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Judicial Watch Obtains IRS Documents Revealing McCain’s Subcommittee Staff Director Urged IRS to Engage in “Financially Ruinous”


McCain minority staff director Henry Kerner to IRS official Lois Lerner and other IRS

officials: “the solution is to audit so many that it becomes financially ruinous”

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today released newly obtained internal IRS documents, including material revealing that Sen. John McCain’s former staff director and chief counsel on the Senate Homeland Security Permanent Subcommittee, Henry Kerner, urged top IRS officials, including then-director of exempt organizations Lois Lerner, to “audit so many that it becomes financially ruinous.”  Kerner was appointed by President Trump as Special Counsel for the United States Office of Special Counsel.

The explosive exchange was contained in notes taken by IRS employees at an April 30, 2013, meeting between Kerner, Lerner, and other high-ranking IRS officials. Just ten days following the meeting, former IRS director of exempt organizations Lois Lerner admitted that the IRS had a policy of improperly and deliberately delaying applications for tax-exempt status from conservative non-profit groups.

Lerner and other IRS officials met with select top staffers from the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee in a “marathon” meeting to discuss concerns raised by both Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that the IRS was not reining in political advocacy groups in response to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.  Senator McCain had been the chief sponsor of the McCain-Feingold Act and called the Citizens United decision, which overturned portions of the Act, one of the “worst decisions I have ever seen.”

In the full notes of an April 30 meeting, McCain’s high-ranking staffer Kerner recommends harassing non-profit groups until they are unable to continue operating. Kerner tells Lerner, Steve Miller, then chief of staff to IRS commissioner, Nikole Flax, and other IRS officials, “Maybe the solution is to audit so many that it is financially ruinous.” In response, Lerner responded that “it is her job to oversee it all:”

Henry Kerner asked how to get to the abuse of organizations claiming section 501 (c)(4) but designed to be primarily political. Lois Lerner said the system works, but not in real time. Henry Kerner noted that these organizations don’t disclose donors. Lois Lerner said that if they don’t meet the requirements, we can come in and revoke, but it doesn’t happen timely. Nan Marks said if the concern is that organizations engaging in this activity don’t disclose donors, then the system doesn’t work. Henry Kerner said that maybe the solution is to audit so many that it is financially ruinous. Nikole noted that we have budget constraints. Elise Bean suggested using the list of organizations that made independent expenditures. Lois Lerner said that it is her job to oversee it all, not just political campaign activity.

Judicial Watch previously reported on the 2013 meeting.  Senator McCain then issued a statement decrying “false reports claiming that his office was somehow involved in IRS targeting of conservative groups.”   The IRS previously blacked out the notes of the meeting but Judicial Watch found the notes among subsequent documents released by the agency.

Judicial Watch separately uncovered that Lerner was under significant pressure from both Democrats in Congress and the Obama DOJ and FBI to prosecute and jail the groups the IRS was already improperly targeting. In discussing pressure from Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (Democrat-Rhode Island) to prosecute these “political groups,” Lerner admitted, “it is ALL about 501(c)(4) orgs and political activity.”

The April 30, 2013 meeting came just under two weeks prior to Lerner’s admission during an ABA meeting that the IRS had “inappropriately” targeted conservative groups.  In her May 2013 answer to a planted question, in which she admitted to the “absolutely incorrect, insensitive, and inappropriate” targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups, Lerner suggested the IRS targeting occurred due to an “uptick” in 501 (c)(4) applications to the IRS but in actuality, there had been a decrease in such applications in 2010.

On May 14, 2013, a report by Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration revealed: “Early in Calendar Year 2010, the IRS began using inappropriate criteria to identify organizations applying for tax-exempt status” (e.g., lists of past and future donors). The illegal IRS reviews continued “for more than 18 months” and “delayed processing of targeted groups’ applications” in advance of the 2012 presidential election.

All these documents were forced out of the IRS as a result of an October 2013 Judicial Watch Freedom of Information (FOIA) lawsuit filed against the IRS after it failed to respond adequately to four FOIA requests sent in May 2013 (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Internal Revenue Service (No. 1:13-cv-01559)). Judicial Watch is seeking:

  • All records related to the number of applications received or related to communications between the IRS and members of the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate regarding the review process for organizations applying for tax exempt status under 501(c)(4);
  • All records concerning communications between the IRS and the Executive Branch or any other government agency regarding the review process for organizations applying for tax exempt status under 501(c)(4);
  • Copies of any questionnaires and all records related to the preparation of questionnaires sent to organizations applying for 501(c)(4) tax exempt status.
  • All records related to Lois Lerner’s communication with other IRS employees, as well as government or private entity outside the IRS regarding the review and approval process for 501 (c)(4) applicant organizations.

