Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

IRS auditing conservative news provider Breitbart.com

Yes, the same IRS that targeted Tea Party groups in order to help Obama win re-election.

Ted Cruz wrote a letter to the IRS about the audit, and you can read it here on the Breitbart web site.

Excerpt:

Dear Commissioner Koskinen:

I write to express deep concern over the recent announcement by Breitbart News that the Internal Revenue Service recently notified the Breitbart News Network, LLC that it would be subject to a far-reaching, burdensome, and open-ended audit.

As you know, the Breitbart News Network LLC is a conservative-leaning press outlet. It has editors and reporters who cover daily political news and regularly breaks stories that are critical of the Obama Administration’s policies. To conduct this audit, Breitbart News Network, LLC was asked to provide the IRS with all of its organizational documents, financial records, W-2s, W-4s, 1099s, and K-1s filed, personal income tax returns for each member of the company, payroll tax forms, information regarding properties and assets acquired by the company, bank statements, and array of other records documenting revenues, expenses, and depreciation costs.

This media audit, coupled with the recent proposal of 49 Senate Democrats to amend the Constitution to give Congress plenary power to regulate political speech, paints a disturbing picture of a coordinated assault on the First Amendment.

In another time, under another Administration, the decision to audit a conservative news organization might not have risen to a worrisome level of concern. However, given the IRS’s disturbing track record of illegally targeting conservative organizations-including the IRS recently paying a $50,000 settlement for having wrongfully leaked a conservative group’s confidential tax information-and the persistent refusal by the current Department of Justice to meaningfully investigate or prosecute those crimes, the decision to audit Breitbart News Network, LLC appears highly questionable.

For the IRS to behave like a partisan political organization, targeting media organizations whose views differ from the President’s, would represent a gross abuse of power. It would undermine the statutory mission and integrity of the IRS. And it would likely subject IRS employees to criminal prosecution.

The rest of the letter is Ted Cruz’s questioning of the IRS for their actions. It’s cases like this that make me want to abolish the entire IRS and go with a two-tier flat tax system with almost no deductions. Put the corrupt bureaucrats out of a job. That’s the only thing they will understand – the unemployment line.

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IRS reveals that it has lost e-mails of 5 more employees

Were any of these employees in on the IRS persecution of Tea Party groups prior to the 2012 election? Let’s see.

Leftist Associated Press reports.

The IRS says it has lost emails from five more workers who are part of congressional investigations into the treatment of conservative groups that applied for tax exempt status.

The tax agency said in June that it could not locate an untold number of emails to and from Lois Lerner, who headed the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status. The revelation set off a new round of investigations and congressional hearings.

On Friday, the IRS said it has also lost emails from five other employees related to the probe, including two agents who worked in a Cincinnati office processing applications for tax-exempt status.

The agency blamed computer crashes for the lost emails. In a statement, the IRS said it found no evidence that anyone deliberately destroyed evidence.

What are the odds of all these employees suddenly losing their e-mails because of “computer crashes” at the same time? Zero.

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Lois Lerner’s Blackberry deliberately destroyed after start of congressional probe

Barack Obama playing golf - again!

Barack Obama playing golf – again!

Story from Fox News.

Excerpt:

Director of Exempt Organizations for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Lois Lerner prepares to deliver an opening statement to a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on alleged targeting of political groups seeking tax-exempt status from by the IRS, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Reuters)

Lois Lerner’s Blackberry was intentionally destroyed after Congress had begun its probe into IRS targeting of conservative groups, a senior IRS lawyer acknowledged in a sworn declaration.

Thomas Kane, Deputy Assistant Chief Counsel for the IRS, wrote in the declaration, part of a lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch against the IRS, that the Blackberry was “removed or wiped clean of any sensitive or proprietary information and removed as scrap for disposal in June 2012.”

That date – June 2012 – is significant because by that time, ex-IRS official Lerner had already been summoned before congressional staffers who interviewed her about reports of the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups.

“We had already talked to her. Our personal staff and Oversight Committee staff had sat down with Ms. Lerner and confronted her about information we were getting from conservative groups in the state of Ohio and around the country,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, told Fox News.

“If you intentionally destroy evidence, that is a crime. If you make a statement in court saying the evidence is not available and it is, that is also a crime,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice.

The IRS did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

News of the Blackberry’s destruction followed Monday’s statement by Judicial Watch that Justice Department attorneys said in a Friday phone call the federal government backs up all computer records to ensure continuity of government in event of a catastrophe, but retrieving the Lerner emails would simply be “too onerous.”

[...]Cleta Mitchell, an attorney who represents other conservative groups suing the IRS, cited a whistleblower who bolsters Judicial Watch’s interpretation.

“I received information from a former Department of Homeland Security official who had security clearances. He just retired in April,” Mitchell said. “He contacted me and he contacted Judicial Watch and some members of Congress and said there is backup material.”

The dueling versions are not likely to sit well with District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan, who is presiding over Judicial Watch’s lawsuit against the IRS. “He gave the IRS not one, but two opportunities in court filings with him to tell him where they were,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch. “There was no mention of this backup system to the court at that time.”

According to Sidney Powell, author of “Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice,” Sullivan is known to scold government lawyers who withhold evidence.

Powell said Sullivan appointed an independent counsel to investigate DOJ’s prosecution of now deceased Republican Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska.Sullivan described the Stevens prosecution as “the worst case of misconduct he’d seen in 25 years.”

