Rep. Issa Claims That More Than 20 Obama Officials ‘Lost Or Destroyed’ E-Mails After House Launched Probes

Issa: More Than 20 Obama Officials ‘Lost Or Destroyed’ E-Mails After House Launched Probes – National Review

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The revelation that Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services administrator Marilynn Tavenner did not retain her e-mails means that more than 20 witness in the Obama administration to lose or delete e-mails without notifying Congress, according to the top House investigator.

“The Obama administration has lost or destroyed e-mails for more than 20 witnesses, and in each case, the loss wasn’t disclosed to the National Archives or Congress for months or years, in violation of federal law,” House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) said of Tavenner’s lost e-mails.

“It defies logic that so many senior Administration officials were found to have ignored federal recordkeeping requirements only after Congress asked to see their e-mails,” he continued. “Just this week, my staff followed up with HHS, who has failed to comply with a subpoena from ten months ago. Even at that point, the administration did not inform us that there was a problem with Ms. Tavenner’s e-mail history. Yet again, we discover that this administration will not be forthright with the American people unless cornered.”

From February of 2010 to November of 2013 – one month after the launch of the HealthCare.gov website, as the Daily Caller’s Patrick Howley noted – Tavenner didn’t maintain copies of her e-mails as required.

“During her entire tenure at CMS, Ms. Tavenner’s CMS e-mail address, which is accessible to both colleagues and the public, has been subject to write-in campaigns involving thousands of e-mails from the public,” CMS wrote to the National Archives and Records Administration, per Howley.

“Therefore, she receives an extremely high volume of e-mails that she manages daily. To keep an orderly e-mail box and to stay within the agency’s e-mail system capacity limits, the administrator generally copied or forwarded e-mails to immediate staff for retention and retrieval, and did not maintain her own copies,” CMS said.

Issa subpoenaed the missing e-mails ten months ago. “The evidence is mounting that the website did not go through proper testing, including critical security testing, and that the Administration ignored repeated warnings from contractors about ongoing problems,” he said at the time. “The American people deserve to know why the administration spent significant taxpayer money on a product that is entirely dysfunctional and puts their personal information at risk.”

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Senate Candidate Chris McDaniel Claims He Beat Thad Cochran By 25,000 Votes

Chris McDaniel: I Beat Thad Cochran By 25,000 Votes – Big Government

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Six weeks after the primary runoff election, Mississippi State Sen. Chris McDaniel is launching his formal legal challenge of the election results, saying the evidence is so conclusive that he will be calling for courts to recognize him as the true victor of the race rather than calling for a new election.

“Chris McDaniel clearly, clearly won the Republican vote in the runoff,” McDaniel attorney Mitch Tyner said at a Monday press conference. “I say that very assuredly because that’s what the mathematics show. It’s not what I’m arguing. After the election, we did some post-election polling. We determined that of the Democrats that did cross over, 71 percent of them admitted they will not support the Republican in the general election. When you take those polling numbers and you go in and do the mathematical regressions, you can see that Chris McDaniel clearly won the runoff by 25,000 votes.”

“The short answer is we’re not asking for a new election,” Tyner continued. “We’re simply asking that the Republican Party recognize the person who won the runoff election.”

The campaign of incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS), who was certified by the Mississippi Republican Party as having won the runoff by 7,667 votes on July 7, fired back, saying McDaniel had “made repeated and baseless allegations of fraud and misconduct” since the election.

“We look forward to holding the McDaniel campaign to the burden of proof that the law requires – and, we are dedicated to the defense of the votes of those Mississippians who voted on June 24 for Thad Cochran as their United States Senator, an election which has been as thoroughly reviewed and examined as any in modern Mississippi history,” said Mark Garriga, an attorney for Cochran.

The evidence, presented to the public in the form of affidavits that will be used in McDaniel’s forthcoming official challenge of election results, is hundreds of pages long and encompasses nearly every one of Mississippi’s 82 counties.

At the press conference, McDaniel announced he will be using such evidence to file a formal challenge of the runoff results with the state GOP executive committee. Ten days after he files the challenge with that body – which, given its extensive ties to the GOP establishment in the state, is expected to rule against the Tea Party-backed McDaniel or just simply ignore the challenge – McDaniel can take the challenge into state court.

“It’s been an interesting six weeks since the 24th. We’ve been very, very busy. We’ve covered the state as well as we could with hundreds of volunteers, but justice has no time table, and yet here we stand. They asked us to put up or shut up – well, here we are. Here we are with the evidence,” McDaniel said.

“We know that the conservative movement is passionate about this issue,” McDaniel said. “We know right now that the conservative movement is very angry about what’s occurred. We all witnessed what a segment of our party did leading up to the 24th. We saw despicable acts of race-baiting. We saw despicable allegations from those who are supposed to be leaders in our party. There is no place in the Republican Party for those that would race bait. There is no place in the Republican Party for racism of any kind, and that’s exactly what we saw on those evenings and mornings leading up to the 24th. That has to end. We watched it. We witnessed it. We saw the dirty money coming in from D.C., whether it was from Bloomberg or other Republican United States senators. We saw what they did here in Mississippi.”

McDaniel noted that the actions the GOP establishment took “moved more than 40,000 Democrats into the Republican primary, and in so doing mistakes were made.”

“Some of those weren’t even mistakes – some of it was very intentional,” McDaniel said. “What we’re going to show is a pattern of conduct on the part of a number of people that demonstrates a problem with this election. The evidence is clear.”

McDaniel said activists need to review the evidence dispassionately, looking at just the facts. “We feel that anger, and we feel that frustration, but that’s not what this challenge is about,” McDaniel said. “The reason I hire good lawyers is so I can walk away from it and ask their opinion objectively: What does the evidence show? We have to be dispassionate about the facts. But the facts – they’re on our side. The law is on our side. And these lawyers after several weeks of research will tell you just that.”

McDaniel’s team is specifically pressuring the Republican executive committee in the state to give the evidence a fair shake. “We look forward to our venue in front of the Republican executive committee – they’re colleagues of mine, some of which I’ve known for years,” McDaniel said. “This is an opportunity for our party to take the lead on honest, good and transparent government.”

Tyner, McDaniel’s attorney, said that McDaniel is not seeking a new election, that the evidence is so overwhelming that anyone reviewing it will come to the same conclusion: McDaniel won on June 24.

“Once the state executive committee has had an opportunity to go through the evidence that we have included in this challenge, then they will see that they have no choice but to recognize Chris McDaniel as the nominee of the Republican Party of the state of Mississippi for the United States Senate,” Tyner said, to a loud round of applause from the audience.

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Governor Perry Claims Record Number Of Illegals From Syria, Pakistan And Afghanistan Being Caught At Border

Rick Perry: Record Number Of Illegals From Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan Being Caught At Border – Big Government

Texas Governor Rick Perry said a record number of illegal immigrants from Syria, Pakistan and Afghanistan have been apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border.

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On Sunday’s State of the Union on CNN, Perry said the “historic record highs” of individuals from “countries that have substantial terrorist ties” threaten America’s national security.

Later on the program, Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX), the House Homeland Security Committee Chair, said Iranian terrorists have had plans to sneak across the border. He also said that others who want to do harm are seeking to exploit America’s porous border.

Perry also said that since 2008, 203,000 illegal immigrants have been put in Texas’ jails, and those illegal immigrants “have been responsible for 3,000 homicides and almost 8,000 sexual assaults.”

“I wish the President would respect that desire of Texans and the citizens of this country to secure the border,” Perry said. “That’s the real issue here—and one that all too often gets deflected by the conversation about unaccompanied minor children.”

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Issa Subpoenas Obama Lackey Over Claims Staffers Are Doing Campaign Work With Taxpayer Money

GOP House Committee Chairman Subpoenas White House Political Chief Over Claims Obama Staffers Are Doing Campaign Work With Taxpayer Funds – Daily Mail

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chair Rep. Darrell Issa sent his latest subpoena to the Obama administration on Friday, demanding testimony from the director of a controversial White House office reportedly tasked with political work on taxpayers’ dime.

David Simas, the director of the White House Office of Political Strategy and Outreach, has refused to testify voluntarily but will be required to answer questions in a July 16 hearing on Capitol Hill.

President Barack Obama closed the White House Office of Political Affairs in 2011, just days before an Office of Special Counsel report warned that it risked ‘transforming from an official government office into a partisan political operation.’

But the president reopened the office six months ago under a new name as Democrats began to gear up for a contentious midterm election fight.

The New York Times reported then that the White House was ‘serious about defending Democratic control of the Senate and taking back the House from Republicans.’

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‘White House officials,’ according to the Times, ‘said it makes more sense to have a political office during a congressional election year to focus attention on candidate needs, including fund-raising.’

Issa, a hard-charging California Republican who has pressed the administration on alleged IRS abuses, said Friday that the White House’s reboot of its Office of Political Affairs was an ‘effort to appease its political allies’ by ‘assist[ing] in partisan election efforts and fundraising.’

Former Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and former Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius Issa said, ‘were faulted by the Office of Special Counsel for inappropriately using their offices in violation of the Hatch Act.

That federal law prohibits most executive branch employees from engaging in political activity while on duty, or at any time in their workplaces. It also prohibits them from soliciting or receiving political contributions, according to the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.

In 2012 Sebelius slipped a political message into a speech to the Human Rights Campaign, a gay advocacy group. The Office of Special Counsel later accused her of violating the Hatch Act.

