Get PJ Media on your Apple

Rule of Law

A New, More Sinister IRS Scandal

April 17th, 2014 - 6:51 am

Yesterday was a significant day in the IRS abuse scandal. The scandal evolved from being about pesky delays in IRS exemption applications to a government conniving with outside interests to put political opponents in prison.

Emails obtained by Judicial Watch through the Freedom of Information Act reveal Lois Lerner cooking up plans with Justice Department officials to talk about ways to criminally charge conservative groups that are insufficiently quiet.

Larry Noble, a law professor now with the Soros-funded Campaign Legal Center, was cited in the emails as someone agitating to jail conservatives who “falsely” report on IRS forms that they are not engaged in political speech. Lerner talked about setting up meetings with Justice Department election lawyers who wanted to talk about making Noble’s dreams a reality — this after Senator Sheldon Whitehouse raised the idea of criminal charges for conservatives who are not sufficiently quiet, charges that they falsely completed an IRS tax exemption form.

Larry Noble

Larry Noble

Their theory is a favorite among speech regulators in the Soros-funded left and academia. It goes like this: “Too much speech is bad (unless unions do it.) Groups who talk about things leftists find uncomfortable are necessarily political and thus should never have 501(c) tax exempt status. Criminally charge any group that said on their IRS tax exempt form that they were not political if they say things the left finds uncomfortable. Get Eric Holder’s Justice Department on the case.”

The emails obtained by Judicial Watch reveal this is essentially what was going on behind the scenes at the IRS, DOJ, and with outside leftist interests.

The emails, so far, only name a few of the speech regulators involved. But there are many who don’t appear in the latest document dump that give life to the cause of limiting the First Amendment.

Hans von Spakovsky, a former commissioner on the Federal Election Commission, is intimately familiar with the scope and power of the speech regulators. He said: “Ever since I came to Washington, I’ve been shocked at the liberal politicians like Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, advocacy groups like Democracy 21 and Fred Wertheimer, and government bureaucrats at the FEC and the Justice Department who want to use the power of government to censor their opponents. They hate the First Amendment and would fit right into the Soviet Union.”

All roads in the IRS scandal run through Citizens United, the Supreme Court case that sent the speech regulators into a frenzy when it allowed private citizens to spend money to express their views without government regulation. Even President Obama attacked Citizens United in a State of the Union address. Justice Samuel Alito mouthed his opinion about Obama’s truthfulness during the speech.

Citizens United, in timing and substance, was the genesis of the IRS scandal.

So who are the speech regulators seeking to impose government limits on the exercise of the First Amendment?

Like bats in the belfry, they tend to congregate online at University of California at Irvine Law Professor Rick Hasen’s election blog.

Pages: 1 2 | 70 Comments»

If you suspect that politics might have played a role in the Justice Department bringing charges against conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, consider the financial support to Barack Obama from a key DOJ lawyer in the U.S. Attorney’s office that filed the charges.

Each U.S. Attorney’s office has a lone District Election Officer (“DEO”). The DEO is the singular point person in each U.S. Attorney office for any matter related to an election or campaign finance. The U.S. Attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York is the office which brought the campaign finance charges against D’Souza.

David Kennedy is the designated District Election Officer in the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York.  According to Federal Election Commission records, Kennedy is also a campaign contributor to Barack Obama as well as to John Kerry.  Kennedy has also contributed to state campaigns, including New York Democrat Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz.

David Kennedy

David Kennedy

D’Souza’s case is called a “conduit” case.  The Justice Department alleges that he provided funds to other people to contribute to a candidate for United States Senate, thereby avoiding the maximum contribution limits.

D’Souza’s film 2016 portrays Barack Obama as a product of a third world hostility toward Western colonialism and having an fierce aversion to American values of individual liberty, self-reliance and the rule of law.  It is the 4th highest grossing documentary of all time.

Hans von Spakovsky, a former counsel to an Assistant Attorney General at DOJ who was responsible for election matters, described the central role of the DEO in any election matter which touches a U.S. Attorney’s office. “All election-related prosecutions go through the DEO in the offices of United States attorneys located across the country,” he said.

DEOs at the Justice Department received specific training on how to search public records and look for conduit cases.  DEOs were trained by lawyers from the DOJ Public Integrity Section how to use public FEC files to look for data patterns and information which may betray a possible conduit case.  David Kennedy has been the DEO for the Southern District of New York at least since 2010.

Not only is DEO Kennedy a Obama campaign contributor, he also has a reputation as a proud and vocal liberal, not afraid to boast about his ideological worldview.

