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.

Even If You Disagree–The Voters Voted

Yesterday Breitbart reported that the ‘never Trump’ delegates did not prevail in the rules committee of the national Republican Convention. Whether you support Trump or not, he won the votes in the primary election and deserves to be the candidate.

The article reports:

A last-minute plot to push a “conscience” voting provision through the RNC Rules Committee failed, virtually eliminating any options for the “Free the Delegates” movement to go forward and stop Donald Trump from getting the nomination on the convention floor next week. The rebels were trying to unbind pledged delegates for Trump to allow them to vote their “conscience” in defiance of state party rules.

“The Rules Committee has been going all day long,” Trump surrogate Scottie Nell Hughes told Breitbart News just moments after the Committee adjourned before midnight in Ohio. “They all got along and we are going to wake up in the morning to a unified Republican Party.”

…But the conscience exemption failed to such a degree that the rebels are left with seemingly no options to go forward.

“That actually failed 87 to 12,” Hughes said. “So people are still going to be bound by their state party laws.”

#NeverTrump could still try to get 28 signatures from Rules Committee members to force the “conscience” provision onto the floor for a full vote by delegates — where it would need 1,237 votes or more to pass — but that seems unlikely. Only 12 committee members voted for it, so why would 28 suddenly sign a petition?

That should end the matter. I think Donald Trump has shown good judgement in his choice of Vice-President.

Mike Pence has been governor of Indiana since 2013. He also served on Congress for 12 years. He has a reputation of supporting the Tea Party movement. Think about this for a moment–the Tea Party movement has been the bane of the Republican establishment’s existence since the Tea Party movement began. The Republican party has been very willing to take advantage of the energy and volunteers of the Tea Party, but has not wanted their politics. When the Tea Party formed and was heard, it became obvious that the Republican establishment was not interested in reducing the size of government or government spending–they were simply interested in changing who controlled the government and the spending. I think one of the reasons the establishment Republicans do not like the Tea Party is that the Tea Party exposed the hypocrisy of the Republican party. If Washington is to be cleaned up, the Trump-Pence ticket may be the one to do it.

I doubt there will be any major fireworks inside the Republican Convention. I am not so sure about outside.

Why It Is Important To Know Your Rights

On Friday, the New York Post reported the story of Nancy Genovese, 58, who was arrested in Suffolk County New York in July 2009 and charged with criminal trespass. Ms. Genovese was taking pictures of a decorative helicopter in front of the Gabreski Airport Air National Guard base in Westhampton Beach for a “Support Our Troops” website.

When her car was searched, Southhampton police found a legally owned rifle she was taking home from a nearby shooting range.

The article reports what happened next:

She contends a deputy sheriff arrived on the scene later and said to her, “I bet you are one of those Tea Party people.” When Genovese said she’s gone to Tea Party rallies, he allegedly said, “You’re a real right-winger, aren’t you?” and “You are a ‘Teabagger’” and then added that she’d be arrested for terrorism to make an example of other “right wingers.”

“Ms. Genovese was subjected to a level of abuse because [authorities] did not share the same political views as she did and saw this as an excuse to deny her even the most basic civil rights,” her lawyer Frederick Brewington said.​​

Genovese said in a statement said she was “relieved” by the jury’s verdict. She added, “if this can happen to me, and officers can abuse their power like this, I can only imagine how other people who are not as fortunate as me have been treated.”

Ms. Genovese has been awarded ​$1.12 million​ by a federal jury over her false prosecution by Suffolk County authorities. It obviously pays to know your constitutional rights!

Further Information On The Internal Revenue Service Court Appearance

Yesterday the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) appeared in Federal Court to explain why Lois Lerner’s emails are missing (see rightwinggranny.com). Fox News reported on the results of that hearing.

The article reports:

A federal judge has ordered the IRS to explain “under oath” how the agency lost a trove of emails from the official at the heart of the Tea Party targeting scandal. 

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan gave the tax agency 30 days to file a declaration by an “appropriate official” to address the computer issues with ex-official Lois Lerner. 

The decision came Thursday as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, which along with GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill has questioned how the IRS lost the emails and, in some cases, had no apparent way to retrieve them. 

The IRS first acknowledged it lost the emails in a letter to senators last month.

It was revealed during that hearing that a Treasury Department inspector general is looking into the matter.

The article reports:

The lawyer representing the IRS, Geoffrey Klimas, argued that any further discovery in this case might impede the IG‘s investigation. 

Sullivan seemed leery of that argument and also asked that the IRS official speak to that subject in the explanation the agency submits. 

Further, Sullivan ordered that the IRS official explain how Lerner’s files may be recovered through “other sources.”

It is interesting to me that the lawyer representing the IRS would cite the IG’s investigation as a reason to stop the discovery aspect of this case from proceeding. This excuse has been used before by the Obama Administration to block investigations of misdeeds by the Administration.

