IRS helps Mr. Obama to commit fraud 2

Lois Lerner, head of the Internal Revenue Service’s tax-exempt organizations office, told Congress last week that she had broken no laws and had done nothing wrong.  Then she hastily “took the Fifth” – ie refused to say anything more or answer any questions so as not to incriminate herself, as the Fifth Amendment allows her to do.

So she would have us believe that there was no corruption in her department under her authority. No crime was committed. None at all.

Yet this happened. It comes from Discover the Networks:

The Barack H. Obama Foundation (BHOF) was established in 2008 by Abon’go Malik Obama, the half-brother of U.S. President Barack Obama.

Abon’go, a Kenyan-born Muslim with twelve wives, created the foundation in memory of his (and President Obama’s) biological father, Barack H. Obama (1936-82) of Nyan’goma Kogelo village in Kenya.

Seeking to “provide people everywhere with resources to uplift their welfare and living standards,” BHOF claims to be “committed to a wide array of development and humanitarian projects which will help mitigate social shortcomings in areas of education and literacy, health and well-being, poverty, and … community infrastructure” — particularly as regards “basic needs such as water, electricity, shelter and sustenance.” The foundation’s guiding principle is “the inherent belief that no one can truly enjoy the riches he has reaped if his neighbor suffers.”

A noble sentiment. But how nobly has BHOF acted?

BHOF currently identifies its major project as the Siaya Community Self-Help Group, which focuses on helping impoverished residents of Siaya, Kenya to access clean drinking water, financial assistance, K-12 education, academic scholarships, medical care, leadership training, and guidance in small-business development. The foundation also claims to have funded the construction of a madrassa in Kenya. There is no concrete evidence, however, that BHOF has actually done any of these things.

Financial records indicate that from 2008-10, the foundation received grants and donations totaling $42,923 but awarded no grants at all.

Shared none of the riches it reaped with the impoverished residents of Siaya in Kenya? Nope. None at all.

On its website, BHOF asserts that its “future projects in Kenya and elsewhere around the globe” will focus on:

  • Education development
  • Child development and welfare
  • Infrastructure development, to include water, electricity and sanitation
  • Energy development, to include wind turbines, solar and power generation
  • Health improvement through health clinics, vaccinations and disease prevention
  • Humanitarian and natural disaster intervention and response
  • Nutrition, to include food security, diet assurance, vitamin deliver [sic]
  • HIV/AIDS, particularly child-affected transmissions and prevention
  • Advocacy and Partnerships
  • Life skills, training and modeling

BHOF’s website lists the foundation’s physical address as 107 S. West St. #401 in Alexandria, Virginia, a location that actually houses only a UPS store. “They probably just rent a mailbox here or receive mail here,” said one UPS employee there in May 2013.

Equally problematic is the address listed in BHOF’s IRS filings — 4201 Wilson Blvd., Suite 110-152 in Arlington, Virginia — which houses only a marketing center for a drug-and-alcohol treatment organization known as A Better Today Recovery Services. When questioned about BHOF in May 2013, not a single employee in A Better Today’s office had ever heard of the foundation.

From 2008-11, BHOF operated illegally as a nonprofit group and falsely claimed tax-exempt status —f or which it had not yet formally applied. The foundation finally submitted its 2010 application for nonprofit, tax-exempt status on May 23, 2011; seven days later, it submitted its filings for 2008 and 2009. Within just one month of these filings — on June 26, 2011 — Lois Lerner, the senior official who headed the IRS’s tax-exempt organizations office, signed paperwork granting tax-exempt status to BHOF.

This promptness represented a stark contrast to the experience of many conservative organizations that, beginning in 2010, had been intentionally forced (by Lerner’s office) to wait more than three years, in some cases, for approval. Moreover, Lerner broke with the norms of tax-exemption approval by making BHOF’s tax-exempt status retroactive to December 2008.

According to Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center: “The Obama Foundation raised money on its web page by falsely claiming to be a tax deductible. This bogus charity … had not even applied and yet subsequently got retroactive tax-deductible status.” Boehm described Abon’go Malik Obama’s attempt to raise money under the nonprofit banner as “common law fraud and potentially even federal mail fraud.” 

