Ending Some Of Washington’s Political Gamesmanship

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article today about the practice of ‘the blue slip courtesy’ used to block judicial nominees in Congress.

The website judicialnominations.org explains the process:

One way in which senatorial courtesy has manifested itself is something called the “blue slip.” This is a device used by the Senate Judiciary Committee to communicate with the home-state Senators about a nomination to the U.S. courts of appeal or district courts, or to be a U.S. marshal or U.S. attorney. When a nominee is referred to the committee, the committee sends a letter (typically on light blue paper) asking the two home-state Senators to take a position on the nomination. The Senators check off the appropriate box on the sheet—either approve or disapprove—and return the paper to the Judiciary Committee.

The blue slip process is used only by the Senate Judiciary Committee —no other Senate committee uses it for other kinds of nominations. The practice of using blue slips dates back to at least 1917. Since mid-2001, the status of blue slips for each judge nominated have been publicly available on the Web.

It is a matter of some debate how important blue slips are in the confirmation process. The blue slip practice is not a formal part of the Judiciary Committee’s rules, and the determination of just how much weight to give to a Senator’s opposition to a nomination is left largely up to the chair of the committee. Among other issues, the chair will decide whether to honor the objections, voiced through blue-slips, from all home-state senators or just those who belong to the same party as the president.

Unfortunately, the process has been occasionally abused. The Judicial Nominations website explains:

Much also has been written that is critical of the blue-slip system. George  Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley described the system this way:  Blue-slipping is a little known process by which senators can block federal judge nominees from their state. This means that judges who may rule in your case often are selected to meet senatorial, not professional, demands. By simply not returning blue slips sent by the Senate Judiciary Committee, a senator can block a nominee for the most nefarious or arbitrary reasons, including a personal grudge, a bargaining tool with the White House or failure of the nominee to be sufficiently fawning in the senator’s presence.

This courtesy has been misused by both sides–it was not meant as a negotiating tool–it was meant to be a courtesy.

The article at Power Line details some changes that Senator Grassley is making in order to expedite the confirmation of President Trump’s judicial nominees.

Power Line reports:

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley announced that he would not let Franken’s withheld blue slip block the nomination of Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras to the Eighth Circuit (or Senator Kennedy’s block Kyle Duncan to the Fifth Circuit).

Senator Grassley took to the floor of the Senate to explain his disposition of “the blue slip courtesy” and his decision to schedule a committee hearing on the nominations of Stras and Duncan (text of statement here, video below). The Hill reported on Senator Grassley’s statement here.

Washington needs to stop playing games and get its work done. All Congressmen (and Congresswomen) should be paid according to what they actually accomplish. That might actually change how things are done in Congress.

The FBI Is Beginning To Look Like Tammany Hall

On Wednesday, Circa posted an article about the current culture in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Circa is one of the few current news outlets that is actually doing investigative reporting. I don’t know how big their footprint is in the news world, but I know that I have found them to be a reliable source and a source that generally has a story before the mainstream media.

The article reports:

When the FBI launched an investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, one of the bureau’s top former counterterrorism agents believed that FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe would have to recuse himself from the investigation.

Former Supervisory Special Agent Robyn Gritz was one of the bureau’s top intelligence analysts and terrorism experts but resigned from the bureau five years ago after she said she was harassed and her career was blocked by top FBI management. She filed a formal sexual discrimination complaint against the bureau in 2013 and it was Flynn, among many others, who publicly came to her aide.

In her first on-camera interview she described the retaliation from McCabe and others in the bureau as “vicious.”

…She told Circa, current senior level management, including McCabe, created a “cancer like” bureaucracy striking fear into FBI agents and causing others to resign. She eventually resigned herself, but her case is still pending.

…McCabe, who is under three separate federal inquiries, did not respond to requests for comment. (The italics are mine)

The article details some of the legal issues surrounding Deputy Director McCabe:

In June, a Circa investigation revealed that two weeks after Gritz filed her EEOC complaint, McCabe referred her for an Office of Professional Responsibility investigation for timecard irregularities.

Although the FBI claimed they had filed their OPR investigation prior to Gritz’s EEOC, McCabe’s own sworn testimony painted a much different picture. Gritz’s case, which is still pending, was required McCabe to submit to a sworn statement. In his testimony he recounted a conversation on June 19, 2012 in which he authorized the OPR investigation of Gritz after one of his deputies told him she was about to file a complaint, as reported by Circa.

And McCabe is also challenged with an Office of Special Counsel investigation.

The embattled former agent filed a complaint in April, alleging McCabe violated the Hatch Act, as reported by Circa in June.

