Corruption Update: Top VA Official Conspired With Her Married Boyfriend To Thwart Investigations

Top VA Official Conspired With Her Married Boyfriend To Thwart Investigations – Daily Caller

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A recent investigation has uncovered a shocking tale of corruption and adultery at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Susan Taylor, a longtime federal employee and Deputy Chief Procurement Officer at the Veterans Health Administration since 2010, not only used her position to award government contracts to a former business partner, and worked with said company to hide the thousands and thousands of dollars it was making off the government, but conspired with her married boyfriend – who also had close personal ties to the company – to thwart investigations into her misconduct.

The salacious story began in 1994, when Taylor met William Dobrzykowski at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he was her supervisor. By 2006 he’d reportedly asked her to marry him, and in 2007 they picked out a diamond. Together with the mounting, it cost nearly $12,000.

By then they’d both moved on to different jobs – she was the Director of Procurement at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation; he was a contractor she’d abused her position to hire. During this entire period, the investigation notes, Dobrzykowski was married to and living with his actual wife.

In 2012, Taylor was apparently considering breaking the news to the poor woman, having drafted an email to her explaining the entire relationship, although it is unclear whether the email was ever sent.

But that’s not all! Within months of starting at the PBGC, Taylor had attempted to get Dobrzykowski a job there, acting as a personal reference for him when he applied to be its Chief Financial Officer. Undeterred when they hired someone else, Taylor got him a gig as a consultant in her department, during which time she was his supervisor. Dobrzykowski’s company, Paradigm Financial Solutions, was paid $80,000 for his “consulting,” and within two months the $12,000 ring was chosen and paid for.

Taylor repeatedly lied to coworkers and and other officials about their relationship, shrugging off accusations of a conflict of interest by asserting that they were only friends, even explaining that they couldn’t possibly be in a relationship, since Dobrzykowski was married. When asked what the rock on her hand was about, she’d pretend to be engaged to someone else.

A 2008 performance review, according to the investigation, stated that “her accomplishments were undermined by her poor judgment and lack of accountability… Ms. Taylor allowed a personal friend to be hired in her department as a contractor [Mr. Dobrzykowski]; resisted her supervisor’s requirement that the contract be terminated; made numerous attempts to find work for her friend in other departments; and attempted to go around her supervisor to the Director. The PRB concluded that these actions, as well as others, reflected poorly on Ms. Taylor’s individual performance objectives in leadership/supervision, resource management, and technical competence.”

This, of course, is all good enough for government work, since two years later she found herself in a top position at the VHA.

During her illustrious tenure at the PBGC, Taylor had worked with FedBid, a private company that offers reverse auction services, “in which the sellers compete to obtain business from the buyer and prices typically decrease as the sellers undercut one another.” According to the investigation, FedBid’s “Board of Directors, Key Advisors, and Consultants consist of a cadre of former key Federal and Military senior officials.”

Just six months after leaving the PBGC for the VHA, Taylor began her work bringing FedBid with her. While federal regulation prohibits employees from giving private companies preferential treatment for any reason, Taylor openly flouted these rules, reaching out to FedBid herself to get the ball rolling, and emailing other VHA officials about FedBid’s services, personally endorsing them and encouraging other federal employees to get in touch with FedBid’s vice-president. Then she personally invited FedBid to present at a VHA conference – as the investigation puts it, “Thus began a process of Ms. Taylor working extensively and exclusively with FedBid to implement reverse auctions within VHA.”

Taylor helped them prepare their presentations, “created a false sense of urgency to award a reverse auction contract,” failed to conduct market research that would have ensured fair and open competition, helped FedBid “misrepresent its services as being no cost or free to the government,” and, when another VA official finally banned use of FedBid’s reverse auction services, conspired with Dobrzykowski and FedBid employees to overturn the moratorium and “improperly acted to thwart the actions of a VA official responsible for oversight of procurement operations.”

