The move came a week after public interest in last year’s terror attack unexpectedly rebounded with testimony by three State Department employees that reopened lingering questions about the assault. The documents were being released late Wednesday afternoon.
While many of the emails have already leaked out, the release of the complete set of communications paints a fuller picture of an administration struggling with how much to disclose about an attack that eight months later remains a focus of partisan division.
The decision to release them represented a major shift that officials hope will tamp down the controversy. Administration lawyers for months had rebuffed calls to hand over the emails on the grounds the exchanges were part of internal administration deliberations.
But administration officials have complained that congressional Republicans in recent days have been leaking selective excerpts from the emails to buttress their argument that the talking points were manipulated for political purposes.
That complaint was a lie, straight from the mouth of Jay Carney.
Update: Well, the White House has just made things even worse. The released emails begin on September 14, three days after the attack. By then, both President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton had been blaming a movie for two days. The released emails are also heavily redacted.
According to White House spokesman Jay Carney, President Barack Obama learned about the Department of Justice’s seizure of Associated Press phone records when the rest of us did, from the media reports about it.
Q When did the President find out about the Department of Justice’s subpoenas for the Associated Press?
MR. CARNEY: Yesterday. Let me just be clear. We don’t have any independent knowledge of that. He found out about the news reports yesterday on the road.
Why did the DoJ subpoena those phone records? Attorney General Eric Holder says that it was done in response to a “very, very serious” leak.
“This was a very serious leak. A very, very serious leak,” Holder said Tuesday at a press conference. He added that it was possibly the most serious leak he had seen, or at least top two or three.
“It put the American people at risk,” he said. “And that is not hyperbole.”
“Trying to determine who was responsible for that, I think, required aggressive action,” he said.
But, apparently, it didn’t require the president’s input. Even though the leak put the American people at risk, according to Holder.
Does this make any sense? How are Americans supposed to process this? The Ulsterman report comes up with an either/or.
Either Barack Obama did in fact know of his DOJ’s actions against the media, and then had his administration lie about it, or he has an administration that does not even bother to inform him of a significant threat to the United States.
Just what does Barack Obama do all day?
Lois Lerner had better lawyer up.
Lois Lerner, the senior executive in charge of the IRS tax exemption department and the person at the center of the exploding scandal over the IRS targeting conservative, evangelical and pro-Israel non-profits, has been given $42,531 in bonuses since 2009.
That figure was included in data provided by the IRS in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by The Washington Examiner. Lerner is director of the IRS exempt organizations division, which processes and approves or denies applications from groups seeking tax-exempt status.
Lerner’s group had “rogue” employees abusing the president’s political opponents. Those “rogues” apparently include her own self.
The director of the Internal Revenue Service division under fire for singling out conservative groups sent a 2012 letter under her name to one such group, POLITICO has learned. The March 2012 letter was sent to the Ohio-based American Patriots Against Government Excess (American PAGE) under the name of Lois Lerner, the director of the Exempt Organizations Division…
Lois Lerner, the senior IRS official at the center of the decision to target tea party groups for burdensome tax scrutiny, signed paperwork granting tax-exempt status to the Barack H. Obama Foundation, a shady charity headed by the president’s half-brother that operated illegally for years.
In that latter case, Obama had collected money long before he was granted his tax-exempt status. Lerner helped him out by making his status retroactive all the way to 2008, shielding him from exposure to any tax evasion nastiness.
Planned Parenthood Didn’t Say Much About Gosnell, But They’re In Full-Throat Attack Against Ken Cuccinelli
A grisly story about some of the worst people in the world, and one man who stands against them, in three acts.
Act One: Planned Parenthood in Pennsylvania knew all about Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the abortionist who was convicted of murdering babies this week. Planned Parenthood did nothing about it. Some Planned Parenthood facilities even reportedly referred patients to Gosnell’s abattoir.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund (@PPact) weighed in on the news with this tweet, hailing the “just verdict,” adding it will ensure “no woman is victimized by him ever again. [emphasis added]”
The tweet made no mention of Gosnell’s main victims–the babies born alive whom Gosnell and his staff murdered.
Act Three: Planned Parenthood is launching an ad attack on Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli. Why? The ad claims that Cuccinelli “sponsored legislation to end funding for Planned Parenthood.”
That sounds like an endorsement as far as I’m concerned. Planned Parenthood is run by ghouls who live off the taxpayers, lie about the services they provide to women, kill babies, and send some of the profits from their butchery to Democrats, who keep the taxpayer dollars flowing toward Planned Parenthood. They’re horrible people.
It’s a claim that few are likely to accept, given the scale and breadth of the abuse that’s known so far.
The Internal Revenue Service has identified two “rogue” employees in the agency’s Cincinnati office as being principally responsible for “overly aggressive” handling of requests by conservative groups for tax-exempt status, a congressional source told CNN.
In a meeting on Capitol Hill, acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller described the employees as being “off the reservation,” according to the source. It was not clear precisely what the alleged behavior involved.
Miller said the staffers have already been disciplined, according to another source familiar with Miller’s discussions with congressional investigators. The second source said Miller emphasized that the problem with IRS handling of tax-exempt status for tea party groups was not limited to these two employees.
Ridiculous. For starters, Miller himself was at the IRS in the Clinton years. During those years, the IRS was also accused of abusing conservatives via tax audits. Now, that same Steven Miller is limiting the scandal to just two “rogue” employees, whom he doesn’t name, while claiming that they’ve already been disciplined? Miller is not a disinterested party in this case, and cannot be trusted to render a fair outcome.
We need names. We need hearings. There is no way that just two people are responsible for the scale and pattern of abuse, across three years, and impacting as many as 500 groups and now, apparently, some individuals who have criticized the Obama government.
A prominent Catholic professors says the IRS targeted her.
On Wednesday, Dr. Anne Hendershott, a devout Catholic and a noted sociologist, professor and author, exclusively told TheBlaze that she believes she may have been one of the IRS’s targets.
According to Hendershott, the IRS audited her in 2010 and demanded to know who was paying her and “what their politics were.”
