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FCC Kept ‘Obamaphone’ Fraud Under Wraps Until After It Expanded Program

Commissioners were instructed not to reveal $5 million fine until day after controversial Lifeline expansion vote

by Lachlan Markay     •     Washington Free Beacon

Tom Wheeler/AP

Federal regulators were instructed to keep a massive fraud investigation under wraps until a day after a controversial vote to expand a program that was allegedly used to bilk taxpayers of tens of millions of dollars, one those regulators claims.

The Federal Communications Commission on Friday announced that it would seek $51 million in damages from a cell phone company that allegedly defrauded the federal Lifeline program of nearly $10 million.

The commission’s five members unanimously backed the Notice of Apparent Liability (NAL), but Republican commissioner Ajit Pai parted from his colleagues in a partial dissent. According to Pai, he and other commissioners were told not to reveal the details of its investigation until April 1, a day after the FCC voted to expand the Lifeline program. [Read more...]

Florida Governor Signs Bill Requiring Actual Criminal Charges Before Seizing Property

Important reform to reduce asset forfeiture abuse

by Scott Shackford     •     Reason.com

Some great news in asset forfeiture reform is coming out of Florida. S.B. 1044, approved by the legislature earlier in the month, was signed into law today by Gov. Rick Scott.

The big deal with this particular reform is that, in most cases, Florida police will actually have to arrest and charge a person with a crime before attempting to seize and keep their money and property under the state’s asset forfeiture laws. One of the major ways asset forfeiture gets abused is that it is frequently a “civil”, not criminal, process where police and prosecutors are able to take property without even charging somebody with a crime, let alone convicting them. This is how police are, for example, able to snatch cash from cars they’ve pulled over and claim they suspect the money was going to be used for drug trafficking without actually finding any drugs. [Read more...]

Dear attorneys general, conspiring against free speech is a crime

by Glenn Harlan Reynolds     •     USAToday

Free speechFederal law makes it a felony “for two or more persons to agree together to injure, threaten, or intimidate a person in any state, territory or district in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the laws of the Unites States, (or because of his/her having exercised the same).”

I wonder if U.S. Virgin Islands Attorney General Claude Walker, or California Attorney General Kamala Harris, or New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman have read this federal statute. Because what they’re doing looks like a concerted scheme to restrict the First Amendment free speech rights of people they don’t agree with. They should look up 18 U.S.C. Sec. 241, I am sure they each have it somewhere in their offices.

Here’s what’s happened so far. First, Schneiderman and reportedly Harris sought to investigate Exxon in part for making donations to groups and funding research by individuals who think “climate change” is either a hoax, or not a problem to the extent that people like Harris and Schneiderman say it is. [Read more...]

Lost emails from Clinton server discovered

by Julian Hattem     •     The Hill

Hillary Clinton 1Conservative legal watchdogs have discovered new emails from Hillary Clinton’s private email server dating back to the first days of her tenure as secretary of State.

The previously undisclosed February 2009 emails between Clinton from her then-chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, raise new questions about the scope of emails from Clinton’s early days in office that were not handed over to the State Department for recordkeeping and may have been lost entirely.

Clinton’s presidential campaign has previously claimed that the former top diplomat did not use her personal “clintonemail.com” account before March 2009, weeks after she was sworn in as secretary of State. [Read more...]

Federal judge calls IRS untrustworthy in tea party case

By Stephen Dinan     •     The Washington Times

IRS GangsterA federal judge said the IRS isn’t to be trusted as he and his colleagues tried Thursday to figure out whether the tax agency is still targeting tea party groups for intrusive and illegal scrutiny.

Judge David B. Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said there is strong evidence that the IRS violated the constitutional rights of the groups when it delayed their nonprofit status applications and asked inappropriate questions about their political beliefs.

The agency’s insistence that it has retrained employees and instructed managers to behave better did not mollify the judges, who said past IRS behavior doesn’t lend itself to the benefit of the doubt.

“It’s hard to find the IRS to be an agency we can trust,” Judge Sentelle said. [Read more...]

Rep. Kristi Noem: IRS Is Rehiring Employees Fired for Misconduct

by Susan Jones      •     CNSNews.com

IRS Scandal UpdateHouse Republicans are aiming at the Internal Revenue Service this week, taking up four bills to ensure integrity in hiring and better customer service.

