Sheriffs Refuse To Enforce Unconstitutional Gun Control Laws

Sheriffs Refuse To Enforce Laws On Gun Control – New York Times

When Sheriff John Cooke of Weld County explains in speeches why he is not enforcing the state’s new gun laws, he holds up two 30-round magazines. One, he says, he had before July 1, when the law banning the possession, sale or transfer of the large-capacity magazines went into effect. The other, he “maybe” obtained afterward.

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He shuffles the magazines, which look identical, and then challenges the audience to tell the difference.

“How is a deputy or an officer supposed to know which is which?” he asks.

Colorado’s package of gun laws, enacted this year after mass shootings in Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn., has been hailed as a victory by advocates of gun control. But if Sheriff Cooke and a majority of the other county sheriffs in Colorado offer any indication, the new laws – which mandate background checks for private gun transfers and outlaw magazines over 15 rounds – may prove nearly irrelevant across much of the state’s rural regions.

Some sheriffs, like Sheriff Cooke, are refusing to enforce the laws, saying that they are too vague and violate Second Amendment rights. Many more say that enforcement will be “a very low priority,” as several sheriffs put it. All but seven of the 62 elected sheriffs in Colorado signed on in May to a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the statutes.

The resistance of sheriffs in Colorado is playing out in other states, raising questions about whether tougher rules passed since Newtown will have a muted effect in parts of the American heartland, where gun ownership is common and grass-roots opposition to tighter restrictions is high.

In New York State, where Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed one of the toughest gun law packages in the nation last January, two sheriffs have said publicly they would not enforce the laws – inaction that Mr. Cuomo said would set “a dangerous and frightening precedent.” The sheriffs’ refusal is unlikely to have much effect in the state: According to the state’s Division of Criminal Justice Services, since 2010 sheriffs have filed less than 2 percent of the two most common felony gun charges. The vast majority of charges are filed by the state or local police.

In Liberty County, Fla., a jury in October acquitted a sheriff who had been suspended and charged with misconduct after he released a man arrested by a deputy on charges of carrying a concealed firearm. The sheriff, who was immediately reinstated by the governor, said he was protecting the man’s Second Amendment rights.

And in California, a delegation of sheriffs met with Gov. Jerry Brown this fall to try to persuade him to veto gun bills passed by the Legislature, including measures banning semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines and lead ammunition for hunting (Mr. Brown signed the ammunition bill but vetoed the bill outlawing the rifles).

“Our way of life means nothing to these politicians, and our interests are not being promoted in the legislative halls of Sacramento or Washington, D.C.,” said Jon E. Lopey, the sheriff of Siskiyou County, Calif., one of those who met with Governor Brown. He said enforcing gun laws was not a priority for him, and he added that residents of his rural region near the Oregon border are equally frustrated by regulations imposed by the federal Forest Service and the Environmental Protection Agency.

This year, the new gun laws in Colorado have become political flash points. Two state senators who supported the legislation were recalled in elections in September; a third resigned last month rather than face a recall. Efforts to repeal the statutes are already in the works.

Countering the elected sheriffs are some police chiefs, especially in urban areas, and state officials who say that the laws are not only enforceable but that they are already having an effect. Most gun stores have stopped selling the high-capacity magazines for personal use, although one sheriff acknowledged that some stores continued to sell them illegally. Some people who are selling or otherwise transferring guns privately are seeking background checks.

Eric Brown, a spokesman for Gov. John W. Hickenlooper of Colorado, said, “Particularly on background checks, the numbers show the law is working.” The Colorado Bureau of Investigation has run 3,445 checks on private sales since the law went into effect, he said, and has denied gun sales to 70 people.

A Federal District Court judge last month ruled against a claim in the sheriffs’ lawsuit that one part of the magazine law was unconstitutionally vague. The judge also ruled that while the sheriffs could sue as individuals, they had no standing to sue in their official capacity.

Still, the state’s top law enforcement officials acknowledged that sheriffs had wide discretion in enforcing state laws.

“We’re not in the position of telling sheriffs and chiefs what to do or not to do,” said Lance Clem, a spokesman for the Colorado Department of Public Safety. “We have people calling us all the time, thinking they’ve got an issue with their sheriff, and we tell them we don’t have the authority to intervene.”

Sheriffs who refuse to enforce gun laws around the country are in the minority, though no statistics exist. In Colorado, though, sheriffs like Joe Pelle of Boulder County, who support the laws and have more liberal constituencies that back them, are outnumbered.

“A lot of sheriffs are claiming the Constitution, saying that they’re not going to enforce this because they personally believe it violates the Second Amendment,” Sheriff Pelle said. “But that stance in and of itself violates the Constitution.”

Even Sheriff W. Pete Palmer of Chaffee County, one of the seven sheriffs who declined to join the federal lawsuit because he felt duty-bound to carry out the laws, said he was unlikely to aggressively enforce them. He said enforcement poses “huge practical difficulties,” and besides, he has neither the resources nor the pressure from his constituents to make active enforcement a high priority. Violations of the laws are misdemeanors.

“All law enforcement agencies consider the community standards – what is it that our community wishes us to focus on – and I can tell you our community is not worried one whit about background checks or high-capacity magazines,” he said.

At their extreme, the views of sheriffs who refuse to enforce gun laws echo the stand of Richard Mack, a former Arizona sheriff and the author of “The County Sheriff: America’s Last Hope.” Mr. Mack has argued that county sheriffs are the ultimate arbiters of what is constitutional and what is not. The Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, founded by Mr. Mack, is an organization of sheriffs and other officers who support his views.