It all started with a phone call she received at her home in May of that year — a call during which Hendershott was told she would be audited. A letter that followed on May 19, 2010 solidified the IRS’s request to meet her in person two months later in July. While IRS investigations are certainly not uncommon occurrences, the professor believes that the situation surrounding hers was more-than-curious.
“The IRS calls my house and says … ‘I just wanted to let you know that we’re going to be auditing your business’ and I said ‘My businesses?’ and he said, ‘You know the expenses you take off for writing,” the academic recalls.
She doesn’t operate a business.
Our own J. Christian Adams, one of the Obama/Holder Department of Justice’s most effective critics, says we can add him to the list of targets.
After Obama was elected, I faced my first IRS audit shakedown after decades of filing income tax returns. Overdue coincidence? Perhaps.
Given the headlines of the past 48 hours, perhaps not.
My audit experience was a headache, as anyone who has experienced one can attest. When it happened, a former IRS lawyer with whom I associated in private practice told me – “it’s no accident you were audited.”
I brushed it off. But I wonder how many left-wing election lawyers and leftist bloggers were audited. Any Media Matters drones face an audit in the last four years? Step right up and announce yourself if you did.
After wasting his time and money, the IRS ended up owing Adams $100.
Or — alternatively — Barack Obama is too small for the job?
The government is simply too big for President Obama to keep track of all the wrongdoing taking place on his watch, his former senior adviser, David Axelrod, told MSNBC. “Part of being president is there’s so much beneath you that you can’t know because the government is so vast,” he explained.
Video of Axelrod admitting that he helped elect an inept president — twice — and that the government’s just too big for its britches, at the link.
If government is now so vast that even a lightworker and messianic figure like Barack Obama can’t run it, what say we shrink it down to size? We probably can’t make it small enough for someone with Obama’s unique lack of executive experience to deal with, but we can shrink it down so that a competent governor could deal with it.
How about it, Dave?
This happened on Morning Joe today.
Matthews destroys the White House’s excuses, that it doesn’t really run the IRS, that it can’t really comment on ongoing investigations, and so forth.
At the end, one can almost taste Matthews’ tears. Chris, you see, loves big government, which he calls “good government.” He also loves Barack Obama. But he does not love what Barack Obama has done to the cause of “good government.” Torn, he must decide which path he must follow. Should he continue to champion “good government” in a week in which government has been revealed to be anything but good? Or should he continue to follow the man who makes his leg all tingly, Barack Obama?
It’s a tough call, Chris, but we’re all here for you.
Media Matters, a ‘Social Welfare’ Organization, Publishes Talking Points to ‘Push Back’ on the DOJ’s AP Phone Scandal
How helpful. To keep you from having to click over to Media Matters, a group the IRS has never targeted, here are their AP phone scandal talking points in their entirety.
Bringing up Valerie Plame was a nice touch. The fact is, it was a Democrat, Richard Armitage, who outed her accidentally.
According to its About page, “Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.”
How does publishing talking points defending the Department of Justice’s seizure of Associated Press phone records fulfill that mission? Is anyone in the Obama IRS interested in asking?
On March 1, Austin’s plastic bag ban went into effect. If you talked with folks around town, shoppers and store workers alike, pretty much no one but the city council wanted the ban. Pretty much everyone thinks it’s stupid and a hassle. Carrying a cloth bag around in your trunk, so you can actually carry anything home that you happen to buy at the grocery store, is unsanitary but now everyone has to do it. The ban of the plastic bags looks like it has triggered some forest clear-cutting: Stores now offer sturdy paper bags with handles for those of us who occasionally forget to grab a cloth bag at home or leave it in the car. Some of us end up grabbing a bag from, say, Sprouts, and carrying it into HEB, not to be snarky but to keep the peace. Proactively carrying a bag into the proper store with that store’s logo on it can get the clerks to accuse you of stealing said bag.
But the stupid bag ban remains. Even though, as this infographic shows, the environment doesn’t even benefit from it. Liberals who pass laws and ordinances to feel good about themselves benefit from it. The environment, shoppers and store workers don’t.
This morning, House GOP leadership held a press event to discuss their agenda. A vote to repeal ObamaCare is once again on the table.
At the end of his remarks, Speaker of the House John Boehner briefly addressed the IRS scandal. Boeher said that he isn’t interested in seeing IRS officials resign over the agency’s deliberate targeting of conservative and Tea Party groups.
“There are laws in place to prevent this type of abuse,” Beohner said, adding that someone made a “conscious choice” to target these groups in violation of the law. The Speaker insisted that Americans need to know who those people are.
“My question is, who’s going to jail over this scandal?” a visibly angry Boehner asked, before turning the podium over to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
Update: Video of Speaker Boehner’s remarks, courtesy NRO.
Legal Insurrection has the full report embedded here.
Investigative reporter Carl Bernstein on Tuesday called the scandal involving the Department of Justice securing telephone records of Associated Press reporters and editors a “nuclear event.”
“This is outrageous,” Bernstein said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “It is totally inexcusable. This administration has been terrible on this subject from the beginning.
“The object of it is to intimidate people who talk to reporters,” he said. “This was an accident waiting to become a nuclear event, and now it’s happened.”
The AP reported late Monday afternoon that the “Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press.”—
““And it goes beyond even the story,” National Journal’s Ron Fournier, who covered the Clinton and Bush scandals and was once the AP Washington bureau chief, said on the show. “One common thing with Benghazi and the IRS scandal, is we’re being misled every day. We were lied to on Benghazi, on the talking points behind Benghazi, for months. We were lied to by the IRS for months and now they’re sending a clear message to our sources:
White House Claims Republicans ‘Doctored’ or ‘Fabricated’ Benghazi Emails. ABC’s Jonathan Karl Says They Didn’t.
During today’s press briefing, Jay Carney made the startling claim that someone “fabricated” the Benghazi emails containing the discussion of the infamous talking points. I’ve been waiting throughout the afternoon for a transcript of the press briefing to start working on some angles to this myself, but the White House hasn’t produced one up to now.
