Category Archives: Gangsta Guvmint

The Internal Revenue Service, a Law Unto Itself

I did not post about this in the run-up to Election Day, but not because it does not deserve our fullest attention.  Reporter Shaila Dewan of the Obama_HammerNew York Times put up an article on October 25th (possibly behind a pay wall) about the latest egregious abuse by the Internal Revenue Service, this time relating to the practice of “structuring”.  These are the two opening paragraphs:

For almost 40 years, Carole Hinders has dished out Mexican specialties at her modest cash-only restaurant.  For just as long, she deposited the earnings at a small bank branch a block away — until last year, when two tax agents knocked on her door and informed her that they had seized her checking account, almost $33,000.

The Internal Revenue Service agents did not accuse Ms. Hinders of money laundering or cheating on her taxes — in fact, she has not been charged with any crime.  Instead, the money was seized solely because she had deposited less than $10,000 at a time, which they viewed as an attempt to avoid triggering a required government report.

and later in the article:

… money was seized under an increasingly controversial area of law known as civil asset forfeiture, which allows law enforcement agents to take property they suspect of being tied to crime even if no criminal charges are filed.  Law enforcement agencies get to keep a share of whatever is forfeited.

Critics say this incentive has led to the creation of a law enforcement dragnet, with more than 100 multiagency task forces combing through bank reports, looking for accounts to seize.  Under the Bank Secrecy Act, banks and other financial institutions must report cash deposits greater than $10,000.  But since many criminals are aware of that requirement, banks also are supposed to report any suspicious transactions, including deposit patterns below $10,000.  Last year, banks filed more than 700,000 suspicious activity reports.  Owners who are caught up in structuring cases often cannot afford to fight.  The median amount seized by the I.R.S. was $34,000, according to the Institute for Justice analysis, while legal costs can easily mount to $20,000 or more.

There is nothing illegal about depositing less than $10,000 cash unless it is done specifically to evade the reporting requirement.  But often a mere bank statement is enough for investigators to obtain a seizure warrant.  In one Long Island case, the police submitted almost a year’s worth of daily deposits by a business, ranging from $5,550 to $9,910.  The officer wrote in his warrant affidavit that based on his training and experience, the pattern “is consistent with structuring.”  The government seized $447,000 from the business, a cash-intensive candy and cigarette distributor that has been run by one family for 27 years.

I don’t think the idea of a truly flat tax is feasible, but one strong argument in its favor is that the IRS could be virtually eliminated.

The full article is HERE.

Obama’s Southern Border Policy and the EV-D68 Virus

Suspicion has been growing that President Obama’s executive order from earlier this year, in which he granted permission for thousands of young hispanic immigrants to legally cross the southern border into the United States and then be bussed all around the country, is responsible for the national epidemic of the EV-D68 virus.  This is a serious concern, as the virus has already killed nine people in the U.S., paralyzed over GangstaGuvfour dozen others, and hospitalized hundreds more.  The epidemic, which began in August, is especially worrisome because there is no vaccine for EV-D68, an enterovirus which manifests itself in scores of slightly different strains.

Last week, Neil Munro put up a well-researched article on the Daily Caller website that explored several aspects of the issue, including the apprehension on the part of many researchers and other health care professionals that expressing too keen an interest in the origins of the outbreak could jeopardize their federal grant funding.

From the article:

The inflow of roughly 9,000 under-13 children from Central America were guided by smugglers or relatives to the Texas border, and then handed over to U.S. border agencies.  Obama’s agencies knowingly relayed most of these 9,000 “unaccompanied” kids to their parents or relatives living illegally in the United States.

<snip>

Roughly 14,855 people came over in 2013 in “family units,” and another 68,445 “family unit” people arrived in 2014, according to federal data.  That’s a total of 83,300 “family unit” people, with roughly 40.000 under-13 kids in two years.  Only a few hundred migrants were immediately sent home, even though the president has the authority to repatriate them.  Instead, Obama’s deputies released nearly all of the parents and kids to travel where they wished, pending their eventual appearance in court.

The full article, to which I have linked via the print page, HERE, is lengthy but worthwhile due to the scope of its content.

