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Beginning in 2010, several different IRS offices – including those in Cincinnati, Ohio; El Monte, California; Laguna Niguel, California; and Washington D.C. systematically discriminated against conservative groups. The targeting was not the work of a few “rogue” agents, as IRS commissioner Steven Miller initially claimed.
The IRS targeted organizations who “criticize how the country is being run” - singling out those with “tea party”, “9/12” and “patriot” in their names.
The agency harassed right-leaning 501(c)(3) applicants with intrusive questions, including “please detail the content of your members’ prayers."
160 such applications were delayed for over 200 days – some for more than three years and two election cycles.
During this period, the IRS approved applications from several dozen groups who used words like “progressive”, “liberal” and “equality.” Media Trackers, a conservative applicant that had been delayed for 16 months, was approved in three weeks after it reapplied under the name “Greenhouse Solutions.”
The White House account of these events has changed several times. While the White House initially maintained that it had learned about the scandal through the media, it has since been revealed that both Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew were aware of the scandal a month prior.
Under the Obama Administration, IRS higher-ups have treated themselves to extravagant entertainment and lavish conferences on the taxpayers’ dime. The agency spent over $60,000 producing two short films for fun. In one instance, the IRS “paid for the construction of an elaborate mock-up of the bridge of the starship Enterprise.” The IRS also spent millions on luxurious accommodations for its managers – in violation of its own policies - and paid $135,000 fees to at least 15 outside speakers. One speaker was paid $17,000 to discuss “leadership through art.”
Democrats have attempted to shield themselves from blame by pointing out that IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman was a Bush appointee. Shulman’s wife, however, is a senior employee at liberal group Public Campaign, an organization “dedicated to sweeping campaign reform that aims to dramatically reduce the role of big special interest money in American politics.”
Sarah Hall Ingram, who ran the IRS’ tax-exempt division during the targeting, is now the director of the IRS’ ObamaCare office. Since graduating from Georgetown Law, Ingram has never worked anywhere except the IRS. Interestingly, Ingram has visited the White House 165 times.
The IRS has been put in charge of enforcing ObamaCare. Federal agencies are currently assembling a “Federal Data Services Hub” in what has been called “the largest consolidation of personal data in the history of the republic” by USA Today. Under ObamaCare, government-approved health insurance providers will submit reports about their customers to this database - where they will be monitored and cross-checked by the IRS. Although only 10% of Americans now say they have confidence in the IRS, we are apparently expected to trust the agency to oversee our healthcare.
Last week, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein, announced that President Obama didn’t know the United States was collecting communications data of allied leaders. In other words, Sen. Feinstein is suggesting that our intelligence agencies do not clue in the President to what sort of intelligence the United States government is gathering. Let that one sink in for a sec.
Establishment GOP vs Grassroots: Civil War or Growing Pains?
Because I am a nice guy and don't want anyone to waste their time, here is a quick list of those who won't enjoy this post: 1) People working for Mitch McConnell's reelection.2) People who come from families that internalize everything rather than fight it out and get it over with. 3) People who are Mitch McConnell.
Democratic Congressman Uses Burning Cross to Compare the Tea Party to the KKK
And vilification of the Tea Party continues. Following the latest Obamacare defund battle, there's been a recent resurgence of Tea Party hatred from Democrats. Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson, known for inflammatory rhetoric, decided to capitalize on the fresh wave of anti-Tea Party sentiment.Congressman Grayson took to MSNBC to discuss his disdain for Tea Partiers, then sent out the following email:
FreedomCast - The IRS, the White House and Your Private Financial Information
On today’s edition of the FreedomCast, CJ Ciaramella joins me to discuss the latest revelations in the IRS targeting scandal, whether the White House received confidential taxpayer information against the law and if there’s any chance the DoJ will act to protect your privacy.
A report in The Daily Caller should scare each and every taxpayer. An investigation by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee found that IRS officials Sarah Hall Ingram and Lois Lerner emailed confidential taxpayer information to the White House.
This is the IRS that has persecuted Tea Party groups and it appears the illegal interactions between the IRS and White House had to do with challenges to Obamacare by religious organizations.
As part of the complex montrosity known as Obamacare, people signing up for health insurance can have the help of Navigators - people with little training or experience wading through the most complex law ever passed. The manual for the program describes a system that will lead to privacy violations, personal embarrassment, and identity theft.
Mark Twain said “It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.” In the wake of the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups, the left would’ve done well to heed this advice.
Championing an effort that is long overdue, Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) are leading a fight to put teeth into the cause of dismantling Obamacare. An effort that is ostensibly backed by every GOP member of Congress given the thirty odd votes the House of Representatives has taken to repeal Obamacare, Senators Cruz and Lee are exerting the only leverage available to Members of Congress, especially those whose party holds the majority in only one House of Congress: the power of the purse.
The Myth of Angelic Bureaucrats: Human Action without Romance
Another day, another scandal. Since President Obama has taken office, government bureaucracies have taken part in systematic campaigns to silence liberty minded groups. While these partisan shenanigans are outrageous, Noble Prize winner James Buchanan explains they are to be expected. Dr. Buchanan developed a field of economics built around the idea that bureaucrats are merely human (surprise!). In other words, bureaucrats respond to incentives.
Capitol Hill Update, 7-29-2013House& Senate/Schedule: Both chambers are in session this week, after which both will leave town for five weeks for the annual August recess. The session will resume on September 9th.