Surprise! Senate subcommittee whitewashes IRS scandal; claims “no political bias”

McCain and Levin (Salon.com)

Care to read the mind of ranking Republican Sen. John McCain as he listens to ranking Democrat Sen. Carl Levin? Senator Levin reported no bias toward conservative groups by the IRS. (Salon.com photo)

“The majority report (Democrat) asserts that there was no political bias in the way the IRS selected groups for additional scrutiny and that conservative groups and liberal (progressive) groups were treated equally,” was the finding of the Senate subcommittee led by Michigan’s outgoing Sen. Carl Levin.  As usual, the report was released late Friday to avoid major news coverage.

“The minority report (Republican) sharply disagrees with the conclusion reached by the majority staff report,” wrote ranking senior member Sen. John McCain (RAZ)  representing the Republican side.  Of the groups singled out for extra scrutiny, he said 83 per cent, or 248 of the 298 groups, were “right-leaning.”

Further, he referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means published study detailing questions asked of conservative groups and progressive groups.  The IRS asked conservative groups 1,552 questions, an average of 14.9 per group, while just seven progressive groups were asked a mere 33 questions or 4.7 per group.

For those unfamiliar with details of the IRS scandal, it was Senator Levin, who along with Senator’s Charles Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), Sen.Richard Durbin (D-IL) and others, wrote intimidating letters to the IRS following the Supreme Court’s decision on Citizens United.  See my post, Understanding the IRS scandal, Part 1, March 10, 2014

Ramirez Cartoon

IBD Michael Ramirez editorial cartoon

In the conclusion of the 288-page report, this laughable sentence appears, “(The subcommittee) continued its tradition of in-depth fact finding and frequent consultation that are the hallmark of the Senate’s work and lead to a deepened understanding of the issues.”   This is a good spot to tell you that the subcommittee didn’t interview one victim group, conservative or progressive.  It reminds me of the Benghazi ARB that didn’t interview Hillary Clinton.  And Congress wonders why they rank so low as a group.  According to Real Clear Politics, 77.4 per cent currently disapprove of Congress, while just 14 per cent approve.

To see an interesting interview by the WSJ’s Dan Henninger with Cleta Mitchell, one of the attorneys representing conservative groups, click here.

You can find the full report here.

Pay no attention to the Senate report.  This issue is not dead by any means.  “Lost” Lois Lerner e-mails will surface.  Mark my word.

President ignores Court, Congress and us

immigration (APJacquelyn Martin photo)

Speaking in the Rose Garden on Monday, President Obama threatened to go around Congress on immigration reform. He brought Vice President Biden along for moral support. (AP/Jacquelyn Martin photo)

President Obama went back before the microphones in the Rose Garden today to berate Republicans over their lack of support for a comprehensive immigration bill, and threatened again to use his executive power to move the ball.

He singled out House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and the Tea Party for holding up immigration reform.  Boehner had reiterated that “the American people and their elected officials don’t trust him (Obama) to enforce the law as written.”

Ironically, the president’s threat came on the day after the Supreme Court unanimously decided he had exceeded his authority when he made appointments while the Senate was in session.  And it came just three days after a Gallup poll revealed that fewer than one in four Americans favor increased immigration levels.

The survey showed that more Americans think immigration should be decreased than increased, by a nearly two-to-one margin, 41 percent vs 22 percent.  A third in the U.S. is satisfied with the level as it is.

Our imperial, out-of-touch president never seems to remember the promises he makes.  Here are a few immigration promises for the record:

“(We need) to put an end to the petty partisanship that passes for politics in Washington and enact comprehensive immigration reform once and for all.  That’s the commitment I’m making to you.  And, I will make it a top priority in my first year as President …”  – Candidate Barack Obama, July 8, 2008, LULAC

Two months later, speaking to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, he said. “I think it’s time for a president who won’t walk away from comprehensive immigration reform when it becomes politically unpopular.”

