News behind the news. This picture is me (white spot) standing on the bridge connecting European and North American tectonic plates. It is located in the Reykjanes area of Iceland. By-the-way, this is a color picture.
Today’s Daily Caller posted a story about former Internal Revenue Service commissioner Douglas H. Shulman, a frequent White House guest during the period when the IRS was targeting conservative nonprofits. Mr. Shulman is married to Susan L. Anderson, senior program advisor for Public Campaign, an “organization dedicated to sweeping campaign reform that aims to dramatically reduce the role of big special interest money in American politics.” I don’t have a problem with the idea of reducing special interest money in American politics as long as the reductions include both unions and corporations. So far, those suggesting these changes are only citing corporations and conservatives.
Ted Williams was called into the Army during the Korean War. At the time he had a wife and a child. He was offered the chance to avoid combat by playing on a service baseball team, but chose to go into combat instead. It had been eight years since he had flown an aircraft.
Mr. Mirengoff at Power Line relates a story about Ted Williams that was shared by John McCain during the “Straight Talk Express.” John McCain admired Ted Williams, who served as a fighter pilot in two wars.
The article reports:
During a mission in North Korea, Williams’ fighter plane was crippled by a strike that knocked out its hydraulics and electrical systems. The plane already was on fire when an explosion rocked its undercarriage as it approached the landing strip.
Williams pulled off a wheels-up “belly” landing, skidding along the tarmac with sparks flying for almost a mile before coming to a stop. The nose burst into flames, threatening the cockpit. Williams blew off the canopy, struggled out of the plane, and, after limping clear of it, hit the ground.
John McCain one asked Ted Williams about the incident–why he didn’t eject instead of attempting such a dangerous landing.
The article reports the answer:
Williams explained that, at six feet three inches tall, he believed he would have blown out both knees had he ejected himself from the cramped cockpit. And that would have meant the end of his baseball-playing career. Therefore, he decided he had to land the plane.
Sometimes we just don’t know what goes into the thought processes of a hero.
However, as the article reports, we are not out of the woods yet:
Republican lawmakers passed voter photo ID requirements two years ago, saying the move was needed to combat election fraud. The league wasn’t the only group that challenged the law. The immigrant rights group Voces de la Frontera and the Milwaukee branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People also filed a lawsuit in Dane County Circuit Court, winning a permanent injunction blocking it. That injunction still stands, although the state Justice Department has asked the 2nd District Court of Appeals to review the case.
One of the chief authors of the voter ID law, Rep. Jeff Stone, R-Greendale, began circulating a new bill last week that would let poor people opt out. That bill is aimed at allaying concerns that requirements in the original bill are too burdensome.
The law requires voters to show either a state-issued ID card, valid driver’s license, U.S. passport, a student ID that expires within two years or a military ID.
I am not impressed by the claim that obtaining a photo ID would be burdensome for some people. You need photo ID for a lot of things today, and a state program to provide photo ID’s for residents would actually help the residents. You can’t buy cigarettes or alcoholic beverages without an ID, you can’t get a book from the library without an ID, you can’t board a plane without an ID, and if you drive, your license is your ID. Having a photo ID is not a bad thing.
Yesterday Breitbart.com posted an article by Colonel David Hunt about Benghazi. I thought we had heard everything we needed to know about Benghazi, but Colonel Hunt reminds us of something that may have gone unnoticed in the controversy.
Colonel Hunt reminds us of events leading up to the attack at Benghazi. He then reminds us of something that somehow has gotten lost in the discussion:
This all means that on September 11, 2012, our national security apparatus was on full alert. It means everyone was briefed. This is how it works; no games, no conjecture, no television and movie looks, just real battle in real time with real lives at risk.
The road to that indecision is littered with policy and leadership failures that culminated in an American mission and clandestine CIA base being attacked and the murder of our Ambassador and three dedicated Americans doing their jobs. However, the one person responsible for it all is the one man who could have, but refused to, even try to stop the carnage… the President of the United States.
