Democrat Attorney General Who Refuses To Prosecute Democrat Lawmakers Lawyers Up

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kane Lawyers Up – Hot Air

The decision of Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane to drop the investigation and potential prosecution of Philadelphia Democrats who were recorded accepting cash, money orders, or jewelry certainly seems suspicious. According to news reports, investigators collected over 400 hours of audio and video of five Democrats, including four state lawmakers, before Kane, also a Democrat, secretly killed the investigation last fall. When confronted with this troubling story by the Philadelphia Inquirer, Kane cited racism and mismanagement in the investigation, but the detailed descriptions of the recordings certainly seem to indicate that the payments were made.

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Kane’s reaction to reports about her decision went from bad to worse. At first, she complained that white men were attacking her:

In the statement, Kane provided only one quote, dismissing those who questioned her decisions as “nothing more than the Good Ol’ Boys club playing political games to discredit me in order to fulfill their own selfish and improper agenda.”

The statement cited Kane’s pursuit of political-corruption cases, including the pay-to-play scandal involving Democrats tied to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and the corruption charges brought last week against Democratic State Sen. LeAnna Washington.

That was a pretty astounding escalation. It is not out of line to wonder why a state’s attorney general would drop an investigation which is said to have obtained detailed recordings of lawmakers taking bribes. The decision to dismiss the investigation under seal combined with Kane’s accusation that it was tainted by racism certainly is newsworthy and gives rise to an inference that, although we may not know exactly what went on here, something unusual did. That’s ordinarily a reason to give something more examination, not less.

But Kane, apparently frustrated by continuing scrutiny of her decision, has now escalated further, hiring counsel and suggesting that if the Inquirer continues to pursue the story, she would start suing people!

During the meeting, Sprague [Kane’s new lawyer] suggested that The Inquirer may have been used by the sources of its stories – “wittingly or unwittingly” as a “weapon” to attack Kane to defend themselves from potential charges of wrongdoing in the management of the probe.

“I intend to look at the investigation from the very beginning to the conclusion of it, and in terms of what has been published, by this paper and others, to take appropriate action on behalf of the attorney general against those responsible for the defamatory and the false publications that have been made,” Sprague said.

It sounds like Kane or her new lawyer thinks the folks providing detailed information about the investigation into bribe-taking Democrats are the very investigators she claims were impermissibly motivated by race in the investigation.

The decision to lawyer up and take “appropriate action” against either the leakers or the papers goes far beyond the bounds of a reasonable response. This is indisputably a newsworthy story. The public deserves to know what happened with this investigation and why it happened. Kane’s acceleration from “it was racism” to “it’s the Good Ol’ Boys” to “I will start suing people” is despicable in any public servant, but even more so from the state’s top prosecutor.

The Inquirer’s editor, William K. Marimow, gets this exactly right:

“Our lead reporters, Angela Couloumbis and Craig McCoy, have interviewed many people with in-depth knowledge of the investigation, including members of Attorney General Kane’s staff, in order to ensure that the stories are accurate, thorough, and fair,” Marimow said. “These stories are the product of months of diligent and dogged reporting – not a leak from a person with a political agenda.”

He added, “In my opinion, this is precisely the kind of issue that requires public scrutiny, specifically the conduct of public officials who accepted cash or gifts from an undercover agent and the quality of a three-year investigation launched and ended by a state law enforcement agency.”

Bravo, Inquirer. That’s journalism.

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Cuban Refugee Manuel Martinez Schools Leftist Lawmakers On The Dangers Of Gun Control (Video)

Manuel Martinez, Fled Castro’s Cuba, Destroys Oregon Lawmakers Gun Control Attempt (Video) – Gateway Pundit

WOW! This was the best defense of the Second Amendment EVER!

Manuel Martinez, who narrowly escaped Cuba in 1962 after being imprisoned for opposing Fidel Castro, passionately defended the Second Amendment in front of Oregon’s Senate Judiciary Committee.

Martinez passionately compared the state lawmakers’ attempts to pass gun control to his past in Marxist Cuba.

