The Internal Revenue Service Scandal Raises More Questions Than It Answers

Yesterday’s Daily Caller posted a story that asked the following question:

…could someone at the IRS have leaked Romney’s tax information to Reid? At the time, Reid claimed he learned of Romney’s tax background from someone who had once been an investor in Romney’s firm, though he wouldn’t say who.

The question arises because it has come to light that for the last two years, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been targeting conservative groups and leaking confidential information to liberal groups.

Harry Reid used his position as Senate Majority Leader to level charges at Mitt Romney that would have been impossible to disprove without totally compromising any bit of privacy Governor Romney might have had. In essence, he demanded that Mitt Romney prove a negative. The narrative went something like this:

In an interview with The Huffington Post, Reid claimed he had been called by someone who had invested in Romney’s former firm, Bain Capital. That person said Romney didn’t pay taxes for 10 years.

“He didn’t pay taxes for 10 years! Now, do I know that that’s true? Well, I’m not certain,” Reid told the liberal news outlet. “But obviously he can’t release those tax returns. How would it look?”

Romney’s campaign denied Reid’s accusations, eventually releasing a summary of the former Massachusetts governor’s taxes that — according to Romney staffers — showed he paid taxes over the last 20 years.

But Reid continued to argue that Romney’s tax returns included something that the Republican didn’t want everyone to see.

“He’s hiding something,” Reid said on a conference call. “He’s hiding something! It is so evident he’s hiding something!”

First of all, I seriously doubt the charges were true. However, since when did investors get to see the tax returns of board members of the companies in which they were investing? If in fact Harry Reid actually knew anything about Mitt Romney’s tax returns, where did he get that information?

Just a note–last year was the first year my husband and I have ever been audited. I am on the membership list of a number of conservative groups that probably have applied for tax exempt status. Hopefully, that is just a coincidence.

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One Final Analysis Of The Election

One of the best analyses of this year’s Presidential election can be found on the Brody File at David Brody is the political correspondent for CBN and does a very concise job of breaking down the reasons for President Obama’s victory. The Brody File is a video about 30 minutes long and is well worth watching.

David Brody cites three main reasons for Mitt Romney‘s loss of the election:

1. Mitt Romney was the wrong candidate. He was the candidate put forward by the Republican establishment. As a candidate, Mitt Romney was not what the Republican base wanted–he was part of the GOP establishment–not the party base. Right now there are some serious gaps between the GOP establishment and the base of the party.

2. Mitt Romney was defined early by the Obama campaign–not by the Romney campaign. In April, May and June, the Obama campaign ran personal attack ads directed at Mitt Romney defining him as a rich businessman from Bain Capital who was going to ship everyone’s job overseas. He was accused of everything from causing a man’s wife to die of cancer to animal abuse. The Romney camp did not respond to the charges at the time, and that image of Mitt Romney was established.

3. The American electorate is changing. The GOP never reached out to the Hispanics, other minorities, or the youth vote. In 1996, 10 percent of American voters were non-whites. In 2012, 21 percent of American voters were non-whites. The Republican campaigns did not take into consideration the fact that the demographics of American voters have changed.

For me, the bottom line in this election is the split between the Republican establishment and the Tea Party. I voted for Mitt Romney. He is a good man who would have done a good job. However, I would have preferred a candidate who was more clearly a conservative. I believe a true conservative would have beaten Barack Obama.

I seriously doubt that the Republican establishment has learned from this experience. I suspect that when the new Congress convenes in January, it will have the same Republican leadership. Until we get the establishment out of Washington–both Republican and Democrat establishment–we will continue down the path we are currently on. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Right now that is a pretty good description of the American voter.

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History Repeats Itself

In 2004, Barack Obama was campaigning to become a U. S. Senator from Illinois. After he opponent, Jack Ryan, dropped out of the race, Barack Obama easily won. What happened?