All the President had to say within the first two hours while being briefed by the Secretary of Defense was, “Send in a response force.” This command, followed by his signature on a paper called Cross Border Authority, would have ordered the Department of Defense to do everything and anything to save lives in Benghazi, Libya.
The real question is, “Why was that order never given?”
Yesterday I posted an article about the number of dead people collecting welfare benefits in Massachusetts (rightwinggranny.com). Well, it seems as if Massachusetts is not the only state that can’t keep track of where welfare dollars are going.
Over a 22-month period, New Jersey paid nearly $24 million in unemployment, welfare, pension and other benefits to 20,000 people who did not qualify for them because they were in prison, according to a report from the state comptroller released on Wednesday.
…Some of the people in prison — those whose Medicaid benefits were paid out to managed care organizations, for instance — may not have been aware they were defrauding the state. In other cases, the fraud seemed deliberate; in addition to the $24 million in benefits improperly paid out, the audit found that 13 state employees had used sick leave to cover their time in prison. (The report said this resulted in “relatively immaterial amounts of improper payments.”)
One of the questions that immediately comes to mind when I read that last paragraph is, “What were the state employees doing in prison and how long were they there?” Can you imaging anyone in the private sector having enough sick leave to cover a prison term?
I think we can safely conclude at this time that the ‘safety net’ is broken. It’s not broken because it is not helping people who genuinely need it–it is broken because it is subsidizing lifestyles of people who do not need or deserve to be subsidized.
I suspect that what has happened in Massachusetts and New Jersey regarding welfare payments going to people who were either dead or not entitled to them is only the tip of the iceberg. We have people in this country working hard, scrimping to get buy, and being taxed to death to support fraud. It’s time we held states accountable for how they spend taxpayers’ money. If a state is not doing a good job, it’s time to elect new officials. Voters need to pay attention and take a stand.
This treaty is ostensibly aimed at putting an end to gun trafficking across international boundaries, and both Breitbart News and the NRA have argued that it will eventually require an international gun registry in order to be enforceable.
The ATT also provides the executive branch of our government with broad powers for controlling which guns do and don’t come into the country, and includes ambiguous language that a gun-control-friendly administration can use to its advantage.
Even though Obama will sign this treaty, it is not enforceable in the U.S. until the Senate ratifies it by a two-thirds majority.
America is one of the few functioning republics in the world. Part of our freedom rests on the citizens’ ability to own guns under the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, which states:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
If Americans choose to retain their freedom, they need to speak out against those bills and treaties that work against the Constitution. Since President Obama was not able to push gun control legislature through Congress, he is doing an end run around Congress via this United Nations treaty. Please call your Senator and tell him (or her) not to support this treaty–it will not stop international arms trade–it will only take guns away from law-abiding Americans.
I know that there are a lot of people collecting welfare benefits and that makes it hard to keep track of every penny, but Massachusetts has taken inefficiency to a new level. WCVB reported yesterday that an audit of the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance identified 1,164 cases where recipients continued to receive a total of $2.39 million in benefits from six to 27 months after they were reported to be deceased.
The report, which covered food stamps, cash, and other benefits to low-income families, estimated that recipients using a dead person’s Social Security number alone received at least $2.4 million in between July 2010 and April 2012. It also flagged another $15 million in suspicious transactions from electronic benefit cards during the two-and-a-half-year period the auditor reviewed.
Boston.com also reported:
The state auditor also found another $15 million in suspicious transitions on electronic benefit cards – including nearly $5 million where all the food benefits were withdrawn at once; $4.6 million in transactions from distant states or territories (including Hawaii, Florida, and Puerto Rico); $3.6 million where recipients made multiple purchases or withdrawals within an hour; $1.5 million where recipients regularly rang up transactions in even dollar amounts (such as $100) and $840,000 where a card number was manually entered into a retail terminal instead of being swiped (suggesting a card user may have stolen the card number, but didn’t have the actual card).
