Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

IRS Lois Lerner pushed to have Republican senator Chuck Grassley audited

From the web site of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Full text:

Washington, DC – Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) announced the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) targeting of conservative individuals includes a sitting United States Senator.  According to emails reviewed by the Committee under its Section 6103 authority, which allows the Committee to review confidential taxpayer information, Lois Lerner sought to have Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) referred for IRS examination.

“We have seen a lot of unbelievable things in this investigation, but the fact that Lois Lerner attempted to initiate an apparently baseless IRS examination against a sitting Republican United States Senator is shocking,” said Camp.  “At every turn, Lerner was using the IRS as a tool for political purposes in defiance of taxpayer rights.  We may never know the full extent of the abuse since the IRS conveniently lost two years of Lerner emails, not to mention those of other key figures in this scandal.  The fact that DOJ refuses to investigate the IRS’s abuses or appoint a special counsel demonstrates, yet again, this Administration’s unwillingness to uphold the rule of law.”

Background: 
While the Ways and Means Committee investigation into Lerner’s involvement in the potential Grassley examination is ongoing, documents show that Lerner received an invitation to a speaking event that was intended for Senator Grassley.  Instead of forwarding the invitation to Grassley’s office, Lerner immediately suggested to others in her office that the issue should be referred for examination.  The Committee was able to investigate this information through its authority under Section 6103 of the tax code.  A waiver was signed by Senator Grassley and his wife in order to make this information public.

And there is good news about the corruption at the IRS – the news is reaching the American public.

The Daily Signal reports:

Americans are running out of faith in the Internal Revenue Service.

Seventy-six percent believe that the “lost” Lois Lerner emails were deliberately destroyed, according to a Fox News poll. Only 12 percent believe the destruction resulted as an accident.

This skepticism crossed party lines. A whopping 90 percent of Republicans doubt the IRS’s most recent claims, as do 74 percent of independents and 63 percent of Democrats.

There remains desire for congressional action. Seventy-four percent feel that lawmakers should continue investigating the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups “until someone is held accountable.”

Americans are also dubious about President Barack Obama’s claims that he first learned about the scandal through the media, with just 31 percent believing this to be true.

This poll surveyed 1,018 adults at random and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus three percentage points.

And finally, this, which I posted previously, but it’s SO GOOD:

Now that’s effective cross-examination.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , ,

IRS e-mail backups destroyed shortly after targeting of conservatives was discovered

Investors Business Daily reports.

Excerpt:

The IRS canceled a contract with an email storage contractor weeks after Lois Lerner reported lost personal files and before other IRS officials had their hard drives crash as Tea Party-targeting investigations began.

Timing is everything, the saying goes, and sometimes the timing of events is also very curious, as in the case of the lost emails of Lerner and at least six other officials at the very same time the IRS canceled its contract to back up and preserve those emails as required by federal law.

So the IRS did at one time have back-ups of the e-mails. And they seem to have admitted it in Congressional Testimony:

Perhaps this is what IRS Commissioner John Koskinen was referring to when in March testimony before the House Oversight Committee he assured Rep. Jason Chaffetz that the reason requested emails were difficult to provide was that IRS emails “get taken off and stored in servers.”

Later we would be told that the emails were lost forever and, as we noted, Koskinen was lying in March, when he said they were somewhere, or in June, when he said they were nowhere to be found. Let us ponder another possibility: that the emails were taken off and stored in Sonasoft servers, emails that would be deleted when the IRS contract for their storage ended. They were not lost, but, in effect, deliberately destroyed.

[...]Sonasoft’s fiscal 2011 contract with the IRS ended Aug. 31, 2011. Eight days later, and about a month after Lerner’s computer allegedly crashed, the IRS officially severed its relationship with Sonasoft.

Three months later, IRS official Nikole Flax, who visited the White House more than 30 times, had her computer crash with a similar loss of critical emails, something that afflicted at least half-a-dozen IRS officials in a chain of events that defies logic and the smell test.

You can kind of form a hypothesis of who ordered the hit on the conservative groups by seeing whose e-mails are being deleted and who they were talking to. If I had to bet on it, I’d say that the order to persecute the conservative groups came from the White House, perhaps from the community organizer Barack Obama himself.

George Will has a good column up in the leftist Washington Post about how the Republicans can respond to Obama’s decision to act outside the rule of law.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , ,

IRS required BY LAW to store hard copies of all e-mails they claim to have lost

From the Daily Caller.

