Is The Department Of Justice Just?

The following statement was posted at Judicial Watch yesterday:

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton made the following statement regarding the  Department of Justice’s decision not to bring charges against Lois Lerner, former director of the Exempt Organizations Unit of the IRS, whose own emails place her at the heart of the politicization of the IRS for the targeting of conservative groups:

I have zero confidence that the Justice Department did an adequate review of the IRS scandal. In fact, we’re still fighting the Justice Department and the IRS for records about this very scandal. Today’s decision comes as no surprise considering that the FBI collaborated with the IRS and is unlikely to investigate or prosecute itself. President Trump should order a complete review of the whole issue. Meanwhile, we await accountability for IRS Commissioner Koskinen, who still serves and should be drummed out of office.

Judicial Watch released 294 pages of FBI “302” documents revealing top Washington IRS officials, including Lois Lerner and Holly Paz, knew the agency was specifically targeting “Tea Party” and other conservative organizations two full years before disclosing it to Congress and the public.  An FBI 302 document contains detailed narratives of FBI agent investigations.  The Obama Justice Department and FBI investigations into the Obama IRS scandal resulted in no criminal charges.

The FBI 302 documents confirm the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) 2013 report that said, “Senior IRS officials knew that agents were targeting conservative groups for special scrutiny as early as 2011.” Lerner did not reveal the targeting until May 2013, in response to a planted question at an American Bar Association conference.  The new documents reveal that then-acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller actually wrote Lerner’s response: “They used names like Tea Party or Patriots and they selected cases simply because the applications had those names in the title. That was wrong, that was absolutely incorrect, insensitive, and inappropriate.”

Judicial Watch’s litigation forced the IRS first to say that emails belonging to Lerner were supposedly missing and later declare to the court that the emails were on IRS back-up systems.  Lerner was one of the top officials responsible for the IRS’ targeting of President Obama’s political opponents.  Judicial Watch exposed various IRS record keeping problems:

  • In June 2014the IRS claimed to have “lost” responsive emails belonging to Lerner and other IRS officials.
  • In August 2014, Department of Justice attorneys for the IRS finally admitted Judicial Watch that Lerner’s emails, indeed all government computer records, are backed up by the federal government in case of a government-wide catastrophe. The IRS’ attorneys also disclosed that Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) was looking at several of these backup tapes.
  • In November 2014, the IRS told the court it had failed to search any of the IRS standard computer systems for the “missing” emails of Lerner and other IRS officials.
  • On February 26, 2015, TIGTA officials testified to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that it had received 744 backup tapes containing emails sent and received by Lerner.  This testimony showed that the IRS had falsely represented to both Congress, Judge Sullivan, and Judicial Watch that Lerner’s emails were irretrievably lost. The testimony also revealed that IRS officials responsible for responding to the document requests never asked for the backup tapes and that 424 backup tapes containing Lerner’s emails had been destroyed during the pendency of Judicial Watch’s lawsuit and Congressional investigations.
  • In June 2015, Judicial Watch forced the IRS to admit in a court filing that it was in possession of 6,400 “newly discovered” Lerner emails. Judge Emmet Sullivan ordered the IRS to provide answers on the status of the Lerner emails the IRS had previously declared lost. Judicial Watch raised questions about the IRS’ handling of the missing emails issue in a court filing, demanding answers about Lerner’s emails that had been recovered from the backup tapes.
  • In July 2015, U.S District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan threatened to hold John Koskinen, the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, and Justice Department attorneys in contempt of court after the IRS failed to produce status reports and recovered Lerner emails, as he had ordered on July 1, 2015.

Obama IRS Commissioner Koskinen was nearly impeached in September 2016 for misleading Congress on Lerner’s emails.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) clearly violated the free speech rights of American citizens because the Obama Administration wanted to silence their views. This is a serious affront to our representative republic and should not go unpunished. Attempting to use the IRS for political purposes was one of the items of impeachment drawn up against President Richard Nixon. Has the Justice Department forgotten what the law is? If so, it is time for a new Justice Department.

Judicial Watch Is On The Case

The following Press Release was issued by Judicial Watch yesterday:

Sues for Records on Links Between FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe 

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced that it today filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit on behalf of Jeffrey A. Danik, a retired FBI supervisory special agent, against the U.S. Department of Justice for records concerning FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe (Jeffrey A. Danik v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:17-cv-01792)). Danik worked for the Federal Bureau of Investigation for almost 30 years.

The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia in support of Danik’s October 25, 2016, and February 28, 2017, FOIA requests for records about McCabe’s “conflicts of interest” regarding his wife’s (Dr. Jill McCabe’s) political campaign, and McCabe’s reporting to the FBI of any job interviews or offers.  Specifically, the two FOIA requests seek:

Text messages and emails of McCabe containing “Dr. Jill McCabe,” “Jill,” “Common Good VA,” “Terry McAuliffe,” “Clinton,” “Virginia Democratic Party,” “Democrat,” “Conflict,” “Senate,” “Virginia Senate,” “Until I return,” “Paris,” “France,” “Campaign,” “Run,” “Political,” “Wife,” “Donation,” “OGC,” Email,” or “New York Times.”  

In 2015, a political action committee run by McAuliffe, a close friend and political supporter of Bill and Hillary Clinton, donated nearly $500,000 to Jill McCabe, wife of McCabe, who was then running for the Virginia State Senate. Also, the Virginia Democratic Party, over which McAuliffe had significant influence, donated an additional $207,788 to the Jill McCabe campaign. In July 2015, Andrew McCabe was in charge of the FBI’s Washington, DC, field office, which provided personnel resources to the Clinton email probe.

“I am saddened by how the FBI’s reputation has been tarnished by the poor judgement and ethics of its leadership,” stated Mr. Danik. “I know I’m not the only retired (or serving) FBI special agent who is concerned about Mr. McCabe’s conflicts of interest on the Clinton email matter.  The agency seems to be illegally hiding records about this scandal, which is why I’m heading to court with Judicial Watch.”

“We’re honored to help Mr. Danik hold accountable the FBI—the agency he served for decades,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “We believe Mr. McCabe’s text messages and emails will be particularly enlightening to the public seeking answers about the Clinton email debacle.”

In July 2017, Judicial Watch filed three FOIA lawsuits seeking communications between the FBI and McCabe concerning “ethical issues” involving his wife’s political campaign; McCabe’s communications with McAuliffe; and McCabe’s travel vouchers.

There are obviously some honest FBI agents who are concerned with the reputation of the Agency. Hopefully, the corruption in the FBI will be exposed and dealt with.

If I Break The Law, Does Someone Have To Care In Order For Me To Be Arrested?

The Gateway Pundit posted an amazing story yesterday.

The story included the following:

 

You have got to be kidding. The FBI has denied lawyer Ty Clevenger’s request to obtain documents related to Hillary Clinton’s email probe. The reason given? A “lack of public interest.”

 

Amazing.

The story is based on a Washington Times story.

This is the basic timeline of the story:

Conservative watchdog group, Judicial Watch announced that on August 8, 2017, D.C. District Court Judge Amit P. Mehta ordered the State Department “to search the state.gov e-mail accounts of Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills, and Jacob Sullivan” for emails relating to the Benghazi scandal.

This is a major victory. The truth will prevail.

