Group Fighting Voter Fraud
Caught in IRS Scandal Snare
The Washington Times
A Texas group dedicated to combatting voter fraud applied for tax-exempt status in 2010 and has suffered three years of delays, been through four different IRS agents, undergone six FBI inquiries and submitted thousands of pages of documentation -- and its still hasn't been approved. True the Vote is just one of the dozens of groups caught up in the IRS plan to give extra scrutiny to conservative groups in the 2010 and 2012 elections. As Congress delves into the question of whether the burgeoning scandal was bureaucratic malfeasance, as the IRS now acknowledges, or a more sinister political witch hunt, as some Republicans believe, True the Vote's experience is poking holes in the IRS' version of events, and lending credence to the nefarious explanations. In one example, the IRS asked other Texas-based TEA Party groups what their relationship was with True the Vote.
Obama Brother Tax-Exempt
Foundation Doesn't Exist
The Daily Caller
The "charity" run by Pres. Obama's half-brother that was fast-tracked for IRS tax-exempt status is based at a Virginia UPS store, according to its website. The organization's IRS filings list another Virginia address that is actually a drug rehab center where the foundation does not appear ever to have been based. The Barack H. Obama Foundation is run by Abon'go "Roy" Malik Obama, the half-brother of Barack Obama. The foundation was speedily approved for IRS exemption by Lois Lerner, the IRS senior official at the center of the targeting of conservative organizations that have waited over two years to receive tax exempt status. The charity was even given retroactive tax-exempt status despite never having bothered to apply for it. And its history of soliciting donations before receiving tax-exempt status was apparently overlooked.
Lawmakers to Investigate EPA FOIA Obstruction
The Daily Caller
Republican lawmakers are launching an investigation into claims that the Environmental Protection Agency, while giving preferential treatment to environmental groups, made it harder for conservative groups to obtain government records. "According to documents obtained by the Committees, EPA readily granted FOIA fee waivers for environmental allies, effectively subsidizing them, while denying fee waivers and making the FOIA process more difficult for states and conservative groups," wrote Republican lawmakers, including Rep. Darrell Issa and Sens. David Vitter, Chuck Grassley and Jim Inhofe in a letter to the EPA. Citing a report by The Daily Caller News Foundation, Republicans are asking the EPA to hand over all Freedom of Information Act fee waiver requests, responses to requests, and FOIA officer training materials since the beginning of the Obama administration.
DoJ Subpoenas 'Unconstitutional,'
Damage Free Speech: AP Pres.
Associated Press President Gary Pruitt said Sunday the Justice Department sent a strong – and negative- message to future sources that the government would go after them if they spoke to the press. It's a move Pruitt called not only unconstitutional, but said it damaged the ideal of a free press in the country. "It will hurt," he said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "We're already seeing some impact. Officials are saying they're reluctant to talk." The Justice Department sought phone records for a two-month period from more than 20 phone lines in four bureaus, including Washington and New York. "Their rules require them to come to us first," Pruitt said. But the Justice Department maintains that telling the AP would have posed a threat to their investigation. Holder said he had recused himself from the AP investigation.
Second Appeals Court Invalidates
Obama's NLRB Recess Appointments
A second appeals court has joined the DC Circuit in ruling that President Barack Obama's recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board were unconstitutional, concluding that some board actions taken in the wake of those appointments were also invalid. The issue has far-reaching implications for both the NLRB and other boards, including Obama's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which has been a frequent target of conservatives and whose director was a recess appointment. The 2-1 decision Thursday from the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit found that the presidential recess appointment power is limited to breaks between sessions of Congress, not breaks within sessions or other adjournments during which the Senate might meet in pro forma sessions. The reasoning mirrors that in a ruling of the DC Circuit Court in January.