The case of BHOF needs to be compared with the case described  in our post Political persecution in America, May 21, 2013, which is about Catherine Engelbrecht having waited for three years – and waits still – for tax-exempt status to be granted by Lois Lerner’s office for two “non-profits” she founded. In that time she and her husband and their business and their farm have been  investigated … and investigated … and investigated. The IRS required her to answer “hundreds and hundreds of questions”. Other  government agencies were sent to inspect their manufacturing  business, which was fined thousands of dollars for trivial “offenses” such as an employer wearing the wrong type of protective glasses.

Mrs Englebrecht is not related to President Obama, and the organizations she launched, King Street Patriots and True the Vote, are not planning ambitious projects round the world, or promising to re-distribute grants and donations to the poor in Africa. She declared them to be patriotic and against voter fraud. Not causes, we now know, scoring high marks on the approval chart of Obama’s IRS.

Political persecution in America 1

This infuriating story, which we quote almost in full, is about a victim of the Obama administration, showing how it zealously, even sadistically, implements its leftist policy, through the IRS and other government agencies, to target conservative groups and persecute individuals who form them. It comes from National Review, written by Jillian Kay Melchior.

The Engelbrechts were not, until recently, particularly political. They had been busy running a tiny manufacturing plant in Rosenberg, Texas. After years of working for others, Bryan, a trained machinist, wanted to open his own shop, so he saved his earnings, bought a computerized numerical-control machine, which does precision metal-cutting, and began operating out of his garage. “That was about 20 years ago” he says. “Now, we’re up to about 30 employees.” 

For two decades, Bryan and Catherine drove to work in their big truck. Engelbrecht Manufacturing Inc. now operates out of a 20,000-square-foot metal building on the prairie just outside of Houston … They went back to their country home each night. Stress was rare, and life was good.

But the 2008 elections left Catherine feeling frustrated about the debates, which seemed to be a string of superficial talking points. So she began attending tea-party meetings, enjoying the political discussion. A spunky woman known for her drive, Catherine soon wanted to do more than just talk. She joined other tea partiers and decided to volunteer at the ballot box. Working as an alternate judge at the polls in 2009 in Fort Bend County, Texas, Catherine says, she was appalled and dismayed to witness everything from administrative snafus to outright voter fraud.

These formative experiences prompted her to found two organizations: King Street Patriots, a local community group that hosts weekly discussions on personal and economic freedoms; and True the Vote, which seeks to prevent voter fraud and trains volunteers to work as election monitors. It also registers voters, attempts to validate voter-registration lists, and pursues fraud reports to push for prosecution if illegal activity has occurred.

In July 2010, Catherine filed with the IRS seeking tax-exempt status for her organizations.

Shortly after,the troubles began.

That winter, the Federal Bureau of Investigation came knocking with questions about a person who had attended a King Street Patriots event once. Based on sign-in sheets, the organization discovered that the individual in question had attended an event, but “it was a come-and-go thing”,  and they had no further information on hand about him. Nevertheless, the FBI also made inquiries about the person to the office manager, who was a [King Street Patriots] volunteer.

The King Street Patriots weren’t the only ones under scrutiny. On January 11, the IRS visited the Engelbrechts’  shop and conducted an on-site audit of both their business and their personal returns, Catherine says.

“What struck us as odd about that,” she adds, “is the lengths to which the auditor went to try to … find some error. She wanted to go out and see [our] farm, she wanted to count the cattle, she wanted to look at the fence line. It was a very curious three days. …”

Bryan adds: “It was kind of funny to us. I mean, we weren’t laughing that much, but we knew we were squeaky clean. … ” 

Two months later, the IRS initiated the first round of questions for True the Vote. Catherine painstakingly answered them, knowing that nonprofit status would help with the organization’s credibility, donors, and grant applications. In October, the IRS requested additional information. And whenever Catherine followed up with IRS agents about the status of True the Vote’s application, there was always a delay that our application was going to be up next, and it was just around the corner …

As this was occurring, the FBI continued to phone King Street Patriots. In May 2011, agents phoned wondering “how they were doing”.  The FBI made further inquiries in June, November, and December asking whether there was anything to report.

The situation escalated in 2012. That February, True the Vote received a third request for information from the IRS, which also sent its first questionnaire to King Street Patriots. Catherine says the IRS had “hundreds of questions, hundreds and hundreds of questions.”  The IRS requested every Facebook post and Tweet she had ever written. She received questions about her family, whether she’d ever run for political office, and which organizations she had spoken to.

“It’s no great secret that the IRS is considered to be one of the more serious [federal agencies],” Catherine says. “When you get a call from the IRS, you don’t take it lightly. So when you are asked questions that seem to imply a sense of disapproval, it has a very chilling effect.” 

On the same day they received the questions from the IRS, Catherine says, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) launched an unscheduled audit of their machine shop, forcing the Engelbrechts to drop everything planned for that day. Though the Engelbrechts have a Class 7 license, which allows them to make component parts for guns, they do not manufacture firearms. Catherine said that while the ATF had a right to conduct the audit, “it was odd that they did it completely unannounced, and they took five, six hours. It was so extensive. It just felt kind of weird.” 

That was in February. In July, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration paid a visit to Engelbrecht Manufacturing while Bryan, Catherine, and their children were out of town. The OSHA inspector talked with the managerial staff and employees, inspecting the premises minutely. But Bryan says the agent found only “little Mickey Mouse stuff, like, ‘You have safety glasses on, but not the right kind; the forklift has a seatbelt, but not the right kind.’” Yet Catherine and Bryan said the OSHA inspector complimented them on their tightly run shop and said she didn’t know why she had been sent to examine it.

Not long after, the tab arrived. OSHA was imposing $25,000 in fines on Engelbrecht Manufacturing. They eventually worked it down to $17,500, and Bryan says they may have tried to contest the fines to drive them even lower, but “we didn’t want to make any more waves, because we don’t know [how much further] OSHA could reach.” 

“Bottom line is, it hurt,”  he says. “[$17,500 dollars] is not an insignificant amount to this company. It might be to other companies, but we’re still considered small, and it came at a time when business was slow, so instead of giving an employee a raise or potentially hiring another employee, I’m writing a check to our government.” 

A few months later, True the Vote became the subject of congressional scrutiny. In September, Senator Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.) wrote to Thomas Perez, then the assistant attorney general of the civil rights division at the Department of Justice (who has now been nominated for labor secretary): “As you know, an organization called ‘True the Vote’, which is an offshoot of the Tea Party, is leading a voter suppression campaign in many states,” Boxer wrote, adding that “this type of intimidation must stop. I don’t believe this is ‘True the Vote’. I believe it’s ‘Stop the Vote’.”

And in October, Representative Elijah Cummings (D., Md.), the ranking minority member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, attacked True the Vote in a letter. He wrote that: “Some have suggested that your true goal is not voter integrity, but voter suppression against thousands of legitimate voters who traditionally vote for Democratic candidates.”  He added that: “If these efforts are intentional, politically motivated, and widespread across multiple states, they could amount to a criminal conspiracy to deny legitimate voters their constitutional rights.”  He also decried True the Vote on MSNBC and CNN. …

The next month, in November 2012, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the state’s environmental agency, showed up for an unscheduled audit at Engelbrecht Manufacturing. Catherine says the inspector told her the agency had received a complaint but couldn’t  provide any more details. After the inspection, the agency notified the Engelbrechts that they needed to pay for an additional mechanical permit, which cost about $2,000 per year.

Since then, the IRS has sent two further rounds of questions to Catherine for her organizations. And last month, the ATF conducted a second unscheduled audit at Engelbrecht Manufacturing.

Catherine says she still hasn’t received IRS approval for her nonprofits, though she filed nearly three years ago. …

On behalf of the True the Vote and King Street Patriots, Representative Ted Poe (R., Texas) sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the FBI, OSHA, and the ATF, inquiring whether the organizations were under criminal investigation. A statement on Poe’s website states that “the reply from these agencies was that none of these individuals were under criminal investigation. Well, if they’re not, why are they being treated like criminals? Just because they question government?” 

… Other Tea Party groups decided not to form nonprofits at all after learning about her experience, [Catherine] says. “They were scared,” she explains, “and you shouldn’t be scared of your government.”

Meanwhile, Catherine says the harassment has forced her to seriously reconsider whether her political activity is worth the government harassment she’s faced.

“I left a thriving family business with my husband that I loved, to do something I didn’t necessarily love, but [which] I thought had to be done,” she says.”But I really think if we don’t do this, if we don’t stand up and speak now, there might not [always] be that chance.”

Her husband offers an additional observation: “If you knew my wife, you’d know she doesn’t back down from anybody. They picked on the wrong person when they started picking on her.”

*

The Washington Post reports that Steven T. Miller, the Acting Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, appearing today before the Senate Finance Committee, denied that he misled Congress about the targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.  He said –

I’m not going to disagree at all with the characterization of bad management here, but the actions were not politically motivated.

!!!