If Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) thought she was going to coast to the GOP’s Senate nomination in West Virginia, she may have another thing coming.
“Pat McGeehan has shown leadership skills badly needed in the Senate,” said RLC National Chair Matt Nye in a press release from the group. “Receiving the Republican Liberty Caucus endorsement is a testament to his commitment to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, and free enterprise.”
“At the Republican Liberty Caucus we believe that less government means more liberty. We advocate the principles of individual rights, limited government, and free enterprise,” added Nye. “We work in the Republican Party because we believe it is the best vehicle for bringing about the political changes we want and we believe that Pat McGeehan will become part of the growing number of Liberty Republicans advancing those goals in Washington.”
Last week, the House of Representatives defeated the Farm Bill, an atrocious measure that would have spent $940 billion over the next five years. While Republican leaders have been quick to blame Democrats, some in the caucus are expressing their frustration behind the scenes at fiscal conservatives who help killed the measure, according to Politico (emphasis mine):
Almost a week after Republicans failed to pass the nearly $1 trillion, five-year agricultural package through the House, Speaker John Boehner and other GOP leaders are feeling the heat from frustrated lawmakers sick of screw-ups.
Republican Reps. Kristi Noem of South Dakota and Kevin Cramer of North Dakota separately stood up at a GOP meeting Wednesday and confronted their leadership about its bumbling legislative strategy and inability to figure out a way forward on the massive legislation, according to multiple sources at the meeting.
Noem, who once served in Republican leadership, took aim squarely at Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). She reminded him that he controls the House floor, and she drilled Cantor hard on his precise plans to mop up the mess, several Republicans who attended the meeting said. Cantor wasn’t able to outline a plan that satisfied Noem, and he blamed Democrats for the bill’s defeat.
During an appearance on Fox News Channel, Matt Kibbe, President and CEO of FreedomWorks, said that it’s time for the IRS to go, in the wake of the agency’s targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups.
When asked about the biggest problem with the IRS, the agency itself or the tax code, Kibbe explained “probably both,” noting that it’s “kind of a ‘chicken and egg’ situation.”
“I think all of these discretionary social engineering provisions in the IRS code has created an incredibly corrupt culture at the IRS,” said Kibbe. “But I do think that we need to acknowledge that the behavior at the IRS, which was institution-wide, it wasn’t a few bad apples, it was everybody exploiting that discretionary authority they have, choosing winners and losers, driving their personal political agendas.”
That’s enough so say we gotta pull it out by the roots’and replace it with a new revenue collection agency that implements the simpler tax provisions under a flat tax,” added Kibbe.
Steve Moore, who also appeared on the segment, noted that there are more IRS agents than border patrol agents, which he found ironic. Moore agreed with Kibbe that the IRS needed to be dissolved and backed the flat tax, though he conceded that this isn’t likely to happen soon. Kibbe agreed and added that it’s going to take a push from the outside to change the system.
In the Netflix show House of Cards, powerful labor unions were able to temporarily threaten an event sponsored by the spouse of fictional South Carolina Congressman Frank Underwood.
Labor unions were irrationally opposed to an education reform bill sponsored by Underwood that would have diminished their stranglehold on the country’s government-run school system. Under threat of a walk-out, unions were able to leverage a posh Washington, DC hotel from hosting the event, forcing Underwood and his wife to get creative in their effort to continue the fundraiser for her organization.
While entirely a work of fiction, sometimes Hollywood can foreshadow events that actually happen in the real world. Unfortunately, a conservative organization recently learned that first hand.
FreedomWorks, an organization with strong ties to the grassroots and Tea Party movement, has worked hard recently to raise awareness to the Obama Administration’s Common Core Standard Initiative. This initiative, strongly backed by teachers unions and other organizations, would erode state and local control and further nationalize education standards.
In an effort to raise awareness to the problems with increasing federal government involvement in education, FreedomWorks is planning to assist and provide activist training to concerned parents who plan to protest a pro-Common Core conference in Orlando, Florida at the end of this month.
At a time when the Internal Revenue Service is under fire for targeting Tea Party and conservative groups and its lavish spending at conferences, the embattled agency will soon dole out $70 million in taxpayer-funded bonuses to union employees:
The Internal Revenue Service is about to pay $70 million in employee bonuses despite an Obama administration directive to cancel discretionary bonuses because of automatic spending cuts enacted this year, according to a GOP senator.
Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa says his office has learned that the IRS is executing an agreement with the employees’ union on Wednesday to pay the bonuses. Grassley says the bonuses should be canceled under an April directive from the White House budget office.
“The IRS always claims to be short on resources,” Grassley said. “But it appears to have $70 million for union bonuses. And it appears to be making an extra effort to give the bonuses despite opportunities to renegotiate with the union and federal instruction to cease discretionary bonuses during sequestration.”
The IRS said it is negotiating with the union over the matter but did not dispute Grassley’s claim that the bonuses are imminent.
