Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Darrell Issa: e-mails suggest Democrat congressman prompted IRS to target conservative group

Katie Pavlich reports on Townhall.com.

Excerpt:

New IRS emails released by the House Oversight Committee show staff working for Democratic Ranking Member Elijah Cummings communicated with the IRS multiple times between 2012 and 2013 about voter fraud prevention group True the Vote. True the Vote was targeted by the IRS after applying for tax exempt status more than two years ago. Further, information shows the IRS and Cummings’ staff asked for nearly identical information from True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht about her organization, indicating coordination and improper sharing of confidential taxpayer information.

Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa, along with five Subcommittee Chairmen are demanding Cummings provide an explanation for the staff inquiries to the IRS about True the Vote and for his denial that his staff ever contacted the IRS about the group.

“Although you have previously denied that your staff made inquiries to the IRS about conservative organization True the Vote that may have led to additional agency scrutiny, communication records between your staff and IRS officials – which you did not disclose to Majority Members or staff – indicates otherwise,” the letter to Cummings states. “As the Committee is scheduled to consider a resolution holding Ms. Lerner, a participant in responding to your communications that you failed to disclose, in contempt of Congress, you have an obligation to fully explain your staff’s undisclosed contacts with the IRS.”

But there’s more – Cummings DENIED that he had contacted the IRS before:

Up until this point, Rep. Cummings has denied his staff ever contacted the IRS about True the Vote and their activities during Oversight hearings. In fact, on February 6, 2014 during a Subcommittee hearing where Engelbrecht testified, Cummings vehemently denied having any contact or coordination in targeting True the Vote when attorney Cleta Mitchell, who is representing the group, indicated staff on the Committee had been involved in communication with the IRS. This was the exchange:

Ms. Mitchell: We want to get to the bottom of how these coincidences happened, and we’re going to try to figure out whether any – if there was any staff of this committee that might have been involved in putting True the Vote on the radar screen of some of these Federal agencies. We don’t know that, but we – we’re going to do everything we can do to try to get to the bottom of how did this all happen.

Mr. Cummings. Will the gentleman yield?

Mr. Meadows. Yes.

Mr. Cummings. I want to thank the gentleman for his courtesy. What she just said is absolutely incorrect and not true.

After the hearing, Engelbrecht filed an ethics complaint against Cummings for his targeting and intimidation of her organization.

By the way, I did not blog a story that came out a couple of days ago that showed that contrary to the lies spread by the liberal media, not one single liberal/progressive group was targeted by the IRS.

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FBI declines to prosecute IRS for targeting Tea Party groups ahead of 2012 election

Investors Business Daily reports.

Excerpt:

The FBI says it won’t prosecute anyone at the IRS for its admitted targeting of the president’s political foes. This just as the agency claims the law is no longer its main mission. So it’s a political goon squad now.

According to a leak to the Wall Street Journal, the Federal Bureau of Investigation “didn’t find the kind of political bias or ‘enemy hunting’ that would amount to a violation of criminal law.” And so, nobody was likely to be prosecuted for the most blatant politicization of a federal agency within memory.

All the Bureau found was a “mismanaged” agency that enforced rules “it didn’t understand.” In other words, nothing to see here, move along.

That’s strange stuff for an agency whose most implicated regulator, Lois Lerner, invoked her Fifth Amendment rights against self incrimination in congressional testimony last year. That she came to congressional attention was only because of her calculated announcement that the IRS had in fact targeted Tea Party groups for special scrutiny — that’s right, admitted to breaking the law — in a preemptive attempt to paint her abuse of power as a customer service problem.

Her minions lied that it was only the work of low-level bureaucratic bumblers in Cincinnati. And after that sleazy string of favors that coincidentally benefited her president, she was permitted to retire on a full pension.

The reality is, the acts reeked of political targeting, the most illegal of acts, a corrupt use of government power, and a worthy target of checks and balances provided by the FBI in the name of law and order.

But for some reason, the FBI has neither interviewed the Tea Party activists targeted for intrusive scrutiny, nor has it noticed anything amiss in light of the White House’s rabid attacks on Tea Party activists. It hasn’t noticed the Tea Party’s demonstrable political strength in its large gatherings during the most intense period of its political targeting, nor noted the president’s record of “joking” about investigating political opponents.

