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!

"Phony" – Who are you to call anything phony?

By Scott W. Winchell – This must be the quote of the decade – perhaps a mirror is in order as it was uttered by President Obama:

“With this endless parade of distractions and political posturing and phony scandals, Washington has taken its eye off the ball.”

SUA wants to know what Charles Woods and Patricia Smith think about Benghazi being phony; we already do. How about all those people investigated and stymied by the IRS, are they phony? How about the families of the 30 dead warriors killed on Extortion 17; ask Karen and Billy Vaughn about what is phony? How about James Rosen’s parents being part of that ridiculous DOJ investigation; phony? What about Brian Terry’s family; was Fast & Furious phony? What about the NSA and Prism?

The only thing that is phony is this current administration. From Jack Lew lying to Congress, the fake economic recovery, and don’t forget “jobs saved” and “shovel ready” projects, these are true examples of phoniness.Phony

Now Americans are poorer than ever, are they phony? How about GM being saved while Detroit filed for bankruptcy, watch for the use of Obama Care money to bail them out. How about those wonderful crony capitalism failures like Solyndra and Fisker?

Then there was the debacle of all-time, the one we had to pass so we could see what was in it – Obama Care, the law the vast majority of America does NOT want. Even the Unions do not want it – phony?

Then ask Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News, or look up the “Pigford Scandal” – who is phony again?

Remember the ‘Beer Summit’ – phony. Remember “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon” – phony.

Then there was that other whopper: Benghazi was a protest over a video! Let’s also go into the other phoniness, like that fraudulent so-called Birth Certificate the White House posted, or the fact that Obama attended a church run by Jeremiah Wright and was friends with a domestic terrorist – Bill Ayers.

Then there is the ‘Sequester’ and not being able to tour the White House, while he and has family strode across Africa and now they go to Martha’s Vineyard to vacation in a posh palace as they threaten that Social Security checks may be stalled in September as he fights Congress over the debt ceiling again – PHONY!

Ask Sarah Palin about what she was not allowed to talk about while she was running with John McCain.

What about Obama’s education records, his Harvard Law Review work, all sealed – phony? How about his arguments over the Keystone XL pipeline – phony?

The list is almost endless, watch what Judge Jeanine Pirro of Fox News had to say then read the article below about Obama and Jack Lew on the Sunday talk shows – just shameless! …and the media just buys in.

%CODE%

Also, read more here: Lew Won’t Say Whether Chief Counsel Has Been Asked About IRS Scandal and see Chris Wallace grilling Lew here.

Lew warns GOP to avoid ‘false crises’ over spending, debt limit

By Peter Schroeder – The Hill

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warned Republicans to avoid “false crises” over a government shutdown and the debt limit in the coming months.

Appearing on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” Lew continued to hammer the message President Obama has been touting this week, about renewing a focus on boosting the middle class and avoiding self-inflicted wounds on the economy.

“We need to remember that this isn’t just about cutting budgets. Obviously, we need to have our fiscal house in order,” he said. “What it’s about is building the foundation for a strong economy.”

He added that there is a “majority in Congress” that wants to do away with indiscriminate sequester cuts, replacing them with “more sensible policies.”

“Our challenge is breaking through the logjam in Congress to get that done,” Lew said.

Lew also echoed the White House message when he said the president would not be willing to negotiate over the debt limit, which will need to be raised this fall to avoid a default. He said even opening talks over raising the debt limit, after the lengthy standoff in 2011 that led to the first-ever downgrade of the nation’s credit rating, would bring into question whether the U.S. is able to meet its obligations.

However, he stopped short of demanding a “clean” debt limit bill, that is, legislation that raises the debt limit and nothing else.

“Congress is going to have to pass a debt limit that can reach bipartisan consensus in the Congress and that the president can sign into law,” he said.

Lew also indicated that the White House would not be providing any sort of financial rescue to Detroit, which declared bankruptcy earlier this month.

The AFL-CIO called on the federal government to provide relief, and Republicans have already warned the president not to try and rescue the city with federal dollars. Lew gave no sign such an idea was in the works.

“Detroit is going to have to work with its creditors on this,” he said.