According to a Slate Magazine article from June 23, 2004:

Records from the 1999 divorce of Illinois Senate candidate Jack Ryan were unsealed Monday, and the revelations contained therein are spooking some of his supporters. The documents contain allegations from his ex-wife, actress Jeri Ryan, that her then-husband had a predilection for taking her to raunchy sex clubs. Both Ryans opposed the unsealing of the divorce records. Why was the court permitted to overrule their wishes?

Because the First Amendment rights of media organizations generally supercede the privacy rights of litigants, since the American legal system favors transparency in all court proceedings. In the Ryan case, the Chicago Tribune and a Chicago TV station sued in Los Angeles (where the divorce proceedings took place) to unseal the records. In keeping with prior rulings nationwide, the court concluded that the public’s right of access outweighed whatever emotional distress the unsealing might cause.

The records were extremely embarrassing to Jack Ryan, and he dropped out of the race.

Fast forward to 2012. Yesterday Fox News reported:

DNC delegate and partisan Democrat lawyer Gloria Allred attended the “30 Days to Victory” Obama fundraiser at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on October 7th.

…Now, two weeks later Allred is spearheading an “October surprise” targeting Mitt Romney just days before the election.

Allred is looking to unseal testimony that the GOP presidential candidate gave in the divorce case of Staples founder Tom Stemberg. Staples was founded with seed money from Romney’s firm, Bain Capital and Stemberg is a Romney surrogate. Allred appeared in court today with ex-wife Maureen Stemberg.  Many are wondering if there is any coordination between the Obama campaign and Gloria Allred, considering the relationship involved…

The testimony in question revolves around the fact that Ms. Stemberg was not told that Stapes planned to go public three years after the divorce  (Ms. Stemberg sold her Staples stock before that event–not realizing the increase that would come). The court document points out that the plan to go public was not a definite plan and that there was no way to know when and if it would happen.

The Weekly Standard posted the 1994 document that allowed the original divorce agreement to stand. It concludes that Ms. Stemberg did not prove “fraud, culpable nondisclosure, duress, coercion or undue influence.

Evidently President Obama’s approach to dealing with campaign opponents has not significantly changed over the years.


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Rules For Thee, But Not For Me

National Review‘s The Corner posted an article yesterday about Gawker Media, a website that has been very free with its criticism of Mitt Romney‘s financial dealings.

The article reports:

The gossip site also has released some 950 pages of material related to Mitt Romney’s investments, mostly having to do with Bain Capital. In Gawker’s own words: “Together, they reveal the mind-numbing, maze-like, and deeply opaque complexity with which Romney has handled his $250 million fortune.”

There was nothing illegal (or even interesting) in the material released, but there is more to the story.

In December 2010, the New Yorker reported:

Gawker is organized like an international money-laundering operation. Much of its international revenues are directed through Hungary, where Denton’s mother hails from, and where some of the firm’s techies are located. But that is only part of it. Recently, Salmon reports, the various Gawker operations—Gawker Media LLC, Gawker Entertainment LLC, Gawker Technology LLC, Gawker Sales LLC—have been restructured to bring them under control of a shell company based in the Cayman Islands, Gawker Media Group Inc.

Why would a relatively small media outfit based in Soho choose to incorporate itself in a Caribbean locale long favored by insider dealers, drug cartels, hedge funds, and other entities with lots of cash they don’t want to advertise? The question virtually answers itself, but for those unversed in the intricacies of international tax avoidance Salmon spells it out: “The result is a company where 130 U.S. employees eat up the lion’s share of the the U.S. revenues, resulting in little if any taxable income, while the international income, the franchise value of the brands, and the value of the technology all stays permanently overseas, untouched by the I.R.S.”

Maybe the real villain in this story is the IRS.
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A New Low In Political Ads

The group Priorities USA has produced a pro-Obama ad recently that essentially blames Governor Romney for the death of Joe Soptic’s wife. It seems that Mrs. Soptic died seven years after Governor Romney left Bain Capital. A company that Bain Capital had invested in during the time that Governor Romney led the company had gone out of business, and Mr. Soptic lost his health insurance. Thus Mr. Soptic blames that fact (and Mitt Romney) for his wife’s eventual death from cancer.