Take This Job and Shove It

The Wall Street Journal has up a short piece (no link due to the WSJ paywall) noting how the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in recent years has been “increasingly siding with employees who insult their employers.”  The following excerpt captures the essence of the piece:

Hooters drew some unwanted attention last spring when an NLRB administrative law judge ruled in favor of two employees who had been fired for cursing at a co-worker in front of restaurant guests.  The two fired employees claimed that their co-worker had fixed a bikini contest in her favor.  By allegedly arranging for her boyfriend and best friend to serve as judges, the woman was able to win the $300 first prize while earning the ire of two losing, er, contestants.

Now comes a paper in which attorneys at the Holland & Knight law firm note a disturbing NLRB trend of condoning profanity and insubordination among U.S. workers.  They’re warning employers about a pattern of board decisions “that attack sensible, long-standing management standards of conduct.”

Authors Frederick Braid and Loren Forrest note a recent case in which the board sided with an employee of an auto dealership who cursed out the owner in a meeting to discuss compensation.  The employee used words not fit for a family newspaper as he insulted the business owner, called him “stupid,” told him that nobody liked him and that he would regret it if he fired the abusive employee.  After the dealership went ahead and fired the worker, the NLRB ruled that the business had violated the National Labor Relations Act.  The NLRB said the employee’s behavior was neither “belligerent” nor “menacing.”

In a case involving Starbucks Corp. , report Messrs. Braid and Forrest, “the Board again reinstated an employee” who engaged in profanity-laced tirades against his manager.  “The first tirade occurred when the employee felt that his manager was slow to assist him during a busy day at Starbucks.  Instead of thanking his manager for the requested assistance, which the manager provided, the employee said, ‘about damn time.'”  The worker then used foul language and told his boss to “do everything your damn self.”

The NLRB decided the employee’s behavior was simply a pretext used by Starbucks to fire him for pro-union views.  In the Hooters case the NLRB also saw the foul language as simply a pretext to punish employees for exercising their right to engage in “protected concerted activity” regarding the alleged rigging of the bikini contest.  At the Obama NLRB, pretty much any behavior can be justified as protected employee “activity.”

President Obama, of course, has succeeded in packing the NRLB with liberal members, and this is just part of the results.  Just another reason why we must elect a Republican majority to the Senate in order to slow this sort of thing down over the next two years.

New Court-Ordered IRS Testimony on Lerner’s HDD

Josh Hicks, a reporter for the Washington Post, wrote a new piece late last week about the court-ordered filings of under-oath statements by two IRS officials on the subject of Lois Lerner’s computers and her HDD crash.  The statements were mandated by the presiding judge as a consequence of the lawsuit filed by the conservative group True The Vote.

Although it now appears that Lerner had both a desktop computer and a laptop at her workstation, it was the laptop drive that crashed.  However, the fact that she also had a desktop means that there may have been e-mail messages stored on it as well.

Lice, Scabies, Measles, Chicken Pox, and Strep Throat

There is so much press now being given to the Obama-created crisis of sick illegal immigrant children being sent all over America by the HHS “brown shirts” that I hesitate to add another word.  However, I think THIS article by Todd Starnes of Fox News is worth posting, as it contains comments from an actual medical worker who was in the Lackland AFB camp.  An excerpt:

The sources said workers were guarded by a security force from the Baptist Family & Children’s Services, which the Department of Health and Human Services hired to run the Lackland Camp.  The sources say security forces called themselves the “Brown Shirts.”

“It was a very submissive atmosphere,” the counselor said. “Once you stepped onto the grounds, you abided by their laws – the Brown Shirt laws.”  She said the workers were stripped of their cellphones and other communication devices.  Anyone caught with a phone was immediately fired.

and

The nurse told me she became especially alarmed because their files indicated the children had been transported to Lackland on domestic charter buses and airplanes.

“That’s what alerted me,” she said.  “Oh, my God.  They’re flying these kids around.  Nobody knows that these children have scabies and lice.  To tell you the truth, there’s no way to control it.”

Click the link above to read the whole disgusting thing.

The Latest Outrage from Eric Holder

Call me crazy, but I have thought for decades that there was merit in the idea of a constitutional amendment declaring English to be the official language of the United States, and including language to shield any individual or business from being sued for requiring their employees to speak English only in the workplace.

Now, but not for the first time at the Justice Department, Attorney General Eric Holder has diverted some of the minions who usually work on suing Arizona to a new task, filing civil lawsuits against American corporations that require their employees to speak English.  The Judicial Watch blog has the story, and this is an excerpt:

Under President Obama the EEOC has taken a number of unprecedented actions to protect foreigners in the workplace, including illegal immigrants.  In 2009 the agency issued a controversial order making a workplace English rule illegal.  The directive came after the EEOC bullied a national healthcare firm to pay nearly half a million dollars to settle a discrimination lawsuit in which the government alleged that Hispanic workers were punished for speaking Spanish.

