Tea Partiers Gear Up For Class-Action Lawsuit As Federal Judge Orders IRS To Turn Over List Of Targeted Groups

Federal Judge Orders IRS To Release List Of Tea Party Groups Targeted For Scrutiny – Washington Times

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A federal judge ordered the IRS this week to turn over the list of 298 groups it targeted for intrusive scrutiny as the agency defends against a potential class-action lawsuit by tea party groups who claim their constitutional rights were violated.

The IRS had argued it shouldn’t have to release the names because doing so would violate privacy laws, but Judge Susan J. Dlott, who sits in the Southern District of Ohio, rejected that claim and ordered the tax agency to turn over any lists or spreadsheets detailing the groups that were targeted and when they filed their applications.

Judge Dlott also ordered the IRS to say whether a partial list of targeted groups reported by USA Today is authentic as a number of tea party groups try to win certification for a class action lawsuit against the IRS.

“The return information sought is directly related to the issue of class certification in this federal court proceeding,” the judge said. “The names of the putative class member organizations and their control dates – the date which the putative class member organizations submitted their applications for tax exempt status to the IRS – are directly related to the issue of class certification.”

The judge has not yet certified the tea party groups as a class, and the information that they’ve obtained so far through depositions remains under seal. But backers say if they can be certified, then they will begin to try to pry loose some of the key information about how the IRS chose which groups it went after in its targeting.

“We’re at the precipice,” said Mark Meckler, a member of one of the tea party groups suing, and also president of Citizens for Self-Governance, which is funding the litigation.

The Ohio lawsuit is the only major legal jeopardy still remaining in the courts for the IRS — though the agency is still facing an FBI investigation, according to documents obtained by True the Vote, a tea party group, under the Freedom of Information Act.

Earlier this week the deporting U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C. informed House Speaker John A. Boehner he would not prosecute Lois G. Lerner, the former senior executive who’s at the center of the targeting scandal, for contempt of Congress. The prosecutor said Ms. Lerner didn’t waiver her Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination when she delivered an opening statement at a congressional hearing but then refused follow-up questions.

The scandal developed after the IRS acknowledged it singled out tea party groups for special scrutiny, and asked intrusive questions that agency executives later said were inappropriate. The IRS’s inspector general concluded that 298 groups were targeted, with all but a handful of them leaning toward the conservative side.

But the IRS has resisted releasing the official list, arguing that is private information.

“The Internal Revenue Service cannot disclose the identities of the potential class members because that is return information protected,” the administration said in its court filings.

The judge disagreed, saying exemptions in law apply to a case like this.

Several other cases had been filed in Washington, D.C., by tea party groups trying to force a judge to proactively halt any future targeting. The judge tossed those cases, saying that the IRS insists the targeting has ended, so there is no further action needed.

But some groups are still awaiting approval, including one that’s been pending for more than five years, which their lawyers argue means the IRS is still targeting despite its insistence that its program has ended.

Commissioner John Koskinen has said groups that are still waiting could take a deal, promising to limit their political activities to 40 percent of their business, but the groups argue that would mean giving up rights since they believe under current law politicking can be almost 50 percent of their activities.

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Department Of Veterans Affairs Official Paid $288K In ‘Relocation Payments’ To Move 140 Miles

VA Official Paid $288K In ‘Relocation Payments’ To Move 140 Miles – Daily Caller

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The director of the Philadelphia VA regional benefits office was paid $288,000 in “relocation payments” to move the 140 miles from Washington, D.C. to her new home last year.

Diana Rubens was tapped last June to take over the Philadelphia regional benefits office, which is one of many VA hospitals and benefits offices currently being investigated over benefits claims.

Rubens, who previously served as the D.C.-based deputy undersecretary for field operations, where she oversaw 57 regional offices, was brought in to help fix the embattled Philadelphia facility.

A breakdown of Rubens’ “relocation payments” was not immediately available, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, but a VA spokesman said that there was nothing inappropriate with the spending.

Federal regulations allow for the reimbursement of relocation expenses including the “costs of house-hunting, moving, terminating leases, and a per-diem rate for meals and temporary housing for an employee and his or her family,” the spokesman said.

But that hefty repayment is nearly 160 percent of what Rubens earned in base pay all of last year, raising questions over what exactly that money could have gone towards.

Rubens was paid more than $181,000 in 2014, according to the website FedSmith.com, which maintains a database of federal employee compensation.

“The government shouldn’t be in the business of doling out hundreds of thousands in cash to extremely well-compensated executives just to move less than three hours down the road,” Florida Rep. Jeff Miller, the chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, told the Inquirer.

