Archive for the ‘Scams & Scandals’ Category
Back in 2007, Senator Obama said:
“I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our Constitution and our freedom.
That means no more illegal wire-tapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient.”
It would appear that his tune has changed since becoming president:
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During his speech in San Jose, California on Friday, President Obama took one question from the press on national security monitoring of Americans. Without any sense of irony whatsoever in the aftermath of the IRS’ targeting of conservatives, the administration’s stonewalling on Benghazi, the Department of Justice’s targeting of reporters, the Department of Health and Human Services’ leveraging of private organizations for Obamacare public relations cash, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s secret email addresses, Obama unloaded this line:
If people can’t trust not only the executive branch but also don’t trust Congress, and don’t trust federal judges, to make sure that we’re abiding by the Constitution with due process and rule of law, then we’re going to have some problems here.
Obama acknowledged that the U.S. government is collecting reams of phone records, including phone numbers and the duration of calls, but said this does not include listening to calls or gathering the names of callers.
“Nobody’s listening to the content of people’s phone calls,” Obama said.
The Investors Business Daily editorial board opines:
Barack Obama is now not only following George Orwell’s model in his newly uncovered domestic spying practices; he’s copying one of the most shocking aspects of the dystopian society Orwell conjured: telling people the exact opposite of the truth with a straight face.
[...] When a president who promised “the most open and transparent administration in history” must now scramble and assure the country that “nobody is listening to your telephone calls,” it exposes a grave breach of trust.
What’s to worry about? It’s not like they’d abuse this information to target political dissidents or anything.
We already know who Obama & Co. define as “terrorists,” and they don’t include the Boston Bombers or Ft. Hood Shooter.
Somebody’s been drinking too much Kool-Aid:
A poll released Monday shows that despite the uproar over the National Security Agency’s newly leaked surveillance programs, a majority of Americans are fine with the agency’s pervasive reach. Still, a sizable majority is opposed to the vast NSA surveillance net.
The snap poll comes courtesy of the Pew Research Center and the Washington Post. After asking 1,004 American adults for their opinions on NSA surveillance programs like the newly revealed tech-spying program PRISM, pollsters found that 56 percent of Americans have no objection.
Conor Friedersdorf at the Atlantic wants to know:
How is it tolerated by the American people?
That’s the most pressing question. The civic negligence required to reach this point is the thing that most disappoints me about my fellow citizens, who ought to throw out every last member of Congress complicit in the metastasizing surveillance state. I am serious. Look up your representative. In a letter or phone call, demand they take a stand against this, on penalty of you voting against them in a primary or general.
That’s how change happens when the president who promised it turns out to have lied.
We don’t know if the federal government has a similar order for AT&T or any other carrier. Or if they’re spying on Americans’ emails as well. Why? That isn’t the sort of thing President Obama thinks he needs to tell us, and Congress persists in giving him that latitude. Americans, who haven’t been objecting to any of this in large numbers, aren’t even demanding to know whether or not their government is assembling the most sophisticated surveillance state in human history.
Has fear of terrorism done this to us?
Whatever the cause, the current behavior of the American electorate does not befit a free people.
Another government agency caught abusing their power against helpless citizens. These scandals just keep piling up, and ALL involve innocent, average Americans being deliberately targeted and victimized by their own government. Still think this is the land of the free?
The EPA is already accused of targeting conservative groups while showing preferential treatment to left-wing wacko environmentalist groups.
Now, like the IRS, it appears that they have been leaking innocent citizens’ personal information to a radical left-wing groups that specialize in finding people to target and making their lives a living hell:
The Environmental Protection Agency acknowledged Tuesday that it released personal information on potentially thousands of farmers and ranchers to environmental groups, following concerns from congressional Republicans and agriculture groups that the release could endanger their safety.
[...] The information on livestock and produce farmers was sought through a Freedom of Information Act request by the groups Earth Justice, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Pew Charitable Trust. They were given information on roughly 80,000 farmers and ranchers.
Pew returned the original information, per the agency’s request Thursday, according to documents obtained by Fox.
The agency acknowledged the information included individual names, email addresses, phone numbers and personal addresses.
Since when does the FOIA include people’s home addresses and phone numbers?