The agency has been on a roll ever since, taking legal action against businesses across the country accusing them of everything from discriminating against minorities for running criminal background and credit checks to discriminating against Muslims for not allowing hijabs on the job.  The criminal background and credit checks disproportionately exclude blacks from hire, according to EEOC lawsuits against several companies.  Businesses that forbid Muslim women from wearing a hijab at work violate religious rights guaranteed under the nation’s civil rights laws even when all head coverings are banned for all employees, the EEOC asserts

Check out the Judicial Watch article, HERE, and be sure to click on the links.  If you overlook them, you can also view the earlier case from 2009 on workplace English-only rules HERE, and the one in which Holder maintains that running criminal background checks discriminates again black Americans HERE.

The Benghazi Video: Deceiving the Nation in the service of the Hildebeast’s Presidential Aspirations

I have not read it, but Edward Klein, author and erstwhile editor-in-chief of the New York Times Magazine, has written a new book centered on the uneasy political relationship between the Clintons and the Obamas.  The word I use in the title to this post (Hildebeast) is an alternate spelling to the “Hildebeest” moniker that Klein, in one of the several book Hillary_2_ItWasTheVideoexcerpts he published this week at the New York Post, HERE, says Michelle Obama and Valerie Jarrett came up with to disparage Hillary Clinton in their numerous discussions of Hillary and former President Bill Clinton.

To me, the most disturbing of Klein’s revelations, based on another of his book excerpts, HERE, is that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decided, after consulting with Slick by telephone in the late hours of September 11, 2011, that she would collude with President Obama in an enormous and prolonged deception of the American public, with the personal goal of furthering her 2016 Presidential aspirations.  Some crucial excerpts that, in my mind, lead inexorably to that conclusion:

She had no doubt that a terrorist attack had been launched against America on the anniversary of 9/11.  However, when Hillary picked up the phone and heard Obama’s voice, she learned the president had other ideas in mind.  With less than two months before Election Day, he was still boasting that he had al Qaeda on the run.  If the truth about Benghazi became known, it would blow that argument out of the water.

“Hillary was stunned when she heard the president talk about the Benghazi attack,” one of her top legal advisers said in an interview.  “Obama wanted her to say that the attack had been a spontaneous demonstration triggered by an obscure video on the Internet that demeaned the Prophet Mohammed.”  This adviser continued: “Hillary told Obama, ‘Mr. President, that story isn’t credible.  Among other things, it ignores the fact that the attack occurred on 9/11.’  But the president was adamant.  He said, ‘Hillary, I need you to put out a State Department release as soon as possible.’”

and, after thoroughly discussing her options with her husband, former President William Jefferson Clinton, they both realized that:

Obama had put Hillary in a corner, and she and Bill didn’t see a way out.  And so, shortly after 10 o’clock on the night of September 11, she released an official statement that blamed the Benghazi attack on an “inflammatory (video) posted on the Internet.”

To both the Clintons and the Obamas, the end justifies the means, and no malfeasance is too great if it serves those ends.

A Comedic Take on the VA Scandal

Remy Munasifi is a name that would seem to be straight off the Al-Qaeda honor roll.  In reality, however, he was born in Washington, DC in 1980 of an Iraqi physician father and a Lebanese mother.  In 2002, he graduated with honors from Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia, a private Roman Catholic university.

After college, Remy gravitated into a career in stand-up comedy, and in recent years has specialized in created web videos focused on political targets.  Many of them are very funny, as is this one in my opinion.  It is mainly about the Obama VA scandal, but Bowe Bergdahl comes in for dishonorable mention toward the end.

Nixon’s Secretary RoseMary Woods lost 18 minutes, Obama’s IRS loses two years.

In an iteration of the Friday afternoon news dump, CBS News reported yesterday, HERE, that the Obama adminstration is claiming that most of the Lois Lerner e-mail messages from 2011 and prior have been lost due to a crash of her IRS computer workstation.GangstaGuv

The e-mail messages would likely have been strong proof, perhaps even dispositive proof, that Lerner had a hand in the inappropriate scrutiny of many tea party groups’ applications for 501(c)(4) tax exempt status, and that some of her superiors in the Obama administration might have directed her actions.  This unfortunate development will, therefore, put an end to all those complaints.