 

The Media May Have Missed This

Tom Fitton at Judicial Watch is reporting that Judicial Watch is continuing its efforts to hold Lois Lerner and the Internal Revenue Service accountable for their attack on conservative political groups.

I received an email from Judicial Watch today that included the following information:

The IRS will have to appear in federal court today after a federal judge ordered the agency to appear in response to our request that the IRS be required to explain to the court, to Judicial Watch and to you and the American people — what happened to Lois Lerner’s emails that they recently told Congress were “lost” but failed to notify Judicial Watch or the court about it.

U.S. District Court
Civil Docket for Case #:1:13-cv-01559-EGS


Date:        Thursday, July 10
Time:        11 a.m. ET
Location:  Courtroom 24A
U.S. District Court
333 Constitution Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C.

These emails could be critical to getting to the bottom of the IRS scandal where Tea Party and other conservative group applications were illegally delayed by the IRS.  In addition, Lois Lerner had communicated with Department of Justice officials to see if it was possible to prosecute these groups!

You may remember, it was a Judicial Watch lawsuit that first uncovered “smoking gun” evidence that broke wide open this scandal.  And once again, Judicial Watch is causing action that is bringing the IRS before a court of law to explain their actions. 

Judicial Watch is doing the job Congress seems to have forgotten how to do.

 

The Threat Of Conservative Groups

There is a reason the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) targeted conservative groups. There is also a reason that many establishment politicians in both parties have not necessarily given their full efforts to the investigation of the IRS. When an investigation of this sort takes years, it is a pretty good bet that someone does not want the investigation to succeed.

One of the groups targeted by the IRS was True the Vote. I first became aware of True the vote and its founder, Catherine Engelbrecht, in September 2010 (rightwinggranny.com). The group’s effort was directed toward ensuring that the voting in Harris County, Texas, included only people who were entitled to vote. They have continued their efforts to ensure the integrity of American elections.

Breitbart.com is reporting today that True the Vote has gotten involved in the recent Republican primary held in Mississippi. Republican establishment candidate Thad Cochran defeated conservative Chris McDaniel in a primary run-off election. Mississippi voting laws state that a person who voted in the Democrat primary election this year is not eligible to vote in the Republican run-off election. There are some real questions as to whether or not that law and other voting laws were enforced.

The article reports:

“All we are asking is that the MS State Republican Party follow the law; allow their designated county representatives to inspect the poll books and ballots, give them the review time they are permitted by law, and allow them to uphold their responsibility to MS voters,” True the Vote president Catherine Engelbrecht said in a statement about the suit. “True the Vote has been inundated with reports from voters across Mississippi who are outraged to see the integrity of this election being undermined so that politicos can get back to business as usual. Enough is enough.”

True The Vote wants the federal judge to order the state party and Secretary of State’s office to allow independent verification of the election results to ensure there were no “illegal votes.” Such votes could come as fraudulently cast absentee ballots—the runoff saw a massive spike in absentees over the primary a few weeks earlier—or by Democrats who voted in the June 24 GOP primary runoff after having voted in the June 3 Democratic primary. Other potentially fraudulent votes could come from Democrats voting in the Republican primary who don’t intend to support the Republican they voted for on June 24 in November’s general election, though intent is difficult to prove. There are further allegations of vote-buying surfacing this week.

This is the establishment Republican party fighting for its life against the Tea Party. Because the establishment Republican party has become almost indistinguishable from the Democrat party, they are losing votes as people are looking for an alternative party. Stay tuned.

At Least Some Of The Republicans Are Listening

The defeat of Eric Cantor this week in a primary election in Virginia sent shock waves through the Republican leadership. It should have. The message was clear. Listen to your constituents or be voted out of office. However, the Washington establishment has forgotten how to listen.

The Hill posted an article today announcing that Representative Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho) was running to replace the defeated Representative Eric Cantor (R-Va.) as House Majority Leader. The establishment Republican candidate is Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), currently the majority whip.

The article reports:

Labrador received support for his late-breaking bid Friday from a fellow conservative stalwart. Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.).

In his endorsement, Amash said he could think of “no one more qualified to be our next leader” than Labrador. He also took aim at GOP leadership, arguing that Cantor’s stunning loss should be a lesson in caution for anyone eager to simply move McCarthy up the ladder.

“Washington Republicans can bury what happened last Tuesday with piles of excuses. But if they view Tuesday as an anomaly, they do so at their own peril,” he said. “We can’t respond to a stunning loss by giving a pat on the back and promotion to the same team. It’s time for someone new, someone conservative.”

Amash has repeatedly split with party leaders on a host of legislative issues, and is currently facing a primary challenger who has been boosted by business groups seeking to oust him.

This will be a test for the Republican party. The Tea Party (and the conservative movement) are not dead. Republicans and many Democrats are tired of Washington spying on them, intruding into their lives, and passing legislation that lowers their standard of living. The guilt falls on elements of both parties.

