Monday, July 24, 2017

Tea Party

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Remember three years ago, when Lois Lerner went on Capitol Hill and pleaded the fifth when it came to asking about the IRS targeting conservatives? Well, it has taken a few years and a lawsuit to get them to admit wrongdoing.

The IRS sent a list of 426 organizations that the federal agency target and delayed or denied approval. There are more. Over 40 decided not to be included in the class-action lawsuit.

The 426 total number of groups that was turned over is much higher than the 298 groups the IRS Commissioner, John Koskinen, admitted to back in 2013.

Most of the non-profit groups in the lawsuit say they had to wait years for approval or in some cases had to answer and give up unusual details that delayed the process. In some cases the IRS may have illegally delayed the right to some groups and there will be repercussions if found guilty.

One concern with the list that was turned over by the IRS, is that it has some obscure groups on it and some that have nothing to do with the conservative movement.

A lawyer for some of the groups says that the IRS could have placed some “outliers” on the list to make it look like that conservatives were not targeted as exclusively as they were.

The list still contains over 90 groups that have “patriot” or “tea” in the name. There were 26 groups that had the word “liberty” in the name.

At this point it is very clear that the IRS targeted groups on the right and especially the “tea party” organizations.

It has taken us over three years to get to the point where the IRS admits the large number of groups the illegally targeted, but it will still take some time before something happens.

Stay up to date on this case with Liberty News Now!

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The first tactic in starting a conflict is defining the enemy – and the federal government working with the mainstream media have successfully branded the activists occupying federal lands in Oregon as “Militia.”

The term, which has been successfully linked to images of crazed and camouflaged white supremacists and other right-wing extremists, provides the government with an excuse to aggressively act.

The view of the government was overtly released in 2009 by the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) which stated that Americans who prescribe to certain political views – even supporters of Ron Paul and Bob Barr – as “a threat to law enforcement officers.”

The report titled, “The Modern Militia Movement” bundled conservatives, veterans, ranchers and many others as “Militia” and “Rightwing extremists.”

The report also states that Militia use the Gadsden Flag and the term Molon Labe as their symbols.

The Gadsden Flag has become widely popular with the TEA Party movement and is even featured on license plates in Virginia.

The term Molon Labe is a Greek term that translates to“Come and Take Them!” and is a very common bumper sticker to promote 2nd Amendment rights.

Back to Oregon and the activists who have occupied federal lands, they have already lost the fight to be defined as peaceful – leaving a huge opening for aggression by the government as was seen in 1993’s Waco Seige and 1992’s Ruby Ridge confrontation that lead to the killing of a 14 year-old boy (shot in the back) and his mother.

In Waco, the Branch Davidians had been labeled as “Cult members” while in Ruby Ridge, the Weaver family had been labeled as “survivalists” and “white supremacists” although the racist claim was never proven and denied by the family.

The leader of the Oregon activists, Ammon Bundy, has previously been labeled a racist and Sen. Harry Reid has even defined the family as “domestic terrorists.”

Will the public fall for the toxic branding or see the actions of these Americans as a natural reaction to the overreach of federal authority?

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Considering the Obama Administration’s well-documented willingness to use the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a political weapon to intimidate, silence and bankrupt organizations and individuals who oppose the president, a proposed IRS rule to force charities, churches and nonprofits to report the Social Security numbers of donors to the IRS could dry up donations and run them out of business.

In response to the proposed rule, the Tea Party Patriots – a target of the IRS in the past – has launched a nationwide email and social media campaign encouraging supporters and conservative leaders to kill the proposed a rule before it is finalized and becomes law.

As part of an interview with The Daily Signal, Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin said:

“They don’t need to be collecting Social Security numbers. Donations to nonprofits are allowed to be kept confidential.”

“Having gone through the [IRS] targeting [of conservative groups] because our name is Tea Party Patriots, I’m very sensitive to anything that expands the IRS’ reach into nonprofits and who their donors are.”