Sullivan also said, “When government does not meet its obligations to turn over evidence, the system falters.”

So, this is the most transparent administration ever, with “not even a smidgeon of corruption” as Obama said, with a straight face.

So I have some advice for American voters. Next time, let’s insist that a person has actually done a little work on what they claim to want to do, so we know that they are serious about it. Instead of just believing happy talk, let’s see the accomplishments, like we would when hiring for any job. If someone claims to be passionate and competent at something, like cleaning up corruption and improving transparency, then let’s ask them for some evidence that this has been a priority for them in the past. And that it’s something they’ve actually been able to do to a significant degree. We need someone competent. Not a clown or a stand-up comedian. He is not the entertainer-in-chief, he is the commander-in-chief.

Also, Newsbusters noticed that none of the mainstream media reported on this story – which is a bombshell of a story. Remember that when you are deciding where to get your news- the mainstream media doesn’t cover stories like this. It annoys me when I think of all the people in other countries who watch CNN who will never see this story or stories like it, yet they think they are being informed. Censoring stories like this is not good journalism, but if people don’t know what’s being left out…

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47 of 73 federal Inspectors General protesting Obama administration obstruction of justice

From the Daily Signal.

Excerpt:

In an unprecedented letter, a majority of the federal government’s inspectors general (IGs) claim that the Obama administration is obstructing their investigations into government mismanagement and corruption. So much for President Obama’s claim that his would be the most transparent administration in history.

And it truly IS unprecedented. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, says “there has never been a letter even with a dozen IGs complaining” about such obstruction by an administration. The fact that the Justice Department’s IG, Michael Horowitz, also signed on is particularly revealing. After all, it is the duty of senior executive officers like Eric Holder to advise subordinate officials that they are obligated to cooperate with the IGs of their agencies.

On Aug. 5, 47 of the federal government’s 73 inspectors general, many of whom were appointed by President Obama, sent their letter to Issa, Sen. Thomas Carper (D-Del.), and the ranking members of the House Oversight and Government Reform and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committees — essentially pleading with Congress to help the IGs do their jobs uncovering waste, mismanagement, fraud, and corruption within their respective agencies.

In the letter, the IGs complain about the “serious limitations on access to records that have recently impeded the work” of IGs at the Peace Corps, the EPA, and the Department of Justice. Administration lawyers have construed laws related to privilege in “a manner that would override the express authorization contained in the IG Act” and seriously impede the “ability [of the IGs] to conduct our work thoroughly, independently, and in a timely manner.”

According to the letter, the Justice Department withheld “essential records” in three different reviews, despite the fact that such records had been produced for the DOJ IG “in many prior reviews without objection.” Michael Horowitz eventually got access to the files, it seems, but not because Department officials realized they were misinterpreting the IG law in withholding access. No, Horowitz got the records only after DOJ leadership decided that “the three reviews were of assistance to the Department of Justice’s leadership.”

In other words, Attorney General Eric Holder and his political subordinates only gave the IG access to these records because they decided there was nothing in them that would prove embarrassing.

It’s the most transparent administration in history, just read the IRS e-mails that were deleted and you’ll see that there is no abuse of power at all.

Filed under: News, , , ,

Judge orders DOJ to release Fast and Furious documents blocked by Obama

Katie Pavlich reports on it for Townhall.com.

Excerpt:

Thanks to a Freedom of Information Act Lawsuit pursued against the Department of Justice by government watchdog Judicial Watch, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled documents being withheld from Congress under President Obama’s claim of executive privilege must be turned over. Obama made the claim on the same day Attorney General Eric Holder was voted in criminal and civil contempt of Congress in June 2012.

“This order forces the Obama DOJ, for the first time, to provide a detailed listing of all documents that it has withheld from Congress and the American people for years about the deadly Fast and Furious gun running scandal,” Judicial Watch released in a statement.

The FOIA lawsuit has been ongoing for 16-months and is now proceeding after a lengthy delay. The Justice Department originally asked the court for an indefinite hold on a FOIA request from Judicial Watch, citing executive privilege and an ongoing investigation. That indefinite hold request was shot down more than a year ago.

The documentation DOJ is required to now turn over is a “Vaughn index” of “all requested Fast and Furious materials from a June 2012 Judicial Watch FOIA request.”

A Vaughn index must: (1) identify each document withheld; (2) state the statutory exemption claimed; and (3) explain how disclosure would damage the interests protected by the claimed exemption.” In ordering the DOJ to provide Judicial Watch the Vaughn index, the Court ruled, “In this circuit, when an agency is withholding documents under exemption claims, courts require that the agency provide a Vaughn index so that the FOIA requester – at a distinct informational disadvantage – may test the agency’s claims.”

“Once again, Judicial Watch has beat Congress to the punch in getting key information about another Obama scandal – this time, the Fast and Furious outrage,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “A federal court has ordered the Obama administration to produce information that could, for the first time, provide specific details who in the administration is responsible for Fast and Furious lies to Congress and the American people. This is a battle that put Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, saw Nixonian assertions of executive privilege by Barack Obama, and a hapless Congress in face of all this lawlessness. Finally, we may get some accountability for Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and the countless others murdered as a result of the insanely reckless Obama administration program.”

Unfortunately, this is coming too late for Obama’s 2012 re-election contest, and the mainstream media is unlikely to report it, just like they failed to report the IRS scandal. But if we all share this story, it will help people to realize how lawless and corrupt this administration really is. It’s gangster government, as Michele Bachmann said. The crooks are in charge.

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