The OSC is the government’s main whistle blower agency. The Hatch Act prohibits FBI employees from engaging “in political activity in concert with a political party, a candidate for partisan political office, or a partisan political group.” McCabe appeared to be participating in his wife’s unsuccessful bid for Virginia State Senate in 2015, according to Gritz and documents obtained by Circa.

The Justice Department Inspector General investigation is also investigating McCabe after Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, an Iowa Republican, alleged McCabe may not have properly disclosed the roughly $700,000 in campaign contributions to his Democratic wife on his ethics report and should have recused himself from the Clinton server case.

It seems that much of the FBI is part of the Washington swamp.

This Really Was Not Unexpected

Yesterday Breitbart posted an article about the Russian investigation. It seems as if this investigation has been going on forever, and so far nothing has been found. I am waiting for the eventual charge that someone went to a Russian tea room for a cup of tea and therefore should be prosecuted. Unfortunately, because special prosecutors tend to want to charge someone with something, all these lawyers with political leanings may eventually charge someone with a process crime (they forgot something in their testimony and gave an answer on a minor point that did not satisfy the investigators). However, it is becoming rather obvious that the tale the left has been spinning since the election of foreign intrigue tied to the Trump campaign or Trump Administration is pure fiction.

Breitbart reports:

Investor William Browder testified at the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday that Fusion GPS, the firm that had been responsible for creating and pushing the so-called “Russia dossier” against Donald Trump, had been paid by the Russian government to push for the repeal of the human rights sanctions in the Magnitsky Act of 2012. In other words, the Russian government may have been paying to smear Trump with false and salacious accusations.

Until now, the media and the Democrats have proceeded under the assumption that Russia intervened in the 2016 election by hacking the email server of the Democratic National Committee, as well as the private email of Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, and releasing their emails via Wikileaks. They have further claimed — with no evidence — that the Trump campaign may have colluded with the Russians in obtaining or releasing the emails.

The entire theory rests on the ridiculous claim that Trump had invited Russia to hack Clinton and the Democrats when he joked last July about the Russians releasing the emails Clinton had deleted from her illicit private server.  (The left-wing HuffPost observed Thursday as the anniversary that Trump “asked for Russian help in the election.”) That joke prompted then-CIA director John Brennan to convene an investigation of alleged Russian interference.

Thursday The Wall Street Journal posted an article by Kimberly Strassel (the article is not linked here because it is subscribers only) noting a connection between Fusion GPS and the Democratic party.

In an interesting move, Congressional Democrats, who were ready to hold public hearings about Russian election interference featuring Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort, have decided to hold those hearings in private (where they can’t pontificate instead of asking questions). Why? Because if Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort were questioned in public, then Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson would also be questioned in public. For whatever reason, the Democrats were willing to give up their dog and pony show to avoid Glenn Simpson’s public testimony (where he would have been asked who paid for the false dossier on Donald Trump).

The Wall Street Journal article asks:

What if, all this time, Washington and the media have had the Russia collusion story backward? What if it wasn’t the Trump campaign playing footsie with the Vladimir Putin regime, but Democrats? The more we learn about Fusion, the more this seems a possibility.

We know Fusion is a for-hire political outfit, paid to dig up dirt on targets. This column first outed Fusion in 2012, detailing its efforts to tar a Mitt Romney donor. At the time Fusion insisted that the donor was “a legitimate subject of public records research.”

The article at Breitbart concludes:

Or the truth could be that Russia was trying to embarrass both parties, to weaken the eventual winner. Browder told the Senate Judiciary Committee that it is common for Russia to back both sides in elections, simply to create chaos.

Regardless, the Russia conspiracy theory has now collapsed. There is no evidence that Russia was colluding with the Trump campaign. But there is evidence Russia was working against it. And the truth is only beginning to emerge.

The following quote is from Shakespeare’s Macbeth:

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

The same thing can be said about the investigation into President Trump’s ties to Russia.

 

I Think We Are Investigating The Wrong People

One of the worst things that can happen to a representative government is for a political leader to use the power of his position to spy on his political opposition. Unfortunately, it is becoming more and more obvious that under President Obama that was the norm.

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit posted an article about the latest leak from the Washington establishment.

The article reports:

Since that time (March 2017) we now know that the FBI was investigating the Trump Tower servers during the election.

We also know Susan Rice lied at first but then admitted when she got caught that she was unmasking her political opponents phone calls. Rice blamed racism after she got caught.

Ex-officials said what Susan Rice’s unmasking requests were not routine and “never done.” And… she was not alone in her unmasking requests.

Obama officials later moved the unmasking documents to the Obama library.