Breitbart posted an article yesterday explaining more of the timeline.

Breitbart reports:

The emotional thrust of the new ad is Soptic blaming Romney and Bain Capital for his wife’s death. He says she became ill “a short time” after he lost his job and his health care. But the timeline being presented in this ad is extremely misleading. According to a notice in the Kansas City Star uncovered by Politico, Soptic’s wife died in June 2006. That’s five years after the GST Steel plant was closed in 2001 and more than seven years after Romney left management of Bain to work on the 2002 Olympics in February 1999.

Politico asked Priorities USA to explain what Mitt Romney had to do with the death of a woman years after he’d left the company. Priorities strategist Bill Burton responded “We’re illustrating how long it took for communities and individuals to recover from the closing of these businesses.” But length of impact is clearly not what the ad tries to depict. It says the illness happened “a short time after” and then emphasizes the wife’s death just 22 days after being admitted to the hospital. In other words, the ad is intentionally misleading, suggesting to viewers that this happened shortly after the plant was closed, not years later.

The article further points out that Mrs. Soptic was still employed after her husband lost his job and still had health insurance until about 2002 or 2003.

I have a few comments on this. Why in the world would a husband exploit the death of his wife for political purposes when the facts don’t add up? What was the husband thinking? The ad is so outrageous to begin with, are the American voters supposed to take it seriously? Why lie about something that can be so easily checked? During my working career I worked for two different companies that were closed down, can I blame them for the fact that I was not able to save enough money so that I didn’t have to take out loans for my children’s college education?

I am truly sorry that Mr. Soptic lost his wife to cancer. That has to be a devastating experience. I also understand that ‘blame’ may be part of the grief process. However, this is ridiculous.

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Why Does Anyone Still Listen To This Man ?

Yesterday’s Washington Examiner posted an article about a recent statement by Senator Harry Reid.

Senator Reid stated:

“His poor father must be so embarrassed about his son,” Reid said, in reference to George Romney’s standard-setting decision to turn over 12 years of tax returns when he ran for president in the late 1960s. Saying he had “no problem with somebody being really, really wealthy,” Reid sat up in his chair a bit before stirring the pot further. A month or so ago, he said, a person who had invested with Bain Capital called his office.

“Harry, he didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years,” Reid recounted the person as saying.

“He didn’t pay taxes for 10 years! Now, do I know that that’s true? Well, I’m not certain,” said Reid. “But obviously he can’t release those tax returns. How would it look?

“You guys have said his wealth is $250 million,” Reid went on. “Not a chance in the world. It’s a lot more than that. I mean, you do pretty well if you don’t pay taxes for 10 years when you’re making millions and millions of dollars.”

There are a number of obvious problems with this statement. First of all, the article asks, “How would an investor in Bain Capital have access to Governor Romney’s tax returns?” Secondly, do you honestly believe that a public figure (as Governor Romney was after the Olympics) who earned the kind of money that Governor Romney earned would not have had his tax returns examined very carefully by the IRS.

The article also reminds us:

And in what Romney has released of his tax returns, he paid $6.2 million in taxes over two years.

This is the lowest form of sleaze so far in the campaign.

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Where Did The Money Go ?

The Washington Free Beacon posted a story today about the connections between stimulus money given out and people who donated to the Obama presidential campaign in 2008. Solyndra is the poster child for this connection, but there is more to the Solyndra story.

The article reports:

Obama bundler George Kaiser was a major stakeholder in Solyndra through his Kaiser Family Foundation, and made several trips to the White House in March 2009 to meet with senior administration officials. In July 2009, Kaiser bragged about securing face time with “all the key players in the West Wing of the White House,” as well as his “almost unique advantage” when it came to steering taxpayer funds toward his pet causes.

“There’s never been more money shoved out of the government’s door in world history, and probably never will be again, than in the last few months and in the next 18 months,” Kaiser told members of the Tulsa Rotary Club. “And our selfish parochial goal is to get as much as it for Tulsa and Oklahoma as we possibly can.”

Although things did not pan out for Solyndra—the company filed for bankruptcy in September 2011—Kaiser can expect to see a better return on his investment than American taxpayers. As part of an agreement to restructure Solyndra’s loan agreement in 2010, Obama’s DOE granted priority status to private investors like Kaiser with respect to the first $75 million recovered in the event of the firm’s bankruptcy, a move that many suspect violated federal law.

Taxpayers, meanwhile, are unlikely to recover much of the money invested on their behalf.

Unfortunately, Solyndra was not the only total waste of stimulus money.

The article lists other examples of companies of campaign donors who received major cash investments or loan guarantees from the Obama Administration.

The article further reports:

The Securities and Exchange Commission is currently investigating whether DreamWorks made illegal payments to Chinese officials in order to secure exclusive film rights in the communist nation. The New York Times reported that Katzenberg, as well as Vice President Joe Biden, were intimately involved in negotiating an agreement under which China would up its annual quota of foreign-produced films from 20 to 34 and allow studios to keep a greater percentage of box-office revenue.

DreamWorks announced a $2 billion deal with the Chinese government in February to build a production studio in Shanghai just days after Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping held an extensive meeting with Barack Obama in Washington, D.C.

When Mitt Romney ran Bain capital, he helped companies succeed. It seems like our government has a definite ability to spend large amounts of taxpayer money helping companies fail.

Does Chicago Thuggery Win National Elections ?

Does Chicago thuggery win elections? I am afraid we are about to find out. Paul Mirengoff posted a story at Power Line yesterday about the recent attacks on Mitt Romney regarding his time Bain Capital and when he left the firm.

Politico reported yesterday:

Deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter laid out the issue as the Obama team sees it: “Either Mitt Romney, through his own words and his own signature, was misrepresenting his position at Bain to the SEC, which is a felony.”

The article at Power Line article explains what actually happened at Bain Capital:

The Romney campaign responds that their man gave up control over all investment decisions in 1999 because he would be taking charge of the Winter Olympics. His name remained on SEC filings because he was technically still the owner.

The article at Power Line further reports:

But, the SEC filings apparently don’t show involvement by Romney in Bain-related decisions after the 1999 date.

Sometimes when I read Democrat talking points, I wonder how some people sleep at night.

The article at Power Line concludes:

FactCheck goes on to demolish the other fragments of “evidence” cited by the Obama campaign. It concludes that Team Obama is “all wet” on this matter. That’s putting it kindly.

Please follow the link to the Power Line article to read the Fact Check information. The charges against Mitt Romney by Ms. Cutter are a new low in Presidential campaigning.

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The Fact-checker Must Have Been On Vacation That Day

On Friday, Newsbusters posted a fact-check on a Washington Post article that claimed that Mitt Romney got rich by sending jobs overseas while he was at Bain Capital. The story in the Washington Post was a good political story–it just wasn’t true.

These are the actual facts from Newsbusters:

 (Example 1) … What CSI (Computer Software Inc.) actually did was provide U.S. software developers with technical support and sales. Example: It provided domestic outsourcing — which is different than overseas offshoring — for call centers and help desks. As far as its international business goes, CSI was reseller of U.S. software in European markets. In other words, they helped distribute U.S. software around the world.

(Example 2) … overseas call centers in the WaPo story (relating to Stream International Inc.) were based in Europe and Japan, and serviced international customers of U.S. companies in their local languages.

(Example 3) … what Modus Media did was help companies like Microsoft and IBM sell their products internationally. Products destined for American consumers were manufactured here at home.

(Example 4) … GT Bicycles had overseas suppliers before Bain invested in the company.

(Example 5) … (printed circuit board manufacturer) SMTC wasn’t even acquired until months after Romney left Bain Capital. Is Romney running for president or is Bain?

(Example 6) … (computer chipmaker and tester) Chippac was purchased in March 1999, a month after Romney left Bain Capital. Prior owner was Hyundai, a South Korean company that already had factories in Asia at the time of sale. So buying a company with foreign factories is the same, apparently, as “shipping jobs overseas,” according to the Washington Post.

Pay attention–we are definitely in the midst of the silly season.



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With Friends Like These…

One of the things that we all need to remember (not necessarily happily) about the November election is that on November 7, 2012, the 2016 presidential campaign begins. Obviously, one of the major players in that campaign on the Democrat side will be Hillary Clinton. Hillary has kept her head down during the past three years and behaved very well. Predictably, her husband has not.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted a story today about some of President Clinton‘s recent statements. President Clinton remarked that Mitt Romney had a ‘sterling’ record when he ran Bain Capital. President Obama has used attacks on Bain Capital and Mitt Romney’s record there as a major part of his campaign. Unfortunately, Bill Clinton was not the only Democrat who felt the attacks were not helpful.

Mr. Morrissey explains the problems with the attacks:

While Obama attacked Romney for normal private-equity management, he’s been trying to raise money hand over fist from the same industry.  In fact, a Bain executive, Jonathan Lavine, is one of Obama’s major bundlers and was with the company (and Romney was not) when GS Industries shut down the steel plant, a decision used to slam Romney in an Obama campaign ad.

I am not sure the average voter is aware of the hypocrisy here, but at suspect at some point the Romney camp will point it out.

The article rightly concludes:

However, it’s also just as true that Clinton waited for quite a while to defend Romney’s business record, and his advice in this case — to find another line of attack — is probably a lot smarter than Simon’s advice to keep beating a very dead horse.

Expect to see a lot more of Bill Clinton in the next four years.


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Choosing Your Financial Advisor

Most people over the age of twenty have realized that Social Security will not be there when they retire. Many of the younger generation have already been planning for this by setting up 401K plans, IRA’s and other ways to finance their retirement. One important aspect of this planning is choosing a competent financial advisor. As the presidential election approaches, who would you choose are your financial advisor–Barack Obama or Mitt Romney.

Marc Thiessen at the Washington Post posted some information last week that might make that choice easier. In recent days the President has been attacking Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital, stating that it is a record of wealth creation–not job growth. Keep in mind that Bain Capital works with money volutarily put under their control by investors who invest in the company in order to make money. When the investors make money, they spend it or further invest it and the economy grows. Let’s contrast that with how the Obama Administration has invested taxpayer money in various companies.

The article points out:

Since taking office, Obama has invested billions of taxpayer dollars in private businesses, including as part of his stimulus spending bill. Many of those investments have turned out to be unmitigated disasters — leaving in their wake bankruptcies, layoffs, criminal investigations and taxpayers on the hook for billions. Consider just a few examples of Obama’s public equity failures:

The article lists some of the Obama Administrations investments:

Raser Technologies–The plant now has fewer than 10 employees, and Raser owes $1.5 million in back taxes.

ECOtality–According to ECOtality’s own SEC filings, the company has since incurred more than $45 million in losses and has told the federal government, “We may not achieve or sustain profitability on a quarterly or annual basis in the future.”

Nevada Geothermal Power (NGP)–its own auditor concluded in a filing released last week that there was ‘significant doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.’ ”

There are more examples in the article, but you get the picture. This reminds me of a story from my youth. During the time my family lived in North Carolina, we went to Florida for a vacation. During that vacation, my parents went to a dog race. As the dogs were marching around the track before the race, my father spotted one he was convinced was a winner. He placed a small bet on the dog. Not only did the dog not win–he refused to leave the starting gate. My father always said that it was because the dog was simply too smart to chase a mechanical rabbit. The moral of the story is, “Don’t place a bet unless you have some idea of what you are doing.” The Obama Administration has a record of placing bets with taxpayer and stimulus money on companies that are not capable of leaving the starting gate. Is this an appropriate role for government, and if it is, shouldn’t they be doing it better?

The article does not mention the jobs lost in the government takeover of General Motors–the dealerships put out of business, the mechanics and other workers in those dealerships.

Considering their track record, do you want the government to continue to make investments with your money?

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