“The Supreme Court does not run my office,” Mr. Mack said in an interview. “Just because they allow something doesn’t mean that a good constitutional sheriff is going to do it.” He said that 250 sheriffs from around the country attended the association’s recent convention.

Matthew J. Parlow, a law professor at Marquette University, said that some states, including New York, had laws that allowed the governor in some circumstances to investigate and remove public officials who engaged in egregious misconduct – laws that in theory might allow the removal of sheriffs who failed to enforce state statutes.

But, he said, many governors could be reluctant to use such powers. And in most cases, any penalty for a sheriff who chose not to enforce state law would have to come from voters.

Sheriff Cooke, for his part, said that he was entitled to use discretion in enforcement, especially when he believed the laws were wrong or unenforceable.

“In my oath it says I’ll uphold the U.S. Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Colorado,” he said, as he posed for campaign photos in his office – he is running for the State Senate in 2014. “It doesn’t say I have to uphold every law passed by the Legislature.”

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Obama’s Insane And Unconstitutional War On Coal Continues

EPA Carbon Limits Lower Boom On Coal – Watchdog

Leave it to the Environmental Protection Agency to come up with regulatory standards so restrictive that the technology to meet them has yet to be commercially tested.

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As expected, the EPA on Friday unveiled its revised proposal to cap greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants. And as expected, coal-fired power plants will fail to meet the limits without some very expensive technology to capture and store carbon emissions.

“There’s the rub. No commercial, coal-fired plant worldwide has yet to use this technology,” notes a story in USA Today.

As the piece points out, there are least two such carbon storage power plants under construction – one in Canada’s Saskatchewan Province, and the other in Mississippi’s Kemper County, scheduled to open in May.

But the coal-fired power industry need only look to Mississippi for a cautionary tale. The $4.7-billion project has been saddled with at least $1 billion in cost overruns, “a stew of legal battles, a revolt by ratepayers and a credit downgrade for the local utility,” according to Bloomberg News story published Thursday.

And, as the story points out, consumers ultimately will foot the bill for the expensive technology in the 582-megawatt plant, the first of its kind to be built on a commercial scale.

“By some measures, it may be one of the most expensive power plants ever built for the watts of energy it will generate,” Bloomberg notes. “The utility got approval to recoup $2.88 billion in costs from ratepayers. In addition, the Department of Energy pledged $270 million, and the company qualified for a federal tax credit of $133 million. The costs of the new lignite mine and carbon dioxide pipelines are additional.”

Coal industry officials earlier this week told Watchdog.org the restrictive limits on CO2 could kill coal, and with it, many of the 800,000 good-paying jobs it supports.

“That is the area that is really going to put this conversation at the forefront,” said Nancy Gravatt, spokeswoman for the National Mining Association, which represents coal and mineral mining companies nationwide. “This puts thousands of middle-class jobs at risk, and it’s akin to an energy tax on consumers. The hardest hit would be those on fixed incomes, like retirees.”

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said Americans have a “moral obligation to the next generation” to protect the environment. She said the proposal is a “necessary step to address a public health challenge,” according to the USA Today story. McCarthy, in a speech Friday morning at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., said the proposed standards create a “path forward” for the coal industry, and that the CO2 limits are both achievable and flexible.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce in a statement basically said the EPA blew it.

“The EPA had the chance to craft a regulation that recognized the value of the ‘all of the above’ energy strategy endorsed by President Obama, and ensured that standards were achievable and based upon commercially and economically viable technology. Instead, they have released yet another major regulation that will hamper economic growth and job creation, and could lead to higher energy costs for American families and businesses,” said Bruce Josten, the chamber’s vice president for Government Affairs.

“It is clear that the EPA is continuing to move forward with a strategy that will write off our huge, secure, affordable coal resources by essentially outlawing the construction of new coal plants.”

Jo Ann Emerson, former Missouri Republican congresswoman and now CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, earlier this week said the administration is “gambling with the economic well-being of future generations and our nation’s economy.”

“As not-for-profit, consumer-owned utilities, electric co-ops are deeply concerned about maintaining affordable, reliable electricity. It’s worth noting that residents of rural communities already spend more per capita on energy than anywhere else,” Emerson said in a statement.

Environmentalists, of course, rejoiced.

“In the words of our Vice-President, this is a BFD,” celebrated the Sierra Club in a blog post.

“If finalized as written, the draft will make it impossible to build a new, conventional, climate-destroying coal plant in the U.S. With climate-related disasters already landing on the doorsteps of millions of Americans, from Western wildfires to Superstorm Sandy, this new protection comes as welcome news.

Jason Hayes, associate director of the American Coal Council, fully expects the proposal to be challenged in court.

“The same thing that happened with the CSAPR Rule… Everyone was going forward before it was remanded by the D.C. court,” Hayes told Watchdog.org Friday.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in 2011 vacated the EPA’s Cross State Air Pollution Rule, often pronounced Casper, and the associated implementation plans and remanded the rule back to the EPA following widespread criticism.

The coal industry and other critics of the EPA’s proposal predict the strict limits will batter a U.S. economy struggling to recover, and stall the strides the industry has made in cutting CO2 output.

“Regulators are setting the bar so high that, even the new plants with the most advanced technologies would not be allowed,” Hal Quinn, CEO and president of the National Mining Association, said in a video released Friday. “Without coal our utility bills will be higher, our industries less competitive, electricity reliability compromised, and of course tens of thousands of jobs lost.”