There is a civil war brewing on the Right on the issue of civil liberties. With recent revelations that the National Security Agency is conducting broad surveillance of Americans’ phone records and Internet activity, even if they aren’t suspected of terrorist activity, many conservatives and libertarians are fighting back.
“The trump card for McCain-Graham Republicans and their many allies in the Democratic Party is that they can claim various federal actions have prevented terrorist attacks while the alleged proof is usually classified,” wrote James Antle earlier this week at The American Conservative. “When terrorist attacks fail or do not occur, the surveillance state is vindicated. When terrorism happens, it proves the surveillance state needs more power. To think otherwise is to brand patriotic Americans Nazis, which of course only unpatriotic conservatives do.”
“But so far it is Paul’s defense of the Fourth Amendment—conveniently violated by a Democratic administration—that is capturing conservatives’ imaginations. Tea Party groups are railing against the NSA alongside the IRS,” he added. “Grassroots conservatives seem to be standing with Rand rather than rolling their eyes at the wacko birds. They are quoting Sen. Barack Obama, who was skeptical of trading liberty for security, against President Obama.”
The outrage over the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs has motivated a broad coalition of advocacy groups and Internet companies to come together in an effort to bring it to an end. This coalition — which includes the EFF, FreedomWorks, ACLU, Daily Kos, Reddit, and Mozilla — has sent a letter to members of Congress to end the surveillance and launched a website, StopWatching.us, where concerned citizens can sign a petition supporting the principles of the letter to be delivered to lawmakers.
“The Washington Post and the Guardian recently published reports based on information provided by a career intelligence officer showing how the NSA and the FBI are gaining broad access to data collected by nine of the leading U.S. Internet companies and sharing this information with foreign governments,” noted the coalition. “As reported, the U.S. government is extracting audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents, and connection logs that enable analysts to track a person’s movements and contacts over time. As a result, the contents of communications of people both abroad and in the U.S. can be swept in without any suspicion of crime or association with a terrorist organization.”
The National Republican Senatorial Committee has a stated policy of not getting involved in GOP primary races. But with control of the Senate possibly up for grabs next year, there is a temptation for some to promote certain candidates whose records shows a willingness to preserve the status quo in Washington. During an interview yesterday on C-SPAN, Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) came pretty close to endorsing two establishment candidates running for open Senate seats in South Dakota and West Virginia:
In an interview Sunday on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers,” Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) said he had “great confidence and faith” in Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.) and former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds, the Republican front-runners to capture seats held by a pair of retiring Democrats.
She seems to be clearly on her way to being nominated as the Republican candidate in West Virginia,” the campaign committee chairman said of Capito, calling her “a great House member.” Moran was nearly as effusive in praising Rounds, describing the former two-term governor as an “outstanding candidate.”
The NRSC has been criticized for supporting establishment candidates, including open seats in solidly Republican states, when there were more conservative challengers running. Perhaps the best example of this came just last year when the NRSC backed David Dewhurst over Ted Cruz in the open Senate seat in Texas.
After the IRS and DOJ scandals became public knowledge late last week and earlier this week, Reuters used the stories as a chance to analyize President Barack Obama’s civil liberties record.
While he seemed like a stark contrast to George W. Bush during the 2008 presidential campaign, the analysis reveals that Obama’s administration, has been a disappointment on civil liberties. Some constitutional lawyers interviewed by Reuters attribute this to the “realties” of the presidency.
But do these so-called “realities” give a president the excuse to infringe upon civil liberties? And shouldn’t there accountability when administration officials, whether they be in the IRS or DOJ, act in a manner is grossly out of line?
In an editorial at The Daily Beast, Matt Kibbe, President and CEO of FreedomWorks, sees the scandals this week as both a failure of President Obama’s leadership and part of his administration’s continuing assault on civil liberties:
So who is really responsible? Who knew what, and when did they know it?
The day the story broke, Carney tried to deflect blame by claiming that the “IRS is an independent enforcement agency.” However, it is a part of the Department of the Treasury, which answers to the president.
Democratic campaign strategist David Axelrod argued that the “vast” size of the federal government makes it impossible for the president to know what is going on beneath him in the Executive Branch.
If President Obama is not watching over the Executive Branch, then who is?
Just a few weeks ago, it looked like Mark Sanford was headed to defeat in South Carolina’s First Congressional District. He had made a notable misstep, which caused the National Republican Campaign Committee to pull resources from the race. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and FreedomWorks, a grassroots-driven organization, stepped into fill the void, with the former providing vocal support and the latter activists to educate voters in the district.
Sanford wound up defeating his Democratic opponent by a healthy margin, providing Paul, who is thought to be candidate for the GOP’s presidential nomination in 2016, and FreedomWorks with notch on their belt against the Republican political establishment.
Fresh off this victory, FreedomWorks has now set its sights on another South Carolina race that could shake-up the Republican Party.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has long been a thorn in the side of fiscal conservatives. He was once thought to be untouchable, but recent polls have showed his numbers falling among Republicans.