Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

IRS chief visited White House a reported 118 times from 2010 to 2011

The Weekly Standard reports.

Excerpt:

The Washington Examiner reports that the IRS chief visited the White House more than once a week under President Obama, after having visited less than once a year under President Bush. The IRS chief came to the White House a reported 118 times from 2010 to 2011 under Obama, compared to only once from 2003 to 2007 under Bush — a 236-fold increase per day.  Under Bush, a White House appearance from the taxman came as frequently as the opening of the Olympic Games; under Obama it came more frequently than Sports Illustrated.

Aside from perhaps being there to discuss targeting efforts, the only plausible reason for the IRS chief to have visited the Obama White House so regularly was to discuss the IRS’s significant expansion in power and scope under Obamacare.

But Obama only learned about how the IRS was implementing his own anti-conservative rhetoric by watching the news, just like you or I.

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

Obama met with anti-Tea Party IRS Union boss one day before the IRS persecutions began

Newsbusters reports on this incredible scoop by the American Spectator.

Excerpt:

Jeffrey Lord at the American Spectator has reviewed the White House logs looking for a relationship between meetings listed there and the timeline found in the Inspector General’s report on the targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups issued last Tuesday. Lord’s work represents yet another example of alternative media scooping a lazy or negligent establishment press.

What Lord has found (single-page print version) is that President Barack Obama met with the President of the National Treasury Employees Union Colleen Kelley, on March 31, 2010. The NTEU is “the 150,000 member union that represents IRS employees along with 30 other separate government agencies.” The Inspector General’s report, blandly titled “Inappropriate Criteria Were Used to Identify Tax-Exempt Applications for Review,” indicates that the IRS, in Lord’s words, “set to work in earnest targeting the Tea Party and conservative groups around America” the very next day. Lord’s work is a mandatory read-the-whole-thing item. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):

Obama and the IRS: The Smoking Gun?President met with anti-Tea Party IRS union chief the day before agency targeted Tea Party.

… According to the White House Visitors Log … the president of the anti-Tea Party National Treasury Employees Union, Colleen Kelley, visited the White House at 12:30pm that Wednesday noon time of March 31st.

… The very next day after her White House meeting with the President, according to the Treasury Department’s Inspector General’s Report, IRS employees — the same employees who belong to the NTEU — set to work in earnest targeting the Tea Party and conservative groups around America. The IG report wrote it up this way:

April 1-2, 2010: The new Acting Manager, Technical Unit, suggested the need for a Sensitive Case Report on the Tea Party cases. The Determinations Unit Program Manager Agreed.

In short: the very day after the president of the quite publicly anti-Tea Party labor union — the union for IRS employees — met with President Obama, the manager of the IRS “Determinations Unit Program agreed” to open a “Sensitive Case report on the Tea party cases.”

… The IG report contained a timeline prepared by examining internal IRS e-mails. The IG report did not examine White House Visitor Logs, e-mails, or phone records relating to the relationship between the IRS union, the IRS, and the White House.

… (the) 12:30 Wednesday, March 31, 2010 meeting between President Obama and the IRS union’s Kelley was not unusual.

On yet another occasion, Kelley’s presence at the White House was followed shortly afterwards by the President issuing Executive Order 13522. A presidential directive that gave the anti-Tea Party NTEU — the IRS union — a greater role in the day-to-day operation of the IRS than it had already — which was considerable.

… Six days following Kelley’s attendance at the White House Christmas party with labor activists like herself, the President issued Executive Order 13522 (text found here, with an explanation here). The Executive Order, titled: “Creating Labor-Management Forums To Improve Delivery of Government Services” applied across the federal government and included the IRS. The directive was designed to:

Allow employees and unions to have pre-decisional involvement in all workplace matters….

However else this December 2009 Executive Order can be described, the directive was a serious grant of authority within the IRS to the powerful anti-Tea Party union.

Lord raises compelling “What did the President know and when did he know it?” questions. Read the whole thing for the matters he raises.

Read the full article here on the American Spectator.

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

Whistleblower fired by Barack Obama loses his appeal

Story here. (H/T Robert Stacy McCain)

Excerpt:

A three-judge panel rejected appeals Tuesday by Gerald Walpin, a former federal watchdog fired by President Obama in 2009, likely ending his attempts to get back his old job.