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GOP Congressmen Say Senate Immigration Bill Is Unconstitutional

GOP Reps: Senate Immigration Bill Unconstitutional For Raising Revenues – Big Government

Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, tweeted Wednesday evening that the Senate’s immigration bill is unconstitutional because it raises revenues and originated in the Senate instead of the House.

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“Chairman Camp: Senate immigration bill a revenue bill; unconstitutional and cannot be taken up by the House,” the official House and Ways Means Committee Twitter account sent out Wednesday evening.

As of this writing, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has not sent the immigration bill that passed the Senate 68-32 to the House of Representatives. Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) announced that news in a late Wednesday statement, after circulating a “dear colleague” letter arguing the Senate immigration bill was unconstitutional because it raised revenue and did not originate in the House.

Language in the U.S. Constitution requires any bill that raises revenue, also known as a tax, must originate in the House of Representatives, not the Senate. America’s founders included that language because they believed the House was more accountable to the people of the country than the Senate, which was elected at that time by state legislators rather than through a direct vote. That clause of the Constitution is called the “origination clause” and reads as such: “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.”

When such a revenue-raising bill comes out of the Senate, the Speaker of the House, currently Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), can use a procedure called a “blue slip resolution” to automatically kill it on the grounds that it is unconstitutional. Stockman has been promising to attempt to kill the Senate’s bill that way and, as such, Reid has refused to send it to the House, thereby protecting the bill from being “blue slipped.” The term “blue slip,” Stockman’s office noted in a release, comes from the blue color of the paper on which a resolution is printed that returns a Senate bill back to the Senate in these situations.

“Even Harry Reid now admits the Senate’s amnesty bill is unconstitutional and cannot become law,” Stockman said in a Wednesday evening statement. “Any bill that raises revenue must start in the House. By creating their own amnesty taxes Senate Democrats broke the rules. Senate Democrats were so hell-bent on ramming through a gift to radical political activists they didn’t bother to check if it was even legal.”

“They got caught trying to sneak an illegal bill past the Constitution’s borders,” Stockman added.

Stockman’s office notes that Section 2102 of the bill “requires the payment of certain taxes and forgives the payment of other taxes as a condition of receiving amnesty and other benefits.”

Stockman’s office also cites the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score of the bill from June 18, which states in part that “enacting S. 744 would have a wide range of effects on federal revenues, including changes in collections of income and payroll taxes, certain visa fees that are classified as revenues, and various fines and penalties. Taken together, those effects would increase revenues by $459 billion over the 2014-2023 period, according to estimates by JCT and CBO.”

On Wednesday, Stockman sent around a letter to his colleagues on Capitol Hill asking if they would back him in this argument. It appears many of his colleagues have, but a list was not immediately available.

Stockman sent a similar letter to Camp, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, because Camp’s committee has jurisdiction over tax issues in the House.

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Supreme Court Rules Defense Of Marriage Act Unconstitutional

Supreme Court Rules Defense Of Marriage Act Unconstitutional – The Hill

The Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down the heart of a federal law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

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In a 5-4 decision written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court overturned a section of the Defense of Marriage Act that bars same-sex couples from receiving federal benefits, even if they live in a state that recognizes same-sex marriages.

The challenge to DOMA was filed by Edith Windsor, a New York widow who inherited her late wife’s home but was forced to pay dramatically higher property taxes than she would have if she had married a man, even though the state recognized her marriage.

Kennedy wrote that the law desprived liberties to couples in same-sex marriages that are protected by the Fifth Amendment.

“DOMA singles out a class of persons deemed by a State entitled to recognition and protection to enhance their own liberty,” Kennedy wrote. “It imposes a disability on the class by refusing to acknowledge a status the State finds to be dignified and proper. DOMA instructs all federal officials, and indeed all persons with whom same-sex couples interact, including their own children, that their marriage is less worthy than the marriages of others.”

The court’s liberal wing joined Kennedy in the majority decision, while the court’s conservative justices dissented in three separate opinions.

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Another Federal Court Finds Obama’s NLRB “Recess” Appointments Unconstitutional

Second Appeals Court Invalidates Obama’s NLRB Recess Appointments – Politico

A second appeals court has joined the D.C. Circuit in ruling that President Barack Obama’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board were unconstitutional, concluding that some board actions taken in the wake of those appointments were also invalid.

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The issue has far-reaching implications for both the NLRB and other boards, including Obama’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which has been a frequent target of conservatives and whose director was a recess appointment.

The 2-1 decision Thursday from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (posted here) found that the presidential recess appointment power is limited to breaks between sessions of Congress, not breaks within sessions or other adjournments during which the Senate might meet in pro forma sessions. The reasoning mirrors that in a ruling of the D.C. Circuit Court in January.

The 3rd Circuit case centered on decisions the NLRB made on the authority of three members including Craig Becker, who was appointed by the president on March 27, 2010, while the Senate was adjourned for two weeks.

The case was brought by a New Jersey nursing and rehabilitation center whose nurses were allowed to form a union by one such NLRB decision. The facility, New Vista, contended that the board’s decision was invalid because it did not have enough members active when the decision was issued because the naming of Becker to the board was not a valid recess appointment.

The NLRB must have three members participate in a decision for it to be valid, and the court found that because Becker was not appointed during a break between sessions of Congress, he was not a valid member of the board and thus invalidated the NLRB’s orders.