“As you might know, Susan Taylor is in need of your [Fed]Bid’s immediate and direct help in providing information and a white paper requested by [then VA Deputy Secretary W. Scott] Gould,” Dobrzykowski wrote to Glenn Richardson, FedBid’s then president. “She is your champion and you all know that. She is overwhelmed and to a great extent her ability to respond to requests from congress and Gould etc. Is important to resolving the [FedBid] issues. Immediate and all hands on deck is the mantra to support Susan as she responds to requests for IMMEDIATE information, data and papers.”

“Email records reflected that FedBid executives considered Ms. Taylor to be a valuable source of inside information; they were committed to protecting her; and Ms. Taylor expressed concerns that her identity be protected,” the investigation explains.

“Susan called and is getting extremely nervous about some of the emails and other information she has sent to me and how it might be used against her,” Richardson wrote to other FedBid execs in March 2012. “Consequently she is very concerned about her and the VHA. As a result she has requested my continued assurance that we keep her covered – she has really ‘extended herself’ for us over this issue.”

Within a month they’d gotten the moratorium lifted.

Taylor jumped into action again the following year, when the VA Inspector General subpoenaed FedBid’s records as part of an official government review. Acting as an advocate for FedBid before the OIG, she tried to convince them that the subpoena requirements were too burdensome, and worked with FedBid execs to develop a plan to challenge the OIG’s authority to issue the subpoena.

Her other violations, including using VA resources for relationship counseling for her and Dobrzykowski, allowing FedBid execs to bribe federal employees with wine, and repeatedly lying to the inspectors who produced this investigation, are too numerous for a single article (the investigation report itself is 81 pages long).

Perhaps most shocking of all, however, is that the investigators “made a criminal referral of the conflict of interest and false statements to the U.S. Department of Justice, but they declined to criminally prosecute in favor of any appropriate administrative actions.”

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Amateur Hour At The White House (Video)

White House Fence-Jumper Made It Far Deeper Into Building Than Previously Known – Washington Post

The man who jumped the White House fence this month and sprinted through the front door made it much farther into the building than previously known, overpowering one Secret Service officer and running through much of the main floor, according to three people familiar with the incident.

An alarm box near the front entrance of the White House designed to alert guards to an intruder had been muted at what officers believed was a request of the usher’s office, said a Secret Service official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The officer posted inside the front door appeared to be delayed in learning that the intruder, Omar Gonzalez, was about to burst through. Officers are trained that, upon learning of an intruder on the grounds – often through the alarm boxes posted around the property – they must immediately lock the front door.

After barreling past the guard immediately inside the door, Gonzalez, who was carrying a knife, dashed past the stairway leading a half-flight up to the first family’s living quarters. He then ran into the 80-foot-long East Room, an ornate space often used for receptions or presidential addresses.

Gonzalez was tackled by a counterassault agent at the far southern end of the East Room. The intruder reached the doorway to the Green Room, a parlor overlooking the South Lawn with artwork and antique furniture, according to three people familiar with the incident.

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Secret Service officials had earlier said he was quickly detained at the main entry. Agency spokesman Edwin Donovan said the office is not commenting during the ongoing investigation of the incident.

Breaches of the White House fence have become more common, but most jumpers are tackled by Secret Service officers guarding the complex before they get even a third of the way across the lawn. Gonzalez is the first person known to have jumped the fence and made it inside the executive mansion.

Secret Service Director Julia Pierson has said the breach was “unacceptable” to her, and on Friday she briefed President Obama on her plans to shore up security.

Pierson is expected to face tough questions about the Gonzalez incident Tuesday at a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The hearing is likely to cover a number of security lapses by the agency, including new revelations published over the weekend by The Washington Post about the failure to identify and properly investigate a 2011 shooting attack on the White House.

The more detailed account of this month’s security breach comes from people who provided information about the incident to The Post and whistleblowers who contacted Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the oversight panel’s subcommittee on national security.

Chaffetz said he plans to ask Pierson how an alarm meant to alert officers to intruders could be silenced or turned down. The congressman said two people inside the agency told him that boxes were silenced because the White House usher staff, whose office is near the front door, complained that they were noisy. A Secret Service official told The Post that the usher’s office was concerned the boxes were frequently malfunctioning and unnecessarily sounding off.