Earth Justice’s basic reason for existence is to try to sue into oblivion any industrial development that they don’t like; and a large part of their strategy is to find someone to target, then find something that they can target them with (like, for example, the Clean Water Act). But you’re saying Moe, the family farmers aren’t subject to the CWA! …And perhaps that is true. But there’s a whole bunch of regulations that those farmers are subject to – and their personal information has just been given to a bunch of hardcore progressive lawyers who capitalize the word ‘people.’ In other words; if you don’t think that the EPA has put small farmers and ranchers at increased risk of punitive lawfare by partisan activists, well. I would almost envy you that private world of yours, except that I suspect that there isn’t quite enough oxygen in it.
Attorney General Eric Holder Investigated For Lying to Congress Under Oath About Targeting Reporters
A law enforcement official has told NBC News that Attorney General Eric Holder is the one who signed the search warrant for the private emails of Fox News reporter James Rosen. The warrant was signed under the guise that Rosen might be a “possible co-consiprator” in violation of the Espionage Act.
Problem is, Holder denied all knowledge – much less involvement – of the DOJ targeting of reporters during sworn testimony before congress.
Last week, and while under oath, Attorney General Eric Holder testified before a House committee that when it comes to “try[ing] to prosecute the press for the publication of material” he has “never been involved in, heard of” such a thing.
Thursday, however, we learned that it was Holder who signed off on the application for a warrant to gain access to the private emails and phone records of Fox News reporter James Rosen. In doing so, Holder labeled Rosen a co-conspirator to obtain classified material under the Espionage Act of 1917.
Congress gave the Attorney General a deadline to clear up the “inconsistencies” in his testimony, but (surprise!), Holder missed it. He’s practically daring congress to subpoena him, but so far they don’t have the spine:
Republican lawmakers want to haul Attorney General Eric Holder back to the Hill to explain questionable testimony he gave on reporter surveillance — though they are stopping short of issuing a subpoena.
In a letter sent Thursday to the attorney general, Republican leaders of the House Judiciary Committee urged Holder to testify on June 18, or some other date before the end of the month. They say his department’s prior response to date “still fails to fully and adequately answer our questions.”
They want Holder to explain his May 15 testimony.
This guy is so used to getting away with everything, it will take a lot more than “pretty please” to get him to comply.
I guess going on national television and bold-faced lying to the American people about a terrorist attack and four dead Americans has its perks.
U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, famed as the chief purveyor of the Obama Administration’s false talking points on the Benghazi attack, will become Barack Obama’s new National Security Adviser following the resignation of Tom Donilon. Obama previously tried to promote her to Secretary of State, but that required confirmation, so the effort collapsed.
I’d say that a more brazen insult to the American people from this President could not be imagined, but, hey, IRS.
This means the President who claims he learns about his Administration’s activities by watching the news will be advised on national security by a woman famous for lying to the media. That seems like a closed information loop. Rice’s defenders claimed she had nothing to do with preparing the phony talking points – she was just mindlessly reciting them. Is that really the sort of thing America wants on a national security adviser’s resume?
They put reporters under surveillance, data mine innocent citizens’ phone records and e-mails, grope little old ladies at the airport, sic the IRS on conservative groups, and call it “security.”
Meanwhile, REAL terrorist threats are coddled, protected, and allowed to slip through the cracks. Some, like the terrorists that “went missing,” are actually given the fake identities they need to get through security by our own government!
Why anyone would want to give incompetent bureaucrats with seriously screwed up priorities even MORE power to “protect” innocent citizens is beyond me!
The federal government gave witness protection to known and suspected terrorists and the U.S. Marshals Service even lost track of two of those people, according to a report Thursday from the Justice Department’s auditor that exposes the previously hidden side of the witness program.
“We found that the department did not definitively know how many known or suspected terrorists were admitted into the [witness protection] program,” the Justice inspector general said.
The auditor said that until it raised concerns, those terrorists were able to board airplanes and were able to “evade one of the government’s primary means of identifying and tracking terrorists’ movements and actions” through the new identities the government provided them.
It also said that of the two known or suspected terrorists that the federal government lost track of, one was later discovered to be living outside of the U.S. and the other is also likely outside of the country.
This is no different than taking their fingerprints or DNA, treating them like convicted criminals. What on earth makes them think they have the right to collect such personal data from children without parental consent or even notification?