CNN obtained the emails, and Jake Tapper backed the White House’s view. But ABC’s Jonathan Karl, the reporter who broke the 12 edits story last week, pours gallons of cold water all over Tapper.
This is how I reported the contents of that e-mail, quoting verbatim a source who reviewed the original documents and shared detailed notes:
“We must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities, including those of the State Department, and we don’t want to undermine the FBI investigation. We thus will work through the talking points tomorrow morning at the Deputies Committee meeting.”
The source was not permitted to make copies of the original e-mails. The White House has refused multiple requests – from journalists, including myself, and from Republican leaders in Congress – to release the full e-mail exchanges.
The differences in the two versions are being taken by some as evidence that my source sought to intentionally mislead about the extent of State Department involvement in changing the talking points. The version I obtained makes specific reference to the State Department, while the version reported by CNN references only “all of the relevant equities” and does not single out State.
The White House that’s blaming Republicans and accusing them of “fabricating” emails could clear all of this up by just releasing the original emails. They have chosen not to do that. Instead, they’re adding to the cover-up. Jay Carney should be very, very careful with future actions. Up to now his statements have been excusable as doing his boss’ bidding. Accusing people of fabricating evidence in an ongoing investigation is a very serious charge and could open him up to charges of his own, perhaps obstruction of justice or something along those lines.
As for Jake Tapper, he just got played. That’s fair game for burning a source.
The HuffPost has obtained the IG report on the Internal Revenue Service’s longstanding targeting of conservatives. The headline out of the report is that it’s all due to “ineffective management.”
The much-anticipated report notes that the IRS suffered from “ineffective management” which allowed for agency officials to discriminate against Tea Party groups, often resulting in “substantial delays” in process applications and “unnecessary” information requests. The tax agency has taken some action to remedy this, the report found. But more needs to be done so that “the public has reasonable assurance that applications are process without unreasonable delay in a fair and impartial manner.”
The IRS would be in charge of enforcing ObamaCare, which was already a chilling thought before this scandal. Now the thought that rogue IRS agents could impact your healthcare without anyone in Washington paying any attention ought to be grounds all by itself to get the IRS out of healthcare immediately.
But is bad management really to blame here? The IRS’ pattern of abuse appears to comport with what Democrats including Sen. Harry Reid and Sen. Max Baucus wanted the agency to do, and with the Obama campaign’s behavior toward Romney donors. Both senators publicly called for Tea Party groups, which Reid once called “shadowy,” to be investigated. These groups were, in some cases having their applications derailed for 13 months or even 3 years. Rev. Franklin Graham is among the leaders whose groups were targeted, according to Politico. There were, additionally, more groups involved than the IRS has let on. They claim that about 300 groups were targeted, but Congress is now saying that it’s closer to 500. There also remains the question of just how much of the agency’s “ineffective management” knew about all this. In her apology last week, Lois Lerner claimed that it was all limited to the Cincinnati office. That has turned out to be untrue; it was at least known about and managed from Washington.
While the IRS was supposedly plagued by “ineffective management,” Lerner sped through approving a “charity” run by no less than President Obama’s half-brother, according to the Daily Caller.
Lois Lerner, the senior IRS official at the center of the decision to target Tea Party groups for burdensome tax scrutiny, signed paperwork granting tax-exempt status to the Barack H. Obama Foundation, a shady charity headed by the president’s half-brother that operated illegally for years.
According to the organization’s filings, Lerner approved the Foundation’s tax status within a month of filing, an unprecedented timeline that stands in stark contrast to conservative organizations that have been waiting for more than three years, in some cases, for approval.
Lerner also appears to have broken with the norms of tax-exemption approval by granting retroactive tax-exempt status to Malik Obama’s organization.
More at the link. No one has been disciplined for any of this, so far. No one has been disciplined for leaking information from nine of the groups’ applications to the media, either. Those applications were in process, and were therefore not yet public information. They were leaked quite efficiently to ProPublica, a left-leaning online journalism outlet.
The IRS scandal isn’t adding up to “ineffective management.” The IRS began its “be on the lookout” targeting of Tea Party groups in early 2010 and was managing its bias against the president’s enemies with notable effectiveness.
The similarity between the IRS’ behavior and the Obama campaign’s behavior suggests that the president or those closest to him, David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett and people at that level of access to him, gave some level of approval to this whole thing. It could merely have come in the one job Jay Carney acknowledges that the president actually does — setting the tone. Obama has set a tone of targeting his enemies from the beginning of his administration.
Former NAACP chairman Julian Bond is perfectly fine with government coming down unfairly on people he hates. “Hates,” by the way, is not too strong a word. On MSNBC today, Bond dubbed the Tea Party the “Taliban wing of American politics” while opining that it’s fine with him if the IRS targets them while his group keeps its tax exempt status.
“I don’t think there’s a double standard at all,” Bond said. “I think it’s entirely legitimate to look at the tea party.”
“I mean, here are a group of people who are admittedly racist, who are overtly political, who tried as best they can to harm President [Barack] Obama in every way they can,” Bond continued.
“They are the Taliban wing of American politics and we all ought to be a little worried about them,” Bond asserted.
When asked if his assessment of the Tea Party was “a little harsh,” Bond said that it was not. “The truth hurts,” Bond insisted.
Video at the link. Bond starts off with a lie, accusing the Tea Party of being “admittedly racist.” The literal meaning of Bond’s words is that the Tea Party itself admits to being racist. When has that happened? Bond here has launched one of those “When did you stop beating your wife?” attacks, to which there is no good response to a false allegation. It’s fundamentally unfair and dishonest.
The NAACP accused then Gov. George W. Bush of being complicit in a black man’s murder. Under Bush, Texas convicted and eventually executed one of the men responsible for that crime. What more could he have done? No one from the NAACP has the right to call anyone else “overtly political” or accuse anyone of racism. George W. Bush’s chief sins in the Byrd murder were being white and being a Republican.
This morning I asked if liberals believe that conservatives are due fair treatment under the law. That wording was overly broad on my part, but Julian Bond proves that at least some liberals do not believe conservatives deserve fair treatment under the law. He believes the law should be used as a weapon against them.
