*VIDEO* Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing On The IRS Targeting Of Conservative Groups (07/29/15)


Subcommittee On Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights And Federal Courts
Chairman: Ted Cruz
Witnesses: John Koskinen, Cleta Mitchell, Stephen Spaulding, Edward D. Greim, Lawrence Noble, Toby Marie Walker, Diana Aviv, Jenny Beth Martin, Gregory L. Colvin, Jay Sekulow

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……………………….Click on image above to watch video.
………………— Note: hearing begins at about the 18:45 mark —

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Click HERE to visit the official website of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee

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*AUDIO* Mark Levin: The Republican Leadership In Congress Is Ruining The Party And The Country


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Hitlery To Propose Doubling Capital Gains Tax On Short-Term Investments

Clinton Would Double Capital Gains Tax On Short-Term Investments – OANN

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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will propose nearly doubling the U.S. capital gains tax rate on short-term investments to 39.6 percent, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

A Clinton campaign official said the Clinton rate plan would affect investments held between one and two years, which are currently taxed at a 20 percent capital gains rate, the newspaper reported.

Clinton, the front-runner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, will outline her plan in a speech Friday in New York. She will argue that corporate efforts to boost stock prices in the short term undercuts longer-term economic growth and hurts American workers, the newspaper said.

Top-bracket single earners with taxable income higher than $413,201 and married couples filing jointly with income above $484,850 would be affected, the newspaper reported.

The campaign official, who was not identified, said the plan would not change the capital gains rate for lower-income taxpayers, the journal said.

The plan would not count an extra 3.8 percent tax on net investment income included as part of the federal healthcare law, it said.

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Leftist Nightmare Update: IRS Might Not Refund $38M In Overpaid ObamaCare Fines

IRS Might Not Refund $38M Overpaid ObamaCare Fines – Sweetness & Light

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Fines? What fines? Those are ‘shared responsibility payments.’

From the Washington Free Beacon:

300,000 Taxpayers Overpaid Obamacare Fine by $38 Million, IRS May Not Return Money

By Morgan Chalfant | July 15, 2015

Approximately 6.6 million U.S. taxpayers paid a penalty for not having health insurance imposed this year under Obamacare, and hundreds of thousands of them overpaid the fine.

Bloomberg reported Wednesday that the number of taxpayers paying the fine, which was put in place to encourage Americans to enroll in health coverage, exceeded the Obama administration’s initial estimate by 10 percent.

Funny how all of the ‘bad stuff’ about Obama-Care was underestimated. What are the odds?

According to a new report from the National Taxpayer Advocate, an independent organization within the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the average fine paid by taxpayers was $190. The penalty, however, can reach up to 1 percent of one’s income.

The report also discovered that about 300,000 taxpayers, most of whom should have been deemed exempt because of low income, overpaid the fine by $35 million. The average amount overpaid by each individual was $110.

So Obama-Care even fined the poor. What a surprise.

The IRS has yet to decide whether or not it will return the funds to those who overpaid…

According to the report, approximately 10.7 million U.S. taxpayers filed for exemption from the penalty…

And never mind that most of these people getting exemptions are the very people Obama-Care was supposed to get to pay their ‘shared responsibility.’

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Looks Like Lois Lerner May Have Been Behind Targeting Of Conservatives In Wisconsin

Oh My. It Looks Like Lois Lerner May Have Also Been Behind Conservative Targeting In Wisconsin – Poor Richards News

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Remember those horrifying police raids in Wisconsin a while back? With no hyperbole, it was modern-day tyranny that should have incensed the entire nation, regardless of political affiliation or viewpoint. Instead, very few ever even heard about it. Why? Because progressives were the perpetrators and conservatives were the targets. The raids were part of a so-called “investigation” of conservatives who were supporting Scott Walker.

Well new email evidence suggests that Lois Lerner may have been in cahoots with a Wisconsin official regarding the investigation.

From the WSJ:

Wisconsin’s campaign to investigate conservative tax-exempt groups has always seemed like an echo of the IRS’s scrutiny of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status. It turns out that may be more than a coincidence.

Former IRS tax-exempt director Lois Lerner ran the agency’s policy on conservative groups. Kevin Kennedy runs the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) that helped prosecutors with their secret John Doe investigation of conservative groups after the 2011 and 2012 recall elections of Governor Scott Walker and state senators.

Emails we’ve seen show that between 2011 and 2013 the two were in contact on multiple occasions, sharing articles on topics including greater donor disclosure and Wisconsin’s recall elections. The emails indicate the two were also personal friends who met for dinner and kept in professional touch. “Are you available for the 25th?” Ms. Lerner wrote in January 2012. “If so, perhaps we could work two nights in a row.”

This timing is significant because those were the years when the IRS increased its harassment of conservative groups and Wisconsin prosecutors gathered information that would lead to the John Doe probe that officially opened in September 2012. Ms. Lerner’s lawyer declined comment. Mr. Kennedy said via email that “Ms. Lerner is a professional friend who I have known for more than 20 years” but declined further comment.