If you are tired of the non-listening establishment that has been running Washington lately, call your Republican house member and let him know that the promotion of the ‘next in line’ is not a good idea. It’s time for new people and new ideas.

 

The People vs. The Establishment

The internet is abuzz this morning with interpretations and hand wringing over Eric Cantor‘s defeat in the Virginia primary.

The Washington Examiner reports:

One House Republican, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Cantor’s loss was a “big win” for President Obama because it could empower the more hardline elements in the GOP and damage the effort on the part of some Republicans to broaden the party’s appeal to cross ethnic and gender lines. Cantor lost to college professor Dave Brat, who campaigned as an anti-immigration reform candidate and affiliated with activists and talk radio hosts who identify with the Tea Party.

I don’t see this as a win for President Obama–I see it as a win for people who are disgusted with ‘business as usual’ in Washington. Since when do we call people who believe in the Constitution and the Tenth Amendment radicals? I think our founding fathers would turn over in their graves if they saw what has happened to the nation they birthed.

Elections are the way Americans can express their satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) with their leaders. I think the Americans in Eric Cantor’s district just made their opinion very clear.

Holding Government Officials Accountable

On Thursday, I posted an article (rightwinggranny.com) showing the likelihood of being audited by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) if you gave money to a Tea Party group. Basically, one in ten Tea Party donors were audited compared to a rate of slightly more than one in a hundred for the general population. Obviously, there is a problem here. Congress has been trying to find out who ordered the audit of Tea Party donors and who is responsible for using the IRS as a political weapon. The investigation has been stonewalled by the White House and the Justice Department every step of the way. Yesterday the U.K. Daily Mail posted a story about the latest episode in this saga.

The article reports:

David O’Neil, whose job atop the DOJ’s criminal division puts him in charge of public corruption prosecutions, told Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan that he also doesn’t know how many prosecutors are assigned to the case, or how many attorneys from his division are working on it.

Asked to identify the lead agent in the Lerner investigation, O’Neil would only answer, ‘I’m sure that we can provide that information to you.’

Maybe I’m just naive, but it would seem to me that the person in charge of the investigation might have some idea as to how many people are working on the investigation. Has he every bothered to count his emails? Does he actually get any emails?  Note that this story was reported in a British paper–I haven’t seen the report in the mainstream American press.

The article further reports:

I oversee the public integrity section,’ O’Neil said during a House Oversight subcommittee hearing, adding that ‘yes,’ he is involved in the case.

He claimed there are ‘numerous career federal prosecutors that are on that investigation.’

But when Jordan asked him how many are in that group, complaining that he has ‘been trying to get this answer now for 11 months,’ O’Neill conceded, ‘I can’t tell you that answer sitting here today.’

O’Neill also suggested that the Department of Justice is unlikely to appoint a special counsel.

‘No,’ he said. ‘A special counsel is not warranted.’

When the House found Lerner in contempt, it referred her to Attorney General Holder for prosecution, prompting an aide to a Texas Republican to call it ‘the slime probing the slime.’

The female staffer told MailOnline that ‘if Holder ever opens the Lerner file ore than once, I’ll strip naked on the National Mall and sing the president’s favorite Al Green song.’

I don’t think the staffer is in any danger of having to make good on that promise.
It is sad that partisan politics has become more important than the integrity of public officials.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Internal Revenue Service Audit Rate For Tea Party Donors

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Audit Rate for Tea Party donors is something I take personally–my husband and I were audited for the first time in 43 years after making a donation to the Tea Party. Nothing in our tax return had changed, and after a year of being told that the IRS needed more time, nothing was found.

Yesterday the Washington Times reported that after checking the donor lists the IRS collected from the Tea Party, 10 percent of those donors were audited. Kiplinger posted a story in March 2013 stating:

The IRS audits only slightly more than 1% of all individual tax returns annually.

…2012 IRS statistics show that people with incomes of $200,000 or higher had an audit rate of 3.70%, or one out of every 27 returns. Report $1 million or more of income? There’s a one-in-eight chance your return will be audited. The audit rate drops significantly for filers making less than $200,000: Less than 1% (0.94%) of such returns was audited during 2012, and the vast majority of these exams were conducted by mail.

I think there is a problem here. Until we find out who ordered the audits, I think we need to ask the ‘public servants‘ involved why they were not serving the public.

The article at the Washington Times reminds us:

Ms. Lerner ran the division overseeing nonprofit groups. She has since retired from the IRS but has refused to testify to Congress about her role in the targeting, citing her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

The House voted Wednesday to hold her in contempt of Congress for refusing to talk.

The Washington Times also mentions another recent problem with the IRS:

On another matter, the commissioner told the panel that he is taking steps to be able to deny agency bonuses to IRS employees who hadn’t paid their taxes. The agency’s inspector general last month reported that more than 1,000 employees received bonuses within a year of having tax problems.