“We have recently learned…that IRS employees that have been fired for misconduct have been rehired” in the last several years, Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) told a news conference on Tuesday.

“Now some of this may involve falsifying documents — they failed to pay their own taxes. They may have been fired for accessing sensitive taxpayer information without permission. In fact, one employee had missed up to eight weeks of work without permission, had actually stamped on their personnel file, ‘Do not rehire’ — and the IRS chose to rehire them.”

Noem said Congress gave the IRS an opportunity to address the issue, and “they have stated that their policies are fine and are currently working for them.” [Read more...]

Leading From Behind?

by Dr. Miklos K. Radvanyileading_from_behind

The history of mankind had always been an unending struggle for the refutation of the past and its replacement with a future that had frequently amounted to the mere restoration of the former.  Oscillating between short periods of peace and protracted wars, ephemeral tranquility and ever-present violence, successive generations had mostly lived in various stages of ideological and political hatred and institutionalized fear.

Progressivism, therefore, had always been fraught with two fundamental contradictions.  Because it systematically had negated the existing realities, progressivism had been in eternal danger of embracing senseless causes, while simultaneously striving to conceal the real nature of its true intentions.  As a result, progressivism had rarely aimed at reform and transformation, but at the total annihilation of all opposition. [Read more...]

Competitive Enterprise Institute Subpoena: An Attack on Exxon & Us All

By The Editors      •      National Review

The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian-leaning think tank that has been a loud and trenchant critic of global-warming activism, is under subpoena by the attorney general of the U.S. Virgin Islands, who demands that the organization produce a decade’s worth of communication on the subject of global warming.

Intending no slight to our friends and CEI and the fine work they do (some of which NRO has published), this isn’t about libertarian exegesis of meteorological data, but rather an attempt to fry up a much, much bigger fish: Exxon. Exxon was, in the past, a substantial donor to CEI; presumably, communication with Exxon is no small part of what the subpoena hopes to uncover.

On March 29, a group of mainly Democratic attorneys general announced at a press conference (with former vice president and green-energy profiteer Al Gore in attendance) that they would seek to transform U.S. policy on climate change by “creatively” and “aggressively” deploying their prosecutorial powers. That, in and of itself, should raise an entire May Day parade’s worth of red flags: Prosecutors are in the business of enforcing the law, not rewriting it, and the open, naked promise to use prosecutorial powers as a political weapon is a prima facie abuse of office. In a self-respecting society, every one of those state attorneys general would have been impeached the next day. But this is the Age of Obama, not the Age of Self-Respect. [Read more...]

Frontiers of Freedom Calls on Conservatives to Reject PROMESA Bailout in Letter to House Republicans

Letterhead - topFAIRFAX, VA. – In a letter to House Republicans sent today, Frontiers of Freedom urged conservatives to reject the recently introduced PROMESA bailout legislation for Puerto Rico. The measure, which was introduced by Rep. Sean Duffy, puts Puerto Rico’s bondholders on the hook for decades of government waste and jeopardizes the American taxpayer.

“Some Republicans have been too quick to defend this misguided bill, claiming that it is not a bailout because it does not send taxpayer funds directly to Puerto Rico,” said Frontiers of Freedom President George Landrith. “But that claim misses the point and is not in line with reality. This is a direct bailout at the expense of the Commonwealth’s bondholders, who are regular American taxpayers themselves, and it risks putting all taxpayers on the hook for a taking of their retirement money. This problem was created by decades of the Commonwealth’s terrible fiscal mismanagement and atrocious policies that killed off jobs and crippled the Commonwealth’s economy. A bailout won’t fix this problem. It goes far deeper than that. Real and comprehensive reforms are needed. A bailout is actually a step deeper into the abyss.” [Read more...]

Chilling Scientific Inquiry

by Ronald D. Rotunda     •    VerdictFree speech

In 2009, there was a massive email leak from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia. Supporters of global warming claimed the disclosures were out of context while opponents claimed they showed efforts to manipulate data. One of the quoted emails, Professor Phil Jones, while discussing paleo-data used to reconstruct past temperatures, says, “I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline.” (Emphasis added.) The House of Commons investigated and concluded, “insofar as we have been able to consider accusations of dishonesty—for example, Professor Jones’s alleged attempt to ‘hide the decline’—we consider that there is no case to answer.”

