May 22: The Daily Mail:
IRS tea-party bloodbath continues in Congress, as evidence emerges that IRS's own internal probe ended in May 2012, six months before election, but was hidden from legislators:
Tempers flared in a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing Wednesday, with members on both sides of the aisle castigating the Internal Revenue Service for targeting conservative groups with special scrutiny, and then hiding the practice from Congress. Rep. Darrel Issa, the committee's chairman, said that the committee learned just yesterday that the IRS completed its own investigation a year before a Treasury Department Inspector General report was completed. But despite the IRS recognizing in May 2012 that its employees were treating right-wing groups differently from other organizations, Issa said, IRS personnel withheld those conclusions from legislators.
May 22: The Daily Caller: Head of the IRS, Shulman, never looked into IRS targeting:
Even though 132 congressmen contacted the former Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Douglas Shulman about the IRS targeting of conservative groups, Shulman reiterated Wednesday that he did not have the full story until the inspector general’s report came out.
May 22: Daily Caller: Former IRS Director Didn’t Discuss Targeting with the White House:Former Internal Revenue Service commissioner Douglas Shulman told members of the House Oversight Committee that he had not discussed the IRS targeting of conservative groups during his numerous visits to the White House.
May 22: Politico: DOJ says We haven’t compromised Attkinsson’s computers:
The Department of Justice says it has never “compromised” computers belonging to Sharyl Attkisson, the CBS News investigative reporter who on Tuesday said that her personal and work computers were under investigation after intrusions by an unspecified entity.
May 22: Fox News: DOJ Fox Hunt: seized phone records of Rosen’s parents:
Newly uncovered court documents reveal the Justice Department seized records of several Fox News phone lines as part of a leak investigation -- even listing a number that, according to one source, matches the home phone number of a reporter's parents. The seizure was ordered in addition to a court-approved search warrant for Fox News correspondent James Rosen's personal emails. In the affidavit seeking that warrant, an FBI agent called Rosen a likely criminal "co-conspirator," citing a wartime law called the Espionage Act.
May 22: Politico: Feds say “We didn’t track James Rosen’s parent’s calls:
The Justice Department is denying that it tracked the phone calls of Fox News reporter James Rosen's parents as part of an investigation into how Rosen got classified information about North Korean nuclear test plans."We did not wiretap the phones of any reporter or news organization. Nor did we monitor or track the phone calls of any reporter’s parents.
May 22: Fox News: Assault on First Amendment needs to stop:
On the heels of the Justice Department’s seizure of telephone records involving AP reporters in four bureaus, now comes the revelation the DOJ had investigated the news-related activities of Fox News reporter James Rosen in another probe of classified leaks. Incredibly, the government suggested that Rosen was a “co-conspirator” for allegedly asking for information about a story involving Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a former State Department employee who is accused of giving Rosen details involving North Korea from a classified report after it had been released to others in the intelligence community.
May 22: The Hill: The House pushes for judicial oversight of DOJ in the wake of Associated Press leaks case:
A bipartisan group of House lawmakers unveiled a bill on Wednesday that would force the Deartment of Justice (DOJ) to get a federal court’s approval before seizing records from journalists. The move comes in response to growing concerns from both parties on Capitol Hill that the DOJ may have violated the First Amendment rights of Associated Press and Fox News employees by seizing their telephone and email records in a pair of separate investigations into national security leaks.
May 22: The Hill: House votes to override Obama on Keystone Pipeline:
The House passed a bill Wednesday that would approve the northern leg of the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline by an act of law, and take the decision out of the hands of President Obama. Members voted 241-175 in favor of H.R. 3, the Northern Route Approval Act. Republican supporters were joined by 19 Democrats, much less than the level of Democratic support in the last Congress.
A big reason for the drop in Democratic support is the GOP's new approach to the pipeline, which would move tar sands oil from Canada to the United States to be refined. Legislation in the last Congress set a deadline by which Obama had to decide on approving the project, and passed with 47 Democrats in 2011. Today's bill would remove any need for presidential approval of TransCanada Corp's proposed pipeline and deem it approved, which many Democrats saw as going too far. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WVA), who supports the construction of the pipeline, said Republicans lost his support because of this change. "It waives a permit and it deems a permit application by a foreign company… for a major undertaking in the United States to be approved," he said of the bill. "We don't even do that for our domestic companies."
Congressman Randy Weber (R-TX) offered an amendment to this legislation which added to the findings section a statement that the State Department's scientific and environmental finding conclude the Keystone XL pipeline is a safe and environmentally sound project. The amendment was agreed to by a vote of 246-168.
May 22: The Hill: Ted Cruz: “I don’t trust Republicans”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said Wednesday that he doesn’t trust members of his own party to negotiate a budget conference report. Cruz's remark came after Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said he thought it was “bizarre” that a member of his own party was objecting to forming a conference committee with the House to work out a budget.
McCain said the objections suggested Senate Republicans didn’t trust House Republicans to hold the party line in negotiations.“The senior senator of Arizona urged senators to trust House Republicans ... and frankly, I don’t trust Republicans,” Cruz said. “It’s the leaders of both parties that got us in this mess. ... A lot of Republicans were complicit in this spending spree.”
May 21: Politico | BreitBart.com: CBS’ Sharyl Attkisson reports her computers may have been compromised:
Sharyl Attkisson, the Emmy-award winning CBS News investigative reporter, says that her personal and work computers have been compromised and are under investigation. "I can confirm that an intrusion of my computers has been under some investigation on my end for some months but I'm not prepared to make an allegation against a specific entity today as I've been patient and methodical about this matter," Attkisson told Politico on Tuesday. "I need to check with my attorney and CBS to get their recommendations on info we make public."
In an earlier interview with WPHT Philadelphia, Attkisson said that though she did not know the full details of the intrusion, "there could be some relationship between these things and what's happened to James [Rosen]," the Fox News reporter who became the subject of a Justice Dept. investigation after reporting on CIA intelligence about North Korea in 2009. Attkisson said the irregular activity on her computer was first identified in Feb. 2011, when she was reporting on the Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal and on the Obama administration's green energy spending, which she said "the administration was very sensitive about." Attkisson has also been a persistent investigator of the events surrounding last year's attack in Benghazi, and its aftermath.
May 21: National Review: Issa Warns Hillary (If she is called to testify again, she’d better be ready!)
Since Hillary Clinton last came up to Capitol Hill, we’ve learned senior State Department officials sought to scrub references to terrorism from the infamous Benghazi talking points to insulate Foggy Bottom from political criticism — citing concerns of their “building’s leadership” to justify the demands. The rising temperature of the scandal means it’s possible that Hillary could be asked to return and testify again. If she comes back, she had better be prepared, says House Oversight and Government Reform chairman Darrell Issa.
May 21: PJMedia.com:
Ex-Diplomats Report new Benghazi whistleblowers with info that is devastating to Clinton and Obama:
More whistleblowers will emerge shortly in the escalating Benghazi scandal, according to two former U.S. diplomats who spoke with PJ Media Monday afternoon. These whistleblowers, colleagues of the former diplomats, are currently securing legal counsel because they work in areas not fully protected by the Whistleblower law. According to the diplomats, what these whistleblowers will say will be at least as explosive as what we have already learned about the scandal, including details about what really transpired in Benghazi that are potentially devastating to both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
May 21: BreitBart.com: FBI Identifies Five Benghazi Suspects – No Arrests Yet:
U.S. officials say they have identified five men they believe might be behind the attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, last year. The officials say they have enough evidence to justify seizing them by military force as suspected terrorists _ but not enough proof to try them in a U.S. civilian court as the Obama administration prefers. So the officials say the men remain at large while the FBI gathers more evidence. The decision not to seize the men militarily underscores the White House's aim to move away from hunting terrorists as enemy combatants and toward trying them as criminals in a civilian justice system. The officials spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss sensitive briefings publicly
May 21: Multiple Updates on the IRS Issue
May 21: The Hill: Unions break ranks on Obamacare:
Labor unions are breaking with President Obama on ObamaCare. Months after the president’s reelection, a variety of unions are publicly balking at how the administration plans to implement the landmark law. They warn that unless there are changes, the results could be catastrophic.