Oh, wait …

Scott Johnson and John Hindraker of PowerLine demonstrate how ridiculous the claims are, first in THIS post and again in THIS one.  An excerpt from the second:

E-mails are collected on e-mail servers. Each user (e.g., Lois Lerner) has an account on an e-mail server, where that person’s e-mails are collected.  It is common for e-mails to be deleted from the user’s own desktop or laptop computer, but no one worries about that.  When it is time to collect e-mails – something I do all the time in my law practice – you go to the e-mail server and pull out the user’s entire account.  A crash of the user’s computer is irrelevant and will not cause e-mails to be “lost.”

Further, e-mails are universally backed up in some other medium, often electronic tape, for long-term storage.  Thus, even if an e-mail server is destroyed, or all e-mails are deleted from a server after a specified length of time, the e-mails are still recoverable from back-up storage media.

Next it will be that the dog ate the e-mail servers.

Although details are sketchy, the ABC News article from yesterday, HERE, had this interesting snippet:

But an untold number are gone.  Camp’s office said the missing e-mails are mainly ones to and from people outside the IRS, “such as the White House, Treasury, Department of Justice, FEC, or Democrat offices.”

If these messages had been sent via the IRS e-mail host, then they should indeed be recoverable.  However, if Lerner had used her internet access to log onto her personal e-mail account, say AOL, and sent them from there, then the messages would have been on the AOL servers, and not on the IRS servers.  Of course, this scenario begs the question of why Lerner would do such a thing when conducting official IRS business.

The Obama folks seem to be scrapping the bottom of the stalling tactics barrel.  If the Republicans gain control of the Senate next year, I look forward to a more vigorous investigation of this, so hold your nose and vote for Thom Tillis.

Where is the Dept. of Pre-Crime when we need it most?

The premise of the 2002 Tom Cruise movie “Minority Report” (HERE) was that future technology would enable law enforcement to gain advance GangstaGuvnotice of crimes that were soon to be committed, and that they would then rush to the locale in order to prevent their commission.

President Obama is scheduled to address the nation on television Monday, and it is widely anticipated that he will commit the following “crimes” against our country in the cause of environmentalism:

Obama will try anew to kill the coal mining industry with his announcement of new regulations that will further restrict carbon emissions via what amounts to a national energy tax, thereby increasing the costs of utilities for all Americans;

He will order the EPA to create more stringent fuel-efficiency standards for heavy trucks, thereby ensuring that the price of such trucks will increase, and that the increases will be passed on to consumers in the form of freight charges;

In conformance with his extension last month of the review period for the project, he will NOT announce any support for the measure with the most potential to alleviate our national energy costs, the immediate approval by Congress of the Keystone XL pipeline.

For a comprehensive article on these issues and the expected consequences of the President’s action, check out THIS from Vox.

A New Slant on the Bundy Situation — the Hage Affair

As most who have followed this story know, Cliven Bundy’s forebears settled the area where his ranch is sited in the 1880’s.  He claims that, although he may owe money for grazing rights to the land upon which his cattle were grazing, any such monies would be owed to the sovereign state of Nevada rather than to the Federal government.

The Washington Examiner has up an article written by Ron Arnold, in which he explains why Bundy’s notion may not be so crazy after all.  A brief excerpt:

Private rights in federal lands were recognized in an 1866 water law. It says, “… whenever, by priority of possession, rights to the use of water have vested and accrued, and the same are recognized and acknowledged by the local customs, laws, and the decisions of courts, the possessors and owners of such vested rights shall be maintained and protected in the same.”

For the full article, click HERE.

Is This Why the Guvmint Needs All Those Guns & Ammo?

As regular readers will know, the graphic embedded in this post means that I consider it an example of the abuse of the government police power, either at the Federal, state, county, or municipal level of government.  If you read the material at the link, keep in mind that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is most likely correct, and justified, in their view that the Endangered Species Act warrants measures to protect the desert tortoise.  And they are probably also correct in their contention that western ranchers must pay fees in order to graze their cattle on Federal land.CopsAbusePower

What I find to be abhorrent, however, is the extreme and militarized actions taken by the BLM in enforcing their position against Clark County, Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, a man whom his neighbors, and most other people, would consider a law abiding citizen, not to mention the fact that this is a civil dispute that dates back almost two decades.