In the 1970s, scientists told us to fear global cooling and warned about the coming ice age. In 1970 alone, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and the LA Times all published stories with headlines like “Scientists See Ice Age in the Future.” Time Magazine’s cover story on Jan. 31, 1973, (still posted on the Magazine’s website) was all about “The Big Freeze.” Two years later, Newsweek reported, “There are ominous signs that the earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production—with serious political implications.” The problem—warming? No, cooling! The story concluded, “Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the cooling trend,” but “they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century.” [Read more...]

The Obama Administration Is Now Apologizing For America Winning World War II

Our new motto: Strength Through Moral Equivalence

By David Harsanyi     •      The Federalist

When John Kerry toured the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and Museum this week before meeting foreign ministers at the G-7 Summit, Reuters reports that he had witnessed “haunting displays [of] photographs of badly burned victims, the tattered and stained clothes they wore and statues depicting them with flesh melting from their limbs.”

“It is a stunning display. It is a gut-wrenching display,” explained Kerry. “It is a reminder of the depth of the obligation every one of us in public life carries … to create and pursue a world free from nuclear weapons.”

Iran exempted, of course. [Read more...]

Remember Obamacare? Despite Hillary’s Claims, It’s Still Not Working

If Hillary Clinton wants to defend Obamacare, fine. But she should explain to voters why the health care law is not working.

By John Daniel Davidson     •     The Federalist

Obamacare NeedleObamacare isn’t working. You wouldn’t know it from the scant media coverage, but six years after its passage, federal health-care reform has proven to be exactly what its critics said it would be: a trillion-dollar Rube Goldberg machine that doesn’t really work.

The law, although more unpopular now than it was when it passed, has quietly faded into the background of the presidential primary contests. That’s too bad, because Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has hitched her health-care wagon to this slow-motion disaster, and voters deserve to know why she thinks it’s so great—or at least why she thinks it just needs some tweaks, like larger exchange subsidies and tax credits for out-of-pocket costs. [Read more...]

The Borking Liberal Media Goes to Work for Merrick Garland

By Jeffrey Lord     •     Newsbusters

The media campaign to replace the conservative late Justice Antonin Scalia with an Obama appointee has begun.

It won’t be pretty. Republicans will be accused in the media — actually they are already being accused — of being “obstructionists” and worse in blocking the appointment of Judge Merrick Garland. But how did it get this way with the media, Democrats and Supreme Court nominations in the first place?

Let’s return to the days of yore – the summer and fall of 1987. I was a young political director in the Reagan White House, and President Reagan had nominated Robert Bork for a seat on the Supreme Court, a seat then being vacated by the retiring Justice Lewis Powell, a Nixon appointee. [Read more...]

Throwback Thursday: That Moment The NYT Said Liberals ‘Have Every Right to Resist’ Bork Nomination

by Matt Vespa     •     Townhall

Senate Democrats are trying to cast Republicans as being remiss in their constitutional duty to consider Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court (they’re not). And the mainstream media, by and large, would support that false narrative. The truth is Senate Republicans are acting no differently with these nominations concerning the politics of it all. Furthermore, The New York Times editorial board didn’t seem so aghast at Republican opposition back in the 1980s, where they openly said that Senate Democrats have “every right to resist” Robert Bork’s nomination:

…[T]he President [Reagan] chose Robert Bork and thus chose angry confrontation. For Judge Bork is not merely a conservative. He has long been a flamboyant provocateur, with a lifetime of writings to prove it. As a result, Mr. Reagan got the rancorous political battle he asked for. Appointment to the Court is a political act yet the Court’s authority depends in large measure on public confidence in its fairness and aloofness from the political cockpit. There’s something to lose when a nomination battle turns brutally partisan. [Read more...]

California DOJ Intimidates Civilian Journalist in Home Raid

CBC Sacramento

big governmentAn anti-abortion activist who made undercover videos at Planned Parenthood clinics said in a social media posting that California Department of Justice agents raided his home Tuesday.

Agents seized all video footage from his apartment, along with his personal information, David Daleiden said in a Facebook post. Daleiden, the founder of a group called the Center for Medical Progress, said agents left behind documents that he contends implicate Planned Parenthood in illegal behavior related to the handling of fetal tissue.

Center for Medical Progress spokesman Peter Robbio confirmed the social media posting is authentic, but he declined further comment. He said Daleiden lives in Orange County. [Read more...]