Tea Party

Coincidence? I don’t think so

Gerry Connolly

At a recent Congressional hearing, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-egenerate, VA) dismissed out of hand a TEA Party leader’s concerns about being targeted by the federal government after her group filed an application for tax-exempt status.

During a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that took place Thursday to examine the alleged targeting of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status by the IRS, Catherine Engelbrecht, founder of the King Street Patriots, testified about the increased scrutiny she, her family and her business faced from multiple federal agencies soon after she applied for a tax-exempt status for her conservative group.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), ATF, IRS audits, FBI visits… According to Engelbrecht, during the 20 years her business has been in existence, not once did she get the scrutiny she received after filing paperwork with the IRS to grant her King Street Patriots tax-exempt status.

Not once.

Former IRS Officer Drafted Secret Regulations Restricting Non-Profits in 2012

After President Barack Obama defended his administration’s handling of the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservatives, an email sent from Treasury official Ruth Madrigal to then IRS official Lois Lerner obtained by the House Committee on Ways and Means, indicated the former official’s intentions to change 501(c)(4) regulations without disclosing the move.

The “off-plan” to which the email referred to was planned in 2012, while conservative groups were being directly targeted by the IRS. According to The Daily Caller, the rules thought out by Lerner restrict the political activity of conservative groups by keeping non-profit associations from being free to participate in several political activities.  The “off-plan” changed what the IRS sees as “candidate-related political activity,” placing previously acceptable activities like voter registration drives under the political activity category, thus not recommended for 501(c)(4)’s.

Ways and Means chairman Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) had harsh words regarding Lois Lerner and her off-the-record plan during the House committee meeting that disclosed the contents of the email.

Today in Liberty: Worst fears about TSA confirmed, Uninsured not keen on Obamacare, minimum wage hike hits young workers

“I think a lot of people are afraid of freedom. They want their lives to be controlled, to be put into a box… People like that cradle-to-grave concept because it says you don’t have to think too much, you don’t have to worry too much, because someone else is looking out for you. But that also means you can’t do as much as you want. Why should someone else put a limit on how much fun I can have; how much I can accomplish?” — Drew Carey

— Ex-TSA agent confirms your worst fears: Jason Edward Harrington, an ex-TSA agent, has piece up this morning at Politico Magazine in which he offers some insight into what goes on behind the scenes at airports across the country. The title of the article, “Dear American, I Saw You Laughing,” pretty much says it all. “We knew the full-body scanners didn’t work before they were even installed,” writes Harrington. He goes onto note that TSA agents would make fun of passengers and look at “nude images” of them from the scanners, because that’s not at all creepy or anything.

Harrington also offers some of the codewords, part of the TSA lexicon, for certain types of passengers. For example, “Fanny Pack, Lane 2” stands for an “attractive female passenger.” Unsurprisingly, he also acknowledges that TSA agents would target passengers who were rude, making up an excuse to keep them at the screening area.

Mike Lee to give Tea Party’s State of the Union response

The Tea Party Express has announced that Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) will give its response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, Politico reported yesterday.

This will be the third consecutive year that the Tea Party Express — one of the major Tea Party organizations formed after the movement rose to prominence — has offered a response to the State of the Union address. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) delivered its response in 2012, followed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) last year.

Elected in 2010 Tea Party wave, Lee quickly established himself as one of the most fiscal conservative members of the Senate. He has also been a fierce defender of the civil liberties enshrined in the Constitution as well as a critic of President Obama’s expansion and abuse of executive power.

RELATED: United Liberty chats with Sen. Mike Lee

Lee, a former assistant U.S. Attorney, published an e-book last summer in which he detailed the problems with the Supreme Court’s decision in the 2012 Obamacare case, National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius. Last fall, Lee joined Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in the unsuccessful, though principled effort to defund Obamacare through the Continuing Resolution.

FBI isn’t likely to file criminal charges over IRS targeting

FBI

Don’t look for much in terms of accountability over the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative and Tea Party organizations. In addition to the Obama Administration indifference to the scandal, the Wall Street Journal reported last night that the FBI isn’t likely to pursue any criminal charges as a result of its so-called “investigation” (emphasis added):

The officials said investigators didn’t find the kind of political bias or “enemy hunting” that would amount to a violation of criminal law. Instead, what emerged during the probe was evidence of a mismanaged bureaucracy enforcing rules about tax-exemption applications it didn’t understand, according to the law-enforcement officials.

While the case is still being investigated and could remain open for months, officials familiar with its progress said it is increasingly unlikely any criminal charges will result. That could change, the officials cautioned, if unexpected evidence is discovered that alters their thinking.
[…]
The FBI explored a number of possible violations, including those involving statutes within the IRS code that prohibit the misuse or improper disclosure of taxpayer information. Another area examined was whether any IRS officials lied about what happened and the reasons for it. The people familiar with the probe wouldn’t say who was interviewed.

Obama donor heading up IRS scandal investigation

The Justice Department’s appointee to lead the IRS scandal investigation donated several thousands of dollars to President Barack Obama campaigns, raising concerns from two House Republicans that she may have a conflict-of-interest.