The alarm boxes, which officers call “crash boxes,” are key pieces of the agency’s first-alert system, according to former agents and officials. If officers spot an intruder, they are trained to hit the large red button on the nearest box – sending an alert to every post on the complex about the location of an incursion and piping sound from that location to other boxes around the property.

“If true, the fact that crash boxes were muted to avoid being ‘disruptive’ is not due to a lack of resources or an insufficient number of checkpoints or barriers,” Chaffetz said.

He called the incident a “failure of leadership” by the Secret Service.

“The agency needs a solution that goes deeper than more fences and more people,” Chaffetz said. “It must examine what message is being sent to the men and women who protect the president when their leader sacrifices security to appease superficial concerns of White House ushers.”

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The new revelations follow accounts provided to The Post last week detailing how Gonzalez’s ability to enter the White House reflected a failure of multiple levels of security at the compound. The agency relies on these successive layers as a fail-safe for protecting the president and the White House complex.

In this incident, a plainclothes surveillance team was on duty that night outside the fence, meant to spot jumpers and give early warning before they made it over. But that team did not notice Gonzalez. There was an officer in a guard booth on the North Lawn. When that officer could not reach Gonzalez, there was supposed to be an attack dog, a specialized SWAT team and a guard at the front door – all at the ready.

The dog was not released, a decision now under review. Some people familiar with the incident say the handler probably felt he could not release the dog, because so many officers were in pursuit of Gonzalez and the dog may have attacked them instead.

Since the incident, the Secret Service has added an additional layer of temporary fencing while the agency reviews its procedures.

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Secret Service Fumbled Response After Gunman Hit White House Residence In 2011 – Washington Post

The gunman parked his black Honda directly south of the White House, in the dark of a November night, in a closed lane of Constitution Avenue. He pointed his semiautomatic rifle out of the passenger window, aimed directly at the home of the president of the United States, and pulled the trigger.

A bullet smashed a window on the second floor, just steps from the first family’s formal living room. Another lodged in a window frame, and more pinged off the roof, sending bits of wood and concrete to the ground. At least seven bullets struck the upstairs residence of the White House, flying some 700 yards across the South Lawn.

President Obama and his wife were out of town on that evening of Nov. 11, 2011, but their younger daughter, Sasha, and Michelle Obama’s mother, Marian Robinson, were inside, while older daughter Malia was expected back any moment from an outing with friends.

Secret Service officers initially rushed to respond. One, stationed directly under the second-floor terrace where the bullets struck, drew her .357 handgun and prepared to crack open an emergency gun box. Snipers on the roof, standing just 20 feet from where one bullet struck, scanned the South Lawn through their rifle scopes for signs of an attack. With little camera surveillance on the White House perimeter, it was up to the Secret Service officers on duty to figure out what was going on.

Then came an order that surprised some of the officers. “No shots have been fired… Stand down,” a supervisor called over his radio. He said the noise was the backfire from a nearby construction vehicle.

Click HERE for rest of story.

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Related video:

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*VIDEO* Bill Whittle: Loch Ness Socialism


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Corruption Update: Obama State Department Won’t Say How Missing Records For $6B Were Stored

State Department Won’t Say How Missing Records For $6 Billion Were Stored – American Thinker

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A spokesperson for the State Department refuses to say if any missing contract files from March 2008 – March 2014 were stored electronically.

The American Thinker began covering the case of the missing records for $6 billion on April 5, 2014, soon after the State Department’s Office of Inspector General released two unclassified memos dated March 20, 2014.

Several news media outlets also covered the missing State Department records in early April, but, to date, there’s been little, if any, follow-up to the story. In short, it’s off the mainstream media radar.

Nothing to see here. Move along.

The fact that Hillary Clinton was the Secretary of State for four of the six years covered by the missing files may explain the reluctance of the State Department to answer simple, factual inquiries about the missing records.

On September 14, 2014, the American Thinker followed-up its April 2014 story noting this quote from a Department of State spokesperson who asked to remain anonymous:

“At this time, the Department continues to work on the issues raised by the OIG in its audit and to improve its file management. We are in regular communication with the OIG [Office of Inspector General] to update them on our progress.”

