Is the IRS still harassing conservative groups?

Critics complain misconduct continues


This is a rush transcript from "The Five," May 29, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: Today, a federal lawsuit was fielded against the IRS by 25 conservative groups who say they were targeted by the agency. The suit includes a series of letters sent to them stamped with Lois Lerner's signature. She is the woman in charge of the division at the center of the scandal.

Now, last week she said she did nothing wrong.


LOIS LERNER, IRS OFFICIAL: I know that some people will assume that I have done something wrong. I have not.


PERINO: Somebody gave her -- like did she take a Xanax? I don't get it.

GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: I'm missing something.

PERINO: So low energy. But another letter dated May 26, 2013. Didn't the White House say the wrong doing stopped last year? I think so.


JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The misconduct had stopped in May of 2012. So, despite all the media interest in our April 2013 awareness, it's important to remember that the misconduct, of course, had stopped almost a year earlier.


PERINO: But did it really? Here's the head of the group Linchpins of Liberty that was just on Cavuto earlier today.


KEVIN KOOKOGEY, LINCHPINS OF LIBERTY FOUNDER: I received three letters from the IRS of any substance. And the third letter did, it was mailed May 6th, but it actually came to the ACLJ on my behalf on May 14th. So, right in the midst of all of this --


KOOKOGEY: -- the IRS sends yet another letter which, as you know, contradicts the testimony of Steve Miller and others at the first congressional hearing about 10 days ago.


PERINO: I'm glad we have Kimberly, because -- could you help explain the lawsuit being filed that Jay Sekulow is leading? What is the complaint and the remedy?

KIMBERLY GUILFOYLE, CO-HOST: OK. So, 25 conservative groups, and what makes this very interesting is they're going to be able to get a tremendous amount of information if this case goes forward. Think about what they're going to be able to uncover. So, the exposure is tremendous. It's not an issue of, just, oh we have wrongs committed against us and we have been damaged. The damage specifically is going to be declaratory relieve, once their official designation, because a number of the groups haven't received their status yet that they were seeking, OK, under the 501c.

So, the besides that, it's 25 groups against the IRS. And the important thing that came out today was he has proof that the targeting did not stop in 2012 like was previously stated.

So, we're just being right now being able to see kind of the information coming forward, the unraveling of the stories that have been told -- what appears to be inconsistent statements made before and contradictory evidence coming forward now.

PERINO: It's a weird thing, Bob, because every time that the administration has said something declarative about this situation, it turns out not to be true, like two days later.

So, what do they need to do in order to stop that from happening again?

BOB BECKEL, CO-HOST: I would stop by reading the letters.

You know, I will say this, there was and I believe there is collusion among some of the Tea Party groups and the Republican Party and they take political action. If I were there, I would have pulled them out, too. Now --


BECKEL: But I would --

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: Just the Tea Party.

BECKEL: No, no, just some of those groups. Not all of them.

BOLLING: None of the lefty groups.

PERINO: But why would you say the right does that and the left doesn't? That's -- the question is this is a case about First Amendment rights and you have groups willing to get involved and they applied legally and they waited patiently and answered the questions and they were in collusion? But left wing groups don't collude?

BECKEL: Well, when I was in a left wing group we certainly collude.

PERINO: Right, I don't get your point.

BECKEL: Well, I don't --

GUILFOYLE: What are you saying, the groups are not real?

BECKEL: There was an explosion of campaign dollars from certain groups into the campaign and those groups were tax exempt organizations.

GUILFOYLE: Why is it illegal or collusion for them to through the constitutional rights be able to form the groups to apply lawfully for tax- exempt status to expect to be treated likely other --


BECKEL: Why do they think it is lawful?


PERINO: If they don't like the law, they should change it.

Let's listen to Catherine Englebrecht who was on O'Reilly last night. This is the type of abuse they were facing.


BILL O'REILLY, FOX HOST: The IRS agents, they come down in Texas where you are based and what do they do?

CATHERINE ENGLEBRECHT, TRUE THE VOTE FOUNDER: Not only are we three years now almost into the limbo of our nonprofit exemption being held up.

But, personally, I was audited. Our businesses were audited for the two years. My husband and I were personally audited for two years.


PERINO: Eric, that's just one story. How many others do you think are out there last night?

BOLLING: Apparently, if you watch Greta last night, there's a Tea Party group from Maitland, Florida, who had the Department of Homeland Security attend one of their rallies.

Also in St. Louis, we may have some video or pictures of that as well.

St. Louis, same thing. If you have Tea Party in your name, you get special treatment. They show up in combat gear, DHS.

You never see that with Occupy Wall Street. You never see when the communist party wants to march in Chicago and you never see it when MSNBC has the company picnic.


PERINO: This is the thing that's happening, you are starting to see, Greg, some -- I think the Democrats are rattled up in. The truth is I actually don't think that they did anything wrong. They waited until the news media coverage was bad and then decided to be outraged.

GUTFELD: Imagine if the media looked at pictures of women dressed sexually and said those women are asking for it? Because that is the logic here using, for small government people.

Well, if you are for small government, you're just asking for it from the big government people. And the moment that small government Bob, puts the feet, more people the join the Tea Party, it's going to put the fear of God in the IRS, because once you create an organization that they think that you asked for it, that makes them look really bad.

And right now, you got the Democrats. You got the media rallying around the IRS. I think there was a survey that said that the Democrats say that the IRS are using their powers responsibly. That's like bacteria rallying around tooth decay.

There you go, Bob, you can now interrupt.

BECKEL: Did I interrupt you?

GUTFELD: I was trying to make a point.

BECKEL: Please go ahead.

GUTFELD: I'm done. Go for it.

PERINO: He's done with his point. What is your last word?

BOLLING: You're not going to make a point. Can I make a point?


BECKEL: The tax-exempt organizations are not supposed to be involved in politics.

BOLLING: Can you imagine how crazy the left would go if it was the IRS targeting a group with a description of race in their name. Can you imagine a group that picked out a certain race and they went after that group to find out?

GUTFELD: Or sexual orientation.

BOLLING: Or sexual orientation. Any one of those. But if it's conservative, it seems to be OK.

BECKEL: My group was audited by conservatives.

GTUFELD: Your group was crazy left wing drinkers.

PERINO: As politicians went home this week, they he heard a lot about it and starting to cut ads and they're actually very effective. Even before the whole investigation is finished, I think they're going to have a lot of blowback. That was my last word.

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