“The Obama IRS scandal is bipartisan – McCain and Democrats who wanted to regulate political speech lost at the Supreme Court, so they sought to use the IRS to harass innocent Americans,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The Obama IRS scandal is not over – as Judicial Watch continues to uncover smoking gun documents that raise questions about how the Obama administration weaponized the IRS, the FEC, FBI, and DOJ to target the First Amendment rights of Americans.”

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Judicial Watch Statement on DOJ IG Report on Clinton Email Investigation


(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton made the following statement regarding the Justice Department’s Inspector General’s report:
 

The IG report has destroyed the credibility of the Department of Justice and the FBI. It confirms what Judicial Watch has investigated and revealed for nearly two years. The Obama DOJ/FBI investigation of Clinton was rushed, half-baked, rigged, and irredeemably compromised by anti-Trump and pro-Clinton bias and actions. As Judicial Watch uncovered the Clinton email scandal, it is outrageous to see a politicized FBI and DOJ then so obviously refuse to uphold the rule of law.
 
The IG report details repeated DOJ/FBI deference to Hillary Clinton, her aides and their lawyers. Americans should examine the report and judge for themselves whether the over-the-top deference to Hillary Clinton can be explained as anything other than political, especially from agencies that at the same time were actively collaborating with the Clinton campaign’s Fusion GPS to spy on and target then-candidate Trump. The IG report details how at least five top FBI agents and lawyers exchanged pro-Clinton and anti-Trump communications. The IG shares the concerns of Judicial Watch and millions of Americans that this bias cast a cloud over the credibility of the Clinton email and Russia investigations.
 
As Judicial Watch has demonstrated through its independent investigations and lawsuits, there is more than enough evidence that Clinton knowingly and intentionally mishandled classified information while using a non-government email system to conduct government business.
 
Will the Sessions Justice Department now do the right thing and conduct a Clinton email investigation properly? Or will it let James Comey and Loretta Lynch have the last word on Hillary Clinton’s evident email crimes?
 
In the meantime, Judicial Watch will continue its ongoing FOIA lawsuits and investigations into the Clinton email scandal and the related Obama administration cover-up.

 
Judicial Watch has numerous lawsuits and document productions regarding the issues raised by the IG, including the conduct of Andrew McCabe, the Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting, the Strzok-Page communications, the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton, and DOJ collusion with the Clinton campaign.
 
Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who was appointed by President Obama, has been investigating allegations of wrongdoing within the federal law-enforcement agencies since January 12, 2017. Horowitz opened a separate investigation into James Comey on April 20 over classified information stemming from his memo leaks.
 
Horowitz previously released a report stating that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was dishonest with investigators about how sensitive information from the agency ended up in The Wall Street Journal in 2016, which was the basis for his termination and criminal referrals by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein last May. Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who met with former President Bill Clinton just days before Hillary’s FBI interview, was also a subject of Horowitz’s report. 

 

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Video: Inside Judicial Watch: Mueller UNMASKED - Featuring Congressman Louie Gohmert


In this edition of "Inside Judicial Watch," host Jerry Dunleavy joins Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX) to discuss Robert Mueller's career working in law enforcement--from the U.S. Attorney's office to the special counsel investigation into alleged Trump/Russia collusion.

Read Congressman Gohmert's report here:

 

 
 
 
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Judicial Watch: Emails Show FBI Advised Comey to Consult with Mueller’s Office Prior to June 2017 Testimony


Judicial Watch today released new emails from the Department of Justice (DOJ) showing that former FBI Director James Comey was advised by FBI officials in May 2017 to consult with Special Counsel Robert Mueller prior to testifying before any congressional committees regarding Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and his firing as FBI director.

According to numerous news reports, Comey met directly with Mueller previous to his June 8, 2017, testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Sources said that Comey’s opening statement and subsequent testimony were coordinated with Mueller.

At the hearing, Comey revealed that he had intentionally leaked material from a memo allegedly documenting a meeting with President Trump in order to help assure the appointment of a special counsel.

I asked a friend of mine to share the content of the memo with a reporter. Didn’t do it myself, for a variety of reasons. But I asked him to, because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel.

The DOJ and FBI have stated that Comey’s leaks were unauthorized and compared the disclosures to Wikileaks.

The documents obtained by Judicial Watch are the first to reveal that high-ranking FBI officials helped Comey coordinate his testimony with Mueller.

