Posts tagged: IRS
Above, an ad placed in last week's Nickel's Worth by Rep. Phil Hart & the Idaho Liberty Caucus.
Federal authorities may be laying the groundwork for criminal charges against tax-protesting former Idaho state Rep. Phil Hart. In bankruptcy court documents, federal officials are charging that Hart lied under oath, concealed or destroyed records and attempted to “hinder, delay or defraud his creditors, including the Internal Revenue Service.” The filings by the U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee and the U.S. Department of Justice are aimed at preventing Hart from being relieved of any of his tax debts through his latest bankruptcy case, but the implications could go well beyond that/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: Does this case seem to be getting seriouser and seriouser for former Rep. Hart?
Phil Damiano, with his wife, Leslie, speaks to the Women Republicans at today's monthly meeting about how the IRS intemidated them into dissolving the local Tea Party organization. Leslie Damiano is the President of the Women Republicans in Coeur d'Alene. Many of the members of the Women Republicans helped with Tea Party events in Coeur d'Alene and Post Falls areas. United States Senator Crapo is using the paper work the Damianos received from the IRS requestion information to assistant him in interrogating witnesses in Washington D.C. On of the requests the IRS made was to have the password to their web site so it could investigate them further. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)
U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo met with the Panhandle Pachyderm Club Friday at Templin's Red Lion Inn in Post Falls to discuss the latest on the Internal Revenue Service scandal. “We started hearing the IRS was targeting people about three years ago,” the senator told an audience of about 60 people. He said that is when he started looking into the issue and was told that there was nothing to it. “The head of the IRS said they were not targeting anyone for political purposes, even though he has been to the White House over a hundred times,” Crapo said, adding it was probably even more than 100 times. According to one audience member, he had been there 157 times. Since then, Crapo said Congress has learned that the agency was in fact targeting conservative groups that were engaged in political activity/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Duane Rasmussen photo: Senator Mike Crapo met with Leslie Damiano on Friday to discuss her experiences with the IRS who demanded passwords to her computer accounts regarding Tea Party activities)
Question: Is it chilling to realize that a neighbor in Kootenai County has had this bad experience with the IRS?
As part of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee’s investigation into alleged Internal Revenue Service (IRS) harassment of Tea Party and other conservative organizations, Idaho Senator Mike Crapo has submitted documents and testimony from a Coeur d’Alene-area couple. Crapo will meet Friday with Phil and Leslie Damiano, of Hayden Lake, who submitted the documents, during a special meeting of the Panhandle Pachyderm Club in Post Falls. The meeting at Templin’s Red Lion Inn is free and open to the public. The Damianos submitted copies of letters written to their Tea Party Patriots of North Idaho group from the IRS. The group had applied for 503 (c) (4) status with the IRS on the recommendation of their CPA who stated that the group clearly fit into the description of the status. The letters asked seriously invasive questions about the group, speakers and donors/News Release, U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo's office. More here.
Question: Now is the IRS scandal starting to hit closer to home?
U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, asks: U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew: “Are you or is the IRS taking the position that somehow this coalition of audits that focused on people from these political perspectives just happened accidently?”
The man who led the Internal Revenue Service when it was giving extra scrutiny to tea party and other conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status told Congress on Tuesday that he knew little about what was happening while he was still commissioner. Douglas Shulman, who vacated his position last November when his five-year term expired, told the Senate Finance Committee he didn’t learn all the facts until he read last week’s report by a Treasury inspector general confirming the targeting strategy. In his first public remarks since the story broke, Shulman said: “I agree this is an issue that when someone spotted it, they should have brought it up the chain. And they didn’t. I don’t know why”/Associated Press. More here.
Question: Do you think this targeting of Tea Party groups just happened?
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont. left, accompanied by the committee's ranking Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, questions ousted IRS Chief Steve Miller, former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, and J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, on Capitol Hill, in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Top lawmakers on the Senate Finance Committee are broadening their probe of the Internal Revenue Service’s practice of targeting conservative groups, asking the agency to turn over an extensive batch of communications detailing who was involved in the program. In a letter sent Monday to acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller, Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and ranking member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) sought details on how the agency reviewed applications for wide range of tax exemptions — not just the requests for 501(c)(4) status at the center of the current scandal/Lauren French, Politico. More here.
Question: On its online edition, the Lewiston Tribune asks which of the political scandals now plaguing the Obama administration will haunt it most: 1. IRS targets Tea Partiers, Associated Press phone tapping, fallout from Behghazi attack, or uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act?
