Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Claire Shulman's LDC and the IRS

We have been tracking the lackluster efforts of law enforcement in bringing the illegal lobbying work of Claire Shulman's Flushing/Willets Point/Corona Local Development Corporation to some sort of just enforcement conclusion. We have harped on the fact the NYS Attorney General's Office has completely tanked its original investigation of the illegal lobbying (under Section 1411 of the not for profit laws of NY), but haven't dwelled too much on our complaint to the IRS-something that we had written to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell about.

Now, however, a disturbing story prompts us to re-visit the federal aspects of Shulman's illegal lobbying scheming-the fact that the IRS is hounding Tea Party groups, forcing them through hoops to qualify for their not for profit status. The Daily Caller has the story-via Instapundit:

"During a 2009 commencement address at Arizona State University, President Obama joked that he’d send the IRS after those who didn’t see eye-to-eye with him. For over 100 tea party groups, his comments are not amusing; they are a reality. The tea party has had a profound impact on the national political debate, bringing the size and scope of the federal government to the forefront of the American dialogue. As voters increasingly connect with the tea party’s values, President Obama and Democrats have grown concerned about the movement’s grassroots energy. In a “Chicago style” attempt to smother the movement before the 2012 election, the Obama administration is using the IRS to attack tea party groups."

Check out what one Tea party group is being forced to do:

"The Waco Tea Party submitted an application for tax-exempt status in 2010. Nearly two years after the IRS’s 90-day response window elapsed, the group finally received a reply — a list of over 50 demands. The three-year-old organization was asked to compile every Facebook post and tweet it had ever produced. It was told to submit transcriptions of its weekly radio show — a request that would cost $25,000 to comply with, more than twice the group’s annual budget. It was ordered to explain any “close relationships” with candidates. And when the Waco Tea Party asked the IRS to clarify “close relationship” and “candidate,” the IRS replied, “Send us everything.”

Well, well, compare that with the Shulman application. As we said to Senator McConnell:

"The reason for this letter, however, is your publicly expressed concerns about the politicization of the IRS
concerning the not for profit status of various tea party groups. ( We at WPU share your concerns because
we have seen firsthand how the IRS has ignored our own complaints about the FWPCLDC-a group made up of real estate developers with no charitable objective.

As the group’s director Claire Shulman told the NY Times in 2009 lobbying was the "primary purpose" of FWPCLDC and "the whole idea." However, when filling out the IRS forms under lobbying the group wrote, “No.” This was in spite of the fact that the Shulman-led lobbying effort in favor of the Willets Point development was extremely successful-leading to the passage of this eminent domain inspired project that has put our properties at extreme risk." (

WPU made a formal complaint to the IRS about Shulman's group and have yet to hear from these politicized bureaucrats-even when they are handed a prima facie case of illegality right in their lap. So it's pretty clear that when it comes to the equal enforcement of the law the Obama administration believes that some groups are more equal than others-and property rights be damned!