House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp

IRS scandal: Is the House Ways and Means Committee ineffective?

While it was previously reported that the House Ways and Means Committee identified the IRS employee who leaked the National Organization for Marriage’s confidential tax documents and donor list;  recent reports, as well as a statement from the committee seem to conflict with that assertion.

The recipient of the documents, gay activist Matthew Meisel, initially shared the compromised tax information with Human Rights Campaign, an anti-traditional marriage group, who enjoys quite a few corporate “partners,” and whose [former] president [Joe Solmonese] was a national co-chair for President Obama’s reelection campaign in March 2012.

In a non-coincidence, the information gleaned from the donor list was used to slam then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who was breathlessly “outed” by the Huffington Post and other left-wing media outlets as a contributor to NOM. “The evidence continues to pile up and is painting a very clear picture of Mitt Romney’s anti-LGBT associations,” HRC reported at the time.

The National Organization for Marriage subsequently filed a lawsuit against the IRS in 2013 for leaking the protected information. During the proceedings, Matthew Meisel invoked the Fifth Amendment.  As reported at Fox News last month, the IRS ultimately “admitted wrongdoing and agreed to pay [NOM] a $50,000 settlement…” The settlement, of course, is paid for with taxpayer dollars.

Earlier this month, Seth McLaughlin of the Washington Times reported that NOM chairman John Eastman wants  Matthew Meisel to be granted immunity by the Department of Justice, which would “help find out how he got the donor list.”

But the House Ways and Means Committee already knows who the IRS leaker is, at least according to a October 2013 article by Eliana Johnson of National Review Online, who wrote that the committee is bound by the same law which was already broken by the leaker, muzzling it from revealing the identity of the perpetrator.

Johnson wrote,

A House committee investigating the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of right-leaning groups has identified the IRS agent who leaked the confidential donor list of the National Organization for Marriage…

Johnson clearly indicated that the committee “…identified the individual who divulged the information as an employee in the IRS’s Exempt Organizations Division, [but] it can’t divulge his name to the public or to NOM…” The article was able to reveal, however, through Committee chairman Dave Camp, that the culprit is “an IRS agent working in the Exempt Organizations Division…[who] leaked NOM’s Schedule B to Matthew Meisel.”

In the wake of the settlement to NOM just last month, House Ways and Means Committee released a statement declaring that they are “actively investigating the matter, and recently discovered evidence that the individual who received the documents may have had a contact within IRS.” [emphasis added]

This statement seems to conflict directly with Johnson’s article.

The House Ways and Means Committee has been investigating “whether the Internal Revenue Service discriminated against taxpayers based on political opinions” since June 2011, when the IRS “invoked a rarely used, 30-year-old ruling” targeting unidentified donors to non-profit advocacy groups, as reported at the New York Times. While that investigation was suddenly dropped in the wake of public scrutiny, the targeting continued as documented extensively in a report at Tavern Keepers.

When it was revealed that Lois Lerner’s email “crashed,” the House Ways and Means Committee issued a statement calling for for the Department of Justice to investigate. Anyone who has been paying attention knows that calls for a DOJ investigation will lead nowhere. As observed at Liberty Unyielding, “With all due respect, this bland response is insulting.”

The evidence that the IRS targeted conservative groups is quite overwhelming. While the House Ways and Means Committee has done a good job of compiling evidence, it is past time for those involved in the targeting to be held accountable.

The role of the Citizens United vs. FEC Supreme Court ruling in the IRS targeting scandal cannot be overstated.

About Renee Nal

Renee Nal is a creative political junkie and driven prolific writer. Renee’s main objectives are to expose media and academic bias and to contribute to a positive shift in culture.

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