Excerpt:

The Internal Revenue Service is required by federal law to keep records of all agency emails and to print out hard copies of the emails to make sure they get saved in the event of a computer glitch.

The IRS recently claimed that it lost 24,000 of 67,000 emails that ex-official Lois Lerner sent between 2009 and 2011, due to a computer crash. The IRS, which agreed to turn over all of Lerner’s emails to the House Committee on Ways and Means, specifically lost emails Lerner sent to other Obama administration agencies and the White House. Lerner is a major figure in the targeting scandal that has hit the IRS.

[...]The IRS’s own definition of the Federal Records Act makes clear that emails must be saved and documented, according to an instructional page for employees on the IRS website.

“The Federal Records Act applies to email records just as it does to records you create using other media,” according to the IRS. “Emails are records when they are: Created or received in the transaction of agency business; Appropriate for preservation as evidence of the government’s function and activities; or Valuable because of the information they contain.”

“If you create or receive email messages during the course of your daily work, you are responsible for ensuring that you manage them properly,” according to the IRS. “The Treasury Department’s current email policy requires emails and attachments that meet the definition of a federal record be added to the organization’s files by printing them (including the essential transmission data) and filing them with related paper records. If transmission and receipt data are not printed by the email system, annotate the paper copy.”

“Please note that maintaining a copy of an email or its attachments within the IRS email MS Outlook application does not meet the requirements of maintaining an official record,” the IRS stated. “Therefore, print and file email and its attachments if they are either permanent records or if they relate to a specific case.”

Losing all evidence of agency emails, therefore, is a violation of federal law.

So if the e-mails are not found, then it’s a violation of federal law, and there will have to be an investigation, and charges will have to be laid against the guilty parties. Although you would never know it from the mainstream media, our beloved socialist government is acting more like on organized crime syndicate. It’s gangster government, as Michele Bachmann used to say.

 

 

 

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Kevin DeYoung’s article opposing gay marriage has broad appeal

Marriage and family

Marriage and family

In my own secular case against gay marriage from a while back, I argued for 3 points:

  • same-sex marriage is bad for liberty, especially religious liberty
  • same-sex marriage is bad for children
  • same-sex marriage is bad for public health

My hope when I wrote that was that pastors and other Christian leaders would learn to argue for what the Bible says by using evidence from outside the Bible, so that they would be able to appeal to more people instead of only appealing to the minority of people who accept the Bible. I think that Christians who argue for their views by citing the Bible only will only be convincing to people who already accept the Bible. But there is not a majority of people who do accept the Bible as an authority, so I think that pastors have to make another plan. They need to argue using the Bible to those who accept the Bible, and without the Bible to those who don’t accept it.

Now with that said, take a look at this article by pastor Kevin DeYoung that Dina sent me. It’s from earlier this week. The article makes the same exact three points as I made in my article last year. Let’s take a look at how Kevin does that.

My first point was liberty, especially religious liberty. He writes:

[I]n the long run, the triumph of gay marriage (should it triumph as a cultural and legal reality) will mean the restriction of freedoms for millions of Americans.

This will happen in obvious ways at first–by ostracizing those who disagree, by bullying with political correctness, and by trampling on religious liberty. Surely, Christians must realize that no matter how many caveats we issue, not matter how much we nuance our stance, no matter how much we encourage or show compassion for homosexuals, it will not be enough to ward off the charges of hatred and homophobia.

[G]ay marriage will challenge our freedoms in others way too. It’s not just Evangelicals, traditional Catholics, and Mormons who will be threatened. Once the government gains new powers, it rarely relinquishes them. There will be a soft tyranny that grows as the power of the state increases, a growth that is intrinsic to the  notion of gay marriage itself.

My second point was bad for children. He writes:

[T]he state has an interest in promoting the familial arrangement which has a mother and a father raising the children that came from their union. The state has been in the marriage business for the common good and for the well-being of the society it is supposed to protect. Kids do better with a mom and a dad. Communities do better when husbands and wives stay together. Hundreds of studies confirm both of these statements (though we all can think of individual exceptions I’m sure). Gay marriage assumes that marriage is re-definable and the moving parts replaceable.