“You say you want to protect the people. You’re not going to protect nobody… A very powerful man tried to sell me this 50 years ago. I didn’t buy it… This is Marxism, plain and clear. Come on, tell me I’m wrong, I’ve been there when you were learning how to walk… A very powerful man put me in chains… You sell THIS to the people who do not have self respect, self-determination. And they are weak. And they love to be subjugated. And be dependent on the government. You don’t sell that to me sir. This is TREASON. This is an ASSAULT on the dream of the founding fathers. They didn’t die for THIS. I come here, for years, talking about what happened, while you people, sink to this.”

Via SGT report:

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Republican Lawmakers Propose Bill Nullifying Obamacare In Indiana

Indiana Considers Nullifying ObamaCare – Downtrend

The ObamaCare nullification train is starting to gain steam. It began in South Carolina in December. Also, Georgia and Tennessee have since boarded. Now, Indiana is considering getting onboard.

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Republican State Representatives Ben Smaltz, Timothy Harman and Woody Burton have introduced a bill that would ban state agencies, employees and officers from assisting with the implementation of ObamaCare. Specific of the proposed law include:

* Contractors, employees, vendors or anyone else acting on behalf of the state are not permitted to conduct or participate in involuntary maternal, infant or early-childhood in-home visitations

* The state would be banned from establishing a healthcare exchange as well as participating in or purchasing health insurance from one operated by a nonprofit organization

* Taxpayers who pay the federal penalty would be entitled to a deduction of that amount

Within the text of the bill are a few jabs at the federal government. Citing the 10th and 14th Amendments, it claims that provisions of ObamaCare “grossly exceed the powers delegated to the federal government in the United States Constitution.” It says these provisions “cannot and should not be considered the supreme law of the land.”

This legislation appears to be the weakest of those discussed, but it could still put a dent in the healthcare law. Like the other mentioned states, the feds would be on their own when trying to force the “Affordable” Care Act onto Indianans, which could create a major problem for a federal government with limited resources, particularly if a lot of states do the same.

Importantly, this bill has been declared an “emergency.” It would also be retroactively effective as of January 1, 2014. It seems its authors take this matter very seriously, so it might not go away without a fight in the likely event it faces resistance from Democrats.

Stay tuned as more and more states take on the Constitutionality of the most controversial law thus far this century.

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U.S. Lawmakers Considering Plan To End Door-To-Door Mail Delivery By Postal Service

GOP’s Issa, US Postal Service Plan End To Home Delivery – NewsMax

Mail delivery to the doorstep may be a thing of the past as lawmakers consider ways to cut costs to save the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service, which lost $16 billion in 2012.

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According to CNN Money, the agency is working toward a more “centralized delivery” approach in which residents pick up their mail from a mailbox at the curb or at clusters of mailboxes within their neighborhoods.

The practice already is being adopted for new houses and developments, and some House Republicans want it rolled out universally.

“A balanced approach to saving the Postal Service means allowing USPS to adapt to America’s changing use of mail,” said Rep. Darrell Issa, the California Republican leading the House effort to save the Postal Service.

Doing away with doorstep delivery has become a central part of Issa’s proposal to save money. Ending door-to-door deliveries would save $4.5 billion a year from the $30 billion the mail service currently spends on delivery.

How? Right now, 35 million residences and businesses get mail delivered to their doorstep. CNN reports that it costs $353 per stop for a delivery in most American cities, taking into account such things as salaries and cost of transport.

Curbside-mailbox delivery costs $224, and cluster boxes cost $160, according to a report from the Postal Service Office of Inspector General cited by CNN.

In addition to the $16 billion lost by the agency last year, it twice defaulted on payments owed to the federal government to prefund retiree healthcare benefits totaling $11 billion. The agency also has exhausted a $15 billion line of credit from the U.S. Treasury.

Nevertheless, the plan has received criticism from unions, which say it would be disruptive for the elderly and disabled, and from otehrs who claim it would be inconvenient and possibly unsafe.

“It’s madness,” Jim Sauber, chief of staff for the National Association of Letter Carriers, told CNN. “The idea that somebody is going to walk down to their mailbox in Buffalo, N.Y., in the winter snow to get their mail is just crazy.”

Others, such as industry groups, support the idea as an alternative to the proposal of cutting Saturday service, which the service floated earlier this year before reversing the decision.

