House Oversight Calls for Obama to Fire IRS Commissioner

Editor’s Note – The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee sent a letter to President Obama, he who has declared that there was not even a ‘smidgeon‘ of corruption demanding he fire IRS Commissioner  John Kostkinen:

Twenty-one Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Monday sent President Obama a 30-page letter calling for him to fire Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen, citing his “failure to preserve and produce documentation” to the committee investigating the controversy over alleged political targeting. (Read more here at National Journal.)

Read the letter here and scroll down to the third video below to watch the committee’s video compilation.KostkinenFiredImpeach

Well that ‘smidgeon’ now looks like much more than a scandal, or even corruption, it now looks felonious in the highest degree. Remember that Obama doubled down when interviewed by Jon Stewart of the Daily Show in his final appearance on that show because Stewart retires soon.

HotAir.com’s Ed Morrissey had this to say about the Chairman of the oversight committee, Jason Caffetz openly calling for Obama to fire the IRS Commissioner, John Kostkinen:

Consider just how frustrating conducting oversight of the IRS must have been over the last two years. The previous leadership conducted politically motivated targeting of the opposition to the administration, and then the replacement leadership has done everything it can do to stonewall Congressional investigation of the agency. (Read more at HotAir.)

Chaffetz spoke on Greta Van Susteren’s show last night on Fox News and you can see that interview below, along with two others reviewing the history of the IRS Scandal, the one that Democrats still refuse to call a scandal as they assail Republicans accusing them of continuing to conduct a circus for political gain.

GretaKostkinenRemember how often the Democrats said there was ‘no there, there’, and made a farce out of their job which is supposed to be about defending their constituents from a rogue agency turned into a weapon for the left’s political gain.

We agreed when Speaker of the House Boehner said:

“When someone asked me the question, well, who should be fired? I said I don’t know — I don’t care who is going to be fired. I want to know who is going to jail” way back in April of 2014.

Now we learn that it is even worse, all while the President plays it down.

Chairman Chaffetz’s fury was well-warranted and all Americans should be the same, right or left, and should be thankful that this investigation was not ended long ago as Ranking Member Elijah Cummings demanded back in June of 2013only to walk it back a few days later saying it was ‘not solved yet’. But Cummings keeps the charade alive:

Cummings added, “Calls for Commissioner Koskinen to step down are nothing more than a manufactured Republican political crisis based on allegations that have already been debunked.” (Read more here at National Journal.)

Then we learned in 2014 just how complicit Cummings was when it all started, long before we knew who Lois Lerner was. But as Morrissey continues, impeachment may not be the best course of action because Kostkinen seems to be doing the bidding of the White House in blocking the investigation:

The real problem in this scandal isn’t Koskinen, but the White House that’s directing his actions. Oversight might do better by continuing to demand Koskinen’s public testimony, and give a continuing example of the arrogance of the Obama administration. That might go farther toward Koskinen’s exit than an impeachment exercise.

You be the judge and as “Republican Rep. Cynthia Lummis implored reporters “to watch the video over and over again.” You should implore everyone you know to do the same.

Chaffetz: IRS Commissioner John Koskinen Should Be Fired And Impeached

By Katie Pavlich at Townhall

After years of investigation into the IRS targeting of conservative groups House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz, who took over as chairman after Rep. Darrell Issa earlier this year, has had enough of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

Yesterday Chaffetz called on the President to fire Koskinen over allegations of obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence and stonewalling a congressional investigation. He accused Koskinen of lying to Congress when he said last year that backup tapes belonging to former IRS commissioner Lois Lerner, the woman at the center of the targeting scandal, didn’t exist.

ChaffetzPressReleaseLetter

We of course learned shortly after that backup tapes do exist, but that IRS officials didn’t bother looking for them in order to turn them over to Congress for scrutiny. It was later revealed that at least some of the available back-up tapes were destroyed, even after a congressional subpoena for the tapes was issued.

“Congress needs to get more aggressive and stand up for itself. We may hold him in contempt and there are other constitutional remedies that perhaps, one of the things we’re exploring is perhaps impeaching the commissioner,” Chaffetz said last night On The Record. “He [President Obama] should fire Mr. Koskinen because he’s not working with us.”

“We’re going to get to the truth no matter where it is no matter how long this takes. We’re going to get after it,” Chaffetz continued.

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Considering President Obama doesn’t believe the IRS targeting of conservatives is a scandal at all, I doubt he’ll be heeding Chaffetz’ calls. However, Congress does have the power of impeachment. Whether that authority will be exercised under current GOP leadership is a different story.

Last week, former Oversight Chairman Issa revealed the IRS is still engaged in targeting of conservative groups.

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In addition, we have included the following video compilation that was posted at HotAir.com showing the history of the scandal and the testimony in question. “The Republican majority on the House Oversight Committee explains all of the reasons why they have no confidence in Koskinen’s leadership at the IRS in the aforementioned video:”

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IRS Used Donor Lists to Target, Obama Defends on Stewart

Editor’s Note – As President Obama was interviewed by Jon Stewart on the Daily Show, purportedly for the last time, Obama tried to tell America again that the IRS Scandal was not a scandal.

Just like he did with Bill O’Reilly in the now infamous “Super Bowl” interview that there was “Not even mass corruption. Not even a smidgeon of corruption,” he doubles down despite mounting, and incontrovertible evidence to the contrary.