Judge Mehta described Judicial Watch’s Clinton Benghazi FOIA lawsuit as “a far cry from a typical FOIA case. Secretary Clinton used a private e-mail server, located in her home, to transmit and receive work-related communications during her tenure as Secretary of State.” Further:

[I]f an e-mail did not involve any state.gov user, the message would have passed through only the Secretary’s private server and, therefore, would be beyond the immediate reach of State. Because of this circumstance, unlike the ordinary case, State could not look solely to its own records systems to adequately respond to [Judicial Watch’s] demand. [The State Department] has not, however, searched the one records system over which it has always had control and that is almost certain to contain some responsive records: the state.gov e-mail server. If Secretary Clinton sent an e-mail about Benghazi to Abedin, Mills, or Sullivan at his or her state.gov e-mail address, or if one of them sent an e-mail to Secretary Clinton using his or her state.gov account, then State’s server presumably would have captured and stored such an e-mail. Therefore, State has an obligation to search its own server for responsive records.State has offered no assurance that the three record compilations it received [from Secretary Clinton and her aides], taken together, constitute the entirety of Secretary Clinton’s e-mails during the time period relevant to Plaintiff’s FOIA Request. Absent such assurance, the court is unconvinced “beyond material doubt” that a search of the state.gov accounts of Abedin, Mills and Sullivan is “unlikely to produce any marginal return.”

President of Judicial Watch, Tom Fitton said about this new federal court order, “This major court ruling may finally result in more answers about the Benghazi scandal and Hillary Clinton’s involvement in it – as we approach the attack’s fifth anniversary. It is remarkable that we had to battle both the Obama and Trump administrations to break through the State Department’s Benghazi stonewall. Why are Secretary Tillerson and Attorney General Sessions wasting taxpayer dollars protecting Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration?”

Why is the FBI protecting Hillary Clinton? Do we need a new FBI? A new Attorney General? If nothing else, the mishandling of classified information is a crime, punishable by fines, jail time, and loss of security clearances. Why hasn’t that at least been prosecuted? Obviously the swamp in Washington is deeper than anyone imagined. Someone has to have the courage to step forward and expose what is going on behind the scenes.

The Wheels Of Justice Turn Slowly

Fox News is reporting today that Judge Reggie B. Walton of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) must provide the names of specific employees involved in targeting Tea Party groups. The Judge has also ruled that IRS the must provide information about which groups were targeted and why, along with a strategy to make sure such targeting doesn’t happen again. This is one of the few common sense rulings in this case. This might also be the pathway to having employees of the IRS reveal who ordered the targeting.

The article reports:

The targeting scandal drew much attention in 2013 when the IRS, headed at the time by Lois Lerner, admitted it was applying extra scrutiny to conservative groups applying for nonprofit status.

“That was wrong,” Lerner said at the time in the press. “That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate. … The IRS would like to apologize for that.”

But director of investigations and research at Judicial Watch Chris Farrell, whose organization is also involved in litigation with the IRS on this issue, told Fox News that the IRS owes litigants “real accountability.”

This is the equivalent of apologizing for robbing a bank, refusing to give back the money, and not going to jail. The apology is worth nothing.

The article concludes:

Walton ordered the IRS to search for further records, according to The Washington Times, in other agency databases for the time period spanning 2009 to March 27, 2015.

“Furthermore, to the extent that the plaintiffs have already received information produced by the government indicating that the plaintiffs were allegedly discriminated against, and that information provides a basis to believe that other such documents exist, the government must search all relevant sources to ensure that all documents responsive to the document request is identified and produced,” the judge wrote in his order.

Walton gave the IRS until Oct. 16 to finish the search.

This is a serious move toward draining the swamp.

Voter Fraud?

On Friday, The National Review posted an article about voter registration in America. It seems that there are 3.5 million more people on the election rolls than are eligible to vote.

The article reports:

Some 3.5 million more people are registered to vote in the U.S. than are alive among America’s adult citizens. Such staggering inaccuracy is an engraved invitation to voter fraud.

The Election Integrity Project of Judicial Watch — a Washington-based legal-watchdog group — analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2011–2015 American Community Survey and last month’s statistics from the federal Election Assistance Commission. The latter included figures provided by 38 states. According to Judicial Watch, eleven states gave the EAC insufficient or questionable information. Pennsylvania’s legitimate numbers place it just below the over-registration threshold.

Cleaning up our voter rolls would not be a major undertaking. All that is needed is to compare Census data, voter rolls, and possibly information from various states’ motor vehicle and license registries.

The article notes that research into Judicial Watch’s information showed 462 counties of the 2,500 studied showed more voters than citizens of voting age.

The article reports:

These 462 counties (18.5 percent of the 2,500 studied) exhibit this ghost-voter problem. These range from 101 percent registration in Delaware’s New Castle County to New Mexico’s Harding County, where there are 62 percent more registered voters than living, breathing adult citizens — or a 162 percent registration rate.

Washington’s Clark County is worrisome, given its 154 percent registration rate. This includes 166,811 ghost voters. Georgia’s Fulton County seems less nettlesome at 108 percent registration, except for the number of Greater Atlantans, 53,172, who compose that figure.

The article concludes:

Under federal law, the 1993 National Voter Registration Act and the 2002 Help America Vote Act require states to maintain accurate voter lists. Nonetheless, some state politicians ignore this law. Others go further: Governor Terry McAuliffe (D., Va.) vetoed a measure last February that would have mandated investigations of elections in which ballots cast outnumbered eligible voters.

Even more suspiciously, when GOP governor Rick Scott tried to obey these laws and update Florida’s records, including deleting 51,308 deceased voters, Obama’s Justice Department filed a federal lawsuit to stop him. Federal prosecutors claimed that Governor Scott’s statewide efforts violated the 1965 Voting Rights Act, although it applies to only five of Florida’s 67 counties. Then–attorney general Eric Holder and his team behaved as if Martin Luther King Jr. and the Freedom Riders fought so valiantly in order to keep cadavers politically active.

Whether Americans consider vote fraud a Republican hoax, a Democratic tactic, or something in between, everyone should agree that it’s past time to exorcise ghost voters from the polls.

Voter identification would clear up some of these problems, but the fact remains that the voter rolls need to be cleared up. Our Representative Republic depends on the honesty of our elections.

I Think The Special Prosecutor Is Following The Wrong Trail

The following is a press release from Judicial Watch today:

Judicial Watch: Obama NSC Advisor Susan Rice’s Unmasking Material is at Obama Library

 Records Sought by Judicial Watch May Remain Closed to the Public for Five Years

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today announced that the National Security Council (NSC) on May 23, 2017, informed it by letter that the materials regarding the unmasking by Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice of “the identities of any U.S. citizens associated with the Trump presidential campaign or transition team” have been removed to the Obama Library.

The NSC will not fulfill an April 4 Judicial Watch request for records regarding information relating to people “who were identified pursuant to intelligence collection activities.”

The agency also informed Judicial Watch that it would not turn over communications with any Intelligence Community member or agency concerning the alleged Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election; the hacking of DNC computers; or the suspected communications between Russia and Trump campaign/transition officials. Specifically, the NSC told Judicial Watch:

Documents from the Obama administration have been transferred to the Barack Obama Presidential Library.  You may send your request to the Obama Library.  However, you should be aware that under the Presidential Records Act, Presidential records remain closed to the public for five years after an administration has left office.

Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) April 4 request sought:

1.) Any and all requests for information, analyses, summaries, assessments, transcripts, or similar records submitted to any Intelligence Community member agency or any official, employee, or representative thereof by former National Security Advisor Susan Rice regarding, concerning, or related to the following:

  • Any actual or suspected effort by the Russian government or any individual acting on behalf of the Russian government to influence or otherwise interfere with the 2016 presidential election.
  • The alleged hacking of computer systems utilized by the Democratic National Committee and/or the Clinton presidential campaign.
  • Any actual or suspected communication between any member of the Trump presidential campaign or transition team and any official or employee of the Russian government or any individual acting on behalf of the Russian government.
  • The identities of U.S. citizens associated with the Trump presidential campaign or transition team who were identified pursuant to intelligence collection activities.

2.) Any and all records or responses received by former National Security Advisor Susan Rice and/or any member, employee, staff member, or representative of the National Security Council in response to any request described in part 1 of this request.

3.) Any and all records of communication between any official, employee, or representative of the Department of any Intelligence Community member agency and former National Security Advisor Susan Rice and/or any member, employee, staff member, or representative of the National Security Council regarding, concerning, or related to any request described in Part 1 of this request.

The time frame for this request was January 1, 2016, to the April 4, 2017.

While acknowledging  in its FOIA request that “we are cognizant of the finding by the Court of Appeals … that [the NSC] “does not exercise sufficiently independent authority to be an ‘agency’ for purposes of the Freedom of Information Act,” Judicial Watch argued:

The records sought in this request pertain to actions by the former National Security Advisor that demonstrate a much higher degree of independent authority than was contemplated by the court; specifically, the issuance of directives to the Intelligence Community related to the handling of classified national security information…

The recent revelations of the role of Susan Rice in the unmasking the names of U.S. citizens identified in the course of intelligence collection activities and the potential that her actions contributed to the unauthorized disclosure of classified national security information are matters of great public interest.

Judicial Watch has filed six FOIA lawsuits related to the surveillance, unmasking, and illegal leaking targeting President Trump and his associates (see hereherehereherehere and here).

“Prosecutors, Congress, and the public will want to know when the National Security Council shipped off the records about potential intelligence abuses by the Susan Rice and others in the Obama White House to the memory hole of the Obama Presidential Library,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.  “We are considering our legal options but we hope that the Special Counsel and Congress also consider their options and get these records.”

 

About That Refugee Resettlement Program

Received in my email today from Judicial Watch:

State Dept. Redacts Big Chunks of $22.8 Mil Contract to Resettle Muslim Refugees

MAY 24, 2017

The U.S. government spends billions of dollars to “resettle” foreign nationals and transparency on how the money is spent depends on the agency involved. Judicial Watch has been investigating it for years, specifically the huge amount of taxpayer dollars that go to “voluntary agencies”, known as VOLAGs, to provide a wide range of services for the new arrivals. Throughout the ongoing probe Judicial Watch has found a striking difference on how government lawyers use an exemption, officially known as (b)(4), to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to withhold records. All the cases involve public funds being used to resettle foreigners on U.S. soil and Americans should be entitled to the records.

The (b)(4) exemption permits agencies to withhold trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person which is privileged or confidential. Depending on the government agency and the mood of the taxpayer-funded lawyers handling public records requests, that information is exempt from disclosure. In these cases, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) disclosed a VOLAG contract to resettle tens of thousands of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) that entered the U.S. through Mexico under the Obama administration while the State Department withheld large portions of a one-year, $22.8 million deal to resettle refugees from Muslim countries. Most of the UACs came from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala and the Obama administration blamed the sudden surge on violence in the three central American nations. The agency responsible for resettling the minors and issuing contracts for the costly services is HHS.

As a result of Judicial Watch’s work HHS furnished records  with virtually nothing redacted. Disclosed were employee salaries of VOLAGs contracted by the agency to provide services for the illegal immigrant minors, the cost of laptops, big screen TVs, food, pregnancy tests, “multicultural crayons” and shower stalls for the new arrivals. The general contract was to provide “basic shelter care” for 2,400 minors for a period of four months in 2014. This cost American taxpayers an astounding $182,129,786 and the VOLAG contracted to do it was government regular called Baptist Children and Family Services (BCFS). The breakdown includes charges of $104,215,608 for UACs at Fort Sill, Oklahoma and an additional $77,914,178 for UACs at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.

HHS rightfully provided all sorts of details in the records, including the cost of emergency surge beds ($104,215,608) for just four months; food for the illegal alien minors and staff ($18,198,000); medical supplies such as first aid kits, latex gloves, lice shampoo and pregnancy tests ($1,120,400); recreation items such as board games, soccer balls and jump ropes ($180,000); educational items like art paper and multicultural crayons ($180,000); laptops ($200,000) and cellphones ($160,000). Hotel accommodations for the BCFS staff was $6,765,000, the records show, and the salary for a 30-member “Incident Management Team” was $2,648,800, which breaks down to $88,293 per IMT member for the four-month period. It was outrageous that the Obama administration spent nearly $200 million of taxpayer funds to provide illegal alien children with the types of extravagant high-tech equipment and lavish benefits many American families cannot even afford for their own children.

This has become a heated issue for the government which may explain why other agencies aren’t as forthcoming in providing specific figures, thus abusing the (b)(4) exemption. The State Department, for instance, redacted huge portions of records involving contracts with VOLAGs to resettle refugees from mostly Muslim countries. The files illustrate the disparate redaction treatment given by different government agencies to the same types of records. The State Department paid a VOLAG called United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) a ghastly  $22,838,173 in one year to resettle refugees that came mostly from Muslim countries. Unlike HHS, the agency redacted information related to what the USCCB charged the government for things like furniture, personnel, equipment and other costs associated with contracts to resettle refugees. Why did one government agency hand over the same types of records that another agency claims are trade secrets? Judicial Watch is challenging the State Department’s (b)(4) exemption and will provide updates as they become available.

HHS and the State Department work with nine VOLAGs to resettle refugees and the voluntary agencies have hundreds of contractors they like to call “affiliates.” It’s a huge racket that costs American taxpayers monstrous sums and Judicial Watch is working to pinpoint the exact amount. Besides BCFS and USCCB, other VOLAGs with lucrative government gigs to resettle refugees are: Church World Service, Ethiopian Community Development Council, Episcopal Migration Ministries, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, International Rescue Committee, U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Lutheran Immigration Refugee Services and World Relief Corporation.

###

The Search For Honest Elections

The Daily Haymaker posted a story on Saturday about voter irregularities in North Carolina. The watchdog group Judicial Watch has decided to hold the state accountable for the integrity of its elections.

The article reports:

In the wake of an audit that found ineligible voters casting votes in the state’s 2016 elections, an advocacy group called Judicial Watch is stepping forward with a pretty serious demand for state elections officials:

Dear Director Strach:

We write to bring your attention to violations of Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act (“NVRA”) in North Carolina. From public records obtained, fifteen (15) counties in North Carolina have more total registered voters than adult citizens over the age of 18 living in that county as calculated by the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2011-2015 American Community Survey. This is strong circumstantial evidence that these North Carolina counties are not conducting reasonable voter registration record maintenance as mandated under the NVRA. […]

This letter serves as statutory notice that Judicial Watch will bring a lawsuit against your office if you do not take specific actions to correct these violations of Section 8 within 90 days. In addition, by this letter we are asking you to produce certain records to us which you are required to make available under Section 8(i) of the NVRA. We hope that litigation will not be necessary to enforce either of these claims.

