Hijacked Planes and Shady IRS Practices

Grind for August 14th, 2018
“The risk for me would be in not taking one – that’s the only thing that’s really risky for me.”
– Kanye West

It’s About Time

The Headline

Conservative groups finally get revenge on the IRS!

The Grind

A judge on Wednesday signed off on a $3.5 million settlement between the IRS and conservative groups that sued the agency over political targeting.

Starting in 2010, the IRS began delaying the approval of nonprofit status for groups with “Tea Party” or “Patriot” in the name. This affected more than 400 organizations, some of which waited years to attain tax-exempt status.

Conservative groups sued the IRS in 2013. Two years later, the Obama Justice Department said it found “mismanagement” within the IRS but no illegal behavior.

Lois Lerner, who led the IRS office that handled applications for tax-exempt status, was not prosecuted.

The Details

Documents involved in the class action lawsuit settled this week clearly show that Lerner was aware of the targeting and took steps to guarantee further delays.

Lerner insists she did not encourage the targeting, and her testimony remains sealed from the public. Lerner claims her life would be in danger if the testimony was revealed. According to her lawyers, she still receives death threats about the targeting.

In the meantime, the IRS will pay $3.5 million to more than 100 groups that were wronged by intrusive inspections and delays. After legal fees, groups will end up with about $17,000 each.

As attorney Dane Martin points out, that money could make a huge difference. “These are small grassroots organizations, and that money can go a long way. That’s really exciting for them.”

The IRS has also promised to make policy changes in order to prevent political targeting from occurring in the future.

A Wild Ride

The Headline

Airline employee steals and crashes airplane

The Grind

An employee of Alaska Air last Friday stole a plane from the Sea-Tac airport and crashed it into an island after being chased by two F-15 fighter jets.

The pilot’s communications with air traffic control suggest he may have been on a suicide mission. “I was kind of hoping that was going to be it,” said the pilot after rolling the plane and pulling it out of a steep dive.

The pilot eventually crashed onto a small island off the coast of Seattle. The incident killed the pilot and caused a fire that continued to burn late into the night.

Authorities have confirmed there were no other passengers or crew on board.

The Details

Local and federal agencies say there is no reason to suspect terrorism or additional criminal activity.

The stolen plane has been identified a Horizon Air Q400, a twin turboprop plane designed to seat 76 passengers. As noted in The Wall Street Journal, there is no precedent for the theft of such a large plane.

Alaska Air says it will not comment on the pilot’s identity “until remains are examined.”

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