President Obama defended the IRS Tuesday in an interview with “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart, saying the tea party-targeting scandal was actually Congress‘ fault for passing “a crummy law” and that the real problem is the agency doesn’t have enough money.

Mr. Obama, who has overseen a series of scandals at the IRS, the Veterans Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and now the Office of Personnel Management, was asked why government didn’t seem to be working on his watch.

But the president said he’s not to blame, using the IRS as an example of how what went wrong wasn’t his fault, and questioning whether tea party groups were ever targeted. (Read more at the Washington Times.)

The trouble is, that could not be farther from the truth. Judicial Watch, as always, exposes yet another ‘smoking gun’ document that proves how much Obama stretches the truth far past the breaking point of the term LIE!

Watch Obama and Stewart on the Daily Show here.

ObamaStewartIRS

 

It is just astounding, remember these facts:

One has to wonder what Obama must be thinking to believe he can tell such a blatant whopper in such cavalier fashion and not be called on it. A quick search of media coverage of the targeting scandal reveals the May, 2013 article in The Washington Post with the headline, “IRS admits targeting conservatives for tax scrutiny in 2012 election.”

“The Internal Revenue Service on Friday apologized for targeting groups with ‘tea party’ or ‘patriot’ in their names,” reported the Post, “confirming long-standing accusations by some conservatives that their applications for tax-exempt status were being improperly delayed and scrutinized.” (Read more at Western Journalism.)

Please read on about what Judicial Watch found and then refresh your memory with 19 facts that prove he is a liar and rewriting history to an audience of mush heads that gets their news from a comedian below:

Judicial Watch: New Documents Show IRS Used Donor Lists to Target Audits

Judicial Watch announced today that it has obtained documents from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that confirm that the IRS used donor lists to tax-exempt organizations to target those donors for audits.  The documents also show IRS officials specifically highlighted how the U.S. Chamber of Commerce may come under “high scrutiny” from the IRS.

The IRS produced the records in a Freedom of Information lawsuit seeking documents about selection of individuals for audit-based application information on donor lists submitted by Tea Party and other 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organizations (Judicial Watch v. Internal Revenue Service (No. 1:15-cv-00220)).

obama_oreilly_smidgeonA letter dated September 28, 2010, then-Democrat Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) informs then-IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman: “   I request that you and your agency survey major 501(c)(4), (c)(5) and (c)(6) organizations …”

In reply, in a letter dated February 17, 2011, Shulman writes: “In the work plan of the Exempt Organizations Division, we announced that beginning in FY2011, we are increasing our focus on section 501(c)(4), (5) and (6) organizations.”

In 2010, after receiving Baucus’s letter, the IRS considered the issue of auditing donors to 501(c)(4) organizations, alleging that a 35 percent gift tax would be due on donations in excess of $13,000.  The documents show that the IRS wanted to cross-check donor lists from 501(c)(4) organizations against gift tax filings and commence audits against taxpayers based on this information.

A gift tax on contributions to 501(c)(4)’s was considered by most to be a dead letter since the IRS had never enforced the rule after the Supreme Court ruled that such taxes violated the First Amendment.  The documents show that the IRS had not enforced the gift tax since 1982.

But then, in February 2011, at least five donors of an unnamed organization were audited.

The documents show that Crossroads GPS, associated with Republican Karl Rove, was specifically referenced by IRS officials in the context of applying the gift tax.  Seemingly in response to the Crossroads focus, on April 20, IRS attorney Lorraine Gardner emails a 501(c)(4) donor list to former Branch Chief in the IRS’ Office of the Chief Counsel James Hogan. Later, this information is apparently shared with IRS Estate Gift and Policy Manager Lisa Piehl while Gardner seeks “information about any of the donors.”

Emails to and from Lorraine Gardner also suggested bias against the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  An IRS official (whose name is redacted) emails Gardner on May 13, 2011, a blog post responding to the IRS targeting of political and other activities of 501(c)(4), (5) and (6) organizations:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a 501(c)(6) organization and may find itself under high scrutiny.  One can only hope.

The subject line of the email highlights this anti-Chamber of Commerce comment:  “we are making headlines notice the end regarding 501(c)(6) applicability enjoy.”  This critical comment is forwarded to other IRS officials and shows up attached to another Gardner IRS email chain with the subject line “re: 501(c)(4)” that discusses a pending decision about a tax-exempt entity.

In early May, once the media began reporting on the IRS audits of donors, IRS officials reacted quickly.  One official acknowledges the issue “is a biggy” when a reporter from The New York Times contacts the IRS on May 9.

On May 13, 2011, former IRS Director of Legislative Affairs Floyd Williams discusses compliance with “interest” from Capitol Hill: “Not surprisingly, interest on the hill is picking up on this issue … with Majority Leader Reid’s office, has suggested the possibility of a briefing for the Senate Finance Committee staff on general issues related to section 501(c)(4) organizations I think we should do it as interest is likely to grow as we get closer to elections.”

Later that day, then-Director of the Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner weighs in with an email that confirms that she supported the gift tax audits.  Lerner acknowledges that “the courts have said specifically that contributions to 527 political organizations are not subject to the gift tax–nothing that I’m aware of that about contributions to organizations that are not political organizations.” Section 501(c)(4) organizations are not “political organizations.”  [Emphasis in original]

Lerner’s involvement and support for the new gift tax contradicts the IRS statement to the media at the time that audits were not part of a “broader effort looking at donations 501(c)(4)’s.”  In July 2011, the IRS retreated and soon-to-be Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller directed that “examination resources should not be expended on this issue” and that all audits of taxpayers “relating to the application of gift taxes” to 501(c)(4) organizations “should be closed.”