Two days before their Memorial Day weekend break, kids from at least three different public schools — Bethune Academy (K-5), Davenport School of the Arts (K-5, middle and high school), and Daniel Jenkins Academy (6-12) — were subjected to iris scans without their parents’ knowledge or consent. The scans are essentially optical fingerprints, which the school intended to collect to create a database of biometric information for school bus security.
One mother took to Facebook to decry the outrageous breach after her son informed her of the unauthorized imaging. She posted a face-saving letter from Polk County Senior Director of Support Services Rob Davis notifying families only after the high-definition eye scans had been conducted.
The mom, April Serrano of Kissimmee, Fla., recounted: “I have been in touch with the principal at my son’s school this morning regarding the iris scans. She verified everything my son told me. … She said that she was following instructions from the Polk County School Board (PCSB), and that she knew very little, if anything, about this before it occurred. She just did as she was told.”
The principal “did as she was told,” no questions asked, just like a compliant servant of Big Brother is expected to do. Thank goodness for whistle-blowing parents unafraid to speak truth to mind-numbed power.
[...] “I am outraged and sickened by this blatant disregard for my son’s constitutional right to privacy and my parental rights over my son,” Serrano told me this week. Another affected mom, Connie Turlington, also publicly challenged the school district on local TV station WFLA: “This is a fingerprint of my child. Where does this information live? Who has a hold of it? … My question is: How is it deleted, and how can we be assured as parents that it’s gone?”
These parents are not alone. School districts across the country are contracting with private tracking firms to monitor students. Some are using radio frequency tracking technology (RFID) to log movements. Khaliah Barnes, the open government counsel with the Washington, D.C.-based Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), spelled out the chilling implications for freedom of speech, religion and association in a recent CBN interview: “Imagine for example a student being dissuaded from attending a political interest group because she fears that the tracking technology will alert the principal or other administrators where her political affiliations lie.”
Now, add the threat that the nationalized Common Core student databases pose to students and families. As I’ve reported previously, the feds are constructing an unprecedented nationwide student tracking system to aggregate massive amounts of personal data — including health-care histories, income information, religious affiliations, voting status and even blood types and homework completion.
The data will be available to a wide variety of public agencies….
Holy cow! They illegally got phone records from CONGRESS??
HH: The idea that this might be a Geithner-Axelrod plan, and by that, the sort of intimation, Henry II style, will no one rid me of this turbulent priest, will no one rid me of these turbulent Tea Parties, that might have just been a hint, a shift of an eyebrow, a change in the tone of voice. That’s going to take a long time to get to. I don’t trust the Department of Justice on this. Do you, Congressman Nunes?
DN: No, I absolutely do not, especially after this wiretapping incident, essentially, of the House of Representative. I don’t think people are focusing on the right thing when they talk about going after the AP reporters. The big problem that I see is that they actually tapped right where I’m sitting right now, the Cloak Room.
HH: Wait a minute, this is news to me.
DN: The Cloak Room in the House of Representatives.
HH: I have no idea what you’re talking about.
DN: So when they went after the AP reporters, right? Went after all of their phone records, they went after the phone records, including right up here in the House Gallery, right up from where I’m sitting right now. So you have a real separation of powers issue that did this really rise to the level that you would have to get phone records that would, that would most likely include members of Congress, because as you know…
DN: …members of Congress talk to the press all the time.
HH: I did not know that, and that is a stunner.
DN: Now that is a separation of powers issue here, Hugh.
DN: And it’s a freedom of press issue. And now you’ve got the IRS going after people. So these things are starting to cascade one upon the other, and you have the White House pretending like they’re in the clouds like it’s not their issue somehow.
Nune backtracked the term “tapped” later, confirming that although phone records had been obtained, none of the lines were actually tapped:
The DOJ admitted to obtaining call records from a phone used by the AP in the House press gallery, which is … different from tapping a room used by congressmen to talk shop. How Nunes confused the two, I have no idea. [...]
So he was sloppy in confusing obtaining phone records for wiretapping, and what he meant by the cloakroom is that, I guess, if a congressman in the room called up to an AP reporter in the press gallery, the DOJ would know about it from the gallery phone’s records.
