by Lachlan Markay • The Federalist
Tom Steyer wants to amend the U.S. Constitution to allow the government to regulate religious sermons, tap the phones of the American Civil Liberties Union, seize phone record and Internet search histories on a whim, and give bureaucrats veto power over the content of The New York Times.
If that sounds like hyperbole, you need only read the text of Proposition 59, the California ballot measure Steyer endorsed last week. Billed as an attempt to roll back the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, the measure is actually far broader and more dangerous: it seeks to eliminate all constitutional rights for incorporated entities—for-profit companies, but also nonprofit groups, labor unions, charities, churches, and any other association given an official government imprimatur.
Steyer has focused of late on the ostensibly pernicious effects of money in politics as he pours more money than any other individual into federal elections. But for all of Prop 59’s focus on Citizens United, it never even mentions the separate Supreme Court case that has allowed Steyer to almost single-handedly finance one of the wealthiest political groups in the country. Continue reading
by Senator Ted Cruz • The Daily Signal
The incredible ingenuity of the American people invented the internet—one of the most transformational technologies in human history. But even though we created and paid for the internet, we did not keep it for ourselves; we shared it for the benefit of all humanity. That spirit of freedom and generosity is the very essence of our great nation.
Since the internet’s inception, the United States government has played a critical role in supervising the core internet functions that allow websites to interface with the internet. If any other country had created the internet, this power could have been used to deny internet access to websites that were deemed politically undesirable, unpopular, threatening, or disfavored by the ruling elite.
But not here in the United States. The internet is an oasis of freedom today because of our First Amendment, which is unparalleled in the protection it affords free speech. So long as the U.S. government is involved in internet governance, it cannot deny any website internet access on account of the ideas it espouses. Continue reading
By Josh Gerstein and Nolan D McCaskill • Politico
President Barack Obama used a pseudonym in email communications with Hillary Clinton and others, according to FBI records made public Friday.
The disclosure came as the FBI released its second batch of documents from its investigation into Clinton’s private email server during her tenure as secretary of state.
The 189 pages the bureau released includes interviews with some of Clinton’s closest aides, such as Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills; senior State Department officials; and even Marcel Lazar, better known as the Romanian hacker “Guccifer.”
In an April 5, 2016 interview with the FBI, Abedin was shown an email exchange between Clinton and Obama, but the longtime Clinton aide did not recognize the name of the sender. Continue reading
by Chris Cillizza • Washington Post
One of the strangest incidents of the 2012 presidential campaign was when then-Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid accused then-Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney of having not paid any taxes over the past decade. That Reid made that allegation from the floor of the Senate made it even odder.
The problem with Reid’s allegation? It’s just not true. We know that, at least in 2011 and 2010, Romney did pay taxes. How do we know that? Because Romney released his tax returns for those years. In 2011, Romney paid $1.9 million in taxes; in 2010, he paid slightly more than $3 million in taxes.
Our own Fact Checker gave Reid Four Pinocchios for his “no taxes” claim. PolitiFact gave the claim a “Pants on Fire” rating. Continue reading
by Tom Ciccotta • Breitbart
At a free speech symposium at the University of Missouri, CNN commentator Sally Kohn argued that pro-free speech conservatives are really just afraid of the increasing desire for multiculturalism on college campuses.
Kohn, who frequently appears as a progressive commentator on CNN, claimed at the symposium that the right, by fighting for free speech, has merely been seeking new ways to stifle calls for diversity, particularly on college campuses.
Kohn argued that pro-free speech conservatives are really just afraid of “multiculturalism.”
Kohn’s CNN colleague Kirsten Powers challenged her, arguing that “speech is not in itself dangerous.” Kohn responded that their white, upper-middle class backgrounds disqualify them from deciding if free speech is harmful. Continue reading
by Peter Roff • U.S. News
The armchair constitutionalists who have lately been about the business of trying to nullify the decision of the United States Supreme Court in the Citizens United case are so full of ardor for their cause they are no longer thinking clearly.
They believe passionately to the point of distraction that money is a singularly corruptive influence on the American political process – as long as it is corporate money which, to them, means it comes from General Motors, Microsoft, Goldman-Sachs and other really big repositories of wealth.
There’s so much wrong with this thinking that there isn’t enough bandwidth available on the internet to explain the errors in one place. Suffice it to say, their passion for the subject has led them in directions that threaten the constitutional integrity of the American system. Continue reading
by Alexander Hendrie • Americans for Tax Reform
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen will appear before the House Judiciary Committee to defend himself against impeachment charges following his role in the Lois Lerner targeting scandal.
Koskinen was appointed to lead the IRS after promising to bring transparency and openness to the embattled agency. He has failed.
The IRS failed to search five of six possible sources of electronic media for Lois Lerner’s emails, according to documentation released by the House Oversight Committee in July 2015.
Over the course of investigations into the Lois Lerner targeting scandal, Commissioner John Koskinen repeatedly assured Congress that he would provide all of Lois Lerner’s emails. But based on testimony from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), this did not occur. The agency’s ineptness — or corruption — resulted in 24,000 Lerner emails being lost when they were “accidently” destroyed. Continue reading
By Jeffrey I. Barke • The Hill
As ObamaCare’s troubles mount, I’ve heard my patients and my peers in healthcare ask: How could the law’s authors not have seen this coming?