Mr. Koskinen said he is working with the IRS union to rewrite their agreement so that those employees can’t be paid bonuses.

“Going forward, if someone has been disciplined for failure to comply with the tax code, they will be ineligible for a performance award,” he said.

He also said the agency would try to fire employees who cheat on their taxes.

Doesn’t all of the above fall under the category of basic common sense?

Enhanced by Zemanta

Somehow The New York Times Missed This

Yesterday The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform released its report on Lois Lerner’s role in IRS targeting.

These are the highlights of the report (The link above provides a link to the entire report. The highlights include page numbers):

Key Document Based Highlights (documents and testimony in appendix):

  • Tea Party “itching for a Constitutional challenge:” Lerner and her colleagues, after being under public pressure from President Obama and other Democrats, engaged in an e-mail exchange about how they could showcase their scrutiny of a Tea Party applicant for public disclosure, despite rules protecting the secrecy of unapproved applications.  The conversation turned to the possibility of a court case – if a Tea Party applicant would challenge the IRS ruling.  On this, Ms. Lerner opined, Tea Party groups would litigate because they are “itching for a Constitutional challenge.” – p. 41
  • Lerner discusses political scrutiny that isn’t “per se political:” In one e-mail exchange that began with a discussion of an article noting, “organizations woven by the fabulously rich and hugely influential Koch brothers,” Lerner told colleagues, “we do need a c4 project next year.”  While she initially says, “my object is not to look for political activity,” later in the exchange she acknowledges that it will examine political activity. “We need to be cautious so it isn’t a per se political project.  More a c4 project that will look at levels of lobbying and pol. Activity along with exempt activity.” – p. 17
  • Lerner broke IRS rules by mishandling taxpayer information:  While Lerner told Congress under oath, “I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations,” e-mails show Lerner handled protected 6103 taxpayer information in her nonofficial e-mail account. In a November 2013 letter from Daniel Werfel, Werfel notes, “We do not permit IRS officials to send taxpayer information to their personal email addresses. An IRS employee should not send taxpayer information to his or her personal email address in any form, including redacted.” – p. 33
  • Lerner planned to retire in October all along: While House Democrats have pushed that Lerner was forced out by the IRS as a result of the TIGTA report; new e-mails indicate that Lerner had planned an October retirement long before TIGTA released its report.  Her paid leave amounted to a paid vacation preceding her retirement – it does not appear that the IRS penalized her in any way for her conduct. – p.  40-41
  • Despite knowing about improper scrutiny, Lerner had IRS blame victims: An IRS document bearing Lerner’s signature shows that in March 2012, despite knowing about improper scrutiny at that time, Lerner reviewed and signed off on a response to Congress that blamed applicants for heightened scrutiny.  “[T]he IRS contacts the organization and solicits additional information when the organization does not provide sufficient information in response to the questions on the Form 1024 or if issues are raised by the application …. The revenue agent uses sound reasoning based on tax law training and his or her experience to review the application and identify the additional information needed to make a proper determination of the organization’s exempt status.” – p. 36
  • Concern Citizens United hurting Democrats:  Lerner believed the Executive Branch needed to take steps to undermine the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.  A senior advisor to Lerner e-mailed her an article about allegations that unknown conservative donors were influencing U.S. Senate races.  The article explained how outside money was making it increasingly difficult for Democrats to remain in the majority in the Senate.  Lerner replied:  “Perhaps the FEC will save the day.” – p. 21
  • Citizens United created pressure for IRS to “fix the problem”:  According to Lerner: “The Supreme Court dealt a huge blow, overturning a 100-year old precedent that basically corporations couldn’t give directly to political campaigns.  And everyone is up in arms because they don’t like it.  The Federal Election Commission can’t do anything about it. They want the IRS to fix the problem.” – p. 20
  • “Multi-Tier Review”:  Lerner personally directed that Tea Party cases go through a “multi-tier review.” An IRS employee testified that Lerner “sent [him an] e-mail saying that when these cases need to go through multi-tier review and they will eventually have to go to [Judy Kindell, Lerner’s senior technical advisor] and the Chief Counsel’s office.”  A D.C. IRS employee said this level of scrutiny had no precedent. – p. 24-25
  • Head of the IRS Cincinnati office’s testimony refutes Lois Lerner and President Obama’s O’Reilly interview assertion that this was all about a “local office”: “[Y]es, there were mistakes made by folks in Cincinnati as well [as] D.C. but the D.C. office is the one who delayed the processing of the cases.” – p. 44

Unless we are willing to live in a country where the laws are made and changed at will by whichever political party is in charge, Ms. Lerner has to be held accountable for her behavior. There is enough evidence against her to move forward with legal action. It is time to do that. Unfortunately, her behavior is typical of the Obama Administration’s disregard for the U.S. Constitution and the law.