The Postal Service also continues to struggle with mail volume, especially drops in first-class mail, its big revenue driver, as more Americans move to electronic bill-pay and e-mail. To many critics, the service has become little more than a junk-mail delivery service.

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Conservatives To GOP Lawmakers: If You Vote For Amnesty, We’re Done With You

Republican Voters Warn Lawmakers Against Citizenship For Illegal Immigrants – National Journal

The conservative rank-and-file have a loud and clear message for Republican officials: Support citizenship for illegal immigrants at your own peril.

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A sizable plurality of registered GOP voters say they will be less likely to support their incumbent lawmaker if he or she votes for immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for those currently living illegally in the United States, according to the latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll. The findings show that even as national Republican leaders tout the Senate’s reform measure as a political necessity for the party, it remains a risky vote for individual GOP lawmakers wary of a primary challenger.

Among all adults surveyed, immigration is something of a moot issue: 42 percent of them said a vote either for or against immigration reform would not greatly affect their support for their senator or representative. Thirty-three percent said it would make them less likely to support him or her, and 21 percent said such a vote would make them more likely to back the incumbent.

But among Republicans, the issue elicits much more passion, none of it good for immigration-reform advocates within the GOP. Nearly half, 49 percent, said lawmakers who back a proposal offering a pathway to citizenship will lose their support. Only 15 percent said it would make them more likely to back their incumbent; 30 percent said it would not make a difference in their vote.

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The antipathy runs deepest among the most conservative bloc of voters–blue-collar whites–and in places where many Republicans draw their support, rural areas. Forty-five percent of whites without a college degree said they are less likely to support lawmakers voting for the measure. Just 15 percent said they would be more likely to back them, while 33 percent said it wouldn’t make a difference.

Among rural voters, 45 percent said they’d be less likely to back the incumbent, while 41 percent of them said it wouldn’t make a difference. Just 12 percent said supporting the measure would improve the sitting lawmaker’s chance of drawing their vote.

The conservative base’s continued opposition to a pathway to citizenship–and their promise to seek retribution on elected officials who think differently–highlights a central problem facing Republicans as party leaders try to retrofit the GOP’s message and agenda on this and other issues: In many cases, it’s simply not in a GOP lawmaker’s self-interest to adopt a centrist, moderate position. Adjustments that might be necessary for the party to win back the White House in 2016 often conflict with short-term interests of House or Senate members more worried about their own reelection in 2014.

But GOP lawmakers in upscale, suburban states and districts might find greater forgiveness.

College-educated whites are almost perfectly split on the question: 30 percent said it would make them more likely to support their representative in Congress, 33 percent said the opposite, and 32 percent said it wouldn’t make a difference. Suburban voters were less tolerant, but still more open than their rural counterparts. Thirty-six percent said backing the measure would make them less likely to support their lawmaker, while 37 percent said it wouldn’t affect their vote.

For their part, Democrats are not likely to shower favor upon incumbents who support the bill. Many, 49 percent, said it won’t affect their vote; otherwise, by a 29-19 percent margin, they said support for comprehensive immigration reform makes them more likely to back the incumbent rather than less likely.

Independents side with Republicans on the question, although with less fervency. Thirty-five percent of them said they will be less likely to back a lawmaker who supports comprehensive immigration reform, while only 19 percent said it would make them more likely to support the incumbent. Still, a plurality, 44 percent, said the issue won’t weigh on their decision during next year’s midterms.

The relative lack of interest from Democrats, combined with the GOP-leaning position among independents, creates further disincentive for Republicans, who are unlikely to find much general-election reward for their vote if they survive a primary.

The poll of 1,005 adults, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from June 20 to June 23, included both landline and cell-phone respondents. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

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Panic Hits D.C. As Lawmakers And Their Aides Realize That ObamaCare Is Going To Screw Them Too

Obamacare? We Were Just Leaving… – Politico

Dozens of lawmakers and aides are so afraid that their health insurance premiums will skyrocket next year thanks to Obamacare that they are thinking about retiring early or just quitting.

The fear: Government-subsidized premiums will disappear at the end of the year under a provision in the health care law that nudges aides and lawmakers onto the government health care exchanges, which could make their benefits exorbitantly expensive.

