want some direct evidence of intent, that people knew what they were doing was wrong and they decided to do it anyway,” Nathan Hochman, a former assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s tax division, told Bloomberg News.
Miller and other top IRS officials contend that’s not the case, and that it’s simply happenstance that conservative-sounding organizations were prominent among those who were inappropriately singled out. 
Gee, I wonder how you can get evidence that the bigwigs did something illegal in a crime syndicate? Oh-- I know! You do what prosecutors have been doing to gangsters for a couple of centuries. You find some low level thugs on whom you have straightforward evidence (the two 'low-level' bureaucrats in Cincinnati will do). You introduce them to the grand jury, and you tell them that you are indicting them for felonies that will land them in jail until 2500 A.D. Or, they could cooperate and tell the grand jury who told them to single out conservatives to get a lighter sentence. Then you take the thugs who told them, and you introduce them to the grand jury, and you tell them that you are indicting them for felonies that will land them in jail until 2500 A.D.  ... and you keep going. In fact, it's exactly how Judge "Maximum John Sirica" got the Watergate burglars to implicate higher-ups in the Nixon administrations. He sentenced them to 40 years in prison for burglary, unless they talked. They talked.

It's not that hard to get little guys to implicate big guys. It's routine in prosecuting gangsters, which is what these people are.
(Side note: Despite making this point, the IRS officials haven’t done a good job of explaining exactly how these conservative groups were targeted — and liberal ones weren’t — if it wasn’t political.) 
It may seem self-evident that the motivation was political, but proving that in a court of law is another matter entirely. And until that political motivation is proven, it will be tough to land convictions under the first two laws mentioned above.
Actually, self-evident goes by another name-- "beyond reasonable doubt". If the guilt of these IRS gangsters is "self-evident"-- and it is, for the supervisors-- the trial should be a slam-dunk.

That’s also why we’re seeing such a concerted effort from the IRS to emphasize that it was about incompetence rather than politics. 
Incompetence is random. One is not incompetent only with conservative applications for tax exemption, but highly competent with liberal applications. Self evident.
Apart from what’s mentioned above, you could make a case that the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups violates the Constitution. The 1st Amendment could have been violated if the extra scrutiny is deemed to have hindered these groups’ freedom of speech; the 14th Amendment could come into play if the practice violated the equal protection clause, which prevents the government from discriminating against its people; and the 4th Amendment’s could be applied if the scrutiny is seen as “unreasonable search and seizure.” 
But violating the Constitution isn’t technically a crime. 
Of course it is.

Here, from the Department of Justice:

Summary:Section 242 of Title 18 makes it a crime for a person acting under color of any law to willfully deprive a person of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States. 
For the purpose of Section 242, acts under "color of law" include acts not only done by federal, state, or local officials within the their lawful authority, but also acts done beyond the bounds of that official's lawful authority, if the acts are done while the official is purporting to or pretending to act in the performance of his/her official duties. Persons acting under color of law within the meaning of this statute include police officers, prisons guards and other law enforcement officials, as well as judges, care providers in public health facilities, and others who are acting as public officials. It is not necessary that the crime be motivated by animus toward the race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin of the victim. 
The offense is punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a life term, or the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances of the crime, and the resulting injury, if any. 
TITLE 18, U.S.C., SECTION 242 
Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, ... shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both...

At least 75 groups were denied Constitutional rights, probably more. Each group contained dozens or more members, each of whom had rights denied. Adds up. Could be several hundred years in Federal prison for each IRS thug if the sentences run consecutively.

Denying Constitutional rights under color of law is most definitely a federal crime.

Back to Blake:
“It is possible for a taxpayer to sue individual employees for allegedly denying them constitutional rights. This usually arises in the context of searches or seizures in violation of the 4th Amendment,” Baran said. “In any case, such suits are private civil suits, not criminal suits, and are very difficult to succeed in.” 
Give it a try. Imagine how sympathetic the jury will be to the IRS.
And in fact, the inspector general responsible for investigating the IRS, Russell George, agreed with Miller that no laws were broken when the conservative groups were targeted.
“It is not illegal, sir, but it was unusual,” George said.
The Treasury Department inspector general says no crime was committed. The IRS is part of the Treasury Department, both run by Obamahacks. How surprising.

The investigation should include the Treasury Department.
Which means that, in the end, it’s quite possible nobody will go to jail for what happened at the IRS.
If this is not investigated, prosecuted and punished fully and fairly, there will be a massive backlash from millions of Americans. We are enraged.

Maybe that's why the alphabet agencies have been stocking up with billions of bullets, knowing they were gonna get caught eventually.

But conspiracies like that never actually happen. Thinking that the government is scheming to massively violate our rights is just crazy talk. It never actually happens.