Tonight Deep State leaked documents to the Washington Post that show the Obama administration were spying on Republican senator Jeff Sessions before the election.

Russian envoy Sergey Kislyak’s accounts of two conversations with Jeff Sessions, who was at the time a Senator from Alabama, were intercepted by U.S. spy agencies, according to the far left Washington Post.

Once again this proves President Trump was right.
Barack Obama was spying on his political opponents.

Robert Mueller is investigating the wrong people. I suspect that is by design.

There Seems To Be A Discrepancy Here

When there is unequal justice under the law, we need to find the reason for it. It seems as if Congress may be moving in that direction regarding Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information. The guidelines for handling classified information are clear, and the penalties for mishandling it are clear. Former FBI Director James Comey outlined the case against Mrs. Clinton, then chose not to prosecute her for breaking the law. She was not even prosecuted after classified information she had access to was found on a laptop of someone who was not cleared to view the information. So what is the kingpin that will unravel the logic behind this situation? It seems as if Congress may be about to find that out.

Yesterday The New York Post posted an article about the testimony Loretta Lynch gave to Congress last year.

The article reports:

When former Attorney General Loretta Lynch testified last year about her decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information, she swore she never talked to “anyone” on the Clinton campaign. That categorical denial, though made in response to a series of questions about whether she spoke with Clintonworld about remaining attorney general if Hillary won the election, could come back to haunt her.

The Senate Judiciary Committee, which has launched a bipartisan investigation into Lynch for possible obstruction of justice, recently learned of the existence of a document indicating Lynch assured the political director of Clinton’s campaign she wouldn’t let FBI agents “go too far” in probing the former secretary of state.

There is also the matter of the meeting between Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton in Ms. Lynch’s airplane in Phoenix. The only reason we know about that meeting is that a reporter was doing his job and reported it. The meeting was totally inappropriate as Mrs. Clinton was under investigation at the time by Ms. Lynch.

There are a lot of people who want the investigation into the handling of Mrs. Clinton’s email scandal to go away. It has been like pulling teeth for Congress to get even as far as it has gotten. However, the thing we need to remember is that equal justice under the law is part of the foundation of our republic. When that principle is ignored, the republic is weakened.

So Which Answer Is Actually True?

The source for this story is The Gateway Pundit.There are a number of stories from various sources on the internet reporting the same thing. There are some serious problems in the charge that President Trump interfered in an investigation.

The Gateway Pundit reports:

Former FBI Director James Comey testified under Senate oath May 3rd that the Trump administration had not pressured his agency to halt any investigation for political purposes.

Comey admitted that the FBI has always been free to operate without political interference—flying in the face of Democrats’ paranoid delusions about Russia and President Donald J. Trump, and exposing for what it is a new political witch hunt Wednesday by enemies within the president’s own Justice Department.

Videotaped testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee blows apart the phony narrative New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt wove on Tuesday, which resulted in Mueller’s appointment. Schmidt’s only sources were anonymous. They claimed that on Feb. 14th, the day after National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned, Trump had asked Comey to end an investigation into Flynn’s connections to Russia.

Schmidt’s allegations that Trump attempted to obstruct justice hinged on the sources’ accounts of a memo authored the same day. Schmidt, a Democrat party lackey, admitted he hasn’t even seen the document—dated nearly three months before Comey’s testimony that totally contradicts it.

Comey’s statement to Hawaii Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono from May 3rd, which Center for Security Policy analyst Nick Short noted Wednesday, exposes the Democrats once again for their political gamesmanship.

The Gateway Pundit reports that lying during sworn congressional testimony is committing perjury, a federal offense punishable by up to five years in prison. The Special Prosecutor was appointed to investigate the wrong thing. Let’s hope he realizes that quickly.

How An Open Border Effects You If You Live In North Carolina

Border security under former President Obama was something of a joke. Border patrol agents were simply not allowed to do their job. Certain areas of America were marked with signs indicating it was dangerous to go there because drug cartels were using those areas to conduct business (inside America). Well, there is a new sheriff in town, but he sure has a lot to clean up.

On February 7th, Judicial Watch posted an article about the reach of Mexican drug cartels into America. It’s not good news.

The article reports:

Illustrating that the Mexican drug crisis is having a far-reaching impact on the U.S., a heroin ring operated by a Mexican cartel was recently busted in an American suburb more than 1,500 miles from the southern border. In the last few years Judicial Watch has reported extensively on the massive amounts of drugs—especially heroin—that get smuggled into the U.S. by Mexican traffickers who later use street, prison and outlaw motorcycle gangs to distribute them throughout the country. Undoubtedly, these enterprises benefitted tremendously from the Obama administration’s open border policies.