Does “work on the issues” mean trying to locate the missing records? Or just cleaning up the accounting processes per. the OIG’s recommendations?

Below is a subsequent email thread, in sequence from September 16-22, which involved the anonymous spokesperson as well as three officials in the OIG (Office of the Inspector General). Names and email addresses are deleted.

From: Lee Cary
Sent: Tuesday, September 16, 2014 2:25 PM
To: Spokesperson, Department of State
Cc: OIC Official #1 @state.gov; OIC Official #2 @state.gov; OIC Official#3 @state.gov
Subject: Media Query 9/16/14

Spokesperson’s name deleted,

Press Officer & Spokesperson

United States Department of State

202.____-____

Re. “Specifically, over the past 6 years, OIG has identified Department of State (Department) contracts with a total value of more than $6 billion in which contract files were incomplete or could not be located at all.” (Statement in first paragraph of March 20, 2014 document, “Management Alert Contract File Management Deficiencies”)

Name deleted,

I hope this finds you well.

Two questions:

1. Do the incomplete and/or missing files represent paper and/or electronic documents?

2. If one or more of the incomplete or missing files are electronic files, are the electronic back-ups of the original documents equally incomplete and/or missing?

Thank you.

Lee Cary

Writer for the American Thinker website

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From: Spokesperson, Department of State

Sent: Tuesday, September 16, 2014 1:29 PM

To: Lee Cary

Subject: RE: Media Query 9/16/14

Lee – I’ll see what I have for you, Name deleted

This email is UNCLASSIFIED.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

From: Lee Cary
Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2014 10:45 AM
To: State Department spokesperson
Subject: Re: Media Query 9/16/14

Thank you, name deleted. Standing by,

Lee

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From: State Department Spokesperson

Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2014 4:36 PM

To: Lee Cary

Subject: RE: Media Query 9/16/14

This is to be attributed on background from a State Department official:

(1) Reports that there is $6 billion that can’t be accounted for are grossly inaccurate. The OIG’s March 2014 management alert noted that there were a number of incomplete files for our contracts, and those contracts’ cumulative value is $6 billion. As highlighted in our response to the OIG, this is an issue of which the Department is aware and IS taking steps to remedy. It is a paperwork issue, not an accounting issue.

Thanks, Name deleted.

This email is UNCLASSIFIED.

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From: Lee Cary
Date: Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 3:51 PM
TO: State Department Spokesperson

Cc: Official #1 @state.gov; OIC Official #2 @state.gov; OIC Official#3 @state.gov; Lee Cary

Subject: Re: Media Query 9/16/14

Name deleted – Thank you for your response. It will, as before, be “attributed on background… etc.” when quoted.

The $6 billion was mentioned in the OIG’s March 20, 2014 memo as: “contracts with a total value of more than $6 billion in which contract files were incomplete or could not be located at all.”

I do not infer from the OIG’s memo that 6 billion dollars are missing, but, clearly, some degree of accounting for monies is missing, per. the OIG memo.

So…

Q.1. In general terms, what is the content of the missing information that is absent partially, and in some cases totally, from the subject contract files?

I don’t understand your response re. “paperwork issue” and “accounting issue.” On its face, the language (paperwork) designates the means of information storage/conveyance, while “accounting” logically pertains to the general content of the subject content – as in an accumulation of numbers. Numbers on paper would mean both the means of information and its general content.

Q.2. With respect, I repeat and expand my previous query: Are there any missing electronic files, in part or in full? If so, how many “contract files” are totally missing, and what is the approximate, total expenditures involved in those electronic files that are totally missing?

Name deleted, if you are unable to answer my queries, please forwarding me to someone who can/will do so.

Thanks, Lee Cary

Writer for the American Thinker website

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From: Lee Cary

Sent: Monday, September 22, 2014 1:26 PM
To: OIG Official #1 @state.gov
Cc: AT editor
Subject: Fw: Media Query 9/16/14

Name deleted,

The questions below are simple [previous email was attached], direct and, it would seem, merely a matter of fact.

