House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) has put Lois Lerner, a disgraced former IRS official, on notice that she’ll be called back to testify about the powerful tax agency’s targeting of conservative and Tea Party groups.
“Ms Lerner’s testimony remains critical to the Committee’s investigation,” wrote Issa in a letter to William Taylor, Lerner’s attorney. “Documents and testimony obtained by the Committee show that she played a significant role in scrutinizing applications for tax exempt status from conservative organizations.”
Issa also noted that the committee has obtained information that Lerner ”participated in ‘off plan’ work to develop rules that would allow the IRS to stifle constitutionally protected political speech by non-profit groups.” These proposed rules — which would codify the targeting of conservative groups — are currently being considered by the IRS
Today in Liberty: CBO on employer mandate, religious liberty and business owners, CPAC boots atheist group
“A good measure of how serious Republicans are on cutting spending is how they react when the tiniest Pentagon spending cuts are proposed.” — Coalition to Reduce Spending
— CBO report on employer mandate measure: House Republicans may have received a bit of set back yesterday on a measure that would change the definition of a full-time employee from 30 hours per week, as set under the employer mandate, to 40 hours. The Save American Workers Act would reduce the number of people receiving employer-based coverage by 1 million, according to the Congressional Budget Office, and increase budget deficits by $73.7 billion in the net 10 years. Republicans plan to bring the measure to the floor some time next month. The Obama administration has delayed the mandate for small and medium-sized businesses until 2016. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and many other organizations back the Save American Workers Act.
— Tea Party Express likely to endorse in Kansas GOP Senate race: Though she didn’t outright say that they were endorsing Milton Wolf, Amy Kremer, chair of the Tea Party Express, intimated that in a tweet this morning. “Headed to Kansas today for a big announcement tomorrow,” Kremer tweeted. “Looking forward to seeing my friend @miltonwolfmd!”
In an interview last week on MSNBC, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) rejected the notion that he is the Democratic Party’s version of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).
In fact, Grayson is so disgusted at the suggestion that said Cruz is “trying to hasten the apocalypse” and compared him to Jim Jones, a religious cult leader responsible for the deaths of 909 people.
“Ted Cruz represents the element of the Republican Party that’s trying to hasten the apocalypse,” Grayston told MSNBC host Richard Lui. “These are people who think that Obamcare is helping to save lives, and they want to destroy it anyway. These are people who understand a government shutdown causes chaos to the economy, and they want to do it anyway. These are people who understand defaulting on the national debt would drive unemployment sky high, and they want to do it anyway.”
Lui noted that Cruz was recently given the “Statesman of the Year” award by the Sarasota County (FL) Republican Party, despite criticism from prominent Republicans. The host asked how Grayson dealt with criticism from his own party.
“Well, I haven’t gotten that kind of criticism from my own party. But, in any event, calling [Cruz] the ‘Statesman of the Year’ would be like calling Jim Jones the ‘Religious Leader of the Year,’ for much the same reason,” Grayson said. “He’s trying to create sort of a mass suicide cult called the Tea Party and lead it. I don’t think I can be accused of anything similar to that.”
Conservative organizations supporting Chris McDaniel, an insurgent conservative candidate running for U.S. Senate in Mississippi, seizing comments made by Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) in 2008 about then-candidate Barack Obama.
Cochran, who is being challenged in the primary by McDaniel, told a Mississippi paper that students he had spoken to before the 2008 election were “surprised” when he said he “really like[s] both the candidates very much” and “thought we would be well served however the election comes out.” The candidates Cochran referenced were Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL).
After a follow-up question by the paper’s editorial board about those “who think it will be a disaster for the country if Obama was elected,” Cochran focused on the 2008 Democratic Party’s nominee personal qualities, adding that he thought Obama would do “an excellent job.”
House Republicans are planning an onslaught of legislation aimed at the Internal Revenue Service, a powerful agency that is currently considering regulations that would ostensibly legitimatize and institutionalize its targeting of conservative groups, and to promote transparency in how taxpayer dollars are spent:
Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) is the author of two of the bills to be considered next week, both of which respond to the targeting scandal.
One of his bills is the Taxpayer Transparency and Efficient Audit Act, H.R. 2530. This bill would require the IRS to tell taxpayers when it shares their tax information with another government agency, and limits the time people can be subjected to an IRS audit to one year.
Republicans are wary that the IRS will improperly share personal tax information with other agencies as it tries to implement ObamaCare and make determinations about who may qualify for tax credits when buying health insurance.
Another bill from Roskam up next week is the Protecting Taxpayers from Intrusive IRS Requests Act, H.R. 2531. This bill would prevent the IRS from asking about people’s religious or political beliefs.
The House will also look at two other suspension bills mean to ensure taxpayers know how their money, once collected by the IRS, is being spent.
A conservative primary challenger has rolled out an ad that ties Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a likely contender for the Democratic presidential nomination.
