Sen. Ted Cruz Questions IRS over Breitbart News Audit


The IRS continues to go after conservative organizations. The IRS knows that it will be protected by the Obama administration. With “lost” emails, cover-ups, and collusion with Eric Holder’s Department of Justice and with no criminal action coming from Congress, the IRS feels emboldened to continue its lawless actions against its political enemies.

Consider the latest revelation:

“A press official at the Department of Justice attempted to coordinate the leak of documents concerning the IRS targeting scandal with Democratic staffers, but accidentally called the wrong office, according to House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa.”

Not surprisingly, the mainstream media have ignored the IRS scandal about missing emails that would have brought down a Republican presidency.

The Republicans have talked a lot, but they haven’t taken much in the way of action. When I learned that Breitbart News Network, LLC had been notified that they were going to be audited, I was incensed. Where was the GOP? Before I could smash something, I learned that Sen. Ted Cruz had taken action in the form of a letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

Don’t expect to get any answers. Here’s the standard response released in a statement:

“Federal privacy laws prohibit the IRS from commenting on specific taxpayer situations. The IRS stresses that audits are based on the information related to tax returns and the underlying tax law — nothing else. Audits are handled by career, non-partisan civil servants, and the IRS has safeguards in place to protect the exam process.”

The following press release appeared on Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) Congressional website. The full text of the actual letter is available here.

__________________________________

Dear Commissioner Koskinen:

I write to express deep concern over the recent announcement by Breitbart News that the Internal Revenue Service recently notified the Breitbart News Network, LLC that it would be subject to a far-reaching, burdensome, and open-ended audit.

As you know, the Breitbart News Network LLC is a conservative-leaning press outlet. It has editors and reporters who cover daily political news and regularly breaks stories that are critical of the Obama Administration’s policies. To conduct this audit, Breitbart News Network, LLC was asked to provide the IRS with all of its organizational documents, financial records, W-2s, W-4s, 1099s, and K-1s filed, personal income tax returns for each member of the company, payroll tax forms, information regarding properties and assets acquired by the company, bank statements, and array of other records documenting revenues, expenses, and depreciation costs.

This media audit, coupled with the recent proposal of 49 Senate Democrats to amend the Constitution to give Congress plenary power to regulate political speech, paints a disturbing picture of a coordinated assault on the First Amendment.

In another time, under another Administration, the decision to audit a conservative news organization might not have risen to a worrisome level of concern. However, given the IRS’s disturbing track record of illegally targeting conservative organizations-including the IRS recently paying a $50,000 settlement for having wrongfully leaked a conservative group’s confidential tax information-and the persistent refusal by the current Department of Justice to meaningfully investigate or prosecute those crimes, the decision to audit Breitbart News Network, LLC appears highly questionable.

For the IRS to behave like a partisan political organization, targeting media organizations whose views differ from the President’s, would represent a gross abuse of power. It would undermine the statutory mission and integrity of the IRS. And it would likely subject IRS employees to criminal prosecution.
I very much hope that is not the case.

I would therefore like to ask you the following questions:

1. How many other news organizations have been audited since President Obama has been in office?
2. How many of them could be identified as conservative- or liberal-leaning?
3. Have any other news organization been subjected to this sort of far-reaching and oppressive inquiry, including requesting the personal tax records of editors and reporters?
4. At what point does the IRS decide to take action to audit a news outlet?
5. Does the IRS worry that its extremely burdensome auditing process could effectively silence the press?
6. Previously, Senator Durbin wrote the IRS asking that it examine the tax-exempt status of Crossroads GPS, a Republican organization that spends money electing Republicans. Did the IRS ever receive any communications from any elected official asking it to examine Breitbart News Network, LLC?
7. Who, precisely, is responsible for making the decision to audit Breitbart News Network, LLC?

I appreciate your timely response.

Sincerely,
Ted Cruz
United States Senator

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