The letter also notes that North Carolina is not in compliance with voter registration list maintenance requirements. In fifteen counties in the state there are more total registered voters than adult citizens over the age of eighteen. Those counties include Buncombe (registration rate 101 %), Camden (100% ), Chatham (101 % ), Cherokee ( 100% ), Clay (106% ), Dare ( 107% ), Durham ( 111 % ), Guilford ( 101 % ), Madison ( 100% ), Mecklenburg ( 108% ), New Hanover (101 %), Orange (111 %), Union (106%), Watauga (105%), and Yancey (104%). When I looked at the results of the 2016 election in those counties, they were mixed–about half voted for Donald Trump and about half voted for Hillary Clinton. Hopefully, if there was cheating, it did not impact the outcome.

Judicial Watch is a successful watchdog organization. I hope that their efforts in North Carolina will put other states on alert that they also need to clean up their voter rolls.

 

The Student Loan Problem Gets More Interesting

On March 20, 2017, Judicial Watch reported the following:

Judicial Watch announced that it today filed a Freedom of Information (FOIA) lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the U.S. Department of Education seeking records relating to then Obama administration’s “coding error” that resulted in masking that most borrowers are failing to pay down their federally-subsidized student loans (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Education (No. 1:17-cv-00501)).

The Obama administration’s Obamacare legislation also included provisions that resulted in the federal takeover of the student loan industry, which radically increased taxpayer subsidies of higher education loans.

The Education Department acknowledged in early January that the coding error resulted in wildly inaccurate College Scorecard repayment rates. The significance is substantial, according to The Wall Street Journal:

The department played down the mistake, but the new average three-year repayment rate has declined by 20 percentage points to 46%. This is huge. It means that fewer than half of undergraduate borrowers at the average college are paying down their debt.

***

Last month the Government Accountability Office (GAO) projected that loan forgiveness for borrowers enrolled in the plans could cost upward of $108 billion. GAO rapped the department for underestimating the costs due to “insufficient quality controls” and “unreasonable assumptions.” It’s possible the putative “coding error” is connected to this ill-management.

As the Journal notes, “The other scandal is that the Obama Administration used the inflated Scorecard repayment data as a pretext to single out for-profit colleges for punitive regulation.”

Judicial Watch filed today’s lawsuit after the department failed to respond to a January 29, 2017, FOIA request for:

  • Any records concerning the coding error in the calculation of repayment rate data contained in the College Scorecard, as disclosed on January 13, 2017. . . . Requested records include, but are not limited to, records identifying causes of the coding error and steps taken to correct the error, communications within [the Education Department] regarding the error, communications with third parties concerning the error, and records relating to the public announcement of the error.

“The government-run student loan racket is a disaster for taxpayers and has been abused to target for-profit competitors of liberal-controlled ‘public’ universities,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The Trump administration should quickly respond to our FOIA lawsuit about this scandal.  The Trump administration has an opportunity to drain the swamp in higher education by exposing the truth about their expensive taxpayer subsidies.”

Remember The IRS Scandal? It Just Got Worse

Yesterday The Washington Free Beacon posted an article about the IRS Scandal of targeting tea party groups and their members.

The article reports:

The Internal Revenue Service has located 6,924 documents potentially related to the targeting of Tea Party conservatives, two years after the group Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for them.

The watchdog group intended to find records regarding how the IRS selected individuals and organizations for audits that were requesting nonprofit tax status.

The agency will not say when it will make the documents available to the public.

“At this time, the Service is unable to provide an estimate regarding when it will complete its review of the potentially responsive documents,” the agency said. “The Service will begin producing any non-exempt, responsive documents by March 10, 2017, and, if necessary, continue to produce non-responsive records on a bi-weekly basis.”

The IRS needs to be cleaned up from top to bottom. I am sure there are good people doing their job at the IRS, but it has become obvious that the agency has become politicized in recent years. The best solution would be to abolish the IRS and go to a use tax that did not require monitoring by the IRS.

Politicians Don’t Like Being Held Accountable

Generally speaking, politicians don’t like being held accountable. They don’t like being held to any standard of transparency either. This has been particularly true in the relationship between the Obama Administration and Judicial Watch. Judicial Watch is an equal opportunity government watchdog organization. The have investigated the Clinton Administration, the Bush Administration, and the Obama Administration.

Needless to say, they were more appreciated by Americans who wanted to hold their government accountable than they were by the administrations they were holding accountable. The Obama Administration, however, has reached a new low in its dealings with Judicial Watch.

On Thursday, The Washington Times reported that an Inspector General‘s report revealed the following:

Political operatives within the Obama administration wrongly punished conservative legal group Judicial Watch, stripping it of “media” status and trying to force it to pay higher fees for its open records requests, the General Services Administration inspector general said in a letter released Thursday.

The GSA botched several high-profile open records requests, delaying them for months while political appointees got involved, Inspector General Carol F. Ochoa said. The findings were released while the administration was facing charges of slow-walking open records requests for Hillary Clinton’s emails, as well as other requests.

In the case of Judicial Watch, the order to strip it of media status came from political operatives with long ties to Democratic causes — and even from the White House.

The inspector general said the decision came at the behest of Gregory Mecher, a former Democratic campaign fundraiser who at the time was liaison to the White House. He is married to Jen Psaki, a longtime spokeswoman with the Obama administration and its election campaigns.

 Ms. Ochoa said stripping Judicial Watch of media status violated several agency policies and things got worse when the GSA denied an appeal by the group.

The same person who ruled on the initial request also ruled on the appeal, “contrary to GSA procedures,” the inspector general said.

Judicial Watch ended up suing over the request, the agency finally agreed to waive all fees and even ended up paying Judicial Watch $750 as part of the settlement.

This is disgusting. We have entered a period of unbelievable corruption in Washington that reaches all the way to the top. We have had stories this year of archives of press conferences being altered after the fact to make the administration look better, now we have press credentials pulled on people simply doing a service to America.

Please follow the link and read the entire article. It is a basic course of the relationships among the elites in Washington. It truly is time to throw them all out!

The Company You Keep

One of the names that has surfaced in the leak of Hillary Clinton’s emails (many of which were deleted from her computer because she said they were not work related, but have come to light through Judicial Watch) is Gilbert Chagoury. Breitbart posted a story about this man today. The mainstream media has been somewhat quiet about him. Yesterday, Fox News posted a story about some of the links between emails regarding the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton’s role as Secretary of State.

Fox News reports:

In one email exchange released by Judicial Watch, Doug Band, an executive at the Clinton Foundation, tried to put billionaire donor Gilbert Chagoury — a convicted money launderer — in touch with the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon because of the donor’s interests there.

…Chagoury is a close friend of former President Bill Clinton and has appeared on the Clinton Foundation donor list as a $1 million to $5 million contributor. He’s also pledged $1 billion to the Clinton Global Initiative. Chagoury was convicted in 2000 in Switzerland for money laundering. He cut a deal and agreed to repay $66 million to the Nigerian government.

Breitbart has a list of some of the questionable activities of Mr. Chagoury. The list includes:

In 1996, Gilbert Chagoury donated $460,000 to a controversial Miami-based Democratic voter-registration group called Vote Now 96. As a foreign citizen, Chagoury is barred from donating directly to elected officials or political parties. But his three contributions of $200,000, $10,000, and $250,000, made in September and October 1996, were completely legal because Vote Now 96 was a nonprofit organization.