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Democratic and Republican leaders are taking the issue seriously, but first they need more specifics from the Office of Personnel Management on how the new rule should take effect – a decision that Capitol Hill sources expect by fall, at the latest. The administration has clammed up in advance of a ruling, sources on both sides of the aisle said.

If the issue isn’t resolved, and massive numbers of lawmakers and aides bolt, many on Capitol Hill fear it could lead to a brain drain just as Congress tackles a slew of weighty issues – like fights over the Tax Code and immigration reform.

The problem is far more acute in the House, where lawmakers and aides are generally younger and less wealthy. Sources said several aides have already given lawmakers notice that they’ll be leaving over concerns about Obamacare. Republican and Democratic lawmakers said the chatter about retiring now, to remain on the current health care plan, is constant.

Rep. John Larson, a Connecticut Democrat in leadership when the law passed, said he thinks the problem will be resolved.

“If not, I think we should begin an immediate amicus brief to say, ‘Listen this is simply not fair to these employees,’” Larson told POLITICO. “They are federal employees.”

Republicans, never a fan of Democratic health care reform, are more vocal about the potential adverse effects of the provision.

“It’s a reality,” said Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas). “This is the law… It’s going to hinder our ability with retention of members, it’s going to hinder our ability for members to take care of their families.” He said his fellow lawmakers are having “quiet conversations” about the threat.

Alabama Rep. Jo Bonner said the threat is already real, especially for veteran lawmakers and staff. If they leave this year, they think they can continue to be covered under the current health care plan.

“I’ve lost one staffer who told me in confidence that he had been here for a number of years and the thought of losing the opportunity to keep his health insurance on Dec. 31 [forced him to leave]. He could keep what he had and on Jan. 1 he would go into that big black hole,” said Bonner, who had already planned his resignation from Congress. “And then I’ve got another staff member that I think it will be a factor as she’s contemplating her future.”

Lawmakers and aides on both sides of the aisle are acutely aware of the problems with the provision. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) have discussed fixes to the provision. Boehner, according to House GOP sources, believes that Reid must take the lead on crafting a solution. Since Republicans opposed the bill, Boehner does not feel responsible to lead the effort to make changes.

The Affordable Care Act – signed into law in 2010 – contained a provision known as the Grassley Amendment, which said the government can only offer members of Congress and their staff plans that are “created” in the bill or “offered through an exchange” – unless the bill is amended.

Currently, aides and lawmakers receive their health care under the generous Federal Employee Health Benefits Program. The government subsidizes upward of 75 percent of the premiums for the health insurance plans. In 2014, most Capitol Hill aides and lawmakers are expected to be put onto the exchanges, and there has been no guidance whether the government will subsidize those premiums. This is expected to cause a steep spike in health insurance costs.

There have been many options for fixing the problem discussed throughout the year, including administrative fixes and legislative tweaks. One scenario seen as likely on Capitol Hill would have OPM simply decide that the government could still subsidize insurance on the exchanges.

House Democratic leadership says the issue must be resolved.

“The leadership has assured members that fixing this issue is a top priority,” said one Democratic leadership aide. “This issue must be fixed by administrative action in order that the flawed Grassley Amendment’s spirit is honored and all staff and members are treated the same.”

It could be politically difficult to change this provision. The provision was put in the bill in the first place on the theory that if Congress was going to make the country live under the provisions of Obamacare, the members and staff should have to as well.

The uncertainty has created a growing furor on Capitol Hill with aides young and old worried about skyrocketing health care premiums cutting deeply into their already small paychecks. Some longtime aides and members of Congress, who previously had government subsidized health care for life, are concerned that their premiums will now come out of their pension.

If their fears are borne out, the results could be twofold. Some junior staff will head for the private sector early while more seasoned aides and lawmakers could leave before the end of the year so they can continue under the old plan.

Several lawmakers said departures could run the gamut from low-level staff to legislative aides, to senior aides and lawmakers. Capitol Hill is an attractive workplace for politically ambitious college graduates, but a core of Capitol Hill aides stick around for decades, serving as institutional knowledge, and earning prized retirement packages.