Consider this excerpt from an Infowars post, HERE, by Paul Watson:

None of the family members were armed, but as soon as Dave Bundy began filming the cattle in the distance, eleven BLM vehicles each with two agents arrived and surrounded him.  “They also had four snipers on the hill above us all trained on us.  We were doing nothing besides filming the area,” said Ryan Bundy.

and

When Dave Bundy didn’t immediately heed the warning and return to his vehicle, a dog was set on him and he was subsequently arrested.  “He was filming and talking on the phone, I don’t know to whom,” Ryan Bundy said.  “It happened pretty fast.  They came down on him hard and had a German Shepherd on him.  And then they took him.”

When Dave Bundy’s father Cliven attempted to contact emergency response in both Mesquite and for Metro in an attempt to discover the whereabouts of his son, he was told to, “get off the phone or he would be arrested,” according to Ryan Bundy.

This episide has been the subject of much local media attention, so for more detail and background information, check out THIS local Nevada newspaper account, or THIS account from the newspaper in nearby St. George, Utah.

Were Our Efforts For Naught? Maybe Not!

PowerLine Co-blogger Paul Mirengoff notes today that the volume of comments in opposition to the proposed IRS regulatory constraints on organizations that have or sought tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(4) have forced a reconsideration.  An excerpt:

I don’t know whether the criticisms have been heard by the IRS but their weight has been felt.  Today IRS Commissioner Koskinen told an audience at the National Press Club that his agency is unlikely to finalize the proposed regulations this year.

Koskinen said:

During the comment period, which ended in February, we received more than 150,000 comments.  That’s a record for an IRS rulemaking comment period.  In fact, if you take all the comments on all Treasury and IRS draft proposals over the last seven years and double that number, you come close to the number of comments we are now beginning to review and analyze.

It’s going to take us a while to sort through all those comments, hold a public hearing, possibly repropose a draft regulation and get more public comments.  This means that it is unlikely we will be able to complete this process before the end of the year.

Great news, if true, because putting off the implementation of the proposal until next year means that there is a greater probability that a larger Republican presence in Congress might kill them altogether.

We should all recognize that this result is largely due to the efforts of Washington DC attorney Cleta Mitchell, and to all the conservative and Tea Party groups around the country that raised such holy hell about the proposal.  Including us, the Crystal Coast Tea Party Patriots.

Since We Are All Out Of Rockets, Let’s Do Sociology Studies

From the opening paragraphs of a new article on what NASA is wasting GangstaGuvyour taxpayer dollars on these days, under the Obama administration’s oversight:

Few think Western civilization is on the brink of collapse—but it’s also doubtful the Romans and Mesopotamians saw their own demise coming either.

If we’re to avoid their fate, we’ll need policies to reduce economic inequality and preserve natural resources, according to a NASA-funded study that looked at the collapses of previous societies.

“Two important features seem to appear across societies that have collapsed,” reads the study. “The stretching of resources due to the strain placed on the ecological carrying capacity and the economic stratification of society into Elites and Masses.”
 
In unequal societies, researchers said, “collapse is difficult to avoid…. Elites grow and consume too much, resulting in a famine among Commoners that eventually causes the collapse of society.”

[snip]

The study was sponsored by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and headed by the National Science Foundation’s Safa Motesharrei.

The obvious question, it seems to me, is why the hell is the National Aeronautics & Space Administration doing this?  This seems so far afield from what they ought to be engaged in that I am beginning to suspect that Lois Lerner has found a new home.

The entire piece can be seen HERE.

Time to Break Out the Tar and Feathers

Richard Nixon bears some of the blame, as he created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by executive order in 1970.  In the intervening 44 GangstaGuvyears, the EPA has grown to massive proportions, now employing over 17,000 in ten regional offices, plus many more in contractual arrangements.  It’s budget is in excess of 8.6-billion dollars per year.  It is a bureaucratic colossus, and as colossi are prone to do, it throws it’s weight around, often crushing the little people in the process.

That is what is currently happening to the family of welder Andy Johnson, who lives with his wife Katie and their three kids on a small “farmette” in Wyoming.  Andy, foolishing thinking that he could do what he wished on his own property, built a small stock pond on the property for the recreational enjoyment of his family.  Then the EPA fell on him like a ton of bricks, demanding that he reverse his actions and fill in the pond.

