The Obama administration’s claim that the IRS targets of conservative groups were somehow not politically motivated are growing more and more absurd. As it turns out, the IRS sat on the investigation until after the election, and top Obama administration officials knew about it back in June of last year.
from Weekly Standard:
The Internal Revenue Service’s watchdog told top Treasury officials around June 2012 he was investigating allegations the tax agency had targeted conservative groups, for the first time indicating that Obama administration officials were aware of the explosive matter in the midst of the president’s re-election campaign.
The disclosure to the Treasury general counsel and the deputy secretary was a cursory one, according to J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration. He said he didn’t reveal conclusions of the probe, which was in its early stages, and his disclosure came as part of a routine update to Treasury leaders. At the time, Republican lawmakers were complaining publicly about alleged IRS targeting of tea-party groups.
The revelation nonetheless raised a fresh set of questions about who was aware of the problem within the Obama administration. It was one of several new details that emerged during a contentious four-hour House committee hearing Friday, held one week after an IRS official revealed at a legal conference that the agency had taken “absolutely inappropriate” actions in targeting conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status for often heavy-handed scrutiny.
The lawmaker leading the charge to investigate the Benghazi, Libya, terror attack on Friday subpoenaed the co-author of a report that slammed the State Department but didn’t interview Hillary Clinton.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) formally demanded that retired Ambassador Thomas Pickering submit to being deposed by the committee next Thursday.
The subpoena comes in the wake of a series of acrimonious public exchanges this week between the two men. Issa didn’t issue a subpoena to former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen, who co-authored the Benghazi report with Pickering.
Pickering has said he would testify before Issa’s panel about last year’s Accountability Review Board (ARB) report on the attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Pickering and Mullen have refused, however, to submit to a transcribed interview with Issa and his staff, calling the closed-door proceeding an “inappropriate precondition” to their testimony.
I looked outside to see if pigs were flying because I never though I’d see this. Today, Piers Morgan (who has been a constant on-air advocate for strict gun control) admitted that after seeing the Obama administration’s scandals, he believes gun activists have a legitimate concern about government tyranny.
Here’s the video:
from Hot Air:
I’d guess that these scandals have put an end to any notion of reviving gun control in this session of Congress. In light of the revelations at the IRS and the Department of Justice over the last few days, which red-state Senators of either party are going to sign up to expand federal oversight of guns? Obama and his team couldn’t get a gun-control bill out of the Senate, let alone the House, even with the media not just cheerleading every step of the way but conducting its own full-court press on behalf of Obama. With the media irate over the raid on the Associated Press (and asking tough questions about the IRS), I doubt that the White House is going to be able to put the band back together for a long time, if ever.
I think that Ed Morrissey’s analysis here is a little more optimistic than I am, but it speaks to a larger point I want to make. These scandals should (in a just world) take down the Obama Presidency. They should. I’m not saying they will, but Benghazi by itself is far worse than Watergate.
But putting the screws on Obama shouldn’t be the only focus here. Conservatives also need to use this potentially pivotal moment to teach the American people just how dangerous the Federal government can be. As Rep. Mike Kelley said earlier today, the Federal government can essentially do anything it wants to, and nothing is holding them accountable.
Big government is by nature tyrannical. It always has been, and it always will be. It’s time to chose: do we move forward with tyranny, or do we stop and take a stand for liberty?
And boom goes the dynamite! Rep. Mike Kelley ripped outgoing IRS Commission Steven Miller to shreds today during his testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee. At the end of his questioning, Kelley got a standing ovation from the gallery audience.
here’s the video:
Mike Kelley isn’t finished either. He’s continuing to connect the dots with the Obama administration. Remember how hundreds of Chevy dealerships got shut down after the auto bailout? A huge percentage of them were Republican donors. Kelley wants to know if that was politically motivated too.
Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) issued the following statement today regarding a letter he authored and submitted to U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew inquiring about possible political motivation involved in the nationwide post-bailout closures of auto dealerships in 2008 and 2009. The letter was co-signed by Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH) and Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA).