The Washington Post confirmed that “The subpoenaed phones records included personal and office lines for several national security reporters and editors as well as “the main number for AP reporters in the House of Representatives press gallery.”
Either way, this is still a monumental abuse of power which serves to chill freedom of the press and intimidate potential sources and whistleblowers who might now think twice about speaking to the press.
Somebody better be going to jail over this.
The media finally discovers that their idol is actually a tyrant, after all, and they are not exempt from his abuses.
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.
[...] The records obtained by the Justice Department listed incoming and outgoing calls, and the duration of each call, for the work and home phone numbers of individual reporters, general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and the main number for AP reporters in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP.
In all, the government seized those records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012. The exact number of journalists who used the phone lines during that period is unknown but more than 100 journalists work in the offices whose phone records were targeted on a wide array of stories about government and other matters.
In a letter of protest sent to Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday, AP President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Pruitt said the government sought and obtained information far beyond anything that could be justified by any specific investigation. He demanded the return of the phone records and destruction of all copies.
Holder is now facing heated backlash from Democrats and the normally fawning liberal media. Rich Lowry ironically observes that the media have discovered that they have more in common with the Tea Party and NRA than they’d like to admit:
Another brilliant column from National Review’s Rich Lowry at Politico. Lowry makes the indisputable point that the same media that have spent years attacking the Tea Party, and months savaging the NRA, are now revealing brazen hypocrisy when it comes to protecting their own rights. In spirit and goal, the media are now one with the Tea Party and NRA.
What animates the Tea Party and NRA is a legitimate concern that the government — especially under President Obama — has made a disturbing pivot from their Constitutional requirement to protect our liberties, to infringing upon our liberties. In turn, Obama and his media label us as anti-government crazies suffering from paranoid delusions.
But look at the reaction this week from that very same media in the wake of the Associated Press scandal. Suddenly the media don’t like Big Government doing to them what ObamaCare and background checks will do to the rest of us. Moreover, the very same media that suggest not trusting the government is a form of extremism, is now demanding a law be immediately passed to shield them from government intrusion.
Matt Drudge warns:
Warning to reporters and sources: Assume all your communications are being monitored. Time to move back to the parking garage #longhotsummer
— MATT DRUDGE (@DRUDGE) May 13, 2013
If you’re opposed to the idolatrous cult of the Messianic Nanny State, beware…the Obama administration has you in their cross-hairs.
In a blistering letter to President Barack Obama, the Rev. Franklin Graham said the IRS targeted the two non-profits he heads with an audit last year after the organizations took out ads urging people to support biblical principles on marriage and in choosing political candidates.
In the letter, dated Tuesday, Graham said in light of recent revelations that the Internal Revenue Service targeted conservative groups with “tea party” or “patriot” in their names, he does not believe the audit was “a coincidence — or justifiable.” Graham, son of famed Christian evangelist the Rev. Billy Graham, now heads the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association based in Charlotte, N.C., and Samaritan’s Purse, a worldwide relief organization headquartered in Boone.
“I am bringing this to your attention because I believe that someone in the administration was targeting and attempting to intimidate us,” Graham concluded in the letter. “This is morally wrong and unethical — indeed some would call it ‘un-American.’”
James Dobson, the pro-life family advocate disclosed today that he was a victim of IRS discrimination, in a revelation that adds to the growing Internal Revenue Scandal.
Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, says he faced discrimination from the federal agency when trying to start a new group.
Family Talk Action Corporation is a Christian ministry that was formed for the purpose of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ; of providing Christ-oriented advice and education to parents and children; and of speaking to cultural issues that affect the family. Dobson is the president and CEO.
On September 2, 2011, Family Talk Action filed a Form 1024 with the Internal Revenue Service requesting § 501(c)(4) status. The attorney completing this form had submitted scores of similar applications over his 26 year career with none being rejected.
In January and February 2013, Family Talk Action’s counsel called the IRS reviewing agent, R. Medley (ID no. 52402), to inquire regarding when there would be a determination of the application. Her voice mail box was full on each of these calls so no message could be left. On March 6, he called Ms. Medley again and got routed to her voice mail again. This time, he was able to leave a voice mail message and requested a return call.