- The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) is very worried about how the reform law will affect its members’ healthcare plans.
- The United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers have called “for repeal or complete reform of the Affordable Care Act.”
- UNITE HERE, a prominent hotel workers’ union, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters are also pushing for changes.
Republicans have long attacked Obama’s promise that “nothing in this plan will require you to change your coverage or your doctor.” But the fact that unions are now noting it as well is a clear sign that supporters of the law are growing anxious about the law’s implementation.
May 21: The Hill: Senate GOP seeks to block ObamaCare’s IRS funds:
Republican Sen. Dean Heller (NV) introduced an amendment to the Senate farm bill Tuesday that would prevent the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from receiving funds to implement ObamaCare. Heller previously introduced the measure as a standalone bill. Both moves, in addition to several GOP House bills, seek to impede the IRS's role in enacting the Affordable Care Act given the agency's targeting of conservative groups. "Public distrust in this agency is already at an all-time high, so providing the IRS with more power to enforce this flawed healthcare policy makes no sense," Heller said in a statement. "Simply put, right now, we can't trust the IRS to do its job."
The IRS is tasked with several key functions under ObamaCare, including enforcing the individual mandate to buy health insurance, distributing tax credits and managing the new revenue streams created to fund the law. Republicans argue that the agency cannot be trusted to neutrally carry out its duties because the agency applied additional scrutiny to conservative groups as they applied for tax-exempt status. Health policy experts say the risk of discrimination in enforcing ObamaCare is low because the law provides regulators with black and white decisions.
May 21: The Hill: House Democrats introduce 2-Year sequester replacement bill:
House Democrats on Tuesday introduced a revised bill that would replace the automatic sequestration cuts that took effect in March and avoid further cuts in 2014. The bill, authored by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), contains $181 billion in replacement deficit reduction over 10 years. Fifty-four percent of the reduction comes from increased tax revenue and 46 percent comes from spending cuts. A copy of the bill obtained by The Hill shows that the basic outline of deficit reduction remains the same as a previous sequester-replacement bill from Van Hollen. Most of the deeper savings to cover 2013 and 2014 come from lowering defense spending caps in the out years of 2017 to 2021, an aide explained. New revenue would be generated from a minimum tax on millionaires — commonly known as the Buffett Rule — and by eliminating tax breaks for oil and gas companies.
May 20: Galveston Daily News: Three former CD-14 candidates collaborate on a weekly column on important issues:
This week Bill Sargent, Mark Mansius, and John Gay introduce what will be a weekly column in the Galveston Daily News to be published in each Monday edition.
"My wife and I hosted a 'candidates reunion' a month or so ago. It was really Mark's idea," Sargent said, "and it was a good one! At the meeting we all wanted to give back to our community and to continue the fight for the hearts and minds of our nation," Sargent continued. "We approached the Daily News with an idea for a monthly column. They liked the idea but said it should be published weekly and so it is that today, the 'The Musketeers' start this weekly column."
May 19: The Hill: Extraordinary measures become standard as US hits debt limit again:
Today, May 19th, the debt ceiling was re-instituted after the Congress and the President suspended it for several months in January of this year as part of the "No Budget No Pay" bill. As a result the country bumped up against its borrowing limit Sunday, forcing the Treasury Department to employ “extraordinary measures” to make sure the government keeps paying its bills. The latest numbers from the Treasury Department indicate that the overall debt of the United States swelled by about $300 billion during the period of the suspension, and now totals roughly $16.7 trillion. With the government once again operating under a borrowing cap, the Treasury is back to employing special measures to free up space under the limit.
May 19: Politico: GOP may roll out debt ceiling plan before August:
The House Republican leadership is considering releasing its debt ceiling plan before the August recess so lawmakers can actively sell it to their constituents. The idea gained traction in a closed meeting of the House Republican Conference this week, where the main topic was how the party should craft a plan to raise the nation’s debt cap.
Plans for the legislation are not finalized, but the outlines of a measure are beginning to take shape. In addition to hiking the debt limit, the legislation is likely to have three categories: spending cuts, a framework for tax reform and what will be called a “jobs” element, which will include energy legislation, which would likely be a provision related to the Keystone XL pipeline. Republicans are aiming to put the bill on the floor soon after the summer recess.
May 19: The Hill: Despite talks, no effort taken in Congress to change Obamacare’s Employer mandate:
Small businesses looking for a break from President Obama’s healthcare law aren’t getting any help from Congress. The law’s critics spend a lot of time talking about its potential effects on employers, and small businesses in particular. But there hasn’t been a real effort on the Hill to address the provisions that will have the most immediate impact on small businesses.
May 19: The Hill: McConnell: White House “made up a tale” about Benghazi
In an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press that was held by an anchorman who attempted to lead Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) into a mine field, the Minority Leader refused to bite! McConnell did say the Obama administration had spun a “tale” about the terrorist attacks in Benghazi that helped them politically before the 2012 election. “It’s very clear that it was inconvenient within six weeks of the election for the administration to, in effect, announce that it was a terrorist attack. I think that’s worth examining. It is going to be examined,” he vowed.
May 19: Politico: Chaffetz: Benghazi cover-up ongoing:
Rep. Jason Chaffetz says the White House should release more documents relating to the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The Utah Republican said on CBS's "Face the Nation" that more information is needed and that a cover-up is ongoing. "People deserve the truth and the families deserve the truth," Chaffetz said. "I can't imagine that this administration would say those same things about what happened in Boston where we had four people killed by a terrorist." Chaffetz said that the cover-up has delayed investigating and tracking down who committed the attacks."We weren't able to investigate," he said. "We still have terrorists that committed these attacks that are out there. They are on the loose. We don't know where they are."
May 19: The Daily Caller: Rand Paul likens Benghazi errors’ that led to “Black Hawk Down”
On Sunday’s “State of the Union” on CNN, Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul took aim at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the State Department’s handling of the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Last week, Paul had given a speech in the early presidential battleground state of Iowa that was highly critical of Clinton. “State of the Union” host Candy Crowley asked Paul if he stuck by those remarks, to which the Kentucky Republican said he did and likened Benghazi to an incident that occurred during her husband’s first term. “I absolutely stick by them,” Paul said. “You know, in Bill Clinton’s administration, when Les Aspin did not provide security in Mogadishu, the famous Black Hawk Down, he was asked to resign, and he left and admitted he made tragic errors.”
May 19: The Daily Caller: White House aide: Obama’s whereabouts night of Benghazi attack is largely irrelevant.
On Sunday, White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer made the talk show rounds in the wake of three scandals involving the Obama administration, but seemed to have the same message: that the details were “irrelevant” and Obama wants to make sure this doesn’t happen again. [More Details on this Story]
May 18: Fox News: Colorado Sheriffs to file federal lawsuit over state's new gun laws:
May 18: The Hill: Senators want to move forward to reform Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac:
Colorado sheriffs upset with gun restrictions adopted in the aftermath of last year's mass shootings filed a federal lawsuit Friday, challenging the regulations as unconstitutional. The lawsuit involves sheriffs from 54 of Colorado's 64 counties, most representing rural, gun-friendly areas of the state.
A bipartisan group of senators want to largely eliminate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as part of an overhaul of the mortgage finance market. Although legislation isn't imminent, senators and industry representatives have signaled they are closing in on a broad framework that would wind down and eventually end the government-backed mortgage giants.
While details are still being hashed out, the basic premise is that the government's role in the housing finance market would be reduced in favor of more private capital during a transition that is expected to take several years.
May 18: The Hill: Complaints of IRS targeting of religious groups on the rise:
The number of religious groups reporting they were improperly targeted by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is increasing.
At least a half-dozen conservative groups say they received an unusual degree of scrutiny from the IRS, according to the Religion New Service, a non-profit news service operated out of the University of Missouri’s journalism school.