Just two months after making his six-figure donations, Chagoury was among the 250 guests who attended the Clintons’ White House Christmas party.

…In 2000, Switzerland convicted Chagoury of money-laundering and “aiding a criminal organization in connection with the billions of dollars stolen from Nigeria during the [Sani] Abacha years” of military dictatorship, according to a PBS Frontline report.

And finally, the icing on the cake. Breitbart reports:

It is also worth noting that Chagoury’s company, the Chagoury Group, pledged $1 billion to the Clinton Global Initiative in 2009, the same year the Clinton Global Initiative awarded the Chagoury Group its annual prize for “sustainable development.” The money pledged was at the heart of Sen. David Vitter’s (R) probe into whether Chagoury’s cozy relationship with the Clintons played a roll in Clinton’s State Department’s delay of a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) designation on Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram; an FTO classification would have severely hampered Chagoury’s business endeavors in Nigeria.

We really do not need Hillary Clinton to bring this sort of corruption into the White House.

Troubling Information

On Wednesday, Judicial Watch posted an article about one of the guns used in the Paris terrorist attack. According to law enforcement sources, the gun was illegally purchased in Phoenix, Arizona. The obvious question is how did it get from Phoenix to Paris.

The article reports:

A Report of Investigation (ROI) filed by a case agent in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) tracked the gun used in the Paris attacks to a Phoenix gun owner who sold it illegally, “off book,” Judicial Watch’s law enforcement sources confirm. Federal agents tracing the firearm also found the Phoenix gun owner to be in possession of an unregistered fully automatic weapon, according to law enforcement officials with firsthand knowledge of the investigation.

The investigative follow up of the Paris weapon consisted of tracking a paper trail using a 4473 form, which documents a gun’s ownership history by, among other things, using serial numbers. The Phoenix gun owner that the weapon was traced back to was found to have at least two federal firearms violations—for selling one weapon illegally and possessing an unregistered automatic—but no enforcement or prosecutorial action was taken against the individual. Instead, ATF leaders went out of their way to keep the information under the radar and ensure that the gun owner’s identity was “kept quiet,” according to law enforcement sources involved with the case. “Agents were told, in the process of taking the fully auto, not to anger the seller to prevent him from going public,” a veteran law enforcement official told Judicial Watch.

It’s not clear if the agency, which is responsible for cracking down on the illegal use and trafficking of firearms, did this because the individual was involved in the Fast and Furious gun-running scheme. An ATF spokesman, Corey Ray, at the agency’s Washington D.C. headquarters told Judicial Watch that “no firearms used in the Paris attacks have been traced” by the agency. When asked about the ROI report linking the weapon used in Paris to Phoenix, Ray said “I’m not familiar with the report you’re referencing.” Judicial Watch also tried contacting the Phoenix ATF office, but multiple calls were not returned.

The gun was probably sold as part of ‘Fast and Furious,’ which is troubling enough, but I want to know how you get a gun from Phoenix to Paris in this age of airline security. Was it packed in the person’s checked luggage or did he manage to get it through the metal detectors? Did it go from the United States to France or from Mexico to France? How did the gun get into France, which has very strict gun laws? It would be very interesting to trace the journey of the gun from Phoenix to Paris. It is also interesting to note that this story is based on law enforcement leaks. The people who are charged with enforcing our laws have reached the point where they are so frustrated with the unequal enforcement of the laws that they are speaking out.

Is This Important? Why Or Why Not?

I have actually attempted to avoid writing about Hillary Clinton’s emails. However, when new information comes out, I feel obligated to say something. One recent bit of new information is the State Department Inspector General‘s report on Secretary of State Clinton’s email server.

On Wednesday, The Los Angeles Times posted an article about Mrs. Clinton’s email server that included the following:

Clinton has long said she used a personal email server solely as a matter of “convenience.” But the result wasn’t very convenient; because of State Department spam filters, Clinton’s emails weren’t getting through to her own department. According to the report, when an aide proposed giving her a government email address, Clinton agreed, but added: “I don’t want any risk of the personal being accessible.”

Clinton has emphasized that the law did not prohibit her from using personal email for official business – and that’s true. But the inspector general notes that State Department rules required her to get permission to use a personal server, and she never complied.

And Clinton has said she turned over all her business-related emails as soon as the State Department asked for them. The inspector general says her submission of documents was “incomplete” and later than the law requires.

On May 28, The Washington Post reported:

Clinton initially sought to downplay the report as old news. “It’s the same story,” she told Univision anchor Maria Elena Salinas. “Just like previous secretaries of state, I used a personal email. Many people did. It was not at all unprecedented.

Except that it was. While other secretaries of state had used personal email addresses, none of them had exclusively done so. And as Helderman and Hamburger noted, the State Department IG report scolded Clinton not only for using the email address exclusively but also for slow-walking the release of those emails to the State Department.

Judicial Watch recently posted a download of an education panel they hosted on March 23 about Hillary Clinton’s emails. Judicial Watch is an organization that has been working toward more transparent government for a number of years. They have held both Republican and Democratic administrations accountable. Their panel included Jason Leopold, an investigative reporter for Vice News, Joe diGenova, attorney and former U.S. attorney, Dan Metcalfe, head of the Collaboration on Government Secrecy for the AU law school; a non-partisan educational project devoted to openness in government, freedom of information, government transparency, and a study of government secrecy in the United States and internationally, Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, and Michael Bekesha, an attorney for Judicial Watch.

The report is twenty-four pages long. Here is one excerpt:

Joe diGenova stated: 

I believe Mrs. Clinton decided from the beginning of her tenure as a constitutional officer — she is a constitutional officer — that she would procure a server with the assistance of the State Department, including having them install it in her home in Chappaqua. When she did that, Chappaqua became the State Department. Those records were in fact in the possession of the United States government at that point. I am going to be fascinated by the argument she is going to make that they were not. She moved the secretary’s office from Foggy Bottom to Chappaqua. There is simply no disputing that. She made a decision that her business would be conducted on that server. That was her decision. It wasn’t anybody else’s decision. When she did that, she transferred federal records into that house and into that server. They may very well argue whatever they want to argue about it, but I think they are going to have a really tough time convincing anybody those were not government records from day one in her possession in that place. What is crucial, is that nobody knows what she ordered deleted. Her representations are irrelevant. They mean nothing. They are of limited evidentiary value, given the scheme that was worked out here to deny access and to deny information.

It does matter that Mrs. Clinton used a private server. The server was not encrypted, and many people who understand computers have stated that it would have been very easy to hack into that server. On May 25th, NBC News reported that Guccifer, a known hacker, claimed that he had broken into Mrs. Clinton’s server. That has not yet been proven, so we will wait for further news.

If you check the sources on this story, you will see that this is not simply the right-wing press reporting on Hillary Clinton’s emails. There is a genuine problem here, and the truth matters. This story shouldn’t be about the election, but because Mrs. Clinton is running for President, it seems to be that way. The story is actually about whether or not all Americans are treated equally under the law. Whether or not that is true remains to be seen.

