With every day the SS, er, I mean IRS scandal creeps closer and closer to Barack Obama. At first they told us this was isolated to a single office and conducted by “low level” staffers. Then it was disclosed that multiple offices were involved, including the Washington office.
Today Obama’s carney Jay Carney said that some at the White House were “aware” of what was transpiring but chose not to do anything about it.
“I still don’t quite understand the timeline,” said MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, about the IRS scandal. “We had members of Congress complaining about this for two years. Did it just never reach you guys here at the White House that there was these complaints that conservative groups felt they were being singled out and targeted?”
“I’m sure people were aware of and knew some of the stories that had been reported about the complaints, but we were not aware of any activity or of any review conducted by the inspector general until several weeks ago,” Carney responded.
Todd replied, “Should you have been made aware sooner? I don’t understand.”
“Let’s just say that — well, first of all for all the reasons why distance between — you know, why the IRS should not be politicized, you know, there has to be that distance. But on the specific question that you had, I want to wait and see what the report says and wait and see what we actually know happened and what the facts are before we comment beyond what the president said yesterday on this matter and before we make any decisions or pronouncements about what actions should be taken. I mean, you heard the president say what he believed and what he feels what is reported about specific targeting turned out to be true. But we need to see if that’s actually the case,” Carney said.
And the best news of all is that next year the IRS is poised to act as Obamacare’s enforcer:
Get ready for the Internal Revenue Service to play a dominant role in health care. When Obamacare takes full effect next year, the agency will enforce most of the laws involved in the reform—even deciding who gets included in the health-care mandate.
“The impact of the IRS on health-care reform is huge,” said Paul Hamburger, a partner and employee benefits lawyer at Proskauer.
“Other agencies like Social Security will be checking for mistakes, but the IRS is the key enforcer,” Hamburger said. “It’s also going to help manage who might get health care.”
In its 5-4 ruling last year, the Supreme Court upheld the law’s mandate that Americans have health insurance, saying that Congress can enforce the mandate under its taxing authority and through the IRS.
As a result, the agency has to administer 47 tax provisions under Obamacare. They include the right to levy a penalty against businesses and individuals who don’t provide or acquire insurance. Noting that the IRS will collect the penalties, the decision labeled them a tax.
ProPublica on Monday reported that the same IRS division that targeted conservative groups for special scrutiny during the 2012 election cycle provided the investigative-reporting organization with confidential applications for tax-exempt status.
That revelation contradicts previous statements from the agency and may represent a violation of federal guidelines. Lois G. Lerner, who heads the IRS sector that reviews tax-exemption applications, told a congressional oversight committee in April 2012 that IRS code prohibited the agency from providing information about groups that had not yet been approved.
Reps. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) had asked Lerner in March 2012 to provide a list of all organizations that the IRS had subjected to special scrutiny.
And starting next year, we’ll have to report health information to the IRS:
Simply put, there is no way for the IRS to enforce Obamacare’s individual mandate without such an invasive reporting scheme. Every January, health insurance companies across America will send out tax documents to each insured individual. This tax document—a copy of which will be furnished to the IRS—must contain sufficient information for taxpayers to prove that they purchased qualifying health insurance under Obamacare.
This new tax information document must, at a minimum, contain: the name and health insurance identification number of the taxpayer; the name and tax identification number of the health insurance company; the number of months the taxpayer was covered by this insurance plan; and whether or not the plan was purchased in one of Obamacare’s “exchanges.”
This will involve millions of new tax documents landing in mailboxes across America every January, along with the usual raft of W-2s, 1099s, and 1098s. At tax time, the 140 million families who file a tax return will have to get acquainted with a brand new tax filing form. Six million of these families will end up paying Obamacare’s individual mandate non-compliance tax penalty.
What could possibly go wrong?
It’s painfully obvious that the IRS cannot be trusted with health care information, let alone financial information. Barack Obama is claiming ignorance of this abuse of power. We’ll see. And that leaves the two reasons the IRS MUST be ripped from Obamacare:
1. Obama knew about the IRS abuse.
2. Obama didn’t know.