The ad — a product of Bill Connor’s campaign — calls Graham’s purported conservative credentials into question with clips of the South Carolina senator saying that Clinton is “dedicated to her job” and “one of the most effective secretary of states, greatest ambassadors for the United States” that he’s ever seen:
“I was at the TEA Party debate when I first saw this footage of Graham praising and hugging Hillary. I thought it represented what’s most frustrating to South Carolina conservatives about Lindsey Graham–the inherent hypocrisy of calling himself a conservative when he campaigns, but acting like and voting like a moderate or liberal the rest of the time,” Connor said in a statement from his campaign. “My plan was always to get on TV first and to stay there.”
You know that Tea Party movement thing that took off five years ago this month and helped Republicans take control of the House of Representatives in 2010? Yeah, Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) doesn’t know anything about it. No, seriously, that’s what he told Mississippi News Now.
Cochran is facing a conservative primary challenger, State Sen. Chris McDaniel (R-Ellisville), who has cast the 36-year senator an establishment politician who is out-of-touch with Mississippi’s conservative tendencies.
“He’s wrong. He’s flat wrong,” Cochran told Mississippi News Now. “I’m as in touch with the people of Mississippi as an elected official can be.”
But when asked about McDaniel’s support from outside conservative and Tea Party groups, Cochran said, “The Tea Party is something I don’t really know a lot about,” adding that “[i]t’s a free country. We have open opportunities for people to participate in the election process.”
Conservative groups that are openly backing McDaniel’s candidacy have seized on Cochran’s comments. The Club for Growth, for example, is running a 10-second web ad with featuring Cochran’s admitted ignorance about the Tea Party, followed by a snarky reply from McDaniel, who says, “Perhaps it’s time for an introduction.”
Five years ago today, Rick Santelli gave an epic rant on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange against President Barack Obama’s mortgage bailout proposal that gave birth to what we now know as the Tea Party movement.
“The government is promoting bad behavior,” Santelli said on CNBC’s Squawk Box. “Because we certainly don’t want to put stimulus forth and give people a whopping $8 or $10 in their check, and think that they ought to save it.”
“I’ll tell you what, I have an idea,” he continued. “You know, the new administration’s big on computers and technology. How about this, President and new administration? Why don’t you put up a website to have people vote on the Internet as a referendum to see if we really want to subsidize the losers’ mortgages; or would we like to at least buy cars and buy houses in foreclosure and give them to people that might have a chance to actually prosper down the road, and reward people that could carry the water instead of drink the water?”
Today in Liberty: Tea Party group endorses Amash, Hillary silent on NSA, 3,000 Americans dumped citizenship last year
“Government should stay the hell out of people’s business.” — Barry Goldwater
— The rant that started it all: It was five years ago today that Rick Santelli went into an epic rant against President Obama’s mortgage bailout proposal. “We’re thinking of having a Chicago Tea Party in July,” Santelli said in his rant. “All you capitalists that want to show up to Lake Michigan, I’m gonna start organizing.” That rant served as a catalyst for the Tea Party movement, not in July, but a few days later, on February 27, 2009. We’ll have more on this later today.
— Afghanistan problems linger: With a new Gallup poll showing that the number Americans who believe the nearly 13-year war in Afghanistan was a mistake at an all-time high, Washington is now staring down a “no-win legacy” in the country that once gave safe-harbor to al-Qaeda. “At the moment, they’re losing and losing badly, as Washington is plumbing new depths of pessimism about the outlook for the nation that President George W. Bush and his team once vowed to transform,” Politico notes this morning. “There’s no talk of ‘victory,’ or how the U.S. should spend its share of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, or how to use the peace dividend from a world made safe from Al Qaeda. Instead, the discussion has boiled down to a debate over whether the future will bring a quick implosion or a slow-motion collapse — and whose fault it would be.”
Nearly two-thirds of registered voters view the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative and Tea Party groups seeking tax-exempt status an example of corruption, according to a recent Fox News poll.
In a pre-Super Bowl interview with Bill O’Reilly, President Barack Obama disputed the notion that the powerful tax agency’s targeting of these groups had nothing to do with corruption, Rather, he said, poor decision making.
“[W]hen you actually look at this stuff, there have been multiple hearings on it,” President Obama told O’Reilly. “What happened here was it that you’ve got a 501(c)(4) law that people…the folks did not know how to implement.”
“There were some bone-headed decisions out of a local office, he said, adding that there was “not even a smidgeon of corruption” in the IRS as it related to its targeting of conservative groups.
But the Fox News poll found that 64% of registered voters see the IRS’s targeting of conservative and Tea Party groups as an example of corruption, while just 27% do not. Across the political spectrum, 81% of Republicans, 65% of independents, and even 51% of Democrats believe the agency’s actions were corruption.
What’s more, the poll also found that 71% believes that Congress should continue investigating IRS scandal. That includes 60% of Democrats and 72% of independents. Just 25% say that committee inquiries should stop.