Lawsuit: IRS Stole 60 Million Medical Records
Washington Free Beacon
The IRS is facing allegations that it illegally stole medical records from more than ten million Americans during a raid on a Southern California healthcare facility this year. IRS agents "stole more than 60,000,000 medical records of more than 10,000,000 Americans, including at least 1,000,000 Californians," according to a lawsuit filed in March by an unnamed company in California superior court. "This is an action involving the corruption and abuse of power by several Internal Revenue Service agents," the plaintiffs claim. The lawsuit could fuel public outrage at the IRS, which is already under fire for targeting Tea Party groups for increased legal scrutiny while allowing liberal groups to operate relatively unimpeded. The IRS is also the chief enforcement agency for the Affordable Care Act, making concerns about their handling of healthcare records of particular note.
Analysis: The Nine Lies of Lois Lerner
Lie No. 1: Lois Lerner's apology last Friday was a spontaneous reaction to an unexpected question from an unknown audience member. In fact, the question came from tax lawyer and lobbyist Celia Roady. Ms. Roady has some interesting career highlights: She was part of the 1997 ethics investigation of Newt Gingrich, but, more to the point, she was appointed to the IRS's Advisory Council on Tax-Exempt & Government Entities by IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman. She is a longtime colleague of Lerner, who is director of tax-exempt organizations. Ms. Roady has declined to comment on whether her question was planted, but it obviously was. The IRS had contacted reporters and encouraged them beforehand to attend the otherwise un-newsworthy event, and it had an entire team of press handlers on hand. So what we have is the staged rollout of what turns out to be -- given the rest of this list -- a disinformation campaign. Lie No. 2: Lerner said about 280 organizations were given extra scrutiny, about 75 of them TEA-party groups or similar organizations. The actual number is closer to 500.
IRS to Conservative Educational Group:
Turn Over List Trainees
The London Daily Mail
When a Tennessee lawyer asked the IRS for tax-exempt status for a mentoring group that trained high school and college students about conservative political philosophy, the agency responded with a list of 95 questions in 31 parts, including an ultimatum for a list of everyone the group had trained, or planned to train. "Provide details regarding all training you have provided or will provide," the IRS demanded. "Indicate who has received or will receive the training and submit copies of the training material." That question was part of the tax collection agency's February 14, 2012 letter to Kevin Kookogey. founder of the group Linchpins of Liberty. He had submitted his application 13 months earlier. It "should send chills through your spine," he told MailOnline, "that the government would ask me to identify those I teach, and to provide details of what I teach them."
EPA Waives Fees for Progressive
Groups, Charge Conservative
The Washington Examiner
Conservative groups seeking information from the EPA have been routinely hindered by fees normally waived for media and watchdog groups, while fees for more than 90% of requests from green groups were waived, according to requests reviewed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute. CEI reviewed Freedom of Information Act requests sent between January 2012 and this spring from several environmental groups friendly to the EPA's mission, and several conservative groups, to see how equally the agency applies its fee waiver policy for media and watchdog groups. Government agencies are supposed to waive fees for groups disseminating information for public benefit. "This is as clear an example of disparate treatment as the IRS' hurdles selectively imposed upon groups with names ominously reflecting an interest in less intrusive government," said CEI fellow Chris Horner.
Holder Justice Department Targets Mainstream Media
The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative's top executive called a "massive and unprecedented intrusion" into how news organizations gather the news. The records obtained by the Justice Department listed outgoing calls for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, for general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, CT, and for the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP. It was not clear if the records also included incoming calls or the duration of the calls. In all, the government seized the records for more than 20 separate telephone lines assigned to AP and its journalists in April and May of 2012.
Obama Admin. Gives Wind Farms
a Pass on Eagle Deaths
The Obama administration has never fined or prosecuted a wind farm for killing eagles and other protected bird species, shielding the industry from liability and helping keep the scope of the deaths secret, an AP investigation has found. More than 573,000 birds are killed by the country's wind farms each year, including 83,000 hunting birds such as hawks, falcons and eagles, according to an estimate published in March in the peer-reviewed Wildlife Society Bulletin. Each death is federal crime, a charge that the Obama administration has used to prosecute oil companies when birds drown in their waste pits, and power companies when birds are electrocuted by their power lines. No wind energy company has been prosecuted, even those that repeatedly flout the law. Wind power, intended to ease global warming, is a cornerstone of Pres. Obama's energy plan.