“The IRS’s now-confirmed targeting of conservative groups is a frightening reminder that no branch or department of the federal government is immune from overstepping legal and ethical boundaries. Oftentimes holding government accountable means having to dig for the truth, which is exactly what this letter is about. The Treasury Department’s Inspector General report from the aftermath of the auto bailouts indicated that ‘little or no documentation of the decision-making process to terminate or retain dealerships’ exists, making it ‘impossible in many cases’ to determine if decisions deviated from ‘supposedly objective criteria.’ In light of the department’s unthinkable breaches of public trust still being revealed by the IRS scandal, my colleagues and I have a duty to examine whether auto dealers across the country saw their businesses close as a result of similar political profiling.”
Bravo to Rep Kelley for demanding answers of this corrupt administration. He’s exactly right: we are not surprised but we are outraged.
A party is a great way to blow off a little steam…and a lot of the taxpayer’s money. Naturally, that’s exactly what President Obama plans to do at the White House later this month.
from Daily Caller:
Amid sequester and scandal in Washington, the White House announced Friday that the president and first lady will be hosting another concert as part of their “In Performance at the White House” series later this month.
The event will be held in the East Room of the White House and honor singer and songwriter Carole King, who will be awarded the 2013 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. King will be the first woman to receive the award, the White House noted in their announcement.
The program — to be streamed on the White House website and broadcast on PBS stations the evening of May 28 — will also feature performances by Gloria Estefan, Billy Joel, Jesse McCartney, Emeli Sandé, James Taylor, Trisha Yearwood and King herself.
In 2002, Carole King sang “You’ve Got a Friend” for Cuban dictator Fidel Castro at a warming-relations dinner in Havana.
Now that the dam has broken, the stories of IRS abuse is everywhere. And the stories are really quite amazing. None so much as this one, however. Apparently the IRS requested that a Christian group disclose the content of its prayers so it could decided if it should be tax exempt. Umm, what?
Here’s the video:
Now that it’s out there, expect more stories like this to come out. And because many groups don’t have the necessary funding to fight the IRS, Jay Sekulow of the ACLJ has suggested that he might represent many of these targeted groups pro bono. If you are a freedom-loving lawyer, I encourage you to do the same. After all, it is completely unacceptable for any arm of the government to target any individual or group for any reason other than law-breaking.
This scandal just keeps getting more and more interesting. In 2010, the Center for Constitutional law filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the IRS after it was suspected that the IRS was targeting conservative groups unfairly. The response: The IRS “found no documents specifically responsive to your request.” That, my friends, is called a cover-up.
From the Washington Free Beacon:
The Internal Revenue Service denied the existence of any documents related to its policy of targeting Tea Party organizations in response to a 2010 Freedom of Information Act request, even though such documents were later discovered by the IRS inspector general.
The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, a conservative nonprofit group, filed a FOIA request in 2010 through investigative journalist Lynn K. Walsh seeking all IRS documents related to the agencies tax-exempt division specifically mentioning the Tea Party.
IRS headquarters responded in 2011 that it “found no documents specifically responsive to your request.”
However, the May 14 inspector general report found that the “first Sensitive Case Report [identifying Tea Party groups] was prepared by the Technical Unit” in April of 2010.
The report’s timeline chronicles the existence of numerous 2010 emails, memoranda, and policies related to the targeting of conservative organizations.
According to the IG timeline, an email was sent on July 27, 2010 “updating the description of applications involving potential political campaign intervention and providing a coordinator contact for the cases.”
“The description was changed to read, ‘These cases involve various local organizations in the Tea Party movement [that] are applying for exemption under 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4).’”
The IRS determinations unit developed a “be on the lookout” listing on Aug. 12, 2010, “in order to replace the existing practice of sending separate e-mails to all Determinations Unit employees as to cases to watch for, potentially abusive cases, cases requiring processing by the team of specialists, and emerging issues.”