The opinion, written by Judge D. Brooks Smith, said the recess clause of the Constitution should be read not just to give the president executive power, but also to preserve the “advice and consent” role of the Senate.

In his dissent, Judge Joseph. A Greenaway Jr. said the majority’s reading of the clause was needlessly narrow and ignored the Founding Fathers’ intent to give the president the ability to act when the Senate is not available to “advise and consent.”

The administration late last month petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn the D.C. Circuit Court’s ruling on the issue.

The decision comes the same day that the Senate Help Subcommittee held a hearing on five nominations to the NLRB. Sen. Tom Harkin said they nominations would be moved next Wednesday.

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Your Daley Gator IRS Scandal Roundup For Monday

IRS Targeted Conservative Groups That Taught U.S. Constitution – Gateway Pundit

The IRS not only targeted conservative Tea Party groups and Jews… They also targeted conservative groups that taught the US Constitution.

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The Washington Post reported:

At various points over the past two years, Internal Revenue Service officials targeted nonprofit groups that criticized the government and sought to educate Americans about the U.S. Constitution, according to documents in an audit conducted by the agency’s inspector general.

The documents, obtained by The Washington Post from a congressional aide with knowledge of the findings, show that on June 29, 2011, IRS staffers held a briefing with senior agency official Lois G. Lerner in which they described giving special attention to instances where “statements in the case file criticize how the country is being run.” Lerner, who oversees tax-exempt groups for the agency, raised objections and the agency revised its criteria a week later.

But six months later, the IRS applied a new political test to groups that applied for tax-exempt status as “social welfare” groups, the document says. On Jan. 15, 2012 the agency decided to target “political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding Government, educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, social economic reform movement.,” according to the appendix in the IG report, which was requested by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and has yet to be released.

The new revelations are likely to intensify criticism of the IRS, which has been under fire since agency officials acknowledged they had deliberately targeted groups with “tea party” or “patriot” in their name for heightened scrutiny.

Read the rest here.

More… (From previous post) The IRS has some explaining to do.

Beyond Political posted this earlier:

This cannot possibly be. As someone who has gone through IRS certification (due to the off chance we may encounter taxpayer data during investigations), I can attest for the extensive rigor and controls that prevent such low level activities. For instance, the mere act of someone pulling up a neighbor’s tax data would set off numerous alarms; investigation and prosecution would be inevitable. Cases are distributed in a manner that a low-level worker would not have access to all “tea party” and “patriot” filings.

This means one of two things. Either ALL low-level employees in the IRS are operating in collusion, conspiring to attack all citizens of a particular political orientation (which would be necessary to cause low level employees randomly assigned and supervised with such extensive controls to consistently flag and punish people of that political interest), or senior level IRS employees who are able to pull up files of a particular interest (“patriot” “tea party”) were involved. Furthermore, if it was low-level employees, they would be investigated and disciplined as a matter of routine process. Only senior level IRS executives are able to bypass those controls.

And that IRS spokespersons are lying suggests how far up the conspiracy goes. I’m rather confident that a competent investigation would show White House political appointees had directed these actions, in collusion with senior level IRS officials. Nobody down below would be able to have such a broad reach and get by without being terminated and criminally prosecuted.

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Related articles:

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National Organization For Marriage Renews Demand That IRS Come Clean On Stolen And Leaked Tax Return; Seeks Investigation Into Possible White House Or Obama Campaign Role – Before It’s News

There is little question that one or more employees at the IRS stole our confidential tax return and leaked it to our political enemies, in violation of federal law.” – Brian Brown, NOM president -

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) today renewed its demand that the Internal Revenue Service reveal the identity of the employee or employees responsible for stealing the organization’s confidential Form 990 tax return and leaking it to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). At the time of the theft, the HRC had long-sought to know the identity of NOM’s major donors and its chief executive was a co-chair of President Obama’s reelection campaign. The Form 990 that was leaked to the HRC contained the identity of numerous major donors to the organization.

“There is little question that one or more employees at the IRS stole our confidential tax return and leaked it to our political enemies, in violation of federal law,” said Brian Brown, NOM’s president. “The only questions are who did it, and whether there was any knowledge or coordination between people in the White House, the Obama reelection campaign and the Human Rights Campaign. We and the American people deserve answers.”

In March 2012 the Human Rights Campaign and the Huffington Post published NOM’s Form 990 Schedule B from 2008 containing the identity of dozens of donors. The HRC claimed the tax return was provided by a ‘whistleblower.’ For months previous to the publication, the HRC had been demanding that NOM publicly release this confidential information even though federal law protects the identity of contributors to nonprofit groups. The publication of NOM’s tax return occurred just a few months after Joseph Solmonese, then president of the HRC, was appointed a national co-chair of the Obama reelection campaign. An analysis of the published documents shows that they could only have originated with the IRS.

“We’ve seen in recent days an admission that the IRS intentionally targeted conservative groups for harassment and scrutiny,” Brown said, “but what NOM has experienced suggests that problems at the IRS are potentially far more serious than even these latest revelations reveal.”

Following publication of NOM’s confidential tax return and a complaint to the IRS, investigators with the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) interviewed NOM officials about the theft. Nothing has come of the investigation if there is indeed one, and the agency has refused to answer any questions about the status of its examination.