Enhanced by Zemanta

The IRS Scandal Summed Up In One Paragraph

Yesterday’s Washington Examiner summed up the IRS scandal in one paragraph:

These simple questions – each based on indisputable facts – establish that somebody outside of the IRS told her they wanted the tax agency to “fix” something involving groups seeking 501(c)(4) tax status, that she directed subordinates to begin a (c)(4) project she feared could be seen as “political,” that she viewed Tea Party groups as “dangerous,” and that she ordered that such groups be subjected to “multi-level review.” Those are the four essential points of the IRS scandal: Who ordered the tax agency to get involved, who in the tax agency responded, who they targeted and what actions they took. She cannot answer these questions because, as she herself has claimed, that would be incriminating. Lerner and others must hope Issa doesn’t already have the answers.

Enhanced by Zemanta

A Short Summary Of The Internal Revenue Service Scandal

Robert Stacy McCain posted an article in the March issue of the American Spectator that summarizes the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal and sums up where we are today. The article reminds us that Tom Perez, now Secretary of Labor,  was head of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division where his key aide Barbara K. Bosserman was chosen to head up the investigation of the IRS’s targeting of Tea Party groups. The first question regarding the investigation of the IRS is, “Why was Barbara K. Bosserman chosen?” Ms. Bosserman’s background is as a civil rights attorney–she does not have a background in tax law. It is also an incredible coincidence that Ms. Bosserman has historically been a major donor to Democrat party coffers.

The article reports:

During a January hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Jim Jordan raised that question with the Justice Department’s Inspector General, Michael Horowitz. In his 12 years of DOJ experience under three different administrations, did Horowitz “ever recall the civil rights division investigating tax law matters?” Jordan asked.

“I don’t recall that during my time,” Horowitz answered.

The article reminds us that conservative political groups who applied for tax exempt status had their applications held up for a year or more. In some cases, organizations were asked for lists of donors and those donors were harassed.

The article points out the media’s role in downplaying the IRS scandal:

The media has been complacent,” said Becky Gerritson of the Wetumpka (Alabama) Tea Party, whose group was one of those the IRS targeted. In a telephone interview, Gerritson mentioned that the traffic-related “scandal” involving New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie had gotten 17 times as much major network news coverage in a single 24-hour period as the IRS scandal had received in the previous six months. From July 2013 through early January 2014, ABC, CBS, and NBC had barely two minutes of coverage to IRS scandal, according to the Media Research Center’s Scott Whitlock.

Even a basic investigation shows that some very fundamental laws were broken by the IRS:

Perhaps the most egregious example of that “climate of hostility” was the illegal release of donor information from the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). Congressional investigators say the source of that leak was an IRS staffer in Lerner’s Exempt Organizations Division. NOM opposes the legalization of same-sex marriage and the IRS leaker, who cannot be named because of confidentiality laws, provided NOM’s donor information to a gay activist, who then gave it to NOM’s arch-enemy, the pro-gay Human Rights Campaign. The illegal IRS leak led to news stories in 2012 identifying GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney as a donor to the conservative group. NOM filed its own lawsuit against the IRS in October, and pointed out that former HRC president Joe Solmonese served as co-chairman of Obama’s re-election campaign. “This is a federal crime,” NOM president Brian Brown said. “Worse, the confidential information contained in the illegally leaked documents included the identity of dozens of our major donors and the HRC used this confidential donor information to harass our donors. This is a chilling set of circumstances that should ring alarm bells across the nation.”

The straw that broke the camel’s back for the conservative organizations targeted by the IRS is the fact that the investigators have only actually interviewed one of two of the organizations that have registered complaints.

The only way the IRS’s abuses of power will be dealt with is if those people impacted by the crimes of the IRS continue to speak out. If the sort of abuse of power is allowed to continue, all of our freedom of speech is in danger.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

I’ve Heard This Song Before

About the only thing good I can say about the Congressional Budget deal is that there is a Congressional Budget deal. After that it gets a little foggy. Part of the problem was that neither side was really in a strong position to negotiate–the Republican establishment is still slamming the Tea Party for the shutdown and President Obama’s approval ratings are sinking like a stone. The establishment Republicans and the President are both desperate for a political victory. As usual, courtesy of the establishment Republicans, the Tea Party is out in the cold. The sad part of that fact is that the Tea Party is the only group in Washington that does actually represent a change from our self-destructive spending habits.

Heritage.org posted an article this morning stating three things in the budget agreement that indicate things in Washington have not changed:

The deal announced yesterday raises discretionary spending above the bipartisan spending agreement forged in 2011 as part of the Budget Control Act. Spending for defense and non-defense domestic programs would be raised by $45 billion in 2014 and by $18 billion in 2015.