 

Maybe We Are Screening The Wrong People

In early April of this year, I posted an article about security at American airports. The article was based on a Judicial Watch story and included the following:

In all of the cases, airport workers used their security badges to access secured areas of their respective facilities without having to undergo any sort of check. As if this weren’t bad enough, last month government records obtained by the media revealed that 73 employees at nearly 40 airports across the nation were flagged for ties to terror in a June 2015 report from the DHS Inspector General’s Office. The files identified two of them working at Logan International Airport in Boston, four at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and six at Seattle-Tacoma International in Washington State. Here’s the government’s explanation for letting the potential terrorists slip by; the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) didn’t have access to the terrorism-related database during the vetting process for those employees. You can’t make this stuff up!

Now we learn that only three of the nation’s 300 airports—Atlanta, Miami and Orlando—require employees to undergo security checks before work, even though there’s an epidemic of illicit activity among this demographic.

Today, the Center for Security Policy posted a short discussion of the recent loss of EgyptAir Flight MS804. This is the discussion:

Frank Gaffney discussed the issue on Secure Freedom Radio with Fred Fleitz, the Senior Vice President for Policy and Programs at the Center for Security Policy. As a former CIA analyst, Fleitz has an extensive background in analyzing such matters. Gaffney asked him to break down what we know so far:

“From what I’ve heard so far Frank, it looks like this probably was not the result of technical difficulties. There’s evidence that the plane tried to make some strange right and left and 360 degree turns shortly before it fell from the air. There are fishermen who said they saw a fireball so obviously the plane exploded before it crashed so it is looking like this is an act of terror and my concern as a former intelligence analyst is that this raises real questions about whether Jihadis have found new ways to penetrate airport security, both by getting their members as employees and possibly by finding technical workarounds to ways to detect bombs placed on aircraft.”

Gaffney pointed out that many American airports have staff members in various positions who may embrace Sharia Law which obliges them to embrace Jihadi philosophy and wonders if we have “lost our minds” on this issue. Fleitz responded:

“Well, you’re raising a question no one wants to talk about, I mean Western societies, we want to be tolerant, we don’t want to tar and feather every Muslim employee as a Jihadi but we know the French and British have identified people with ISIS sympathies working at airports. This is a problem in this country. Congressman Peter King was on the radio this morning talking about how TSA is finding this is a real problem, they’re trying to ferret out people who appear to have sympathies with ISIS or al Qaeda working in these sensitive positions and these are people behind the scenes, baggage handlers and mechanics who could easily put a weapon on a plane.”

Gaffney stressed that they obviously weren’t talking about all Muslims but pointed out that there is a difference between modern post-Sharia Muslims and those who embrace a medieval view.

There is a good possibility that whatever brought down EgyptAir Flight MS804 was put on the plane while it was on the ground. The plane made numerous stops before it left Paris for Egypt. It is time for all countries to take a close look at their airport workers. Planes that are flying at 35,000 feet do not fall out of the sky for no reason. Even if you lose all power, you have a chance to glide down safely. We need to pray for the families of the victims, and we need to learn quickly from the mistakes that allowed this tragedy to happen.

The Numbers Tell The Story

According to Wikipedia:

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552, is a federal freedom of information law that allows for the full or partial disclosure of previously unreleased information and documents controlled by the United States government. The Act defines agency records subject to disclosure, outlines mandatory disclosure procedures and grants nine exemptions to the statute.[1][2] This amendment was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, despite his misgivings,[3][4] on July 4, 1966, and went into effect the following year.[5]

The Freedom of Information Act works well as long as the people in power respect it. Sometimes getting information is a bit of a challenge.

Hot Air posted the following today:

Speaking of Hillary and her top aides, one guess which agency within the Obama administration had the very worst record when it came to responding to FOIA requests. If you guessed the State Department under Hillary Clinton, you are correct. A report published in January by the State Department Inspector General found that out of 240 FOIA requests for information connected to Secretary Clinton, 177 were still outstanding more than a year after she left office. Here’s a chart from the report showing that:

State FOIA responseIf Clinton wins the 2016 election, the Obama administration will look like the most transparent administration in history by comparison.

The article reports that the Obama Administration has broken the record for not being able to find documents requested in FOIA requests. Miraculously, when a court order is involved, the documents mysteriously appear. As I said in the beginning of this article, when people on both sides of the request respect FOIA requests, the system works. If an administration or member of an administration thinks they are above the law, FOIA requests do not always get honored.

Indoctrination Does Not Belong In America

Judicial Watch posted an article today about some documents they have uncovered regarding some of the training American soldiers are receiving.

The article reports:

Judicial Watch announced today that it obtained documents from the United States Department of the Army revealing that in April 2015, 400 soldiers in the 67th Signal Battalion at Fort Gordon, Georgia, were subjected to a “white privilege” briefing, including a PowerPoint presentation instructing the attendees: “Our society attaches privilege to being white and male and heterosexual …”

The slideshow also informed the soldiers: “Race privilege gives whites little reason to pay a lot of attention to African Americans.” It alleged that there are unspecified “powerful forces everywhere” keeping different kinds of people from being valued, accepted, and appreciated, but “we act as if it doesn’t exist.” This alleged privilege creates a “yawning divide” in income, wealth, and dignity.  The material described a mythical African woman who isn’t aware that she’s black until she comes to America, encounters “white racism” and discovers the U.S. is “organized according to race.”

Why in the world is our military doing this? How is it constructive?

The article concludes:

Though news of the indoctrination incident was briefly reported in Stars and Stripes shortly after it occurred, only one of the above slides previously has been made public.  Confronted with the information at the time, an Army spokesperson claimed the presentation was not officially sanctioned.

Judicial Watch previously obtained Defense Department equal opportunity training materials that depict conservative organizations as “hate groups” and advise students to be aware that “many extremists will talk of individual liberties, states’ rights, and how to make the world a better place.”  And last month, Judicial Watch uncovered Air Force Academy documents that show how the Academy used its “Chapel Tithes and Offering Fund” to pay for cadets to participate in worship services featuring witchcraft, “Faery Magick,” and voodoo.

Outrageous – that is the only word to describe this type of raw racist indoctrination,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.  “The Obama administration undermines the morale of our military with morally repugnant ‘equal opportunity’ that makes many soldiers feel unwelcome because they are the wrong sex, race, religion or aren’t part of a politically correct group.”

Please follow the link to the article and read the excerpts from the presentation. This is totally unacceptable.

Watch The Spin

Today’s Washington Post posted an article about Hillary Clinton’s problems with her email server.

The article reports:

The Justice Department has granted immunity to the former State Department staffer who worked on Hillary Clinton’s private email server as part of a criminal investigation into the possible mishandling of classified information, according to a senior law enforcement official.

The official said the FBI had secured the cooperation of Bryan Pagliano, who worked on Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign before setting up the server in her New York home in 2009.

As the FBI looks to wrap up its investigation in the coming months, agents will likely want to interview Clinton and her senior aides about the decision to use a private server, how it was set up, and whether any of the participants knew they were sending classified information in emails, current and former officials said.

That’s pretty straightforward. Basic facts, etc. But later in the article:

Any decision to charge someone would involve Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch, who told Congress when asked earlier this month about the email inquiry: “That matter is being handled by career independent law enforcement agents, FBI agents, as well as the career independent attorneys in the Department of Justice. They follow the evidence, they look at the law and they’ll make a recommendation to me when the time is appropriate.

“We will review all the facts and all the evidence and come to an independent conclusion as how to best handle it,” she added.

Current and former officials said the conviction of retired four-star general and CIA director David H. Petraeus for mishandling classified information is casting a shadow over the email investigation.