From the story written earlier this week by Barnini Chakraborty at Fox News:

The EPA order on January 30th gave Johnson 30 days to hire a consultant and have him or her assess the impact of the supposed unauthorized discharges.  The report was also supposed to include a restoration proposal to be approved by the EPA as well as to contain a schedule requiring all work be completed within 60 days of the plan’s approval.

If Johnson doesn’t comply — and he hasn’t so far — he’s subject to $37,500 per day in civil penalties as well as another $37,500 per day in fines for statutory violations.

Read the entire disgusting story, HERE.

Gangster Guvmint Post Of The Day: ObamaCare Edition

From a new article up on National Journal today by reporter Sam Baker:

The health care law provides subsidies to help low-income people cover GangstaGuvsome of their out-of-pocket costs. Last year, the administration said those subsidies were taking a 7 percent cut because of the sequester, which imposed across-the-board reductions in federal spending.

But now, the White House has changed its mind. It removed the cost-sharing subsidies from its list of programs that are subject to the sequester, eliminating the 7 percent cut for 2015.
 
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which noticed the change, said the reversal would likely restore about $560 million to the subsidies—and require $560 million in cuts to other programs to make up for it.

The cost-sharing subsidies are expected to total $8 billion this year and $156 billion over the next decade.

Who benefits from the change? The low-income families who qualify for these subsidies, as well as the White House and insurance companies.

View the full article, HERE.

The “October Surprise” Comes In March

In an exchange with a friend earlier this week, I speculated that the GangstaGuvObama administration would, with the stroke of the magic pen, rescind the ObamaCare individual mandate prior to the fall elections.  Today, the editors of the Wall Street Journal inform me that I am way behind the curve on this.  Herewith, the first two paragraphs of the piece:

ObamaCare’s implementers continue to roam the battlefield and shoot their own wounded, and the latest casualty is the core of the Affordable Care Act—the individual mandate.  To wit, last week the Administration quietly excused millions of people from the requirement to purchase health insurance or else pay a tax penalty.

This latest political reconstruction has received zero media notice, and the Health and Human Services Department didn’t think the details were worth discussing in a conference call, press materials or fact sheet.  Instead, the mandate suspension was buried in an unrelated rule that was meant to preserve some health plans that don’t comply with ObamaCare benefit and redistribution mandates.  Our sources only noticed the change this week.

The full article is HERE.

And for another perspective, this one from the pundits at Hot Air, click HERE.

Harry Reid Is Winning the Senate Shell Game

If you take a vanilla ice cream cone, throw the ice cream part into the GangstaGuvtrash, then refill the cone with liver pudding, do you still have a vanilla ice cream cone?  Most folks, especially kids, would give you an emphatic “NO”, but the Obama Administration, in two cases making their way up the litigation ladder (perhaps to the SCOTUS) says yes.  In 2010, in order to craft ObamaCare in spite of opposition in the House of Representatives, Harry Reid took a bill that had been passed in the House and then sent on to the Senate (H.R. 3590), gutted the content, and used it as a vehicle for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

There are many lawsuits pending over various issues related to ObamaCare.  One issue on which many pinned their hopes was related to the “orgination clause”, which is that portion of the first sentence in Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution which reads “All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives;”.  However, according to an article by Jonathan Adler, posted at the law blog Volokh Conspriracy, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals is not cooperating with this effort.

A key bit:

As for the merits of the claim, what makes the Origination Clause argument difficult is that Congress observed the Origination Clause in form if not in substance.  The Senate took a bill that had passed the House, stripped out its contents, and inserted the PPACA so that it could claim fealty to the Constitutional requirement.  This approach clearly circumvents the purpose of the rule.  So, would a Court throw out portions of the PPACA on such grounds?  I doubt it.  Although the Supreme Court has suggested its willingness to consider such arguments before, I am skeptical that federal courts are likely to scrutinize how legislation gets produced.  Thus, for example, the D.C. Circuit has turned away challenges to federal legislation that allegedly violated the enrolled bill rule, refusing to second-guess the legislature’s certification that a given bill satisfied the relevant constitutional requirements.  When a federal court reaches the merits of an Origination Clause challenge, I would expect a similar outcome, even if this means the Senate may continue to play fast and loose with the origination requirement.  Utilizing shell bills may make a mockery of the rule, but it’s not the sort of thing that is likely to be overturned in federal court.

For the entire article, click HERE.