Earlier this week Rev. Billy Graham’s son made headlines with a letter to President Obama accusing the administration of targeting the Samaritan's Purse charity and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in an attempt to intimidate the group.
See Multiple Updates on the IRS Issue
May 17: C-Span: Video coverage of the House Ways and Means hearing on IRS targeting abuses:
Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX) describes what happened to the head of a local TEA Party group in his district after she applied for tax exempt status for her TEA Party: how she was audited by the IRS, OSHA and others as well as receiving unannounced visits from the FBI and ATF.
May 17: Politico: Darrell Issa calls top Treasury official to testify on IRS:
The Obama administration will face more questions over its role in the IRS scandal next week when a top Treasury Department official will testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin will appear at a panel hearing on Wednesday, a committee aide tells POLITICO. He’ll testify alongside J. Russell George, the IRS inspector general who released a damaging report this week that slammed lax management at the agency.
May 17: The Weekly Standard: Report: IRS Deliberately Chose Not to Fess Up to Scandal Before Election:
NBC's Lisa Myers reported this morning that the IRS deliberately chose not to reveal that it had wrongly targeted conservative groups until after the 2012 presidential election: [video]
May 17: The Daily Caller: Lerner’s admission of IRS’s inappropriate behavior was per-planned public disclosure:
Last week, Lois Lerner, head of the tax exempt division of the Internal Revenue Service dropped a bombshell: The IRS had been applying extra scrutiny to conservative groups claiming tax exempt status.
The revelation came seemingly out of the blue, in response to a question during a panel at an American Bar Association conference, leaving the audience baffled, according to reports.
May 17: Real Clear Politics: GOP Congressman Mike Kelly Receives Standing Ovation After He Rips IRS Commissioner:
May 17: The Washington Times: Rep. Dave Camp accuses White House of ‘cover-up’ in IRS scandal:
This has nothing to do with political parties. This has to do with highly targeted groups. This reconfirms everything the American public believes. This is a huge blow to the faith and trust that the American people have in their government. Is there any limit to the scope where you folks can go?
The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday said the IRS scandal shows a “culture of cover-ups” and “political intimidation” within the Obama Administration.
May 17: Fox News: Tables turn on IRS, lawmakers grill outgoing agency chief at heated hearing:
For the first time in years, the IRS was knocked down a peg or two. In a hearing that escalated into a boisterous public shaming of one of the country's most-feared government agencies, lawmakers took turns Friday calling outgoing IRS Commissioner Steven Miller on the carpet for his department's scandalous practice of targeting conservative groups.
May 17: The Washington Examiner: Senator Baucus warns of more to come in IRS scandal
Senior Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, who recently slapped Obamacare as a "train wreck," believes that the IRS scandal is just beginning and that "a lot more" damaging information will be revealed, likely at congressional hearings.
May 17: Fox News: Issa subpoenas Pickering on Benghazi:
Chairman Issa said
This Administration is good at going beyond its authority, bad at getting legislation passed, and the Americans are the losers! We need to know how are we going to keep our people safe and what are we going to do to respond quickly if this every happens again,' he exclaimed. Issa's committee has subpoenaed the co-chairman of the Obama administration's internal review board for the Benghazi attack -- escalating his own inquiry amid a report that showed administration officials expressing regret about their response the night of Sept. 11.
May 17: Fox News: Benghazi emails reveal Obama White House’s obsession with spin control
When it dumped 100 emails related to the Benghazi talking points Wednesday night, the Obama White House showed it hasn’t been telling the truth.
These talking points were not the sole product of the intelligence community, but were in fact edited by State Department officials and White House officials and then decided upon at a White House meeting.
After reading these emails, it’s clear the administration’s principal concern behind the edits was to protect itself from public and Congressional criticism, not to get out the facts of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi in which four Americans died.
May16: The Daily Caller: In a meaningless gesture the House Votes to Repeal Obamacare
The Republican-controlled House voted Thursday to repeal Obamacare in its entirety. With implementation of Obamacare set to begin later this year, the vote is largely symbolic. The Senate is highly unlikely to even take up a vote on repeal. The House voted for repeal 229-195, with votes cast almost entirely down party lines. Two Democrats voted with Republicans in favor of repeal: Rep. Jim Matheson of Utah and Rep. Mike McIntyre of North Carolina. This is the third time the House has voted to fully repeal Obamacare, and there have been a number of other votes to repeal parts of it — 37 votes in total. Boehner explained last week that he was holding the vote again because new members had been asking for the opportunity to vote on repeal.
Many of the Republicans who voted for the repeal also voted for fully funding the Affordable Care Act in a vote earlier this year as part of the Continuing Resolution. So are they for repeal, and if so, how come they voted to fully pay for the implementation, administration and enforcement of it? Could it be that they did so, so that they could go back home and tell their constituents that they voted to repeal the measure – even though they know that the vote to do so will have no effect? In the days leading up to the vote, Democrats dismissed the effort as wasteful and unproductive. For once, we would agree with the Democrats! If the House leadership wanted to deal a fatal blow to Obamacare they should have done so as part of the Continuing Resolution, prohibiting the use of any of the funds for this program!
May 16: Fox News: ICE admits hundreds of illegal immigrants with criminal records released
Hundreds of illegal immigrants with criminal records were released earlier this year as the Obama administration prepared for budget cuts, according to newly released data that challenged claims the program involved "low-risk" individuals. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released the figures to two top senators, after a three-month delay and under the threat of congressional subpoenas.
Of the 2,226 detainees that were released in February, the department revealed, "622 have been identified as having some type of criminal conviction." A statement from Sens. John McCain, R-AZ, and Carl Levin, D-MI, who received the stats, said 32 of them had multiple felony convictions. The department then "re-apprehended" 24 of those, the senators said, after realizing the "seriousness" of their crimes.
May 16: Politico: Focus on the Facts not Impeachment, Leaders Caution
Republicans are worried one thing could screw up the political gift of three Obama administration controversies at once: fellow Republicans. Top GOP leaders are privately warning members to put a sock in it when it comes to silly calls for impeachment or over-the-top comparisons to Watergate. They want members to focus on months of fact-finding investigations – not rhetorical fury.
Why the fuss? Well…
“People may be starting to use the I-word before too long,” Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) told a radio host, making plain impeachment was indeed the I-word in mind.
- “You could call #Benghazi Obama’s Watergate, except no one died,” Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) wrote on Twitter.
- “It harkens back to the days of Richard Nixon and maintaining a political enemies list and treating the federal government as a tool to exact the administration’s retribution,” Sen. Ted Cruz told the National Review.
May 16: WashingtonExaminer.com | Fox News:
IRS “Targeting” Executive Gets $100K+in Bonuses and Promotion to Oversee Obamacare Enforcement!
Sarah Hall Ingram, the IRS executive in charge of the tax exempt division in 2010 when it began targeting conservative Tea Party, evangelical and pro-Israel groups for harassment, got more than $100,000 in bonuses between 2009 and 2012. More recently, Ingram was promoted to serve as director of the tax agency's Obamacare program office, a position that put her in charge of the vast expansion of the IRS' regulatory power and staffing in connection with federal health care, ABC reported earlier today. Ingram received a $7,000 bonus in 2009, according to data obtained by The Washington Examiner from the IRS, then a $34,440 bonus in 2010, $35,400 in 2011 and $26,550 last year, for a total of $103,390. Her annual salary went from $172,500 to $177,000 during the same period.
May 16: The Daily Caller: Tea Party Leaders Want Media Apology for failing to take reports of IRS targeting seriously
At least one tea party leader has had employees at a major national newspaper and a major Ohio newspaper apologize to him for failing to take his concerns about the Internal Revenue Service targeting tea party groups seriously last year, though he wouldn’t say who specifically. “I actually have had several [members] of the media apologize to me today and yesterday,” Tom Zawistowski, former leader of the Ohio Liberty Coalition and current president of We the People Convention, Inc. and head of the Portage County Tea Party, said at a FreedomWorks round-table event Thursday.“They said, ‘Tom I want to apologize to you because when this story came out last year it was so over the top I didn’t believe it, and I didn’t believe it and I questioned it and I didn’t really look into it and then when the IRS commissioner came out and testified to Congress and said, ‘There is no targeting of the tea party, I shut it down,’” he said.