Medley did not call back until March 19. Family Talk Action’s attorney asked her when the IRS would issue its determination letter. Ms. Medley responded saying, I don’t think your Form 1024 (application for exemption) will be granted because Family Talk Action is “not educational” because it does not present all views. She continued, saying that Family Talk Action sounded like a “partisan right-wing group” because, according to Ms. Medley, it only presents conservative viewpoints.
She then added, “you’re political” because you “criticized President Obama, who was a candidate.”
Dobson and Graham weren’t the only targets during the 2012 campaign:
The Biblical Recorder, the official news journal for North Carolina Southern Baptists, found itself in the same situation in March – audited for the first time since the Baptist newspaper was founded in 1833.
The newspaper garnered national attention last summer after Editor Allan Blume published an interview with Chick-Fil-A president Dan Cathy. In reference to his support of the traditional family, Cathy said he was “guilty as charged.”
The Biblical Recorder also published the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s ads affirming traditional marriage.
And then – came the telephone call from the Internal Revenue Service.
“It raised some red flags and made me wonder why we were being targeted for an audit when we have been around since 1833 and have never been audited before,” Blume told Fox News. “Putting it all together made me wonder.”
Blume said the timing may have been coincidental – but “it didn’t seem that way.”
“There seems to be a very anti-Christian bias that has flowed into a lot of government agencies – oppression literally against Christian organizations and groups,” he said. “It makes you wonder what’s going on.
Blume said the newspaper was eventually cleared, but the audit consumed time and money.
“It was a lot of time and energy that we didn’t have,” he said. “It took some of our staff literally several weeks of doing nothing but that (the audit),” he said.
IRS officials refused to grant tax exempt status to two pro-life organizations because of their position on the abortion issue, according to a non-profit law firm, which said that one group was pressured not to protest a pro-choice organization that endorsed President Obama during the last election.
“In one case, the IRS withheld approval of an application for tax exempt status for Coalition for Life of Iowa. In a phone call to Coalition for Life of Iowa leaders on June 6, 2009, the IRS agent ‘Ms. Richards’ told the group to send a letter to the IRS with the entire board’s signatures stating that, under perjury of the law, they do not picket/protest or organize groups to picket or protest outside of Planned Parenthood,” the Thomas More Society announced today. “Once the IRS received this letter, their application would be approved.”
Planned Parenthood endorsed Obama in 2008 and 2012.
The IRS also pressured another pro-life group about its religious activities. “The IRS withheld approval of an application for charitable tax-exempt recognition of Christian Voices for Life, questioning the group’s involvement with ’40 Days for Life’ and ‘Life Chain’ events,” according to the law firm. “The Fort Bend County, Texas, organization was subjected to repeated and lengthy unconstitutional requests for information about the viewpoint and content of its educational communications, volunteer prayer vigils, and other protected activities.”
With this much coordination against his “enemies,” there’s NO WAY Obama didn’t know about it.
At this point, I’m not the least bit surprised.
[A]s details of the IRS scandal emerge, it’s increasingly giving the appearance of a wide-scale effort to tilt the playing field against conservative activist groups who might have been helpful to Republican candidates in the 2012 election, while at the same time coddling liberal groups helpful to Obama.
Consider what we now know the IRS did:
• Gave preferential treatment to liberal groups. On Tuesday, USA Today reported that while the IRS was hounding conservative groups and holding up their applications for tax-exempt status, it was quickly ushering liberal groups with names like “Progress Florida” and “Missourians Organizing for Reform” through the process.
USA Today found that in the 27 months after Feb. 2010, the IRS did not approve a single Tea Party application. Over those same months, however, dozens of applications submitted by liberal groups that were engaged in the same type of activities and were seeking the same tax status as the conservative ones sailed through the agency.
[...] • Made unusual document requests. Not only did the IRS target conservative groups for extra scrutiny, it also asked for massive amounts of information that it couldn’t possibly need to determine tax-exempt status.
[...] • Engaged in selective leaks. This week, ProPublica, a liberal-leaning nonprofit journalism organization, revealed that the IRS had leaked it nearly a dozen pending applications, including one submitted by Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS.
Tea Party groups reported waiting up to 3 years to get approval for their tax-exempt status, while liberal groups were approved in a matter of weeks. One Tea Party group claims that, after waiting for over a year with no response, they changed their name to one that sounded more “liberal” and were approved in 3 weeks.