Oh... wait!


  1. They committed crimes. Obviously. I mean, violating the Constitutional rights of thousands of Americans, using the government as a campaign office, and lying under oath are at least as serious as posting a YouTube video, and that guy's still in jail.

    As far as I know, there is no constitutional right to having a tax-free organization. If they want to have it tax-free, the IRS can scrutinize them.


    1. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyJune 11, 2013 at 3:08 PM

      As far as you know is not very far, Mathoo. Back to the integrals. ;-) You do much better with your secret work.

      Nobody's talking about the constitutionality of the statutory duties of the IRS, moron. The issue is admitted, egregious, on the record cases of discriminatory application based on nothing but political affiliation during an election season.

    2. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyJune 11, 2013 at 3:19 PM

      Make that presumed political affiliation.

    3. @Hoo:

      Your comment is so stupid/dishonest I hesitate to answer it.

      There is a Constitutional right to have your application to the government not decided based on your political speech.

      Freedom of speech means that the government can't punish you due to the political content of your speech-- eg deny you tax exemption, etc.

    4. These groups' free speech is unimpeded by the IRS. Their tax-free status is. Ponder the difference.


    5. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyJune 11, 2013 at 5:05 PM

      I did.

      "The issue is admitted, egregious, on the record cases of discriminatory application based on nothing but political affiliation during an election season."

      Back to integrals, Mathoo. It's got to be breakfast time somewhere.

  2. Countering Darrell Issa’s selectively edited release of interview transcripts weakly suggesting involvement from Washington based on the interviewees incredulity, Democrats have now released selections of the interviews that show a self identified conservative Republican taking credit for the extra Tea Party scrutiny because Tea Party groups where “high profile”.

    If it was a conservative republican’s decision based on the high profile nature of tea party groups, story over.

    Write Issa and demand that the full interview transcripts be released so that we can all see what the testimony was instead of relying on selective partisan releases.


    1. KW:

      I have no answer. Your assertion that the heavily-Democrat IRS targeting of Obama's political enemies during a election season was instigated by conservative Republicans is something for which I have no reply.

      It's like saying that the KKK was really run by black Jewish-Catholic Republicans.

      I'm speechless.


    2. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyJune 11, 2013 at 4:31 PM

      KW, it's doesn't make the slightest difference to the facts whether the person "taking credit" (now there's an odd word choice) was a Republican, Democrat, Independent, Whig, Know-Nothing, Communist, Socialist, etc. etc.

      This story has only begun. Elijah Cummings doesn't chair that committee, and most of the lawsuits haven't even been filed yet.

    3. You’re speechless because you’re an idiot enthralled by propaganda and animated by hate.

      This Republican was a professional who was doing his best to do his job. The Tea Party groups applying for 501(c)4 status where OVERTLY political, such that he felt compelled to give them extra scrutiny. Conservatives are all over this as some sort of infringement of ordinary citizen’s rights. Bullshit, this is about political operatives co-opting suckers to put a friendly face on corporate types pouring money into elections secretly and tax free.

      It’s just like Benghazi, blown out of proportion by a party out for blood 24/7. Come on Issa, why aren’t you releasing the transcripts?


  3. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyJune 11, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    I love these Progressive loons. Let's put some facts together:

    Fast and Furious
    IRS scandal
    AP phone records
    James Rosen
    NSA domestic
    NSA foreign
    Kill list for US citizens
    Fake e-mail accounts and FOIA avoidance
    YouTube/Islam video lies
    Illegal recess appointments
    Outing Seal Team 6
    and, cherry on top... fostering the born in Kenya story

    And that's only a partial list. Obama is either a Manchurian Candidate or a complete fucking idiot. I'm going with the latter.

    1. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyJune 11, 2013 at 5:30 PM

      Oh, and the State Department's Inspector General just issued a report outlining

      *Sex scandals in Belgium ("trolling" public parks LOL)

      Which reminds me:

      * The Secret Service hooker scandal

      My goodness, what a list. You'd think an idiot was running things (and you'd be right!).

    2. That's an amazing scholarly debate. Worthy of high school freshmen. Keep up the good work, gentlemen!


    3. And this political affiliation, what form did it take? Was it through the well paid consultant they hired, you know, the one with Karl Rove’s phone number, who hooked them up with the company that makes issue ads for conservatives, can round up corporate donations, and remind them to keep handing-out constitution cards to prove we’re an educational charity? That affiliation?


    4. Adm. G Boggs, Glenbeckistan NavyJune 12, 2013 at 7:42 AM

      That is precisely the model used by the left (e.g., Media Matters), Popeye, so stop whining and thrashing. It's childish.