So why am I having so much trouble getting a straight answer from the Department of State spokesperson?

Can you enlighten me, sir.

Lee Cary

Writer for American Thinker website

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From: OIG Official #1

Sent: Monday, September 22, 2014 12:34 PM

To: Lee Cary

Subject: RE: Media Query 9/16/14

Lee:

If you feel the response doesn’t answer your question, you may want to elevate your inquiry over at the Department to the senior press officer or director.

The main number for Press relations is 202-647-2492 (PAPress2@state.gov).

Name deleted

Signature block deleted

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From: Lee Cary
Sent: Monday, September 22, 2014 1:54 PM
To: PAPress@state.gov
Cc: OIG Official #1
Subject: Fw: Media Query 9/16/14

Senior Press Officer or Director (see referral below):

I am having no success getting responses to what are two simple and, I believe, clear factual questions that don’t require detailed, confidential information.

Perhaps someone there can help me.

The context for these questions is below:

Q.1. In general terms, what is the content of the missing information that is absent partially, and in some cases totally, from the subject contract files?

Q.2. With respect, I repeat and expand my previous query: Are there any missing electronic files, in part or in full? If so, how many “contract files” are totally missing, and what is the approximate, total expenditures involved in those electronic files that are totally missing?

Thank you.

Lee Cary

Writer for the American Thinker website

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

Note: A query to the PAPress2@state.gov yielded only the following response.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

From: State Department Spokesperson

Sent: Monday, September 22, 2014 1:08 PM

To: Lee Cary

Cc: OIG Official #1

Subject: RE: Media Query 9/16/14

Hi Lee – This is not for attribution and please do not print my name:

I have responded to your requests, and we have nothing further for you from the press office. You are welcome to FOIA the State Department for the information you seek. The FOIA process is laid out here: http://foia.state.gov, as it is an office separate from the press office and OIG.

Hope this is helpful and take care,

Name deleted,

This email is UNCLASSIFIED.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

The failure of a government agency to answer questions is not an admission of guilt, nor necessarily evidence of any malfeasance or violation of any law(s).

But it is curious when the information requested and denied is, on its face, a matter of a simple, physical fact.

So why the unwillingness to identify the missing contract files as having been stored in part, or in total, electronically?

It raises this question: Is this now the fourth instance of significant electronically stored information having conveniently gone missing inside a major government agency? (1) The Department of Justice’s Fast & Furious operation. (2) The IRS scandal. (3) The Department of State’s Benghazi episode. And now this: (4) “contract files” representing $6,000,000,000 of Department of State expenditures are missing in part, or are completely missing.

The clear emphasis in the Office of Inspector General’s memos (linked above) is on the Department of State’s need to improve its accounting procedures. Is there even an effort underway to track and retrieve the missing information concerning $6 billion of expenditures?

Who is in charge of that effort, if it exists?

Are we to believe that there were/are no back-up copies of the missing contract files?

How far has the searched progressed, if there even is a search underway?

What did those expenditures buy?

And just what did happen to the documentation that’s missing? Any clues after six months?

Sandy Berger probably didn’t stuff paper files or hard drives into his socks and walk out of Foggy Bottom with the missing files.

This story does not deserve to die, but it’s headed in that direction.

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Your Daley Gator Prager University Crash Course In… Life


FEMINISM VS. TRUTH

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WHAT CREATES WEALTH?

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WHAT MATTERS MOST IN LIFE?

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THE GOVERNMENT VS. THE AMERICAN CHARACTER

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IS THE UN FAIR TO ISRAEL?

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TEACHERS UNIONS VS. STUDENTS

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WAS IT WRONG TO DROP THE ATOM BOMB ON JAPAN?

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WHAT IS SOCIAL JUSTICE?

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GOD VS. ATHEISM: WHICH IS MORE RATIONAL?

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THE TRUTH ABOUT THE VIETNAM WAR

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ARE PEOPLE BORN GOOD?