“For VA to pay such an outrageous amount in relocation expenses at a time when the department is continually telling Congress and taxpayers it needs more money raises questions about VA’s commitment to fiscal responsibility, transparency and true reform.”

Rubens has been mentioned before in articles criticizing other money she’s been paid by the VA. According to the Center for Investigative Reporting, in 2011, she received a bonus of more than $23,000 even though patient backlogs – one area Rubens was in charge of managing – increased by 300,000.

The Washington Examiner reported last year that Rubens received more than $97,000 in bonuses between 2007 and 2011 even though the average time to process veterans’ claims doubled to 325 days on her watch. The ratio of backlogged cases nearly doubled as well, from 37 percent in 2009 to 71 percent in 2013.

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*VIDEO* Assistant Dean At Cornell University Advises Undercover Conservative Journalist On Starting A Pro-ISIS Club


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President Asshat Enjoys Women’s College Basketball Game As U.S. Troops Flee Yemen

Obama Enjoys Ivy League Women’s College Basketball As U.S. Troops Flee Yemen – Daily Caller

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President Barack Obama enjoyed NCAA women’s college basketball tournament action on Saturday as approximately U.S. 100 troops evacuated a rapidly deteriorating and chaotic situation near the southern Yemen city of al-Houta.

The soldiers – many of them elite special forces commandos – had been stationed at al-Anad air base in the war-torn Arab country, reports BBC News.

The proximate cause of the hasty Saturday exit was a Friday attack on the city of al-Houta by al-Qaida fighters. A quick counter-attack by the Yemeni army has since reportedly minimized al-Qaida gains.

Friday also saw a suicide bomb attack in Sana’a, the capital of Yemen. At least 137 people died in the bombing, for which Islamic State-associated combatants have claimed credit.

Obama sat in a prime seat at the first-round NCAA tournament game at XFINITY Center in College Park, Md. He was surrounded by a group of fans festooned in orange and black — the colors of fancypants Princeton University.

Obama’s niece, Leslie Robinson, plays on the Princeton women’s team, which is currently undefeated for the season.

Princeton, a #8 seed, beat the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay, a #9 seed, by a score of 80-70 on Saturday afternoon.

Fans at the game chanted “four more years,” notes Yahoo! News.

In the fall of 2014, Obama touted Yemen as a War on Terror success story.

Yemen is currently undergoing what amounts to a civil war involving several armed and vigorous elements including al-Qaida and ISIS.

A number of weeks ago, U.S. Marines allegedly destroyed their weapons or simply left them to Yemeni factions before leaving in the midst of an Iran-backed coup.

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Veterans Still Struggling To Get Medical Treatment As Obama Regime Continues To Lie To Congress

Veterans Still Can’t Get Medical Help On Time – WorldNetDaily

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Months after the Veterans Administration scandal exploded in the headlines, top officials are still lying and hiding information from Congress, and President Obama is actively trying to roll back the freedom of veterans to seek health care outside of the government system.

That’s the conclusion of Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

Last May, the VA was rocked by reports that veterans were forced to wait months for routine medical appointments and that some officials were doctoring hospital and medical records to cover up the failure to provide care. In response, Veterans Affairs Secretary Gen. Eric Shinseki resigned and Congress approved legislation giving future secretaries more freedom to remove ineffective personnel. Former Procter & Gamble Chairman Robert McDonald was eventually confirmed to succeed Shinseki and lead major reform efforts.

Are there signs of improvement?

On Monday evening, the House Veterans Affairs Committee grilled VA General Counsel Leigh Bradley over why more than 100 separate requests for information from the committee have gone unanswered for months and why the information that is given is often found to be false.

“The news only gets worse and worse,” Huelskamp said.

According to Associated Press reports on the hearing, committee chairman Jeff Miller, R-Fla., expressed deep frustration with the VA’s lack of cooperation on key facts, including wait times for veterans at the Phoenix hospital where the scandal began.

“Let there be no mistake or misunderstanding: When this committee requests documents, I expect production to be timely, complete and accurate,” Miller said.

Huelskamp is particularly incensed at the falsehoods coming out of the VA, including one stated by Secretary McDonald on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“They have falsified information, and it is not just lying to members of Congress; it’s lying to the American people,” he said. “We even had the secretary about a month ago lie on national television and claim that he had fired 60 employees that made up, falsified, cooked the books on wait times for our vulnerable veterans.”

The real number was nowhere near that high.

“He only fired four,” Huelskamp said. “There’s a big difference between four and 60, so there’s a lack of trust there. But this is, more importantly, a lack of trust between veterans who deserve their care and whether they’re getting in on time and whether they’re getting the proper care.”