One lawyer familiar with Kennedy at DOJ told me, “Kennedy did not try to hide his political views, and they were liberal.”

Pages: 1 2 | 35 Comments»

Until this morning, the federal government could limit the amount of money you contribute for political speech.  Today in McCutcheon vs. FEC, the Supreme Court invalidated overall contribution limits.  The federal government limited individual campaign contributions to $48,000 overall and $123,200 to everything (PACs, candidates, national parties) each cycle.

The Supreme Court struck down the limits, holding that the government’s justification for limiting free speech rights – to keep money out of politics and the avoid the appearance of impropriety – failed.

This decision cuts at the heart of the leftist narrative on free speech attacks.  The heart of the narrative on the left (and among a smattering of GOP Senators) is that money in politics is bad and that large financial contributions create the appearance of corruption.

The Court rejected these justifications squarely:

Significant First Amendment interests are implicated here. Contributing money to a candidate is an exercise of an individual’s right to participate in the electoral process through both political expression and political association. A restriction on how many candidates and committees an individual may support is hardly a “modest restraint” on those rights. The Government may no more restrict how many candidates or causes a donor may support than it may tell a newspaper how many candidates it may endorse.

After the page break, we’ll explore the driving force behind the decision.

Pages: 1 2 | 9 Comments»

Obamacare as Election Turnout Machine

March 25th, 2014 - 9:23 am

A settlement between California and left-wing groups begins to reveal the political architecture of Obamacare.  From the ACLU press release: 

In a victory for voting rights, the state of California has agreed to mail voter registration cards to nearly 4 million Californians who have signed up for health insurance through the state health exchange, Covered California, and to ensure that Californians who apply for health benefits through the exchange going forward are provided voter registration opportunities. The action is the result of a settlement agreement reached with the ACLU of California, the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, Demos, and Project Vote, which threatened legal action over the state’s failure to comply with the National Voter Registration Act and state laws.

“Nearly four million Californians have applied for health insurance for themselves and their families and we applaud that incredible achievement. With this settlement agreement, Covered California will now offer these Californians the chance to register to vote or update their registration. California is on its way to healthier communities and a healthier democracy. It is exactly the result Congress intended when it passed the National Voter Registration Act more than 20 years ago,” said Lori Shellenberger, director of the ACLU of California’s Voting Rights Project.

Here’s the simple version:  Obamacare requires millions of people to interact with the government who never would have done so before. At the point of interaction, NVRA requires them to be pushed to register to vote.  Presto.  Millions of people are now touched by a political touch when they just wanted to see a doctor.  The politicization of health care has a GOTV component for the Democrat party.

Whether the Republicans fully understand this architecture remains to be seen.

Also read: 

Desperate Times, Desperate Dems

The Department of Justice has invited employees to take time off to attend a photography exhibition. A DOJ email obtained by PJ Media states:

Please join the Civil Rights Division on April 7 from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the first of several events to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act.  The Division will host acclaimed civil rights photojournalist Danny Lyon.  Mr. Lyon served as the first staff photographer of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Mr. Lyon will showcase his photographs from the civil rights movement and discuss his experiences as a SNCC staff photographer.  .   .  . Employees will be granted administrative leave to attend.

The email does not reveal how much the Department of Justice is paying to bring Mr. Lyons into Washington to exhibit his works.

Mr. Lyon traveled to Cuba in 2002 and was given extraordinary access to photograph the country and relics of “the Revolution.”  According to BleakBeauty.com:

In March and April of 2002 Nancy and Danny Lyon made two trips to Cuba. Inside Cuba, which is Communist dictatorship, the couple traveled freely, and Lyon photographed whatever he wanted without interference from soldiers or police. The first trip was through Cancun, where the Lyons caught the 8:30 PM Aero Mexico flight to Havana. The second trip was via Toronto where there is a weekly flight to Santiago de Cuba. On their return, upon entering the United States Customs area in Toronto, for their flight back from Toronto to Albany, New York, they were extensively questioned by a number of United States Customs Agents. When they admitted that they had gone to Cuba to make photographs, their passports were confiscated, then returned, and they were told they would be charged with violating the Trading with the Enemy act.

You can see some of Lyon’s photos from Cuba here. No word if Eric Holder has asked him to bring these along for DOJ employees. cuba

Pennsylvania Democrats were caught on surveillance tape reportedly accepting cash bribes in return for opposing voter ID in the Pennsylvania legislature. Gifts of Tiffany’s jewelry were also given to Democrat legislators from Philadelphia, reportedly in exchange for “NO” votes on a Pennsylvania voter ID bill that passed in 2012.