Now we have confirmation that these illicit drug operations have penetrated areas far from the border. This case comes out of Rowan County, North Carolina where a local news report reveals that authorities began targeting large-scale heroin distribution in 2013. Last week three people with ties to a Mexican drug cartel were arrested in the county. Large quantities of heroin, handguns, a rifle, ammunition, numerous telephones, cash and drug paraphernalia was confiscated by police. Authorities say the Mexican heroin trafficking ring was based in the Charlotte-Matthews area and has been supplying heroin to Rowan County for more than a decade. “Over the past two months, investigators purchased large amounts of heroin from two people working for this Mexican National Drug Trafficking Organization,” the news report states.

Rowan County is near Charlotte, North Carolina.

The article further reports:

A big part of the problem is that the drug trafficking is being leveraged by corrupt public officials in the U.S., a years-long Judicial Watch investigation has found. Undoubtedly, cartel violence is real but truckloads of drugs are getting across the country because U.S. officials at the municipal, state and federal level are turning a blind eye or actively participating and cooperating with cartels. As part of an ongoing probe, Judicial Watch has provided the Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley with evidence, including the sworn testimony of law enforcement officers, of this corruption and criminality in all levels of government. Learn more about Judicial Watch’s probe here.

Hopefully the new sheriff in town can put an end to this activity. However, when you realize how pervasive the corruption is, you begin to understand some of the opposition to President Trump. There is a lot of money tied up in the drug trade that does not want the new sheriff to interfere with that money. Our future as a nation is at stake–it is time to get control of our borders.

This Used To Be Called Obstruction Of Justice

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article yesterday about the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails and email server. I know everyone is getting sick of this story, but that is by design. The guilty parties in this sordid story have a vested interest in dragging it out until everyone loses interest so that the culprits can go free.

However, the story in the Washington Free Beacon is very relevant to the investigation:

State Department officials removed files from the secretary’s office related to the Benghazi attack in Libya and transferred them to another department after receiving a congressional subpoena last spring, delaying the release of the records to Congress for over a year.

Attorneys for the State Department said the electronic folders, which contain hundreds of documents related to the Benghazi attack and Libya, were belatedly rediscovered at the end of last year.

They said the files had been overlooked by State Department officials because the executive secretary’s office transferred them to another department and flagged them for archiving last April, shortly after receiving a subpoena from the House Select Committee on Benghazi.

If you believe that these files were accidentally lost, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I would like to sell you. You can even have the tolls that are collected. Seriously, this used to be called obstruction of justice. However, it has become routine under the Obama Administration. Note that the files were removed after the congressional subpoena. A charge of obstruction of justice or contempt of Congress would be appropriate. I suspect that neither will occur. This is how you slow-walk an investigation so that by the time the truth comes out, people will be too tired to listen.

The article further reports:

The House Benghazi Committee requested documents from the secretary’s office in a subpoena filed in March 2015. Congressional investigators met with the head of the executive secretary’s office staff to discuss its records maintenance system and the scope of the subpoena last April. That same month, State Department officials sent the electronic folders to another bureau for archiving, and they were not searched in response to the request.

The blunder could raise new questions about the State Department’s records process, which has come under scrutiny from members of Congress and government watchdogs. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, blasted the State Department’s Freedom of Information Act process as “broken” in January, citing “systematic failures at the agency.”

The inspector general for the State Department also released a report criticizing the agency’s public records process in January. The report highlighted failures in the executive secretary’s office, which responds to records requests for the Office of the Secretary.

I hope that in November the American people will clean house in Washington. This total disregard for the law is not healthy for America.

This Might Be Part Of The Problem

Hot Air posted an article today about Social Security Disability payments.

The article reports:

Social Security overpaid nearly half the people receiving disability benefits over the past decade, according to a government watchdog, raising questions about the management of the cash-strapped program.

In all, Social Security overpaid beneficiaries by nearly $17 billion, according to a 10-year study by the agency’s inspector general.

Many payments went to people who earned too much money to qualify for benefits, or to those no longer disabled. Payments also went to people who had died or were in prison.

Social Security was able to recoup about $8.1 billion, but it often took years to get the money back, the study said.

“Every dollar that goes to overpayments doesn’t help someone in need,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. “Given the present financial situation of the Social Security Disability Insurance trust fund, the program cannot sustain billions of dollars lost to waste.”

It is time to look into the management of Social Security. This sort of mistake would not be accepted in the private sector; there is no reason it should be accepted in government.