It can happen here – tyranny

Editor’s Note – Once again Victor Davis Hanson eloquently sums up an issue. The issue this time is the wild dance we are in over the way Obama has effectively changed so much of how things operate, and how the administration is dancing around so many scandals – a must read. Tyranny Mr. Obama?

It can happen here

By Victor Davis Hanson – PJ Media

Shortly before the second-term inauguration of Barack Obama this January, I wrote the following of my worries over the Obama way of doing business:

But the untruths and hypocrisy hover in the partisan atmosphere and incrementally and insidiously undermine each new assertion that we hear from the president — some of them perhaps necessary and logical. Indeed, the more emphatically he adds “make no mistake about it,” “let me be perfectly clear,” “I’m not kidding,” or the ubiquitous “me,” “my,” and “I” to each new assertion, the more a growing number of people will come to know from the past that what follows simply is not true. Does this matter? Yes, because when the reckoning comes, it will be seen as logical rather than aberrant — and long overdue.

I ended my prognostications with the warning, “And so a reckoning is on the near horizon. Let us pray it does not take us all down with his administration.”

Four months later, it almost has.

In January, of course, we all knew that Obama had misled the country on the nature of the disaster that is called Obamacare—a bill forced through on an entirely partisan basis through extraordinary legislative pay-offs and exemptions. The author of the bill, Sen. Max Baucus, dubbed it a “train wreck”; the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (who helped ram through the bill), claimed that we needed to pass the bill to find out what is in it.

Obama’s first-term methodology was in line with his history of dissimulation—promising to accept public campaign financing before becoming the first presidential candidate in the general election to refuse it; demagoguing the Bush-Cheney anti-terrorism protocols as a senator as useless or unlawful (e.g., Guantanamo as “al-Qaeda’s chief recruiting tool”), only to embrace or expand them all once he became president; and stoking racial animosity by weighing in during the Professor Henry Louis Gates psychodrama and the Trayvon Martin murder case, and asking La Raza activists “to punish our enemies.”

The president had a strange habit, like a moth to a flame, of demagoguing the wealthy as toxic (spread the wealth, pay your fair share, fat cat, you didn’t build that, etc.), while being attracted to the very lifestyle that he damns, a sort of Martha’s Vineyard community organizer. Sometime in 2009, $250,000 in annual income became the dividing line between “us” and “them.” When we hear the president remind us that he is not a tyrant or monarch, then we assume he laments that fact; “make no mistake about it” ensures that you should believe that the president is not being “perfectly clear.”

Of course, in January I did not know yet that the IRS had targeted conservatives, in partisan fashion, to deflate their activism by denying their organizations pre-election tax-exempt status. (Do we now suspect why Harry Reid claimed that he knew the tax records of Mitt Romney, or why Austan Goolsbee popped off about the tax records of the Koch brothers, or how ProPublica had access to confidential tax information about Crossroads GPS [compare the ProPublica boast on their website: “Now, for the first time, ProPublica has obtained the group’s application for recognition of tax-exempt status, filed in September 2010. The IRS has not yet recognized Crossroads GPS as exempt, causing some tax experts to speculate that the agency is giving the application extra scrutiny”]?)

(File Image) – Monica Crowley interviewing Austan Goolsbee, former White House Economic Advisor – We wonder if we will ever see Mr. Goolsbee on any talking head shows after new revelations that revealed he was privy to IRS records as reports indicate. We also wonder what Ms Crowley thinks about the media investigation scandal as well as that Benghazi debacle in the second Presidential debate of late… Paging Ms Crowley?

I did not think that the administration would be so haughty to go after the Associated Press and monitor their official and private communications, especially given that the source of most national security leaks par excellence was the Obama White House itself. Recall the sordid details of the AP scandal: the AP sat on a story until they were given a quiet administration go-ahead to publish the account—even as the administration desperately wanted to scoop them and high-five over the story of the Yemeni double agent 24 hours earlier than the AP.

The AP was not first advised of the administration investigations, nor were the phone checks focused and narrow. Instead, the administration went whole hog after two months of phone records to send a message to its pets in the press—secure that Eric Holder, in Fast and Furious fashion, could always go to Congress with “I don’t now,” followed by executive privilege and stonewalling.