“These documents that we had to force out of the IRS prove that the agency used donor lists to audit supporters of organizations engaged in First Amendment-protected lawful political speech,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.  “And the snarky comments about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the obsession with Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS show that the IRS was targeting critics of the Obama administration.  President Obama may want to continue to lie about his IRS scandal.  These documents tell the truth – his IRS hated conservatives and was willing to illegally tax and audit citizens to shut down opposition to Barack Obama’s policies and reelection.”

Judicial Watch had filed a separate lawsuit for records about targeting of individuals for audit in November 2013.  In that litigation, the IRS had refused to search any email systems, including Lerner’s records. A federal court ruled the IRS’ search was sufficient and dismissed the lawsuit earlier this month.

In September 2014, another Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit forced the release of documents detailing that the IRS sought, obtained and maintained the names of donors to Tea Party and other conservative groups. IRS officials acknowledged in these documents that “such information was not needed.” The documents also show that the donor names were being used for a “secret research project.”

The House Ways and Means Committee announced at a May 7, 2014, hearing that, after scores of conservative groups provided donor information “to the IRS, nearly one in ten donors were subject to audit.”  In 2011, as many as five donors to the conservative 501(c)(4) organization Freedom’s Watch were audited, according to the Wall Street Journal. Bradley Blakeman, Freedom’s Watch’s former president, also alleges he was “personally targeted” by the IRS.

In February 2014, then-Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee Dave Camp (R-MI) detailed improper IRS targeting of existing conservative groups:

Additionally, we now know that the IRS targeted not only right-leaning applicants, but also right-leaning groups that were already operating as 501(c)(4)s.  At Washington, DC’s direction, dozens of groups operating as 501(c)(4)s were flagged for IRS surveillance, including monitoring of the groups’ activities, websites and any other publicly available information.  Of these groups, 83 percent were right-leaning.  And of the groups the IRS selected for audit, 100 percent were right-leaning.


Read the facts here from Forbes:

  1. In January 2010, the Supreme Court in Citizens United held it unconstitutional to ban free speech by corporations, unions and other organizations.
  2. In August 2010, the IRS distributed a BOLO (Be on the Lookout) list for Tea Party organizations applying for tax exempt status.
  3. In October 2010, IRS Exempt Organization chief Lois Lerner met with the DOJ about prosecuting conservative groups.
  4. By March 2012, amid reports of targeting, former IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman testifies there is “absolutely no targeting” by the IRS of conservative and/or Tea Party organizations. On November 9, 2012, Mr. Shulman stepped down, replaced by Steven Miller.
  5. On May 10, 2013, during a bar meeting, Ms. Lerner admits targeting, calling it “absolutely incorrect, insensitive, and inappropriate.” Four days later, on May 14, 2013, the Inspector General issued a report confirming targeting.
  6. On May 15, 2013, Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller resigned. President Obama named Daniel Werfel Acting Commissioner. Mr. Miller and Inspector General J. Russell George testified to the House Ways and Means Committee.
  7. On May 22, 2013, MsLerner professed her innocence then takes the Fifth. Next day, she is placed on administrative leave.
  8. On June 12, 2013, the IRS finally suspends BOLO lists for Tea Party names.
  9. On June 20, 2013, the IRS paid $70 million in bonuses. Ms. Lerner receives $42,000; former Commissioner Miller receives $100,000.
  10. On June 24, 2013, the IRS admitted that “inappropriate criteria” were used for tax-exempt status. Next day, Democrats claim progressives were targeted too.
  11. On September 24, 2013, Ms. Lerner’s retirement is announced, with full pension.
  12. On February 3, 2014, President Obama tells Fox there’s “not a smidgen of corruption” at the IRS.
  13. On March 11, 2014, the Committee on House Oversight and Reform issues a report on Lois Lerner.
  14. On April 7, 2014, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen confirms there are six investigations: four by Congressional committees, one by the DOJ, one by the TIGTA. Over 250 IRS employees spend 100,000 hours, costing taxpayers at least $14 million.
  15. On April 8, 2014, the Committee on House Oversight and Government Reform says it will pursue contempt charges against Ms. Lerner. On May 7, 2014, the House of Representatives holds Ms. Lerner in contempt of Congress.
  16. On June 13, 2014 (Friday the 13th!), the IRS first says it lost Ms. Lerner’s emails from 2009 to 2011. The IRS says hard drives and backups are destroyed, for 6 other IRS employees’ too. The IRS spent $10 million trying to recover them.
  17. On September 22, 2014, Ms. Lerner breaks silence to Politico, says she is the victim.
  18. In November-December 2014, the Inspector General recovers 30,000 backed up Lerner emails.
  19. On March 31, 2015, Obama Justice Department officials announce there will be no criminal charges for Lois Lerner.

FCC votes in Regs on 'Net Neutrality' – Consequences?

By SUA Staff

The Obama/Democrat Party “fundamental transformation of America” just visited another terrible blow on capitalism and further increased the size of government.

It also sets the stage for international controls few can fathom. Look soon for a new cabinet department, the DOI, Department of the Internet. George Soros, John Podesta, and the White House have won.

The repercussions of the new regulations created by the FCC, effectively taking control over the internet, passed on a party line vote of the Commissioners, 3-2 are stunning and unmeasurable at this time.