Another Tea Party group in Ohio said that the IRS effectively shut down their efforts in the 2012 election:
Tom Zawistowski, executive director of the Portage County Tea Party, said donors stopped contributing to causes and candidates because of the confusion and fear that the IRS created.
“They succeeded in preventing us from doing what we were trying to do in 2012,” Zawistowski said. “Groups literally stopped fundraising in the summer of last year.”
The IRS is under investigation for the excessive scrutiny it gave conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status, a practice that elicited complaints from the Portage County Tea Party and other groups during the 2012 presidential election campaign.
Billionaire businessman Frank VanderSloot, a major Mitt Romney super PAC donor who was subjected to three federal agency audits after being slimed by the Obama campaign, says he isn’t the only one of his peers who was audited after donating to Romney.
VanderSloot, who was also national co-chair of the Romney campaign’s finance committee, was described in an April 2012 Obama campaign Web posting as one of eight “wealthy individuals with less-than-reputable records.”
Shortly after the post appeared, VanderSloot was subjected to two Internal Revenue Service audits — one focusing on his personal finances, the other related to his business interests — and a Labor Department audit of one of his businesses. When asked about whether any of the other seven donors who appeared on the list were audited as well, VanderSloot spoke cautiously, but did say he “wasn’t the only one.”
“I talked to only a handful of them since,” VanderSloot said. ”I’ve reached out to all of them. But only got calls back from a handful and most of the responses were they’re just laying low, you know, they took their own beatings and they don’t want any more of it and they don’t want to even talk about this.”
We also know that the IRS leaked confidential documents which were used by Obama’s re-election campaign to attack Mitt Romney.
Conclusion: the IRS was turned into the mafia intimidation arm of the Obama campaign.
Are we finally ready to abolish a corrupt agency who’s powers can be so easily weaponized against innocent citizens?
Another day, another Obama scandal.
The Internal Revenue Service is now facing a class action lawsuit over allegations that it improperly accessed and stole the health records of some 10 million Americans, including medical records of all California state judges.
According to a report by Courthousenews.com, an unnamed HIPAA-covered entity in California is suing the IRS, alleging that some 60 million medical records from 10 million patients were stolen by 15 IRS agents. The personal health information seized on March 11, 2011, included psychological counseling, gynecological counseling, sexual/drug treatment and other medical treatment data.“This is an action involving the corruption and abuse of power by several Internal Revenue Service agents,” the complaint reads. “No search warrant authorized the seizure of these records; no subpoena authorized the seizure of these records; none of the 10,000,000 Americans were under any kind of known criminal or civil investigation and their medical records had no relevance whatsoever to the IRS search. IT personnel at the scene, a HIPPA facility warning on the building and the IT portion of the searched premises, and the company executives each warned the IRS agents of these privileged records,” it continued.
How much money is on the line in this suit? Oh, a mere $25,000 in compensatory damages. Per violation. Which adds up to “a minimum of $250 billion.”Has Congress begun those emergency sessions to shut down ObamaCare yet? What else do they need to hear?
The dam has broken, the curtain has been lifted, and the flood of scandals coming to light this week is finally beginning to open people’s eyes.
1. Benghazi. Four Americans were abandoned to die in the middle of a terrorist attack. In the aftermath the administration changed the talking points, lied about a stupid video being to blame, and spent months trying to hide the truth as they intimidated and blocked access to witnesses.
2. The IRS admits to targeting Tea Party groups. It turns out they were also targeting pro-life groups, pro-Israel groups, religious groups, and pretty much anybody who dared to criticize Obama’s policies. They were also leaking confidential information about the opposition to their political friends.
3. The Department of Justice secretly obtained months of phone records from over 100 AP reporters and sources, including Congress. Guess the Obama administration likes to keep a jealous eye on his favorite mistress.
4. HHS Secretary shakes down companies she regulates for “donations” to implement Obamacare. It’s the Chicago way.
5. The EPA applies a double standard when dealing with conservative vs. liberal groups. If you’re “green,” you’re clean. If you oppose EPA power grabs and agenda, you’re treated as an enemy.
So how is Obama trying to squirm his way out of trouble?