And the congressman said the lies don’t stop there.

“The VA claimed that at the (Los Angeles) veterans facility, the wait was only four days,” he said. “We found out later, according to a CNN report, that it’s more than 30 days. Who do you believe? Who I believe is the veteran. If the veteran says they’ve been waiting, that’s what happens.”

Huelskamp said when Congress tries to separate fact from fiction, the massive VA bureaucracy grinds investigations to a halt.

“We’ve had, I think, three secretaries of the VA in my four years here,” he said. “For secretary after secretary and undersecretary after undersecretary, I didn’t know that had that many undersecretaries. They always send a new one over, and the answer is always, ‘We’ll get back to you. We’ll get that answer to you.’

“We have documented where they have lied to the committee, where they have falsified information,” he said.

If anything good came out of the VA scandal, Huelskamp believes it is the provision within last year’s reform bill that allows veterans to access care outside of the government system to shorten how long they wait for care. The congressman said expanded choice is working well for veterans and no longer forces many of them to travel hundreds of miles to approved doctors and facilities. He said that change is further proof the less government is involved in our health care, the better that care will be.

“That’s the best government health care you can get, and what we saw in Phoenix and around the country is that it’s been an abysmal failure,” Huelskamp said.

While the expanded health-care choices may be popular with veterans, Huelskamp said the Obama administration is actively trying to eliminate it.

“When the administration came in and asked to end the Veterans Choice Program, that sent shock waves through Congress because most Democrats and Republicans agree we need to improve the system and give veterans more choice in their health care,” he said.

“There’s a pushback from the administration, but the secretary has agreed – maybe not the president but the secretary has agreed – veterans deserve to keep their choice,” he said. “We’re trying to push the VA in a different direction than Obamacare is taking the rest of the health-care system. I think, at the end of the day, the better model is putting Americans in charge of their health care, not Washington, D.C.”

When will Congress get timely answers and the VA operate more efficiently? Huelskamp said a big part of the problem is a massive government bureaucracy that takes a long time to straighten out.

“There’s a culture of non-accountability, a culture of attacks on whistleblowers. That’s been going on for decades. It’s difficult to change that. That takes years,” said Huelskamp, who estimates some 330,000 bureaucrats are involved in VA operations.

“I think many of them do a terrific job, but it’s a system that’s set up based on the 1950s and ’60s, not 2015,” he said. “So it is a cultural shift at the VA, but the president has to provide leadership. I fear in the next two years, he will continue to drift away from any commitments to veterans in terms of reforming the system.”

What about Secretary McDonald? Is he the right man to lead this change?

“We’ll see if the secretary can answer those questions we asked a couple of nights ago,” Huelskamp said. “Some of these questions have been outstanding for months, which will give us insight (into) whether they’re really making the changes that were promised.”

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‘JV Team’ Slaughters At Least 137 Shiites, Injures 345 More In Yemen (Video)

ISIS Kills At Least 137 In Quadruple Mosque Suicide Bombings In Yemen – Right Scoop

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ISIS, a Sunni group, has claimed responsibility for quadruple suicide bombings that have reportedly claimed the lives of 137 muslims in two Shiite mosques in the capital of Yemen. 345 more Muslims were also wounded in this attack that took place during Friday prayers:

AL ARABIYA – The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for a Friday suicide bomb attack on two Sanaa mosques, reported Reuters citing a statement from the group.

Suicide bombers targeted two mosques used mainly by the Houthis and their supporters in the Yemeni capital on Friday, killing 137 people and wounding 345 others, the rebel-owned television channel said, in the latest report on casualties

The attacks, in which four bombers wearing explosive belts targeted worshippers in and outside the crowded mosques, happened a day after an unidentified warplane attacked the presidential palace in the southern city of Aden.

Anti-aircraft guns opened fire on planes flying high over the presidential compound in Aden on Friday, government sources and witnesses said.

One witness said he heard two successive blasts at one of the mosques, known as the Badr mosque, in a busy neighborhood in central Sanaa.

“I was going to pray at the mosque then I heard the first explosion, and a second later I heard another one,” the witness told Reuters.

The AP adds a bit more:

A group claiming to be a Yemeni branch of the Islamic State group says it carried out a string of suicide bombings in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, that killed a total of 137 people and injured 345 others.

The group posted an online statement saying that five suicide bombers carried out what it described as a “blessed operation” against the “dens of the Shiites.” The bombers attacked the Badr and al-Hashoosh mosques, located across town from each other, during midday Friday prayers.

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*VIDEO* Mark Levin Slams Moonbat CNN Host For Insinuating That Bibi Netanyahu Is A Racist


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