In an expected 3-2 party-line vote, the agency’s Democrat majority approved a plan by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler that puts broadband providers in the same legal category as more highly regulated conventional telephone companies.

Wheeler has promised a modernized, light-touch regulatory approach that would exempt Internet service from many of the tougher provisions of that designation under Title 2 of the telecommunications law, particularly rate regulation. (LA Times)

The unintended consequences of this move will likely yield a whole host of negative results – but is that really unintentional? But we won’t know until we wade through all 322 pages. Sound familiar?

FCCNetNeutralityVote
Federal Communication Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler, center, joins hands with Commissioners Mignon Clyburn, left, and Jessica Rosenworcel, before the start of their meeting in Washington, D.C., Thursday to vote on tough net neutrality regulations. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP)

The Chairman of the Commission and a supporter on the Commission said:

“The Internet is the most powerful and pervasive platform on the planet. It’s simply too important to be left without rules and without a referee on the field,” Wheeler said in voting for the proposal. “The Internet is simply too important to allow broadband providers to be the ones making the rules.

FCC member Jessica Rosenworcel, who voted for the regulations, said: “We cannot have a two-tiered Internet with fast lanes that speed the traffic of the privileged and leave the rest of us lagging behind.”

One of the two dissenting votes disagreed:

Ajit Pai, one of two Republicans on the FCC, said the new regulatory proposal abandoned 20 years of bipartisan consensus “to let the Internet grow free from utility-style regulation.”

“It seizes unilateral authority to regulate Internet conduct, to direct where Internet service providers make their investments and to determine what service plans will be available to the American public,” he said. (Read more at the LA Times.)

To those of us who work on the internet daily, many relying on it for their livelihood, we can see where this will go; all to fix something that was not broken. Market forces can get out of hand, and some regulation is necessary in some industries, but the internet is not just a “common carrier” of information – not by a long shot, it is not a utility.

In the Name of Consumer Protection

This is eerily similar to “pass the bill to see what’s in it” language that Nancy Pelosi told us about ObamaCare. Then, in a video posted by the LA Times about GOP concerns, Gene Kimmelman, President and CEO of Public knowledge stated in part in his response to concerns made by Rep. Greg Walden, R-OR:

“Sit back, and see what is put forward tomorrow…,” he may be a consumer advocate, but he is also all for the regulatory changes as he stated in his Senate testimony in January of this year. (While at the Department of Justice under Eric Holder, Kimmelman was referred to as Obama’s “Secret Weapon” on in the anti-trust division and was a Director at George Soros funded New America Foundation.)

Once again, we have to pass it so we can see what is in it. How would you like to be the CEO of a broadband provider who now has to see how his company’s future plans just changed unilaterally by bureaucrats? We see shades of the health care insurance industry, and health care provision issues all over again.

Gene Kimmelman testifying before Congress prior to the vote.
Gene Kimmelman testifying before Congress prior to the vote.

The internet is not just about downloading movies or songs, social networking, or blogging; and the free flow of ideas, innovation, creativity, and exploration, it is about commerce. Most of these attributes were not in any danger because the market self-selects and people vote with their wallets.

Unilateral Control

Those voting for the regulations claim it is about fairness – leveling the playing field. How level is level in the world of commerce and the free market?

Net_Neutrality_BennetIn our opinion, this effort was about control, not keeping something free, open, and fair.

Once again, liberals use crafty language to sway the unknowing and couch arguments in “safety,” and “fair” jargon, with the real purpose being to have government make decisions for you “stupid” masses, just ask Jonathan Gruber.

If it was about controlling broadband providers and keeping the internet neutral, why did it take 322 pages of regulations and why did they keep it hidden from the public?

We do not know, but many warned the FCC not to mess with the Web’s still-developing economic ecosystem and may be a tragic threat of our 1st Amendment rights.

However, the debate is not over but the regulations are now here, unilateral government control of the internet by a single agency without Congressional input. Yes it was created by our military, but ours, as in we-the-people’s.

International Control

Next it will mutate into international control if they have their way. Somehow, we see the United Nations creating yet another commission and gaining control many feared when the story that the Commerce Department tackles the contract with ICANN next year came out.

As was reported last March, the international question of control arose again as the Washington Post’s Craig Timberg wrote:

U.S. officials announced plans Friday to relinquish federal government control over the administration of the Internet, a move that pleased international critics but alarmed some business leaders and others who rely on the smooth functioning of the Web.

Pressure to let go of the final vestiges of U.S. authority over the system of Web addresses and domain names that organize the Internet has been building for more than a decade and was supercharged by the backlash last year to revelations about National Security Agency surveillance.

The change would end the long-running contract between the Commerce Department and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a California-based nonprofit group. That contract is set to expire next year but could be extended if the transition plan is not complete.

“We look forward to ICANN convening stakeholders across the global Internet community to craft an appropriate transition plan,” Lawrence E. Strickling, assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information, said in a statement. (Read more here at the Washington Post.)

Then Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.) said: “…consistent with other efforts the U.S. and our allies are making to promote a free and open Internet, and to preserve and advance the current multi-stakeholder model of global Internet governance.” Thank you Senator, we all feel safer now.

There you go, those “safety” and “comfort” words again. Now that the FCC has voted, the slippery slope was just greased with 40 weight motor oil. Back in March, former Speaker-of-the-House, Newt Gingrich said: “This risks foreign dictatorships defining the internet.”