Brown concluded, “No group should ever be subjected to the IRS leaking its confidential tax return to its political enemies. But when the recipient of the stolen information is a group headed by a co-chair of the President’s reelection campaign, serious concerns arise. We have no way of knowing if people within the White House, the Obama reelection campaign or the HRC had any role in the crime, but we call on the Congress to investigate. So far, we’ve heard nothing from the federal government even though they’ve had all the facts for over a year.”

To schedule an interview with Brian Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage, please contact Elizabeth Ray (x130), eray@crcpublicrelations.com, or Jennifer Campbell jcampbell@crcpublicrelations.com, at 703-683-5004.

Paid for by The National Organization for Marriage, Brian Brown, president. 2029 K Street NW, Suite 300 Washington, DC 20006, not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. New § 68A.405(1)(f) & (h).

Background: On March 30, 2012, the Huffington Post published NOM’s confidential 2008 tax return filed with the IRS, which it said came from the Human Rights Campaign. The HRC has said on its own site the documents came from a “whistleblower.” However, NOM has determined that the documents came directly from the Internal Revenue Service.

The document above is as it appeared when published by the Huffington Post. However, that document was modified in a failed attempt to obscure its source. There is a label visibly obscuring a portion of each page, and it was determined that information on the top of each page was also obscured in the version posted on the Huffington Post.

After software removed the layers obscuring the document, it is shown that the document came from the Internal Revenue Service. The top of each page says, “”THIS IS A COPY OF A LIVE RETURN FROM SMIPS. OFFICIAL USE ONLY.” On each page of the return is stamped a document ID of “100560209.” Only the IRS would have the Form 990 with “Official Use” information.

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Flashback: Romney Donor Vilified By Obama Campaign, Then Subjected To 2 Audits – Daily Caller

Just months after being slimed by President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, Mitt Romney supporter and businessman Frank VanderSloot was informed that he was going to be audited not only by the Internal Revenue Service, but by the Labor Department as well.

VanderSloot’s saga was told by columnist Kimberley Strassel in the Wall Street Journal last July.

In April 2012, VanderSloot, who served as the national co-chair of Mitt Romney’s presidential finance committee, was one of eight Romney backers to be defamed as ”wealthy individuals with less-than-reputable records” in a post on the Obama campaign’s website. The post, entitled “Behind the curtain: a brief history of Romney’s donors,” singled out VanderSloot for being a ”litigious, combative and a bitter foe of the gay rights movement.”

Two months later, the IRS informed VanderSloot he and his wife were going to be audited, Strassel reported. Two weeks after that, VanderSloot was notified by the Labor Department that it was going to “audit workers he employs on his Idaho-based cattle ranch under the federal visa program for temporary agriculture workers,” reported Strassel.

“The H-2A program allows tens of thousands of temporary workers in the U.S.; Mr. VanderSloot employs precisely three,” Strassel wrote. “All are from Mexico and have worked on the VanderSloot ranch—which employs about 20 people—for five years. Two are brothers. Mr. VanderSloot has never been audited for this, though two years ago his workers’ ranch homes were inspected. (The ranch was fined $8,400, mainly for too many ‘flies’ and for ‘grease build-up’ on the stove. God forbid a cattle ranch home has flies.)”

“This letter requests an array of documents to ascertain whether Mr. VanderSloot’s ‘foreign workers are provided the full scope of protections’ under the visa program: information on the hours they’ve worked each day and their rate of pay, an explanation of their deductions, copies of contracts,” she continued.

In her column, Strassel raised the specter that the IRS targeted VanderSloot for his political activism.

“Did Mr. Obama pick up the phone and order the screws put to Mr. VanderSloot?” she asked. “Or—more likely—did a pro-Obama appointee or political hire or career staffer see that the boss had an issue with this donor, and decide to do the president an unasked-for election favor? Or did he or she simply think this was a duty, given that the president had declared Mr. VanderSloot and fellow donors ‘less than reputable’?”

VanderSloot’s tale is more relevant in light of the admission Friday by IRS official Lois Lerner that the agency gave extra scrutiny to non-profit tea party groups with “tea party” or “patriot” in their name that applied for tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code. While Lerner said the agency’s actions were inappropriate, she claimed it was not the result of political bias.

However, a forthcoming report by the IRS inspector general will say that the agency went beyond what Lerner admitted to on Friday by targeting groups which criticized “how the country is being run,” the Washington Post, which got an advanced copy of part of the internal audit, reported Sunday.

Though that practice was soon halted, just months later, in January 2012, groups that applied for tax exempt status which described themselves as “political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding Government, educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, social economic reform movement” were again subjected to special scrutiny.

On Friday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was among the congressional leaders who called for an investigation into what went on at the IRS.

“The IRS cannot target or intimidate any individual or organization based on their political beliefs,” he said in a statement. “The House will investigate this matter.”

The White House also voiced support for an investigation.

“The president would expect that it would be investigated,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said at the Friday’s press briefing.

While non-profit groups were targeted by the IRS, no hard evidence has yet emerged to show that individuals like VanderSloot were targeted for their political leanings.

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Report: Obama’s IRS Targets Jewish Organizations – Big Government

New evidence has now arisen that the IRS under President Obama, which admitted, then half-denied this week that it was targeting conservative non-profit groups, has been targeting Jewish organizations in a virulent manner. An IRS agent admitted that some Israel-related organizations’ applications have been assigned to “a special unit in the D.C. office to determine whether the organization’s activities contradict the Administration’s public policies.”