The article concludes:

Here’s an idea. One of the easier changes they could start with is to invest in more investigative resources using their massive government employee payroll and cut out the remaining waste and fraud. While doing their investigations, they could create some sort of code for those with obviously permanent disabilities and stop wasting time chasing them every couple of years. Between those two adjustments they could likely find more legitimate fraud and save money in the long run. We can save the battle over changes to the program until the wolves are truly at the door I suppose.

An Unjust Administration Creating An Unjust Justice Department

Today Townhall.com  is reporting:

Last month Maureen Faulker, the widow of murdered Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner, requested a chance to give testimony against President Obama’s nominee to head the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. Her husband was killed in 1981 by former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of murder in 1982. Thirty years after the conviction, nominee Debo Adegbile voluntarily took up Abu-Jamal’s case and the cause in the name of race during his time as the head of NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley asked for Faulkner’s request to present testimony be granted, but Democrats have blocked her from doing so. The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote today on Adegbile’s nomination.

In January of this year, I posted a copy of the letter from the Fraternal Order of Police (rightwinggranny.com) regarding the appointment of Debo Adegbile. That letter explains why Mr. Adegbile is simply the wrong man for the job.

Mrs. Faulkner has written a letter to the Senate regarding the nomination. Her letter is posted at the Townhall.com link above. Please read the letter. If the Senate approves this nomination, it will be a slap in the face to all of the policemen in America. This appointment is a disgrace.

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Somehow The Mainstream Media May Have Missed This

CNS News posted a story today on the latest developments in the government shutdown. There is some information buried in the body of the story that I don’t believe is being widely reported.

The article reports:

House Republicans want to tie the CR to changes on Obamacare, offering proposals to delay the individual mandate by one year and to prevent Congress and congressional staff from getting government subsidies for Obamacare. Senate Democrats refused. The federal government shut down at midnight Tuesday after Congress failed to come to agreement over a CR, which authorizes federal spending after Sept. 30, when the most recent funding legislation expired.

“Last night, Senate Democrats went so far as to reject legislation that would have kept the government running under just two conditions – just two – that families get the same one year relief as employers and that Congress has to follow the same rules on Obamacare exchanges as their constituents. That’s how extreme the Democratic position is. They won’t even accept basic fairness as a principle under Obamacare,” McConnell said.

These two things are important. President Obama already unilaterally delayed the employer mandate in ObamaCare. The Republicans are asking that he give all Americans the same right he gave to their bosses.

On September 16, 2013, National Review reported:

In 1995, the newly elected Republican Congress passed a Congressional Accountability Act to fulfill a promise made the previous year in the Contract with America. For the first time, the Act applied to Congress the same civil-rights employment and labor laws that lawmakers had required everyday citizens to abide by. With some lapses, it’s worked well to defuse public outrage about “one law for thee, one law for me” congressional behavior.

In 2009, Senator Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) decided that the principle deserved to be embedded in Obamacare, and he was able to insert a provision requiring all members of Congress and their staffs to get insurance through the Obamacare health exchanges. “The more that Congress experiences the laws it passes, the better,” said Grassley. Although his amendment was watered down before final passage to exclude committee staff, it still applies to members of Congress and their personal staffs. Most employment lawyers interpreted that to mean that the taxpayer-funded federal health-insurance subsidies dispensed to those on Congress’s payroll — which now range from $5,000 to $11,000 a year — would have to end.

On August 7, 2013, the Daily Caller reported:

Members of Congress and Hill staffers will not lose their health-care subsidies from the government when Obamacare is implemented because of an exception proposed Wednesday by the Office of Personnel Management.

What that says is that Congress and Hill staffers will get subsidies that are not available to average Americans with comparable incomes.
The bill sent to the Senate last night would have corrected that and delayed the individual mandate. The Senate refused to consider the bill.
Don’t blame the Republicans for the shutdown–they are trying to force Congress to be covered by the laws they pass. Unfortunately, most of the media is not interested in reporting that story.
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Laws For Thee But Not For Me

Hot Air is reporting today that President Obama has found a solution to the high cost of ObamaCare for some Americans. Strangely enough, those Americans are the Americans involved in the government on Capitol Hill. When ObamaCare was passed, Senator Chuck Grassley put an item in the bill that requires that both members and their aides must be covered by plans “created” by the law or “offered through an exchange” — in other words, if Congress was going to vote this thing in, then they were going to have to live with it, too. Congress panicked when its members realized how much the price of their health insurance was going to increase under ObamaCare.

Hot Air quotes Politico on the solution to the problem:

Lawmakers and staff can breathe easy — their health care tab is not going to soar next year.

