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Tag Archives: Abuse of Power


All the President’s IRS Agents

obama-irsThe targeting of groups opposed to the Democratic agenda has not ended—it’s gotten worse.

by Kimberly A. Strassel

Few presidents understand the power of speech better than Barack Obama, and even fewer the power of denying it to others. That’s the context for understanding the White House’s unprecedented co-option of the Internal Revenue Service to implement a political campaign to shut up its critics and its opponents.

Perhaps the biggest fiction of this past year was that the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups has been confronted, addressed and fixed. The opposite is true. The White House has used the scandal as an excuse to expand and formalize the abuse.

About a month after the IRS inspector general released his bombshell report about IRS targeting of conservative groups last May, Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel unveiled a “plan of action” for correcting the mess. One highlight was that targeted groups would be offered a new optional “expedited” process for getting 501(c)(4) status. Continue reading


Connecting the Dots in the IRS Scandal

Connecting-the-dots1The ‘smoking gun’ in the targeting of conservative groups has been hiding in plain sight.

By Bradley A. Smith

The mainstream press has justified its lack of coverage over the Internal Revenue Service targeting of conservative groups because there’s been no “smoking gun” tying President Obama to the scandal. This betrays a remarkable, if not willful, failure to understand abuse of power. The political pressure on the IRS to delay or deny tax-exempt status for conservative groups has been obvious to anyone who cares to open his eyes. It did not come from a direct order from the White House, but it didn’t have to.

First, some background: On Jan. 21, 2010, the Supreme Court issued its ruling in Citizens United v. FEC upholding the right of corporations and unions to make independent expenditures in political races. Then, on March 26, relying on Citizens United, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the rights of persons (including corporations) to pool resources for political purposes. This allowed the creation of “super PACs” as well as corporate contributions to groups organized under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code that spend in political races. Continue reading


New Obama initiative tramples First Amendment

Handcuff Pressby Byron York

The First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…” But under the Obama administration, the Federal Communications Commission is planning to send government contractors into the nation’s newsrooms to determine whether journalists are producing articles, television reports, Internet content, and commentary that meets the public’s “critical information needs.” Those “needs” will be defined by the administration, and news outlets that do not comply with the government’s standards could face an uncertain future. It’s hard to imagine a project more at odds with the First Amendment.

The initiative, known around the agency as “the CIN Study” (pronounced “sin”), is a bit of a mystery even to insiders. “This has never been put to an FCC vote, it was just announced,” says Ajit Pai, one of the FCC’s five commissioners (and one of its two Republicans). “I’ve never had any input into the process,” adds Pai, who brought the story to the public’s attention in a Wall Street Journal column last week. Continue reading


White House cannot selectively enforce the law

Selective enforcement rule of lawFrontiers of Freedom has consistently maintained that the constitutional division and separation of powers explicitly prohibits the President of the United States from unilaterally rewriting laws and from selectively enforcing them.  In fact, that has been the law of the land for more than 200 years.  Yet, President Obama has made a habit of enforcing laws he likes, and openly refusing to enforce laws he doesn’t.  If he doesn’t like a law, he can suggest Congress pass reform legislation through the House and the Senate and he can sign it and enforce it.  But he cannot simply ignore the law or unilaterally alter it.  Now even one of the leading defenders of the Obama administration and a predictable voice for the Left – The Washington Post –has written that the President is acting outside his constitutional authority.  Here is what the editorial board of the Washington Post wrote:

The Obama administration on Monday announced that it was delaying, once again, enforcement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) “employer mandate.” Yes, Republicans have done everything they can to impede implementation of this law. Yes, their “solution” — gutting the individual mandate — is an awful idea. And, yes, their public response to the administration’s action was predictably over-the-top. But none of that excuses President Obama’s increasingly cavalier approach to picking and choosing how to enforce this law. Imagine how Democrats would respond if a President Rand Paul, say, moved into the White House in 2017 and announced he was going to put off provisions of Obamacare he thought might be too onerous to administer. Continue reading


IRS Targeting Should Trouble All Americans

IRS Scandal Obama Targeting Conservativesby Steve Huntley

President Barack Obama maintains there’s “not even a smidgen of corruption” in the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of tea party and conservative groups, that it was just the result of “bone-headed decisions” by low-level IRS technocrats.

But testimony at a congressional hearing last week raised red flags about IRS abuse of conservatives that should trouble Americans no matter what their political leanings.

When the IRS revelations broke, Obama promised a full investigation. Yet Cleta Mitchell, an attorney for a number of tea party and conservative groups targeted by the IRS, testified, “None of my clients have received a single contact from the FBI, the DOJ [Department of Justice] or any other investigator regarding the IRS scandal.”

She detailed for a House oversight subcommittee several areas worthy of criminal investigation into the taxman’s singling out conservative groups for special scrutiny and intrusive questioning regarding their nonprofit tax status. Continue reading


Obama Delays Obamacare’s Employer Mandate – Yet Again

ObamaCare Obama DoctorDuring a visit to Monticello with the President of France on Monday, President Obama quipped, “That’s the good thing about being president, I can do whatever I want.”  Some would argue that President Obama was simply joking.  But more and more, it looks like the President believes he can do as he pleases and can enact and amend legislation all by himself. Also on Monday, the White House announced that Obama had changed the clear and unambiguous terms of the ObamaCare law and delayed the employer mandate yet again for certain select groups.