Recently, the new Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune of South Dakota opined:

“…by claiming more authority over Internet access for net neutrality, the Federal Communications Commission will undermine the ability of the U.S. to push back against international plots to control the Internet and censor content.

Countries like Russia already have made it clear that they want the International Telecommunications Union or another United Nations body to have more power over the Internet, Thune said.

“It seems like reclassifying broadband, as the administration is doing, is losing a valuable argument,” Thune said at his panel’s hearing on Internet governance. “How do you prevent ITU involvement when you’re pushing to reclassify the Internet under Title II of the Communications Act, and is everyone aware of that inherent contradiction?” (Read more at the National Journal.)

Trust in Government Agencies

How much trust do you have in our governmental agencies? How well have they run anything? Certainly politics will not be a concern.

Katherine Maher of Politico defended the idea of “It [Commerce and ICANN] intends to transition its coordinating role over the Internet’s domain name system—those web addresses you type into your browser—to the global Internet community” last March by saying:

It’s actually the opposite of what the critics claim: The Obama administration is trying to head off rising global pressure to give other countries, including China and Russia, more of a say in how the Internet is governed, not bow to it.

Her trust in the Commerce Department is a common problem, trust of a governmental agency that is at the whim of the current political tide has earned anything but. Ask yourself, who is the appointed Secretary of Commerce now and who will it be in the future? Who will be in charge of the FCC in the future?net-neutrality

If it is like the National Labor Safety Board that Obama tried to stack with cronies illegally, or ObamaCare that was shoved down our throats through the Department of Health and Human Services, be very afraid.

Maher continues:

“ICANN, [Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers] which was created primarily for the purpose of contracting to Commerce, is already a global body. Its headquarters are in California, but it has offices around the world and a governance model that includes representatives from 111 countries, international organizations and commercial and non-commercial stakeholders.”

“…there is no way Commerce will allow for a transition that doesn’t serve the public’s interest in a free and open Internet. The department controls the conditions, the timing and the ultimate approval of any new arrangement.”

If it is already international, why do the likes of China and Russia want more control? The simple answer is, they are actively seeking to reduce America to her knees, and Obama and his cronies are more than willing to “lead from behind” once again.

Say goodbye to your freedom on the internet, one already fraught with constant cyber-attacks, especially by the Chinese and Russians, and say hello to less privacy, higher bills, taxation, internet sales taxes, and limits on free speech.

How do you like all that flowery “comfort” jargon now? Free and open; fair? How about that doctor or health care plan you got to keep? Period! How about that “reset” with Russia? Is the internet the next Crimea?

How about that “targeting” issue? Do we really believe that a future administration would not “weaponize” the FCC like we all witnessed with the IRS? This will morph, of that we can be sure.

 

"Year of Action" – Obama's 'Success' – Regulate More

Editor’s Note – Recently we saw yet another email from the fund raising arm of the DNC touting the Presidents ‘year of action’ and that they need yet more money to help him have another success in 2015.

Looking at his previous six years of action, the country really cannot afford any more ‘action’ by this President, especially with his “uni-pen,” the “pen of unilateral action.”

Give Barack Obama credit for keeping his promise. “This is going to be a year of action,” the president pledged last January. And indeed, with a series of unilateral executive actions in the last few months of the year, he made it so.

Obama’s original promise was entirely understandable. He entered 2013 fresh from a solid re-election victory, determined to score legislative wins on gun control, immigration, spending, and other knotty issues. It all ended in disappointment. As 2014 dawned, Obama promised — to Republicans, threatened — to take a new path. (Read more here.)

In just 2014 alone, as their advertisement proclaims, Obama apparently did achieve great ends, if you ‘drink Kool-Aid’:Dec2014ObamaAdEmail.4

  1. He announced historic action on climate change;
  2. He raised the minimum wage on federal contractors;
  3. He established new rules to ensure equal pay for women;
  4. …and lastly, he took ‘executive action’ on immigration reform.

What they left out of the list of unilateral, unconstitutional acts was a disastrous streak of foreign policy failures and other dubious events like (H/T to the National Journal):

  1. Islamic State: “The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a JV team puts on Lakers uniforms, that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant;”
  2. “The “Taliban Five” – Obama staged a celebratory event in the Rose Garden in May with the parents of freed Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl,” only to see an unexpected negative reaction from all corners, including Democrats;
  3. NSA – “Remember that big speech Obama gave in January about reforming the National Security Agency’s surveillance practices” – only to reauthorize the very same;
  4. “Every warm weekend seemingly saw Obama hitting the links, even as the world, at times, felt like it was wobbling a bit between Iraq, Ukraine, the protests in Ferguson, Mo., the spread of Ebola, and other crises.” Worst of all was giving a speech when an American journalist was beheaded in in Syira and then five minutes later he was on the links.
  5. The border – “…the president being photographed playing pool and drinking beer in Colorado just as waves and waves of refugee children from Central America were spilling across the southwestern border:”
  6. CIA Report – Senate Democrats released a report earlier this month concluding that the Central Intelligence Agency had engaged in repeated episodes of torture and had misrepresented its effectiveness, the president pointedly refused to endorse it, or address it publicly in any way. Only Diane Feinstein looks worse here.
  7. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act continued to be ‘none-of-the-above’ and a political anchor, reaching new depths of unpopularity, and now you have bigger fines to look forward to in 2015;
  8. Ukraine and Crimea – need we say more about Putin’s laughter at Obama’s expense?
  9. Ebola – could that have been handled any worse when it came to quelling fear and panic – that’s leadership. By the way, where was that Czar, Ron Klain?
  10. Israel and Gaza – John Kerry’s epic ‘fail‘ reached stratospheric proportions;
  11. Supreme Court – Just how many cases will Obama lose concerning his unilateral actions and the fraud that was ObamaCare and its principal architect, Jonathan Gruber, the man they called  ‘Mr. Mandate’ who “sees stupid people;”
  12. The Economy – that ever so slogging ‘success‘ that no one in the real-world seems to feel as good about as Obama unless you are into the NYSE and its rarefied air;
  13. Iran – What can we say about Iran, other than being played for a complete fool? But maybe a new embassy in Tehran will soothe the savage beasts and the Mullahs blind ambitions;
  14. Cuba – Ditto on Iran, and then there is that whole Sony/North Korea thing still unsettled;
  15. Scandals – too numerous to list, and each is still unresolved, from the IRS to Benghazi – maybe 2015 ‘action’ will clear the air?

