IRS chief refers questions about Clinton Foundation to office of exempt organizations
Republicans in Congress have been clamoring for months for the IRS to investigate the Clinton Foundation for numerous crimes. Yesterday, IRS chief John Koskinen agreed to refer questions about the legality of the Clinton Foundation activities to the agency's office of exempt organizations.
It has been erroneously reported that the IRS was launching an investigation into the activities of the Clinton Foundation. In fact, no such formal investigation has been called for. The agency's exempt organization office will review the charges and make a determination as to whether the FBI and other investigative bodies should be called in.
The distinction is important, because there's a good chance that no such investigation will be called for, and the Foundation will continue its criminal activity.
"This program considers all referrals and will send you a separate acknowledgement letter when it receives your information," Koskinen said last week in a letter to Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.).
Blackburn and dozens of other Republican House members sent a letter to Koskinen and the heads of the FBI and the Federal Trade Commission earlier this month asking the agencies to investigate the Clinton Foundation. The lawmakers said that media reports and IRS filings "portray a lawless 'Pay to Play' enterprise that has been operating under a cloak of philanthropy for years and should be investigated."
The Republicans' letter stated that the foundation's initial application with the IRS for tax-exempt status in 1997 does not mention that it would conduct activities outside of the United States. "As a result, the foundation's global initiatives appear to be unlawful pursuant to IRS guidance," the lawmakers said.
The lawmakers also expressed concerns in their letter about the fact that Laureate International Universities has donated to the foundation and an entity run by Laureate's founder received millions of dollars in grants from the U.S. Agency for International Development while Hillary Clinton was secretary of State. They also are concerned that the chairman of a uranium-mining company donated money to the foundation, and Clinton was among the Obama administration officials who approved the company's sale to the Russian government.
The IRS said Wednesday that it is standard procedure to direct referrals from outside groups to offices within the agency. "We forward all referrals to the appropriate area for consideration of whether there are issues that justify further review," the agency said in a statement.
Koskinen said that the IRS can't disclose actions it might take based on the information the lawmakers provided due to a statute that protects the privacy of taxpayers' information.
The way Koskinen describes this action would lead one to believe it's a matter of routine. But this request comes from one of the most important "outside groups" in the country: the U.S. Congress. You would think he would treat the matter with a little more gravity.
This is one reason why there are calls to impeach Koskinen: his arrogant dismissal of the Republican Congress. His refusal to fully comply with subpoenas as well as his dismissive attitude on display during congressional hearings has enraged many members.
No doubt, a determination whether the IRS should investigate the Foundation won't come until after the election.