The goal of the campaign is to urge citizens to post comments against the proposed rule to the public record – a comment period that ends on December 16 leaving the Tea Party Patriots and every other charity, church or non-profit organization covered under the proposed rule virtually no time to register their objections.

In addition to the “comment campaign” Tea Party Patriots also be launched its own page where visitors and supporters can express their opposition to the regulation.

“We’ve seen that the IRS has successfully targeted organizations, and employees of the IRS have abused the power of the agency against people they perceive as political opponents,” Martin said.

“Having more information about who supports those organizations would give them the potential to continue the abuse of power and hurt the individuals, not just the groups. That’s the danger of it.”

In an interview with The Daily Signal, Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation cited recent revelations that the IRS leaked confidential donor information filed by conservative groups, to the news media and political opposition groups.

“Just think if they had leaked not only the names of the donors, but Social Security numbers,” von Spakovsky said. “I don’t trust the government to have that information, and there’s no reason for them to have that information.”

In the aftermath of leaks by the IRS of confidential donor information submitted by conservative groups by law, donors came under withering attack in the media and radical left groups seeking to dry up financial donations to targeted groups.

For now, the proposed IRS regulation would make it optional for nonprofits to collect the Social Security numbers of donors of more than $250. Martin fears the proposed regulation could become mandatory with a stroke of a pen affecting nonprofits with political leanings but smaller groups as well.

“Small Junior Leagues or civic organizations around the country would also wind up being affected, and not just Tea Party groups, but civic groups have to keep information secure,” Martin said.

“It adds to the bookkeeping process and would have a negative effect on organizations that are designed to help make communities better.”

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The tide turned swiftly in favor of Matt Bevin in the Kentucky governor’s race this week. He defeated the democratic attorney general, Jack Conway. The Democratic Governor’s association is blaming the landslide victory in “Trump-Mania” that they say is sweeping the country.

Bevin, a Tea Party favorite, beat out Conway, 53 to 44 percent. 40 of the last 44 years have seen a democratic governor for Kentucky. Steve Beshear, the current governor, is a twice-elected democrat.

Elisabeth Pearson, the executive director of the Democratic Governors Association, praised Conway’s platform and campaign, but ultimately cried sour grapes saying, “…he ran into the unexpected headwinds of Trump-mania, losing to an outsider candidate in the year of the outsider.”

Bevin himself even made the comparison. He is self-funded so he does have an interesting upper hand. In his words:

“I have no favors to pay back. There’s not one person in this state who believes they are going to have a job in my administration…There’s not one person who I’ve promised anything to…Donald Trump is an interesting fellow…Part of what people appreciate about him is the very same thing. He doesn’t owe anybody anything.”

Reports have noted that one of the deciding factors in the outcome of the gubernatorial race was the massive failure of Kentucky’s ObamaCare co-op which left 51,000 people uninsured. But democrats are still pointing towards Trump’s appeal instead of to their own failures.

Maybe not owing anyone anything really could decide the 2016 election. Donald Trump is still a surprise hit with the polls, whose only real competition is Ben Carson; a man who also has not had a long enough political career to accrue political debts.

Americans are tired of politicians politicizing. They want results and changes. The fact that non-politicians are finally entering the ring may ring the bell of some long overdue retirements.

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Speaker John Boehner announced his resignation as Speaker of the House on Friday.

“Last night I started thinking about this and this morning I woke up and I said my prayers — as I always do — and I decided today’s the day I’m going to do this. As simple as that,” said Boehner, at a hastily-arranged Capitol Hill press conference.

Boehner will step down as Speaker and leave Congress altogether at the end of October.

Boehner rode into power on the 2010 Tea Party wave–but it was dealing with the newly-elected conservatives that proved to be his biggest challenge. On a number of fiscal policy, he’s depended on Democrats to help make a majority–leaving many conservative members of Congress frustrated and on the outs.

But, with Boehner out, rumors are already circulating as to who will replace him as Speaker.

The most likely candidate is Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, who serves as Senate Majority Leader–Boehner’s second-in-command.

