Recent Posts From Jason Pye
What happens when a senior White House official goes on a Sunday morning talk show and dimisses the scandals that have plauged the Obama Administration for the past week? He gets absolutely humiliated by the host.
During an appearance on Face the Nation, Dan Pfeiffer, a White House advisor, tried to play down the IRS and Benghazi scandals, telling host Bob Schieffer that the focus on the bad news is the “Republican playbook.”
“The point that our Chief of Staff is making is that this is the Republican playbook here, which is try, when they don’t have a positive agenda, try to drag Washington into a swamp of partisan fishing expeditions, trumped up hearings and false allegations,” Pfeiffer told Schieffer. “We’re not going to let that distract us and the President from actually doing the people’s work and fighting for the middle class.”
While he was quick to note that he doesn’t believe the IRS scandal doesn’t have the scope of Watergate, Schieffer noted that the White House’s response to the IRS scandal is very much in vain of Nixon. “You’re taking exactly the same line they did,” Schieffer recalled.
Some of the Tea Party and conservative groups targeted by the Internal Revenue Service have decided to sue America’s most-hated bureaucracy agency. Lachlan Markay of the Washington Free Beacon reported last week that the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) will represent a number of groups that were hurt by the discrimination:
Jordan Sekulow, policy director of conservative public interest law firm the American Center for Law and Justice, said he will be taking legal action against the IRS in the next few days on behalf of groups that were improperly targeted.
Seventeen ACLJ clients are ready to file suit against the IRS, he said.
Those clients “suffered damages, they lost membership and donations, they missed the election cycle, they missed key moments, they were not able to bring speakers in,” Sekulow said.
ACLJ has demanded that the IRS take action on 10 groups whose 501(c)(4) statuses have not yet been approved. Lawsuits will be filed whether or not the IRS complies with that request, he added.
“This is far from over, even if they do approve the remaining groups,” Sekulow said.
The lawsuit will be filed this week, according to the ACLJ, and will include 27 Tea Party and conservative organizations. In an op-ed at the Washington Examiner, Matthew Clark of the ACLU explained the tactics employed by the IRS to single out these groups have no place in America.
Just months after a tough loss in her bid for Utah’s Fourth Congressional District, Mia Love announced this weekend that she would seek a re-match against Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) in 2014:
Saturday, Mia Love announced her second candidacy for the 4th Congressional District.
Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love told the Utah Republican Organizing Convention Saturday she would be running for the 4th District seat in Congress in 2014.
“We have some unfinished business with Jim Matheson,” she said.
In her announcement Saturday, she said the election showed her what to do next time to be successful.
“I am confident in our country. I am confident in our future. And I have great confidence in the people of Utah and America,” Love said
Love became somewhat of a conservative rock-star in 2012. She gave a great speech at the Republican National Convention last August, during which she talked her upbringing and early sense of personal responsibility and slammed the economic policies pushing by President Barack Obama. Love was articulate in her fiscal conservative views and would have been a great addition to the House.
Former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman has some explaining to do, though whether Tea Party and conservative groups targeted by the agency during his tenure will get any answers remains to be seen.
“We’ve seen some recent press allegations that the IRS is targeting certain Tea Party groups across the country — requesting owners’ documents requests, delaying approval for tax-exempt status and that kind of thing,” noted Boustany. “Can you elaborate on what’s going on with that? Can you give us assurances that the IRS is not targeting particular groups based on political leanings?”
Shulman didn’t beat around the bush in his response. He explicitly denied that the IRS was targeting specific groups.
“[L]et me start by saying, yes, I can give you assurances,” Shulman said in response. “As you know, we pride ourselves on being a non-political, non-partisan organization. I am the only — me and our chief counsel — are the only presidential appointees, and I have a five-year term that runs through presidential elections, just so we will have none of that kind of political intervention in things that we do.”
Shulman essentially blamed the organizations. He claimed that those complaining about targeting by the IRS were were in the “application process” and had come to the agency “voluntarily.”
The Department of Justice came under fire this past week for its subpoena of Associated Press phone records without any notice to the news agency or targeted reporters. While Attorney General Eric Holder claims that the action was a response to a national security threat, it was actually part of the Obama Administration’s continuing war on whistleblowers and, as many see it, a shot directly at the free press, which is protected by the First Amendment.