For my part, I think a different question needs to be asked: What if they did? What if ObamaCare was purposely designed to fail?
Every day, it seems like there are a dozen new headlines about the crisis facing ObamaCare. Premiums are rising faster than ever. Meanwhile, health insurance companies are abandoning the law’s exchanges left and right, unable to compete in the top-down, regulation-driven environment created by the law. Less than three years into its implementation, the law has never looked so precarious. Continue reading
by Elizabeth Harrington • Washington Free Beacon
The cost to taxpayers for just nine executive orders signed by President Barack Obama is $31 billion, according to a new report.
The American Action Forum found that Obama’s “pen and phone” strategy of going around Congress has incurred major costs for Americans for reasons including the delay of provisions in Obamacare and imposing new gun control measures. The group analyzed the most expensive executive orders and administrative action taken by the president for its analysis.
“‘I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone … I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball.’ That was President Obama in 2014 pledging to use executive action to implement his policy priorities,” writes Sam Batkins, director of regulatory policy at the American Action Forum, a center-right policy institute. “The American people elected Republican majorities in both the House and the Senate and President Obama responded through regulation, rather than working with Congress on legislation.” Continue reading
by Ali Meyer • Washington Free Beacon
The Obama administration could bail out Obamacare insurers through its risk-corridor program, according to an expert from the Mercatus Center.
The risk-corridor program was designed to constrain risk for health insurers who had uncertainty in pricing premiums for new plans they offered through Obamacare. The program was established and administered in years 2014, 2015, and 2016 and transferred funds from profitable insurers to insurers with losses.
In 2014, the risk-corridor program experienced a shortfall of more than $2.5 billion. Poorly performing insurers requested $2.87 billion in that year, while profitable insurers could only make up about $362 million, leaving a deficit of about $2.5 billion. Continue reading
by Ali Meyer • Washington Free Beacon
Obamacare enrollees had trouble affording and accessing health care as well as understanding how to use their plans, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office.
The top factors that Obamacare enrollees considered when selecting a plan in 2015 were the cost of premiums, deductibles, and copayments.
The auditors talked to stakeholders including policy experts, state departments of insurance, and exchange officials, and found that some Obamacare enrollees said the out-of-pocket expenses were too expensive before reaching their deductible. Continue reading
Instead of attempting an outright repeal of Obamacare, some in Congress are abdicating conservative principles and throwing the private sector under the bus in a reckless effort to kill the ACA.
The tool of choice in this instance is the so-called “transitional reinsurance” program (“reinsurance”) established by Section 1341 of Obamacare. It was designed as a temporary program to spread out the financial risk associated with providing health insurance to sicker patients in the individual market and exchanges.
Under its terms, health insurers, not the government, were required to pay into a fund that was to be distributed to those insurance plans that had risky patients with medical claims above a certain level.
Now that we’re approaching the end of this temporary program, in place from 2014-2016, some in Congress want to steal the money in this program (in order to precipitate a collapse in the overall ACA program) and instead give it to the U.S. Treasury – but for what? It’ll just be more federal largesse to spent by Obama and big spenders in Congress. Continue reading
by Natalie Johnson • Washington Free Beacon
A billionaire Clinton Foundation donor was denied entry into the United States last year for suspected links to terrorism, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.
Gilbert Chagoury, who contributed millions to the Clinton Foundation and gave $1 billion to the Clinton Global Initiative in 2009, was barred entry into the U.S. because of his connection to a Lebanese organization allied with Hezbollah, a State Department-designated foreign terrorist organization.
A 2013 FBI intelligence report said Chagoury donated funds to Michel Aoun, a Lebanese Christian politician whose party has been part of a decade-long political coalition with Hezbollah. A source told the FBI that Aoun was “facilitating fundraising for Hezbollah” and had transferred Chagoury’s donation to the terrorist group. Continue reading
by Adam Kredo • Washington Free Beacon
Congress is set to consider new legislation that would block the Obama administration from awarding Iran billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars in what many describe as a ransom payment, according to a copy of the legislation obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) will introduce on Tuesday new legislation that would prohibit the Obama administration from moving forward with all payments to Iran, according to the bill, which would also force Iran to return billions of dollars in U.S. funds that have already been delivered to Tehran by the White House.
Rubio’s bill—a version of which is also being introduced in the House by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.)—would mandate that Iran pay American victims of terrorism some $53 billion in reparations for past attacks planned and coordinated by the Islamic Republic. Continue reading
by Morgan Chalfant • Washington Free Beacon
President Obama is disputing a recommendation to change the governance structure of the Department of Veterans Affairs network of hospitals, saying it would undermine the authority of bureaucrats overseeing the agency-run facilities.
The proposal was one of several included in the final report of the Commission on Care, an independent panel established by Congress to examine the VA’s hospital network after veterans were found to have died waiting for care as agency employees kept secret lists to conceal long appointment waits in 2014.
Obama sent a letter to Congress on Thursday reacting to the commission’s final report of recommendations, which the Washington Free Beacon first reported in July. While he agreed with the majority of the commission’s 18 recommendations, Obama expressed “concerns” about establishing a board of directors responsible for the overall governance of the VA health care system. Continue reading