Judicial Watch obtained the documents in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the DOJ on January 31, 2018 (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-00220)). The lawsuit was filed after the DOJ failed to respond to an August 14, 2017 FOIA request seeking:

  • All records of communications between the FBI and Comey prior to and regarding Comey’s testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on June 8, 2017.
  • All records of communications between the FBI and Comey relating to an upcoming book to be authored by Comey and published.
  • All records, including but not limited to forms completed by Comey, relating to the requirement for prepublication review by the FBI of any book to be authored by Comey with the intent to be published or otherwise publicly available.

On May 17, 2017, Comey received notices to appear before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee.

An email chain dated May 18 and 19, 2017, with the subject line “Future testimony” shows then-FBI Chief of Staff James Rybicki, then-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and Assistant Director Gregory Brower, Comey and others discussing Comey’s upcoming testimony:

In this chain, on May 18 at 6:30 pm, Comey wrote to Rybicki to confirm that he had accepted the invitation to testify before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) but declined the invitations from the Senate Judiciary Committee and House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee.

Comey also writes: “Last, would you please tell OGC [Office of the General Counsel] that I would like to be able to review any documents authored by me or on which I am copied that will be produced to SSCI in connection with my testimony and would like the opportunity for that review before I testify?”

An email from a redacted sender, apparently Comey, to Rybicki dated May 19 at 11:49 am reads:

Jim

I just got off a call with Senators Burr and Warner. They would like to have a hearing next Wednesday at which I testify, first in open session and then in closed, if necessary. I asked them not to announce it until I check with FBI/DOJ to see if you want to discuss anything before they do that. I told them I had asked for guidance on any institutional prerogatives and for the opportunity to review any documents FBI has produced that relate to me. I told them I would communicate with them by the end of the day to either ask them to hold announcing the Wednesday hearing or go ahead.

Many thanks.

Jim

On May 19 at 2:10 pm, Rybicki writes back:

Director: We just met to discuss the requests outlined in the two emails below. Before responding the General Counsel has asked me to confirm that you have discussed with the attorneys representing you, and that you are comfortable discussing these issues with us rather than communicating through your counsel.

On May 19 at 3:02 pm, a redacted sender, likely Comey, responds to Rybicki: “Yes and yes.”

Also in this chain, on May 19 at 4:11 pm, Rybicki writes to McCabe, FBI Deputy Director David L. Bowdich, former FBI General Counsel James A. Baker, Brower, Elizabeth Beers and other redacted names:

Please see a DRAFT response to Director Comey (below). I will hold pending further direction….

Director:

In response to your emails below we have consulted with executive management here, including the General Counsel, and recommend the following:

  1. That your counsel convey any acceptance or declinations to invitations to testify directly to the Committees.
  2. That your counsel consult with Special Counsel Mueller to determine the timing of any such testimony and,
  3. The Office of General Counsel stands ready to discuss with you in consultation with the Department of Justice and the Special Counsel, institutional privileges or prerogatives that may be presented by any such testimony.

“These documents show that James Comey, who was fired by the president, nevertheless had easy, friendly access to the FBI as he prepped his infamous anti-Trump testimony to the Senate,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “This collusion led to Comey’s attacking President Trump and misusing FBI records as part of a vendetta against the president.”

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Video: Judicial Watch Presents: An Update on 'The Deep State'


Judicial Watch hosted a special educational panel on Tuesday, April 24, from noon to 1 pm ET to discuss “The Deep State Update.” The expert panelists currently include:

  • Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH)-Comm  ittee on the Judiciary, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
  • Vince Coglianese -Host “Mornings on the Mall” WMAL Radio, Editorial Director, Daily Caller
  • Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer, Vice President for Strategic Coordination and Operations, London Center for Policy Research
  • Michael Bekesha - Attorney, Judicial Watch
  • Moderator:Tom Fitton - President, Judicial Watch

 

 
 
 
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Video: Judicial Watch Weekly Update 4-6-18


JW President Tom Fitton discussing Taxpayer Money for Soros, Mueller-Russia Probe Out of Control, the Border Crisis, & the #Awan Brothers Scandal.

 

 
 
Congressional Investigators Probing Brennan Link To Russia Probe
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Video: On Watch: IMPORTANT UPDATE on Awan Bros/Democrat I.T. Scandal


New reports have emerged that dozens of House Democrats waived the background checks on the #AwanBrothers -- the House I.T. aides handling their cybersecurity and with access to their email systems. Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton went to Capitol Hill last year to help shine a spotlight on the ongoing #AwanBrothers I.T. scandal in the House of Representatives that the mainstream media -- and, sadly, even our Justice Department and much of Congress -- are all ignoring.

This is a story that involves political corruption, alleged cybersecurity breaches, the potential sharing of private constituent info, possible large-scale fraud, cover-ups, and threats to our national security.

 

 
 
 
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