The IRS Scandal: George Will Weighs In

Washington Post opinion writer George Will offers his perspective, Obama_Hammerilluminating as always, on the suppression tactics employed by the IRS in the interest of nullifying conservative political activism in the run-up to this year’s fall elections.  One incisive excerpt:

The rules that Obama says befuddled the IRS boneheads — to his benefit — read today exactly as they have read since 1959. For half a century they did not prevent the IRS from processing applications for tax-exempt status in less than three months. Some conservative group should offer $10,000 to anyone who can identify a liberal group that had the experience scores of conservative groups have had — an application delayed more than three years and receipt of an IRS questionnaire containing at least 60 questions.

And by the way, thanks to all who used our boilerplate, or who otherwise took the initiative of writing to the IRS to express opposition to the proposed rule changes for IRS Section 501(c)(4) organizations.  Will reports that they have received over 140,000 comments to date, an impressive number considering that almost all are critical of the proposal.  For his entire article, click HERE.

And in a related story, the British newspaper Daily Mail reported yesterday, HERE, that after eight months the IRS has now agreed to provide the House investigating committee with all of Lois Lerner’s e-mails from President Obama’s inauguration up through the date she went on leave from her IRS duties.

TOMORROW is the Deadline for Comments !

I have called attention several times in this space to the threat posed by the proposed IRS rule revisions to Section 501(c)(4) of the tax code, which is the section under which most of the larger Tea Party and other conservative activists groups seek tax exemption.  The deadline for public comments on the proposals is tomorrow, so please, if you have not done so already, click THIS link for access to a quick and easy process for making your voice heard.

For even more motivation, click HERE to read the latest news, posted by Eliana Johnson of National Review, on the legislation that is planned for introduction in the House tomorrow.  This new bill, written primarily by Dave Camp (R-MI) would:

… directly address the circumstances that led to last year’s scandal.  The specter of Lois Lerner looms large in the minds of many Republicans, and the plan mandates the termination of any IRS employee found to have taken official action for political purposes.  The 1988 bill that restructured and reformed the IRS spells out ten actions for which the IRS commissioner must terminate an agency employee after an “administrative or judicial determination” that the employee has committed the prohibited action — among them, providing a false statement under oath on a matter involving a taxpayer and violating the rights of a taxpayer.  Today’s bill would add the commission of politically motivated acts to the list.

The plan would also require the IRS to modify its interpretation of a critical provision of the Internal Revenue Code that has been used to protect the privacy of those accused of leaking confidential taxpayer records and to deny information to the victims of IRS abuse.

Under the proposed reforms, the provision, Internal Revenue Code section 6103, would require the government to disclose to victims both the status of an investigation as well as its result, including the identity of the perpetrator.

Your turn.  Now, reach out and touch the IRS.  You can even do so anonymously.


UPDATE — WHITE HOUSE VOWS VETO !!

From PJ-Media, just past 5pm:

The White House threatened to veto a House bill that would block the Internal Revenue Service from issuing a rule that would narrow the definition of who qualifies for a 501(c)(4) exemption as a social welfare organization.

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp’s (R-Mich.) Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act, which was in the Rules Committee on Tuesday evening, would freeze the finalization of the rule for one year and restore the 501(c)(4) standards and definitions that were in place before conservative groups started to come under extra scrutiny in 2010.

Shortly after the Rules Committee meeting began, the Office of Management and Budget issued a statement warning that the administration “strongly opposes” the bill, which has 66 co-sponsors.

More HERE.

Not Even A Smidgeon Of Corruption?

Yeah, right.  Cleta Mitchell, a top attorney at Washington, DC law firm Foley & Lardner is on the case, in only two minutes, thirty-four seconds.

For more, Powerline’s original post on this is HERE.

And a reminder — the deadline for public comment to the IRS on the issue of their proposed rules for treatment of Section 501(c)(4) organizations (which includes most Tea Party groups) is February 27th, so if you haven’t already, please use the boilerplate text to copy and paste an e-mail to the IRS expressing your opposition.  Access the page by navigating via the menu bar [ Current Issues / IRS 501(c)(4) Rules ], above.  Please, do this soon.

ObamaCare to Illegally Bail Out Health Insurers Soon?