This is taxpayers’ money. If those responsible for spending it cannot do a better job of being responsible, we should stop giving them the money.
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.
“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.
Last night I attended a forum on Common Core at the Worcester Public Library. The forum was sponsored by the Back to Basics Caucus, a coalition of school committee members from across Massachusetts. The speakers were Sandra Stotsky, an ELA Curriculum Author, and Ted Rebarber, a Costs and Accountability Expert.
Common Core is a controversial initiative to align curriculum standards among all 50 states. It is being attacked from both the left and the right for many reasons, but mainly because it is seen as a top down Federal takeover of state and local education programs. It is a “one size fits all” curriculum.
Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal posted an article by James Gass and Charles Chieppo (I have not linked to the article because it is subscribers only) entitled, “Common Core Education Is Uncommonly Inadequate.” The story they tell hits very close to home–it’s about Massachusetts, where I live and sent my children to school.
The article in the Wall Street Journal cites the changes in Massachusetts education during the 1990’s. Education in the state was reformed in 1993, and SAT scores rose for thirteen consecutive years. In 2005 Massachusetts scored best in the nation in all grades and categories on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. They have repeated that performance every time they have taken the test. Massachusetts is doing very well educationally right now.
In 2010 Massachusetts joined Common Core, which is supposed to be fully implemented by Spring of 2014. Common Core has some serious problems–scholastically and legally.
The Wall Street Journal states:
…Three federal laws explicitly prohibit the U.S. government from directing, supervising or controlling any nationalized standards, testing or curriculum. Yet Race to the Top, a federal education grant competition that dangled $4.35 billion in front of states, favored applications that adopted Common Core. The Education Department subsequently awarded $362 million to fund two national assessments and a “model curriculum” that is “aligned with” Common Core.
Academically the standards for Common Core are lower than those currently in effect in Massachusetts–so why in the world would we want to change? Therein lies the question.
American education is at a crossroads: One path leads toward further centralization and greater federal intervention. The other path leads toward robust education choice, including school choice and choice in curricula.
Common Core takes the path toward centralization, and state leaders should seize the moment to resist this latest federal overreach. National standards and tests are a challenge to educational freedom in America, and state and local leaders who believe in limited government should resist them.
Common Core was put together without the input of the teachers who educate our children. Some of its backers are the Gates Foundation and the Pearson company.
At the present time there are no reliable cost estimates for the change to Common Core. There is no cost-benefit analysis.
The thought of putting all local education under the control of Washington is scary. We have local school committees that are elected–they are accountable to the voters. We need to make sure that the local school committees control local education. Anything else is destined for failure.
When is a victim not a victim? Well, maybe when his ‘victimization’ is the result of his own attitudes and actions. American Thinker posted a story today about the side of Trayvon Martinthe media has somehow neglected to show us.
While painting George Zimmerman as a racist who murdered a saintly black man, the media left out a whole bunch of information as to who Trayvon Martin was. The American Thinker posted evidence released by George Zimmerman’s attorneys showing that Mr. Martin obviously had a rather large chip on his shoulder and a tendency toward drugs and violence. The article details some of Trayvon Martin’s training and use of mixed martial arts in his rather violent existence. I strongly suggest following the link above and reading the entire article.
The article reminds us:
Before leaving for Orlando on February 21, 2012, Martin had already missed 53 days of school that year and been suspended three times, most recently for possessing drug paraphernalia, the time before that for getting caught with women’s jewelry and a burglary tool. Why might this be relevant?
When George Zimmerman first spotted Martin near the shortcut into a community plagued by burglaries and home invasions, he told the dispatcher, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something.” Zimmerman might have been right on both counts.
