|Sent on:||Friday, May 16, 2014 7:17 PM|
EXCLUSIVE: IRS Stonewalling FOIA Request Surrounding Correspondence With Democratic Members of Congress
Katie Pavlich | May 16, 2014
On May 21, 2013 the National Republican Senatorial Committee sent the IRS a Freedom of Information Act request asking for "any and all documents or records, including but not limited to electronic documents, e-mails, paper documents, photographs (electronic or hard copy), or audio files," related to correspondence from January 1, 2009 and May 21, 2013 between thirteen different Democrat members of Congress and top IRS officials. Those officials include former IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman, former Commissioner Steven Miller, senior IRS official Joseph Grant and former head of tax exempt groups Lois Lerner. Members of Congress named in the request include Sen. Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Reid (D-NV), DSCC Chair Sen. Bennet (D-CO), Sen. Landrieu (D-LA), Sen. Pryor (D-AR), Sen. Hagan (D-NC), Sen. Begich (D-AK), Sen. Shaheen (D-NH), Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), Sen. Franken (D-MN), Sen. Warner (D-VA), Rep. Braley and Rep. Peters (D-MI).
Since that request was received by the IRS nearly one year ago, IRS Tax Law Specialists Robert Thomas and Denise Higley have asked for more time to fulfill the request six times.
"I am responding to your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request dated May 21, 2013, and received in our office on May 30, 2013," Higley wrote in a letter to NRSC Attorney Megan Sowards last year. "I am unable to send the information requested by June 27, 2013, which is the 20 business day period allowed by law. I apologize for any inconvenience this delay may cause."
Thomas and Higley have sent six letters with the same language and different dates to Sowards requesting more time to locate information in order to fulfill the FOIA request. Most recently, the IRS has asked for a deadline of August 1, 2014 to produce information.
Earlier this week Judicial Watch released documents showing Democratic Michigan Senator Carl Levin was in contact with former Deputy IRS Commissioner Steven Miller repeatedly throughout 2012 and was working with the agency on how conservative groups, specifically those working against his reelection, could be targeted through IRS rules and regulations. Last month we learned the staff of Ranking Member of the House Oversight Committee Elijah Cummings had been in touch with the IRS about voter fraud prevention group True the Vote, despite direct denials from Cummings any contact with the IRS had ever occurred.
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