Tea Party

John Boehner just doesn’t get it: The difference between the Tea Party and ‘average’ Republicans is enormous

John Boehner

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) tried to downplay suggestions that there is discontent inside the Republican Party, telling reporters that he doesn’t think there’s much of a difference between the Tea Party and the “average conservative Republican” in Congress:

“I think the tea party has brought great energy to our political process,” he said in response to a question about Tuesday’s primaries, adding that he expects many Republican candidates will continue to adopt the tea party mantle in the future. But he disputed suggestions of a rift between traditional Republicans and upstart tea party-backed candidates.

“There’s not that big a difference between what you call the tea party and your average conservative Republican,” he said. “We’re against Obamacare, we think taxes are too high, we think government is too big. I wouldn’t continue to sing that same song.”

What’s this “we” stuff? This is the same John Boehner who derided and mocked conservative and Tea Party groups that opposed the Republican surrender on the sequester and his leadership team threatened principled conservatives who planned to vote against last year’s budget deal that authorized more deficit spending.

Republicans can run and win with a new message: separate big business and state

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) was rebuked this weekend by grassroots conservative activists in his home district. He wasn’t just booed by the local party base, Cantor’s pick for Virginia Seventh District Republican chairman was defeated by a Tea Party-backed activist:

Just a few miles from his family home, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) felt the wrath of the tea party Saturday, when activists in his congressional district booed and heckled the second-most powerful House Republican.

They also elected one of their own to lead Virginia’s 7th Congressional District Republican Committee, turning their back on Cantor’s choice for a post viewed as crucial by both tea party and establishment wings in determining control of the fractured state GOP.

Former lieutenant governor Bill Bolling, pushed out of last year’s governor’s race by a similar party schism, said he was “extremely disappointed” by the results of the vote, in which longtime Cantor loyalist and incumbent Linwood Cobb was unseated by tea party favorite Fred Gruber.

“Clearly, there is a battle taking place for the heart and soul of the Republican Party,” Bolling said in a statement. “While the voice of every Republican should be heard, our challenge is to figure out how to be a conservative party, without allowing the most extreme voices of the day to control our party and determine its future direction.”
The tea party faction trumpeted the election results as a victory for core conservative principles of limited government, low taxes and a free-market economy.

Today in Liberty: Attacks on Koch brothers aren’t working, Millennials trust in gov’t falls to new low

“One of the reasons you’re seeing so many people interested in libertarian ideas is the failure of the Republicans, the failure of the Democrats, but also the ability to go get the information for yourself: You’re not waiting for the [parties] to tell you what you think anymore.” — Matt Kibbe

— White House opposes even the smallest Obamacare changes: On Tuesday, the House passed the Expatriate Health Coverage Clarification Act, a bipartisan measure introduced by Rep. John Carney (D-DE) that loosens health insurance rules on expatriates and Americans who travel frequently outside the country. The bill appears to be tailored for Cigna, a Delaware-based insurer. But the White House is having none of it. In a statement issued yesterday, the Office of Management and Budget stated that “[t]he administration does not support House passage of H.R. 4414 in its current form because it would reduce consumer protections and create even more loopholes in the tax code.” We’re not saying that this is necessarily a worthy bill, but the White House’s opposition to any changes to the law is just ridiculous.

No, Michael Grimm isn’t a Tea Party Republican

Michael Grimm

Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) was indicted on Monday and faces laundry list of charges, including wire fraud, mail fraud, perjury, and filing false tax return. You may remember him. He is the short-tempered guy who threatened throw a reporter off a ledge in a post-State of the Union interview.

It didn’t take long for Democrats and some pundits to start playing up Grimm as some sort of a symptom of what’s wrong with the Republican Party. That sort of stuff is more than absurd. Grimm’s problems are exactly that — his problems. Yeah, the allegations may be a headache for his party, but Grimm alone with answer for them.

But one of the more ridiculous assertions out there is that Grimm, who was part of the 2010 freshman class, is some sort of a Tea Party guy. David Freedlander of The Daily Beast, for example, writes that Grimm “was true honest to-god Tea Party at the height of the movement.”

“He wasn’t afraid to criticize his fellow Republicans,” Freedlander says, “but he was able to explain at length why it was a mistake to raise the debt ceiling.”


Let’s get something out of the way right now. Michael Grimm may have been a Republican who was elected in 2010, a wave election in which GOP gained 63 seats riding the backs of the Tea Party movement, but he wasn’t a “true honest to-god Tea Party” guy.

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.

Today in Liberty: Veterans die waiting for healthcare, Rand Paul touts school choice

“The difference between government and organized crime is that organized part.”Anonymous

— Veterans die while waiting for government-run healthcare: CNN’s Anderson Cooper touched on an outrageous, very serious problem with the government-run veterans’ healthcare system. “At least 40 U.S. veterans died waiting for appointments at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system, many of whom were placed on a secret waiting list,” CNN reports. “The secret list was part of an elaborate scheme designed by Veterans Affairs managers in Phoenix who were trying to hide that 1,400 to 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait months to see a doctor, according to a recently retired top VA doctor and several high-level sources.”