I can tell you that when I addressed this issue in March of last year it went absolutely nowhere! See the press release, posted on this Website, which I provided to the media at the time.
May 16: The Daily Caller: Obama evades question on White House knowledge of IRS targeting
President Barack Obama dismissed calls for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS scandal, and evaded a question asking if White House officials knew of the IRS targeting of conservative political groups. “I can assure that I certainly did not know anything about the [inspector general] report before the IG report had been leaked through the press,” he told reporters during a Thursday lunchtime press conference held in the White House Rose Garden. Obama’s evasion will likely spur public suspicions that White House officials knew about, or even supported, the IRS targeting. When asked about a special prosecutor, Obama said he would work with investigations begun by Congress and the Department of Justice.
May 16: The Hill: Obama Appoints Werfel as New IRS Commissioner
President Obama on Thursday appointed Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Controller Danny Werfel as acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service.
Steven Miller, the acting IRS commissioner, stepped down on Wednesday amid a growing scandal after it was discovered that the IRS targeted conservative groups based on their politics. Over the last year at OMB, Werfel, who also worked at OMB under President George W. Bush's administration, has been charged with planning out how the sequester would be implemented.
The White House announced President Obama was appointing Werfel, 42, in a press release.m “Throughout his career working in both Democratic and Republican administrations, Danny has proven an effective leader who serves with professionalism, integrity and skill," Obama said. "The American people deserve to have the utmost confidence and trust in their government, and as we work to get to the bottom of what happened and restore confidence in the IRS, Danny has the experience and management ability necessary to lead the agency at this important time.”
May 16: The Daily Caller: Tea party groups speak out against the IRS: ‘Folks, this is bad’
Tea party leaders spoke out Thursday about their experience with the Internal Revenue Service and warned others that it could happen to them too. “We want to make sure every American understands what tyranny looks like and what we can do as citizens to regain our voice, to regain our rights, to ensure that this administration or the next one after it never does this again,” Matt Kibbe, president and CEO of FreedomWorks said at a tea party roundtable Thursday afternoon.
Katrina Pierson of the Dallas Tea Party said that the scandal has shed further light on one of the reasons the tea party started: concern about overreach and abuse of government.
The IRS requested the Dallas Tea Party’s campaign contribution lists and membership communications. The group ended up having to compile and send about six inches of documents in two weeks. The group still has yet to receive its tax-exempt status. “How many scandals is it going to take for the American people to stand up and take back what is rightfully theirs?” Pierson asked.
May 16: Fox News Latino: Conservative Hispanic Groups Targeted In IRS Scandal
The Internal Revenue Service scandal involving the apparently unjustified targeting of Tea Party and other conservative groups has also hit home with the Hispanic community.
George Rodriguez, former president of the San Antonio Tea Party, said that when the organization applied for non-profit status, leaders were intimidated by IRS workers with excessive paperwork and meddling questions. “They asked us all sorts of things that were out of the norm,” Rodriguez, now head of the conservative South Texas Alliance, told Fox News Latino. “We knew these questions were not the norm and we had our suspicions about them.”
Rodriguez said the group received a questionnaire from the IRS with “well over 50 questions,” including inquiries into who the group met with, where they held their meetings, who was in attendance and what the subject of their internal emails were. “They should have been worried about the numbers, not who we were meeting with,” he added. “It was flat-out dirty politics.”
May 15: The Daily Caller: IRS sued for improperly seizing the medical records of 10 million Americans
Amid a firestorm about the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting conservative groups and wide concern that the tax service will be administering Obamacare, the IRS is also the subject of a class action lawsuit alleging that 15 of its agents improperly seized 10 million Americans’ medical records.
Attorney Robert Barnes filed the lawsuit in mid-March on behalf of a John Doe Company and individuals whose records were seized in California Superior Court, according to a report from the Courthouse News Service. “This is an action involving the corruption and abuse of power by several Internal Revenue Service agents during a raid of John Doe Company, in the southern district of California, on March 11, 2011,” the complaint reads. “In a case involving solely a tax matter involving a former employee of the company, these agents stole more than 60,000,000 medical records of more than 10,000,000 Americans, including at least 1,000,000 Californians.”
May 15: Politico: Holder get grilled on the Hill as both Dems and Reps turn up the heat:
Attorney General Eric Holder, long accustomed to GOP attacks, faced bipartisan ire in the House Wednesday from lawmakers looking for answers on multiple fronts. Most of the Judiciary Committee’s questions during the four-hour session revolved around the Justice Department’s decision to subpoena journalists’ phone records in connection with a leak investigation — but there was little new information in the responses from Holder, who announced Tuesday that he had recused himself from the inquiry.
Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) said the Justice Department’s handling of the investigation — which eventually obtained records of phone calls from home, office and cellphone lines used by several Associated Press reporters and editors — “appears to be contrary to the law and standard procedure.” He pressed Holder to explain why the news organization was not given advance notice of the subpoenas.
Holder’s careful framing of his answers Wednesday played into a testy exchange with Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) over the ethics of a deal that Labor Secretary nominee Tom Perez constructed to try to avoid a Supreme Court ruling he feared would undermine civil rights enforcement. After Holder declined to offer a “yes or no” response to a question from Issa, and the congressman cut Holder off, the attorney general clearly became irritated.“No, I’m not going to stop talking now,” Holder said, as Issa continued speaking over him. “It’s consistent with the way you conduct yourself as a member of Congress. It’s unacceptable, and it’s shameful.”
May 15: The Hill: Holder Makes it personal – Calls Issa’s Actions “Shameful”
Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday lashed out at Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), calling his conduct “unacceptable and shameful.” In a tense moment at a House Judiciary Committee hearing, Holder berated the lawmaker who led the successful effort in the House to hold him in contempt of Congress. Holder said Issa’s questioning at the hearing was “too consistent with the way in which you conduct yourself as a member of the Congress. It’s unacceptable, and it’s shameful.”
Issa, who seemed to brush off the rebuke, was questioning Holder about a deal the Justice Department’s top civil rights enforcer made with the city of St. Paul, Minn., to drop a False Claims Act case in exchange for the city ditching an unconnected appeal to the Supreme Court.
But the larger backdrop for the hearing was the controversy swirling around the Justice Department’s decision to subpoena phone records from The Associated Press in an investigation of national security leaks. Holder has recused himself from that investigation, but came under fire from members of both parties.
May 15: The Daily Caller: IRS to be sued over targeting
The American Center for Law and Justice expects to file suit in federal court over the targeting of fourteen of its clients by the IRS soon. Jay Sekulow, ACLJ chief counsel, told The Daily Caller Wednesday he expects to file suit next week and has a team of lawyers working on the issue. ACLJ has not decided whether it will file one class action suit on behalf their aggrieved clients or separate suits. “We are looking at the issue of whether it could be certified as a class or whether we would have to bring each claim as an individual claim,” he explained. “Which would mean we would be filing some in Cincinnati or the District Courts in Ohio, some in the district courts in California, some in the District of Columbia. We are looking at all that.” [See more on this story]
May 15: Townhall.com: IRS Spared Liberal Groups as Tea Party Languished – Appears 500 may have been targeted:
Remember what we were told when this explosive story first broke less than a week ago? The IRS official in charge of tax exemptions for organizations said the improper methods employed within her division were executed by "low level workers" in Cincinnati who weren't motivated by "political bias," and impacted roughly 75 organizations? Wrong, wrong and wrong:
"Seventy-five organizations effected" - That number almost immediately swelled to 300. Now it's closer to 500;
"Low Level" - Officials within the highest echelons of the agency were aware of the inappropriate targeting, including the last two commissioners -- at least one of whom appears to have misled Congress on this very question. Now Politico reports that Lerner herself sent at least one of the probing letters to an Ohio-based conservative group.