Despite this evidence, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has not charged any officials. Kane is a Democrat.

Kane’s excuse for her inaction? Racism: some of the legislators caught on tape accepting bribes were black Democrats from Philadelphia. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

In a statement to The Inquirer on Friday, Kane called the investigation poorly conceived, badly managed, and tainted by racism, saying it had targeted African Americans.

Those who favored the sting believe Kane killed a solid investigation, led by experienced prosecutor Frank G. Fina, that had ensnared several public officials and had the potential to capture more. They said they were outraged at Kane’s allegation that race had played a role in the case.

Before Kane ended the investigation, sources familiar with the inquiry said, prosecutors amassed 400 hours of audio and videotape that documented at least four city Democrats taking payments in cash or money orders, and in one case a $2,000 Tiffany bracelet.

Fine — a Pennsylvania Democrat won’t do anything about other corrupt Pennsylvania Democrats. But what about Eric Holder? After all, Holder has shown a tough-as-nails willingness to go after elected officials who accept gifts in exchange for official actions.

Just ask Bob McDonnell, former governor of Virginia, who now faces multiple criminal charges for doing just that.

When it comes to the Tea Party, Obama’s IRS probes private citizens beyond the legal limits. But when it comes to Swiss banks engaged in widespread criminal conduct, Eric Holder’s Justice Department turns a blind eye.

Swiss bank Credit Suisse has perpetrated a criminal enterprise on American soil by intentionally fleecing the federal government of billions of dollars in taxes, yet top political leaders at the U.S. Department of Justice refuse to pursue criminal charges against all of the bank officials engaged in the scheme.

Credit Suisse is based in Zurich. It repeatedly sent officers to the United States and engaged employees in the United States to aggressively market schemes to American citizens to avoid the payment of taxes to the IRS.

These marketing pitches were made in the United States to American citizens. Credit Suisse promised anonymous movement of cash away from the reach of the IRS.

The conduct is criminal, yet the Department of Justice refuses to prosecute all of the bank officials committing the crimes.

The Holder Justice Department has even fancied-up its corrupt leniency toward Credit Suisse in a document serving as an attachment to a “Deferred Prosecution Agreement.”  The document nicely describes the criminal enterprise of Credit Suisse:

Credit Suisse engaged in this criminal conduct by (a) removing or falsifying references from outgoing United States Dollar payments … (b) advising sanctioned entities how to avoid automated filters at U.S. financial institutions primarily located in New York. … (c) causing U.S. financial institutions to process sanctioned transactions unknowingly.

This deferment of prosecution described in the 2009 document did not foreclose prosecution of the tax criminals working for Credit Suisse. The controversy intensified recently as bipartisan pressure inside Congress has grown, while at the same time political officials inside the Justice Department provide cover for the tax cheats.

Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) chaired a hearing last month which dragged Deputy Attorney General James Cole into the hot seat. Cole didn’t have many answers as to why he had been giving the tax-cheating officers with Credit Suisse a free ride for years. (You can watch the uncomfortable bipartisan grilling of Cole here.) Levin’s subcommittee issued a bipartisan report detailing the extensive criminal tax evasion by Credit Suisse. cole

Pages: 1 2 | 18 Comments»

Yesterday Debo Adegbile’s nomination to head the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department failed 47-52. It didn’t take long for left-wing media to claim Adegbile was rejected … (drum roll) … because America is a racist country. Such a claim puts him right there in a class with Mumia Abu Jamal as a supposed victim of American structural racism.

These people just cannot stop viewing the world through the lens of race.

Wrote the reliably bitter Andrew Cohen at the Atlantic:

The Senate’s rejection of Adegbile, in the fashion in which it occurred, demonstrates how much work is left to do on civil rights in America. In a month, Debo Adegbile went from being a man poised to fight against America’s deep racial divide to being a victim of that divide.

I appeared on The Kelly File on Fox News last night to explain why Debo Adegbile’s rejection has the left so angry — including the president. They view the world like Debo does, through the lens of race. They are upset because a radical who shares their racialist views won’t get the chance to have a high-paying government job from which he can impose those views on the rest of America.

Cohen and others pop in Mumia tapes from the 1980s to explain Adegbile’s defeat: America won’t give a fair shake to anyone of color; America is bad; America has original sin. On and on.

Adegbile is now a man in rare air among the left — a man wronged because of his skin color, just like Mumia was.

This episode and the fallout show how important it was to defeat Adegbile. A price must be paid for judging people by the color of their skin and not the content of their character. People like Cohen and Adegbile will never be able to stop doing that, yet thankfully, the Senate did yesterday.