Barbara Bosserman, the Justice Department attorney leading the investigation into the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups, donated a total of $6,100 to Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns, according to FEC records. She also donated $400 to the Democratic National Committee in October 2004 and $250 in November 2008.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Regulatory Affairs Subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) have sent a scathing letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, in which they demanded that Bosserman be removed.

“By selecting a significant donor to President Obama to lead an investigation into the inappropriate targeting of conservative groups, the Department has created a startling conflict of interest,” wrote Issa and Jordan in a letter to Holder. “It is unbelievable that the Department would choose such an individual to examine the federal government’s systematic targeting and harassment of organizations opposed to the President’s policies.”

The Republican lawmakers requested that Holder “immediately remove Ms. Bosserman from the ongoing investigation,” adding that the Justice Department “should take all necessary steps to ensure that the DOJ/FBI criminal investigation is thorough and unbiased.”

U.S. Chamber: We will be “aggressive” in 2014 primaries

Tom Donohue

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has already put insurgent conservative candidates on notice, pledging to spend $50 million to back Republicans who are friendly to its goals. But Tom Donohue, president and CEO of the Chamber, offered a little more detail in a speech yesterday in Washington, explaining that they will be “aggressive” in the 2014 election cycle:

Without directly attacking the Tea Party by name, the head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce made clear again today that the business community is ready for battle during Republican primaries for the U.S. House and Senate in 2014, all part of an ongoing struggle over the direction of the Republican Party.

“The business community understands what’s at stake,” said U.S. Chamber President and CEO Thomas Donohue in a speech in Washington, D.C..

“In primaries and in general elections, we will support candidates who want to work within the legislative process to solve the nation’s problems,” Donohue added.
[…]
“Will we support folks that challenge people we just think vote wrong and have not been helpful?  Sounds like a good idea,” Donohue said.

Donohue dismissed the notion that the Chamber’s efforts are directed at the Tea Party movement, claiming instead that they want to elect “pro-business” candidates. That’s a distinction without a difference.

One thing that the Chamber crowd has never really grasped is that “pro-business” candidates or policies and taxpayer interests aren’t always the same. For example, corporate bailouts and wasteful earmarks may be “pro-business,” but taxpayers are left with the bill.

FreedomWorks pledges to fight proposed IRS guidelines

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is trying to push through guidelines that would ostensibly institutionalize and legitimize the agency’s targeting of conservative and Tea Party organizations.

In November, the IRS announced proposed guidance that defines “candidate-related political activity” and “would amend current regulations by indicating that the promotion of social welfare does not include this type of activity.” The powerful tax agency will require groups engaging in candidate-related activity to disclose contributions.

FreedomWorks, a grassroots service center to some 6 million activists, is pledging to fight the proposed guidelines.

“While you were all celebrating Thanksgiving with family and friends, the Obama Administration was quietly releasing a new set of draconian IRS regulations that would make it virtually impossible for tea parties that want to participate in the political process to do their business,” said Matt Kibbe, president and CEO of FreedomWorks, in a video message to the organization’s membership.

Biggest Stories of 2013: IRS Targets Conservative and Tea Party Groups

Throughout New Year’s Eve, we’ll be going through the 10 biggest political stories of 2013 as selected by United Liberty’s contributors. Don’t forget to chime in on the biggest stories of the year on our Facebook page.

IRS

Daniel Webster once said: “An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, the power to destroy.” In 2013 the American people learned that no truer words were ever spoken. On May 10, 2013, Lois Lerner admitted at an American Bar Association meeting that certain political organizations’ tax exempt status applications were being delayed during the 2010 and 2012 campaigns due to additional scrutiny based on ideology.

As early as August 2010 the IRS distributed a “be on the lookout” (BOLO) memo for groups with names like “Tea Party.” By June of 2010, the BOLO was expanded to include names like “Patriot” and “9/12 Project” along with groups with policy positions concerned about government spending, the debt, and taxation. Groups which educated the public about the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights were also targeted. The IRS requested that these groups provide reading materials, donor lists, Facebook postings, meeting minutes, and even the content of prayers for those groups which opened or closed meetings with a prayer!

John Boehner gives Chris Matthews a thrill up his leg

Chris Matthews

Chris Matthews has found a new politician to adore, at least for now. The MSNBC Hardball host opened his show on Monday evening with a rant about the Tea Party and heaped praise on Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) for pushing the budget deal through the House, despite vocal opposition from conservatives in and outside of Congress.

Matthews host compared conservatives to whining kids riding and complaining the back seat of a car on a long trip. “That’s the kid’s job, just sit back there blaming and complaining,” he said in his usual angry disposition.

“Well, the speaker of the House, who spent the last months and years speaking for the kids in the back of the car, spoke like a grownup and said, I’ll drive the car, but I’m not going to drive a crazy car, damn it. I’m the speaker of the House. I’m second in line to the American presidency, not the Mad Hatter of the Tea Party. That’s what he said,” Matthews added.

 


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