Lerner email shows bias in favor of unions
Lois Lerner, the IRS official at the center of the Tea Party targeting scandal, apparently doesn't believe that labor unions should be subject to IRS reporting requirements for political activity.
In a 2007 email, obtained by the Daily Caller, Lerner dismissed complaints that unions routinely reported different amounts to the IRS than they did to the Department of Labor.
In 2007, Lerner responded directly to a complaint that some major labor unions reported completely different amounts of political expenditures when filing with the IRS and the Department of Labor.
At the time of the email, Lerner was the Director of Exempt Organizations at the IRS.
Lerner wrote, “We looked at the information you provided regarding organizations that report substantial amounts of political activity and lobbying expenditures on the DOL Form LM-2, but report little to no political expenditures on the Form 990 filed with the IRS.”
“We believe this difference in reporting does not necessarily indicate that the organization has incorrectly reported to either the DOL or the IRS,” Lerner concluded.
Don Todd, the deputy assistant secretary of the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) at the time the email was sent, confirmed seeing Lerner’s email and remembering similar complaints at the time. OLMS oversees labor union financial disclosures within the Department of Labor.
“The laws never been enforced,” Todd told TheDCNF. “The IRS was telling us it would cost more to enforce the law then they would collect.”
In 2006, the year leading up to Lerner’s email, the national headquarters for the AFL-CIO reported no direct or indirect political expenditures with the IRS on their 990 form, leaving the line 81a blank. That same year, the AFL-CIO reported $29,585,661 in political activities with the Department of Labor.
The IRS might have a different definition of "political activity" than DoL. But you have to be an idiot to believe that the discrepancy mentioned above isn't an attempt by unions to hide their political donations and contributions. How can one definition lead to no contributions and another lead to $29 million?
And if the definitions are, indeed, that far apart, perhaps the government should get its act together and decide on one overall definition of political activity that would be used across the board.
Lerner may be correct when she writes, "“We believe this difference in reporting does not necessarily indicate that the organization has incorrectly reported to either the DOL or the IRS." But neither does she say her office would look into the discrepancy and get to the bottom of the complaint. That smacks of bias in favor of unions as the IRS turns a blind eye to the issue when a favored constituency is being scrutinized.