Given what the NAACP is supposed to stand for, Bond’s stand is horribly ironic. And dangerous.
This is how you respond to a bully.
When Marion Bower decided to start her tea party organization in 2010, she didn’t know that it would take nearly two years for the Internal Revenue Service to approve her request for tax-exempt status.
The Ohio woman also did not expect that providing information about the books her group read would be part of the application process.
“I was trying to be very cordial, but they wanted copies of unbelievable things,” Bower told ABC News today. “They wanted to know what materials we had discussed at any of our book studies.”
She ultimately sent one of the books, “The Five Thousand Year Leap,” promoted frequently by Glenn Beck, to the IRS official handling her tax-exempt request in Cincinnati. She also sent a paperback copy of the Constitution.
“They wanted a synopsis of all the books we read,” Bower said. “I thought, I don’t have time to write a book report. You can read them for yourselves.”
What possible justification could the IRS have for requesting to see lists of the books that Americans read?
This administration needs to stop iffing around. Every use of the “if this happened…” looks more and more like the White House knows far more than it’s letting on, and has some reason to continue casting doubt on what is now a confirmed story.
How confirmed is the IRS abuse? The FBI is now investigating it.
There is no “if” here.
Dr. Kermit Gosnell will not undergo a penalty phase for his two first degree murder convictions, and therefore will not get the death penalty.
Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 72, was convicted Monday of first-degree murder in the deaths of the babies who were delivered alive and killed with scissors.
In a case that became a flashpoint in the nation’s abortion debate, former clinic employees testified that Gosnell routinely performed illegal abortions past Pennsylvania’s 24-week limit, that he delivered babies who were still moving, whimpering or breathing, and that he and his assistants dispatched the newborns by “snipping” their spines, as he referred to it.
Prosecutors agreed to two life sentences without parole, and Gosnell was to be sentenced Wednesday in the death of the third baby, an involuntary manslaughter conviction in the death of a patient and hundreds of lesser counts.
The Texas Tribune announced today that it is opening up a new border bureau. The notice about the new bureau, written by the Tribune’s Evan Smith, is quite transparent in explaining how the Tribune is funding the new effort.
I’m pleased to announce that we’ve received a $300,000 grant from the Ford Foundation, one of the most-respected philanthropic institutions in the world, that will enable us to dramatically expand our coverage of how precipitous demographic shifts are altering the public policy landscape in Texas.
The question is, are there strings attached? The Ford Foundation is not an unbiased or neutral funding source. It engages in advocacy on immigration issues. It casts those issues not as centering on security or protecting American citizens or their property, or protecting our nation’s sovereignty or the border states’ integrity, but on “social justice.”
A greater influx of immigrants has come to the United States in the past 25 years than at any time in history, engendering a backlash that has stripped large segments of the immigrant community of their rights. This population confronts large-scale immigration roundups, the denial of due process in deportation proceedings, abusive detention conditions, and increased hate crimes and bias attacks.
A growing number of aggressive local measures attempting to restrict every aspect of life, including housing, education and employment, push immigrants into a marginalized existence. In addition, migrants suffer increased violation of their human rights along their routes of travel to the United States and other destination countries such as Mexico.
What We’re Doing
We support organizations at national, state and local levels that are engaged in immigrant rights advocacy, including efforts to secure comprehensive immigration reform that addresses the realities of migration in both sending and receiving countries. We also support institutions that are crucial to building an effective and lasting movement to protect immigrants’ rights.
Learn more about how our strategies and approaches shape our grant making.
Note that last line. The page it leads to is dead at the moment I am writing this. But it’s clear just from the tenor of the post that the Ford Foundation does not approach grants such as the one it has given the Texas Tribune from a position of neutrality. The Ford Foundation is engaged in advocacy, which is their right. The Tribune, though, bills itself as “non-partisan” journalism. But it’s evident that the Tribune’s benefactors expect some policy return for their investments. Is this not a conflict of interest?
Until the new bureau produces a product it would be premature to judge it as biased. But the potential for bias has unfortunately been baked into the effort. Texans need stronger, more sustained and responsible reporting about the border and the many issues that are related to it, from security to corrupt local officials to the cartel drug war to the impact that the porous border has at the local, state and national level. We do not need more leftwing advocacy dressed up as journalism.
During today’s press briefing, White House spokesman Jay Carney retreated to President Obama’s line on the IRS targeting scandal. On Monday, Obama qualified his comments on it, saying that “if” the IRS targeted conservative groups, it was outrageous.
There is no “if.” The IRS admitted to the targeting when it apologized for it last Friday, at the same time that it dishonestly limited to the targeting to a single office in Cincinnati.
“If I could then goo back to the IRS issue,” said a reporter from the AP. “The president did use the word ‘if these activities had taken place,’ but there has been an acknowledgement on the part of the IRS leadership that these things did indeed occur. I wondered why the president used that phrasing in claiming that it was outrageous?”
“Those from the IRS that have spoken about this obviously have much greater insight into what took place than we do. We have not seen the report. We have not independently collected information about what transpired. We need the independent inspector general’s report to be released before we can make judgments. One person’s view of what actions were taken or what that individual did is not enough for us to say something concretely happened that was innapropriate,” said Carney.
Video at the link. Carney stated several times that he could not comment on the IRS scandal because an investigation is ongoing. That did not stop him from commenting on Benghazi, which continues to be investigated. Carney consistently characterized Benghazi as a political nothing that Republicans have trumped up to hurt the president.
NPR, meanwhile, reports that the IRS targeted 298 groups. There is no “if.”
Carney Categorically States that there Was No White House Involvment in Scandal the White House Learns About from the Media
White House spokesman Jay Carney accidentally gave America ball to keep an eye on in the IRS targeting scandal. Under withering questioning today from CNN’s Jessican Yellen, Carney insisted that the president and the White House are learning the details of the scandal from press reports. He said that it is not obtaining information regarding the scandal in any other way. He also said that he cannot comment on an ongoing investigation.