The language of the listing was identical to the July 27, 2010 email.
“Either IRS Headquarters was entirely incompetent in maintaining awareness of prominent policies and documents within the IRS, or it deliberately covered up the existence of anti-conservative IRS policies. Either is terrifying,”
Planned Parenthood and the liberal media want you to believe that Kermit Gosnell’s horrors were an “isolated” case by a “back alley” abortion provider. Never mind that Gosnell was not back alley (he had a website and a sign out front); the atrocities that took place at his clinic were not isolated. They are widespread throughout the abortion industry.
Texas doctor Douglas Karpen is facing allegations from 4 former employees that he twisted the heads of live babies with his bare hands.
from Daily Mail:
Houston doctor Douglas Karpen is accused by four former employees of delivering live fetuses during third-trimester abortions and killing them by either snipping their spinal cord, stabbing a surgical instrument into their heads or ‘twisting their heads off their necks with his own bare hands’.
Other times the fetus was so big he would have to pull it out of the womb in pieces, Karpen’s ex-assistant, Deborah Edge, said in an Operation Rescue video, which has prompted a criminal investigation into the doctor.
‘Sometimes he couldn’t get the fetus out… he would yank pieces – piece by piece – when they were oversize,’ Edge explained.
‘And I’m talking about the whole floor dirty. I’m talking about me drenched in blood.’
Two of Edge’s colleagues, Gigi Aguliar, and Krystal Rodriguez, also described the hellish scenes which took place at the Aaron Women’s Clinic in Houston in 2011, and possibly two other abortion clinics run by Karpen in Texas.
Another staffer, who remains anonymous, filed an affidavit with her account of events, which the Texas Department of State Health Services is using in its investigation.
Americans need to wake up and realize that this is what the abortion industry is. These cases highlight the brutality only because they happened outside the womb, but the brutality of abortion before birth is exactly the same. Abortion is the violent murder of an innocent human being.
“Private consultant” might as well read “unregistered lobbyist” here. Huma Abedin (Anthony Weiner’s wife, by the way) is Hillary Clinton’s top advisor and confidant. The New York Times is reporting that Abedin worked as a private consultant while still at the State Department and didn’t disclose it!
from New York Times:
The State Department, under Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, created an arrangement for her longtime aide and confidante Huma Abedin to work for private clients as a consultant while serving as a top adviser in the department.
Ms. Abedin did not disclose the arrangement — or how much income she earned — on her financial report. It requires officials to make public any significant sources of income. An adviser to Mrs. Clinton, Philippe Reines, said that Ms. Abedin was not obligated to do so.
The disclosure of the agreement that Ms. Abedin made with the State Department comes as her husband, former Representative Anthony D. Weiner, a Democrat, prepares for a mayoral run in New York City. Politico reported the arrangement on Thursday afternoon.
Ms. Abedin declined a request for an interview, but the picture that emerges from interviews and records suggests a situation where the lines were blurred between Ms. Abedin’s work in the high echelons of one of the government’s most sensitive executive departments and her role as a Clinton family insider.
While continuing her work at the State Department, in the latter half of 2012, she also worked for Teneo, a strategic consulting firm, which was founded by Doug Band, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton. Teneo has advised corporate clients like Coca-Cola and MF Global, the collapsed brokerage firm run by Jon S. Corzine, a former governor of New Jersey.
As if Eric Holder’s week wasn’t already bad enough, now it appears his US Marshalls misplaced a few terrorists they were supposed to be guarding.
The U.S. Marshals Service lost two former participants in the federal Witness Security Program “identified as known or suspected terrorists,” according to the public summary of an interim Justice Department Inspector General’s report obtained by CNN.
The Marshals Service has concluded that “one individual was and the other individual was believed to be residing outside of the United States,” according to the summary.
A Justice Department official said in response to follow up questions about the matter by reporters that the pair had left the program years ago and had been accounted for.
It was not clear when or for how long the Marshals Service lost track of them.