Even though McCarthy has been loyal to Boehner, he’s built some close personal relationships with conservatives–meaning that he might be a candidate that’s palatable to everyone and, as Speaker, be in a better position to get things done than Boehner was.

There’s also Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, who chairs the House Financial Services Committee–and is known as being a hardline conservative, who often sparred with Boehner.

Another option would be Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington–who, if elected, would be the second female Speaker of the House, after Nancy Pelosi.

One high-profile Republican member of Congress–Paul Ryan–has already said that he wouldn’t run for the job. Ryan, who was Mitt Romney’s Vice President pick in 2012, has credibility in both the conservative and moderate wings of the Republican Party–which would have helped him avoid the pitfalls that ultimately sunk Boehner.

Regardless of who replaces Boehner, it’s clear that the next Speaker of the House has their work cut out for them.

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In a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit (note, not request) the watchdog group Judicial Watch obtained documents confirming every negative supposition surrounding the IRS in the now years-ongoing political targeting scandal. Judicial Watch’s blockbuster findings show that the IRS did indeed intentionally and repeatedly target conservative groups for negative attention from the tax agency.

The incredible revelations show that former Democratic Senator and chairman of the Senate Finance Committee Max Baucus, of Montana, had a personal hand in siccing the IRS attack dogs on the various conservative groups with a hostile letter, and further show the IRS used donor lists from tax exempt groups to more effectively harass conservative organizations.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, made a lengthy statement confirming the revelations.

“You have political targeting that is factual at this point,” he said. “There are no ifs, ands or buts. You had groups within the IRS who were politically targeting conservatives and impeding their First Amendment rights.”

Former House Oversight Committee Chairman and California Rep. Darrell Issa took that a step further, saying that the IRS is still targeting conservative groups. “It is clearly still a procedure,” he said in an appearance on Fox News’ America’s Newsroom. “The fact is, [IRS Commissioner John Koskinen] is a spokesperson for the president and is part of the delay and cover-up,” he continued. “This is becoming an old story, and the president … is actually trying to take back his words from 2013 when he admitted this was unreasonable targeting. [Barack Obama] He wants to talk about how there is not enough money and blame a law passed before he was born that served us well and from then until now when it was suddenly broken.”

Issa referred to an appearance by Obama earlier in the week on The Daily Show, in which the president first blamed congress for the scandal, before having the temerity to say the “real scandal around the IRS is that they have been so poorly funded that they cannot go after these folks who are deliberately avoiding tax payments.”

Obama’s statements are refuted by clear evidence. Part of the Judicial Watch revelations was that William Wilkins, appointed by Obama, personally signed off on the harassment strategy.

Chaffetz, for his part, doesn’t plan to let this end quietly. “You’re going to continue to hear more about this,” he said. “Because when the targeting became evident, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee put in place a subpoena for the documents – a small window of Lois Lerner’s e-mails. Internally, the IRS put a preservation order in place — don’t destroy or get rid of any of these documents. These documents and e-mails were in the possession of the IRS. And on March 4, 2014, they destroyed them” he said.

“Imagine if the IRS had given you a summons for you to produce documents. You had them in your possession, and then you destroyed them. What would happen to you? Do you think they would say, ‘Oh, darn it!’ No, which is why Congress has to stand up for itself. You cannot — with a duly issued subpoena and eternal preservation order in place — go out and destroy documents and say there is no consequence to that; nobody’s going to be held accountable, and nobody is at fault.

“And yet that’s essentially what we’ve heard from the President… You know this ridiculous law the president is talking about? It was passed in 1913. He makes it look as if we had passed this law. That little detail he said on the Daily Show, you’re going to see that surface. We will continue to pursue this, and I promise you – there will be news on the IRS side as early as next week. So stay tuned.”

Conservatives certainly will take that advice.

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When Judicial Watch recently disclosed the latest batch of records involvingthe Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) scandalous targeting of conservative groups, some news outlets determined that Senator John McCain, not only knew about it, but also pressured the agency to actually attack Tea Party nonprofits.