The officials said they think that Petraeus’s actions were more egregious than those of Clinton and her aides since he lied to the FBI, and classified information he shared with his biographer contained top secret code words, identities of covert officers, war strategy and intelligence capabilities. Prosecutors initially threatened to charge him with three felonies, including conspiracy, violating the Espionage Act and lying to the FBI. But after negotiations, Petraeus pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified information.

I am learning how to read between to lines to predict what comes next. Who are these current and former officials?

The article continues:

Petraeus “was handled so lightly for his offense there isn’t a whole lot you can do,” said a former U.S. law enforcement official who oversaw counterintelligence investigations and described the email controversy as “a lesser set of circumstances.”

The State Department has been analyzing the contents of Clinton’s correspondence, as it has prepared 52,000 pages of Clinton’s emails for public release in batches, a process that began in May and concluded Monday. The State Department has said 2,093 of Clinton’s released emails were redacted in all or part because they contained classified material, the vast majority of them rated “confidential,” the lowest level of sensitivity in the classification system.

The above two paragraphs are outright lies. I have posted a number of articles about these emails. Judicial Watch has been on this from the beginning. If you believe the above two paragraphs, I suggest you go to the Judicial Watch website and begin reading. The Washington Post article is setting up the story that Hillary didn’t do anything serious and that she is being picked on because she is a Democrat running for President or because she is a woman. Take your choice. This is an example of how a newspaper can lie to create a narrative. We will see a lot more of this as the election campaign continues.

Another Reason To Know Who Is Coming To America

On January 11, the Judicial Watch Blog posted an article about a recent murder in Massachusetts.

The article reports:

It appears that the recent execution-style murder of a Massachusetts man was committed by two Central American teens that came to the U.S. as Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) under President Obama’s open border free-for-all. Tens of thousands of illegal immigrant minors—mostly from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras—have entered the country through the Mexican border since the influx began in the summer of 2014 and the administration has relocated them nationwide.

News reports indicate that the 17-year-olds charged in the gruesome Massachusetts killing entered the U.S. recently as UAC’s and both have ties to MS-13, according to authorities cited by various outlets. They lived in Everett and one of the teens, Cristian Nunez-Flores, moved to Massachusetts from his native El Salvador a year and a half ago which is when the influx of Central American minors began. His parents remain in El Salvador, according to a local news article. The other gangbanger’s name is Jose Vasquez Ardon and he too is a recent arrival from Central America. Prosecutors say the teens, described in a local news article as “baby-faced boys,” shot a 19-year-old in the head. Both are being held without bail for obvious reasons.

The first batch of UAC’s arrived in 2014.

The article further reports:

Homeland Security sources directly involved with the UAC crisis told JW that street gangs, including MS-13, went on a recruiting frenzy at U.S. shelters housing the illegal alien minors and they used Red Cross phones to communicate. The MS-13 is a feared street gang of mostly Central American illegal immigrants that’s spread throughout the U.S. and is renowned for drug distribution, murder, rape, robbery, home invasions, kidnappings, vandalism and other violent crimes. The Justice Department’s National Gang Intelligence Center (NGIC) says criminal street gangs like the MS-13 are responsible for the majority of violent crimes in the U.S. and are the primary distributors of most illicit drugs.

…The affiliation between gangs and the hordes of illegal immigrant youths that the Obama administration keeps taking in is a story Judicial Watch has been reporting for more than a year. Last fall the Texas Department of Public Safety confirmed that the MS-13 is a top tier gang thanks to the influx of illegal alien gang members that have crossed into the state recently. The number of MS-13 members encountered by U.S. Border Patrol in the Rio Grande Valley sector has increased each year, accelerating in 2014 and coinciding with increased illegal immigration from Central America during the same period, the agency disclosed in a report linked to JW’s story. This clearly refers to the UAC crisis that saw over 60,000 illegal immigrants—many with criminal histories—storm into the U.S. in a matter of months.

Securing the border is not an issue that should be political. One of the purposes of government is to provide for the safety of its citizens. The Obama Administration is not doing a very good job of doing that. Hopefully the next administration will take our national security more seriously.

How Far Up Does This Go?

The Judicial Watch Press Room posted an article on Monday about State Department efforts to set up a private computer for Secretary of State Clinton.

The article reports:

Judicial Watch announced today that it recently received records from the Department of State disclosing plans by senior State Department officials to set up a “stand-alone PC” so that Clinton could  check her emails in an office “across the hall” through a separate, non-State Department computer network system. Referencing the special Clinton computer system, Under Secretary for Management Patrick F. Kennedy, writes Clinton Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills, “The stand-alone separate network PC is a great idea.”  The emails are from January 23-24, 2009, a few days after Clinton was sworn in as Secretary of State.

The new emails were obtained by Judicial Watch in response a court order in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit for State Department records about Hillary Clinton’s separate email system  (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00689)).

In the email chain, Lewis Lukens, former deputy assistant secretary of state and executive director of the secretariat, responds to a request from Mills by informing her, top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, and Kennedy that the new personal computer “in the secretary’s office” would be “connected to the internet (but not through our system).” Abedin responds, “We are hoping for that if possible.”

The email exchange discussing plans to provide Clinton a separate computer to skirt the internal State Department computer network begins with a message from Mills to Lukens in which she requests Clinton being able to access her emails through “a non-DOS computer.” The email discusses how the stand-alone computer can be set up and why it is “a great idea’ and “the best solution:”

The article includes copies of the emails involved. Please follow the link to the Judicial Watch article to read them.

So why is this important? What they were doing was illegal. There may be a totally innocent reason for doing this, but the obvious reason would be to avoid archiving requirements and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. It really is difficult to see this as an innocent action. If the major media covers this, the entire email scandal may well unravel as people attempt to defend themselves, legally and otherwise.

Free Speech?

One of the foundations of our representative republic is free speech. This can be a very mixed blessing. We have the right to speak freely–we don’t have the right not to be offended. Some of our politicians have rather thin skins.

Yesterday Judicial Watch reported that the Laugh Factor, a comedy club in Hollywood, has been contacted by the Hillary Clinton campaign because of a short video (less than three minutes) of a performance at the club which targets Hillary Clinton which is posted on the website of the club. Jamie Masada, who owns the club, says that a Clinton campaign staffer called him and threatened to put him out of business if he didn’t take down the video. The campaign also demanded personal contact information on the performers in the recording.

The article describes the performance as somewhat crass and including some profanity, but that does not disqualify it from being free speech. Anyone who does not approve of the language or the content has the option of turning it off–that’s part of what free speech is about.

The article reports:

Masada told Judicial Watch that, as soon as the video got posted on the Laugh Factory website, he received a phone call from a “prominent” person inside Clinton’s campaign. “He said the video was disgusting and asked who put me up to this,” Masada said. The Clinton staffer, who Masada did not want to identify, also demanded to know the names and phone numbers of the comedians that appear in the video. Masada refused and hung up. He insists that the comedy stage is a sanctuary for freedom of speech no matter who is offended. “Just last night we had (Emmy-award winner) Dana Carvey doing Donald Trump and it was hilarious,” Masada said.

Can you imaging Donald Trump doing this in response to all the jokes about his hair? This should be a red flag for anyone planning to vote for Hillary. The lady is thin-skinned and not above threatening someone to avoid bad press–even if it comes under the heading of comedy.