Had the school district police not been ordered to suppress crime statistics, especially for black males, Martin would likely have been arrested at least twice, and that might have snapped his parents out of their fog. Instead, as the new evidence reveals, he was allowed to live out his increasingly angry, aberrant life as though he were merely a bit mischievous.
Supposedly in the American justice system, a man is innocent until proven guilty. For some reason, the media has decided to try George Zimmerman in the press and declare him guilty. In order to do this, the press has had to overlook some pretty strong indications that Trayvon Martin was not the choir boy they are painting him as. Hopefully, the trial of George Zimmerman will be more objective than the press coverage surrounding the case.
Thomas Sowell posted an article at National Review today about the recent Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations hearings. First of all, I would like to state that I was not even aware that there was a Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Secondly, I would like to state that I suspect they are much more active when the Senate and the White House are held by different parties. Since that is not currently the case, I was a bit surprised by one of their recent hearings.
Apple CEO Tim Cook was called before the Committee and publicly chastised for the fact that Apple ‘does not pay enough taxes.’ According to Mr. Sowell, Apple pays $16 million a day in taxes. It seems to me that would be enough for anyone.
The article points out that Apple is not doing anything illegal–they are simply following the tax code and taking advantage of the tax breaks they are entitled to in the tax code. At this point it might be a good idea to remember who writes the tax code–Congress!
The article notes:
Apple CEO Tim Cook was denounced for contributing to “a worrisome federal deficit,” according to Senator Carl Levin (D., Mich.) – one of the big-spending liberals in Congress who has had a lot more to do with creating that deficit than any private citizen has.
Therein lies the problem–it is easier to blame a successful businessman for the deficit than to take actual steps to correct the spending addiction of Congress and the current President.
The article points out:
What is a tax “loophole”? It is a provision in the law that allows an individual or an organization to pay less in taxes than they would be required to pay otherwise. Since Congress puts these provisions in the law, it is a little much when members of Congress denounce people who use those provisions to reduce their taxes.
If such provisions are bad, then members of Congress should blame themselves and repeal the provisions. Words like “gimmicks” and “loopholes” suggest that people are doing something wrong when they don’t pay any more in taxes than the law requires.
Are people who buy homes and deduct the interest they pay on their mortgages when filing their tax returns using a “gimmick” or a “loophole”? Or are only other people’s deductions to be depicted as somehow wrong, while our own are OK?
Next year when you fill out your tax return, think about your own ‘loopholes’? Is your home mortgage deduction a ‘loophole’? If you live in a state with a substantial personal income tax that you deduct, is that a ‘loophole’?
What happened in the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations was a example of the government publicly bullying a law-abiding citizen. That is not a good direction for the country to be heading.
The article concludes:
No American government can take away all our freedoms at one time. But a slow and steady erosion of freedom can accomplish the same thing on the installment plan. We have already gone too far down that road. F. A. Hayek called it “the road to serfdom.” How far we continue down that road depends on whether we keep our eye on the ball — freedom — or allow ourselves to be distracted by predatory demagogues like Senator Carl Levin.
Of all the dangers facing our country, perhaps the greatest danger of all is the one that still doesn’t make many headlines — our collective national amnesia. Our history textbooks are sanitized to be politically correct and give our children little sense of the greatness of the nation they live in. The Founders are seldom mentioned unless it is part of a controversy about slavery or some other scandal.
I am often struck by how often decent American kids have nothing good to say about their own country. Their knowledge of the sacrifices made to establish and preserve their freedom is virtually non-existent. They are the recipients of the greatest freedom and opportunity that any society has ever produced, yet they are unaware of the price in flesh and blood that was paid for it.
At my father’s table, I learned love of country in a way that only a Marine could teach it. Dad taught me that patriotism wasn’t a theory — it was flesh and blood, real sacrifice and pain. You are your children’s most important teacher. They are listening.
