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Member since: Thu May 7, 2009, 11:59 PM
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Conspiracy theorist targets Sandy Hook family

Source: Tampa Bay Times

Jillian Soto remembers the day she stumbled across a website that showed photos of her at her sister's funeral — and was horrified to read accusations that she had faked grief as part of an elaborate government hoax.

Only a month earlier, Victoria Soto, 27, had been shot down while sheltering her first-grade students at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The Dec. 14 massacre in Newtown, Conn., left 20 children and seven adults dead.

* * *
Conspiracy theorists have thrived on the Internet, producing hundreds of such websites that challenge official reports and claim nefarious plots behind emotionally charged events — despite evidence to the contrary. Some are wildly speculative, casting doubt on whether man really took steps on the moon.

Others, like the website Soto discovered, which espouses antigovernment and anti-Semitic opinions, are viewed by some watchdog groups as malicious hate speech.

Read more: http://www.tampabay.com/news/nation/conspiracy-theorist-targets-sandy-hook-family/2123880

Interesting news story that actually tracks down one of these conspiracy theorists and finds, perhaps to no one's surprise, that he is a right wing, anti-semetic, and tax dodge.

New Yorker - "The I.R.S. and the Tea Party: Where Is the Scandal?"

Here is a nice piece from the New Yorker that does some actual reporting, rather than breathlessly reporting Darrell Issa's breathless rants of the day or repeating the latest Fox News narrative.

As far as Obama’s potential involvement and vulnerability goes—and that’s what everybody in Washington really cares about—here is the key passage in the report (“EO” stands for “Exempt Organizations” and the “Determinations Unit” is the office in Cincinnati):

We asked the Acting Commissioner, Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division; the Director, EO; and Determinations Unit personnel if the criteria were influenced by any individual or organization outside the IRS. All of these officials stated that the criteria were not influenced by any individual or organization outside the IRS.

“Come on,” I can hear Maine Senator Susan Collins and others saying. Are you so deep into the tank for Obama that you are seriously suggesting a group of low-level bureaucrats in Ohio came up with the idea of setting aside, for special review, applications from groups whose names contained the words “Tea Party,” “Patriots,” or “9/12 Project”? No, I am not making that suggestion. It comes from an agency that Congress created in 1999 to provide independent oversight of the I.R.S. In organizational terms, the Inspector General for Tax Administration comes under the ambit of the Treasury Department. But it is independent of the Department and all other agencies located therein. Since 2004, it has been headed by J. Russell George, a native of Brooklyn and a former prosecutor in Queens, who was appointed by President George W. Bush. The lead author of the report, Gregory D. Kutz, is a career public servant and forensic auditor who used to work for the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress.

Here, again, is the report (“BOLO” stands for “Be On the Lookout”):

The Determinations Unit developed and implemented inappropriate criteria in part due to insufficient oversight provided by management. Specifically, only first-line management approved references to the Tea Party in the BOLO listing criteria before it was implemented. As a result, inappropriate criteria remained in place for more than 18 months.

If you are a Republican member of the House Ways and Means Committee, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, or the Senate Finance Committee, all of which are rushing to schedule hearings on this great national scandal, such statements don’t offer much in the way of encouragement.

Never fear! Our intrepid representatives will come up with something. Rather than focussing on the body of the report, today’s Times reports, they are fixing on a single entry in the report’s appendix, which reveals—shock! horror!—that on August 4, 2011, I.R.S. officials in Washington, who by then knew about the Cincinnati office’s targeting of conservative groups, met with the I.R.S.’s chief counsel “so that everyone would have the latest information on the issue.”

House Republicans swiftly announce hearing on IRS targeting conservative groups

Source: Fox News

The IRS acknowledging that it targeted conservative political groups during the 2012 election season has sparked bipartisan calls for investigation -- with House Republicans already saying they will hold a hearing on the issue.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Friday the Republican-led chamber would investigate the tax-collecting agency for flagging the groups for additional review to see whether they were violating their tax-exempt status.

“The IRS cannot target or intimidate any individual or organization based on their political beliefs,” the Virginia Republican said.

Cantor’s comments were followed within minutes by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp saying he would hold a hearing.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/05/11/house-republicans-swiftly-announce-hearing-on-irs-targeting-conservative-groups/

Here is the latest effort by Republicans and Conservative media to try to spin their efforts to break the law and funnel millions in to Dark Money 501(c)(4) organizations into an conspiracy by Democrats and political watchdogs as the ones breaking the law. To begin with, campaign contributions are NOT tax deductible and only organizations that principally engaged in social welfare should be tax exempt. Yet, many overtly political and right wing groups obtained tax exempt status with the most notable being Karl Rove's group Crossroads GPS.

Now, Republicans are complaining that the IRS flagged groups that had the word "Tea Party" in their applications for tax exempt status as potentially being engaged in political activity, as opposed to social welfare. All, I can say is, I should hope so! I mean if someone sends in an application for a group called, "Win back the White House in 2014," I would hope that the IRS does not just rubber stamp it as a social welfare group. Yet, this is exactly what Republicans are claiming should be one with respect to Tea Party groups, which were engaged in significant political activity such as Rove's Crossroads GPS.

When I contribute to a Democratic candidate, my name gets disclosed. Why should billionaires be able to hide their identities and contributions of dark money to right wing groups pretending to be 501(c)(4) social welfare groups?


The Internal Revenue Service is taking heat from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers for its oversight of certain groups engaging in political activity, in particular Tea Party organizations seeking tax-exempt status.

In recent weeks, GOP lawmakers have followed up with the agency over complaints from Tea Party groups that feel the IRS is unfairly targeting their applications for tax-exempt status.

But on the other end of the spectrum, some Democrats on Capitol Hill have been asserting that the IRS is not looking carefully enough at groups seeking a tax-exempt 501(c)(4) designation, a label given to organizations principally engaged in social welfare.

Doug Shulman, the IRS commissioner, defended his agency’s efforts during congressional hearings last week, stressing that the IRS prides itself on being nonpartisan and that the rules surrounding tax-exempt groups are complex.
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