Today in Liberty: There are some new details about Lerner’s hard drive, oral arguments scheduled for another big Obamacare case

“Our natural, inalienable rights are now considered to be a dispensation from government, and freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp as it is at this moment.” — Ronald Reagan

So, there’s no evidence that Lerner’s hard drive was destroyed: This sordid mess just keeps getting crazier. Tech experts are asking questions about Lois Lerner’s hard drive, but the powerful tax agency isn’t answering them. “There is a certification of destruction any time a piece of equipment is sent to a disposal company,” the head of an IT trade group said, according to Politico. “Where is that?” Questions like this are coming on the heels of the testimony of an IRS official who said that he wasn’t sure that the backup tapes on which Lois Lerner’s emails were destroyed. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen will appear before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee this morning at 10am. We’re expecting fireworks. So, yeah, popcorn.

— ‘Tis but a scratch: While we’re on the topic, the House Ways and Means Committee has learned that Lois Lerner’s hard drive was merely scratched and the data on it was recoverable, information that contradicts the testimony of IRS officials. “It is unbelievable that we cannot get a simple, straight answer from the IRS about this hard drive,” Chairman Dave Camp said in a press release. “The Committee was told no data was recoverable and the physical drive was recycled and potentially shredded. To now learn that the hard drive was only scratched, yet the IRS refused to utilize outside experts to recover the data, raises more questions about potential criminal wrongdoing at the IRS.” Camp explained that his committee’s investigation could come to a close “[i]f the IRS would just come clean and tell Congress and the American people what really happened.”

— There’s another Obamacare case working its way through the courts: A Florida orthodontist sued the Obama administration last fall over the delay of the employer mandate. “Dr. Larry Kawa, who owns and operates Kawa Orthodontics in West Palm Beach, said his office lost $1.2 million in earnings after setting aside 100 hours to plan compliance with the 2014 employer mandate, which was to require big companies to either provide health insurance to employees or pay a fine,” the Washington Examiner explains. “Kawa, represented by the D.C.-based Judicial Watch, filed suit in October 2013, seeking to have the 2014 employer mandate reinstated. The case was tossed out three months later by a U.S. District Court in West Palm Beach, but last week it was allowed to move forward by the Eleventh Circuit Court in Atlanta.” Critics have argued that the Obama administration should have sought a legislative delay of the employer mandate rather than acting unilaterally to change the effective date of the provision, which was set to take effect at the beginning of the year. The mandate was delayed again earlier this year. The Eleventh Circuit will hear Kawa’s case in October.

— Join GenOpp’s “Creepy Carenival” on the National Mall: Creepy Uncle Sam is back, and he’ll appear at Generation Opportunity’s Creepy Carenival on the National Mall this evening from 6pm to 9pm. “Come one, come all! Come see the freakiest show on Earth!” says the email United Liberty received reminding us of the event. “It’s no secret that Obamacare hasn’t lived up to the hype: All across the country premiums have spiked, millions have lost their insurance and their doctors, and, what’s worse, we’re continually being sold a bundle of lies about how great Obamacare has been for our generation!” Attractions include tightrope walkers, jugglers, carnival games, and food and drinks. Make sure you drop by if you’re in the D.C. area. You can RSVP here.

— Most. Transparent. President. EVAR!: If you keep repeating the lie, it eventually becomes true, right? CBS News’ correspondent Major Garrett lodged a complaint at yesterday’s press briefing on behalf of the White House Correspondents Association over the lack of transparency at an event to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. “The astronauts were among the most visible, televised national heroes this country has ever known, that entire program was financed by the American taxpayer,” Garrett told White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. “Stills presentation of that limits television coverage of that event we believe that is a classic definition of something that should have the broadest press coverage imaginable, and we are, therefore, lodging a complaint against your decision to keep us out.” Earnest claimed the lack of press access was due to scheduling, but reporters — especially ABC News’ Jon Karl — weren’t buying it.

— Good news on the school choice front: The University of Arkansas’ Department of Education Reform has released a study (PDF) showing that children who consistently attend charter schools outperform those who go to traditional public schools. “Researchers examined data from 21 different states. While the results varied, charter schools were found to be more productive—and generate a higher return on investment—than traditional public schools (TPS),” Robby Soave explains at Reason. “On average, charter school students scored so much better on assessments that spending money on charters was roughly 40 percent more efficient than spending money on TPS.”

— Pennsylvania mother facing jail in New Jersey for carrying a firearm: Shaneen Allen, a Pennsylvania resident and single mother of two, is facing a three-year mandatory jail sentence if convicted of possession of a firearm in New Jersey. “Shaneen Allen, 27, was pulled over in New Jersey’s Atlantic County after making an unsafe lane change in the early morning hours of Oct. 1. Allen then told the officer that she had the .380 Bersa Thunder handgun, as well as a concealed carry permit for Pennsylvania, unaware that her permit was not transferable to The Garden State,” Fox News explains. “Allen, who could not be reached for comment early Wednesday, had only owned the gun for a week prior to the arrest, [her lawyer] said, and purchased it for her protection after being robbed twice in the past year.” New Jersey, a state in which concealed carry permits are rarely issueddoes not recognize gun permits from any other state. Hopefully prosecutors will come to their senses here, but this situation just speaks to the absolute insanity of New Jersey’s gun laws, which, sadly, could tear a mother who made an honest mistake away from her kids. For further reading, check out Radley Balko’s excellent piece on Allen’s situation and how gun control laws tend to be racially discriminatory.

— Michele Bachmann may run for president again: The Minnesota Republican isn’t running for reelection this fall, but that doesn’t mean she’s never going to seek office again. She told Real Clear Politics, when asked about Republican women who may run for president in 2016, that she’s kicking around the idea. “The only thing that the media has speculated on is that it’s going to be various men that are running,” said Bachmann. “They haven’t speculated, for instance, that I’m going to run. What if I decide to run? And there’s a chance I could run.” Bachmann ran in 2012 and was the “flavor of the month” in August 2011 as conservatives looked for an alternative to Mitt Romney. She won the Ames Straw Poll, but finished next to last in the January 2012 Iowa caucuses.

— Campaign for Liberty speaks out against Reid’s Internet tax plans: Campaign for Liberty is rallying its activist network to oppose a push inside the Senate to attach the Internet sales tax to the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act. “There is nothing fair about tax-and-spend governors looking to the federal government to extend their taxing authority beyond their state’s borders and upend ‘no taxation without representation’ because legislators refuse to budget and prioritize. And there is nothing fair about forcing our nation’s small businesses to collect sales taxes for the nearly 10,000 different tax jurisdictions nationally,” Campaign for Liberty President John Tate said in a statement. “Not only is the Marketplace Fairness Act harmful to small businesses and consumers, but Harry Reid’s attempt to attach it to legislation permanently prohibiting access taxes on the Internet is nothing short of bizarre. Only in Washington would politicians try to increase power to tax Internet purchases by attaching it to legislation preventing taxes on Internet access.”

— And in case you haven’t noticed: The cronies at the so-called “Alliance for Main Street Fairness” are ramping up their shameless efforts to pressure Congress to pass the Internet sales tax. The Hill ran an op-ed from an Ohio small business owner tied to the organization who claimed his business is hurt because consumers who buy online don’t have to pay sales taxes. The Alliance for Main Street Fairness also basically took over the frontpage of Politico.com with its Orwellian ”e-fairness” message. Here’s how it looked:

Other stories we’re reading this morning:

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