Amid the ongoing controversies over political discrimination at the IRS and the Justice Department's seizure of two-months-worth of Associated Press (AP) phone records, the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday questioned Attorney General Eric Holder on those and other controversies tied to the Obama administration. At the opening of the committee's hearing to conduct Justice Department oversight, Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., told Holder he is “deeply concerned about a pattern I see emerging at the department under your leadership in which conclusions reached by career attorneys after thorough investigation are overruled by administration appointees for political reasons”/CBS News. More here. (AP photo)
Question: Could these controversies come together to become President Obama's Watergate?
The Internal Revenue Service office in Coeur d'Alene is closing June 30 because of sequestration, a sign hanging on the office door reads. North Idaho residents needing assistance will have to go to the Spokane office, 920 W. Riverside Ave. Karen Connelly, IRS spokesperson, couldn't provide more information on the closure by Press deadline Monday, and employees at the office said they weren't at liberty to answer questions. But a sign on the office door announces the closure, citing the federal budget cuts that were implemented March 1, 2013, known as sequestration. Before it closes permanently, the office will also be closed May 24 and June 14 for the same reason. “It's nice to have an office locally instead of going to downtown Spokane,” said Harold Markiewicz, of Post Falls, outside the office Monday. “It's an inconvenience to go over there”/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Jerome A. Pollos Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Harold Markiewicz discusses his thoughts Monday about the Coeur d'Alene Internal Revenue Service office closing on June 30)
Question: Have you ever had to use the local IRS station?
State lawmaker and tax protester Rep. Phil Hart has filed for bankruptcy — again — prompting a federal tax foreclosure case against him to be put on hold. Hart filed for bankruptcy in Idaho's U.S. District Court on Wednesday, almost two months after he voluntarily dropped his previous bankruptcy case. Hart, a Republican from Athol who lost his bid for a fifth term in the Idaho House in the May primary election, stopped filing federal income tax returns in 1996 while he unsuccessfully pursued a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the federal income tax. He lost that lawsuit, and the Internal Revenue Service is seeking to collect more than half a million dollars in back taxes, penalties and interest, partly by foreclosing on his log home/AP via Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: I'm starting to believe that our Artful Tax Dodger is trying to outlast the IRS and Idaho Tax Commission. What do you think?
Federal prosecutors are calling for Idaho Rep. Phil Hart’s proposed bankruptcy plan to be dismissed, saying it’s improper, it wouldn’t appropriately satisfy his half-million-dollar federal income tax debt, and it relies on an income source that will disappear at the end of this year: His legislative salary. Hart, a tax protester and fourth-term state lawmaker, was defeated in the May GOP primary, so his legislative salary will end in December. “Hart’s plan is not feasible,” wrote U.S. Department of Justice attorney Adam Strait in court documents. Hart had proposed paying $200 a month for five years - a total of $12,000 - to get his entire debt of more than $600,000 discharged. Most of that debt is to the IRS; it also includes more than $50,000 in back state income taxes, penalties and interest, and $22,000 in credit card debt/Betsy Russell, SR. More here.
Question: Do you think the feds will ever get Hart to pay up?
County Clerk Cliff Hayes announced that the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Idaho has awarded Kootenai County a civil judgment against former Chief Deputy Clerk Sandra K. Martinson and her husband Terry Martinson. (The judgment is attached.) “The taxpayers of Kootenai County will receive another $69,505 repayment in addition to the $49,075 Mrs. Martinson was ordered to repay by the Court last fall,” said Hayes. Mrs. Martinson pled guilty to Grand Theft, was found guilty in Kootenai County District Court on October 31, 2011, and served 60 days in jail for her crime. Hayes continued, “I’m still waiting for the State Tax Commission and the Internal Revenue Service to tell me their intended actions against Mrs. Martinson; neither agency has been forthcoming so far, though they each have legal remedies they could choose to exercise in this matter”/Kootenai County clerk's news release. More here.
Question: I don't understand these embezzlement cases involving someone with much to lose, including reputation. Do you?