One unique excuse being offered by David Axelrod is that the government is simply too big for Obama to know what’s going on. Yes, you heard that right…the liberals’ favorite argument that more government is the solution to every problem has suddenly turned into an excuse for ruling class ignorance and incompetence.
Another approach has been to claim that Obama is simply a passive and aloof leader who tends to distance himself from the nitty gritties of governing, and therefore has no clue what his underlings are up to.
Obama’s consistent claim that he always finds out about these scandals the same way that we do – when they first appear on the news – has become such a running joke that even Jon Stewart tore into him over the absurdity of it all.
Whoever created this meme summed it up beautifully:
Yep. That’s their story and they’re sticking to it.
Barely a week ago, President Obama stood before a crowd of new graduates and told them to reject the voices which warned them to be wary of government tyranny and oppression.
His remarks are all the more ironic, given the explosion of scandals which have been exposed this week, not the least of which involves the Obama administration using the IRS to intimidate and harass political opponents.
The Internal Revenue Service apologized Friday for what it acknowledged was “inappropriate” targeting of conservative political groups during the 2012 election to see if they were violating their tax-exempt status.
IRS agents singled out dozens of organizations for additional reviews because they included the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their exemption applications, said Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups. In some cases, groups were asked for lists of donors, which violates IRS policy in most cases, she said.
Conservative applicants were forced to answer bizarre and intrusive questions, provide mounds of paperwork, and wait as the IRS stalled on their applications for up to three years. For some groups, these hurdles prevented them from fully participating in the 2012 election.
An IRS campaign to apply additional scrutiny to conservative groups went beyond targeting “Tea Party” and “patriot” groups to include those focused on government spending, the Constitution and several other broad areas.
[...] The internal IG timeline shows a unit in the agency was looking at Tea Party and “patriot” groups dating back to early 2010. But it shows that list of criteria drastically expanding by the time a June 2011 briefing was held. It then included groups focused on government spending, government debt, taxes, and education on ways to “make America a better place to live.” It even flagged groups whose file included criticism of “how the country is being run.”
By early 2012, the criteria were updated to include organizations involved in “limiting/expanding government,” education on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and social economic reform.
It wasn’t just Tea Party groups being targeted. The IRS also targeted pro-life groups, Jewish groups, and individuals who dared to challenge, question or criticize Obama or his policies, including Billy Graham, columnist Todd Starnes, news anchor Larry Conners, businessman and Romney donor Frank VanderSloot, and Wayne Allyn Root, who describes the ugly ordeal:
I am the face of Obama’s IRS attacks. I am proof of how bad it is, when it started, that it was directed at individuals as well as groups, and that it did not involve only “low level IRS employees.”
[...] Most importantly, I’m living proof it was directed at individuals — with the intent of ruining our lives. It almost ruined mine. This is important because the American public needs to see the faces of the targets. I have a wife and 4 children. I didn’t deserve this.
Here is my personal story. I’m a small businessman, but also a national media personality with a megaphone. I’m an outspoken critic of Obama. My views are seen by millions on Fox News Channel, and read at web sites like The Blaze and FoxNews.com. And in almost every media appearance its pointed out that I’m Obama’s Columbia Class of ‘83 classmate. You don’t think Obama noticed?
The result? In January, 2011 an unprecedented IRS attack was launched against me. My personal story of IRS attack was covered extensively by conservative media.
In 30 years of doing business, I’ve had a spotless tax record. And I had never heard a peep from the IRS. The attack was so over-zealous and out of bounds, I was forced to hire one of this nation’s top tax attorneys, who took my case to court where we won a 100% victory.
My relief at being vindicated lasted five days! Then the IRS announced a new tax audit against me.
My attorney had never heard of such a thing and, before me, assumed it wasn’t possible.
The many legal and accounting experts (who drained my savings) all agreed this could only happen if I was on “Obama Enemies List.”
The attack was chilling and intimidating, affecting every aspect of my life. It was meant to bleed me dry, and teach me a lesson — if you dare to criticize Obama, get ready to lose everything.
Former Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld claims that the IRS has been used to retaliate against businessmen who dared to speak out, as well:
“Having been in the position of a chief executive officer, I can understand why a businessman might be reluctant to speak out against the actions of federal agencies that have the power to harm their enterprises,” he wrote in Rumsfeld’s Rules, which goes on sale Tuesday.
