Doug Shulman

Obama defends handling of Benghazi, other scandals

Barack Obama

In an occasionally contentious interview with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, President Barack Obama defended his administration’s handling of the Benghazi terrorist attacks and the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) targeting of conservative groups. He also addressed the Obamacare canceled health plan controversy.

Obamacare rollout and Sebelius

O’Reilly began the interview by asking President Obama why HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius still has a job in his administration after the initial, disastrous rollout of the federal Obamacare exchange, Healthcare.gov.

President Obama repeated the line that no one in his administration “anticipated the degree of problems” on the federal Obamacare exchange website, which isn’t necessarily true, given the warnings from some officials that the website wasn’t ready for launch. Instead, he acknowledge the problems and focused on the fixes applied to the website.

ObamaCare Employer Mandate Penalties Delayed Until 2015

Barack Obama and Jack Lew

In April, the soon-to-be-retired and chief ObamaCare author Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) warned that the looming 2014 full implementation of ObamaCare was on track to be a train wreck.  The Administration finally conceded as much on Tuesday when it announced that it will be delaying enforcement of ObamaCare’s employer mandate until 2015.

The Treasury Department confirmed the delay in a blog post ironically titled “Continuing to Implement the ACA in a Careful, Thoughtful Manner.”

Over the past several months, the Administration has been engaging in a dialogue with businesses - many of which already provide health coverage for their workers - about the new employer and insurer reporting requirements under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). We have heard concerns about the complexity of the requirements and the need for more time to implement them effectively.  We recognize that the vast majority of businesses that will need to do this reporting already provide health insurance to their workers, and we want to make sure it is easy for others to do so.  We have listened to your feedback.  And we are taking action.
[…]
Accordingly, we are extending this transition relief to the employer shared responsibility payments.  These payments will not apply for 2014.  Any employer shared responsibility payments will not apply until 2015.

IRS Commissioners Shulman and Miller also Unconstitutionally Implemented ObamaCare

ObamaCare Trojan Horse

Former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman and current Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller have been the subjects of intense questioning from Congress over the past two weeks over their relation to the Tea Party targeting scandal.  For Shulman, questions remain as to whether he may have lied in front of the House Ways and Means Committee in March 2012 when questioned about allegations of targeting that at the time were simmering without mainstream awareness. He appeared to be less than forthright in his responses when questioned by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday. Miller has already tendered his resignation under pressure.

But there’s another IRS scandal waiting to gain widespread awareness, and this time it undeniably has Shumlan’s and MIller’s fingerprints all over it.  The IRS is unconstitutionally implementing ObamaCare exchange subsidies in states that refuse to establish an exchange.

What PPACA Says

Iowa Senate candidate urged IRS to target nonprofit groups

Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA), a candidate for Iowa open U.S. Senate seat, was one of 30 House Democrats who signed onto a March 2012 letter urging then-IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman to scrutinize nonprofit groups.

“We write to urge the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to investigate whether any groups qualifying as social welfare organizations under section 501(c)(4) of the federal tax code are improperly engaged in political campaign activity,” the letter states.

The 30 House Democrats went onto frame their narrative about the purpose of nonprofit groups, which, they said, “is to increase civic engagement and foster social improvements,” later suggesting that some nonprofits were engaged in political activity and trying to influence the outcome of elections.

In light of recent reports about the political activities of certain social welfare organizations,” the 30 Democrats wrote, “we respectfully request that the IRS review these organizations and take appropriate actions to ensure that they are in full compliance with all federal tax laws.”

The letter was signed by a who’s who of leftist House Democrats, including Braley, Reps. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), Raul Grijalva (D-NM), Henry Waxman (D-CA), Sam Farr (D-CA), and Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL). In fact, many (if not most) of the signers to the letter were members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus at the time.

The IRS began targeting conservative groups in March 2010. The Orwellian inquiries into at last year, just before disgraced official Lois Lerner admitted that the power tax agency had inappropriately scrutinized these groups based on their political views.

Obama Administration fails on transparency

government transparency

Remember when President Barack Obama promised the American people that his administration would be the most transparent in history? That promise hasn’t been kept. Even before the wake of scandals that emerged into the headlines over the last couple of months, President Obama had failed to offer much in the way of sunlight to the actions of his administration.

The scandals have only reiterated this indictment of Obama’s presidency.

In a new video, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) highlights some of the questions asked of administration officials —including Attorney General Eric Holder, former IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman, and FBI Director Robert Mueller — when they appeared before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and their failure to provide answers:

Another IRS official faces questions on Tea Party targeting

Holly Paz

The news of the National Security Agency’s surveillance of innocent Americans may have taken some focus off congressional inquiries into the actions of the Internal Revenue Service, but new insight into the tax agency’s targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups is raising new questions.