OPM, which administers benefits for federal employees, is expected to rule in the coming months on how congressional health care is to be administered.

OPM did not respond to a request for comment.

More than a dozen senior aides interviewed by POLITICO about the issue declined to be named out of fear for future job prospects. The problem is most acutely felt at the staff level, where aides make between $35,000 and roughly $170,000 and budgetary problems have all but stopped pay increases and bonuses. Lawmakers have questioned leadership aides about the future of their health care.

“Between the constant uncertainty surrounding sequestration, and the likelihood aides will soon be paying for the subsidy portion of their health care coverage, congressional office budgets are being squeezed once again, and it’s causing a lot of concern amongst chiefs of staff regarding how to best handle the situation,” said one chief of staff to a senior Democratic member of the House. “Do we give raises to junior level aides so they can afford to pay for their higher health care costs, and if so, where do we find the funds to do so? Additionally, leadership has been relatively silent in terms of providing guidance to offices, which is frustrating.”

There are other ways that aides can fully avoid this problem. If they’re married, they can join their spouse’s health care plan. If they are 65, they can go on Medicare.

But the focus right now is centered on lawmakers trying to figure out how to offset potential increases in premiums.

“I know other members are doing the same thing in terms of what we can do to offset [premiums],” Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said. “You are particularly limited now because of course we’ve had the cuts in the [member office allowances] on top of this. You just don’t have a lot of options.”

Cole added, “A lot of the staff stays on largely because of the benefit levels and particularly if you’ve got people with families and it’s extraordinarily important to them… it’s just not right.”

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Missouri Lawmakers Pass Bill To Nullify Federal Gun Control Laws

Missouri Lawmakers Pass Bill To Nullify Federal Gun Control Laws – Fox News

The Missouri Legislature sent the governor a bill Wednesday that would expand gun rights and declare all federal gun regulations unenforceable, in a response to President Obama’s push for gun control legislation.

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The Republican-led Legislature passed the measure hoping to shield the state from federal proposals that would ban assault weapons and expand background checks. But the U.S. Senate’s defeat of a background check expansion three weeks ago did nothing to assuage the fears of Missouri Republicans who pressed forward with their legislation.

The Missouri House voted 118-36 Wednesday to send the bill to Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon. The Senate passed the measure earlier this month.

Supporters argue the measure protects the rights of law-abiding gun owners, and it includes language condemning the theft and illegal use of firearms. The measure’s sponsor, Rep. Doug Funderburk, said his aim is to ensure Missouri is the only regulator when it comes to firearms.

“We have the authority to enforce these laws. We are trying to position us so that we in this state can have safer neighborhoods,” said Funderburk, R-St. Peters.

Opposition came mostly from House Democrats who said the measure would increase access to guns and make schools less safe. They argued the measure doesn’t address gun violence in urban areas.

“I don’t understand why this body continues to turn their back and ignore gun violence in order to increase access to weapons,” said Rep. Stacey Newman, D-University City.

In addition to declaring federal gun laws unenforceable, the bill would allow concealed weapons to be carried by designated school personnel in school buildings. It would allow appointed “protection officers” to carry concealed weapons as long as they have a valid permit and register with the state Department of Public Safety. The officers would also be required to complete a training course.

The bill would also allow people with a firearms permit to openly carry weapons less than 16 inches in length even in localities that prohibit open-carry of firearms.

Privacy rights of gun owners have been a hot topic this legislative session after lawmakers learned the state Highway Patrol shared the list of concealed weapons permit holders with a federal agent in the Social Security Administration.

The legislation passed Wednesday would prevent people from publishing any identifying information on gun owners. A person who publishes such information would be guilty of a class A misdemeanor. It also would prevent doctors or nurses from being required to ask patients about firearm ownership.

The measure would also lower the minimum age required to obtain a concealed weapons permit from 21 to 19.

Even if Gov. Jay Nixon signs the legislation, it may face legal hurdles that will prevent its implementation. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Kansas last month saying the federal government would challenge its recent gun law. The Kansas legislation would prohibit federal regulation of guns that are manufactured and remain in the state. It would also criminalize the enforcement of federal gun control laws.

Missouri lawmakers are also considering a constitutional amendment that would declare gun rights “inalienable.”

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