My third point was bad for public health. He writes:

The unspoken secret, however, is that homosexual behavior is not harmless. Homosexuals are at a far greater risk for diseases like syphilis, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, gonorrhea, HPV, and gay bowel syndrome. The high rate of these diseases is due both to widespread promiscuity in the gay community and the nature of anal and oral intercourse itself. Homosexual relationships are usually portrayed as a slight variation on the traditional “norm” of husband-wife monogamy. But monogamy is much less common among homosexual relationships, and even for those who value monogamy the definition of fidelity is much looser.

He also talks about the definition of marriage, and more.

I’ve criticized pastors before for dealing with social issues by only citing the Bible, like John Piper does. That approach won’t work on enough people to change society, because not enough people consider the Bible to be an authority in their decision-making. We have to use evidence from outside the Bible – like Wayne Grudem does in his “Politics According to the Bible”.

I think that pastor Kevin’s article is quality work, because it follows the pattern of taking an all-of-the-above approach to persuasion. He uses all means to persuade so that he might win some over to his side. I hope that many more pastors will do the same thing on this issue of marriage and other issues – even fiscal issues. Fiscal issues do have an impact on moral issues – think of how abortion subsidies and single mother welfare lower the penalties of recreational premarital sex. We can do this, we just have to do what works, instead of what makes us feel “holier-than-thou”.

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Sharyl Attkisson on Fox News describing White House harassment of journalists

You’ll remember that Sharyl Attkisson used to work at CBS News, and did the best investigative journalism on the Obama administration’s”Fast and Furious” gun smuggling to Mexican drug cartels, and then again on the CIA cover-up of the Obama administration’s foreign policy weakness in the Benghazi massacre. I always disliked her as a journalist when she was attacking the Bush administration so effectively, but I’ve sort of realized that she just thinks that it’s her job to attack and expose whoever is in power. But whereas the Bush administration never did anything to her, the Obama administration is different.

The Daily Caller reports.

Excerpt:

Former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson accused the White House of running an unprecedented pressure campaign against journalists, claiming they are pursuing a “particularly aggressive, well-organized” strategy “designed to have some kind of a chilling effect” on the American press.

Attkisson spoke with Fox News’ Howard Kurtz on Sunday about her early departure from CBS and her battles with the Obama administration for access to information. An investigative reporter who covered White House bugbears like Benghazi and Fast and Furious, she left CBS before her contract expired because she felt network executives inappropriately shot down her stories.

But in her conversation with Kurtz, Attkission made it clear that she ultimately blames the Obama administration itself for her bosses’ timidity.

“I think any journalist who has been covering Washington for a few years would agree… that there is pressure coming to bear on journalists for just doing their job in ways that have never come to bear before,” she began.

“There have always been tensions, there have always been calls from the White House — under any administration, I assume — when they don’t like a particular story,” she admitted. “But it is particularly aggressive under the Obama administration, and I think it’s a campaign that’s very well organized and designed to have sort of a chilling effect.”

“And to some degree,” she continued, “has been somewhat successful in getting broadcast producers who don’t really want to deal with the headache of it. Why put on the controversial stories that we are going to have to fight people on when we can fill the broadcast with other perfectly decent stories that don’t ruffle the same feathers?”

The reporter claimed she and her bosses both received direct pushback from the White House, including phone calls and emails pressuring them to change or retract stories.

Newsbusters has more:

Kurtz asked how Attkisson feels about the charge of liberal bias leading to soft coverage of Obama. “The press in general seems to be very shy about challenging this administration, as if it’s making some sort of political statement, rather than just doing our job as watchdogs,” Attkisson said.

ATTKISSON: I didn’t run into that same kind of sentiment [at CBS] as I did in the Obama administration when I covered the Bush administration very aggressively, on its secrecy and lack of Freedom of Information responses, and its poor management of the Food and Drug Administration and the national laboratories, the Halliburton-Iraq questions of fraud. I mean, there was one thing after another. The bait-and-switch of TARP, the bank bailout program. All of those stories under Bush were met with a good reception. There were different managers as well, but no one accused me of being a mouthpiece for the liberals at that time.

I’m surprised that the communist Democrat Party would suppress freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of the press. Communists have never done that before in history, have they? They never put in place disastrous plans and then had to cover it all up by suppressing journalists. And they certainly never did it in the Soviet Union, Cambodia, Vietnam, and everywhere else communism’s been tried. Whenever government government gets really, really big, we should expect individual liberties to increase. Right?

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