The Office of Personnel Management, under heavy pressure from Capitol Hill, will issue a ruling that says the government can continue to make a contribution to the health care premiums of members of Congress and their aides, according to several Hill sources. …

Just Wednesday, POLITICO reported that President Barack Obama told Democratic senators that he was personally involved in finding a solution. …

Obama’s involvement in solving this impasse was unusual, to say the least. But it came after serious griping from both sides of the aisle about the potential of a “brain drain.” The fear, as told by sources in both parties, was that aides would head for more lucrative jobs, spooked by the potential for spiking health premiums.

The bottom line–taxpayers will be paying for Congress’s ObamaCare expenses. No one will be paying for the taxpayer’s ObamaCare expenses.

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Politicizing The Justice Department

Yesterday the Washington Times posted a story about illegal activity on the part of government employees at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The article reports:

The Treasury Department has admitted for the first time that confidential tax records of several political candidates and campaign donors were improperly scrutinized by government officials, but the Justice Department has declined to prosecute any of the cases.

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has asked Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. for an explanation of the lack of prosecutions. Senator Grassley has asked for a reply before July 26.

The article reports:

“Although this may not be indicative of wide spread targeting, any instance is cause for concern,” Mr. Grassley wrote. “Even more alarming, in at least one instance TIGTA referred evidence of ‘willful unauthorized access’ to the United States Attorney’s Office, but criminal prosecution was declined. Decisions such as these directly impact the political process and should be subject to the scrutiny of the American public.”

The IRS did not respond to a request for comment on Mr. George’s findings.

It really is time to clean house in Washington.

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Who Is Actually In Charge Of The Internal Revenue Service?

My Way News is reporting today that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is about to pay $70 million in employee bonuses. In April, a directive written by Dannie Weffel, a former budget official who has since been appointed acting IRS commissioner,  cancelled discretionary bonuses because of spending cuts.

The article reports:

 Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa says his office has learned that the IRS is executing an agreement with the employees’ union on Wednesday to pay the bonuses. Grassley says the bonuses should be canceled under an April directive from the White House budget office.

So does the government control the IRS or does the employees’ union control the IRS?

So let me get this straight–because of sequestration, school children cannot tour the White House, but IRS employees get $70 million in employee bonuses, and the President and his family tour the world for $100 million.

Is it time for new elected officials yet????

 

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The Letter Behind The Contempt Of Congress Charge

Yesterday the Daily Caller posted a story explaining exactly what document Congress is seeking from Attorney General Eric Holder that he is unwilling to give them.

The article reports:

During the June 24 broadcast of Fox News Sunday, House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa cited the email as a “good example” of a specific document his committee knows Holder is hiding from Congress.

“The ATF director, Kenneth Melson, sent an e-mail. And he had said to us in sworn testimony that, in fact, he had concerns,” Issa said. “And we want to see that e-mail because that’s an example where he was saying, if we believe his sworn testimony, that guns walked. And he said it shortly after February 4, and [on] July 4. When he told us that, we began asking for that document.”

But the details of it surfaced first when Grassley mentioned it for the first time publicly during a June 12 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing where Holder was testifying.

“He [Melson] immediately sent an email warning others, ‘back off the letter to Sen. Grassley in light of the information in the affidavits,’” Grassley explained.

It seems as if there has been some serious untruth telling before Congress during the investigation of Operation Fast and Furious. Congress is well within its authority and responsibility to investigate what happened in Operation Fast and Furious that resulted in the deaths of two Border Patrol agents and many Mexicans. It would be nice if the Justice Department would co-operate with the investigation. Obviously, they will not. A contempt citation may be the only logical next step for the Congressional committee investigating Fast and Furious. The Executive Branch does not seem to be willing to provide the information requested when asked nicely.

 

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Taking A Good Concept And Making It Unacceptable

We have all been hearing a lot lately about the Republican’s ‘war on women.’ I wondered about that since I am a Republican and I wasn’t aware of any war against me. Well, as usual, it is about an attempt by the current administration to run for re-election on any issue other than their record.

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article yesterday that helped me understand some of the issues. Hopefully it will be helpful to all of us. Please follow the link to read the entire article– I have just posted a few examples of what is going on.

Mr. Hinderaker states that the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was supported by both political parties when it was introduced in 1994 and reauthorized in 2000 and 2006. So what changed? A few poison pills were added to change to bill to make it unacceptable so that it could be used as a political issue.

The article reports:

Last year, when the Judiciary Committee marked up the bill, it contained controversial provisions that were never included in earlier versions of the bill. It also lacked much needed fraud protection provisions regarding grant funds and immigration. …

Senator Grassley introduced an amendment that authorized aid for victims and also protected against fraud and misuse of funds. The Democrats refused to work with Republicans to write a bill that could enjoy bipartisan support in Committee.