And it hasn’t picked up the clue from the Center for Responsive Politics showing that IRS employees donated to Obama’s campaign by more than 2 to 1 over Tea Party-tied Republicans — let alone that the prosecutor chosen by the president to look into this case is a fat-cat donor to Obama.

I was lying in bed at 2:30 AM reading Twitter tweets when I came across this one and I just lay there thinking about this story before getting up to blog about it. And I thought to myself… I used to respect the FBI. I used to believe that they were different from the crooks at the State Department or Health and Human Services or the Environmental Protection Agency. I used to believe that they were the good guys. And now I see that they are just as corrupt as any secret police would be in any fascist state.

 

This is not the first time that the FBI has disappointed me, either:

Maybe the big pay increases and benefits that Obama gave all his supporters in the public sector unions were enough to buy off every last bit of honor and decency that used to be in the FBI.

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IRS exchanged confidential taxpayer information with White House

ECM sent me this article from The Daily Caller.

Excerpt:

Top Internal Revenue Service Obamacare official Sarah Hall Ingram discussed confidential taxpayer information with senior Obama White House officials, according to 2012 emails obtained by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and provided to The Daily Caller.

Lois Lerner, then head of the IRS Tax Exempt Organizations division, also received an email alongside White House officials that contained confidential information.

Ingram attempted to counsel the White House on a lawsuit from religious organizations opposing Obamacare’s contraception mandate. Email exchanges involving Ingram and White House officials — including White House health policy advisor Ellen Montz and deputy assistant to the president for health policy Jeanne Lambrew — contained confidential taxpayer information, according to Oversight.

[...]Federal employees who illegally disclose confidential taxpayer information could face five years in prison.

[...]Ingram appeared before Rep. Darrell Issa’s House Oversight Committee Wednesday and claimed she could not recall a document that contained confidential taxpayer information.

[...]Issa has requested unredacted copies of the emails, citing a prohibition from misusing Section 6103 “for the purpose of concealing information from a congressional inquiry.”

Ingram headed the scandal-ridden IRS office responsible for overseeing tax-exempt nonprofit groups before leaving to head the agency’s office in charge of Obamacare implementation.

I am not confident that any of the people responsible will face justice. Unless the Republicans are elected, all of this is going to be swept under the rug. Certainly, the media has no interest in holding the government accountable.

 

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IRS fascist Lois Lerner pleads the fifth to avoid transparency and accountability

The UK Daily Mail reports.

Excerpt:

The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday afternoon that Lois Lerner, who heads up the Internal Revenue Service’s tax-exempt division, plans to invoke the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in a hearing Wednesday before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Affairs.

The Fifth Amendment provides that U.S. citizens may not be compelled to offer testimony if telling the truth would incriminate them.

Lerner’s defense lawyer, William W. Taylor III, wrote to the committee on Tuesday that his client would refuse to answer questions related to what she knew about the extra levels of scrutiny applied to conservative nonprofit organizations that applied for tax-exempt status beginning in 2010.

She also will decline to say why she didn’t disclose what she knew to Congress, according to the LA Times.

[...]The IRS applied special criteria to conservative organizations seeking tax-exempt status, putting them on a ‘Be On The Lookout’ (BOLO) list, based on the groups’ names and political philosophies.

[...]Jay Carney, the president’s chief spokesman, confirmed Monday that senior White House staff, including White House Counsel Kathy Ruemmler and Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, knew about the IRS’s habits as early as April 24, and chose not to tell Obama.

The Inspector General report found that Lerner and other IRS were notified in or before June 2011 that some staff in the agency’s Cincinnati, Ohio office were using ‘tea party,’ ‘patriots’ and other key words to add applicants to the BOLO list.

Once on that list, the groups were subjected to additional auditing of their financial practices, their membership and their political activities.

Despite knowing about the program, Lerner and other senior IRS staffers withheld the information from Congress despite receiving several requests from House committees whose members heard from constituents that their tea party groups’ tax-exempt approvals were taking as long as two years to be resolved.

The House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee was among those that specifically asked the IRS whether it was inspecting tea party groups more closely than other applicants, including those on the political left.

Pleading the 5th is standard operating procedure for gangsters and mobsters who have committed crimes but do not want to be held accountable.