JW never claimed the government documents establish that McCain or his staff called on the IRS to target or attack conservatives, but the records do show that former IRS official Lois Lerner was pressured by both Democrat Senator Carl Levin and McCain, an Arizona Republican, for IRS action against political advocacy groups. In fact, the records reveal that Lerner met with select top staffers from the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee in a “marathon” meeting to discuss concerns raised by both Levin and McCain that the IRS was not reining in political advocacy groups in response to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

But does that mean McCain urged the IRS to specifically target Tea Party conservative groups like one online media outlet reported in the aftermath of JW’s latest record release? Or does it prove that the veteran senator pressured Lerner to attack conservatives as another internet outfit reported? “It wasn’t just the Obama Regime and the Democrats who were scheming with the Obama IRS to attack the freedom-loving, Constitution-supporting Tea Party grassroots movement,” according to that report. “It was establishment-backed Republican Senator John McCain, an unabashed enemy of conservatives who once called his conservative colleagues, wacko birds.”

The lashing bothered McCain enough to issue JW a written statement denying that his office had anything to do with the IRS targeting of conservative groups. In the statement the senator refers to JW’s work sparking a “series of online reports falsely claiming that my office was somehow involved in the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups – reports that are demonstrably untrue and totally contradicted by my all of my actions over the past several years on this issue.” As evidence McCain offers a link to a dissenting report he released last fall refuting the Democrats’ Majority Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI) report claiming the IRS showed no bias against conservative groups. He also includes a newswire story published around the same time as proof that “media coverage at the time noted that I was in total disagreement with Senate Democrats on the issue of whether the IRS targeted conservative groups.”

McCain’s statement to JW goes on: “Like so many Americans, I was shocked and appalled by revelations that the IRS inappropriately singled out conservative groups for scrutiny, and that our tax system was used to target political opponents. As Ranking Member of the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, I devoted significant time and resources to help get to the bottom of this disturbing abuse of power by the IRS. Any article suggesting otherwise is simply wrong, and ignores the facts of my actions over the last several years.”

It’s not just news articles suggesting that McCain’s office may have been involved in the IRS scandal. The original founder of the Tea Party Patriots, Mark Meckler, wrote a piece last week questioning the senator’s version of events. Tea Party groups suspected all along that Republicans and Democrats worked together to crush their common enemy, actual conservatives, according to Meckler’s piece. “Maybe, just maybe, Senator McCain did not mind the IRS’ attempts to stifle the First Amendment rights of Tea Party citizens,” Meckler writes. “Maybe his shock at Lerner’s revelation was just as fake as the outrage from the White House.”

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Did Obama Cheat to Win in 2012?

Top economist Stan Veuger of the American Enterprise Institute claims that Obama should’ve lost in 2012–and only won because of the IRS’s illegal harassment of Tea Party groups.

Though Congress is still investigating what exactly happened at the IRS–and who was involved–Veuger argues that the dampening effect on the Tea Party in 2012 would’ve been more than enough to throw the election to Obama.

The IRS played a critical role in dramatically slowing Tea Party growth in the run-up to the 2012 election. Starting in mid-2010, shortly before the Tea Party led conservatives to an unprecedented landslide victory in Congress, the IRS decided to single out Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny.

For the following two years, the IRS approved the applications of just 4 Tea Party groups–while sending hundreds of applicants into a byzantine approval process that took months, if not years, and cost many thousands of dollars. Time and money that these groups could have been dedicating towards 2012 election efforts.

Veuger explains how tremendous of an impact that is: “We compared areas with high levels of Tea Party activity [in 2010] to otherwise similar areas with low levels of Tea Party activity, using data from the Census Bureau, the FEC, news reports, and a variety of other sources. We found that the effect was huge: the movement brought the Republican Party some 3-6 million additional votes in House races.”

Obama’s margin of victory–across a much larger electorate–was just 5 million nationwide.

Basically, according to Veuger, “the bottom line is that the Tea Party movement, when properly activated, can generate a huge number of votes-more votes in 2010, in fact, than the vote advantage Obama held over Romney in 2012.”