But when ABC’s Jonathan Karl asked Carney whether he could categorically state that no one in the White House or on the president’s political team was involved in any way, Carney flatly answered “No.” That, obviously, was a comment on an ongoing investigation.
How would Carney know that to be the case, unless the White House is questioning people internally? Such interviews would constitute the White House learning about the IRS scandal from sources other than the media, no?
Update: Carney gets grilled on his answer later in the briefing, and backtracks saying that he’s “confident” that no one was involved. He also slips and says “we learned about it a few weeks ago,” then corrects himself to limit that knowledge to the White House counsel’s office.
Whether this pans out or not, it’s an important marker of how the IRS targeting scandal and Barack Obama’s stewardship of the government have changed the way Americans view our government. “Our” no longer seems to be appropriate.
Larry Connors, a veteran local news anchor at KMOV Channel 4 in St. Louis, says that the Internal Revenue Service has been targeting him since an April 2012 interview he conducted with President Obama — a fact that he dismissed as coincidence until the recent reports about the IRS targeting conservative groups.
“Shortly after I did my April 2012 interview with President Obama, my wife, friends and some viewers suggested that I might need to watch out for the IRS. I don’t accept ‘conspiracy theories’, but I do know that almost immediately after the interview, the IRS started hammering me,” Connors wrote on his Facebook page late Monday night.
Connors’ questions for Obama touched on the economy and spending but were not exceptional in nature, according to his account. But following “allegations that the IRS focused on various groups and/or individuals questioning or criticizing government spending, taxes, debt or how the government is run,” Connors now believes there may be a possible connection.
He’s far from alone in this fear. After Obama joked about unleashing the IRS for political fun and profit in 2009, it became a legitimate fear to worry that the IRS may come down on critics. Tea Party groups worked around that fear for years. I even recall that after this story made the front page of AOL.com last year, a family member jokingly told me to make sure my own taxes were in order. They are and I wasn’t audited. Yet.
If I am at any point during the Obama years, will I connect it to exposing corruption on the US-Mexico border that goes all the way up to Janet Napolitano?
What do you think?
And with the AP scandal, it’s possible that DOJ has a record of my conversation with my family member. Who knows if the AP was the only news agency targeted?
Obama’s America, fundamentally transformed.
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) is calling for a select committee to investigate the Benghazi cover-up. Noting that Congress has convened select committees to look into issues large and small, from major scandals to the House beauty shop, Wolf says that last week’s whistleblowers’ hearing has moved the Benghazi cover-up past the threshold to trigger a select committee. A select committee, Wolf says, would “focus like a laser beam” on Benghazi. He notes that eight months after the attack, no one has been subpoenaed to testify about the attack or its aftermath, in which senior Obama administration officials including the president blamed it on a movie. Wolf says a select committee could build on the work done by other congressional committees, and should be bipartisan.
Wolf also says that the cover-up’s origins can be traced directly back to President Barack Obama’s “arrogance” and paranoia. Listen to the interview, which took place on the Andrea Tantaros Show today, here.
The Andrea Tantaros Show is produced for Talk Radio Network by the Fox and Rice Experience.
The Environmental Protection Agency stands accused today of showing favoritism toward liberal groups over conservative groups.
Conservative groups seeking information from the Environmental Protection Agency have been routinely hindered by fees normally waived for media and watchdog groups, while fees for more than 90 percent of requests from green groups were waived, according to requests reviewed by the Conservative Enterprise Institute.
CEI reviewed Freedom of Information Act requests sent between January 2012 and this spring from several environmental groups friendly to the EPA’s mission, and several conservative groups, to see how equally the agency applies its fee waiver policy for media and watchdog groups. Government agencies are supposed to waive fees for groups disseminating information for public benefit.
For 92 percent of requests from green groups, the EPA cooperated by waiving fees for the information. Those requests came from the Natural Resources Defense Council, EarthJustice, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, The Waterkeeper Alliance, Greenpeace, Southern Environmental Law Center and the Center for Biological Diversity.
Of the requests that were denied, the EPA said the group either didn’t respond to requests for justification of a waiver, or didn’t express intent to disseminate the information to the general public, according to documents obtained by The Washington Examiner. CEI, on the other hand, had its requests denied 93 percent of the time. One request was denied because CEI failed to express its intent to disseminate the information to the general public. The rest were denied because the agency said CEI “failed to demonstrate that the release of the information requested significantly increases the public understanding of government operations or activities.” Similarly, requests from conservative groups Judicial Watch and National Center for Public Policy Research were approved half the time, and all requests from Franklin Center and the Institute for Energy Research were denied.
This kind of favoritism springs from a worldview. The EPA that authored this bias was the same EPA led by Lisa Jackson. She left office last year amid her own scandal involving the use of personal, secret email accounts to conduct agency business — the “Richard Windsor” scandal.
It’s time to ask a serious question. In light of the IRS targeting conservatives and the EPA denying conservatives at the same time, do liberals even believe that conservatives are due fair treatment under the law?
The US should intervene in Syria on behalf of jihadist war criminals?
A Syrian rebel has been caught on video apparently cutting a dead soldier’s heart from his body then taking a bite from it. “I swear to God we will eat your hearts and your livers, you soldiers of Bashar the dog,” says the rebel, identified by Human Rights Watch as noted rebel figure Abu Sakkar of Homs. HRW calls the act a war crime, and Syria’s leading opposition coalition has promised a trial, the BBC reports. “The mutilation of the bodies of enemies is a war crime. But the even more serious issue is the very rapid descent into sectarian rhetoric and violence,” an HRW rep tells Reuters.
Russia Today has blurry but very disturbing images of the heinous crime here. WARNING: They are horrible.
The US and our allies are considering stepping up support for the rebels. A serious question must be asked: Why?
As of Monday, there are *four major scandals dogging the Obama administration. More than one of them have the potential to bring major officials down and dominate the news for the foreseeable future. The stories are all moving so fast that it’s difficult to keep track of them all. Here they are, in no particular order.
1. Health and Human Services soliciting funds from the health care industry for the implementation of ObamaCare. This one is “raising eyebrows,” says MarketWatch.
