If you ever doubted the bias of the mainstream media, this story should help erase that doubt. Reuters reported yesterday that Florida Governor Rick Scott is planning to remove non-U.S. citizens from its voting rolls. That news should be reported on a par with “people on Main Street plan to walk their dogs after work.” It’s not news–it’s simply something that should routinely happen.
In July, Fox News reported that a Cincinnati poll worker has been sentenced to jail for voting multiple times in the last election. Again, this was probably not an isolated incident. True The Vote in Texas found about 1,500 legitimate voters in a group of 25,000 registered by an activist group.
The Reuters article about Florida reports:
Last year, Florida officials said they had drawn up an initial list of 182,000 potential non-citizens. But that number was reduced to fewer than 200 after election officials acknowledged errors on the original list.
In identifying potential non-citizens, Florida officials sent their information to county election supervisors who then mailed letters to voters requesting proof they were U.S. citizens. If no response was received, the voter was dropped from the rolls.
The effort, which angered some county election supervisors, was the subject of lawsuits from five voter protection groups and at least two individual plaintiffs.
Do 200 votes matter? Two hundred votes from non-citizens combined with fraudulent absentee votes do matter.
In June of this year, Breitbart.com reported on some investigations of voter fraud in Florida that may have stolen a very close election.
The article reports:
When the story first broke that Democratic Congressman Joe Garcia’s main-man/Chief of Staff/campaign advisor Jeffrey Garcia, along with two others were implicated in an alleged fraudulent absentee ballot request scandal, the political community immediately turned their eyes on the possibility that this same alleged voter fraud could have been conducted in Murphy’s race against former Congressman Allen West.
Jeffrey Garcia also worked for Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy, supposedly doing the same kind of advising that he was doing for Garcia.
There are two things that will keep our representative republic safe. One is educated voters and the other is honest elections. Every state needs to do everything it can to ensure that its voter rolls are accurate and include only American citizens who actually live in that state. What Florida is doing should be seen as an example of what is supposed to happen. Trying to ensure the integrity of your voting rolls should not be newsworthy–it should be routine.
The Daily Caller reported today on Jay Carney‘s appearance on the Morning Joe Show with Joe Scarborough. Evidently Joe Scarborough was actually looking for information from Jay Carney, and Jay Carney was not willing to be forthcoming.
The article at the Daily Caller posted some of the exchange between the two men:
“At the beginning, you said it was just the Cincinnati office,” Scarborough said. “And then we find out more people in Washington are involved. And then this past week we found out, despite what any of us think of the investigations on Capitol Hill — and I see you smiling, I don’t know that there’s anything to smile about, that it wasn’t a couple of crazy people in Cincinnati, that this information actually went up to the Chief Counsel of the IRS, which was one of two political appointees by the president of the United States and the entire IRS. So it doesn’t sound phony to me, Jay.”
SCARBOROUGH: No, no, no, no, no, no, Jay — is that the truth or not? Don’t give me talking points! That doesn’t work on this show. So answer my question, and then let’s talk about the economy.
CARNEY: When you get to the question I’ll answer it—
Looks like some of the Jay Carney charm took a slight vacation. The only involvement by the Republicans in the IRS scandal is that they were the targets of the illegal activity.
This is a copy of part of one of the letters the IRS sent to a conservative organization seeking tax-exempt status. This copy is taken from an article posted at the Daily Caller yesterday. The article states that there were twelve different groups at the IRS that targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
The article at the Daily Caller reports:
Group 7821, Group 7822, Group 7823, Group 7824, Group 7827, Group 7828, Group 7829, Group 7830, Group 7838, EOG-7887, and EOG-7888, and the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division in Washington, D.C. all targeted conservative groups between 2010 and 2012, according to documentation compiled by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which has filed a class-action suit against the IRS.
“We know that the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division in Washington, D.C. was involved, and that’s where Carter Hull and Lois Lerner were working. We have 14 letters directly from Lois Lerner,” French said. “When Lois Lerner said on May 10 that this was just a few agents in Cincinnati, we were literally holding in our hands 14 letters that she wrote to conservative groups.”
This is not how the IRS is supposed to work. Why are we giving them more power in ObamaCare?
Breitbart.com posted an article today showing testimony from one of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees interviewed by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The article shows testimony from a Cincinnati IRS employee. I strongly suggest that you follow the link above and read the entire transcript.
The key exchange goes something like this:
Q: So what do you think about this, that allegation has been made, I think as you have seen in lots of press reports, that there were two rogue agents in Cincinnati that are sort of responsible for all of the issues that we have been talking about today. What do you think about those allegations?
A: It’s impossible. As an agent we are controlled by many, many people. We have to submit many, many reports. So the chance of two agents being rogue and doing things like that could never happen.
The article concludes:
The Oversight Committee will be conducting hearings this week focusing on the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration report on excessive IRS conference spending and abuses of taxpayer dollars. Chairman Issa sent a letter to then-IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman in April, 2012 regarding the agency’s bloated spending habits. According to the Committee, the IRS spent $50 million on at least 220 conferences between 2010 and 2012.
Anyone who has ever dealt with “low-level” government employees knows that their authority is limited. There is usually a procedures manual that they have to follow to do anything. There is no way a “low-level” employee could create the havoc that was created in the tax-exempt division of the IRS. Orders had to come from higher up. The question at hand is how much higher up.