She later said she had made a ‘technical’ error, and pledged not to repeat it.

The initial move to shutter the White House’s political office was spearheaded by California Rep. Henry Waxman in 2007, when Democrats controlled the House of Representatives and Waxman chaired the committee now run by Issa.

At the time it was seen as a partisan move to prohibit the George W. Bush White House from using the president’s bully pulpit to affect the 2008 presidential election.

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Waxman’s staffers interviewed 20 political appointees and pored over nearly 70,000 documents. They issued a report one month before Obama defeated Republican Mitt Romney, declaring that ‘American taxpayers should not pay the salaries of White House officials when they are engaged in helping members of the president’s political party.’

The Obama White House did not respond to a request for comment.

But newly minted White House Counsel W. Neil Eggleston wrote to Issa in June to insist that the new incarnation of the political office operates without violating the Hatch Act.

Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner, however, wrote in March that the Obama administration reopened the office without consulting ith her to determine if it was legal.

Lerner will testify in the June 16 hearing, along with Simas and Scott Coffina, a former Associate Counsel to the President during the Bush Administration.

In March, Issa asked the White House to provide copies of all its documents related to the 2014 reopening. To date, it has provided none.

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Ukrainian Army Claims Significant Victory Against Pro-Russian Forces

Ukraine Claims Victory Against Rebels – Durango Herald

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Ukrainian troops forced pro-Russian insurgents out of a key stronghold in the country’s embattled east on Saturday, a significant success that suggests the government may finally be making gains in a months-long battle against a spreading separatist insurgency.

As rebels fled from Slovyansk, vowing to regroup elsewhere and fight on, President Petro Poroshenko hailed the recapture of the city as “the start of a turning point” in a battle that has killed more than 400 people since April.

After a night of heavy fighting that saw heavy artillery fire from Ukraine’s troops, government soldiers were in full control of rebel headquarters in Slovyansk, a city of about 100,000 that has been a center of the fighting between Kiev’s troops and the pro-Russian insurgents.

Soldiers raised the Ukrainian flag over the city council building, while troops carried stockpiles of weapons out of the city’s administrative and police buildings, which have been under rebel control since early April.

“It’s not a total victory. But the purging of Slovyansk of these bands, made up of people armed to the teeth, has incredible symbolic importance,” Poroshenko said in a statement posted on his official website.

Artillery fire on rebel forces began late on Friday and lasted into the night. On Saturday, fighting could still be heard on the northern outskirts of the city.

Ukraine’s newly appointed Minister of Defense, Valery Heletey, was milling around with troops in the city center. He said three planes with food and other supplies will soon arrive in Slovyansk.

A spokesman for the National Security and Defense Council said earlier that mopping-up operations were continuing.

“Slovyansk is under siege. Now an operation is going on to neutralize small groups hiding in buildings where peaceful citizens are living,” Andriy Lysenko told journalists in Kiev.

Andrei Purgin of the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic told The Associated Press that rebels were evacuating, but claimed the army’s campaign had left the city “in ruins.”

The capture of Slovyansk represented the government’s biggest victory since it abandoned a shaky cease-fire this week and launched an offensive against the separatists. Until now, the Ukrainian army had often appeared feckless in the months-long campaign against the rebels. On Thursday, Poroshenko shook up his defense team, appointing Ukraine’s third defense minister since the former president was ousted in February.

It was not yet clear whether the latest advance has permanently crippled the rebels, many of whom are relocating to other cities.

In the city of Donetsk, streets were deserted on Saturday as local officials urged people to stay at home. They said a battle was ongoing near the Donetsk city airport, but did not provide details.

“Militants from Slovyansk and Kramatorsk have arrived in Donetsk,” said Maxim Rovinsky, spokesman for the city council.

Purgin claimed 150 fighters injured in Slovyansk were in Donetsk for treatment.

“More than a hundred militiamen have been killed in the last three days,” said Viktor, a 35-year-old Slovyansk native who had a shrapnel wound in his leg. “The mood is very bad. It seems that we’ve lost this war. And Russia isn’t in a hurry to help.”

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Statist Disaster Update: Hundreds Of Thousands Of VA Electronic Disability Claims Go Unprocessed

Hundreds Of Thousands Of VA Electronic Disability Claims Not Processed – Nextgov

Hundreds of thousands of disability claims filed with the Department of Veterans Affairs’ eBenefits portal launched in February 2013 are incomplete and could start to expire this month, Nextgov has learned.

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VA Undersecretary for Benefits Allison Hickey touted the new portal in June 2013 as simple as filing taxes online and a way to whittle down the claims backlog.