This is particularly odd because the President himself has repeatedly called ObamaCare the of the land and demanded that Republicans accept it and stop trying to reform it. Yet, the President doesn’t view the law of the land as any reason for him to respect the plain language of the law. Students of the Constitution find this usurpation of power deeply troubling. But it is also deeply cynical as the President continues to assure Americans that the roll out of ObamaCare is going well. Yet if it were, he would not be repeatedly postponing its mandates until after the next election cycle.

by Brett Logiurato

The Obama administration announced Monday that it will delay implementation of part of the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate for the second consecutive year.

The Treasury Department said it will delay the mandate’s penalty another year for small businesses with 50-99 workers. It will also adjust some of the requirements for larger employers.

Under the new Treasury Department rules, businesses with 100 employees or more must offer coverage to at least 70% of full-time workers in 2015 and 95% in 2016, or face a penalty. Continue reading


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. Continue reading


IRS Targeting and 2014 – They’re still at it!

irs-targets-conservativesDemocrats are working hard to make sure conservative groups are silenced in the 2014 midterms.

President Obama and Democrats have been at great pains to insist they knew nothing about IRS targeting of conservative 501(c)(4) nonprofits before the 2012 election. They’ve been at even greater pains this week to ensure that the same conservative groups are silenced in the 2014 midterms.

That’s the big, dirty secret of the omnibus negotiations. As one of the only bills destined to pass this year, the omnibus was—behind the scenes—a flurry of horse trading. One of the biggest fights was over GOP efforts to include language to stop the IRS from instituting a new round of 501(c)(4) targeting. The White House is so counting on the tax agency to muzzle its political opponents that it willingly sacrificed any manner of its own priorities to keep the muzzle in place. Continue reading


Obama Repeals ObamaCare

Obama 102Under pressure from Senate Democrats, the President partly suspends the individual mandate.

It seems Nancy Pelosi was wrong when she said “we have to pass” ObamaCare to “find out what’s in it.” No one may ever know because the White House keeps treating the Affordable Care Act’s text as a mere suggestion subject to day-to-day revision. Its latest political retrofit is the most brazen: President Obama is partly suspending the individual mandate.

The White House argued at the Supreme Court that the insurance-purchase mandate was not only constitutional but essential to the law’s success, while refusing Republican demands to delay or repeal it. But late on Thursday, with only four days to go before the December enrollment deadline, the Health and Human Services Department decreed that millions of Americans are suddenly exempt. Continue reading


Obama’s Disdain For The Constitution

Obama Smirkby M. Northrop Buechner

Since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, he has changed it five times. Most notably, he suspended the employer mandate last summer. This is widely known, but almost no one seems to have grasped its significance.

The Constitution authorizes the President to propose and veto legislation. It does not authorize him to change existing laws. The changes Mr. Obama ordered in Obamacare, therefore, are unconstitutional. This means that he does not accept some of the limitations that the Constitution places on his actions. We cannot know at this point what limitations, if any, he does accept.

By changing the law based solely on his wish, Mr. Obama acted on the principle that the President can rewrite laws and—since this is a principle—not just this law, but any law. Continue reading


Obama tells another whopper on IRS scandal

Obama Smirkby Joseph Curl

Fact:  The IRS targeted conservative and tea party groups requesting tax-exempt status in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election. That’s a fact.

Congress held hearings — embarrassing hearings. Three top Internal Revenue Service officials resigned. No heads rolled, but for the Obama administration, and the lawless Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., that amounted to a major scandal. Even White House spokesman Jay “Circus” Carney called the IRS‘ actions “inappropriate.” Fact.

But President Obama, in an interview last week with sycophant Chris Matthews, now says the entire scandal was made up by the media. Continue reading


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. Continue reading


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. Continue reading


Governing with Malice and in Bad Faith

Government-Shutdown-1White House Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Burwell sent out a memo instructing agency heads not to consider whether the cost of shutting down a government website is more expensive than keeping it running. 

As the partial government shutdown headed into the weekend, Organizing for Action, Barack Obama’s permanent campaign operation, urged followers to use Twitter to send a message to House Speaker John Boehner: “Enough Already!”

“Speaker Boehner can end the shutdown right now,” OFA told its followers. “Tweet at him to make sure he knows we’re going to be holding him accountable for trying to sabotage the economy.”

This message went out the day after Obama’s own blistering attack on the GOP, in which he insisted shrilly that House Republicans—he named Boehner specifically—were solely to blame for the shutdown. If the president’s appearance in Rockville, Md., had all the trappings of a campaign speech, that’s exactly what it was. The question is why: Barack Obama, after all, isn’t running for office again. Continue reading


Who caused the Shutdown?

Government-shutdownby Charles Krauthammer

The Obamacare/shutdown battle has spawned myriad myths. The most egregious concern the substance of the fight, the identity of the perpetrators and the origins of the current eruption.

(1) Substance

President Obama indignantly insists that GOP attempts to abolish or amend Obama­care are unseemly because it is “settled” law, having passed both houses of Congress, obtained his signature and passed muster with the Supreme Court.

Yes, settledness makes for a strong argument — except from a president whose administration has unilaterally changed Obama­care five times after its passage, including, most brazenly, a year-long suspension of the employer mandate. Continue reading


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