…The Leahy bill creates 5K more U-visas annually, but lacks needed provisions to ensure that the purpose of the visa is fulfilled. The Democrats refused to support such provisions.

The Grassley amendment contained provisions that will ensure that the available 10K visas go to immigrants who actually qualify by:

* Requiring that the crime on which the visa is based be reported within 60 days of its occurrence;
* Requiring that the statute of limitations has not run on the crime, which would prevent prosecution; and
* Requiring that the crime be under active investigation or prosecution.

…Tribal Jurisdiction: In a dramatic break from legal precedent, the Leahy bill gave criminal jurisdiction over non-Indian individuals to Indian Tribes. A hearing was never held on this provision, so the consequences of such a drastic measure are unknown.

While the bill’s jurisdiction is limited to domestic violence offenses, once such an extension of jurisdiction is established, there would be no principled reason not to extend it to other offenses as well. A non-Indian subject to tribal jurisdiction would enjoy few meaningful civil-rights protections. Courts have held, for example, that tribal governments are not bound by the Constitution’s First, Fifth, or Fourteenth Amendments.

…Lack of Grant Oversight: The Leahy bill authorized over $600K [sic] for VAWA grant programs. While this was a reduction from the 2006 authorization, the bill lacked much needed oversight provisions for the spending of grant funds. There is overwhelming evidence that without oversight provisions, the funds given to grantees under VAWA may not be used to protect victims of domestic violence.

No, there isn’t a Republican war against women–there’s a Democrat war against voters.

 

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The Smoking Gun In Operation Fast And Furious

The Corner at National Review Online posted a story yesterday about some recent information that has come to light about Operation Fast and Furious. It seems that a lot of the testimony given to Congress disagrees with the documents given to Congress. National Review commented on the latest example.

The following email shows from ATF Field Ops Assistant Director Mark Chait in July 2010 to Bill Newell, ATF’s Phoenix Special Agent in Charge of Fast and Furious:

“Bill – can you see if these guns were all purchased from the same (licensed gun dealer) and at one time. We are looking at anecdotal cases to support a demand letter on long gun multiple sales. Thanks.” 

This email and other information was posted at CBS News yesterday.

The article at The Corner shows that Mark Chait attended a meeting about Operation Fast and Furious in January 2010 and was probably briefed on the Operation before that. So what is the point of all this?

The Corner reports:

According to an August 2011 press release from Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Democratic member of the House Oversight Committee, in testimony Chait “stated that [he] did not learn about the tactics used in [Fast and Furious] or about the specific concerns of the line agents until earlier this year.”

Mr. Chait’s memory (at least according to the information given) is off by a year.

The CBS News article concludes:

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, is investigating Fast and Furious, as well as the alleged use of the case to advance gun regulations. “There’s plenty of evidence showing that this administration planned to use the tragedies of Fast and Furious as rationale to further their goals of a long gun reporting requirement. But, we’ve learned from our investigation that reporting multiple long gun sales would do nothing to stop the flow of firearms to known straw purchasers because many Federal Firearms Dealers are already voluntarily reporting suspicious transactions. It’s pretty clear that the problem isn’t lack of burdensome reporting requirements.”

 On July 12, 2011, Sen. Grassley and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., wrote Attorney General Eric Holder, whose Justice Department oversees ATF. They asked Holder whether officials in his agency discussed how “Fast and Furious could be used to justify additional regulatory authorities.” So far, they have not received a response. CBS News asked the Justice Department for comment and context on ATF emails about Fast and Furious and Demand Letter 3, but officials declined to speak with us.

 “In light of the evidence, the Justice Department’s refusal to answer questions about the role Operation Fast and Furious was supposed to play in advancing new firearms regulations is simply unacceptable,” Rep. Issa told CBS News.

Has anyone really thought through what limits on who can own guns would accomplish? Has it occurred to the government bureaucrats that even if guns were totally illegal criminals would still find a way to get them. That would leave criminals armed and innocent people unarmed. Do we really want to do that?

The guns that were sold in Operation Fast and Furious were sold because of the intervention of the ATF. The article at CBS News cites gun dealers who were uncomfortable with being asked to sell the guns, but were told by the ATF to continue to sell them. Frankly, I think the gun dealers were more conscientious than the government in attempting to protect American citizens.

 

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The Fast And Furious Document Dump

Yesterday Michael A. Walsh posted an article at the New York Post about the White House’s Friday night 1,400-page document dump concerning Operation Fast and Furious.

Basically, the documents released contradict the Obama’s administration’s claim that Eric Holder and President Obama were totally unaware of what was going on with Operation Fast and Furious. This is an interesting claim considering that the administration has recently sealed all records relating to the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, who was killed using a gun that was traced back to Operation Fast and Furious.