… The agreement says that the increased spending is fully offset elsewhere in the budget, using a mix of spending cuts and non-tax revenue. Make no mistake, raising revenue to spend more is simply taxing and spending.

…It spends now and delays savings till later. The budget deal would spend $63 billion over the next two years—but take 10 years to make up for this splurge. This is a common Washington gimmick.

Until Americans are willing to elect people to Congress who will actually cut spending, we are going to see more of the same. It will be interesting to see who supports this deal. It is a deal that is pleasing to the Washington establishment. It may be the best deal the Republicans could have gotten, but it is not a good deal.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Crony Capitalism And The Justice Department

It is extremely dangerous to get on the wrong side of the Obama Administration. If you lose your health insurance and speak out about it, you could be audited (cns news), if you make major contributions to Republican candidates, your company could suddenly be inspected for all sorts of federal regulation violations (rightwinggranny.com), and if you gave to the Tea Party, you could face a partial audit (that happened to me–the first time my husband and I have been audited in 46 years). It does seem as if the government is somewhat out of control. An article at Investor’s Business Daily about the recent settlement between JPMorgan and the Justice Department provides further proof.

The article reports:

They (radical Democrat groups) stand to reap millions. The “consumer relief” portion of the deal by itself totals $4 billion.

If the government “determines that a shortfall in that obligation remains as of Dec. 31, 2017,” the agreement states, “JPMorgan shall make a compensatory payment in cash in an amount equal to the shortfall to NeighborWorks America to provide housing counseling, neighborhood stabilization, foreclosure prevention or similar programs.”

Potentially billions could be distributed to Democrat activists through NeighborWorks, a government-funded “affordable housing” group that supports a national network of left-wing community organizers operating in the same vein as Acorn.

In 2011 alone, NeighborWorks shelled out $35 billion in “affordable housing grants” to 115 such groups, according its website. Recipients included the radical Affordable Housing Alliance, which pressures banks to make high-risk loans in low-income neighborhoods.

The recession has dried up funding for such groups. But Holder’s massive bank shakedown could rebuild their war chests in a hurry.

This is not the way honest people do government.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Our Representatives Have Forgotten Who They Represent

One of the problems with ObamaCare is the number of exemptions that have been carved out for President Obama’s chosen few. Congress and Congressional staffers will receive massive subsidies from the government to ensure that they are not negatively impacted by the increased premiums in ObamaCare. Therefore, Congressmen–establishment Republicans and Democrats have no incentive to repeal a really bad law. The Tea Party candidates who were elected to end ObamaCare are really the only people in Washington fighting this battle. Ted Cruz is leading the charge. Thus, what you are about to read below is not really a surprise.

The Blaze reported today that Chris Wallace told the Fox News Sunday audience this morning:

“This has been one of the strangest weeks I’ve ever had in Washington,” Wallace said. “As soon as we listed Ted Cruz as our featured guest this week, I got unsolicited research and questions, not from Democrats but from top Republicans, to hammer Cruz.”

This is the clip:

Unfortunately Congress no longer represents the wishes of the American people. Both Republicans and Democrats have become the problem. The only people fighting for the rest of us are the Tea Party candidates. Please remember that next November.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Never Put Anything In An Email That You Don’t Want To Be Made Public

Today’s Washington Times posted an article about some emails from Lois Lerner that have been released by the House committee investigating the IRS. The emails seem to show that the IRS specifically targeted Tea Party and conservative groups in 2011 in the run-up to the 2012 election.

There are a number of emails that are detailed in the article:

“Tea Party Matter very dangerous,” Ms. Lerner said in the 2011 email, saying that those applications could end up being the “vehicle to go to court” to get more clarity on a 2010 Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance rules.

…“It is what it is,” she said in the email, released Thursday by the Ways and Means Committee. “Although the original story isn’t as pretty as we’d like, once we learned this [sic.] were off track, we have done what we can to change the process, better educate our staff and move the cases. So, we will get dinged, but we took steps before the ‘dinging’ to make things better and we have written procedures.”

That email suggests agency employees knew they had gone overboard in their scrutiny — despite top IRS officials telling Congress that there wasn’t any special scrutiny of conservative groups.

Needless to say, the Democrats on the investigating committee are claiming that there was no targeting of conservative groups. I suspect that there will be more hearings in the near future.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Stacking The Audience

In case you wondered how a President who has presided over the worst economic recovery in American history manages to draw such favorable audiences, the following story might be a clue.

Today the National Review reported that at yesterday’s speech at the University of Central Missouri, students who held tickets but were wearing Tea Party, patriotic, or other clothing deemed to be Republican inspired were not admitted to the speech. Despite the fact that the students held tickets to the event, the students were turned away due to ‘security’ concerns.

The article suggests:

I’d like to offer a helpful tip to all College Republicans who hope to attend an Obama speech in the future: Odds of admission improve if you wear a Che Guevara t-shirt, an “I Heart Kim Jong Uncampaign button, and/or a ballcap displaying the slogan “Obama Girl” prominently above the brim.