“By doing so, corporate leaders could expose themselves and their companies to government retaliation–from the IRS, the SEC, congressional committees, or the many other agencies of the federal government that regulate and oversee their operations,” he added.
Criticism of presidents, he said, is hard. “I suppose if more business leaders defended capitalism, there might not be quite as many smiling photos with politicians.”
As if this weren’t bad enough, it appears that not only was the IRS targeting conservatives for additional scrutiny and investigation, but they were also handing over their confidential information to progressive groups that could use the information against them:
The progressive-leaning investigative journalism group ProPublica says the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) office that targeted and harassed conservative tax-exempt groups during the 2012 election cycle gave the progressive group nine confidential applications of conservative groups whose tax-exempt status was pending.
The commendable admission lends further evidence to the lengths the IRS went during an election cycle to silence tea party and limited government voices.
A little over a year ago, I reported that, ”It is likely that someone at the Internal Revenue Service illegally leaked confidential donor information showing a contribution from Mitt Romney’s political action committee to the National Organization for Marriage, says the group.”
Now — on the heels of news the IRS’s apology for having targeted conservative groups — NOM is renewing their demand that the Internal Revenue Service reveal the identity of the people responsible.
“There is little question that one or more employees at the IRS stole our confidential tax return and leaked it to our political enemies, in violation of federal law,” said NOM’s president Brian Brow, in a prepared statement. “The only questions are who did it, and whether there was any knowledge or coordination between people in the White House, the Obama reelection campaign and the Human Rights Campaign. We and the American people deserve answers.”
Eric Holder’s corrupt Department of Justice has promised to investigate the IRS scandal. Congressman Issa scoffed at the idea of the Executive branch legitimately investigating itself, promising a thorough and transparent congressional investigation.
The House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight is already demanding all IRS communications which contain conservative buzz words such as “tea party” or “patriot,” along with the names of anyone involved in the scandal.
Repeal the 16th Amendment. Abolish the IRS.
If they’ve already proven themselves capable of targeting conservatives with only their tax information, what will they be capable of when they have even more information on their targets?
If they’ve already illegally released conservatives’ confidential tax information, what’s to stop them from leaking dissidents’ personal health information as well?
Obamacare is not merely a massive overhaul of the health care system. It is also a substantial expansion of the Internal Revenue Service. That’s because the law relies on the tax collection agency to both enforce its individual mandate and administer the tax credits the law offers to subsidize the purchase of health insurance. Following recent revelations that agents in multiple IRS offices, including tax officials in Washington, targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny, a number of former and current Republican legislators are already counseling caution about the agency’s role in administering the law.
Concerns about the agency’s oversight of the health law are well-founded—and not only because of general concerns about the agency’s judgment.
For one thing, the IRS appears to have specifically targeted groups that opposed the health care law. According to The Washington Post, “although some of the groups were explicitly labeled ‘tea party’ or ‘patriot,’ others that came under intense scrutiny were focused on challenging the Affordable Care Act — known by many as Obamacare — or the integrity of federal elections.”
In other words, the agency has singled out Obamacare opponents for unusual treatment. That does not speak well of the agency’s ability to fairly carry out its duties under the law.
Indeed it does not.
The editorial board at Investors Business Daily is similarly concerned:
[O]bamaCare’s individual mandate takes effect in 2014, all Americans who file income-tax returns must deal with and report personal health information to the IRS.
The IRS will require the name and health insurance identification number of the taxpayer, the name and tax identification number of the health insurance company, the number of months the taxpayer was covered by this insurance plan and whether the plan was purchased in one of ObamaCare’s “exchanges.”
Heavy fines will be levied for failure to jump through all the government’s hoops.
The new tax mandates and penalties in ObamaCare will require up to 16,500 new IRS personnel to collect, examine and audit new tax information mandated on families and small businesses, according to an analysis by the Joint Economic Committee and the then-minority GOP staff of the House Ways & Means Committee in 2010.
Will the IRS enforce the mandate rules impartially, or will it go after only those who support individual liberty and oppose government encroachment on it?
Will ObamaCare resisters also be considered enemies of the state?