Prominent Idaho Falls businessman Frank VanderSloot (pictured) gave more than $1 million toward a Super PAC supporting Republican Mitt Romney. He is a national campaign finance co-chair for the GOP presidential hopeful. For that, Barack Obama's re-election campaign added VanderSloot to a list of eight Romney mega-donors, and characterized VanderSloot as “litigious, combative and a bitter foe of the gay rights movement.” And a Democratic opposition research worker started digging around VanderSloot's history, including his divorces. Then both the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Labor slapped audits on him. The IRS wants to look at VanderSloot's 2008 and 2009 tax returns; the labor department is reviewing three temporary foreign workers VanderSloot employs at his Riverbend Ranch in southwestern Montana. So the Obama administration is harassing one of Romney's top contributors.This story couldn't look any more damning for Obama's re-election campaign, could it?/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Is this a matter of political harassment by the Obama administration — or something else?
More Info: Idaho state Rep. Phil Hart refused to answer many questions about his finances in a meeting Friday with creditors in his bankruptcy case. An attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice and another representing the Idaho State Tax Commission grilled Hart about his business interests, income, assets and debts during a meeting conducted by the trustee in Hart’s Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing. Hart, a longtime tax protester who owes the IRS more than $550,000 and the state more than $50,000, said he thought many of the questions – including ones about corporations he helped set up and about the Athol house he lives in – were inappropriate or irrelevant to his bankruptcy filing. He repeatedly responded, “I decline to answer.” Refusing to answer such questions is highly unusual in such a meeting, said Ford Elsaesser, a Sandpoint lawyer representing the trustee in the case. (SR file photo of Phil Hart)
Question: What do you think was Hart's strategy re: not answering questions?
When the state of Idaho made out its paychecks for tax-protesting state Rep. Phil Hart twice a month for the past seven years, the money didn’t go to Hart - it went straight to the IRS. That’s what Hart reported in documents filed this week in his bankruptcy case, in which he lists more than $600,000 in debt, most of it to the IRS and the Idaho State Tax Commission. In his supporting documents seeking a Chapter 13 bankruptcy reorganization, Hart reported, “100 percent of Legislative pay garnished since 2005, $16,000 annually.” Bruce Newcomb, who was Idaho’s longest-serving House speaker, said he was troubled by the revelation. “Let’s put it this way: I find it very odd,” he said. “A person has a right to protest their taxes. But this has been one of the more extreme endeavors I’ve ever seen in my life’s experience”/Betsy Russell, SR. More here.
Former Congressman Walt Minnick said Wednesday it now appears likely he will lose his appeal in U.S. Tax Court and blames one of Idaho’s most storied law firms for his predicament. Last week, Minnick and his wife, A.K., filed a lawsuit alleging negligence and professional malpractice by Hawley Troxell, a firm that has handled business and personal matters for Minnick for 25 years or more. Minnick says real estate lawyer Geoffrey Wardle failed to comply with IRS regulations in handling a 2006 conservation easement granted to the Land Trust of Treasure Valley for the Minnicks’ seven-lot, 74-acre development near Hidden Springs, Showy Phlox Estates. The IRS denied Minnick’s claim of a deduction of about $1 million, disallowing $305,629 in tax savings in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Minnick is suing the IRS in U.S. Tax Court, but said an April ruling in a Colorado case makes Wardle’s mistake potentially fatal to his case/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Tax-protesting Idaho state Rep. Phil Hart is asking the Idaho Supreme Court to reconsider its dismissal of his state income tax appeal, saying the court should have given more consideration to his legislative privilege argument. Hart appealed an order to pay more than $53,000 in back state income taxes, penalties and interest, but filed his appeal months after the 91-day appeal period had expired. He argued that because an Idaho legislative session fell just after the appeal period, his status as a lawmaker should entitle him to more time to file. The Idaho Supreme Court strongly disagreed, writing in its unanimous decision in April, “In this instance, Hart is just a taxpayer, with no greater privilege than his constituents”/Betsy Z. Russell, SR. More here.
Tax-protesting Idaho state Rep. Phil Hart, who lost his bid for a fifth term in the GOP primary two weeks ago, has filed for bankruptcy. In Hart’s petition for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, he lists just three creditors: The IRS, the Idaho State Tax Commission, and Anderson & Krieger, a construction defect law firm in Sacramento, Calif. Hart also is facing a foreclosure lawsuit from the U.S. Justice Department seeking to foreclose on his Athol home for more than $500,000 in back federal income taxes, penalties and interest, and a state order to pay more than $53,000 in back state income taxes, penalties and interest. Michael McFarland, Hart’s Coeur d’Alene attorney in the bankruptcy proceeding, said, “I’m really not in a position to discuss details”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here. And: bankruptcy document here.