We are currently being governed by thugs who specialize in propaganda.

Enhanced by Zemanta

When Government Becomes A Bully

Today is the day that the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform holds hearings to try to find the root of the problems at the Internal Revenue Service. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is supposed to be a non-political organization that collects taxes from Americans. Unfortunately under President Obama, it seems that the IRS has become a political organization used to silence political opponents.

The Weekly Standard posted an article today listing some of the problems within the IRS and the Obama Administration that have recently been revealed.

The article reports:

Career IRS employees have testified on Capitol Hill that the federal agency’s chief counsel played a part in the scandal of targeting conseratives, the House Ways and Means Committee announced today in a press release. As a result, House Ways and Means Committee chair Dave Camp, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chair Darrell Issa, Ways and Means Subcommittee chair Charles Boustany Jr, and Oversight Subcommittee chair Jim Jordan have sent a letter to the IRS requesting “new documents related to IRS employee discussions about the 2010 election, the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, and the tax-exempt status of Tea Party groups,” a press release announces.

The Citizens United Supreme Court decision essentially leveled the playing field in terms of funding political campaigns. Before that decision, the unions had pretty much provided an unmatched, never-ending flow of money into Democrat campaign coffers. The blocking of Tea Party tax-exempt applications limited the amount of money the Tea Party would be able to put into the campaigns of conservative candidates. The Obama political machine needed to prevent the Tea Party from funding candidates that would not be in line with the objectives of the Obama Administration.

The politicization of the IRS is a danger to our representative republic. If the group in power can limit the funds available to their opponents, they can stay in power. Whether we like it or not, money is a very important part of American elections. Money pays for the advertisements that explain the views of the candidates on various issues. If you cut the funds of one candidate, you limit his ability to get his message out.

Hopefully, at the end of these hearings, those people responsible for the mistreatment of conservative organizations will face the full legal consequences of their actions.

Enhanced by Zemanta

If She Didn’t Do Anything Wrong, Why Does She Need Immunity?

I will readily admit to being a simple person–black is black, white is white, to me life is pretty simple. But sometimes when I see what goes on in our legal system and political system, I just wonder who is making the rules and if anyone making the rules has any common sense. This article is an example of my simplicity coming up against the complexity of our legal system.

Yesterday Breitbart.com reported that Lois Lerner has told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that she will not testify before them without being granted full immunity. Hmm. If she didn’t do anything wrong, why does she need full immunity?

The article reports:

On Tuesday, William W. Taylor III, attorney for Lois Lerner, the IRS official at the center of the Tea Party targeting scandal who invoked her Fifth amendment rights before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on May 22, set forward his client’s hard line conditions to return and testify openly before the committee.

“They can obtain her testimony tomorrow by doing it the easy way … immunity. That’s the way to resolve all of this,” he told Politico.

As I said–I am a simple person. If she didn’t do anything wrong, why does she need immunity?

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Two Perspectives On The Massachusetts Special Election

Yesterday Massachusetts voted for Ed Markey to replace John Kerry in the Senate. Massachusetts is a very blue state, so the results were not really a surprise, but as Scott Brown has proved, a Republican can win in Massachusetts. Scott Brown won one election. He didn’t win the second time he ran. The first time Scott Brown ran for the Senate he had the support of the Tea Party. Scott Brown made it very clear that he was not a conservative, but that he opposed ObamaCare, the issue of the day. The second time Scott Brown ran, he ran as sort of a generic independent and distanced himself from the Tea Party. He lost. Therein lies the lesson.

Michael Graham posted an article in the Boston Herald today about yesterday’s election.

Michael Graham reports:

The Gomez candidacy is the perfect reflection of the thinking of the failed Massachusetts Republican party leadership. Find a Republican who doesn’t like Republicans, make it someone with money to self-finance all the local consultants who need jobs, and — if possible — a woman or minority.

Have them run on the “I can’t wait to work with those great Democrats in D.C.” platform, spend as much time as possible criticizing the national GOP, and then ride that tide of independent voters to victory!

Gabriel Gomez met all those qualifications. And, as happened 99 times before, he lost.

DaTechGuy posted an article on his blog this morning that said pretty much the same thing in different words. He relates the events on the form of a fairy tale:

Once upon a time there was a political party in Massachusetts called the GOP that regularly lost elections for National office and that party had a choice to make.

For the 2nd time in four years they had a chance to face a Democrat after a tough primary race alone on a ballot without city counselors, town clerks,  governors counselors, ballots questions ,  state reps or senators that might have voters who supported them to help increase the Democrat party vote.

The last time this happened everyone, including the party expected to lose.  But the Tea Party base was energized, they volunteered in large numbers and they helped draw volunteers and funds from members of the GOP base nationwide.  Their candidate, with nothing to lose,  embraced that base and highlighted a single key issue that polled well among both the party and independents who made up the majority of the electorate in the campaign.