Of course this list just hits some of the “high” points of the past year but look what else he did this year – 75,000 pages of new regulations, feeling good about making that donation now?

How much “action” from Obama can this country withstand for two more years?

Obama Imposed 75,000 Pages of New Regulations in 2014

Written by Alex Newman – The New American

Just in the last few weeks, the Obama administration has proposed or imposed over 1,200 new regulations on the American people that will add even more to the already crushing $2 trillion per year cost burden of the federal regulatory machine. According to data compiled from the federal government’s Regulations.gov website by the Daily Caller, most of the new regulatory schemes involve energy and the environment — 139 during a mere two-week period in December, to be precise. In all, the Obama administration foisted more than 75,000 pages of regulations on the United States in 2014, costing over $200 billion, on the low end, if new proposed rules are taken into account.

Just one of those “rules” by the out-of-control Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the so-called “coal ash” regulation, is expected to cost as much as $20 billion, estimates suggest. Another oncoming rule, which experts and analysts say is likely to be the most expensive federal regulation in all of U.S. history, could wreak havoc across the nation and crush the economy to the point that economic growth halts completely, experts said. Even Christmas lights, though, are now in the administration’s regulatory crosshairs, along with virtually everything else.

YearofAction2014While the insatiable Obama White House “pen and phone” machine has been spewing costly and draconian regulatory edicts at a fast and furious pace since taking power six years ago, it seems that the Holiday season has featured an even larger than usual number of wild decrees. Late last month, for example, as Americans were occupied with Thanksgiving, the Obama administration emitted what has been widely decried as the most costly single regulation in American history.

The so-called “ozone rule,” which estimates suggest could cost as much as $270 billion per year and put millions of American jobs at risk under the guise of further regulating emissions of the natural gas, was formally put forward the day before Thanksgiving. Lawmakers decried the timing of the massive regulation, suggesting the scheme was released during the holidays so “stupid voters” — as ObamaCare’s architect infamously described the American people — would be distracted with other matters.

Experts also pointed out that the EPA’s own 2007 studies showed no adverse health effects from exposure to even high levels of ozone. Even people suffering from asthma experienced no adverse effects from high levels of ozone, the EPA itself found. More than a few experts have disputed the notion that ozone causes any harm at all — but that has not stopped the EPA from imposing the regulation under the guise of “protecting health.”

“Bringing ozone pollution standards in line with the latest science will clean up our air, improve access to crucial air quality information, and protect those most at-risk,” claimed scandal-plagued EPA boss Gina McCarthy in a statement celebrating the latest proposed decree. “It empowers the American people with updated air quality information to protect our loved ones — because whether we work or play outdoors — we deserve to know the air we breathe is safe.”

Air concentration of ozone gas, which largely occurs naturally, has been plummeting across the United States in recent decades even without the EPA’s “most expensive” regulation in history. According to the American Action Forum, which analyzes the impact of regulations, the ozone standards are so extreme that 100 state and national parks could be in danger of violating them — despite the fact that they have virtually no traffic or manufacturing bases. Ironically, the EPA claims an array of other recent EPA regulations could “help” states satisfy the new federal ozone decrees.BreakThroughYear2014

American industries, meanwhile, warned that the consequences of the “ozone” regulation on the fragile U.S. economy could be devastating. “This new ozone regulation threatens to be the most expensive ever imposed on industry in America and could jeopardize recent progress in manufacturing by placing massive new costs on manufacturers and closing off counties and states to new business by blocking projects at the permitting stage,” explained Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufacturers.

In an analysis posted on the NAM website, the association included a map showing that, depending on how extreme the final ozone standard was, virtually all of the United States could be out of compliance with the EPA mandates. “With nearly all of the country in nonattainment, U.S. manufacturing growth would come to a standstill; our domestic energy boom could go bust; and existing plants would be required to install additional expensive equipment,” the organization said, citing EPA data.

According to a study released by NAM earlier this year, federal regulations imposed on the United States were costing the American people more than $2 trillion every year by 2012, the most recent year for which data is available. And the cost is growing quickly. In 2014 alone thus far, the Obama administration has imposed regulations that will cost the American people over $200 billion in addition to the pre-existing $2 trillion burden, according to low-end estimates by the American Action Forum. That does not include the cost of numerous “executive” decrees and assumes, contrary to findings presented in the NAM-commissioned study, that the cost of the “ozone” rule will be relatively small.