The Times said Sebelius obtained $10 million from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and $500,000 from H&R Block for the effort. HHS officials said that Sebelius’s efforts would continue, after first denying they were soliciting funds for the effort. But a spokesman for Sebelius said a section of the Public Health Service Act allows her to encourage others to support those working to help carry out public health activities.
Sebelius reportedly has sought donations for Enroll America, a private non-profit group that is working to get the uninsured covered under the 2010 health-care law.
“Nice company ya go there…” This activity is illegal, and marks the second known time that Sebelius has broken the law while atop HHS. The first was when she used official time to campaign for Obama’s re-election, then reimbursed the agency after the fact to paper things over. Does Sebelius get a third strike?
2. Benghazi. Four Americans died in a terrorist attack conducted by Libya’s al Qaeda branch, Ansar al-Sharia, on September 11, 2012. President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Ambassador Susan Rice all blamed the attack on a spontaneous demonstration against an obscure YouTube movie, and downplayed al Qaeda’s role. Just a few days prior to the attack , the Democratic National Convention pushed a theme that al Qaeda had been put on the run with the killing of Osama bin Laden. Talking points drafted after the attack were edited 12 times, consistently to remove references to terrorism and al Qaeda specifically. The YouTube movie never appears in the talking points, but it became the message of Clinton, Rice, and Obama through his UN speech on September 26, 2012.
Security had been deteriorating in Benghazi for months leading up to the attack. A warning published in Egypt on 9-10 proved that the attacks were not about a movie at all. Information from the field during the attack proved that it was a coordinated terrorist attack. Someone ordered U.S. special forces in Tripoli who were readying to respond to the attack to stand down. The administration continues to claim that it did not have time to marshal U.S. forces to help, but they had no idea how long the attack would last. Libya deputy chief Greg Hicks, who assumed command upon the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens, testified that he believed that the attack had turned into a hostage rescue situation when Stevens went missing. The U.S. Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST) is designed to go from “zero to wheels up” very quickly and should have been deployed, according to Mark Thompson, acting deputy assistant secretary of state for operations — counterterrorism bureau. The Accountability Review Board appointed by Clinton to investigate Benghazi never interviewed Clinton or Thompson, and did not have stenographers present when witnesses were interviewed. Hicks and Thompson claim that State officials engaged in intimidation to silence them. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) has spent most of the Benghazi scandal running interference for the Obama administration, but after last week’s dramatic whistleblowers’ hearing is calling for more public testimony from more witnesses. More whistleblowers are reportedly considering coming forward.
NBC’s Andrea Mitchell may not be the sharpest reporter in the drawer, but even she has figured out that the IRS scandal is an abuse of power and Very Big Deal.
On Morning Joe this morning, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell delivered a strong reaction to the news that the IRS targeted Tea Party groups beginning in 2011, calling it “one of the most outrageous excesses I’ve seen in all my years in journalism.”
Mitchell explained that Americans have to understand that their tax returns are private, especially since the Richard Nixon era.
During his presser with UK PM David Cameron Monday, President Obama claimed — again — that “the day after [Benghazi] happened, I acknowledged that it was an act of terrorism.”
Every sentient American knows that that claim is not true. Sentient Americans now include members of the media. The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler rates Obama’s claim Four Pinocchios. That’s the max. After walking through most of Obama’s shifting story on Benghazi leading up to the election, Kessler concludes:
During the campaign, the president could just get away with claiming he said “act of terror,” since he did use those words — though not in the way he often claimed. It seemed like a bit of after-the-fact spin, but those were his actual words — to the surprise of Mitt Romney in the debate.
But the president’s claim that he said “act of terrorism” is taking revisionist history too far, given that he repeatedly refused to commit to that phrase when asked directly by reporters in the weeks after the attack. He appears to have gone out of his way to avoid saying it was a terrorist attack, so he has little standing to make that claim now.
Indeed, the initial unedited talking points did not call it an act of terrorism. Instead of pretending the right words were uttered, it would be far better to acknowledge that he was echoing what the intelligence community believed at the time–and that the administration’s phrasing could have been clearer and more forthright from the start.
Even that’s not entirely accurate, and Kessler gives Obama too much leeway to make a false claim during the election, but it’s serious progress.
Update: Et tu, Greg Sargent?
A Few of the Crazy Things the IRS Asked Conservative Groups to Divulge Add Up to a Pattern and Purpose
Mary Katherine Ham rounds up 10 of the crazy things that the IRS sought from conservative and Tea Party groups during its abusive phase. I’ll focus on a few of those.
1. The IRS wanted every bit of information that these organizations had on their members.
Much of that information would allow the IRS to identify individual members of the targeted groups. Not just staff and donors, but members.
2. The IRS wanted information on the groups’ past and present employees and their relationships, with a special focus on familial relationships.
3. Just in case Point 2 wasn’t clear enough, yes, family members must be included.
4. Everything you turn over to the IRS will go public.
The information that the IRS sought went well beyond what it could reasonably have been seeking in the name of determining whether the groups qualified for the tax exemption. It was seeking enough information to build out a full network of every one of the conservative groups and be able to database them and cross-link them with each other. That the information would have been public is a tell of one place it would have ended up: In the computers of the data-driven Obama campaign and its allies. Anyone else seeking it would probably have had a tougher time getting their hands on it, but the Obama campaign, the Media Matters crew, any Democrat opposition researcher — they would have gotten it.
Fox just reported that Dr. Kermit Gosnell has been found GUILTY of first degree murder on three of the four counts that he faced. On the fourth, he was found not guilty of first degree murder.
Details to follow. The first degree convictions could get him the death penalty.
Update: The penalty phase will begin one week from today.
According to Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Lala Land) the IRS scandal is all the Supreme Court’s fault!
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Monday that the IRS should be condemned for targeting conservative groups for special scrutiny in the run-up to last year’s elections, but she also blamed the Supreme Court for opening the door to broader political activity.
In the Citizens United decision, the court ruled 5-4 that corporations have First Amendment political rights and ruled that while they cannot contribute directly to candidates, they can run ads making their own views known.
