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Those ‘rogue’ agents

IRS SCANDALRemember when Lois Lerner, in answering a planted question at an American Bar Association conference, admitted the IRS had targeted conservative groups but tried to pass it off as the work of rogue agents — “our line people in Cincinnati”?

Today we know there were indeed federal agents involved. But they weren’t rogue, and they weren’t confined to IRS workers in Cincinnati. Thanks to a Freedom of Information request by Judicial Watch, we now have an e-mail Lerner sent to colleagues noting the Department of Justice was looking into criminal prosecutions of these tax-exempt groups.

We know something else, too. These investigations into conservative organizations were frequently instigated by politicians. [Read more...]

IRS Partisan Activity – Workers Accused of Soliciting Obama Votes

obamagear_obama_IRS_campaign_partisanIRS workers in several offices have been openly supporting President Obama, including by donning pro-Obama paraphernalia and urging callers to reelect the president in 2012, according to allegations contained in a new government watchdog report.

A report by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, released Wednesday, cited accusations that workers at a Dallas IRS office may have violated federal law by wearing pro-Obama items like shirts, stickers and buttons. The Hatch Act forbids Executive Branch workers from engaging in partisan political activity. [Read more...]

The IRS Scandal’s Smoking Gun

obama-lois-lerner-fifth-amendment-IRSA suspicious email could confirm Lois Lerner’s culpability in recent IRS abuses.

by Peter Roff

The so-called “smoking gun” proving the Internal Revenue Service played politics with conservative groups seeking official non-profit, social welfare status over the last several years may finally have been found.

In a rash of documents provided under the Freedom of Information Act to Judicial Watch, a non-partisan public interest law group, is an April 2013 email written by David Fish, acting manager of IRS Exempt Organizations Technical Guidance and Quality Assurance and sent to, among others, former IRS Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner. It was part of a thread discussing a recent U.S. Senate hearing on the potential for the abuse of the 501(c)(4) tax status by organizations intervening inappropriately or improperly in candidate elections. [Read more...]

IRS Ringleader Lerner Mentioned Working for Obama Campaign Offshoot

Lois Lerner IRSby Bernie Becker

Lois Lerner, the former IRS official at the center of the agency’s Tea Party controversy, mentioned potentially getting a job at an offshoot of President Obama’s campaign, according to newly released documents.

Lerner, discussing Organizing for Action with colleagues on email in 2013, said “Oh–maybe I can get the DC office job!” [Read more...]

Why Aren’t Public Officials Held to Account for Lying?

obama washington liesby Jack Kelly

U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman sentenced television pitchman Kevin Trudeau to 10 years in prison for making false claims in a weight loss book he wrote and was hawking on TV.

In infomercials for “The Weight Loss Cure ‘They’ Don’t Want You to Know About,” Mr. Trudeau claimed food companies and the government had kept secret a “miracle substance” discovered by a British doctor. [Read more...]

For Attorney General Eric Holder, Justice Is for the Left Only

Holderby John Fund and Hans Von Spakovsky

A veteran Justice Department lawyer says that Attorney General Eric Holder has politicized the department in a way he hadn’t seen before. In short, “Holder is the worst person to hold the position of attorney general since the disgraced John Mitchell.”

Now in his sixth year as attorney general, Holder has increasingly tilted the department in an ideological direction. It’s one thing to emphasize President Obama’s legal priorities. It’s quite another to decide not to enforce certain federal laws — such as the ban on marijuana — or urge state attorney generals to refuse to defend local laws on same-sex marriage. Legal changes are achieved through legislation, not through a sudden whim not to enforce them. No other attorney general has acted in this manner. [Read more...]

The IRS Scandal Comes Into Focus

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp lays out damning evidence of Lois Lerner’s targeting of conservative groups.

irs-targets-conservativesby Kimberley Strassel

Nearly a year into the IRS scandal, we still don’t know exactly what happened—though we are finally getting an inkling. That’s thanks to the letter House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp sent this week to the Justice Department recommending a criminal probe of Lois Lerner. [Read more...]

Who Buys Votes? Incumbents, Not the Rich

Campaign CashSenator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has devoted most of his attention lately to slimming the Koch brothers and alleging that they and other rich people want to buy elections. Just like when he falsely asserted that Mitt Romney hadn’t paid any taxes for years, Reid is now in the business of making false accusations to slime those he sees as his political adversaries.  But the truth is – it is incumbents that game the system and peddle influence for their own political and/or financial gain. Perhaps this is why they have become so shrill and peddlers of lies – to divert attention from the real corruption in Washington. 

by Jonathan S. Tobin

The furor over the Supreme Court’s decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission handed down yesterday revolves, as I wrote earlier, around the problems liberals have with the First Amendment’s protections of political speech. But what liberals claim they are seeking to protect is the integrity of our democratic process from those seeking to buy the votes or the influence of public officials. Given the stringent rules that exist to limit the behavior of officeholders, the line between making your voice heard and a corrupt quid pro quo can be hazy at times, but it is still there. Yet what often goes unnoticed or is, in fact, tolerated, is a different sort of corruption that is far more common than millionaires purchasing members of Congress. As Byron York wrote yesterday in the Washington Examiner, the ability of incumbent politicians to raid the public treasury for expenditures to buy the votes of certain constituencies is not only legal, it is the most decisive form of campaign finance available. [Read more...]