HR-Jan29-Action-Figure_600Another major regulation imposed by the Obama administration in recent weeks surrounds the so-called “coal ash” rule regulating waste produced by electricity generation. The new scheme, finalized shortly before Christmas, could cost over $20 billion. Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), presumably the next chairman of the Senate Environment Committee, blasted the plot as “a continuation of the president’s war on fossil fuels.” Among other concerns, he said the new regulations would “make states and utility companies vulnerable to new regulatory costs and expensive litigation.”

Other costly regulations in the pipeline include the Obama EPA’s radical bid to severely curtail emissions of CO2. The natural gas, which makes up a fraction of one percent of all the “greenhouse” gases present naturally in the atmosphere, is exhaled by humans and is described by scientists as the “gas of life.” Still, the White House and the United Nations continue their outlandish campaign to demonize the essential molecule as “pollution,” even threating to shackle humanity to a draconian global CO2 regime under the guise of stopping “global warming.”

Next year, meanwhile, the Obama administration is plotting to unleash yet another deluge of federal regulations targeting everything from fracking to power plants. State governments, lawmakers, and citizens have been fighting back, but so far, the White House shows no signs of backing off or even slowing down the pace when it comes to devastating decrees to pummel the economy and the American taxpayer. More “climate” decrees are coming, too, with the White House even threatening to impose a UN carbon regime on America without obtaining Senate ratification.

Separately, as The New American reported this month, the Obama administration’s increasingly dangerous and anti-constitutional usurpations of power have been accelerating. Despite White House attempts to dupe the American people by claiming it has imposed fewer “executive orders” than previous presidents, the administration was recently exposed by USA Today concealing most of its unilateral decrees by calling them “presidential memoranda” instead of orders. Obama has issued more than any president in history, doing everything from purporting to change federal law to even attacking the American people’s God-given rights using illegitimate executive edicts.

With the sprawling regulatory leviathan growing perpetually more costly and oppressive, critics say the American people’s elected representatives and the courts must both take action. “Congress should examine how executive agencies are exceeding key authorities granted to them and both narrow the substantive grants that are most subject to abuse and improve administrative procedures on multi-billion dollar regulations,” wrote attorneys Todd Gaziano and Mark Miller with the pro-liberty Pacific Legal Foundation in a recent Forbes column about the need to regulate what constitutes a regulation. “Until then, the courts must police these two areas, particularly in the rulemaking context.”

While Republican lawmakers have become adept at loudly complaining about the administration’s non-stop executive power grabs and regulations on the campaign trail, so far, they have done virtually nothing to stop it. In fact, despite all of the promises to rein in the Obama administration’s “imperial” presidency if elected to Congress, victorious Republicans, who already dominated the House of Representatives, recently passed a massive spending bill fully funding virtually every decree the White House has spewed since coming to power through next September.

In other words, GOP lawmakers, sent to Washington by outraged voters in November to stop Obama, gave up their most powerful tool to restrain the administration for almost a full year — before the new members could be seated, and for no good reason. The solution to the growing regulatory lawlessness, though, remains simple: Congress can and should defund the decrees and the unconstitutional agencies behind them before Obama’s “fundamental transformation” of America is complete.


 

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Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, education, politics, and more. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU. He can be reached at: anewman@thenewamerican.com

An IRS 'Cause of Action' – WH Stonewalling a Court

Editor’s Note – In the latest twist or turn in the weaponization of the IRS Scandal, Cause of Action won a critical case regarding its FOIA requests that took over two years to adjudicate while the IRS stone-walled. Here is what Cause of Action lists as its focus on the IRS:

COA-Final4Cause of Action is investigating how the IRS conducts oversight of tax-exempt entities. Ranging from FOIA requests to tax status complaints to litigating against the agency for not releasing documents, the more we dig, the more we find how taxpayer dollars are funding an agency that is failing to properly oversee tax-exempt organizations.

Like Judicial Watch, these are great American patriots exposing government overreach, corruption, and what are in our opinion, criminal acts by the Obama Administration, its appointed hacks, and supporters already employed in the Federal Government.

Cause of Action won, but the Treasury Department; parent to the IRS, says no, just hold on there. They say they cannot release anything based on 6103 strictures.

Here is the report from the Washington Examiner:

Less than a week after ’fessing up that it found some 2,500 documents potentially showing that the IRS shared taxpayer returns with the White House, the Obama administration has reversed course and won’t release the trove to a group suing for access.

John Koskinen, IRS Commissioner at the Hearing.
John Koskinen, IRS Commissioner

In an abrupt decision, the Treasury inspector general’s office said that the documents are covered by privacy and disclosure laws and can’t be provided to Cause of Action, despite a promise last week to hand over some 2,500.

“All of the 2,043 pages of documents we have determined to be responsive were collected by the Secretary of the Treasury with respect to the determination of possible liability under Title 26 of the United States Code.

These pages consist of return information protected by 26 U.S.C. § 6103 and may not be disclosed absent an express statutory exception,” said the office in a letter dated Dec. 1.

What’s more, Treasury, which oversees the IRS, is still considering what to do with another 466 documents and said that they will provide a “response regarding” them.

Dan Epstein, executive director of Cause of Action, said Treasury was using “sophisticated” lawyering to weasel out of providing the documents. And he noted that their letter said that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is now looking into “potential liability” that his tax aides broke laws in sharing taxpayer information with the White House. (Read the rest here.)