This weekend, as we celebrate Memorial Day, tell your children about the sacrifices that had to be made to stop the march of fascism and the cancer of communism. Tell them about the beaches of Normandy and the Bataan Death March. Tell them about why there was a Berlin Wall and how free men brought it down.
Remind them about 9/11, what happened at the Pentagon and over the fields of Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Take just a minute in the next three days to teach them to love the things we love and honor the things we honor.
On Friday, Ryan Lizza posted an article in “The New Yorker” entitled, “How Prosecutors Fought to Keep Rosen’s Warrant Secret.” In order to keep the warrant secret, they had to call Rosen a co-conspirator to the crime of espionage.
Ronald C. Machen, Jr., the U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a former State Department adviser who allegedly leaked classified information to Rosen, wrote “some investigations are continued for many years because, while the evidence is not yet sufficient to bring charges, it is sufficient to have identified criminal subjects and/or criminal activity serious enough to justify continuation of the investigation.”
I am not a lawyer, but let me see if I understand this. There is not enough evidence to bring charges, so we will keep snooping through Rosen’s e-mail until we find something we can nail him with. With any luck at all, we might find an affair as we did with General Petraeus, and we can use that against him to get him under our control.
The article reports:
The new documents show that two judges separately declared that the Justice Department was required to notify Rosen of the search warrant, even if the notification came after a delay. Otherwise: “The subscriber therefore will never know, by being provided a copy of the warrant, for example, that the government secured a warrant and searched the contents of her e-mail account,” Judge John M. Facciola wrote in an opinion rejecting the Obama Administration’s argument.
Rosen was not indicted in the case. Kim was indicted for making unauthorized disclosures of national defense information and for making false statements to F.B.I. agents about his contacts with Rosen.
The article in the New Yorker includes pictures of all the relevant court documents. Please follow the link above to follow the events.
Attorney General Holder has been asked by President Obama to review the Justice Department’s policies concerning investigations of the media. That is really interesting since Attorney General Holder was the one who personally approved the warrant to search James Rosen’s email. Obviously, the investigation will prove that everyone in the administration was totally blameless.
Friday’s Washington Times posted an article about President Obama’s recent speech on terrorism. The President explained that the threat of terrorist attacks in the United States has returned to pre-9/11 levels. That’s a great idea, but there are a few problems with it. First of all, even though it was not obvious until 9/11, the threat was there–we were fortunate to stop the millennium bomber who was planning to blow up LAX, we were not so fortunate in Oklahoma City, and I am sure there were many thwarted attacks we were unaware of. We really weren’t all that safe before 9/11, and we are even less safe now.
The article reports:
The Heritage Foundation has been cataloguing foiled terror attacks post-9/11 by Islamic groups. The number: 54.
Representative Campbell was a successful businessman before entering Congress and has the ability to get things done. He was obviously not impressed with the answers he received from Secretary Lew.
Representative Campbell posted the following parody on his laptop report:
Now, based on what you just saw from Sec. Jack Lew (and from my previous experience with him), I present for your further enjoyment a fictional dramatizationof my hypothetical question to him, “Is the sky ever blue?”:
Campbell: So, Secretary Lew, is the sky ever blue?
Lew: Well, Congressman, that depends. Sometime there are clouds. The clouds can be light grey or…
Campbell: I understand that there can be clouds, Secretary Lew. My question is if you believe that the sky is ever blue?
Lew: This is really quite complicated. Sometime it can be dark at night and you can’t really tell what color the sky is. Is it really black or another color that you can’t see? It could be….
Campbell: No Mr. Lew. I didn’t ask if the sky was black. I asked if it is ever blue. Have you ever seen a blue sky?
Lew: I have never had anything to do with the color of the sky, either as Treasury Secretary or as President Obama’s Chief of Staff. But, I assure you that the President is very interested in this subject and we intend to investigate this thoroughly.
Campbell: Secretary Lew. It’s really not that complicated. Have you ever seen a blue sky or has anyone ever told you that the sky was blue?