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WHY AMERICA’S MILITARY MUST BE STRONG

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Obama Regime Forcing Gun Buyers To Declare Race, Ethnicity On ATF Form

Obama Administration Forcing New Gun Buyers To Declare Race, Ethnicity – Washington Times

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The Obama administration quietly has been forcing new gun buyers to declare their race and ethnicity, a policy change that critics say provides little law enforcement value while creating the risk of privacy intrusions and racial profiling.

With little fanfare, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in 2012 amended its Form 4473 – the transactional record the government requires gun purchasers and sellers to fill out when buying a firearm – to identify buyers as either Hispanic, Latino or not. Then a buyer must check his or her race: Indian, Asian, black, Pacific Islander or white.

The amendment is causing a headache for gun retailers, as each box needs to be checked off or else it’s an ATF violation – severe enough for the government to shut a business down. Many times people skip over the Hispanic/Latino box and only check their race, or vice versa – both of which are federal errors that can be held against the dealer.

Requiring the race and ethnic information of gun buyers is not required by federal law and provides little law enforcement value, legal experts say. And gun industry officials worry about how the information is being used and whether it constitutes an unnecessary intrusion on privacy.

“This issue concerns me deeply because, first, it’s offensive, and, secondly, there’s no need for it,” said Evan Nappen, a private practice firearms lawyer in New Jersey. “If there’s no need for an amendment, then there’s usually a political reason for the change. What this indicates is it was done for political reasons, not law enforcement reasons.”

ATF said the change came about because it needed to update its forms to comply with an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reporting standard put into effect during the Clinton administration. The ATF declined to comment on why race and ethnicity information are needed in the first place or what they are used for. On its prior 4473 forms, the bureau had been collecting race data.

“OMB’s race and ethnicity standards require agencies to ask both race and ethnicity in a specific manner (as done on [Form 4473]), and agencies may not ask for one without asking for the other,” wrote Elizabeth Gosselin, a spokeswoman for the ATF, in an emailed response to The Washington Times. She did not say why the agency suddenly made the change in response to a rule that was more than a decade old.

For ATF to ask for a purchaser’s race and ethnicity is not specifically authorized under federal statute, and since a government-issued photo ID – like a driver’s license – and a background check are already required by law to purchase a gun, the ethnicity/race boxes aren’t there for identification reasons, Mr. Nappen said.

“There is nothing [in ATF or OMB’s website links addressing the change in policy] that supports the requirement that ATF collect race-based information. The OMB guidance merely describes what categories of race should look like if information is collected,” Laura Murphy, the American Civil Liberties Union director for legislative affairs in Washington, said in an emailed statement.

In addition, Mrs. Murphy notes, the OMB guidance was supposed to be implemented by 2003; there’s no information given why ATF decided to make this change almost a decade later, she said.

“If there is a civil rights enforcement reason for the ATF to collect this data, I have not heard that explanation from ATF or any other federal agency,” said Mrs. Murphy.

Both the NAACP and the National Council of La Raza – the nation’s largest national Hispanic civil rights group – declined comment.

Access to the form

The 4473 form is supposed to be kept in a gun retailer’s possession at all times — allowing ATF agents to inspect the form only during the course of a criminal investigation or during a random audit of the dealer. The form is to be kept out of the hands of the government, hence the distinction between “sales/transaction form” and “registration form.” But that isn’t always the case, gun rights advocates say.

“We’ve been contacted by several dealers saying ATF is or has been making wholesale copies of their 4473 forms, and it’s just not legal,” said Erich Pratt, spokesman for Gun Owners of America, a gun advocacy group. “If this is what they’re doing somewhat out in the open, what’s going on behind closed doors? Are these names and demographic information getting phoned [in and] punched into a government computer? Do they ever come out?”

During the time ATF revised its 4473 form to include Hispanic or Latino as an ethnicity, the Obama administration was building gun control cases by saying U.S. firearms dealers were supplying Mexican gangs with weapons and that violence related to the sales was seeping across the border.

In March 2009, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Mexico City and gave a speech against American gun stores and owners – blaming them for the drug cartels’ violence. Mrs. Clinton subsequently told CBS News that “90 percent” of the “guns that are used by the drug cartels against the police and military” actually “come from America.”