Meanwhile, in Machiavellian fashion the Obama administration had divulged classified information about the Stuxnet virus, the bin Laden raid, and the drone targeting—in order that sympathetic Washington Post and New York Timesreporters might have pre-election fuel for the hagiographic accounts of Obama, the underappreciated commander-in-chief.

While we all knew that a filmmaker did not prompt a riot that just happened to kill four Americans, we did not, until the testimony of State Department officials and the published communications of White House, CIA, and State Department staffers, appreciate just how far the administration would go to further a false narrative. And quite a myth it was: lead-from-behind Libya was still a success; al-Qaeda was still scattered; Obama was still on the global front lines condemning anti-Islamic bigots like Mr. Nakoula, whose religious hatred supposedly had spawned violence that even the Nobel laureate Barack Obama could not deter.

Yet in some sense, Obama won. The IRS, AP, and Benghazi scandals were all adroitly kept under wraps for months before the 2012 election, as Goolsbee and Reid thundered about right-wing wealthy people not paying their fair taxes, and the press echoed a “how dare you” when anyone questioned the frightening state of events.

Living in Oceania

And now?

Suddenly in 2013, what was once sure has become suspect. All the old referents are not as they once were. The world is turned upside down, and whether the government taps, politicizes, or lies is not so important if it subsidizes the 47%. Does anyone care that five departments of government are either breaking the law or lying or both (State [Benghazi], Defense [the harassment issues], Justice [monitoring of phone lines], Treasury [corruption at the IRS], Health and Human Services [shaking down companies to pay for PR for Obamacare])?

The National Rifle Association is now supposed to be a suspect paramilitary group, in the way the Boy Scouts are homophobes. One day we woke up and learned that by fiat women were suddenly eligible to serve in front-line combat units—no discussion, no hearings, no public debate. We had a “war on women” over whether upscale Sandra Fluke could get free birth control from the government, but snoozed through the Dr. Gosnell trial. The latter may have been the most lethal serial killer in U.S. history, if his last few years of snipping spinal cords were indicative of the his first three unmonitored decades of late-term aborting.

The Obama administration had decided to shut down as many coal plants as it can, stop most new gas and oil drilling on federal lands, and go after private companies ranging from huge aircraft manufacturers to the small guitar concerns—based not on law, but on certain theories of climate change and labor equity. As in the case with the IRS, the EPA is now synonymous with politically motivated activism designed to circumvent the law. The president in his State of the Union address assured us that cap-and-trade will be back, given, he says, the atypical violent weather that hit the U.S. in his term—even as global temperatures have not risen in 15 years, and hurricanes are now occurring more rarely than during the last administration.

The government, we were also told, would not enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, and would grant de facto amnesty for large numbers of illegal aliens as the election approached. Enforcement of existing law now is a fluid idea, always up for discussion For the first time in my life, I can not even find rifle shells on the store shelves—amid rumors that the Department of Homeland Security, at a time of national acrimony over the Second Amendments, believes it is an opportune moment to stockpile gargantuan amounts of ammunition—again, a sort of force multiplier in ensuring panic buying.

Are You a Correct Citizen?

So we are in unchartered territory. The IRS has lost our trust, both for its rank partisanship and its inability to come forward and explain its crimes. Eric Holder wants us to believe that he has no idea why his office was monitoring the communications of journalists, and yet now warrants the renewed trust of the president. Susan Rice serially misled on national television about Benghazi and so will probably be promoted to national security advisor. Even the Washington Post has decided that the president was lying in his defense about Benghazi (albeit with the funny sort of childhood rating of “four Pinocchios”) after the president’s team serially blamed the violence on an internet video, while the president simultaneously claimed that he also identified the crime immediately as a terrorist hit.

On campuses, the Departments of Justice and Education have issued new race/class/gender guidelines that would effectively deny constitutionally protected free speech in universities, a sort of politically correct idea that proper thinking is preferable to free thinking.

If you oppose “comprehensive immigration reform” you become a nativist or worse—and apparently are one of the “enemies” the president wants to “punish.” The president just condemned American guns that wind up in Mexico–implying right-wingers opposed his own remedies of new gun control and neglecting to mention that his own Fast and Furious operation sold thousands of lethal weapons to Mexican drug cartels.