Criminal Background Checks: That’s Racist!

February 28th, 2014 - 11:52 am

obama_chaos-order_big_10-6-13-2

Stop underestimating the crackpot ideas the race-left will cook up.  The latest in-fashion example of America’s structural racism is the criminal background check.

The complaint goes like this. Racists who are looking for ways to engage in employment discrimination against blacks can use criminal background checks in hiring. Since blacks have been convicted of crimes in greater percentages than their population generally, using a background check is a stealth way to discriminate against blacks.

Stop laughing.

Consider how many nutty ideas you laughed at decades ago which are now the status quo. While you were busy laughing, they were busy making their nutty ideas policy, and this latest nutty idea has the full weight of the civil rights industry behind it.  The nutty idea is so well matured that the United States Commission on Civil Rights just issued a 346 page report on the topic. (Link here, but beware, the report is so large it may take weeks to download in some rural areas.)

So you think it’s nutty that criminal background checks are racist? Tell that to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which also issued policy guidance in 2012. The guidance is a classic federal government shakedown. It has no force of law.  It exceeds the authority of the EEOC.  It is confusing and unclear.  But that doesn’t matter.  It does what it is designed to do — conduct a racial shakedown of American businesses and protect lawbreakers at the expense of the law abiding, a common theme in the age of Obama.

The guidance is intended to scare employers into adopting a fringe policy of the civil rights industry.

Don’t take my word for it. Listen to EEOC Commissioner Victoria Lipnic address the Chamber of Commerce: “One bright-line policy you should not adopt is having a no-felons policy. If you have that policy, that’s going to be a problem if you’re subject to an EEOC investigation.”

Guess what, Victoria? I have a no-felons policy. I won’t hire a felon, ever. I can’t trust them. So sue me.

Pages: 1 2 | 34 Comments»

If college students listened to Mark Levin or Rush Limbaugh, they would receive a better American history education than they are getting from their professors. I recently spoke at Emory University, where one student defended all of President Obama’s unconstitutional actions by invoking the Elastic Clause of the Constitution.

Citing the Elastic Clause could indeed justify a wide range of administration actions, except for one problem – it doesn’t exist.

But you couldn’t tell that to the student at Emory University who came to my speech last week on Obama’s abuses of power. He persisted in defending the actions through the Elastic Clause, as if the be-all, end-all provision was common knowledge.

From the sound of it, the Elastic Clause must be common knowledge in faculty lounges.

The Elastic Clause, he persisted, gives the president the power to address a wide range of issues through executive prerogative. It allowed the government, he said, to adapt to new circumstances unlike the age when the Founders wrote the Constitution.

Of course the Founders did include an “elastic clause” of sorts, namely Article V, which gives the people and the states the power to amend the Constitution.

But he wasn’t speaking of something quite so stiff and formal. He wasn’t referring to something that required broad assent. He was referring the Elastic Clause that allows the president to swiftly respond to needs as they arise – sort of like Mussolini and Mugabe did.

He was serious. He really believed the Elastic Clause was real. But the constitutional literacy of a different student was even worse. With a straight face, she defended the exercise of executive power and the issuance of executive orders as constitutional because of the inaction of Congress.

“It’s part of the Constitution that if the Congress doesn’t act, then the president can issue executive orders to fix something,” was her argument.

Even more frightening, the person saying this is an officer of the campus Democrats. A little totalitarian in training.

Naturally, this was all quite an eye opener. I’m no fool when it comes to the institutional left and their corrosion of the system. But to have a student debate me over a verifiably fictional constitutional provision, to have a student presume I was the one making things up when I said the Elastic Clause didn’t exist – that blazed new territory.

All of this illustrates the dangerous rot occurring on campus, facilitated in large part by the faculty. All signs point to their success. Students are learning the lexicon of the institutional left and producing tragic-comedy like complaining about equality at UCLA, and worse. My appearance at Emory was sponsored by the David Horowitz Freedom Center and the College Republicans. Recognize that groups like these are fighting an uphill battle on campus. But without them, college campuses would be intellectually monolithic.

The talk at Emory wandered into the small discrete psychological components of tyranny as described brilliantly in Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago. No doubt Mr. Elastic Clause and College Democrat Vice President Edict had never heard of the Nobel Prize winning description of where elastic ideas can lead.

Solzhenitsyn’s great book of the 20th century describes the small ideas of totalitarianism, and the camouflaged embryonic consent that individuals give to tyranny over time. Tyranny isn’t just about gruel with potato peelings day after day and bullets to the back of the head.

Pages: 1 2 | 114 Comments»