Shortly after his inauguration in January 2009, White House staffer Cecilia Munoz told the New York Times that the president “intends to start the debate this year,” while other staffers indicated “it would not take precedence over health care and energy priorities.”

Fourteen months into his presidency, the president said “immigration reform will have to wait … immigration will be addressed, but not just yet.  Am I going to be able to snap my finger and get this done? No.”

Pledging to push immigration while wooing the Hispanic vote in 2012, he said, “This (immigration reform) is something I care deeply about.”  Though that was hardly a commitment, Hispanics again helped him win reelection.

He can no longer blame Bush, so he attacks Boehner and the Tea Party for his inability to bring the country together on this issue.

Every day that goes by our inexperienced president must see the handwriting on the wall for the remaining years of his administration.  Other countries see him as weak and the majority of Americans believe the country is going in the wrong direction.

 Quote of the day

Taking questions from the White House press corps regarding the Supreme Court decision favoring Hobby Lobby, Press Secretary Josh Earnest said, “We disagree and the constitutional lawyer in the Oval Office disagrees with the conclusion from the Supreme Court …”

“Phony scandals, Mr. President? Really?

Over the years since Barrack Obama was elected president and the press almost totally signed on to his agenda, I have been writing about news that isn’t getting reported by the so-called mainstream media.

If it wasn’t for Fox News, conservative publications, blogs and radio talk shows, most of us wouldn’t know about the culture of corruption in the Obama administration.

Obama in Minneapolis (dailycaller.com)

President Obama tells liberal supporters in Minneapolis’ Minihaha Park that dealing with those “phony scandals” is frustrating. (dailycaller.com)

In the liberal haven of Minneapolis this week, the president continued to refer to stories about Benghazi, the IRS and VA as “phony scandals,” but a few reporters are beginning to recall the old saying “fish smell from the head down.”  ABC’s Jonathan Karl recently tangled with former White House press secretary Jay Carney over White House transparency.

Years ago, Sean Hannity signaled the end of true journalism in this country, and a number of people have asked where Woodward and Bernstein are these days.

Sharyl Attkisson, an award-winning investigative reporter at CBS, resigned in March after citing her inability to get her stories on line.  She’s currently writing a book due out later this year, Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.  The title says it all.

Attkisson (breitbart.com)

Sharyl Attkisson, who resigned as an award-winning investigative reporter at CBS, is writing a book about dealing with the stonewalling Obama administration. (Breitbrt.com)

Appearing on C-SPAN Q&A last week, Attkisson said the Obama administration has created “the worst atmosphere” journalists have ever faced and called the Freedom of Information Act “a joke.”  She’s been waiting since 2012 for a response to her FOIA on Benghazi.

The recent announcement that Diane Sawyer will be leaving ABC came just days after her testy interview with Hillary Clinton.  It surfaced rumors that network management was unhappy with her questioning.  (See my June 27, 2014 post, So she wants to be president, Part 2.)

Now that the terrorist tied to the Benghazi attack has arrived in the U.S., you can look for the administration spinmeisters to tell us “case closed.” Meanwhile, the misdeeds at the VA and the drip, drip, drip of corruption at the IRS continues.

So, Mr. President, you can continue to talk about “phony scandals,” but we remember the old Mark Twain saying, “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.”

In pursuit of the “there there”

It’s getting tiresome watching Democrats stand before phalanx of microphones spouting the party line about the thousands of pages of IRS documents supplied to a half dozen or so  House and Senate committees and, enough already, there’s no “there there.”

No “there there” means, you’re not going to tie the scandal to anyone in the White House, especially the president.  They usually follow with a reference to a Republican “witch hunt” or a “fishing expedition.”  This is serious.  We cannot give up.

As I pointed out in Part 1 of my blog series, Understanding the IRS scandal, March 10, 2014, the president used his bully pulpit during the State of the Union Address on January 2010 to publically chastise members of the Supreme Court for their decision on Citizens United.  A host of Democrat senators, led by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), got the message and sent letters to the IRS to tighten the rules.