Mrs. Pelosi, the top Democrat in the House, said that has become a problem for the IRS in enforcing the laws.
“There needs to be more clarity in the law regarding the activities of tax-exempt organizations along with greater disclosure and transparency. We must overturn Citizens United, which has exacerbated the challenges posed by some of these so-called ‘social welfare’ organizations,” she said.
Media Matters was out there flagrantly abusing the law long before Citizens United. But Pelosi doesn’t care, and expects that most Americans won’t know that. And she’s probably right about that last part.
Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) recently announced his retirement from the Senate. As chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, though, he would be in charge of investigating the Internal Revenue Service’s years-long effort targeting conservative groups as long as he remains in the Senate. According to the Daily Caller, Baucus need look no further than his own desk for the origins of the targeting scheme.
Baucus wrote a letter to then-IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman dated September 28, 2010 urging the IRS to investigative nonprofit conservative groups during the Tea Party-dominated 2010 midterm elections.
“With hundreds of millions of dollars being spent in election contests by tax-exempt entities, it is time to take a fresh look at current practices and how they comport with the Internal Revenue Code’s rules for nonprofits,” Baucus wrote in the letter.
“I request that you and your agency survey major 501(c)(4), (c)(5) and (c)(6) organizations involved in political campaign activity to examine whether they are operated for the organization’s intended tax exempt purpose and to ensure that political campaign activity is not the organization’s primary activity,” Baucus wrote in the letter.
The only that groups Baucus specifically named were all conservative, Tea Party groups.
Baucus specifically named Americans for Job Security, which is described as a “pro-Republican organization,” as a specific target for the IRS to investigate.
Crossroads GPS, co-founded by Karl Rove, and American Action Network, chaired by former Republican senator Norm Coleman, were also cited in press coverage related to Baucus’ letter as pro-Republican groups helping to elect GOP congressional candidates in 2010.
Those organizations appeared in a September 16, 2010 TIME article by writer Michael Crowley titled, “The New GOP Money Stampede.” Baucus cited that piece in his letter to the IRS.
Among other things, we see here the unholy alliance between leftists in the media and a leftist government. Leftist media trumpet some boogie man on the right, and pretty soon the leftist government is citing the leftist media in a campaign to attack said boogie man.
Ambassador Thomas Pickering rides in to defend a Clinton in distress.
The author of the internal State Department review on the Benghazi attack doubled-down Monday in defending his decision not to interview former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Retired U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering said his probe was aimed at finding out who made the decisions on Benghazi, Libya, and that Clinton was not involved.
“She was not involved in it, and therefore, there was no reason to question her on that line, and there were no other questions we had in mind,” Pickering said Monday on MSNBC.
Despite Pickering’s claim that Clinton “was not involved,” she was the Secretary of State. She was briefed by Greg Hicks at about 8 PM Washington time on the night of the Benghazi attack. The ARB interviewed Hicks for two hours, but did not interview Clinton. She later blamed a YouTube movie for the attack, on September 14, with the bodies of the slain in coffins behind her.
During the dozen edits that the State Department made to the CIA’s Benghazi talking points, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland stated that her “superiors” were unhappy with the original version, which named al Qaeda. Who are those superiors? Among them was, of course, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Clinton was deeply involved, as she should have been as the official whose wish to place a permanent facility in Benghazi sent Ambassador Chris Stevens to Benghazi in the first place. A US State Department facility was under sustained assault. If Clinton was not involved, she should have been. It would have been a scandal on its own. But the fact is, she was involved from the night of the attack forward.
Pickering’s comments today confirm that the ARB was nothing more than a whitewash aimed at pushing the investigation past the election, and then nipping it afterward.
During his remarks to the press today, President Obama dismissed last week’s Benghazi hearings outright. He claimed that the entire discussion of the talking points was a “side show.” Overall, on Benghazi he claimed that “There’s no there, there.”
ABC’s Jonathan Karl revealed last week that the talking points had been edited 12 times, consistently to remove references to al Qaeda and its role in the deadly attack. The edits removed references to a Sept. 10 warning that al Qaeda would mount a protest/assault at the US embassy in Cairo, Egypt on the following day, not because of a movie, but to pressure the US government into releasing jihadists held in US prisons.
The hearings revealed stand down orders were given to Special Forces in Tripoli who were ready to travel to Benghazi to rescue the Americans under assault. The hearings revealed the names and roles of two whistleblowers, Mark Thompson and Greg Hicks. Hicks assumed command for the US mission in Libya upon the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens, and is a lifelong Democrat. The hearings also revealed why Stevens was in Benghazi on 9-11-12; he was there on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton order to make the US facility in the dangerous city a permanent presence despite the deteriorating security situation there.
The president’s strategy was to claim that he had called Benghazi a terrorist attack on September 12, when he did not, and to otherwise claim that there has been no news, nothing was covered up and, in his own words, “There is no there, there” and that all questions about it are political. He also claimed that questions about Benghazi amount to dishonoring the dead, at also chided Republicans for using Benghazi in fundraising.
Since December 2012, the president has made guns a political issue after the Newtown massacre. His political group, Organizing for Action, has sent out numerous emails highlighting that tragedy and which also seek to raise money for the organization. Why one is proper and the other is not, the president was not asked and did not explain.
Even in today’s remarks, President Obama described those responsible for Benghazi as “extremists” but did not name al Qaeda or Ansar al-Sharia.
During a joint press appearance with UK Prime Minister David Cameron today, President Barack Obama claimed that he only learned that the Internal Revenue Service had targeted Tea Party groups last Friday, when the rest of America learned about it. Fielding a question from the Associated Press’ Julie Pace, who asked about Benghazi and the IRS revelations, Obama said Friday was the first time he heard about it.
No one warned the president that the Internal Revenue Service was about to offer an earth-shaking apology to groups that it had denied targeting for years?