This Is Not The Way The Internal Revenue Service Is Supposed To Operate

I will admit that I do not love the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). I don’t think that is a particularly unique point of view. My husband and I were audited a few years ago after making a small donation to the Tea Party. Nothing in our returns had changed, and it was the first time we had been audited in forty-seven years. They examined our small amount of paperwork for about a year before they finally told us that nothing was wrong. They are a government agency that has acquired a lot of power over the years, and I believe that in recent years that power has been successfully used against political enemies. Now we are discovering that the IRS was ignoring the rules that were supposed to govern it.

Yesterday The Washington Times reported that as a result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by Judicial Watch, IRS lawyer Geoffrey J. Klimas has discovered another personal email account used by Lois Lerner for IRS business. Judicial Watch is a non-profit organization that strives to hold our government accountable. Over the years they have been responsible for exposing transparency problems in administrations of both parties.

The article in The Washington Times reports:

IRS lawyer Geoffrey J. Klimas told the court that as the agency was putting together a set of documents to turn over to Judicial Watch, it realized Ms. Lerner had used yet another email account, in addition to her official one and another personal one already known to the agency.

“In addition to emails to or from an email account denominated ‘Lois G. Lerner’ or ‘Lois Home,’ some emails responsive to Judicial Watch’s request may have been sent to or received from a personal email account denominated ‘Toby Miles,'” Mr. Klimas told Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, who is hearing the case.

It is unclear who Toby Miles is, but Mr. Klimas said the IRS has concluded that was “a personal email account used by Lerner.”

…In the wake of the scandal Ms. Lerner retired from the agency. She declined to testify to Congress, citing her right against self-incrimination, but also said she did not break the law.

The Obama administration has declined to pursue the contempt of Congress case that the House brought against her.

The House Ways and Means Committee also approved a criminal referral asking the Justice Department to look into Ms. Lerner’s conduct, but its status is not clear.

 Americans will only find out what happened at the IRS if a Republican becomes President. I am not convinced any Democratic candidate would be willing to pursue this case. The use of the IRS as a political entity to target conservatives goes against the basic principle of free speech. The lack of prosecution of those guilty of abusing their power in the IRS goes against the American concept of all men being equal under the law. It is time to clean house in this organization.

Closer To The Truth

The Daily Caller posted an article today about the ongoing quest for Hillary Clinton’s emails.

The article reports:

A federal judge has ordered Hillary Clinton and two of her top aides at the State Department, Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, to attest, under penalty of perjury, that they have turned over all official government records in their possession.

…In his ruling, Sullivan (U.S. District Court judge Emmett Sullivan) ordered the Staet Department to “identify any and all servers, accounts, hard drives, or other devices currently in the possession or control of the State Department or otherwise that may contain responsive information.”

The State Department must also request that Clinton, Abedin and Mills “confirm, under penalty of perjury, that they have produced all responsive information that was or is in their possession as a result of their employment at the State Department.”

“If all such information has not yet been produced, the Government shall request the above named individuals produce the information forthwith,” Sullivan ruled.

The State Department must also require the trio “describe, under penalty of perjury, the extent to which Ms. Abedin and Ms. Mills used Mrs. Clinton’s email server to conduct official government business.”

The use of a private email server was illegal. It also posed a security risk because the private server did not have the anti-hacking software that would have been on the government server. It would probably be easier to ask the Chinese to give us everything that was on Mrs. Clinton’s server. Chances are that they have it.

The Internal Revenue Service Under President Obama Is Still Political

Fox Business posted an article today about a Government Accountability Office investigation of the Internal Revenue Service. A House Oversight subcommittee will take testimony from IRS commissioner John Koskinen today.

The article reports:

The GAO now says that IRS political “targeting is indeed possible in the audit process” for nonprofits, largely due to poor agency oversight and controls.

“Unfortunately, the IRS has not taken sufficient steps to prevent targeting Americans based on their personal beliefs,” the GAO says.

Specifically, The GAO found that “control deficiencies” do “increase the risk” that the IRS nonprofit unit “could select organizations for examinations in an unfair manner—for example, based on an organization’s religious, educational, political or other views.”

Judicial Watch, a watchdog group, says it has obtained Freedom of Information Act filings that show IRS workers were using donor lists from conservative nonprofit groups to target people for audit. It also says documents detail a October 2010 meeting between former IRS official Lois Lerner, Justice Department officials and the FBI to plan “for the possible criminal prosecution of targeted nonprofit organizations for alleged illegal political activity,” and that the IRS transferred confidential tax returns from 113,000 nonprofit social welfare groups to the FBI “as part of its prosecution effort.” The documents also show “the Obama DOJ wanted IRS employees who were going to testify to Congress to turn over documents to the DOJ before giving them to Congress.”

The IRS is a very obvious example of a government agency out of control. We need to revise our tax system so that the IRS is no longer necessary. The IRS is a descendant of  the office of Commissioner of Internal Revenue, established in The Revenue Act of 1862 as part of a temporary war-time tax plan. The Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution (1913) allowed Congress to levy an income tax.

It is time to seriously consider a flat tax or a value-added tax.

 

It Just Gets Uglier

It would be nice to be done with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal by now, but new things keep showing up. The latest should be a cause for concern to all Americans, regardless of which political party they belong to.

Judicial Watch released a report today about its latest findings as a result of its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests filed regarding the IRS. The findings are very unsettling to those of us who believe in free speech.

Here are a few highlights:

The newly obtained records also reveal that the Obama DOJ wanted IRS employees who were going to testify to Congress to turn over documents to the DOJ before giving them to Congress. Records also detail how the Obama IRS gave the FBI 21 computer disks, containing 1.25 million pages of confidential IRS returns from 113,000 nonprofit social 501(c)(4) welfare groups  – or nearly every 501(c)(4) in the United States – as part of its prosecution effort. According to a letter from then-House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, “This revelation likely means that the IRS – including possibly Lois Lerner – violated federal tax law by transmitting this information to the Justice Department.”

The documents were produced subsequent to court orders in two Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits: Judicial Watch v. Internal Revenue Service (No. 1:14-cv-1956) and Judicial Watch v. Department of Justice (No. 1:14-cv-1239).

The new IRS documents include a October 11, 2010 “DOJ Recap” memo sent by IRS Exempt Organizations Tax Law Specialist Siri Buller to Lerner and other top IRS officials explaining an October 8 meeting with representatives from the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and “one representative from the FBI” to discuss the possible criminal prosecution of nonprofit organizations for alleged political activity:

Why was the IRS coordinating with the Justice Department on Congressional testimony?

The article continues:

“These new documents show that the Obama IRS scandal is also an Obama DOJ and FBI scandal,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The FBI and Justice Department worked with Lois Lerner and the IRS to concoct some reason to put President Obama’s opponents in jail before his reelection. And this abuse resulted in the FBI’s illegally obtaining confidential taxpayer information. How can the Justice Department and FBI investigate the very scandal in which they are implicated?”

On April 16, 2014, Judicial Watch forced the IRS to release documents revealing for the first time that Lerner communicated with the DOJ in May 2013 about whether it was possible to launch criminal prosecutions against targeted tax-exempt entities. The documents were obtained due to court order in an October 2013 Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit filed against the IRS.

This sounds like Soviet Russia–not like America. Please follow the link above to Judicial Watch to read the entire article. There is quite a bit there that confirms the much of the Obama Administration was conducting a war on any group that did not agree with them.