It’s the way President Obama works.  He tells us what he’s going to do, as when he told us he had a pen and a phone, and if Congress stood in his way, he’d find a way to get something done. Continue reading

Will GOP learn from Brat win?

First, let’s get it straight.  It wasn’t Tea Party financial support that enabled Dave Brat to beat GOP Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the Virginia primary last night as the media has been saying.

Dave Brat (National Review .c om)

Dave Brat surprised everyone with his primary victory over House Majority Leader Eric Cantor last night in Virginia. (NationalReview.com photo)

Putting it simply, Brat did campaign on principles Tea Partiers and true Republicans stand for – primarily adherence to the Constitution –   not moves to be Democrat-lite, to appear more moderate.

Cantor and some other Republicans still seem to think they can win the Latino vote by supporting comprehensive immigration reform.  It’s not going to happen.  We need to support and adhere to the immigration laws now on the books.

Conservatives are also tired of the lack of leadership in the House that has not used its powers to stop the president from subverting the rule of law and going weak-kneed on the repeal of ObamaCare.  They’re also frustrated by the foot-dragging on the Fast and Furious, IRS, Benghazi and VA scandals.  And, just because the Democrats control the Senate, it doesn’t mean Republican members can’t be more vocal on the issues, ala Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee.

Brat spent less than $200,000 on his campaign versus Cantor’s $6 billion.  He had the support of conservative talk radio, where I heard Mark Levin muse Monday night (I paraphrase)  wouldn’t it be interesting if the Republicans took back the Senate in the mid-terms while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell went down in defeat.

Even though Brat is merely a Republican who wants his party to stand for its principles and ideas to turn the country around, watch for the Democrats to label Brat as an “extreme right-winger” with ties to the Tea Party.

If ever there was a wake-up call for Republicans who talk of reaching across the aisle, the Brat victory last night was it.

The House would be wise to replace Cantor as majority leader with someone outside the current leadership line.  Instead of Rep. Kevin McCarthy or Rep. Jeb Hensarling, why not Rep. Jason Chaffetz or Rep. Devin Nunes, two excellent spokesmen on Republican principles.

Poll shows 45 percent ‘unfavorable’ for Franken

In my March 27, 2014 blog post, It’s no joke, Senator Franken, I wrote of his effort to intimidate IRS employees; a plan to closely scrutinize tax exempt status applications submitted by Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations.

Franken (news busters)

Sen. Al Franken dealing with ‘unfavorable’ rating in home state. (newsbusters photo)

Led by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Franken and several other senators pressured the IRS to delay Tea Party application approvals; a scheme to prevent groups from furthering their push for less government, lower taxes, less spending and adherence to the Constitution.

While Franken serves the predominantly liberal state of Minnesota, a poll recently conducted by Magellan Strategies for American Encore.org, revealed a 45 percent unfavorable and 41 per cent favorable ranking for the Democrat senator.  While he has only a 44 percent job approval ranking, 40 percent of poll respondents feel he deserves reelection.  Go figure.

It’s no joke, Senator Franken

In my four-part series on the IRS scandal,  I wrote of U. S. senators who intimidated the agency in an effort to stymie Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations from gaining tax exempt status for political education.

franken(politico.com)

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) (politico.com photo)

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), the former Saturday Night Live funnyman, who won his 2008 race against Norm Coleman by just 312 votes after an eight-month recount process, was one of those senators.  While he may be in a safe seat in liberal Minnesota, American Encore has put $250,000 behind an ad on rule changes that would enable the IRS to crack down on conservative political groups, and Franken takes a hit.  You can see that ad here.

Inderstanding the IRS scandal, Part 4

KRAMER’S NOTE:  This is the last in my series on the IRS scandal, providing you with the milestone events in capsulized form, emphasizing the importance of completing the investigation.  The first three in this series can be found in the right column of this page.