What does that mean? It means that the Obama administration is going after organizations that support the existence of the state of Israel; one Jewish organization that was not even focused on Israel was required to state “whether [it] supports the existence of the land of Israel,” and also to “[d]escribe [its] religious belief system toward the land of Israel.”

Z STREET, a staunch defender of Israel, had filed a lawsuit against the IRS, saying that an IRS agent told them that their attempt to secure tax-exempt status would be looked over more than usual because it was “connected to Israel.”

Lois Lerner, of the IRS, has already admitted that the IRS had improperly targeted groups with “Tea Party” and “patriot” in their names but said it wasn’t politically motivated, because “That is not how we do things.”

The Obama Administration apparently hates Israel enough to harass and intimidate those who support the Jewish state. So much for the contention of liberal Jews that the Obama administration is a friend to the State of Israel.

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Ways And Means Committee: When Did WH Know IRS Targeted Groups Based On Political Philosophy? – CNS

The House Ways and Means Committee wants to know when the White House first knew that the Internal Revenue Service was targeting groups for heightened scrutiny for their political views, including groups that used the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their applications for tax exempt status, or that sought to educate people about the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration has provided a timeline to congressional staff that indicates that in the 2010 election year the Internal Revenue Service instructed officials in its “Determinations Unit” to “be on the lookout for” organizations applying for tax exempt status that used the words “tea party” or “patriot” in their applications.

By January 2012, at the beginning of a presidential election year, according to the timeline, the IRS broadened its “be on the lookout order” to target groups that were involved in educating people on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Now the Ways and Means Committee, which is investigating the matter, has publicly posed what it calls ‘The Top 10 Questions for the IRS.” These include: When did the White House know?

“The IRS absolutely must be non-partisan in its enforcement of our tax laws. The admission by the agency that it targeted American taxpayers based on politics is both shocking and disappointing,” said Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R.-Mich.). “The Committee on Ways and Means will thoroughly investigate this matter and will soon hold a hearing to get to the bottom of this situation. We will hold the IRS accountable for its actions.”

Here are the committee’s questions:

What did the IRS know and when? The Top 10 questions for the IRS

1. Beginning with an inquiry in June 2011, the House Ways and Means Committee has repeatedly asked the IRS for verification about whether or not it was targeting groups based on their political philosophies. On repeated occasions, including at a March 2012 Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee hearing, the IRS explicitly denied such activities had occurred. Now, widespread media reports confirm that the agency learned of these practices just three weeks after the Committee made its initial inquiry related to these groups – nearly 2 years ago. How many times did the IRS lie to Congress about this issue?

2. What words were used in the targeting campaign? We know “tea party,” “patriots” and “conservative” were used.

3. We know words targeting conservative-leaning organizations were used. What about words like “progressive” or “green”? What proof, if any, has IRS provided to demonstrate this was not a politically motivated act? Were any personnel ever directed to delay processing of certain 501(c )(4) applications until after the election?

4. When was the IRS Commissioner informed? When were the White House and Treasury made aware that groups were being targeted based on their political philosophies? How did the White House and Treasury respond when they were made aware that conservative groups were being targeted?

5. When the IRS Commissioner was made aware of these unlawful practices, what steps were taken, if any, to halt the harassment of conservative organizations? Who was disciplined regarding these practices, if anyone?

6. Who were the employees that made these decisions, and what guidance were they provided with from Washington, if any, to pursue their work in this manner? Who are these employees? Were these political appointees? Were they hired through the process established by the Ramspeck Act (where some, including staff whose Members have lost or retired, receive placement assistance in an agency setting)?

7. It is clear from the TIGTA timeline that IRS was targeting those with conservative political philosophies as early as 2010. It is well documented that active Congressional investigations were going on pertaining to this subject – why wasn’t Congress immediately notified when IRS became aware that groups were, in fact, actively being targeted?

8. How widespread was the campaign to target conservative groups? We’ve heard about Ohio, a longtime bellwether state in political elections. What has IRS done, if anything, to identify whether this practice of targeting specific groups was occurring in IRS offices in other states?

9. Why is IRS apologizing now? IRS waited until well after the 2012 election cycle to issue a public apology for targeting these groups, but never informed Congress of its intent to do so, despite ongoing investigations. Why didn’t they inform Congress of their intent to do so?

10. What steps, if any, has IRS taken to ensure that the targeting of individuals and organizations does not occur in the future?

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Pentagon Defends Unconstitutional Policy Against Soldiers Sharing Faith

Pentagon Defends Unconstitutional Policy Against Soldiers Sharing Faith – Big Government

Pentagon personnel responded to Breitbart News’ report about court-martialing service members who share their faith in the military, which the Pentagon confirmed on May 1, and the Air Force on May 2 separately confirmed a second time.

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Now the Pentagon claims the opposite. But these new statements instead only compound the problem, as the Pentagon’s new definitions for terms squarely contradict what the dictionary says those terms mean. All this has taken place as the first flag officer in the military has stepped forward to defy the unconstitutional policy.

In an official statement yesterday, Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a spokesman for the Pentagon’s Defense Press Office, responded to Breitbart News’ reports by saying, “Service members can share their faith (evangelize), but must not force unwanted, intrusive attempts to convert others of any faith to one’s beliefs (proselytization).”

Unfortunately for the Obama administration’s leaders in the Pentagon, those definitions are absurdly false, and only confirm a central concern in the earlier columns. These definitions of evangelizing and proselytizing are contradicted by (1) general dictionaries, (2) legal dictionaries, and (3) theological dictionaries. We have not located any dictionary that supports the Pentagon’s novel and unprecedented definitions for these well-known words.