"No Political Bias" - This claim was laughable on its face from the start, in light of the agency's surreal criteria for added scrutiny and the "red flag" words and phrases that triggered investigations. Now add to the mix this scoop from USA Today
May 15: The Hill | The Daily Caller: First Heads Roll in IRS Scandal
Acting Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Steven Miller resigned on Wednesday over his role in the agency’s controversial singling out of conservative groups. President Obama announced the resignation — which Treasury Secretary Jack Lew asked for earlier in the day — at the White House. Miller, a 25-year veteran of the IRS, became the first official to lose his job in the uproar over the agency’s actions, which have consumed Washington and the Obama administration since they were revealed last week. The president said he has urged Lew to quickly implement recommendations from a Treasury audit, and vowed that the White House would work closely with Congress as it investigates the matter. Top Republicans had said that Miller, who found out about the targeting in May of 2012, had misled them about the IRS’s actions.
May 15: The Daily Caller: Krauthammer: Obama IRS scandal statement ‘a holding operation,’ ‘the absolute minimum’
Immediately following President Barack Obama’s remarks on Wednesday about the current scandal embroiling the Internal Revenue Service, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer reacted by downplaying the gesture. “That was a holding operation,” Krauthammer said. “That was the absolute minimum he could have done. He relieves one person. He obviously had to. He had to relieve at least one person. And he chose, of course, the acting commissioner. But, I would have expected more. The other actions he announced are, up to now, meaningless. Obama and this administration have said a hundred times they’re going to hold x, y, z accountable for all kinds of behavior — in Benghazi, regarding a lot of other scandals. It means nothing.”
May 15: Politico: Resignation won’t plug the IRS leadership gap
The resignation of Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller might offer a cathartic moment for an angry tax paying public — but it won’t right the ship at the troubled agency. There are no clear candidates inside the agency who would have the gravitas to overhaul the IRS, rehabilitate it, and bring a sense of moral authority to the job — while effectively dealing with a voracious congressional opposition. But it might also be impossible to get a prominent outside candidate confirmed in a divided Senate. President Barack Obama did not announce a replacement for Miller in his brief remarks Wednesday night announcing the resignation, and it remains unclear whether he’ll tap someone from inside the bureaucracy or look for a high profile outsider to come in and shape up the agency. [See more on this story]
May 15: The Daily Caller:
Holder: We will bring criminal actions -- against whom is yet to be determined -- so this doesn’t happen again:
Attorney General Eric Holder promised criminal action Wednesday in the Internal Revenue Service scandal, but said he does not know who will be targeted. On Tuesday, Holder announced he would launch a criminal investigation into the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups for heightened scrutiny. “We have to bring criminal actions so that this kind of activity does not happen again,” Holder said Wednesday before the House Judiciary Committee. Against whom those criminal actions would be taken, however, Holder was not yet sure. Was he saying we need to take some kind on action and hang this on somebody? If so, watchout, they are looking for a person other than themseves to pin it on!
May 15: Fox News: Benghazi emails show State Department had heavy hand in watering down account of attack
State Department officials repeatedly objected to -- and tried to water down -- references to Islamic extremist groups and prior security warnings in the administration's initial internal story-line on the Benghazi attack, according to dozens of emails and notes released by the White House late Wednesday. The documents also showed the White House, along with several other departments, played a role in editing the so-called "talking points," despite claims from the White House that it was barely involved. And they showed then-CIA Director David Petraeus objected to the watered-down version that would ultimately be used as the basis for U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's flawed comments on several TV shows the Sunday after the attack. [See More on this Story]
May 15: The Hill: White House releases Benghazi emails
The White House on Wednesday released more than 100 pages of inter-agency emails intended to bolster its argument it did not try to hide the fact that last year’s attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, was terrorism.
The messages — circulated Sept. 14-15 — show that CIA Deputy Director Mike Morrell asked that references to al Qaeda and another terrorist groups be removed from official administration talking points hours before State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland made a similar request.
One page of talking points dated Sept. 14 includes handwritten notes by Morrell, who scratches out parts of the talking points that say that there were “indications that Islamic extremists participated in the violent demonstrations,” and also that there were “at least five other attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi by unidentified assailants, including the June attack against the British ambassador’s convoy.”
May 15: National Review: Republicans Not Willing to Take Impeachment Off the Table for Benghazi:
“I would say yes — I’m not willing to take it off to take it off the table,” representative Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) said about the possibility of seeking the president’s impeachment in the Benghazi scandal. “Look, it’s not something I’m seeking, it’s not the endgame, it’s not what we’re playing for,” Chaffetz explained in an interview with CNN. “I was simply asked if that’s within the realm of possibilities.” Earlier this week, Chaffetz told the Salt Lake Tribune that impeachment is “certainly a possibility,” which drew attention but added, “that’s not the goal.”
[More on this story from the Salt Lake Tribune]
May 15: OneNewsNow.com: Heritage: Scandals reflect controlling nature of Obama administration:
A conservative political action organization says it remains to seen just what the long-term effect all the current scandals will have on the Obama administration. The administration was already embroiled in the Benghazi scandal and an apparent cover-up about how it was handled. Then last week came the scandal involving the Internal Revenue Service deliberately harassing conservative groups. In the latest scandal, the Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative's top executive called a "massive and unprecedented intrusion" into how news organizations gather the news.
Dan Holler, a spokesman for Heritage Action for America, spoke to OneNewsNow about the plethora of scandals cropping up. "It really shows how controlling the Obama administration is," he offers. "They want to control all aspects of the debate, they want to silence any dissent - and if you talk to reporters, they have stories about really hard pushback coming from the administration anytime they mention anything even remotely critical, whether it's true or not."
Holler expects Congress is going to have a full vetting on all these issues over the next several months. "We're going to have multiple hearings in the House and the Senate, and I don't think anybody can possibly predict what's going to come up," he says. "So I things are only going to get worst for them. And the real question is: How far does it spiral?" The Heritage Action spokesman believes these scandals can only help Republicans gain control of the Senate in next year's mid-term elections.
May 15: The Blaze:‘Very Frightening’: Prominent Catholic Prof. Claims IRS Audited Her After Speaking Out Against Obama and Demanded to Know Who Was Paying Her:
In the midst of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal, individuals and groups, alike, are continuing to come forward with ever-startling allegations. On Wednesday, Dr. Anne Hendershott, a devout Catholic and a noted sociologist, professor and author, exclusively told TheBlaze that she believes she may have been one of the IRS’s targets.
According to Hendershott, the IRS audited her in 2010 and demanded to know who was paying her and “what their politics were.” It all started with a phone call she received at her home in May of that year — a call during which Hendershott was told she would be audited. A letter that followed on May 19, 2010 solidified the IRS’s request to meet her in person two months later in July. While IRS investigations are certainly not uncommon occurrences, the professor believes that the situation surrounding hers was more-than-curious. “The IRS calls my house and says … ‘I just wanted to let you know that we’re going to be auditing your business’ and I said ‘My businesses?’ and he said, ‘You know the expenses you take off for writing,” the academic recalls.
May 14: USA Today: Interesting Data on IRS Approvals of Tax Exempt Applications:
In February 2010, the Champaign Tea Party in Illinois received approval of its tax-exempt status from the IRS in 90 days, no questions asked. That was the month before the Internal Revenue Service started singling out Tea Party groups for special treatment. There wouldn't be another Tea Party application approved for 27 months. In that time, the IRS approved perhaps dozens of applications from similar liberal and progressive groups, a USA TODAY review of IRS data shows. [See more on this story]
May 14: More and More Coverage on IRS Activities:
- The Weekly Standard: Just because the IRS apologized, it doesn't mean they did something wrong! Really?