Lew: It’s important that we thoroughly investigate all the facts before conclusions are drawn in any such matter involving celestial bodies and the movement thereof. The latest report from the Inspector General did not contain any facts about the color of the sky, although it did acknowledge that the sky, in fact, exists. Therefore, it would be premature for me to make any assertions about the color until all the facts are in. But, I assure you that we will work tirelessly in pursuit of those facts…just as diligently as OJ Simpson pursued the real killer of his wife.
Campbell: How about this, Mr. Secretary? Have you personally ever even wondered what color the sky is?
Lew: I don’t think it’s productive to speculate on such things over which the administration has no control and which, at this point, really don’t matter.
Campbell: Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time since the Secretary has clearly yielded his common sense.
That is the current state of the search for answers in the power abuse by the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservatives and conservative groups.
I really think that the people in our government have an obligation to be honest with the American public except when national security issues are truly at stake. That may be a minority opinion, but it is my opinion. Right now there are a number of scandals floating around the Obama Administration, and the problem with most of them is that the government overreached and then tried to hide what it did.
One of those scandals is the snooping against Fox News reporter James Rosen. The snooping was outrageous–even to the point of going after the phone records of Mr. Rosen’s parents. Well, the plot thickens…
Last week, under relatively friendly questioning from Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) about the Department of Justice seizure of Associated Press phone records, Johnson asked about the potential to prosecute reporters under the Espionage Act of 1917. ”You’ve got a long way to go to try to prosecute the press for publication of material,” Holder responded.
Later, though, he returned to the topic unbidden, emphasis mine (at the 5-minute mark):
In regard to potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material. This is not something I’ve ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be wise policy.
The article explains the problem:
As it turns out, Holder not only heard of it, he personally approved it. The warrant in the Rosen case specified that he was considered a potential suspect in the leak of classified material, the reason that the DoJ didn’t bother to follow the existing Watergate-era statute in coordinating the records request with Fox News. And note that Holder’s testimony in this case wasn’t produced by some sophisticated perjury trap sprung by a Republican, but as a freely-offered representation to no particular question during the question period of a Democrat.
This contradiction raises some rather serious questions. First of all, was Attorney General Holder lying when he said he was not part of the snooping on James Rosen?
The problem for Holder is that we now know he personally signed off on the order to get a subpoena for Fox News’ James Rosen’s phone records. The entire basis of the warrant for those records relies on Rosen being a potential conspirator and therefore potentially prosecuted.
According to the DoJ’s subpoena, Google surrendered Rosen’s emails, who is described as “an aider and abettor and/or co-conspirator,” to the government.
I’m sure Holder and his allies will say that they never intended to prosecute Rosen, but that’s 1) not the point and 2) even worse. If that’s their defense, they knowingly lied to the judge who would, hopefully, reject the request if they admitted it was just a fishing expedition for information.
They’re stuck. Either he (by signing the request for the records) lied to the judge or Holder lied directly to Congress.
It will be interesting to see how Congress reacts when they realize they have been lied to.
Fox News posted an article today explaining the problem of promoting Victoria Nuland:
Nuland’s statements on Benghazi are sure to be thoroughly examined.
On Sept. 17, 2012, six days after the attack, she declined to label it an act of terrorism.
“I don’t think we know enough. I don’t think we know enough,” she said.
That was a day after U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice said on several Sunday shows that the strike was triggered by protests over an anti-Islam film. Rice for months has been the target of Republican ire over the administration’s mixed signals on the attack narrative. But a set of emails released by the Obama administration this month in fact showed Nuland and other officials involved in editing the talking points before Rice’s appearance.
Nuland challenged references to extremists being involved in the attack, and objected to references to prior security warnings and incidents.
The things Ms. Nuland said were outright lies. Even if she was pressured into lying by her superiors, has it become a policy of our government to promote people who lie? Don’t we need people in the government who will stand up and tell the truth regardless of the consequences?