“Veterans can now file their claims online through eBenefits like they might do their taxes online,” she said, including the documentation needed for a fully developed claim in cooperation with Veterans Service Organizations, or VSOs, such as the American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Gerald Manar, deputy director of the National Veterans Service at VFW, told Nextgov the Veterans Benefits Administration on June 26 briefed VSOs on problems with the eBenefits portal, including the fact that only 72,000 claims filed through eBenefits have been completed and approved since last June, with another 228,000 incomplete.

VA spokeswoman Meagan Lutz said since February 2013, just over 445,000 online applications have been initiated. Of those, approximately 70,000 compensation claims have been submitted and another 70,000 nonrating (add a dependent, etc.) have been submitted, leaving a total of 300,000 incomplete claims. Because a number of claims started are more than 365 days old, they have now expired, totaling an estimated 230,000 unprocessed claims.

Manar said he still is trying to understand why so many vets did not complete their online claims and whether they opted to file a paper claim. Lutz said an important element of the electronic claim submission process is the ability for veterans to start a claim online with limited information to hold a date of claim, while simultaneously providing 365 days to collect data, treatment records and other related information.

Lutz said a veteran simply hits “save” and any information provided is saved in temporary tables. During that 365-day period, a veteran may add additional data or upload documents associated with that specific claim. At any point during that timeframe, a veteran can hit the “submit” button and a claim will be automatically established within the Veterans Benefits Management System, designed to entirely automate claims processing by next year, and documents will be uploaded to the veteran’s e-folder.

Claims submitted in eBenefits may be incomplete because “many users can potentially start a claim as part of their exploration of the system… The VA eBenefits team has no way of actually knowing which claims that might be started within eBenefits are valid and or have been abandoned for any number of reasons

After 365 days, Lutz said, the data is made inaccessible and the initiated claim date is removed from the system. The system was designed to provide the veteran as much flexibility as possible in preserving that start date as well as support the Fully Developed Claim initiative, which gives the veteran the opportunity to accrue additional benefits for providing all the data needed to rate the claim.

Lutz said if vets try to submit electronically hundreds of documents, such as PDFs of medical records, “that volume of documents makes electronic submission very difficult, and we always recommend that they work with a Veterans Service Organization, as the VSOs have the expertise to ensure that the right information is gathered and submitted.”

VSOs have little visibility into the claims filed to date through the eBenefits portal because of design problems with the information technology system set up, the Stakeholder Enterprise Portal, Manar said. That portal only allows for broad searches for claims at the state and the VBA regional office level, and limits any search to 1,000 claims. If the search results in more than 1,000 records, SEP returns a message that the system is not available, rather than the search went over the 1,000 file limit, Manar said.

SEP is also not set up to notify VSOs when a claim is filed through eBenefits, nor does it provide alerts when claims are due to expire, Manar said and urged VA to fix SEP to provide such notifications.

SEP, Manar said, was not “well thought-out” when fielded and “the whole system was not ready for prime time.”

Lutz said VA SEP design team is working as quickly as possible to help VSOs to review more than 1,000 files in SEP without getting an incorrect error message.

She said VA plans a new release of SEP this month to VSOs, which will allow VSOs to submit claims directly to VBMS for veterans who hold power of attorney. This update would eliminate the need for the veteran to submit from the eBenefits portal.

“This, we believe, will be a major milestone in the VSO community that will accelerate acceptance of the electronic process,” Lutz said.

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Rep. Frank Lucas Is A Robot Body Double Claims ‘Human’ Primary Challenger Timothy Ray Murray

Oklahoma Congressman Is A Robot Body Double, Claims ‘Human’ Challenger – Washington Post

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…………………………….Timothy Ray Murray, human

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The robot takeover has begun, at least according to Timothy Ray Murray, who lost the election for Oklahoma’s 3rd district (obtaining just 5.2 percent of the vote) to incumbent Frank Lucas (R). Murray is now planning to challenge the election results, on the grounds that his opponent has been replaced by a robot body double.

Murray’s Web site notes that “The election for U.S. House for Oklahoma’s 3rd District will be contested by the Candidate, Timothy Ray Murray. I will be stating that his votes are switched with Rep. Lucas votes, because it is widely known Rep. Frank D. Lucas is no longer alive and has been displayed by a look alike. Rep. Lucas’ look alike was depicted as sentenced on a white stage in southern Ukraine on or about Jan. 11, 2011.”

(Lucas told news channel KFOR that he had never in fact been to Ukraine. He also observed: “Many things have been said about me, said to me during course of my campaigns. This is the first time I’ve ever been accused of being a body double or a robot.”)

Murray’s Web site goes on to reassure us that: “I, Timothy Ray Murray, am a human, born in Oklahoma, and obtained and continue to fully meet the requirements to serve as U.S. Representative when honored to so. I will never use a look alike…” This makes me wonder. “I’m definitely a human,” like “I am very suave and good at talking to people,” is the sort of statement that seems untrue the instant you say it.

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