- The Daily Caller: Reports of IRS sending confidential information on Conservative groups to liberal non-profit organization
- Fox News: Senator Hatch: The IRS purposefully misled me!
- Politico: Scandal and politics sweep Capitol Hill
- CNSNews.com: IRS will not confirm whether it will comply with House Ways and Means Request
May 13: More Reports on the IRS Targeting
- House Ways and Means sets hearing on IRS Targeting of Conservative Groups
- Majority Leader Reid Promises Actions on IRS Scandal
- IRS Scrutiny went beyond TEA Party
- TEA Party Groups Threaten to Sue the IRS
- The White House knew of the allegations in April
- Obama says he has "No Patience" for the "outrageous" IRS mess
May 12: Reports on the IRS Targeting Conservative Groups and those supporting Israel
May 12: Reports on Benghazi:
- Fox News: Republicans call for depositions in Benghazi probe, amid revelation Clinton barely interviewed
- BreitBart.Com: Report: NBC Spiked Story ID’ing Benghazi whistle-blower as Obama/Clinton Voter
- The Hill: McCain Calls Benghazi a “Cover-Up”
May 11: Reports on Benghazi:
- The Hill: Rand Paul: Hillary Clinton does not deserve higher office due to Benghazi
- The Daily Caller: President of CBS News – may drop reporter over Benghazi coverage
- The Daily Caller: Pat Smith to Hillary Clinton – You have your child this Mother’s Day, I don’t because of you!
May 10: Fox News: Tea Party groups, Republicans slam IRS for flagging conservative groups:
In a story I disclosed in March of 2012, the IRS has been targeting conservative groups and threatening their tax exempt status. Now, Tea Party leaders have refused to accept an apology from the IRS Friday in which the agency acknowledged that it inappropriately flagged conservative groups for additional review during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status.
Jenny Beth Martin, national coordinator for Tea Party Patriots, said she wants to see resignations over what she called the "disturbing, illegal and outrageous abuse of government power." Republican lawmakers also seized on the acknowledgment, after having complained about the suspected harassment more than a year ago. Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell called for a "government-wide review" to assure "these thuggish practices" are not in use elsewhere. House Republican Leader Eric Cantor later said the House would investigate.
Reaction was swift and harsh after Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups, acknowledged the issue at a conference Friday sponsored by the American Bar Association. She confirmed that organizations were singled out because they included the words "tea party" or "patriot" in their applications for tax-exempt status. In some cases, groups were asked for their list of donors, she said. "That was wrong. That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate," Lerner said. "The IRS would like to apologize for that."
May 10: National Review: Grassley says Baucus is Retiring Because He’s Fed Up with Obamacare
Democratic Senator Max Baucus is retiring because he is “fed up” with the Affordable Care Act, according to his Republican colleague Chuck Grassley. Speaking at Friday night’s Lincoln Day dinner in Iowa, Grassley told the audience the Montana senator is leaving office ”because he’s so fed up with the possibility of the implementation of Obamacare being a train wreck.”
Baucus, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, played a key role in writing the 2010 law.
Grassley said that dissatisfaction with the health-care bill exists across party lines, describing a “bipartisan coalition in Washington” that considers the implementation of the law a disaster. “It’s a shame that a trainwreck even left the station a couple years ago,” he added, referring to Baucus’s now-infamous statement of frustration.
May 9: The Daily Caller: Immigration: ‘No such thing as a background check on a foreign national’ [VIDEO]
In part four of his exclusive interview with The Daily Caller, National ICE Council President Chris Crane criticized the immigration bill put together by the “Gang of Eight” senators for its reliance on checking the status of immigrants through biographical rather than biometric data. “We already know we... have illegal aliens who are already circumventing that type of system right now.” Crane also weighs in on the terrorist attack in Boston that killed three people at the conclusion of the Boston Marathon. The attack that was carried out by two individuals who had not only immigrated to the United States but been naturalized as well. He points out that there is a finite amount of checking that can be performed on an individual entering the United States. Any system will be hamstrung by the lack of much information held in most countries. ”There is no such thing as background check on a foreign national,” says Crane.
May 9: Benghazi Coverage
- Fox News: Political Motives Don't Change Facts in Benghazi Probe
- The Daily Caller: Clinton Hit by GOP Questions on Benghazi
- Fox News: House Speaker puts pressure on Obama to provide email documents on Benghazi
- The Hill: Sen. Coburn: ‘Glaring omission’ in Benghazi information from State Dept
May 9: The Daily Caller: Sandy Hook parent and Gun Control Lobbyist Faces Five Criminal Charges
May 9: The Hill: Credit Raters Wary of GOP proposal on Debt Limit:
The nation's credit rating agencies are wary of a plan to prioritize payments to U.S. bondholders and Social Security recipients if the debt ceiling is reached. Nikola Swann, the primary analyst for the U.S. rating for Standard & Poor's, pointed out that if a prioritization plan were in place, reaching the $16.4 trillion borrowing limit would still carry potentially huge economic and financial consequences. "But the real issue is not who will go to the head of the line for payments if the debt ceiling is not raised" the editor of "Your Resource for News" pointed out. "The real issue is that we are not cutting spending!" [See more details]
May 8: The Hill: House will vote next week on ObamaCare repeal, Cantor says:
In a largely symbolic gesture that is designed to put Democrats in a position of going on record in support of a measure that many of their constituents are coming to oppose, the House will vote next week to repeal all of President Obama's healthcare law.
Conservatives have clamored for another repeal vote, and some first-term Republicans said they could not vote for a Cantor-backed bill to modify the healthcare law until they had cast a vote to repeal the entire thing.
At the same time, earlier this year many of these same Republicans, including representatives from Texas, voted for the Continuing Resolution that fully funded Obamacare. This vote would also allow them to claim they have voted to repeal the law.
The issue this raises, however, is one of consistency. Next week's vote will be the House's first vote to repeal the law in the 113th Congress, following more than 30 votes in the previous two years to repeal or defund all or part of the healthcare law. It is doubtful that if the measure passes the House that it will go anywhere in the Senate, and even if it did, the President would surely veto it, which is the reason it is seen as largely a politically motivated vote.
May 7: CNBC: When It Comes to ObamaCare Reform, the IRS Rules:
Get ready for the Internal Revenue Service to play a dominant role in health care. When Obamacare takes full effect next year, the agency will enforce most of the laws involved in the reform—even deciding who gets included in the health-care mandate. "The impact of the IRS on health-care reform is huge," said Paul Hamburger, a partner and employee benefits lawyer at Proskauer. "Other agencies like Social Security will be checking for mistakes, but the IRS is the key enforcer," Hamburger said. "It's also going to help manage who might get health care."
In its 5-4 ruling last year, the Supreme Court upheld the law's mandate that Americans have health insurance, saying that Congress can enforce the mandate under its taxing authority and through the IRS. As a result, its the agency that will be administering 47 tax provisions under the health-care reform law. They include the right to levy a penalty against businesses and individuals who don't provide or acquire insurance. Noting that the IRS will collect the penalties, because the Supreme Court decision labeled Obamacare a tax.
The IRS also has to determine how to distribute annual subsidies to 18 million people who make less than $45,000 a year and thus qualify for subsidies in buying health coverage, as well as how to deliver tax credits to small businesses that buy coverage for workers.
May 8: The Hill: Despite Sequester fix, some lawmakers blame flight delays for missed votes:
Lawmakers in the House blamed a series of missed votes on flight delays this week, despite the end of air traffic controller furloughs that Congress addressed last month.
"Mr. Speaker, I missed my connecting flight into Washington yesterday afternoon," Rep. Jim Jordon (R-OH) said in a statement in the Congressional Record. "As a result, I was absent from the House floor during last night's three roll-call votes," Jordan continued. "Had I been present, I would have voted in favor of H.R. 588, H.R. 291, and H.R. 507."