The end of the revolving doors, lobbyists, and non-transparency resulted in Jack Lew—recipient of a $1 million bonus from Citibank as it both lost money and gulped down federal bailout money—taking over from the tax-dodger Timothy Geithner as our new Treasury secretary to oversee the new IRS. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is now pumping corporations for money to help spread the gospel about how eager we are for the implementation of Obamacare, as the government now sort of freelances on its own—the federal equivalent of California Highway Patrol officers suddenly ubiquitous along our roadsides ticketing in a frenzy, in fear of their bankrupt state pension funds.

Now What?

What happens to a corporation that says “nope” to Sebelius? An IRS audit? Phone monitoring? Presidential denunciation as a “fat cat”? Talking points? Harry Reid taking to the floor to claim it had not paid its fair share in taxes?

Government has become a sort of malignant metasisizing tumor, growing on its own, parasitical on healthy cells, always searching for new sources of nourishment, its purpose nothing other than growing bigger and faster and more powerful—until the exhausted host collapses. We have a sunshine king and our government has become a sort of virtual Versailles palace.

I suppose that when a presidential candidate urges his supporters to get in someone’s face, and to take a gun to a knife fight, from now on you better believe him. And, finally, the strangest thing about nearing the threshold of 1984? It comes with a whimper, not a bang, with a charismatic smile and mellifluous nonsense—with politically correct, egalitarian-minded bureaucrats with glasses and iPhones instead of fist-shaking jack-booted thugs.

'Obamaquester' – What it really entails and who thought it up

By Denise Simon – The ‘sequester’ is close to implementation and we may see exactly what happens when political wrangling trumps our security. The President blames the Republicans in the House of Representatives, but it was Obama and Jack Lew who came up with the idea of ‘sequestration’. He can deny it, or obfuscate, or change the focus, but it was done as a political ploy first and foremost.

FactCheck.com tries to sell that it was an agreement by the House, Senate and the President, but it was all done as ploy. The ploy had America’s back to the wall and they know it – it was a pressure tactic that was agreed upon to force Obama to lead in spending cuts, which have not happened.

The White House and its sycophants, apologists, and surrogates want America to believe its the Tea Party and and the entrenched Republicans who are causing the harm. That however is far from the truth. Harry Reid and Jack Lew made it happen at the behest of the Obama team and it was clearly part of reelection efforts.

John Boehner, speaking with Hugh Hewitt lays it out clearly (Read the whole interview here.):

The clock is closer than in the picture, but March 1 is almost upon us.

Having first proposed and demanded the sequester, it would make sense that the president lead the effort to replace it. Unfortunately, he has put forth no detailed plan that can pass Congress, and the Senate—controlled by his Democratic allies—hasn’t even voted on a solution, let alone passed one. By contrast, House Republicans have twice passed plans to replace the sequester with common-sense cuts and reforms that protect national security.

The press is only recently understanding the machinations of the Obama team, albeit, four years late, but we can still hope that America will finally see that the king has no clothes on after all. Meanwhile, upon any level of inspection, Obama is clearly striving to destroy our military, and is scaring people by saying cuts will be severe.

Mark Levin lays out the argument here. This audio by Levin is a must listen piece on waste and big government and why Obama is lying to us. There have been almost zero cuts, yet Obama claims so much has already been done – its all lies.

Much has been mentioned in the last 18 months regarding the far and wide devastation of ‘Sequestration’.

A Super Committee was created to work through the process to avoid Sequestration but that measure also failed. The White House and the lobby groups have been on a loud and vocal quest to blame Republicans and the House of Representatives for what looms as Sequestration takes affect on March 1, 2013. The House has worked diligently to pass laws that stop the devastating cuts, most especially cuts in defense, while none of the measure by the House have been provided attention or vote by the Senate.

Lets take a look at what Sequester impacts on both sides. This is not a complete list and the depth of the cuts are not explained as that can be determined by a review of the associated links here and here.

What gets cut:

TSA, FDA food inspectors ,Head-Start, Defense, Parks Service, National Guard, Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Secret Service, FEMA, Air Federal Marshalls, FAA, Special Education Teachers, Center for Disease Control, NASA, Security and Exchange Commission, Foreign aid with particular emphasis on Israel and Mexico (130 countries affected), and among others, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (nuclear weapons)

What is exempt:

Social Security, Railroad employees retirement, Veteran’s Administration benefits, Unemployment, Tribal and Indian Trust Accounts, Child nutrition, Children’s Heath Insurance, Pell Grants, Medicaid, SNAP, food stamps, Highway Safety Grants, Motor Carrier Safety Operations, Federal pay, Child Support Enforcement, FDIC, Farm Credits, and among others, the Tennessee Valley Authority.