“The data show that had the Tea Party groups continued to grow at the pace seen in 2009 and 2010, and had their effect on the 2012 vote been similar to that seen in 2010, they would have brought the Republican Party as many as 5 – 8.5 million votes compared to Obama’s victory margin of 5 million.”

Had Obama’s IRS not sucked the life out of the Tea Party movement, it’s possible that Mitt Romney–or perhaps another conservative candidate altogether–would be President of the United States right now, instead of Barack Obama.

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House Speaker John Boehner has long been under attack by conservative members of his own party. Now, he’s finding key allies in Democratic leaders.

While it’s rare for the minority party to play a role in who becomes Speaker of the House–they usually vote for the House Minority Leader in a symbolic throwaway vote–Democrats are now planning to go the distance to save Boehner’s job.

Why? Because the Democrats know that Boehner will keep bending over backwards to block conservatives and help enact the Left’s agenda in Congress, under the veil of “compromise.”

“I would rather have John Boehner as the Speaker than some of these characters who came here thinking that they’re going to change the world,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.)

Far-Left Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) echoes that statement: “We can be suicidal but not stupid” when it comes to voting for Boehner to block a more conservative candidate.

And Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) adds, explaining he’d love to vote for Boehner “if the obvious alternative is a Tea Party Speaker.”

Because Republicans have so many seats in the House, they can essentially elect whoever they want as Speaker–if they can get a majority of their party on their side. But conservatives don’t have the numbers to overcome an unholy union between establishment Republicans and Democrats if they’re backing Boehner.

Clearly, Boehner knows that his job as Speaker is under threat. And Democrats have realized that too.

By having a Republican Speaker who’s literally beholden to Democrats for helping him keep his job, America can expect more one-sided “compromises” from John Boehner–just like he did when he quietly allowed Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty order to stand last week. And that’s a raw deal for the overwhelming majority of voters who sent a clear message of change last November.

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A criminal investigation into IRS officials involved in complying with congressional subpoenas for documents related to the treatment of Tea Party non-profit applications is in the offing by the Justice Department now that 33,000 e-mails – and possibly more – have been produced years after congressional investigators requested them.

After just two weeks on the job, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Office of Inspector General found back-up tapes containing almost 33,000 e-mail records related to the IRS targeting scandal against Tea Party groups that IRS officials said had been destroyed in sworn testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee as far back as May, 2013.

These past and present officials include former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, IRS Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner, U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin and current IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.

The “discovery” of the lost e-mails between Lois Lerner and other IRS officials has injected new life into the long-running investigation by Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives into the IRS treatment of tax-exempt applications filed by conservative political groups leading up to President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.

Lerner, a long time Democrat party operative, testified under oath that she broke no laws and was innocent of all charges before invoking her Fifth Amendment right not to testify before the committee. The House voted to hold her in contempt of Congress.

Lerner has been accused of slow-walking non-profit tax applications filed by Tea Party and other conservative groups through the IRS approval process holding them up for years with repeated requests that lengthy questionnaires be completed and reviewed before approval could be considered in gross violation of IRS approval guidelines.

Subsequent to her appearance before Congress, Lerner resigned from her post at the IRS with a full pension.

When asked about the discovery of back-up tapes containing Lerner’s e-mails and their production to Congress pursuant to numerous subpoenas issued by Congress to the IRS, IRS data managers said the tapes have been available for inspection since the scandal broke but that agency higher ups never asked for them.

Republicans pointed to the “new evidence” as evidence that the IRS has been acting in bad faith with investigators conducting the congressional probe. Reporting for Reuters news service, Emily Stephenson writes about Congressional reaction quoted here:

“I’ve got to tell you, we have been patient, we have asked, we have issued subpoenas, we have held hearings,” said Representative Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican who leads the House Oversight Committee.

“It’s just shocking to me that you start (looking), two weeks later you’re able to find the emails,” he told Camus, referring to the Treasury inspector general’s office locating the emails after the IRS said it could not find them. The IRS is part of the Treasury Department.


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