May 8: The Hill: Official holds back tears during emotional Benghazi testimony:
The State Department’s deputy chief of mission in Libya fought back tears on Wednesday as he delivered a lengthy account of the nighttime terrorist attacks last year that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
Testifying before a packed hearing room, Gregory Hicks gave an emotional account of his attempt to secure the State Department’s staff in Tripoli as he relayed messages to the Washington, D.C., operation center in real-time about reports of attackers storming the Benghazi facility.
May 8: Real Clear Politics: Democrat Congressman At Benghazi Hearing says: “Death Is A Part of Life”
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, tells Benghazi witnesses that "death is a part of life."
May 7: The Hill: Sequestration Cuts Expected to Hit the Job Market over the Summer:
The sequester will take a bigger bite from the economy in the coming months as workers collect more unpaid leave and additional spending cuts are triggered, several economic experts predicted Monday. A strong employment report in April that found the economy added 165,000 jobs underlined the sense that the labor market is improving, but observers warn it’s too early to declare the economy is safe from sequestration. “People who think the sequester debate’s over, it’s not nearly as bad as they thought it was — to me that’s declaring victory way too soon,” said political and economic strategist Andrew Busch.
May 4: RedState.com: Eagle Scout trying to do the right thing faces felony charges from local authorities:
A North Carolina Eagle Scout who was expelled and arrested for accidentally leaving a shotgun in his pickup truck in the school parking lot has been offered a scholarship to attend Liberty University. Cole Withrow was just a few weeks from graduating with honors from Princeton High School when he was arrested on Monday and slapped with a felony weapons charge. Withrow had been skeet shooting with friends a day before and had only noticed he had left his shotgun in his truck as he reached to grab his book bag. When he realized his mistake, he went to the front office and called his mother. An administrator overheard the conversation and called police.
May 4: The Daily Caller: Gun Business Exodus from Colorado Begins:
HiViz Shooting Systems, a gun-parts manufacturer in Fort Collins, Colo., will move its operations up the road to Laramie, Wyo., making good on its threat to pull up its Colorado roots after Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law several controversial gun control measures earlier this year.
May 4: The Hill: Attorney General Holder and Kansas may be heading to court over Kansas Gun Law:
The Obama administration is on a collision course with the state of Kansas over a new law that claims to nullify federal gun controls.
Attorney General Eric Holder has threatened litigation against Kansas over the law in what could the opening salvo of a blockbuster legal battle with national ramifications. “This is definitely a case that could make it to the Supreme Court,” Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said Friday afternoon. “There is nothing symbolic about this law.” Kobach, a former constitutional law professor, helped craft the statute, which bars the federal government from regulating guns and ammunition manufactured and stored within Kansas state lines.
May 4: Fox News: States: 'Blindsided' by plan to shift costs of 'uninsurables' to them under ObamaCare:
Thousands of people with serious medical problems are in danger of losing coverage under President Obama's health care overhaul because of cost overruns, state officials say. At risk is the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, a transition program that's become a lifeline for the so-called uninsurables -- people with serious medical conditions who can't get coverage elsewhere. The program helps bridge the gap for those patients until next year, when under the new law insurance companies will be required to accept people regardless of their medical problems.
May 4: The Hill: Vacancies, furloughs piling up at OMB:
President Obama’s new director of the powerful Office of Management and Budget is now on duty, but OMB's executive suite has become a virtual ghost town. Many of the top posts in the Office of Management and Budget have gone vacant for almost a year. The top vacancies come on top of furloughs due to sequestration. OMB issued furloughs on March 7 to 480 employees. They will be furloughed for 10 days between the week of April 21 and the end of September.
May 4: The Hill: Three State Department 'whistleblowers' to testify next week on Benghazi:
Three State Department officials described by Republicans as “whistleblowers” with damning insider knowledge about the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi will testify next week. The House Oversight Committee identified the three witnesses as Gregory Hicks, the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli during the attack; Mark Thompson, the deputy coordinator for operations in the agency’s Counterterrorism Bureau; and Eric Nordstrom, a diplomatic security officer who was the top security officer in the country in the months leading up to the attacks.
May 4: NewsMax.com: What You are about to hear will make you mad, Senator Graham
Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Saturday that once Americans hear the testimony of three State Department survivors of the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya next week, “it’s going to make you mad. It’s going to make you upset.”
May 2: Politico: The next sequester victors?
Congress and President Barack Obama spared the FAA from the full brunt of sequester, sending a clear message: We’re willing to cave. Now advocates for other agencies and programs are lining up by the newly opened door, looking for fixes to their own across-the-board budget cut woes. Some are better positioned than others to come out ahead, especially causes with a powerful story: Think of long waits, terrorism threats or deadly disease outbreaks. [See expanded coverage]
May 2: Fox News: Special Ops Called for Military Backup During Benghazi Attack:
On the night of the Benghazi terror attack, special operations put out multiple calls for all available military and other assets to be moved into position to help -- but the State Department and White House never gave the military permission to cross into Libya, sources told Fox News.
The disconnect was one example of what sources described as a communication breakdown that left those on the ground without outside help. [See expanded coverage]
May 2: Fox News: State Department's Benghazi review panel under investigation, Fox News confirms:
The State Department's Office of Inspector General is investigating the special internal panel that probed the Benghazi terror attack for the State Department, Fox News has confirmed. The IG's office is said to be seeking to determine whether the Accountability Review Board, or ARB -- led by former U.N. Ambassador Thomas Pickering and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen -- failed to interview key witnesses who had asked to provide their accounts of the Benghazi attacks to the panel. The IG's office notified the department of the "special review" on March 28, according to Doug Welty, the congressional and public affairs officer of the IG's office. This disclosure marks a significant turn in the ongoing Benghazi case, as it calls into question the reliability of the blue-ribbon panel that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton convened to review the entire matter. [See expanded coverage]
May 2: The Hill: Obama: This was just the first round of gun control measures:
As the man under whom Operation Fast and Furious was carried out, President Obama vowed Thursday during a press conference in Mexico City that the White House would continue pushing for an expansion of background checks to cover firearms purchases online and at gun shows.
"Things happen somewhat slowly in Washington. But this was just the first round," Obama said. "I believe we'll eventually get that done. We'll keep on trying." He went on to argue that gun control was also important to prevent the trafficking of firearms across the border, where American-bought arms helped fuel Mexico's bloody drug wars. [See expanded coverage]
May 2: Fox News: California Governor "Moon Beam" Brown Signs Legislation to Speed Up Gun Seizures:
Gov. Jerry Brown announced Wednesday that he has signed legislation expanding the ability of state agents to seize firearms from nearly 20,000 Californians who are not allowed to have them. [See expanded coverage]
May 2: The Hill: The Price for a Debt Ceiling Increase will be a balanced budget, conservatives say:
Conservative groups are vowing to force lawmakers to adopt a balanced budget plan before passing any increase in the nation’s debt ceiling. The Club for Growth and Heritage Action said that establishing a path to a balanced budget within 10 years will be their demand in the looming fight between congressional Republicans and President Obama. [Editor's Note: Why wait for ten years to balance the budget?] The nation hits its $16.4 trillion debt ceiling on May 19. The Treasury Department, however, should be able to take extraordinary measures to avoid immediately defaulting on payment obligations.
The new pressure from conservative groups comes as House GOP leaders are discussing measures that would tie a hike in the debt limit to tax reform legislation and additional spending cuts. President Obama, however, has said he will not negotiate over the debt ceiling, urging Republicans to raise the limit without preconditions. In 2011, Obama was forced by congressional Republicans to accept dollar-for-dollar cuts to the federal budget over ten years for a $2.1 billion increase in the debt ceiling, a move he has said was a mistake. [See expanded coverage]
May 2: The Hill: Small Businesses Sue the IRS for "Illegal" implementation of Obamacare:
A group of small businesses filed a new legal challenge Thursday to the insurance subsidies in President Obama's healthcare law. The businesses said they shouldn't have to provide health insurance to their employees — and that their employees also shouldn't be able to get a subsidy from the government to help afford coverage on their own.
