Yesterday, the Washington Post had a piece poo-pooing three big White House scandals, essentially saying there was nothing to see. Not so says Senate Finance Committee Chairman Democrat Max Baucus. He thinks things are about to get really nasty for his party.
from Washington Examiner:
Senior Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, who recently slapped Obamacare as a “train wreck,” believes that the IRS scandal is just beginning and that “a lot more” damaging information will be revealed, likely at congressional hearings.
“I have a hunch that a lot more is going to come out, frankly,” Baucus, whose pending retirement seems to have freed him up to speak bluntly, told Bloomberg Government’s “Capitol Gains” TV show.
“It’s broader than the current focus. And I think it’s important that we have the hearings, and I think that will encourage other information to come out that has not yet come out. I suspect that we will learn more in the next several days, maybe the next couple three weeks which adds more context to all of this,” added Baucus, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
We usually try to stay on top of as much news as possible but with three major White House scandals going on, it’s a little hard to keep up with everything. Here are some of the stories that we wish we had the time to cover today.
The Internal Revenue Service official in charge of the tax-exempt organizations at the time when the unit targeted tea party groups now runs the IRS office responsible for the health care legislation.
Sarah Hall Ingram served as commissioner of the office responsible for tax-exempt organizations between 2009 and 2012. But Ingram has since left that part of the IRS and is now the director of the IRS’ Affordable Care Act office, the IRS confirmed to ABC News today.
Her successor, Joseph Grant, is taking the fall for misdeeds at the scandal-plagued unit between 2010 and 2012. During at least part of that time, Grant served as deputy commissioner of the tax-exempt unit.
Grant announced today that he would retire June 3, despite being appointed as commissioner of the tax-exempt office May 8, a week ago.
As the House voted to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act Thursday evening, House Speaker John Boehner expressed “serious concerns” that the IRS is empowered as the law’s chief enforcer.
“Fully repealing ObamaCare will help us build a stronger, healthier economy, and will clear the way for patient-centered reforms that lower health care costs and protect jobs,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said.
And why would they do such a thing, you may ask? I’ll get to that in a second but first, here’s the story.
from Rand Paul’s office:
Today, Senate Democrats placed a hold on Sen. Rand Paul’s recent resolution that condemns the targeting of Tea Party groups by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and calls for an investigation into this practice.
“This resolution is not about Republican vs. Democrat or conservative vs. liberal. It is about arrogant and unrestrained government vs. the rule of law. The First Amendment cannot and should not be renegotiated depending on which party holds power,” Sen. Paul said. “Each senator took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, yet Senate Democrats chose to block my resolution and thus refused to condemn the IRS for trampling on our First Amendment rights. I am incredibly disappointed in Washington’s party politics and I am determined to hold the IRS accountable for these unjust acts.”
Obama said today that he has “complete confidence” in Eric Holder. This means one of four things: 1) Obama is a bad comedian 2) Obama is a liar 3) Obama is incompetent or 4) Obama is in on all of it.
President Barack Obama on Thursday gave a firm vote of confidence to embattled Attorney General Eric Holder.
“I have complete confidence in Eric Holder as attorney general,” Obama said at a joint afternoon press conference with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “He does his job with integrity and I expect he will continue to do so.”
Holder has come under fire for the Department of Justice’s subpoena of Associated Press phone records, with even some on the left calling for his sacking.
But Obama defended the probe earlier in the press conference, emphasizing the need to get to the bottom of leaks. Earlier this week, Holder called the leak on a CIA operation in Yemen, the impetus for the seizure of the AP’s phone records, one of the most serious in his career.
“You know, leaks related to national security can put people at risk,” Obama said. “It can put men and women in uniform that I’ve sent into the battlefield at risk. They can put some of our intelligence officers who are in various dangerous situations that are easily compromised at risk.”
At worst, Eric Holder is one of the most corrupt government officials the U.S. has ever had. At best, he is one of the most incompetent government officials we’ve ever had. It’s likely that he’s a terrible combination of incompetence and corruption. Regardless of which of these best describes him, how could Obama possibly have confidence in him? Isn’t this an obvious question?
The Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general will review claims the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) refuses to waive public records fees for conservative groups while granting the waivers for environmental organizations.
Acting Administrator Robert Perciasepe asked the agency’s inspector general to review claims after GOP lawmaker accusations of a double standard.
The charges came up Thursday during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, where Republicans compared the EPA’s actions to the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups.
Perciasepe told lawmakers he’s asking the inspector general to help conduct a “programmatic audit” of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request fee decisions.
The action follows a May 14 report by the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) that claims the EPA waives the fees for major environmental groups more than 90 percent of the time, while often denying fee waivers for CEI, Judicial Watch and other groups.
Michelle Malkin pegged this administration from day 1: it’s the “culture of corruption.” The EPAs abuses might have completely different players from the IRSs, but it’s all part of the same Obama machine.
The hubris of this President is astounding. Today, he scheduled a press conference with the Turkish Prime Minister in the Rose Garden but arrived 47 minutes late, leaving members of the press waiting in the rain.
Upon his arrival, Obama had Marines hold umbrellas over his head and over the Turkish Prime Minister.
26) Provide details regarding your relationship with Justin Binik-Thomas.
That’s an actual question from the IRS’s illegal questionnaire to a Tea Party group in Liberty Township, Ohio. Justin Binik-Thomas is, however, not from Liberty Township and has no connection with that Tea Party Group. He is a member of a Tea Party group in Cincinnati.