Apparently, Barack Obama does not read the New York Times. If only Katie Couric had bothered to ask the senator what he read back in 2008…
On March 7, 2012, the Times editorialized in favor of the IRS targeting conservative groups for scrutiny. The Times cloaked its partisanship by claiming that it would like to see all of the new political action groups operating under tax law as “social welfare” organizations undergo scrutiny. But in its second paragraph, the Times notes the origins of the question:
Tea Party supporters claim they are being politically harassed with extensive I.R.S. questionnaires. But the service properly contends that it must ensure that these groups are “primarily” engaged in social welfare, not political campaigning, to merit tax exemption under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code.
Now we know that there was nothing proper about the IRS’ activity, because it was conducted unfairly and intrusively.
Today Obama apologized to Americans “if” there was any behavior that was out of bounds. There is no “if” there, as Obama surely has known for some time.
House Hearings Didn’t Move Voter Opinion on Benghazi (Because the Media Haven’t Really Covered the Story)
Rasmussen finds that the average American remains more interested in irrelevant trials and the latest controversial “teen mom,” then the cover-up in Benghazi.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 31% of Likely U.S. Voters rate the administration’s explanation of the events surrounding the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens as good or excellent. Forty-one percent (41%) think the administration has done a poor job explaining things. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
It’s difficult for the hearings to make much impact when they took place on a single day rather than shorter hearings across a week, and when the networks bail out of covering them to put the Jodi Arias verdict on the air. As I wrote toward the end of the day-long hearings last week:
Juxtaposition on my screens in my blogging lair: Streaming video from the Benghazi hearing, which is an investigation into what may be a massive cover-up at the highest levels of our government, and the verdict from the Jodi Arias trial on the cable nets. Thousands are waiting outside the courtroom for the verdict to be read, just standing around, even though the verdict tells us nothing about the credibility of our government or its ability to defend US interests around the world. The networks aren’t even carrying the Benghazi hearing at this point, despite the fact that the allegations aired in it are so disturbing. This is the power of the media and what it chooses to emphasize and downplay, on full display.
Those thousands were there because the media had hyped that trial and made the reading of its verdict a Moment. Many of those thousands, along with millions more Americans, might care more about Benghazi if the alleged news media gave the story proper attention and treatment. Eight months in, they’re finally starting to. Progress, I guess.
When she apologized to conservative and Tea Party groups for the Internal Revenue Service’s undue scrutiny and questioning of them on Friday, IRS official Lois Lerner told a very incomplete story. When the Associated Press reported on the apology, that report included Lerner’s claim that only “low-level workers” in the IRS’ Cincinnati office were responsible.
Hardly anyone believed that, and no one should have. There was another revelation awaiting its moment.
Senior Internal Revenue Service officials knew agents were targeting tea party groups as early as 2011, according to a draft of an inspector general’s report obtained by The Associated Press that seemingly contradicts public statements by the IRS commissioner.
The Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration is expected to release the results of a nearly yearlong investigation in the coming week. The AP obtained part of the draft report, which has been shared with congressional aides.
Among the other revelations, on Aug. 4, 2011, staffers in the IRS’ Rulings and Agreements office “held a meeting with chief counsel so that everyone would have the latest information on the issue.”
On Jan, 25, 2012, the criteria for flagging suspect groups was changed to, “political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding Government, educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, social economic reform/movement,” the report says.
While this was happening, several committees in Congress were writing numerous letters IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman to express concern because tea party groups were complaining of IRS harassment.
In Shulman’s responses, he did not acknowledge targeting of tea party groups. At a congressional hearing March 22, 2012, Shulman was adamant in his denials.
“There’s absolutely no targeting. This is the kind of back and forth that happens to people” who apply for tax-exempt status, Shulman said at the House Ways and Means subcommittee hearing.
The portion of the draft report reviewed by the AP does not say whether Shulman or anyone else in the Obama administration outside the IRS was informed of the targeting. It is standard procedure for agency heads to consult with staff before responding to congressional inquiries, but it is unclear how much information Shulman sought.
Shulman is a Bush appointee, a fact that White House spokesman Jay Carney played for all it’s worth during Friday’s stormy press briefing. Bush also outsourced his education policy to Sen. Ted Kennedy. Bush was hardly a partisan when it came to policy and appointments.
The IRS’ targeting conservative groups fits a pattern of behavior that goes all the way up to the top of the Obama administration. According to the report that is expected out this week, among its intrusive questions, the IRS asked for for lists of groups’ donors. Why would its agents do that?
During the 2012 election, the Obama campaign itself used lists of Romney donors to target and intimidated them, as Kimberly Strassel reported at the WSJ in April 2012. The Obama campaign set up a website for the purpose of listing and targeting Romney donors, called KeepingGOPHonest.com. The site accused Romney donors of “betting against America” while naming them and their businesses. When describing their businesses, the Obama campaign website accused these donors of profiting from oil (the lifeblood of the US economy) and other perfectly legal and moral things to do.
Is there any connection between the IRS attempting to target individual donors, and the Obama campaign actually doing it? Were any Obama campaign operatives playing any role in the IRS’ targeting of Tea Party groups and their donors?
While the Obama campaign was singling Romney donors out in a name and shame campaign, it was knowingly accepting donations from foreign (illegal) sources. British citizen Mike McNally proved it, by donating from the UK last October.
What the American people got from Lerner on Friday was not truly an apology. It was a limited hangout intended to soften the blow of the report that will detail the abuse this week.
The IRS’ evidently systematic campaign to abuse grassroots groups and the US citizens who make up those groups is a massive concern. Past abuses were taken so seriously that they formed part of the case for impeaching President Richard Nixon. Article 2 accused Nixon of engaging “in conduct violating the constitutional rights of citizens, impairing due and proper administration of justice and the conduct of legal inquiries, or contravening the laws governing agencies of the executive branch and the purposed [sic] of these agencies.”
The first such agency mentioned in the Articles of Impeachment is the Internal Revenue Service, for abusing its authority for political purposes.
Obama’s IRS targeted groups that had handed him a major defeat, and stood ready to help battle against him again in 2012. Another fact worth considering is that while the IRS targeted legal citizen groups seeking to uphold the Constitution, the entire Democratic Party was also focused on tearing down voter ID laws everywhere they have been passed.