About a week later, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. made the same points at a gun trafficking conference outside of Mexico City. In April, the president himself flew down to Mexico to inform President Felipe Calderon that Mr. Holder was going to review U.S. law enforcement operations, according to a 2011 report by the American Thinker.

This political worldview may have fueled decision-making at ATF, Mr. Nappen suggests. Around the same time that ATF started specifying “Latino/Hispanic” on their U.S. purchasing forms, they also required border firearms dealers in Texas, Arizona, California and New Mexico to start reporting multiple rifle sales.

In 2012, when ATF made the Form 4473 modification, they insisted their new reporting requirement for multiple rifle sales in those border states had led to “follow-up investigations involving transactions that might indicate firearms trafficking activities.”

“Was it coincidental [that] about the time the form changed the requirements came in that border states had to report multiple rifle sales, and there was a push in the antigun movement to claim American guns were arming Mexican cartels south of the border?” asked Mr. Nappen.

Although gun advocates speculate on the reasoning behind changing the form, on one thing they are clear: Requiring ethnicity and race to purchase a gun is a clear government overstep, violating Second Amendment rights.

“It’s an overreach, not authorized by Congress, taken upon [by ATF] unilaterally,” said Mr. Pratt. “The president has said his biggest frustration has been not getting gun control enacted – but we can see he’s been very active with his phone and his pen. And this certainly – either intentionally or unintentionally – feeds that notion.”

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Thanks Barack… 1.9 Million Americans Won’t Get Health Insurance Due To ‘Family Glitch’

Report: ‘Family Glitch’ In Obamacare To Impact 1.9 Million Americans – Washington Free Beacon

Vague language within Obamacare will result in nearly 2 million Americans being unable to afford health insurance, according to a new report by the American Action Forum (AAF).

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The so-called “family glitch” occurs when an individual is offered health insurance through their employer but the plan is not extended to the rest of their family. Due to the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) interpretation of the law, other immediate family members are not eligible to receive subsidies for insurance, even if their income is below the federal poverty level.

The AAF has estimated that 1.93 million Americans will be affected by the glitch, making it “practically impossible” for them to obtain affordable health care coverage.

“The ‘Family Glitch,’ as it has become known, is an odd and particularly problematic side-effect of the Affordable Care Act (ACA),” the report said. “Since several provisions of the law are rather ambiguous, they unfortunately combine to create a perfect storm where obtaining affordable health insurance is practically impossible.”

Under Obamacare, Americans below 138 percent of the poverty line are eligible for Medicaid coverage, and anyone up to 400 percent of the poverty level can also receive subsidies to help pay for insurance purchased through the health exchange.

However, this provision does not apply to families who have been offered employer-sponsored insurance (ESI), even if it is only offered to the individual employee.

“This provision of the law lacks clarity on the point of whether or not the coverage offered must be family coverage, or whether individual coverage is sufficient,” the AAF said. “The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), through rule making, has interpreted the statute as only requiring an employer to offer individual coverage, and pegged affordability at 9.5 percent of the employee’s household income. The glitch occurs when one (or both) spouses are offered affordable individual ESI under the IRS definition, but family coverage is either not offered or is unaffordable.”

“Spouses and children of an employee offered ESI could be unable to afford the employer plan, but because it is offered to one family member, the rest are made ineligible for subsidies in the Exchanges,” the report added.

Using census data from April 2013, AAF estimated 947,000 spouses and 984,000 children could fall into this category, and left uninsured. The glitch will affect up to 428,000 women and 519,000 adult men.

If Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) funding expires, 2.28 million children would also be affected, according to AAF.

The provision could have unintended consequences for employees in the middle class, forcing them to not accept higher paying jobs out of fear of losing subsidy eligibility to pay for their family’s health insurance.

The AAF also said the glitch could result in families choosing to separate or divorce, in order to keep subsidies.

“The family glitch is just one of many problems that will inevitably arise from the ACA’s complete restructuring of the health care system,” the report concluded. “It is an unintended consequence that creates hardship and perverse incentives for American families struggling to obtain affordable health insurance. This year alone 1.93 million Americans will be impacted by this glitch and that number will likely increase as the employer mandate goes into effect.”