Read the Rest (H/T: NRO)

There are dozens of current and former federal, state and local employees who should be in jail right now because of this. Chief among them? Lois Lerner. But I’m not going to hold my breath.

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IRS Commissioner Admits Illegal Aliens Can Get Back Taxes Under Obama’s Executive Amnesty

IRS Finally Admits Illegals Can Get Back Taxes Under Obama Amnesty – Washington Times

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IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has confirmed to Congress that illegal immigrants granted amnesty under President Obama’s new programs could claim back refunds even when they never filed returns to pay their taxes in the first place.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, who had pressed Mr. Koskinen over the issue, released written responses Wednesday in which the commissioner admitted he’d botched the question earlier and, in fact, illegal immigrants granted the amnesty will now be able to claim refunds on tax returns they never even filed, thanks to the Earned Income Tax Credit.

“To clarify my earlier comments on EITC, not only can an individual amend a prior year return to claim EITC, but an individual who did not file a prior year return may file a return and claim EITC (subject to refund limitations under section 6511 of the Internal Revenue Code),” Mr. Koskinen said.

He insisted, however, that he doubts many illegal immigrants will take advantage of the loophole because they would have to be able to prove their earnings for those years they never filed returns.

“Filers would have to reconstruct earnings and other records for years when they were not able to work on the books,” he said.

Taxpayers must have Social Security numbers in order to claim the EITC, and illegal immigrants aren’t supposed to have numbers. But Mr. Obama’s new deportation amnesty grants illegal immigrants work permits, which are then used to obtain Social Security numbers.

IRS lawyers have ruled that once illegal immigrants get numbers, they can go back and refile for up to three previous years’ taxes and claim refunds even for time they were working illegally.

The lawyers said since the EITC is a refundable credit, that’s allowed even when the illegal immigrants worked off the books and never paid taxes in the first place.

“Section 32 of the Internal Revenue Code requires an SSN on the return, but a taxpayer claiming the EITC is not required to have an SSN before the close of the year for which the EITC is claimed,” Mr. Koskinen said. “At your request, the IRS has reviewed the relevant statutes and legislative history, and we believe that the 2000 Chief Counsel Advice (CCA) on this issue is correct.”

Mr. Koskinen had initially said illegal immigrants could claim refunds, but only for years they’d filed returns and presumably had paid some taxes.

Most of Mr. Obama’s amnesty is on hold after federal courts ruled he likely broke the law by acting on his own without Congress‘ approval and without putting his policy out for public review and comment.

But a 2012 policy that applies to so-called Dreamers, or young adult illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, is in effect.

Homeland Security has approved 664,607 initial applications for Dreamers, and approved another 243,872 renewals over the last year, extending the initial two-year amnesty for another two years.

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The IRS Hates Tax Cheats… Unless They Work For The IRS

IRS Gave Promotions To Tax Cheaters: Audit – Washington Times

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The IRS refused to fire most of its own employees found to be cheating on their taxes – and in some cases even quickly turned around and promoted them within the year, according to a new audit released Wednesday.

In about 60 percent of cases of “willful violations” IRS managers found mitigating circumstances and refused to fire the employees, even though the law calls for that penalty. In some of those cases the managers didn’t even document why they’d overridden the penalty, said Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George.

“Given its critical role in Federal tax administration, the IRS must ensure that its employees comply with the tax law in order to maintain the public’s confidence,” Mr. George said. “Willful violation of the law by IRS employees should not be taken lightly, and the IRS Commissioner should fully document decisions made to retain employees whom management has proposed be terminated.”

During the decade from 2004 to 2013, the IRS identified nearly 130,000 potential cases of tax violations by its own employees, and concluded about 10 percent of those were actual violations. Mr. George said the agency did a good job of spotting those issues.

Of those 13,000 cases, 1,580 were deemed to be intentional cheaters, and they were sent to managers for discipline. But in 60 percent of the cases, the managers refused to fire the employees.

Among the abuses were employees who repeatedly failed to file their returns on time, those who intentionally inflated their expenses and those who claimed the stimulus homebuyer’s tax credit without actually buying a home.

The IRS said its employees have a compliance rate of higher than 99 percent, which is actually much higher than other employers and is tops among all major federal agencies.

“Over ten years, TIGTA found an average of a little more than 150 IRS employees a year committed a willful tax violation. Of the total cases, 620 – or nearly 40 percent – resulted in the employee leaving their position because they were terminated, resigned or retired. Others faced strong disciplinary actions that included terminations, suspensions and reprimands,” the agency said.

The IRS also said it has taken steps to cancel bonuses that would otherwise have been paid to the tax cheats.