But it gets even more puzzling, the administration is using circle logic to defend their choice to not obey the order. Why, because of confidentiality issues. But the White House was in possession of ‘your’ confidential documents. Can they do that? Apparently yes, but we ask why?

Why does the White House need these documents and data? Is this just another example of weaponization of federal agencies for some gain, likely political gain. But we cannot know that because we cannot see whose records were requested as is laid out for us, but did Congress already know this? Here is the Hot Air article on the latest:

IRS holding “thousands” of requests by White House for tax documents

Update: Congress already knew?

By Jazz Shaw – Hot Air

Are you ready to finally hear some good news about the IRS? Me too! Sadly, you’ll have to wait a bit longer because this looks like yet another example of something particularly shady at the agency.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew

A watchdog group claims that after two years worth of court actions and battles with the government, the Internal Revenue Service has admitted that it has thousands of documents pertaining to requests made by the White House for the tax documents of individuals and businesses. But (wait for it…) they are refusing to turn them over.

The revelation by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) came as part of a lawsuit filed by non-profit group Cause of Action, which began investigating whether the IRS was improperly sharing taxpayer information with the White House in 2012.

Cause of Action originally filed a Freedom of Information Act request asking the IRS to turn over any documents, if they existed, related to correspondence between the IRS and the White House about requests for tax returns for individuals or businesses.

When the IRS said it was unable to do so because of constraints in the Internal Revenue Code, the group filed the lawsuit. A judge ruled that the IRS must turn over any relevant documents to Cause of Action by Dec. 1 to comply with the FOIA request.

On Tuesday, an attorney with TIGTA wrote a letter to Cause of Action, and acknowledged that the watchdog had located “2,509 pages of documents potentially responsive to your request.” Of those, TIGTA confirmed that 2,043 were in fact responsive to the request.

Just admitting that the documents exist doesn’t mean that we’re going to get them. The IRS maintains that the documents are covered under 26 U.S.C. § 6103 and can not be handed over without an express statutory exception. In response to the request, the IRS stated that no such statutory exception exists, so basically… go pack sand.

But that leads us to a second question. If the tax returns of individuals and businesses are so private that they can’t be viewed without an act of congress, how is it that the White House was gobbling up thousands of them for reasons unknown? To find that out, we need to look a little more closely at 26 U.S.C § 6103. After explaining how important it is to keep tax returns private and the terrible penalties to be incurred for their unauthorized release, way down in section (f) we find a list of exceptions. Your tax returns can be revealed to certain committees of Congress, such as Ways and Means, Committee on Finance, and Joint Committee on Taxation. Kind of makes sense, right? But a whole separate section is included which for some reason allows the White House to request your tax returns as well.

(g) Disclosure to President and certain other persons

(1) In general

Upon written request by the President, signed by him personally, the Secretary shall furnish to the President, or to such employee or employees of the White House Office as the President may designate by name in such request, a return or return information with respect to any taxpayer named in such request. Any such request shall state—

(A) the name and address of the taxpayer whose return or return information is to be disclosed,
(B) the kind of return or return information which is to be disclosed,
(C) the taxable period or periods covered by such return or return information, and
(D) the specific reason why the inspection or disclosure is requested.

Well, that certainly seems convenient, eh? The President himself – or his specifically designated representative – can ask for tax returns, provided he includes a specific reason why he wants them. Of course, there is no mention of what would qualify as a valid reason… he just has to provide one.

So why was Barack Obama requesting that many tax returns in 2012? And how many others has he requested in the years prior to or since then? Absent an act of Congress, we may not find out. But by the wording of the law, this can’t be tossed off onto the shoulders of some scapegoat. These requests came directly from the Oval Office or a specific person designated by the President. This could get very interesting very quickly.

UPDATE: Another interesting note on the law caught by one of our eagle eye commenters. If everyone was following the rules, at least some members of Congress should already know about this.

(5) Reporting requirements

Within 30 days after the close of each calendar quarter, the President and the head of any agency requesting returns and return information under this subsection shall each file a report with the Joint Committee on Taxation setting forth the taxpayers with respect to whom such requests were made during such quarter under this subsection, the returns or return information involved, and the reasons for such requests.

The President shall not be required to report on any request for returns and return information pertaining to an individual who was an officer or employee of the executive branch of the Federal Government at the time such request was made.

Reports filed pursuant to this paragraph shall not be disclosed unless the Joint Committee on Taxation determines that disclosure thereof (including identifying details) would be in the national interest. Such reports shall be maintained by the Joint Committee on Taxation for a period not exceeding 2 years unless, within such period, the Joint Committee on Taxation determines that a disclosure to the Congress is necessary.

Here are the current members of the Joint Committee on Taxation [Link and title added by SUA]:

HOUSE:

  • Dave Camp (R-MI 4) Vice ChairmanJCOT_b
  • Sam Johnson (R-TX 3)
  • Kevin Brady (R-TX 8)
  • Sander M. Levin (D-MI 9)
  • Charles B. Rangel (D-NY 13)

SENATE

  • Ron Wyden (D OR) Chairman
  • John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV)
  • Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
  • Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT)
  • Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

More Editor’s Note:

Who do you believe after the recent revelations that the missing and lost emails were found, despite the IRS telling us otherwise? Also, we must ask again, who were these people that had their records delivered to the White House and why!