The Associated Press reported last night that Holly Paz, a senior official in the IRS Tax Exempt Division, has told congressional investigators that the targeting of these groups was essentially a result of poor management (emphasis mine):

Holly Paz, who until recently was a top deputy in the division that handles applications for tax-exempt status, told congressional investigators she reviewed 20 to 30 applications. Her assertion contradicts initial claims by the agency that a small group of agents working in an office in Cincinnati were solely responsible for mishandling the applications.

Paz, however, provided no evidence that senior IRS officials ordered agents to target conservative groups or that anyone in the Obama administration outside the IRS was involved.

Instead, Paz described an agency in which IRS supervisors in Washington worked closely with agents in the field but didn’t fully understand what those agents were doing. Paz said agents in Cincinnati openly talked about handling “tea party” cases, but she thought the term was merely shorthand for all applications from groups that were politically active — conservative and liberal.

Paz said dozens of tea party applications sat untouched for more than a year while field agents waited for guidance from Washington on how to handle them. At the time, she said, Washington officials thought the agents in Cincinnati were processing the cases.

Conservative Groups Testify on IRS Abuse

Tea Party, Conservative Leaders Testify on IRS Targeting

Tea Party and conservative groups had a chance yesterday to discuss being targeted by the Internal Revenue Service yesterday before the House Ways and Means Committee. What they told members during the hearing indicates a broader scandal than the IRS and the White House want to admit:

Internal Revenue Service targeting of political groups was not limited to front-line employees in the agency’s Cincinnati, Ohio, office, according to testimony before a House committee on Tuesday.

One group that testified at a Tuesday hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee told members that the 29-month delay in its yet-unapproved tax-exempt status application was the result of orders from higher-ups at the agency.

“Contrary to the statements of [IRS tax exempt division head] Lois Lerner, the targeting of Linchpins of Liberty was not merely the independent act of a few agents in Cincinnati,” testified Kevin Kookogey, the group’s founder and president.

When Kookogey asked a Cincinnati IRS agent about the delays in his application, he was told, “We have been waiting on guidance from our superiors as to your organization and similar organizations.”

Kookogey says he did not know “from where this ‘guidance’ was coming, [but] it was clearly implied that it was not from down the hall.”

Ex-IRS Chief’s Story is Hard to Believe

During last week’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) grilled former IRS Commission Doug Shulman about the targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups that happened on his watch.

Jordan noted that 132 members of Congress asked Shulman about targeting of conservative groups and that 42 major news stories had been written about that same subject. But after getting evasive and deflective answers from Shulman, Jordan moved onto another matter.

He was particularly interested in the 118 trips that Shulman made to the White House in between 2010 and 2011. Shulman claimed that the visits were for budgetary and policy issues, and denied that he ever discussed the targeting of these groups during his trips to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

“One hundred and eighteen times you were at the White House, 132 Members of Congress contact you about this information, 42 major news stories about this very subject and you told Congress a year ago, ‘I can give you assurances nothing is going on, everything is wonderful, we’re not targeting conservative groups,” Jordan told Shulman, who was testifying under oath. “That’s why the American people are like, ‘This is unbelievable.’”

Jordan pressed him once again. “One hundred and eighteen visits, it didn’t come up in a causal conversation after 132 members of Congress contacted you about it, are you sure you didn’t bring it up with anybody at the White House?” the Ohio Republican asked.

“Not to my memory,” replied Shulman with a smug laugh, “and it wouldn’t be appropriate, so I certainly believe I did not have any conversations.”

Obama has Lost Control of His Administration

Congress may be out of session for the next couple weeks, but the IRS scandal that has plagued the Obama Administration isn’t going away. There is still a lot of concern about the targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups being expressed from both sides of the aisle, but the White House and most congressional Democrats are still pushing back against an independent investigation of the embattled agency.

But with polls showing increasing disapproval with the IRS and the scandal only deepening, more will need to be done to allay the concerns that are now being expressed by the American people. The agency knew that these groups were being targeted, even as members of Congress were asking questions, and choose to remain silent.

Ex-IRS Commissioner Grilled on Scandal, Knowledge of the Constitution

Doug Shulman

Doug Shulman, former commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, had a really tough Wednesday. During the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the IRS’s targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups, Shulman was asked very specific questions by members about the scandal and why he didn’t deal with it sooner.

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) went after Shulman on several aspects of the scandal, and didn’t let him get away with deflection and empty answers:

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) also went after Shulman on whether or not he was being honest with the committee about his knowledge of the scandal and if he ever conversed with the White House on the matter:


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