So, why was the IRS singling out an individual private citizen and looking into his personal connections?
Here’s the report from Fox News:
This is a dangerous road we’ve begun to walk down. In the same way the Obama campaign micro-targeted allies and donors during the 2012 election, it appears the White House micro-targeted its enemies during Obama Presidency, even down to private individuals.
From the Black Panther case to Fast and Furious to his ambiguous domestic drone use policy, Eric Holder is no stranger to breaking the lawscandal controversy. Yet through it all, his buddy Obama, completely ignorant of any of the alleged wrongdoing by his subordinate of course, has stuck by his side. But according to reports, that might be about to change. And all it took was the secret, illegal acquisition of the AP’s private phone records.
From the Chicago Sun Times:
Sneed is told that Attorney General Eric “Fast and Furious” Holder’s days are numbered.
Sneed hears President Barack Obama, who is this/close to Holder, has set his sights on Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick as a possible replacement “when the heat dies down on the latest hot-button scandals to hit the U.S. Justice Department,” said a top White House source.
Last year, Holder became a hot button over a congressional probe of the sale of government guns to drug cartels.
This time it’s the double whammy of an IRS scandal and the U.S. Justice Department’s seizure of Associated Press reporters’ phone records — which has caused a media uproar.
I’ll believe it when I see it. From what I understand, Obama and Holder are as thick as thieves (Pardon the expression. It just seemed to fit). But then again, it might be the only thing that will stop the bleeding caused by the seemingly endless supply of scandals plaguing the White House at the moment.
OK, I’m not saying this is a scandal in and of itself but people need to know about it. Steven Miller, the IRS commissioner who was forced out by president Obama as a result of the recent scandal, was set to leave the IRS in June anyway.
From the UK Daily Mail:
President Barack Obama has thrown his acting IRS commissioner overboard, making Steven Miller the highest-ranking political casualty thus far in a series of scandals that have swept his administration in recent weeks.
In a hastily called press conference in the East Room of the White House, Obama told reporters that he had asked Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew to find out who was responsible for a program that targeted tea party groups and other conservative organizations for a special level of intrusive questioning after they applied for tax-exempt charitable statuses.
‘Lew took the first step by requesting and accepting the resignation of the acting director of the IRS,’ Obama said.
‘It’s important,’ he added, ‘to institute new leadership that can help restore confidence going forward.’
But in an email to IRS employees, Miller claimed he would only be leaving next month because his assignment would be over.
Once again, I don’t know if this is another scandal or not but just think about this for a second: The only person in an even remotely notable position to be fired due to any one of the myriad of White House scandals has been a man who was about to resign in a couple of weeks anyway. That’s awfully convenient, isn’t it?
The emails prove that the State Department had a heavy hand in changing the talking points and removing all references to terrorism. They also show that former CIA Director David Petraeus was quite unhappy with how butchered the truth was.
One thing is conspicuously absent from these emails, however. Any references to a YouTube video.
Don’t forget, a man is currently in jail over this administration’s claim about the YouTube video. In the early days after the attack, he was an easy scapegoat for the attack, and Hillary Clinton actually told the families of victims that she would see to it he was held accountable. He was nabbed in the middle of the night by Federal agents on a trumped up parole violation.
Well, here we have the first smoking gun in the IRS scandal. A few days ago, Lois Lerner apologized for the IRS’s bully tactics and blamed “low-level employees” in the Cincinnati office.
Unfortunately for Ms. Lerner, some of the letters denying tax-exemption to conservative organizations bear her name.
The director of the Internal Revenue Service division under fire for singling out conservative groups sent a 2012 letter under her name to one such group, POLITICO has learned.
The March 2012 letter was sent to the Ohio-based American Patriots Against Government Excess (American PAGE) under the name of Lois Lerner, the director of the Exempt Organizations Division.
Lerner, who is based in Washington, on Friday apologized for the agency singling out groups based on search terms such as “tea party” and “patriot.” Internal documents from the Treasury Department inspector general shows that Lerner and other top officials at the agency were aware of the targeting of conservative groups in 2011.
This appears to be the first public documentation that Lerner’s name is on a letter seeking information from a conservative group. Other letters to groups reviewed by POLITICO have come from IRS offices in California, Ohio and Washington, D.C.
It’s “the most transparent administration in history!” Sure. Even when they do a document dump, it’s totally incomplete. Take today’s Benghazi email dump, for example. Sure, it contains some pretty damaging things in it and completely discredits the Obama administration’s story about the dishonest talking points. But it’s also missing the first three days of communications.
Take a look:
The included emails begin on 9/14 and the attack happened on 9/11. What was discussed in the first three days?
Petraeus apparently was displeased by the removal of so much of the material his analysts initially had proposed for release. The talking points were sent to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to prepare her for an appearance on news shows on Sunday, Sept. 16, and also to members of the House Intelligence Committee.
“No mention of the cable to Cairo, either?” Petraeus wrote after receiving Morell’s edited version, developed after an intense back-and-forth among Obama administration officials. “Frankly, I’d just as soon not use this, then.”
Petreaus’ email comes at the end of extensive back-and-forth between officials at the CIA, White House, State Department and other agencies weighing in on a public explanation for the Sept. 11, 2012, attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans
The emails were partially blacked out, including removal of names of senders and recipients who are career employees at the CIA and elsewhere.