IRS ‘Confusion’? Hardly!

IRS Scandal LawlessnessNew evidence undercuts White House claims that the IRS was merely confused about the law and never purposefully targeted conservatives. IRS e-mail shows they were secretly planning the recently proposed regulations which essentially codify the targeting that they began in 2010 and are continuing to do to this day.  How likely is it that Lois Lerner – who plead the Fifth rather than answer simple questions about what the IRS was doing – was writing new regulations that would give the IRS the power to silence and target conservatives and at the same time was confused by the current law and as a result targeted and silenced conservatives?  

House committees are still digging into the IRS political targeting scandal, and based on a hearing Wednesday there’s more to learn. The day produced more evidence blowing apart President Obama’s claims that there was “not even a smidgen of corruption” or political motivation in the IRS handling of groups applying for tax-exempt status.

Mr. Obama wants Americans to believe that the targeting resulted from the confusing tax law governing nonprofits, which he says was “difficult” to interpret and resulted in mere “bureaucratic” mistakes. This is also the Administration’s justification for issuing new regulations governing 501(c)(4)s that would effectively silence White House opponents this election year. Published in the Federal Register in November, the new rules cite the “lack of a clear and concise” regulation as reason for the rewrite.

House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp blew up this fairy tale at Wednesday’s hearing with new IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. Mr. Camp unveiled a June 14, 2012 email from Treasury career attorney Ruth Madrigal to key IRS officials in the tax-exempt department, including former director Lois Lerner. [Read more...]

White House Warned Journalist to back off Benghazi

Stays in Benghaziby Kerry Picket

Fox News Channel’s Greta Van Susteren claims someone in the Obama administration told her to direct colleague Jennifer Griffin to stop investigating and reporting on the deadly September 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. compound and CIA annex in Benghazi.

Van Susteren wrote:

I remembered a disturbing phone call from a good friend in the Obama Administration. I have known this friend for years. The call was a short time after 9/11 (maybe Oct. 2012?) In the call, my friend told me that my colleague Jennifer Griffin, who was aggressively reporting on Benghazi, was wrong and that, as a favor to me, my friend in the Administration was telling me so that I could tell Jennifer so that she did not ruin her career. My friend was telling me to tell Jennifer to stop her reporting. Ruin her career? [Read more...]

Washington Post: Three of 2013′s Top Five Lies Told by the White House

pinocchio1From the Washington Post:  ”… President Obama ended up with three of the most misleading claims of the year. But, despite the urging of some readers, his statement that “I didn’t set a red line” on Syria is not among them ….

“If you like your health-care plan, you can keep it.”

This memorable promise by President Obama backfired on him when the Affordable Care Act went into effect and millions of Americans started receiving cancellation notices. As we explained, part of the reason for so many cancellations is because of an unusually early (March 23, 2o10) cut-off date for grandfathering plans — and because of tight regulations written by the administration. This was our most popular fact check of the year — and Obama’s pledge also was also named PolitiFact’s “Lie of the Year.” [Read more...]

Obama Administration faked 2012 election jobs report

Shrinking Obamaby John Crudele

In the home stretch of the 2012 presidential campaign, from August to September, the unemployment rate fell sharply — raising eyebrows from Wall Street to Washington.

The decline — from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 percent in September — might not have been all it seemed. The numbers, according to a reliable source, were manipulated.

And the Census Bureau, which does the unemployment survey, knew it.

Just two years before the presidential election, the Census Bureau had caught an employee fabricating data that went into the unemployment report, which is one of the most closely watched measures of the economy. [Read more...]

A dishonest presidency

obama_lies-2by Marc A. Thiessen

The Wall Street Journal broke the news this weekend that, even as President Obama was telling the American people they could keep their health plans, “some White House policy advisors objected to the breadth of Mr. Obama’s ‘keep your plan’ promise. They were overruled by political aides.”

Overruled by political aides? This is simply damning.