The Weekly Standard reports that she has a history of harassing and bullying Christians and conservatives. (H/T Director Blue)

Excerpt:

[P]rior to joining the IRS, Lerner’s tenure as head of the Enforcement Office at the Federal Election Commission (FEC) was marked by what appears to be politically motivated harassment of conservative groups.

Lerner was appointed head of the FEC’s enforcement division in 1986 and stayed in that position until 2001. In the late 1990s, the FEC launched an onerous investigation of the Christian Coalition, ultimately costing the organization hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless hours in lost work. The investigation was notable because the FEC alleged that the Christian Coalition was coordinating issue advocacy expenditures with a number of candidates for office. Aside from lacking proof this was happening, it was an open question whether the FEC had the authority to bring these charges.

James Bopp Jr., who was lead counsel for the Christian Coalition at the time, tells THE WEEKLY STANDARD the Christian Coalition investigation was egregious and uncalled for. “We felt we were being singled out, because when you handle a case with 81 depositions you have a pretty good argument you’re getting special treatment. Eighty-one depositions! Eighty-one! From Ralph Reed’s former part-time secretary to George H.W. Bush. It was mind blowing,” he said.

All told the FEC deposed 48 different people—and that doesn’t begin to account for all the FEC’s requests for information. Bopp further detailed the extent of the inquiry in testimony delivered before the congressional Committee on House Administration in 2003:

The FEC conducted a large amount of paper discovery during the administrative investigation and then served four massive discovery requests during the litigation stage that included 127 document requests, 32 interrogatories, and 1,813 requests for admission. Three of the interrogatories required the Coalition to explain each request for admission that it did not admit in full, for a total of 481 additional written answers that had to be provided. The Coalition was required to produce tens of thousands of pages of documents, many of them containing sensitive and proprietary information about finances and donor information. Each of the 49 state affiliates were asked to provide documents and many states were individually subpoenaed. In all, the Coalition searched both its offices and warehouse, where millions of pages of documents are stored, in order to produce over 100,000 pages of documents.

Furthermore, nearly every aspect of the Coalition’s activities has been examined by FEC attorneys from seeking information regarding its donors to information about its legislative lobbying. The Commission, in its never-ending quest to find the non-existent “smoking gun,” even served subpoenas upon the Coalition’s accountants, its fundraising and direct mail vendors, and The Christian Broadcasting Network.

One of the most shocking things about the current IRS scandal is the revelation that the agency asked one religious pro-life group to detail the content of their prayers and asked clearly inappropriate questions about private religious activity. But under Lerner’s watch, inappropriate religious inquiries were a hallmark of the FEC’s interrogation of the Christian Coalition. According to Bopp’s testimony:

FEC attorneys continued their intrusion into religious activities by prying into what occurs at Coalition staff prayer meetings, and even who attends the prayer meetings held at the Coalition. This line of questioning was pursued several times. Deponents were also asked to explain what the positions of “intercessory prayer” and “prayer warrior” entailed, what churches specific people belonged, and the church and its location at which a deponent met Dr. Reed.

One of the most shocking and startling examples of this irrelevant and intrusive questioning by F EC attorneys into private political associations of citizens occurred during the administrative depositions of three pastors from South Carolina. Each pastor, only one of whom had only the slightest connection with the Coalition, was asked not only about their federal, state and local political activities, including party affiliations, but about political activities that, as one FEC attorney described as “personal,” and outside of the jurisdiction of the FECA [Federal Election Campaign Act]. They were also continually asked about the associations and activities of the members of their congregations, and even other pastors.

Too bad that the federal anti-bullying laws don’t apply to secular leftist fascists in government.

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Obama administration allowed American gun shipments to Mexican cartels

From the Houston Chronicle, the latest news on the investigation of Obama administration’s Mexican gun-trafficking program. (H/T Doug Ross)

Full story:

House and Senate lawmakers are threatening to block presidential nominees and subpoena Justice Department officials this week to force the release of documents on a controversial gun trafficking program that allowed American shipments of weapons to Mexican cartels.

Congressional investigators claim U.S. officials allowed American gun stores to sell weapons in bulk to Mexican buyers in order to track the shipments and identify the ringleaders, known as “Operation Fast and Furious” under “Project Gunrunner.”