I am sure Victoria Nuland has been a valued member of the State Department. I have a problem, however, promoting someone who chose departmental loyalty over loyalty to the American people. Was she required to take an oath pledging to uphold the U. S. Constitution? If she was, I suspect that her actions after Benghazi violated that oath. It is unfortunate that she got caught up in this mess, but it also unfortunate that she made the choice to lie to the American people.
On Aug. 21, 2008, the conservative American Issues Project (AIP) ran an ad highlighting ties between candidate Obama and Bill Ayers, formerly of the Weather Underground. The Obama campaign and supporters were furious, and they pressured TV stations to pull the ad—a common-enough tactic in such ad spats.
What came next was not common. Bob Bauer, general counsel for the campaign (and later general counsel for the White House), on the same day wrote to the criminal division of the Justice Department, demanding an investigation into AIP, “its officers and directors,” and its “anonymous donors.” Mr. Bauer claimed that the nonprofit, as a 501(c)(4), was committing a “knowing and willful violation” of election law, and wanted “action to enforce against criminal violations.”
After the charges, AIP gave the Justice Department a full explanation of its activities, stating that it was operating in a manner similar to the operations of groups like Naral Pro-Choice. AIP also disclosed its donor, Texas businessman Harold Simmons. Mr. Bauer then sent a second letter to the Justice Department asking that Mr. Simmons be prosecuted. On September 8, Mr. Bauer sent a third letter. On that date Mr. Bauer also complained to the Federal Elections Commission about AIP and Mr. Simmons. He than demanded that AIP turn over certain documents to his campaign–some of those documents they were entitled to and some they were not.
Mr. Bauer set an example soon followed by other left-sing groups:
The Bauer onslaught was a big part of a new liberal strategy to thwart the rise of conservative groups. In early August 2008, the New York Times trumpeted the creation of a left-wing group (a 501(c)4) called Accountable America. Founded by Obama supporter and liberal activist Tom Mattzie, the group—as the story explained—would start by sending “warning” letters to 10,000 GOP donors, “hoping to create a chilling effect that will dry up contributions.” The letters would alert “right-wing groups to a variety of potential dangers, including legal trouble, public exposure and watchdog groups digging through their lives.” As Mr. Mattzie told Mother Jones: “We’re going to put them at risk.”
In 2008, Mr. Bauer also went after supporters of Hillary Clinton and John Edwards:
American Leadership head (and Democrat) Jason Kinney would rail that Mr. Bauer had gone from “credible legal authority” to “political hatchet man”—but the damage was done. As Politico reported in August 2008, Mr. Bauer’s words had “the effect of scaring [Clinton and Edwards] donors and consultants,” even if they hadn’t yet “result[ed] in any prosecution.”
As general counsel to the Obama re-election campaign, Mr. Bauer used the same tactics on pro-Romney groups. The Obama campaign targeted private citizens who had donated to Romney groups. Democratic senators demanded that the IRS investigate these organizations.
So what have we learned? The targeting of any group opposed to Barack Obama was an everyday event during President Obama’s 2008 campaign. The targeting was not related to the Citizens United Supreme Court Decision–it was related to the way the Obama campaign did business. The same tactics were used in 2012 that were used in 2008–the only thing different were the political opponents.
We may never officially know whether President Obama was directly involved in the IRS’s targeting of conservatives and conservative groups. What we do know is that President Obama does not believe in a level playing field when running for election. During the past five years, America has gotten a not-so-free lesson on how Chicago politics works. I just hope we are paying attention.
And then the news: “I have raised these issues with the attorney general, who shares my concern. So he has agreed to review existing Department of Justice guidelines governing investigations that involve reporters, and will convene a group of media organizations to hear their concerns as part of that review. And I have directed the attorney general to report back to me by July 12th.”
So Eric Holder is going to investigate Eric Holder. This should be interesting. We all know how that will turn out.