Former Corporation for National and Community Service Inspector General Gerald Walpin. (AP)Walpin was appointed inspector general for the agency overseeing AmeriCorps during George W. Bush’s administration and filed suit in July 2009 shortly after his dismissal.

But in a unanimous seven-page ruling issued Tuesday, judges with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia unanimously affirmed a previous district court decision, stating that Walpin “does not have a ‘clear and indisputable right’ ” to reinstatement.

In an interview, Walpin said he was disappointed by the decision, “not for myself but for the institution of inspectors general,” because the court decision “has effectively removed any meaning” to a 2008 inspector general reform law.

McCain adds:

And the White House lawyer who fired Walpin? He’s now ambassador to Czechoslovakia.

Here’s a story by Byron York to refresh you on the details of the case.

Excerpt:

The White House’s decision to fire AmeriCorps inspector general Gerald Walpin came amid politically-charged tensions inside the Corporation for National and Community Service, the organization that runs AmeriCorps.  Top executives at the Corporation, Walpin explained in an hour-long interview Saturday, were unhappy with his investigation into the misuse of AmeriCorps funds by Kevin Johnson, the former NBA star who is now mayor of Sacramento, California and a prominent supporter of President Obama. Walpin’s investigation also sparked conflict with the acting U.S. attorney in Sacramento amid fears that the probe — which could have resulted in Johnson being barred from ever winning another federal grant — might stand in the way of the city receiving its part of billions of dollars in federal stimulus money.  After weeks of standoff, Walpin, whose position as inspector general is supposed to be protected from influence by political appointees and the White House, was fired.

Walpin learned his fate Wednesday night.  He was driving to an event in upstate New York when he received a call from Norman Eisen, the Special Counsel to the President for Ethics and Government Reform.  “He said, ‘Mr. Walpin, the president wants me to tell you that he really appreciates your service, but it’s time to move on,’” Walpin recalls.  “Eisen said, ‘You can either resign, or I’ll tell you that we’ll have to terminate you.’”

[...]In the course of his investigation, Walpin found Johnson and St. HOPE had failed to use the federal money they received for the purposes specified in the grant and had also used federally-funded AmeriCorps staff for, among other things, “driving [Johnson] to personal appointments, washing his car, and running personal errands.” Walpin came to the conclusion that Johnson and St. HOPE should be subject to suspension and debarment.

Kevin Johnson, is, of course, a Democrat. Just like Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters are Democrats. And Chris Dodd is a Democrat. And so on.

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

Is government more efficient than the private sector?

When it comes to providing quality services at the lowest cost, private firms are very different from government bureaucracies. A private firm has to compete in an open marketplace where consumers are free to shop around for the best deal. So a private firm has to provide more quality at a lower price or consumers will take their business to a competitor! And the owners and employees share in the profits or losses. They have an incentive to cut costs, raise quality and lower prices. They have a stake in pleasing the customer.

But what about government? Do they have competitors that pressure them lower costs and raise quality? Do the people who run the government benefit financially if they please customers? Do employees of the government benefit if they please customers? Do customers have the freedom to buy from someone else if they are not happy with the price or quality of government services?

Consider this Washington Times story. (H/T John Stossel via ECM)

Excerpt:

An audit of the government’s legal aid program for the poor concluded Monday that the purchase of more than $188,000 worth of imported Italian stone to decorate one of the program’s office buildings in Texas was unnecessary and excessive…

The inspector general of the Legal Services Corp.(LSC) said the stone, which adorns three full stories of a newly remodeled Fort Worth office building, “appears only to be decorative in nature” and does not constitute a “reasonable and necessary” expense.

If a private firm wasted money like this, they would go out of business. The directors and employees who run private firms never waste money like this! If they did, the private firm would go out of business. But the government wastes money like this all the time. It’s not their money, after all – it’s your money. Why should they spend it wisely? What’s in it for them?

And they’re aren’t exactly accountable when they get caught wasting taxpayer money, either.

The inspector general quoted officials involved with the Texas program as defending the purchase, saying the high-end imported stone was selected for its beautiful finish and installed as a decorative flourish.

And this applies to government-run health care, too. Why should be expect government to cut health care costs when they have no incentive to be efficient? Private firms have an incentive – to keep their jobs, to be promoted, to get raises, etc. Government has no incentive to be efficient.

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

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