Weapons from those sales were found at the scene of two separate attacks on U.S. agents, and Congress wants to know if they were used specifically in the deaths of Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent Jaime Zapata or Customs and Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, claims the Justice Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is conducting a cover-up in its refusal to hand over documents and witnesses to congressional investigators.

Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he will block President Barack Obama’s nominees from confirmation until he gets the documents he needs for his panel’s investigation.

In the House, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., will hold the first of several hearings today into the failure of the Justice Department and the ATF to cooperate with the congressional probes. Issa is threatening to issue subpoenas to retrieve documents and to gain access to witnesses.

The efforts by Grassley and Issa have won bipartisan support from Texas lawmakers frustrated with the lack of information about the death of Zapata coming from the administration.

“The Justice Department engaged in an unauthorized activity which actually ended up putting guns in the hands of dangerous drug cartels in Mexico,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. “Unfortunately, they seemed to be engaged now in a cover-up and refuse to be forthcoming with regards to Senator Grassley’s reasonable request for documents and information.”

Zapata, a Brownsville native, was working in Laredo as an ICE agent before he was transferred to Mexico to serve as a U.S. government consultant to the Mexican military’s battle against the cartels.

He was killed Feb. 15, and agent Victor Avila was wounded, when Los Zetas cartel members shot the agents in their SUV during an attempted car jacking along the highway between Mexico City and San Luis Potosi.

The Zapata family wants more information about the death of their son, said Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, who supports Grassley’s attempt to obtain documents.

Congressman Darrell Issa tweeted this Daily Caller story.

Excerpt:

Four Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents in transcribed interviews with top GOP oversight official Darrell Issa’s office are contradicting the Justice Department’s account of “Operation Fast and Furious,” saying hundreds of weapons -– including assault rifles and military grade sniper weapons -– were allowed to escape into the clutches of Mexican drug cartels in an apparently reckless investigative strategy.

Their testimony raises the question of whether Ronald Weich, a deputy to Attorney General Eric Holder, lied to congressional investigators in a Feb. 4 letter denying the allegations. Weich is testifying before Issa’s committee Wednesday.

The four ATF agents describe how the weapons were tracked from sales at U.S. gun shops but not seized as is normal practice. The goal of the operation was to track the weapons as they progressed from the purchasers through criminal networks.

Yes, apparently Democrats are only opposed to legal gun ownership by law abiding citizens. If you are a murderous, torturing Mexican drug dealer, then the Democrats want you to have guns so you can murder people. And if the Democrats keep blocking border security measures, then the Mexican drug gangs can just come over and murder Americans on American soil. If you’re a Democrat, this makes sense to you. You voted for it. You support it. It’s “gun control”.

It’s similar to the way Democrats are only opposed to legal immigration. Illegal immigration is a great idea, according to Democrats. But if you have skilled workers who want to come here and work, start businesses, pay taxes and to NOT commit crimes, then the Democrats don’t want them to get green cards. People who pay taxes tend to vote Republicans, and that makes them bad – according to Democrats. Democrats only want illegals to become citizens – because illegals vote for more and more dependence on government.

And if you’re a Democrat, then executing convicted criminals is a bad idea, but murdering innocent babies is a good idea. Apparently, for Democrats, it’s a bad idea to deter criminals from committing violent crimes with the threat of capital punishment. But Democrats want people to have as much irresponsible sex as possible… and if a baby is created then people can just get rid of it. Babies are so inconvenient – for Democrats. Obama doesn’t want people who freely choose to have irresponsible sex to be punished… with a baby.

And if you want to start a business or get a job, that’s bad – according to Democrats. Bad people who work hard and don’t commit crimes should pay lots of income taxes – especially if you work really hard and make lots of money. But if you just want to be on welfare and collect federal benefits and food stamps, then you can do that and not have to pay any taxes. Democrats love to encourage people to be dependent on the government, because it’s easier to buy votes that way. The Democrats want to spend lots of money on people who choose not to finish high school and who choose not to get married before having children. They subsidize that – largely with the money they get from married workers.

And don’t even think about requiring people to have a photo ID before voting. Democrats think that it is unfair for illegal immigrants and criminals to not have the right to vote – multiple times, if possible. Because they probably don’t vote Republican, and that makes it OK.

Welcome to the Democrat party – check your moral sense at the door, please.

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