GangstaGuvThe “Risk Corridor” program is a measure written into the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) for the purpose of protecting health insurance providers from the very situation that we see unfolding today.  Too small a number of young, healthy people are proving to be stupid enough to enroll in the ACA, so the health insurance companies are not seeing enough revenue from these “invincibles” to fully subsidize the health care costs of the older, less healthy people.  The Risk Corridor program was a provision in the law that would provide offsetting payments to the health insurance companies if this happened.  However, the ObamaCare law specifically limits this program to the first three years, and therefore expires on December 31, 2016, shortly after the next presidential election.

Now comes word from Susan Ferrechio of the Washington Examiner that:

The Obama Administration may extend beyond 2016 a federal reimbursement program for health insurance companies that lose money by participating in the newly created health care exchanges.

Industry insiders told the Washington Examiner a plan to extend the Affordable Care Act’s “risk corridors” are under discussion, but that administration officials have not made a final decision.

The full article at the Washington Examiner is HERE, and for another more detailed perspective, check out THIS piece from columnist Megan McArdle.

All, repeat ALL, of the Audited 501(c)(4) Groups were Conservative!

Following is the entire text from the TownHall.com post from earlier this Obama_Hammerweek by Carol Liebau:

Less than two weeks after President Obama insisted that there wasn’t even a “smidgen of corruption” involved in the IRS targeting scandal, it appears that the scope of that scandal is widening.

Dave Camp, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, revealed yesterday that the committee’s investigation had found that it wasn’t only conservative groups applying for 501(c)(4) status that came in for IRS targeting and harassment.  Existing 501(c)(4)’s were targeted, as well.  In fact, Camp stated,

At Washington, DC’s direction, dozens of groups operating as 501(c)(4)s were flagged for IRS surveillance, including monitoring of the groups’ activities, websites and any other publicly available information.  Of these groups, 83% were right-leaning.  And of the groups the IRS selected for audit, 100% were right-leaning.

That’s right — “somehow,” every single 501(c)(4) that the IRS selected to endure the time, expense, distraction and stress of an audit just happened to be conservative.

The fact that existing 501(c)(4)’s were targeted along with applicants is important.  First, though it isn’t conclusive, it does provide further evidence (as if any were needed!) that the scrutiny endured by conservative 501(c)(4) applicants had less to do with “confusion” over the (c)(4) rules than with efforts at political suppression.  Second, it suggests that the targeting was part of a deliberate, widespread agency policy rather than restricted to “bad apples” in just one narrow area.

There are still plenty of documents that haven’t been turned over to investigators yet, and plenty of witnesses who haven’t yet been interviewed.  Given how damaging the evidence already is, Democrats eager to defend the IRS and push through formalized rules to suppress (c)(4)’s might be well-advised to hold off until the facts are out — because the scandal is only broadening, and the IRS is looking worse by the day.

ObamaCare’s Employer Mandate Extended Again

This afternoon, the White House announced that it would give employers with between 50 and 99 employees another year to provide health GangstaGuvinsurance to their workers.  This would make them exempt until January 1, 2016.

From the article in the Washington Post, written by reporters Juliet Eilperin and Amy Goldstein:

Firms with at least 100 employees will have to start offering this coverage in 2015.

By offering an unexpected grace period to businesses with between 50 and 99 employees, administration officials are hoping to defuse another potential controversy involving the 2010 health-care law, which has become central to Republicans’ campaign to make political gains in this year’s midterm election.

Even the nation’s largest employers got a significant concession: They can avoid a fine [ $2,000 per worker ] by offering coverage to 70 percent of their full-time employees in 2015 and 95 percent starting in 2016.  Under an earlier proposal, employers with at least 50 employees would have been required to offer insurance, beginning 2015, to 95 percent of those who work 30 hours or more a week, along with their dependents.

No reliance on Congress for legislative support, of course, because the President has a pen with which to sign an executive order.  If your blood pressure will take it, the full article is HERE.

Dinesh D’Souza, maker of the film “2016: Obama’s America”, arrested today.

GangstaGuvThe Hollywood Reporter, and later Fox News, are reporting the arrest.  From the Hollywood Reporter article, HERE, the lead paragraphs:

Conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, whose documentary 2016: Obama’s America took a critical look at President Barack Obama and was a surprise hit in 2012, will be arrested in New York on Friday for allegedly violating campaign-finance laws, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Federal authorities accuse D’Souza of donating more than is legal to the campaign of Wendy Long, who ran in 2012 for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton but lost to now-Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Long, though, is not mentioned in an indictment obtained by THR on Thursday.

Later reports indicate that D’Souza has been released after pleading not guilty to the charges.