— Rand Paul talks up school choice: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) spoke to a crowd of Latino parents and students in Milwaukee yesterday about Wisconsin’s school voucher program. National Review notes that Paul hailed the city at the “home of school choice” and explained that the tax dollars used for voucher problems belong to parents, not bureaucrats. “The exact ways the programs are set up is more of a state issue,” Paul told National Review, ”but I think the more school choice the better, so I would really allow everybody to have school choice regardless of income. I think for political reasons it’s been easier just to start with some. What I see is it’s a great advantage for everybody that I’ve seen participating in it.”

Two-thirds of voters want Congress to continue IRS investigation

Americans aren’t satisfied with overtures from President Barack Obama that there isn’t a “smidgen” of corruption at the Internal Revenue Service. A Fox News poll released yesterday found that two-thirds of voters want Congress to keep digging until there is accountability for the targeting of conservative groups:

The latest Fox News poll also finds 69 percent don’t feel President Obama has followed through on his vow to “find out exactly what happened on this.”

By a 49-41 percent margin, voters believe the Obama administration “intentionally had the IRS target conservative political groups.” That includes 26 percent of Democrats, 52 percent of independents and 71 percent of Republicans.

Meanwhile, 67 percent of voters want Congress to keep investigating the IRS until “someone is held accountable.” An all-time high of 78 percent thought lawmakers should investigate the IRS in early June.

The poll shows agreement across party lines: Majorities of Republicans (77 percent), independents (67 percent) and Democrats (57 percent) favor Congress continuing to investigate until “someone is held accountable.”

Good luck with that. President Obama and congressional Democrats have no desire to cooperate with inquiries into the IRS’s actions, despite the fact that conservative groups were explicitly singled out for scrutiny.

Lois Lerner, the disgraced ex-IRS official at the center of congressional inquiries, is the obvious person who could be held accountable, but she’s refused to testify at committee hearings.

House committee refers Lois Lerner for criminal prosecution

The House Ways and Means Committee voted yesterday afternoon to refer Lois Lerner to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution, revealing that the disgraced former IRS official at the center of congressional investigations went out of her way to target a specific conservative group:

The big surprise in the referral letter concerning Ms. Lerner: Lawmakers say she personally intervened to compel IRS actions against Crossroads GPS, the biggest and best-known conservative tax-exempt group in the 2012 election cycle.

The GOP referral letter, signed by Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R., Mich.), says that Ms. Lerner pushed IRS officials to deny an application for tax-exempt status by Crossroads in 2013. Around the same time, she also pushed other officials to audit Crossroads’s activities to date.

“The evidence shows that without Lerner’s intervention, neither adverse action would have been taken against Crossroads,” the letter states.

Though that’s the surprise in all of this, it’s just one part of the story. Ways and Means charges that Lerner “impeded official investigations by providing misleading statements in response to questions from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration” and may have leaked confidential taxpayer information, which is very illegal.

House committee to hold contempt vote for Lois Lerner

Nearly 11 months after Lois Lerner refused to offer her testimony before the House Oversight Committee, Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) says the committee is left with no other choice “but to consider a contempt finding.”

In light of the controversy related to last month’s contempt proceeding, which was cut short once Issa interrupted Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD)’s statement, Cummings claimed that Issa never overruled Lerner’s Fifth Amendment claims and never reserved the right to summon her once again before adjourning the hearing.

According to Issa, however, the committee reportedly warned Lerner in writing that that she could be held in contempt if she were to avoid being questioned by pleading the Fifth Amendment one more time.

Whether Lerner was honest or now when she stated, under oath, that she had not broken any laws or provided false information to congress, next week’s vote on whether to hold former IRS official in contempt of Congress may place the issue at the hands of the House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who would have to present the matter to the full House.

According to Boehner’s spokesman Michael Steel “Speaker Boehner has been clear, both publicly and privately, that if Lois Lerner does not testify fully and truthfully, she will be found in contempt of Congress.”

Today in Liberty: North and South Korea trade fire, Obama’s NSA reforms face big hurdles

“I think the impressionable libertarian kids are going to save our nation. The impressionable libertarian kids are saying, wait a second, benevolence is fleeting, and when benevolence is gone, you’re at the mercy of an all-powerful government and it’s too late.”Igor Birman

— North and South Korea exchange fire: North Korea decided to test fire some artillery into the ocean because Kim Jong-un wanted some attention. That led to a response from South Korea, though neither side fired any artillery on land or military installations, according to the AP. “North Korea routinely test-fires artillery and missiles into the ocean but rarely discloses those plans in advance. The announcement was seen as an expression of Pyongyang’s frustration at making little progress in its recent push to win outside aid,” the AP reported this morning. “No shells from either side were fired at any land or military installations, but Kim called the North’s artillery firing a provocation aimed at testing Seoul’s security posture. There was no immediate comment from North Korea.”

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