IRS kept Catherine Engelbrecht from 'taking the First'

True the Vote founder slaps agency with lawsuit


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," May 27, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

ERIC BOLLING, GUEST HOST: Running from reporters, now run out of a job.

Two officials at the center of the IRS targeting scandal may be getting the boot. But that is not stopping conservatives from slapping the agency with a suit.

My next guest says she became the subject of an audit after trying to get tax-exempt status for her group.

Catherine Engelbrecht is president of True the Vote and is one of the first to file a lawsuit against the IRS.

Thanks for joining us.

Could you take us through what happened? Just give us -- first of all, how long -- did you -- did you eventually get tax-exempt status?

CATHERINE ENGELBRECHT, PRESIDENT, ENGELBRECHT MANUFACTURING, INC.: No. No. Here we are nearly three years later and no further along than when we started.


So, when you hear lawmakers on the Hill either raising their right hand, pleading the Fifth, not wanting to discuss how all this came about, how does it make you feel?

ENGELBRECHT: Well, it strikes me as ironic that they can take the Fifth when for three years they have been trying to keep me from taking the First.

BOLLING: Did you ever find out what was the holdup over three years? The way I understand it is conservative groups were sent packages and reams of information that needed to be filled out. They would send it back and they would get pushed back again.

Was that similar to what your case was?

ENGELBRECHT: Absolutely.

We went through four rounds of questions. I say went. We're still going, I imagine, through four rounds at least of questions. But we have sanswered hundreds of questions. We have submitted thousands of documents, and there's really no end in sight.

BOLLING: You know, I -- around 2011-2012, I got a knock on the door. Two IRS agents knocked on my door. My wife was home alone, freaked her out. They said, we need to speak to your husband as soon as he gets home. We have important things we need to discuss with him, the IRS.

She called me up almost in a panic, in shock, almost crying, saying, what's going on here? What is happening?

It's this kind of -- do you think I was targeted? I have very conservative views and I'm not -- I'm more than willing to say them on TV. Is it possible I'm a target, too?

ENGELBRECHT: You know what? I think in this environment, just about anything is possible.

BOLLING: All right, Catherine, I want you to take a listen to this sound bite we put together from earlier testimony last week, the testimony that came up on the Hill.

Listen to this.


LOIS LERNER, DIRECTOR, IRS EXEMPT ORGANIZATIONS UNIT: I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws. I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations.

And while I would very much like to answer the committee's questions today, I have been advised by my counsel to assert my constitutional right not to testify or answer questions related to the subject matter of this hearing.


BOLLING: Well, because she did that, she made that statement -- that's Lois Lerner, who was at the center of the IRS scandal during the times that they were targeting, admittedly targeting conservative groups -- conservative groups like yours, because she made that statement, she may have to be called back by Darrell Issa's committee and raise her right hand again.

What do you want to hear from her?

ENGELBRECHT: Oh, I would like know -- I would like know whose idea it was. I would like to know how far up the ladder it goes.

I can tell you that on two separate occasions with two separate analysts that we were working with, they both reported that they were waiting on marching orders from Washington, that Washington was who was telling them what questions to ask, and they were repeating those orders.

I would like to know how it is that they are guiltless, when we know that they have already admitted to releasing confidential documents to other organizations. There's just an awful lot that doesn't add up right now and I very much hope that our elected are going to stick with this until we get to the bottom of it.

BOLLING: President Obama, when he first said he realized this scandal was happening or this issue was happening, he said he learned about it on television.

Many people find it hard to believe, because since that first initial assessment, we have learned that his chief of staff and the White House counsel actually knew about it for months. Do you believe President Obama when he says he didn't know?

ENGELBRECHT: It seems like he doesn't know an awful lot.

I'm not quite sure what they do in the West Wing. I don't know what they talk about in senior staff meetings. It would sure seem like this would come up. A national scandal might -- might be of interest.

BOLLING: I don't know. My chief of staff, my White House counsel knows.


BOLLING: Going to leave it there, Catherine Engelbrecht. Thank you very much.

ENGELBRECHT: Thanks so much.

BOLLING: All right.

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