The Clear Case Against Lois Lerner

“Tea Party matter very dangerous.  This could be the vehicle to go to court on the issue of whether Citizens United overturning the ban on corporate spending applies to tax exempt rules.”   – Lois Lerner e-mail of February 1, 2011

lerner(worldmag.com photo)

Lois Lerner takes Fifth Amendment. (worldmag.com photo)

When Lois Lerner made her second appearance before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on March 5, 2014, it was Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa’s intention to ask her about this statement. It goes back to her Oct. 19, 2010 declaration that the Supreme Court dealt a huge blow in its decision on Citizens United and “everyone is up in arms because the Federal Election Commission can’t do anything about it.”

Issa opened the testimony session asking Lerner to identify who wanted the problem caused by Citizens United fixed, and “why would you say Tea Party cases are dangerous?”  But Lerner, as she did on May 22, 2013, took the Fifth Amendment, refusing to answer that and subsequent questions concerning IRS actions against conservative organizations.  Since her first appearance, Issa had obtained a number of 2011 e-mails showing a heightened effort to stymie Tea Party organizations. Continue reading

Understanding the IRS Scandal, Part 3

KRAMER’S NOTE:  In Part 1, I explained how President Obama’s public chastising of the Supreme Court justices over their decision on Citizens United during his 2010 State-of-the-Union address triggered the IRS scandal.  In Part 2, I took you through the IG’s report on the IRS and the testimony that followed.  If you missed those parts you can scroll down or see “Recent Posts” in the right column.

Democrats Continue to Intimidate the IRS

Issa (patdollard.com photo)

Rep. Darrell Issa (patdollard.com photo)

On Jan. 9, 2014, as Democrats urged the IRS to continue to apply pressure on Tea Party organizations, House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and attorneys for Tea Party groups voiced disapproval of the Department of Justice’s selection of Barbara Bosserman, a major Obama campaign contributor, to head its investigation of the IRS.

The following week the FBI indicated it didn’t plan to file any criminal charges as a result of its investigation of the IRS actions even though that investigation was not yet complete.

But Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), who was one of a handful of Democrats to call for Tea Party scrutiny in 2012, kept up the drum beat.  “It is clear that we will not pass anything legislatively as long as the House of Representatives is in Republican control,” said Schumer, “but there are many things that can be done administratively by the IRS and other government agencies; we must redouble those efforts immediately.”

Speaking at the leftist Center for American Progress just two months ago, Schumer said that the IRS should be used more aggressively to keep Tea Party funding in check; a way to weaken and exploit the conservative movement.

Schumer (Breitbart.com photo)

Sen. Charles Schumer (Breitbart.com photo)

“Obviously the Tea Party elites gained extraordinary influence by being able to funnel millions of dollars into campaigns with ads that distort and attack government,” Schumer told the very organization that pours money into efforts that target conservatives.

Clearly, Schumer has headed what has been labeled Stage One, the administration’s attempt to silence its Tea Party critics by stymying and delaying its applications.

Stage Two was intended to introduce a regulation that would silence their Tea Party critics. But in an unexpected turnabout, new rules drafted by the IRS to tighten applications for non-exempt status, didn’t sit well with liberal organizations. A disapproving ACLU cited that its advocacy was “at the heart of our representative democracy, and to the extent it influences voting, it does so by promoting an informed citizenry.”

Under the draft rule, any public communication that identifies a candidate within 30 days of a primary election or 60 days of a general election, would be deemed “political” and not be permitted.  The draft also includes changes in time spent and funds used for politics vs
education.

After more than 140,000 comments were received on the rules changes, the House voted 243-176 to delay for one year the proposed rules.

“The idea that politicians should write laws restricting people critical of them is as perverse as the idea that a sprawling, opaque IRS bureaucracy should be assigned to construe and apply such laws,” said columnist George Will.

NEXT: THE CLEAR CASE AGAINST LOIS LERNER