It’s not easy to get a lie into a presidential speech. Every draft address is circulated to the White House senior staff and key Cabinet officials in something called the “staffing process.” Every line is reviewed by dozens of senior officials, who offer comments and factual corrections. During this process, it turns out, some of Obama’s policy advisers objected to the “you can keep your plan” pledge, pointing out that it was untrue. But it stayed in the speech. That does not happen by accident. It requires a willful intent to deceive. [Read more...]

Questions They Still Won’t Answer

benghazi media scandalBenghazi isn’t going away.

When South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham threatened last week to place a hold in the Senate on all Obama administration nominations until the president and his advisers cooperate fully with investigations into the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, White House press secretary Jay Carney responded with a familiar accusation.

“Let’s be clear that some Republicans are choosing to play politics with this for partisan purposes, and we find that unfortunate,” he said at a White House press briefing on October 28. Carney, in a we’ve-been-over-this-before tone of annoyance, ticked off numbers meant to show administration cooperation: 13 congressional hearings, 40 staff briefings, and “providing over 25,000 pages of documents.”

It’s been more than a year since four Americans were killed in Libya and more than six months since Carney dismissively declared that Benghazi “happened a long time ago.” Is he simply doing his job or does he really believe that Benghazi is a “phony scandal” trumped up by Republicans? Whatever the answer, Benghazi is not going away. [Read more...]

Obama’s 16 words

Obama Hand on Head 2by Marc A. Thiessen  •  Washington Post

Remember George W. Bush’s “16 words” in his 2003 State of the Union address making the case for military action in Iraq? Sen. John Kerry charged that Bush “hoodwinked the American people.” Sen. Hillary Clinton said Bush “misled” the country. And Sen. Barack Obama accused the White House of “shading intelligence reports to support its case.”

Well, now it seems President Obama has his own 16 words to answer for: “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan.” (Actually, it was a little more than 16 words if you include what the president said next: “Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.”) [Read more...]

Politically connected banks got bigger bailouts

BailoutIt should come as no surprise that politically connected banks received larger bailout loans from the federal government during the 2007 financial crisis than banks that spent less on lobbying and campaign contributions. That’s the conclusion of a new analysis by Prof. Benjamin Blau of Utah State University. His findings were based on data from the Federal Reserve and published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. [Read more...]

Questions into IRS scandal still get no answers

IRS Scandal DogFirst came Lois Lerner, who planted a question at an American Bar Association conference to get ahead of an inspector general finding that the IRS had unfairly targeted conservative organizations.

Then it was former IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. When he was asked during an appearance before the House Oversight Committee to explain why he had visited the White House 118 times, he cited “Easter Egg Roll with my kids” as one of his reasons.

Now comes Sarah Hall Ingram, who formerly headed the IRS division that targeted conservative groups for mistreatment. Recently disclosed e-mails show that in that position Ingram shared personal IRS taxpayer information with ­people at the ­White House. [Read more...]

‘The devil made me do it’

Obama FaceAs the Obamaland Government Shutdown Circus comes up on two weeks of performances, President Barack Obama seems to have resurrected the old Flip Wilson line in which character Geraldine Jones explained her bad behavior with the line, “The devil made me do it.”

For Obama, the devil is, of course, the Republicans in Congress.

Truth is, this shutdown is more the fault of the president than it is any one single person in Washington. He is the leader. This is on his watch. What we witness now goes directly to his leadership and management. This time, there’s no George W. Bush upon which to unfairly scapegoat his failures.

We caught a glimpse of this Tuesday when the president held a news conference in which he demonstrated quite clearly that he not only doesn’t possess the temperament to reach a reasonable accord with Republicans, he’s more pig-headed than anyone else in the room. [Read more...]

IRS and White House officials that shared confidential taxpayer info had 155 meetings

IRS Scandal IngramEmbattled IRS official Sarah Hall Ingram made 155 visits to the White House to meet with a top Obama White House official with whom she exchanged confidential taxpayer information over email.

Of Ingram’s 165 White House meetings with White House staff, a staggering 155 of them were hosted by deputy assistant to the president for health policy Jeanne Lambrew, according to a June Watchdog.Org analysis of White House visitor records.

Ingram exchanged confidential taxpayer information with Lambrew and White House health policy advisor Ellen Montz, according to 2012 emails obtained by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. [Read more...]

Harry Reid wants Americans to Suffer from Shutdown

harry-reidWord came this week that the National Institutes of Health has suspended therapy-dog visits to sick children at its clinical center because of a 25% reduction in staff, even though volunteers run the program.

Seems the veterinarians who evaluate the dogs have been furloughed. So how about the frequently used dogs that have already been evaluated? No deal.

Last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid refused to fund NIH clinical trials for children with cancer. When asked why, if it could mean saving a single child, Reid replied: “Why would we do that?”

These are just kids, after all. Who cares if they’re in pain or die because of his intransigence and lack of compassion? [Read more...]