In a snapshot assessment of what stays and what goes, it is clear that programs related to National Security and Foreign Affairs are set to feel the the brunt in ‘Sequester’ while domestic programs geared to funding the indigent remain. In short, the dangerous world will be even more dangerous and education and healthcare remains protected. We have yet to understand the large numbers of those that will be unemployed and what our enemies will take advantage of regarding our homeland. But here is one area that will be effected immediately:

Pentagon informs Congress of plans to furlough 800K civilians

By Jeremy Herb – The Hill

The Pentagon notified Congress on Wednesday it will be furloughing its civilian workforce of 800,000 employees if sequestration goes into effect March 1.

Defense officials have warned lawmakers that sequestration will devastate the military and lead to a hollow force, but the civilian furloughs will be one of the first major impacts felt by the across-the-board cuts.

The Pentagon furloughs will affect civilians across the country. Pentagon officials have said that civilians could face up to 22 days of furloughs, one per week, through the end of the fiscal year in September. The employees would receive 30 days notice before being furloughed.

“We are doing everything possible to limit the worst effects on DOD personnel — but I regret that our flexibility within the law is extremely limited,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta wrote in a message to the department. “The president has used his legal authority to exempt military personnel funding from sequestration, but we have no legal authority to exempt civilian personnel funding from reductions.”

The Joint Chiefs also testified before both the House and Senate last week to lay out the dangers of sequestration, as the Pentagon has taken a much more proactive approach to the cuts than when they were set to hit in January.

The potential for furloughs was one of the few things DOD officials announced before the Jan. 2 deadline, which was delayed two months in the “fiscal-cliff” deal.

President Obama on Tuesday spoke to first responders who he also warned could be furloughed due to sequestration. He urged Republicans to compromise and stop the cuts.

Obama will be on the road again next week with campaign-style events arguing that Republicans are at fault for the cuts, while the GOP blames the White House for the sequester.

“Republicans in Congress face a simple choice,” the president said Tuesday. “Are they willing to compromise to protect vital investments in education and healthcare and national security and all the jobs that depend on them? Or would they rather put hundreds of thousands of jobs and our entire economy at risk just to protect a few special interest tax loopholes that benefit only the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations?”

But Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in response to the Pentagon furloughs that Obama has yet to put forward a plan to stop the across-the-board cuts, while the House has passed an alternative.

“I agree with the secretary of Defense that the impact of the president’s sequester would be devastating to our military,” Boehner said in a statement. “That’s why the House has acted twice to replace the president’s sequester with common-sense cuts and reforms that protect our national security, and it’s why I’ve been calling on the president for more than a year to press his Democratic-controlled Senate to do the same.”

The back-and-forth is part of a blame game between the White House and congressional Republicans as the cuts are less than two weeks out, with no apparent movement to stop them before March 1.

Preparations for cuts from sequestration and the department’s budget uncertainty are continuing in the defense industry.

BAE Systems notified 3,600 employees Tuesday that they could be laid off over a loss of work from the Navy, due primarily to the Pentagon facing a continuing resolution.

Bill Clifford, president of BAE Systems Ship Repair, told Ship Repair employees that the notifications under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act were going out to employees at four BAE locations in Norfolk, Va., Mayport, Fla., San Diego, Calif., and Hawaii.

“We do not take these decisions lightly, and we regret the anxiety it causes our employees and their families. I also recognize this news is unsettling, but rest assured we are working closely with our Navy customer and members of Congress to mitigate the impact of these proposed reductions,” Clifford wrote.

The WARN Act notices were a major political fight between Congress and the Obama administration during the 2012 campaign. After defense contractors threatened sending out mass notices before sequestration, the administration told contractors not to issue them 60 days before the cuts took effect — and also took the step of promising to cover layoff costs if contractors had to immediately fire workers.

In this case, BAE appears to be issuing the notices with enough time that it will follow the WARN law and not incur extra costs.