The evidence is growing that the charges made by Senator Chuck Grassley and Representative Darrell Issa about Operation Fast and Furious are, in fact, true. The Obama administration did allow about 2,000 high-powered weapons to be sold to Mexican drug cartel agents and then taken across the border and into the Mexican drug wars. There has been speculation that this was done so that a case could be made to place tighter gun laws on Americans. At this time I would like to mention that the problem with gun laws is that only law-abiding citizens pay attention to them. Generally, all that gun laws accomplish is to disarm an innocent public while arming criminals. Eventually this leads to more gun crimes–not less.

The article concludes:

It’s time for the months of lies to end — but don’t hold your breath. The administration recently sealed the court records relating to agent Terry’s murder and — a year later — the one man arrested hasn’t been tried.

So far, three presidential candidates, a couple of senators and more than 50 congressmen have called for Holder to resign. If he can’t answer the one question that matters — why — that number ought to include his boss.

Keep in mind that had the Democrat Party maintained control of the House of Representatives, we would not be hearing about Operation Fast and Furious. It would have been buried. We need to elect Congressmen in 2012 who will put the good of the country above the good of their individual party.

 

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The Dog Ate My Homework

In the Friday night document dump by the Obama administration this week, you will find all sorts of documents related to Operation Fast and Furious.

Late last night, Big Government reported on the document dump. The letters are supposed to show how the Department of Justice accidentally gave Senator Grassley on the Senate Judiciary Committee inaccurate information on Operation Fast and Furious.

The article reports:

In a letter last February to Charles Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Justice Department said that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms had not sanctioned the sale of assault weapons to a straw purchaser and that the agency makes every effort to intercept weapons that have been purchased illegally. In Operation Fast and Furious, both statements turned out to be incorrect.

 

The Justice Department letter was responding to Grassley’s statements that the Senate Judiciary Committee had received allegations the ATF had sanctioned the sale of hundreds of assault weapons to suspected straw purchasers. Grassley also said there were allegations that two of the assault weapons had been used in a shootout that killed customs agent Brian Terry.

When asked about the weapon used to kill Brian Terry, former U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke stated in an email that the weapon was purchased in a Phoenix gun shop before Operation Fast and Furious began. That was later shown to be false.

Please follow the link to Big Government to read the entire article. Also keep in mind that had Operation Fast and Furious not been uncovered and made public, the Obama administration would have used ‘the amount of American guns used in crimes in Mexico’ as an excuse to take away the rights of law-abiding gun owners. It wasn’t the gun owners who broke the law in Operation Fast and Furious–it was the federal government.

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The Friday Night Document Dump

Darrell Issa

Image via Wikipedia

Traditionally, the White House (regardless of which party the President represents) uses Friday night as the time to release information that they hope no one will pay attention to. This weeks document dump had to do with Operation Fast and Furious.

CBS News reports:

The documents show extensive communications between then-ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix office Bill Newell – who led Fast and Furious – and then-White House National Security Staffer Kevin O’Reilly. Emails indicate the two also spoke on the phone. Such detailed, direct communications between a local ATF manager in Phoenix and a White House national security staffer has raised interest among Congressional investigators looking into Fast and Furious. Newell has said he and O’Reilly are long time friends.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air reports:

However, the chief counsel to President Barack Obama, Kathryn Ruemmler, indicated that the White House was withholding an unspecified number of internal e-mails exchanged among three National Security Staff aides.

“These internal NSS emails are not included in the enclosed documents because the [Executive Office of the President] has significant confidentiality interests in its internal communications,” Ruemmler wrote in a letter to House Oversight & Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). The letter, posted here, was obtained Friday by POLITICO.

The latest batch of 102 pages of records partially duplicated information previously sent to Congress and didn’t appear to include any smoking guns showing that White House officials were aware that the operation involved allowing hundreds or thousands of guns to flow essentially unimpeded from the U.S. to Mexican drug cartels.

Mr. Morrissey further reminds us that:

This is rather amusing.  Three years ago, a Democratic House sued to get Karl Rove and Harriet Miers to testify over the termination of US Attorneys, who are political appointments that serve at the pleasure of the President, and rejected the notion that executive privilege applied to such executive-branch personnel decisions.  Now we have an ATF operation that armed drug cartels and resulted in hundreds of murders from guns supplied by the US government, including the murder of a Border Patrol agent here in the US — and Democrats think that should be covered by executive privilege. 

I hope the Congressional Oversight Committee has the tenacity to get to the bottom of Operation Fast and Furious and remove those people who were responsible for the operation from their government positions.


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