Note that the problem began in 2010 after the passage of ObamaCare and as the Tea Party was gaining strength. The Democrats saw the threat and dealt with it–illegally, but they did deal with it. If the Democrats were as quick and efficient in dealing with the financial problems of America, America would no longer have financial problems!
I will admit that I have only followed current events for the last twenty years or so, but I can’t remember ever hearing anything like the story I am about to report.
Yesterday Breitbart.com reported that two ABC News reporters who entered the Peck Federal Building in Cincinnati were escorted through the building by an armed uniformed police officer with the Federal Protective Service. The Peck Building is a public building, it is also the home of the Internal Revenue Service office in Cincinnati.
The article at Breitbart reports:
At the [Cincinnati] IRS office on the fourth floor, a woman who answered the buzzer referred reporters to officials in Washington, though they were not returning very many calls. That staffer also said she was not allowed to speak to anyone – a line that was repeated by agency personnel during the week.
IRS headquarters in Washington denied that a no-talk rule was official policy because, after all, agency staffers still have a constitutional right to talk to whomever they want. …
Not so, said IRS folks in Ohio.
One of them, who asked not be named, told ABC News that security guards did remind employees of the official policy not to talk with the press – a warning cemented by the punch line “or risk losing our jobs.”
All we need is one honest, brave employee to come forward and explain exactly what happened. Unfortunately, that would be the Obama Administration’s worst nightmare and they will do everything they can to keep that from happening.
The article reports:
The same IRS office that deliberately targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status in the run-up to the 2012 election released nine pending confidential applications of conservative groups to ProPublica late last year… In response to a request for the applications for 67 different nonprofits last November, the Cincinnati office of the IRS sent ProPublica applications or documentation for 31 groups. Nine of those applications had not yet been approved—meaning they were not supposed to be made public. (We made six of those public, after redacting their financial information, deeming that they were newsworthy.)
These people make Richard Nixon look like an amateur.
The article further reports:
On Friday, the House Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to hold a formal hearing on the IRS conservative targeting scandal. IRS Commissioner Steve Miller and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George are slated to testify.
At what point does someone other than the lower level employees take responsibility for these actions?
Politicizing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is not a new or original idea. I am sure it has been done in the past in varying degrees, but the Obama Administration seems to have turned it into an art form. They have a slightly less obvious approach–not so much audits, but collecting information on political opponents.
The article at Power Line reports:
In August 2010, Austin Goolsbee, who directed Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board and later chaired his Council of Economic Advisers, gave a press briefing in which he discussed corporate income taxes. In that briefing, he suggested that he had access to confidential IRS data, and falsely accused the administration’s beta noire, Koch Industries, of not paying corporate income taxes.
The article goes on to give the exact quote. The obvious question asked in the Power Line article is, “How did an Obama Administration official obtain confidential IRS tax records?” It should also be noted here that the charges were false. The fact that the charges were false probably doesn’t matter–I am willing to bet that more people heard the false charges than heard that the charges were false.
The article at Power Line concludes:
UPDATE: Also, let’s not forget Obama’s joke, during the first days of his presidency, in a speech at Arizona State University:
I really thought this was much ado about nothing, but I do think we all learned an important lesson. I learned never again to pick another team over the Sun Devils in my NCAA brackets. . . . President [Michael] Crowe and the Board of Regents will soon learn all about being audited by the IRS.
At the time, most people thought he was kidding. But as Glenn Reynolds pointed out at the time, jokes about presidential abuse of power are not funny when they come from the president. With hindsight, more attention should have been paid.
Mary Katharine Ham posted an article at Hot Air yesterday showing exactly what questions organizations containing the words ‘tea party’ or ‘patriot’ were asked. The questions are quite revealing. The American Center for Law & Justice has handled lawsuits by a number of these organizations protesting their treatment, and the article at Hot Air lists specific questions their clients were asked:
Please follow the link above to the Hot Air article to read further questions and compliance instructions. The blame for this has been put on some low-level IRS employees in Cincinnati. As someone who used to work for the government many years ago, I find it hard to believe that low-level employees would take this kind of initiative on their own. At any rate, I wondered why the questions asked didn’t include the political affiliation of the household pets of the boards of directors of the various organizations. It seems as if every other question was asked.
The Associated Press is reporting today that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has apologized for targeting conservative groups during the 2012 election cycle to see if they were violating the rules of their non-profit status.
The article reports:
IRS agents singled out dozens of organizations for additional reviews because they included the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their exemption applications, said Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups. In some cases, groups were asked for lists of donors, which violates IRS policy in most cases, she said.
I don’t like to accuse the Associated Press of bias, but the article makes a point of noting:
The agency — led at the time by a Bush administration appointee — blamed low-level employees, saying no high-level officials were aware.
The article reports that the excessive scrutiny on groups with the words ‘tea party’ or ‘patriot’ in their name began with ‘low-level’ employees in Cincinnati and was not motivated by political bias. Really? Then what do you suppose motivated them?
The article further reports:
“Mistakes were made initially, but they were in no way due to any political or partisan rationale,” the IRS said in a statement. “We fixed the situation last year and have made significant progress in moving the centralized cases through our system.”
“I don’t think there’s any question we were unfairly targeted,” said Tom Zawistowski, who until recently was president of the Ohio Liberty Coalition, an alliance of tea party groups in the state.
Zawistowski’s group was among many conservative organizations that battled the IRS over what they saw as discriminatory treatment. The group first applied for nonprofit status in June 2009, and it was finally granted on Dec. 7, 2012, he said — one month after Election Day.
This entire story is further proof that Chicago-style politics has truly come to Washington.