Lew – How do you trust such a nominee – hypocrites?

Editor’s Note – Where and when does the hypocrisy end? The only truth anyone can faithfully glean from the eternal campaigner-in-chief and his cronies is that whatever they say about their opponents, you can be sure they are at least twice as guilty of the same transgression.

The examples of such are far too voluminous to list again, and again, but here is the latest. Remember, Jack Lew has already been caught giving false testimony during budget discussions to Congress. This man cannot be trusted with America’s checkbook and ‘the full faith and credit’ of the country.

The ‘do as we say, not as we do’ mentality oozes from there deflections, obfuscations, and blatant disregard for the truth  – so we ask again: “America, what the heck were you thinking on that one Tuesday last November?”

Obama’s hypocrisy on Jack Lew

By Marc A. Thiessen – Washington Post

In a brutal campaign ad last year, Barack Obama showed Mitt Romney warbling “America the Beautiful” while pictures of a sandy beach appeared and the ad declared: “He had millions in a Swiss bank account . . . tax havens like Bermuda … and the Cayman Islands.” It concluded: “Mitt Romney’s not the solution. He’s the problem.”

Well, apparently someone else is part of the “problem”: Obama’s nominee for Treasury secretary, Jack Lew.

It turns out Lew had $56,000 invested in a Citigroup venture capital fund based in . . .wait for it . . . the Cayman Islands. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), a member of the Finance Committee before which Lew will soon appear, declared, “The irony is thick,” pointing out that “President Obama has been almost obsessively critical of offshore investments.”

Grassley is right. Just last week, during a “60 Minutes” interview before the Super Bowl, Obama declared, “When you look at some of these deductions that certain folks are able to take advantage of, the average person can’t take advantage of them. The average person doesn’t have access to Cayman Island accounts.”

It’s a recurring theme for the president. In a 2009 speech, Obama focused his ire on “a building in the Cayman Islands that had over 12,000 businesses claim this building as their headquarters” — a building called Ugland House. Obama said, “And I’ve said before, either this is the largest building in the world or the largest tax scam. And I think the American people know which it is: The kind of tax scam that we need to end.”

Well, guess who was involved in the “largest tax scam” in the world? Jack Lew. According to the New York Times, Lew’s Cayman Islands fund was based in “the notorious Ugland House, a building whose mailboxes are home to nearly 19,000 corporate entities, many of them tax shelters.”

Someone else who was deeply concerned about Ugland House is the man who will consider Lew’s nomination, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.). In a 2008 hearing, Baucus said of Ugland House, “Many of those tenants are feasting at America’s taxpayers’ expense.” Now he must decide whether to confirm one of those tenants as our next secretary of the Treasury.

Lew’s defenders point out that his investment was “only” $56,000. Well, $56,000 may be a small amount in Washington and on Wall Street, but it is more than the annual income of the typical American family. They say that he sold his Cayman holdings for a loss three years ago. But Lew divested himself and sold his investment for a loss only when confirmed as director of the Office of Management and Budget. Before that, even as a senior State Department official, he had no problem parking his money offshore.

Democrats point out that Republican Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson also had investments in the Cayman Islands and that Republicans did not view this as disqualifying. But the ethics of investing in the Cayman islands is not the issue here. The issue is Obama’s hypocrisy.

Obama excoriated his opponent in last year’s election as being unfit for office for having such investments. So by Obama’s own standard, shouldn’t Lew be considered unfit for office as well? Obama specifically called the investment Lew held the world’s biggest “tax scam.” Should the man responsible for U.S. tax policy be someone the president says was involved in a “tax scam”? Someone the Democratic Senate Finance Committee chairman says was “feasting at America’s taxpayers’ expense”?

A White House spokesman, Eric Schultz, pointed out that Lew broke no laws and “paid all of his taxes and reported all of the income, gains and losses from the investment on his tax returns.” But last year Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said that while Romney had not technically broken any laws by keeping his money in offshore tax havens, “is not technically breaking the law a high-enough standard for someone who wants to be president of the United States?” Well, is not technically breaking the law a high-enough standard for someone who wants to be secretary of the Treasury?

Investing in the Cayman Islands does not make Lew unfit to be Treasury secretary. But it does make him unfit to be Obama’s Treasury secretary.