Evidently it all depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is, which is a debate the country thought was resolved in 2000. Even so, when trying to say the press is wrong, don’t do it by inventing new definitions that anyone with a sixth-grade education and access to a dictionary can confirm are utterly false.

The words “evangelize” and “proselytize” have identical meanings when referring to Christians. So to make proselyting illegal is to make evangelizing illegal.

The dictionary defines “evangelize” as “to convert to Christianity,” or “to preach the [Christian] gospel.” Likewise, the dictionary defines “proselytize” as “to convert or attempt to convert.” They both mean sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Two things to note. First, “evangelizing” means to try to persuade your listener to become a Christian, which the Pentagon just reaffirmed for the second time in two days is forbidden in the military. Second, contrary to the Obama-Holder DoD’s definition, “proselytizing” carries no connotation whatsoever of “force,” or “intrusive attempts” to do anything.

Everyone can agree that no military commander should use his authority to coerce a subordinate to adopt religious views that violate the subordinate’s conscience. But that suggestion is a strawman argument, as “proselytizing” is something entirely different.

Not only that, but this suggestion is further confirmed as false because then our earlier reports discussing chaplains would be irrelevant. An infantry sergeant answers to an infantry lieutenant, who answers to an infantry captain, and so on up to the general commanding the infantry division.

So why was the Washington Post reporting that the Pentagon’s meeting(s) with Weinstein discussed chaplains being court martialed (that is – criminally prosecuted under military law) for sharing the gospel with a fellow service-member? The chaplain is not in the chain of command. The chaplain has no authority with which to coerce the other service member.

Instead, it looks like the Obama-Hagel administration was caught red-handed contemplating policies that violate the rights of American service members, and they are literally attempting to rewrite the dictionary through a press release to offer a disingenuous explanation of why things are not as disturbing as they appear.

A second problem for the Obama administration is this proposed new rule makes it illegal for millions of Americans to serve in the military in a manner consistent with their faith. Millions of Americans who call themselves Christians – including Evangelicals, devout Catholics, and observant Mormons – believe they are required by Matthew 28 in the Bible to share the gospel with other people.

This is to be done respectfully and peacefully, at appropriate times and in an appropriate manner, but it must be done when such opportunities present themselves. To say that sharing the gospel is a crime under military law (as we reported, Weinstein in his own words calls it an act of “treason” that should be “punished” – right after calling those who do so “monsters” and “enemies” of the Constitution), is to say that tens of millions of Americans are not allowed to serve in our military. And those already serving could be prosecuted for a crime and perhaps expelled from the military.

The third problem is that it is unconstitutional. When someone joins the military their First Amendment rights are diminished, but they are not eradicated. A solider cannot write an op-ed criticizing the Commander-in-Chief, but he can live and share his faith with others. Evangelizing does not disrupt discipline and good order in the military, and therefore the Constitution does not permit the military to forbid it.

Military officers take an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” There are honorable Christian service members who will not in good conscience be able to abide by this unconstitutional and unconscionable decree.

And this week it began. Rear Adm. William D. Lee of the Coast Guard said that he will “defy any efforts to stop military personnel from openly sharing their Christian faith.” Told that sharing the gospel is crossing the line, Lee said, “I’m so glad we’ve crossed that line so many times.” He then pledged to exercise his “right under the Constitution to tell a young man that there is hope.”

The U.S. military is the most noble and honorable institution in America. Officers like Rear Adm. Lee are an essential part of making it so. Congress should step forward to enact whatever legislation is needed to safeguard their rights, as they continue to protect ours.

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*VIDEO* Judge Napolitano Speaks Out Against New Unconstitutional Law Banning Protests Wherever Secret Service Is Present


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Major Court Defeat For Obama: ‘Recess’ Appointments Unconstitutional

Major Court Defeat For Obama: ‘Recess’ Appointments Unconstitutional – Big Government

President Barack Obama just suffered a humiliating defeat in federal court. A top federal appeals court has removed three presidential appointees from power, and invalidated all actions they’ve taken over the past twelve months.

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One year ago, Obama filled three seats on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) – an essential power center for Obama’s labor-union allies – with recess appointments, claiming that the U.S. Senate was in recess even though the Senate was still in session.

No president in history had ever done such a thing, and Republicans and conservatives immediately denounced it as an unconstitutional power grab. The matter went to court, where Breitbart News covered the judges’ questions and reactions at oral argument.

In Noel Canning v. NLRB, the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. Circuit held today that Obama’s three recess appointments are in fact unconstitutional. As such, the three seats on NLRB were never legally filled. Thus NLRB only had two members, while the law requires three members on the five-member Board in order to have a quorum to conduct business or issue orders.

The D.C. Circuit therefore concluded that all NLRB orders issued since these recess appointments were made are entirely void, and NLRB has no power to act at all unless and until the Senate votes to confirm Obama’s nominees.

The head of the controversial new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) created by Dodd-Frank, Richard Cordray, was also installed as one of these non-recess appointments. While the D.C. Circuit did not address that appointment, it is now clear that Cordray’s appointment was also unconstitutional, and so he too will be removed from power and all his actions to date nullified. Former White House Counsel C. Boyden Gray – a very well-respected D.C. lawyer – currently has a lawsuit against CFPB, where this decision will secure his victory on part of his case.