The report notes that while in the middle of an audit of the WITSEC program, also referred to as “WitSec,” the IG notified the Justice Department of national security vulnerabilities, and the IG’s office “developed the interim report to help ensure that the Department promptly and sufficiently addressed the deficiencies we found.”
After its audit, the IG’s office reported “the department did not definitively know how many known or suspected terrorists were admitted into the WITSEC program,” among other “significant issues concerning national security.”
As of March 2013, the Justice Department was reviewing more than 18,000 Witness Protection Program case files to determine whether more known or suspected terrorists have been admitted to the program, the summary notes. As such, the number of terrorists lost or unaccounted for “may not be complete and may continue to evolve.”
Outgoing IRS Chief Steve Miller’s testimony on Capitol Hill isn’t going very well today. Not only is he about as believable as Jay Carney, he’s also saying some things that are just plain stupid.
He claimed during questioning that the IRS targeting wasn’t politically motivated, it was just “horrible, horrible customer service.”
here’s the video:
I can’t speak to individual cases. I can say generally, we provided horrible customer service here. I will admit that. We did. Horrible customer service. Whether it was politically motivated or not is a very different matter…
I’m sorry Mr. Miller, but nobody’s buying your bull feathers. United Airlines provides horrible customer service. What you guys did, however, was criminal.
The question is not whether the IRS targeting scandal started with the White House, it’s whether or not there’s a paper trail or a witness willing to come forward.
Everybody knows that this White House has not been shy about calling out its political enemies by name, even if those individuals are merely private citizens who happen to donate to Obama’s opponents. With Obama appointees heading up every department of the Executive branch, do you really think they need a signed letter from the Oval office telling them who to target?
from Wall Street Journal (emphasis mine):
Mr. Obama didn’t need to pick up the phone. All he needed to do was exactly what he did do, in full view, for three years: Publicly suggest that conservative political groups were engaged in nefarious deeds; publicly call out by name political opponents whom he’d like to see harassed; and publicly have his party pressure the IRS to take action.
Mr. Obama now professes shock and outrage that bureaucrats at the IRS did exactly what the president of the United States said was the right and honorable thing to do. “He put a target on our backs, and he’s now going to blame the people who are shooting at us?” asks Idaho businessman and longtime Republican donor Frank VanderSloot.
Mr. VanderSloot is the Obama target who in 2011 made a sizable donation to a group supporting Mitt Romney. In April 2012, an Obama campaign website named and slurred eight Romney donors. It tarred Mr. VanderSloot as a “wealthy individual” with a “less-than-reputable record.” Other donors were described as having been “on the wrong side of the law.”
This was the Obama version of the phone call—put out to every government investigator (and liberal activist) in the land.
Twelve days later, a man working for a political opposition-research firm called an Idaho courthouse for Mr. VanderSloot’s divorce records. In June, the IRS informed Mr. VanderSloot and his wife of an audit of two years of their taxes. In July, the Department of Labor informed him of an audit of the guest workers on his Idaho cattle ranch. In September, the IRS informed him of a second audit, of one of his businesses. Mr. VanderSloot, who had never been audited before, was subject to three in the four months after Mr. Obama teed him up for such scrutiny.
The last of these audits was only concluded in recent weeks. Not one resulted in a fine or penalty. But Mr. VanderSloot has been waiting more than 20 months for a sizable refund and estimates his legal bills are $80,000. That figure doesn’t account for what the president’s vilification has done to his business and reputation.
The IRS is not an “independent agency” as Obama’s team has been running around saying for the last few days. It is a part of the Executive Branch of government, under the Treasury Department. Obama appoints the heads of these offices. Obama is ultimately responsible for the actions of the Executive Branch.
If Obama’s campaign named the target and painted him in a bad light, is it really surprising that he was subjected to audit after audit after audit?
Yes, the IRS targeting scandal started in the Oval Office. The question remains, how carefully did team Obama cover its tracks?
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.