The suit accuses the IRS of illegally implementing subsidies to help people buy private insurance. It all starts with the law's insurance exchanges — new marketplaces where individuals and small businesses can buy private insurance. The law sets up an exchange in each state, and authorizes the federal government to build the exchange in any state that doesn't build its own. And that's the catch — the law specifically refers to subsidies flowing through exchanges "established by the state." The law's critics say subsidies should therefore only be available in state-run exchanges — not in the federal version. “The IRS rule we are challenging is at war with the act’s plain language and completely rewrites the deal that Congress made with the states on running these insurance exchanges," Carvin said. [See expanded coverage]
May 1: Fox News:
Iraqi War Vet Acts: Couldn’t Have Done this in New York or Colorado under their new gun control laws!
Police say an Iraq War veteran thwarted two would-be burglars at his northern Michigan gas station by kicking one of them and ordering them away with an AR-15 rifle. [See Detailed Report]
May 1: Politico: A House Divided Against Itself?
Speaker John Boehner, Cantor and McCarthy are plagued by a Republican conference split into two groups. In one camp are stiff ideologues who didn’t extract any lesson from Mitt Romney’s loss and are only looking to slash spending and defund President Barack Obama’s health care law at every turn. In the other are lawmakers who are aligned with Cantor, who is almost singularly driving an agenda which is zeroed in on family issues.
Boehner seems more focused on passing big pieces of legislation like hiking the debt ceiling and extending government funding, sometimes drawing flak for having to rely on Democrats to move these bills over the finish line. The House simply isn’t interested in the agendas being pushed by the president and Democratic Senate. Most Republicans aren’t looking for a big legislative push on gun control. GOP leaders are skeptical that they can arrive at a framework to negotiate a budget agreement with Senate Democrats. And tax reform and an immigration overhaul, while broadly supported, are still seen as long shots.
May 1: The Hill: IRS proposes health law's tax credit rules:
The Obama administration on Wednesday published a set of proposed regulations to guide the allocation of federal tax credits for some Americans under the president’s Affordable Care Act.
People who don’t receive adequate health insurance through their employers would be eligible for premium tax credits of varying amounts, based on their income. The draft Internal Revenue Services (IRS) rules, published in the Federal Register for public consideration, detail the parameters of the program. The action follows the administration’s move to simplify application forms to apply for the tax credits and join health exchanges created by the landmark law. As currently drafted, the credits would apply to taxpayers whose household income is between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty line, calibrated to the size of the individual’s family.
May 1: The Hill: Botched ObamaCare rollout tops Democratic fears for 2014 election:
Anxious Democrats fear a botched implementation of ObamaCare could dash their hopes of controlling the House and Senate for President Obama’s last two years in office. At his press conference Tuesday, Obama acknowledged “glitches and bumps” in the law’s rollout, but some congressional Democrats fear much worse. One high-ranking Democrat told The Hill that it is his leading concern. “The White House is going to have to step up its game,” the lawmaker said. “The Republicans are doing everything they can to prevent success … The White House is going to need to understand that.” The Obama administration will enlist “navigators” starting this summer to help people understand their new healthcare options. There has been speculation that implementation dates might have to be pushed back, but Democratic sources say that the White House is forging ahead and there is no talk of such a move.
ObamaCare helped Republicans gain control of the House in 2010, and the GOP is hoping the law will bolster its chances of wresting the Senate from Democratic control in 2014. To win back the House, Democrats must pick up 17 seats. That will be all but impossible if the implementation of ObamaCare is rocky. The administration faces a major test in preparation for Jan. 1, 2014, when the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges, Medicaid expansion and consumer protections are scheduled to take effect.
May 1: The Hill: GOP says Benghazi whistleblowers will 'expose new facts’
Eyewitnesses with potentially damaging information on the Obama administration’s handling of last year's terror attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi will testify at a hearing next week, Republicans said. [See more details about this story]
May 1: Fox News: FBI Posts Photos of Individuals Wanted for Questioning on Benghazi:
The FBI has posted images of three people wanted for questioning regarding the terror attack last year on a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, as investigators continue to search for suspects more than seven months after the deadly assault. [See more details on this story]
May 1: Money Morning: Schiff: 2/3 of America to Lose Everything Because of This Crisis:
A record breaking stock market is distorting a frightening reality: The U.S. is being eaten alive by a horrific cancer that will ultimately destroy the economy and impoverish the vast majority of its citizens. That's according to Peter Schiff, the best-selling author and CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, who delivered his harsh warning to investors in a recent interview on Fox Business. "I think we are heading for a worse economic crisis than we had in 2007," Schiff said. "You're going to have a collapse in the dollar... a huge spike in interest rates... and our whole economy, which is built on the foundation of cheap money, is going to topple when you pull the rug out from under it."
Schiff says that, despite "phony" signs of an economic recovery, the cancer destroying America, stems from a lethal concoction of our $16 trillion federal debt and the Fed's never ending money printing. Currently, Bernanke and company is buying $1 trillion of Treasury and mortgage bonds a year. That's about $85 billion per month against a budget deficit that is about the same level. According to Schiff, these numbers are unsustainable. And the Fed has no credible "exit strategy." Eventually interest rates will rise... and when they do, Schiff says, stocks will tank and bonds dip to nothing. Massive new tax hikes will be imposed and programs and entitlements will be cut to the bone.
May 1: The Hill: President Obama signs bill to ease flight delays from FAA furloughs:President Obama signed legislation on Wednesday to end the air traffic controller furloughs from sequestration that were blamed for hundreds of flight delays last week. The White House said Obama signed the measure, the Reducing Flight Delays Act of 2013 (H.R. 1765). The bill allows the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to move money around in its budget to eliminate furloughs for air traffic controllers. The money would come from a grant program used for airport improvements.
Obama has criticized the measure as a short-term solution that does not fix the problems caused by the spending cuts from sequestration. "Congress responded to the short-term problem of flight delays by giving us the option of shifting money that's designed to repair and improve airports over the long term to fix the short-term problem," he said during a press conference on Tuesday. "Well that's not a solution. Essentially what we've done is, we've said, in order to avoid delays this summer, we're going to ensure delays for the next two or three decades." Conveniently omitted was the fact that sequestration was the idea of the Obama Administration.
May 1: Fox News: Americans find ways to soften sequester; saving tourist seasons, programs for needy:
Americans cannot cover the entire $85 billion in federal budget cuts this year known as sequester, but they’re pulling together to make up the losses for important matters like helping local economies and salvaging federal programs that serve needy children. When the Navy decided to deal with sequester by pulling its popular Blue Angels fighter jet team from air shows and other events, organizers of Seattle’s annual Seafair festival dug into their general fund to pay for a replacement – the Patriots Jet Team. Seafair President Beth Knox said the Blue Angels had performed at the festival over the past four decades so spending $80,000 was important to the community and worth the money."We've had to look outside the box and find ways that we can fill the gaps where our government is not able to provide those services," she told Fox News. In addition to hiring the California-based group of retired fighter pilots, festival organizers also are bringing in a ship from the Canadian Navy to replace a U.S. warship that won’t be coming to this summer’s events.
May 1: The Hill: Federal Reserve: Fiscal policy 'restraining' economic rebound:
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday said the nation's fiscal policy is holding back its economy and signaled it may be prepared to do more to boost growth. The central bank announced Wednesday that it was continuing its ongoing efforts to stimulate the economy, keeping interest rates near zero and buying up $85 billion of bonds every month in a bid to further spur the economy.
In its latest statement, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) said the U.S. economy was growing at a "moderate pace," no thanks to its fiscal course. "Fiscal policy is restraining economic growth," the FOMC said. As sequestration continues to take effect, the Fed said it was sticking to its "quantitative easing" plan, buying up $40 billion of housing bonds and another $45 billion of Treasury bonds. It added, for the first time, the Fed could potentially increase the size of those purchases, as well as decrease, depending on what happens with the economy or the Fed's handle on inflation.
Go to the News Coverage from November 2012 through April 2013