A Democratic congressman railed against a “right-wing conspiracy” of outside campaign spending and said that voter ID laws could have prevented Barack Obama’s presidency during a 2012 event in which the IRS coached black ministers in how to engage in campaign activity.
The Daily Caller reported Friday on a May 30, 2012 meeting at the U.S. Capitol between the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and the Conference of National Black Churches. The meeting was attended by Attorney General Eric Holder, then-IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman, and IRS official Peter Lorenzetti, all of whom spoke at the event. The meeting, which was held during the presidential campaign and at a time when the IRS was targeting conservative non-profits for abusive audits, aimed to coach black ministers in how to engage in political activity without violating the law.
“We’re going to, first of all, equip them with the information they need to know about what they can say and what they cannot say in the church that would violate their 501(c)(3) status with the IRS,” said CBC chairman Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Missouri Democrat.
This helpful training session for black ministers was convened while Shulman’s IRS was improperly scrutinizing the tax-exempt status of conservative and tea party groups and delaying conservative groups’ tax-exempt applications with costly investigations.
Rep. G.K. Butterfield, a Democrat from North Carolina and member of the CBC, used openly partisan rhetoric in his remarks before the convened black ministers, discussing a “right-wing conspiracy” and condemning voter ID laws that he claimed could have jeopardized Obama’s election to the White House.
“But now, all of this progress that we’ve made is under assault. There is a right-wing conspiracy that is alive and well in this country that is trying to take us back to 1900 and even before,” Butterfield said in his remarks.
“They are coming in very discreet ways. Uh, the Citizens United case for example that now allows corporations to give unlimited amounts of money, anonymous unlimited amounts of money, in support or opposition to political candidates, and it’s working. And there are other devices at play and our panelists today are going to talk with you about that and to alert you and to inform you and to empower you to go back to your communities and to be vocal on this subject and to make a difference,” Butterfield said, referring to panelists including Holder and Shulman.