DaTechGuy points out that when Republican candidates alienate the Tea Party they lose. It’s not that the Tea Party is all that powerful, but the fact is that recently any enthusiasm and ideas in the Republican Party have come from the Tea Party.

The traditional Republican party has become part of the Washington establishment–they are more interested in holding on to power than representing the American people. There is very little difference between establishment Republicans and Democrats. The Tea Party is a direct threat to the Washington establishment–they want smaller government, lower taxes, transparency in government, etc. The Republican and Democrat parties represent themselves and the low-information voters who have no idea what is going on. As more Americans wake up to the direction our government is taking us, there will be fewer establishment candidates and more people who actually want to serve in office. Unless the establishment Republicans embrace the Tea Party, they will become a permanent minority party. As long as the Democrats have the unions and low-information voters, they will maintain their power in states like Massachusetts.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Testimony From An Internal Revenue Employee In Cincinnati

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!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Conservative Groups Fight Back

CBN News reported today that the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) is suing the IRS on behalf of 25 Tea Party and conservative groups.

The article states:

The Inspector General‘s report said a few low-level employees from the IRS Cincinnati office were involved. But Jay Sekulow, chief counsel with the American Center for Law & Justice, says he has new evidence showing the targeting of conservative groups went beyond a few agents in a single city.

“This is a letter from the United States Department of Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Washington, D.C.,” Sekulow said. “We have the letter; we have the documents.”

“These aren’t hard to get,” he added. “Their agents wrote them to us: 15 agents, four different offices.”

It would seem that if four different offices were involved that the scandal may have involved more than a few rogue agents in Cincinnati.

The article further states:

Meanwhile, the scope and breadth of the allegations have many wondering what the tax agency was really up to.

“When a government decides to start targeting its own citizens for no other reason than political affiliation we all have a right to be very, very scared,” Adam Brandon, executive vice president of FreedomWorks, told CBN News.

The IRS sent out questionnaires wanting to know what books people read, their Facebook posts, donor names. Some groups were even asked to give information about their prayers.

The IRS is not supposed to be a political playground. Whoever was using it as such needs to be held accountable.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

The People Who Are Winning The Economic Lottery In President Obama’s Second Term

The economy is recovering at the speed of snails. The last raise my husband received paid more to the government than it did to him–and he is one of the lucky ones who has a steady job. So who is prospering in the current economy?

On April 25, Forbes Magazine posted a list of America‘s wealthiest counties:

While Loudoun (VA) ranks at the top, it’s far from alone on the list of wealthiest counties that surround Washington. In fact, it’s just the beginning. The neighboring counties of Falls Church City, Fairfax, Arlington and Prince William in Virginia and Howard County in Maryland all make the cut, giving the D.C. area six of the nation’s ten wealthiest counties. All boast median household incomes between $93,000 and $117,000 annually.

This is one of many reasons why the Tea Party exists. This is also one of many reasons why the Tea Party is such a threat to the government establishment (both Democrats and Republicans). But it gets even more interesting…

Clarice Feldman posted an article at American Thinker today about how the current scandals are impacting the pocketbooks of Washington lawyers. The article is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but makes some really good points. The scene is a Washington bistro frequented by lawyers, politicians, and upper-level civil servants. The restaurant is packed with lawyers celebrating the coming uptick of business in Washington.

This is just a sample of the article–please follow the link above to read the entire article:

“What are the colored badges for?” I asked.

“They signify which scandal defendants they are representing so they can exchange useful procedural and related information without disclosing who they are representing or breaching client confidentiality. The orange tag means the attorney is representing someone in the Benghazi scandal.”

“I see seven — probably Petraeus, Clinton, Rice, Donilon, Brennan, Nuland, Rhodes. And the blue badge?” I asked, sipping the drink.

IRS scandal,” George whispered, wiping the counter to appear more inconspicuous.

“Hmm,” I thought, “Shulman, Ingram, Miller, Lerner, and some others to be named at a later date. And the red badge?”

“Small table — must be Justice officials on the Associated Press scandal.”

“Yeah, so far Holder and his deputy Cole. Will Cole cover for Holder who preposterously testified he recused himself because he speaks to the press, that he can’t remember when he recused himself, and that he didn’t follow the statutory mandate for recusal procedure?”

“You did notice,” Joe laughed, “that the ‘security breach’ which Holder claims occasioned the wiretapping of reporters turns out to be AP waiting to publish until they got the CIA’s approval but before the White House crowd could publicly pat themselves on the back for getting the underwear bomber?”

“Wasn’t that something? The whole story is too flimsy to hold a drop of water and even the press can grasp this one.”

At least someone is actually prospering in the Obama economy.

Enhanced by Zemanta