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Lowest-Cost Insurer Drops From Minnesota Exchange – Yahoo News

The insurance company that grabbed the most customers on Minnesota’s health care exchange by offering the lowest rates told state officials Tuesday that it’s pulling out of MNsure, a major blow to the exchange as the next open enrollment period approaches.

The decision by Golden Valley-based PreferredOne may mean higher rates and again puts the troubled exchange front-and-center in Minnesota’s governor and House elections.

MNsure officials said the company’s exit won’t affect health coverage through the state-run exchange. The state will send out notices early next month to the nearly 30,000 people who enrolled in PreferredOne through MNsure to outline the next steps – customers can transition to another MNsure health plan or renew with PreferredOne, in which case they’ll no longer be eligible for government subsidies.

PreferredOne had a cumulative total of 59 percent of the private-plan market for MNsure enrollees through early August. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota had 23 percent, HealthPartners 12, Medica 5 percent and UCare 1.

MNsure CEO Scott Leitz said he’s had no word any of the four remaining companies are mulling an exit. Open enrollment begins Nov. 15.

Despite a launch last year marred by technical problems and long call center waits, Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton’s administration has called MNsure a success because it helped reduce the ranks of uninsured Minnesotans by nearly 41 percent to a record low while offering some of the lowest premium rates in the country. More than 327,000 Minnesotans have enrolled through MNsure since it went live Oct. 1, including nearly 55,000 in private plans. Most enrollees are in the publicly run Medicaid and MinnesotaCare programs for lower-income people.

In a statement, Dayton cast the company’s exit as a result of its own low rates.

PreferredOne didn’t return calls from The Associated Press.

Company spokesman Steve Peterson told KSTP-TV, which first reported the decision, that staying on MNsure wasn’t financially or administratively sustainable. The membership they gained through MNsure was small, but was taking “a significant amount of our resources” to administer, Peterson said.

Republicans called it the latest sign of systemic problems in MNsure, an issue they plan to use to bolster their election-year pitch to take back control of the House and the defeat Dayton. Rep. Joe Hoppe, R-Chaska, said Tuesday’s news makes it clear Democrats have mismanaged the state’s health care overhaul.

“If you tell your average Minnesotan that we spent $160 million to develop a website and it doesn’t work, I think it makes a pretty strong argument for new management, not only in the state House, but in the governor’s office as well,” Hoppe said.

But Leitz and MNsure board chair Brian Beutner said it was proof the exchange is working as a competitive marketplace. Both officials acknowledged the exchange’s rocky rollout, but Beutner suggested PreferredOne’s low rates led to its exit.

“They offered the lowest rates and the broadest networks offered last year. I can understand how that might impact them,” Beutner said.

It’s unclear whether PreferredOne’s exit will affect premium rates for 2015, which were already expected to increase because health care costs have been rising. The state’s Department of Commerce is expected to release an early snapshot of rates in early October, with full details to follow when open enrollment begins. The department is still reviewing rates from the four remaining providers.

Rep. Joe Atkins, an Inver Grove Heights DFLer and the lead House sponsor of the legislation that created MNsure, said he expects premiums to stay low compared with the rest of the country. He laughed off the Republican criticism as election-season politics.

Atkins said he wasn’t surprised by the announcement because he expected some losses and some additions to the online marketplace for 2015. He pointed out that despite its large market share on MNsure, PreferredOne is one of the smaller carriers in the Minnesota health insurance market.

The Dayton administration opted to set up the state-run exchange rather than have Minnesota participate under the federal exchange created by the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act.

Dayton’s GOP opponent, Jeff Johnson, blasted the governor and MNsure officials for PreferredOne’s withdrawal. If elected, Johnson said he’d sweep out the MNsure board and replace its top management.

Johnson said Dayton himself used PreferredOne’s “artificially low” rates to tout MNsure as having the lowest rates in the country.

“It was all a house of cards,” Johnson said. “Now 60 percent of policyholders are going to have to go through this whole nightmare again.”

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