The controversy has brought new attention on the need to protect Americans from this sort of government overreach. on Thursday, Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), and Jared Polis (D-CO) joined together to introduce H.R. 2014, the Telephone Records Protection Act, which would protect all Americans from this sort of government overreach:
Capitalizing on the frustration congressional Democrats have recently expressed over rising health insurance premiums and the Obama Administration’s implementation efforts of ObamaCare, the House Republican Conference rolled out a new video on Thursday that highlights the headlines showing slashed hours and job losses that have come as a result of the law. This is the primary reason, outside of the recent IRS scandal, that House Republicans have pursued repeal of ObamaCare.
After rolling though the headlines, the video asks, “How many more jobs will ObamaCare cost?” It’s a question worth asking because, to this point, ObamaCare has been a nightmare for employers and there are no signs that the consequences of the law are letting up.
It wasn’t just Tea Party and other limited-government groups that were targeted by the IRS. The bureaucratic agency, which is apparently too big for the Obama Administration to know what’s going on, also targeted an Iowa-based pro-life group:
On June 22, 2009, the Coalition for Life of Iowa received a letter from the IRS office in Cincinnati, Ohio, that oversees tax exemptions requesting details about how often members pray and whether their prayers are “considered educational.”
“Please explain how all of your activities, including the prayer meetings held outside of Planned Parenthood, are considered educational as defined under 501(c)(3),” reads the letter, made public by the Thomas More Society, a public interest law firm that collected evidence about the IRS practices. “Organizations exempt under 501(c)(3) may present opinions with scientific or medical facts. Please explain in detail the activities at these prayer meetings. Also, please provide the percentage of time your organizations spends on prayer groups as compared with the other activities of the organization.”
Unbelievable. Regardless of how one my feel about the abortion issue, this sort of questioning is completely inappropriate, and it is very much a religious liberty issue. What difference does the content of their prayers actually make and why does the government need to know about it? And why do they need to know how often or what percentage of their meetings are spent in prayer?
Despite the Justice Department coming under fire for its seizure of AP phone records, which put the press in the middle of the Obama Administration’s war on whistleblowers, Attorney General Eric Holder is planning another controversial move.
Holder, who is certainly no stranger to scandal due to the DOJ’s involvement in Operation Fast and Furious and his subsequent refusal to turnover documents related to the gun-running scheme, is planning to use “regulatory power to make smaller changes” to gun control laws:
In an interview with Attorney General Eric Holder, after discussing the IRS scandal of seizing AP phone records, NPR’s Carrie Johnson checked in with Holder on the issue of gun control. According to Johnson, Holder stated that although the White House lost the battle over expanding background checks for gun purchasers, the administration will be trying again later this year to push gun control in Congress and using their “regulatory power to make smaller changes in the meantime.” Confirming the administration’s unrelenting commitment to what many believe is an infringement of the Second Amendment, Holder declared that the goal is, “moving the needle in the way in which the American people want, which is to make guns less accessible to people that should not have them.”
The IRS scandal continues to get creepier. Yesterday, we told you the story of Justin Binik-Thomas, a Cincinnati-based activist who was mentioned by name in the agency’s queries to the Liberty Township Tea Party, an organization with which he had no affiliation. It appears that this is not just some isolated incident.
The Daily Caller reports that Dylan Nonaka and the Leadership Institute, a well-known conservative organization based in Arlington, Virginia, were also targeted in IRS requests for more information from the Hawaii Tea Party:
In what former Republican executive and activist Dylan Nonaka is calling a massive invasion of privacy that suggests a coordinated effort to target conservative groups, two IRS offices last year independently and simultaneously conducted costly audits and sought tea party-related training materials that they apparently believed could be tied to Nonaka.
The scandal currently engulfing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) no doubt has the attention of the country. As you know this bureaucratic agency singled out Tea Party and other conservative groups for additional scrutiny as they sought tax-exempt status.
There has been some focus on the very odd questions asked of these groups. Some were innocuous, though still very much over the line, while others, as David French of the ACLJ said, are a “far left wish list of discovery of the Tea Party.”
During his testimony on Capitol Hill today, acting-IRS Commission Steven Miller, who resigned earlier this week, told the House Ways and Means Committee that there was no political motivation in his agency’s screening of Tea Party groups. That’s obviously not true. In fact, the very clear intent of the IRS to single out and intimidate this groups is even more clear after reading the questions sent to the Liberty Township Tea Party, a group based just north of Cincinnati.
Under penalties of perjury, the Liberty Township Tea Party was asked for additional information, ranging from queries about family members to fundraising to current and planned employees/volunteers to outreach programs with the local school district.
But one request sticks out. The IRS wanted to know about the Liberty Township Tea Party’s relationship with one particular person, Justin Binik-Thomas: