|The Honorable Jeff
United States Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
-- TTV Founder Catherine Engelbrecht testified - 2/04/15
TTV Founder Catherine Engelbrecht testified before the U.S.
Senate Committee on the Judiciary last Thursday during the confirmation
hearing for Attorney General nominee Loretta E. Lynch. Our message was
simple: if DOJ leadership is going to change, reform must come with it.
As Catherine explained, the DOJ has exhibited a culture of conflicting interests that tends to get in the way of the Department living up to its name. Its handling of the investigation into the IRS targeting scheme has the potential to leave wounds in the American experiment for generations to come. Consider this – the same offices within the DOJ that had been tasked with investigating the IRS in 2013 were working with the IRS to indict those targeted as they sought 501(c) status beginning in 2010. How did True the Vote and hundreds of other pro-liberty organizations go from IRS non-profit applicants to speech-crime suspects to witnesses? Unquestionably, the feds got caught.
Check out the timeline we put together on the IRS targeting scandal’s evolution to date:
2010 – DOJ Public Integrity Section takes delivery of over 1.1 million documents from the IRS containing confidential taxpayer files of those seeking 501(c) statuses.1
August 2012 -- U.S. Senator Carl Levin ratchets up his pressure campaign on IRS leadership, writing, “I find it unacceptable that the IRS appears to be passively standing by while organizations that hold themselves out to be ‘social welfare’ organizations clearly ignore the tax code with no apparent consequences.” 2
September 2012 – Senator Levin (in a floor speech) challenged the IRS to explain “why they have not responded to the increasing growth of groups” seeking to organize under 501(c) tax exemptions. 3
May 8, 2013 – Lois Lerner emails Richard Pilger of Election Crimes Branch of Public Integrity Section to “piece together false statement cases” against 501(c) applicants. 4
May 9, 2013 – IRS apologizes for targeting conservative groups seeking 501(c) status exemptions in advance of U.S. Treasury Inspector General Report. 5
May 15, 2013 – President Obama calls on DOJ to investigate the IRS for targeting scheme. “Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it. I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency but especially in the IRS, given the power that it has and the reach that it has into all of our lives." 6
June 13, 2013 – Then-FBI Director Robert Mueller admits before the House Oversight Committee that he did not know the name of the lead investigator, or the size of their team. 7
January 9, 2014 – DOJ confirms that Barbara Bosserman has been tapped to lead the IRS investigation, a reliable Democratic Party donor. 8
January 22, 2014 – U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (Texas) calls on General Holder to select an independent prosecutor, 9 noting that such practice has been common in past Administrations. 10
February 2, 2014 – President Obama publicly prejudices DOJ investigation by claiming, “Not even a smidgeon of corruption” had occurred at the IRS. 11
March 10, 2014 – U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder denies Senator Cruz’s request for an independent prosecutor, claiming the “authority has rarely been exercised.” 12
May 7, 2014 – Emails between IRS’s Lois Lerner and DOJ Election Crimes Branch surface, Senator Cruz renews call to General Holder for independent prosecutor. 13
June 9, 2014 – DOJ assures U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that it was returning the 1.1 million taxpayer files supplied by the IRS at that time. 14
Roughly 20 months have passed since President Obama demanded an investigation into the IRS’s behavior. Incredibly, to date we have seen zero convictions and zero indictments – let alone charges! As the timeline shows, there is a lot of work to be done at our DOJ. There are possible fixes. But, is it likely that Ms. Lynch, the next potential Attorney General, will better remember her U.S. Attorney roots and trust independent prosecutors to address current and future corruption? Current DOJ leadership’s habit of addressing scandals with in-house PR scams has got to stop.
You may be wondering what we, as stakeholders in the True the Vote movement, can do to see real reform. It was no accident that TTV was called before the Senate last week to testify, despite protests by the more attention-starved progressive groups. We invest your generous support carefully, working the halls of power in Washington. It takes considerable time, effort, and determination – but the results are starting to show.
Shortly after Catherine testified, Senator Orrin Hatch (Utah) pledged to her before the Committee that he would help get answers. Later that day, his office announced that it had made a demand to President Obama to “turn over all communications he and his aides have had with the IRS since 2010.”15 This promise came after Senator Cruz renewed legislative efforts to amend United States Code to prohibit intentional discrimination on the part of IRS employees. 16
Every day, True the Vote is working with federal officeholders to seek real answers and push reforms that protect all citizens. More Americans are able to set aside their differences and agree that politically weaponized bureaucracies are not acceptable in the 21st century. Let’s seize this moment.
Today we are launching our first ever crowdsourcing fundraising effort. Our hope is that we’ll be able to reach a broader audience and expand our base of support further than ever before. We’ve got to build our reserves so we can keep fighting -- for voters’ and citizens’ rights. Would you please forward this link to your network of friends? Ask them to check out True the Vote and our new crowdfunding effort. We need all the help we can get.
Without justice, our American experiment will fail. What will preserve the experiment is Americans working together to hold our government accountable for its actions. Let’s do it – let’s start with Department of Justice – and let’s start today.