This recess-appointment issue will now likely go to the Supreme Court, where it is likely to suffer the same fate.

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*VIDEO* Cedar Falls, IA: City Government Demands All Keys To Properties Belonging To Residents

Daily Benefactor News – ObamaCare Unconstitutional: Why Judge Vinson’s Ruling Is So Important

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ObamaCare Unconstitutional: Why Judge Vinson’s Ruling Is So Important – Ken Klukowski

The federal court in the massive 26-state challenge to ObamaCare on Monday held that the health care law’s individual mandate is unconstitutional. And, even more importantly, the judge accepted the argument in my court brief that the mandate cannot be separated from the rest of this 2,700-page legislative monstrosity, and struck down the entire law.

Roger Vinson, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, the judge presiding over this case, did so because of a single word: Severability.

A single law usually contains many different provisions. Lawmakers know that if someone challenges the constitutionality of a statute, they often challenge only one or two provisions of it. So lawmakers usually try to make sure at least part of their law will survive.

The process of striking down only part of a law is called “severability.” Therefore Congress almost always inserts a severability clause, saying that if part of the law is struck down, the remaining provisions continue in full force and effect.

Congress did not insert a severability clause in ObamaCare. So even though only a couple provisions of the health care law are being challenged in the Florida case – those two provisions being the individual mandate aka the requirement that every American has to buy insurance and also the sweeping expansion of Medicaid – the issue arises that if a court strikes down either of those provisions, it might strike down the entire statute.

The legal counsel representing the states in Florida, led by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (and her predecessor Bill McCollum) and Washington, D.C.-based lawyer David Rivkin raised the issue of severability in this lawsuit (as Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli likewise did in his Virginia lawsuit).

So I filed a brief in Florida on behalf of the Family Research Council to fully explore the issue of severability to assist the states in challenging ObamaCare.

The states lost on one of their issues yesterday. Judge Vinson carefully considered their argument that Medicaid has become so overbearing that it’s no longer a voluntary program, and thus that it becomes coercive of the states in violation of the Tenth Amendment. The judge said that while this argument was plausible, it goes against every other court to consider Medicaid and is contradicted by the declarations of a couple states in this lawsuit that they could withdraw from Medicaid, so he sided with the Obama administration on that count.

But he also said the Medicaid issue didn’t matter, because he struck down the individual mandate as unconstitutional, and then held that the mandate cannot be severed from the rest of the ObamaCare law.

Thus, in striking down the mandate, the court struck down all 2,700 pages, including the Medicaid overhaul. Severability is an issue so far off the beaten path that few lawyers have ever dealt with it, even though including a severability clause in legislation – or in contracts – is so common that it’s now boilerplate. So it would surprise most lawyers that a judge would strike down all of ObamaCare.

But it’s not surprising if you look at how the Supreme Court deals with the issue of severability. The High Court instructs that first you look to see if the law doesn’t even make sense anymore, that grammatically and logically it becomes gibberish. If so, you strike down the whole thing.

However, if the law still makes sense grammatically, that’s not the end of it. A court must instead then ask if the challenged provision is integral to the law, such that Congress would rather have no law at all than have the law without the unconstitutional part.

Not only does ObamaCare lack a severability clause, Congress also includes in the individual mandate section (which is Section 1501) a declaration that the mandate is “essential” to the statute functioning in the manner Congress desires. This closely tracks language in the Supreme Court’s precedents for when a court must strike down the entire law.

So Judge Vinson’s actions were not only appropriate, they were necessary. A lower-court judge must faithfully follow the Supreme Court. When it comes to ObamaCare, as I explained in detail in my brief and as Judge Vinson explains in his opinion on pages 63 to 74, the only proper action is for a court to throw out the entire statute, and return this issue to Congress to write a new law.

Judge Vinson shows us in this decision exactly what a good federal judge looks like. This case was a victory for the Constitution and the rule of law, which makes it a victory for the American people.

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Daily Benefactor News – Democrats Will Introduce Legislation Outlawing Inflammatory Language

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Democrats Will Introduce Legislation Outlawing Inflammatory Language – Gateway Pundit

Rep. Robert Brady (D-PA) will introduce legislation this week that will criminalize inflammatory language.

Democrats are still blaming Sarah Palin and conservatives for the shooting in Tucson by an anti-Christian, anti-Constitution, left-wing, pro-Marx, antiflag, “quite liberal” lunatic.

CNN reported:

Rep. Robert Brady, D-Pennsylvania, said he will introduce legislation making it a federal crime for a person to use language or symbols that could be perceived as threatening or inciting violence against a Member of Congress or federal official.

Brady’s decision to offer the legislation comes less than 24 hours after a gunman attempted to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona, in a shooting that claimed the lives of a federal judge, and a nine year-old girl, among others.

“The president is a federal official,” Brady said in a telephone interview with CNN. “You can’t do it to him; you should not be able to do it to a congressman, senator or federal judge.

“This is not a wake up call, this is major alarms going off,” he said.

Brady is particularly incensed over a web posting by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin during the 2010 election in which she targeted 20 House Democrats, including Giffords for political defeat. The posting showed a map of the United States with the 20 Democratic congressional districts identified by gun sights.

“You can’t put bulls eyes or crosshairs on a United States congressman or a federal official,” Brady said. “I understand this web site that had it on there is no longer in existence. Someone is feeling a little guilty.”

After the shooting democrats immediately plotted to blame the tea party for the shootings by the young leftist crackpot.

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