“Nonetheless, the IRS agrees that we can improve this process. The changes will include a more proactive approach to ensure timeliness and consistency and provide more transparency in the mitigation process while preserving the commissioner’s authority provided by federal law,” the agency said in its statement.

Of the 1,580 employees deemed to have intentionally cheated on their taxes, 108 of them received no punishment at all. The others were at least admonished, while 25 percent were fired and 14 percent were allowed to resign or retire instead of being fired.

The vast majority of substantiated reports involved “nonwillful” violations. Of those, just 238, or about 1 percent, were deemed serious enough to be fired. Another 1 percent were allowed to retire or resign, 47 percent were admonished, 26 percent were sent to counseling and 14 percent were closed without any punishment.

More than 2,000 employees had multiple red flags during the decade, the inspector general said. Investigators pulled a sample of 15 cases where an employee had repeated intentional violations and found that even there, the majority were allowed to remain on the job.

The inspector general took a sampling of 364 cases of intentional cheaters and found that 108 of them were not only not fire, but were given raises or promotions within a year of being found to be cheating.

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, chairman of the Finance Committee, which oversees the IRS, said the report was a black mark for the IRS.

“Even worse, the agency appears to have rewarded some of them with cash bonuses, promotions, and paid time off,” the Utah Republican said. “This is unacceptable – American taxpayers deserve better.”

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, who along with a review board must approve the decision to keep any employees deemed to have intentionally cheated on their taxes, has insisted things at his agency have improved over the last two years, which is when another report from Mr. George exposed that the IRS had singled out tea party groups for special scrutiny in their tax-exempt applications.

Mr. Koskinen has argued that budget cuts have eviscerated morale at the IRS, and he has pleaded with Congress to give him more money to hire staff. He also defended doling out bonuses to employees.

“They are not bonuses. They are performance awards. Over 40, 45 percent of the employees don’t get them. You only get them if you perform,” he said.

But he said he’s taken steps to try to make sure tax cheats don’t get awards.

“Even though we have over 99 percent compliance, I thought it was an important point,” he said.

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*VIDEO* Ted Cruz: Interview – United States Hispanic Chamber Of Commerce


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There’s A Reason Why Customer Service At Obama’s IRS Sucks

Report: IRS Deliberately Cut Its Own Customer Service Budget – Weekly Standard

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If you tried to contact the IRS with a question about your taxes this year, chances are you didn’t get a response. The IRS estimated that it would only answer 17 million of the 49 million calls received this filing season. Taxpayers lucky enough to have the IRS answer their calls waited an average of 34.4 minutes for assistance – nearly double the wait time last year (18.7 minutes).

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has blamed the IRS’s “abysmal” customer service on congressional budget cuts – funding is down $1.2 billion from its 2010 peak – but a new congressional report points the finger back at the IRS. While congressional funding for the IRS remained flat from 2014 to 2015, the IRS diverted $134 million away from customer service to other activities.

In addition to the $11 billion appropriated by Congress, the IRS takes in more than $400 million in user fees and may allocate that money as it sees fit. In 2014, the IRS allocated $183 million in user fees to its customer service budget, but allocated just $49 million in 2015 – a 76 percent cut.

Commissioner Koskinen will appear before the House Ways and Means Committee this morning, one week after the federal tax filing deadline, and he can expect to be asked why the IRS cut its own customer service budget and continues to spend money on other questionable activities.

The report notes that Koskinen reinstated bonuses weeks after his appointment, has allowed IRS employees to spend roughly 500,000 work hours on union activities, and failed to collect delinquent taxes owed by federal employees. The tax agency has also been strained by Obamacare. According to the report, the IRS has spent “over $1.2 billion on the President’s health care law to date, with a planned expenditure this year of an additional $500 million.”

The IRS’s total annual $11 billion budget is dwarfed by the amount of improper tax payments it makes each year. According to the report, the IRS paid out $17.7 billion in improper Earned Income Tax Credit payments (which are supposed to help poor and low-income individuals) and an additional $6 to $7 billion in improper child tax credit payments.

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Related video:

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Infernal Revenue Service Ignoring Over 60% Of Taxpayer Phone Calls

IRS Ignoring Over 60% Of Taxpayer Phone Calls As Tax Deadline Looms – Right Scoop

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Wow. In 7 years Obama has this agency so screwed up with Obamacare that they are forced to ignore a whopping 60% of all taxpayer phone calls because service has gotten so bad:

WASHINGTON TIMES – IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said Tuesday that service at his agency has gotten so bad that they are ignoring more than 60 percent of taxpayers’ phone calls during this tax season.

Speaking at the National Press Club, Mr. Koskinen pleaded with more money, saying a budget boost would help them staff their overwhelmed customer service lines. He also said it would help reverse staffing cuts in their compliance division, where he said the government will lose $2 billion this year in money it would otherwise have been able to collect if it had better staffing.

If you can’t get through to the IRS, you should call the White House and see if Barack has some free time to help you.

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Over 100,000 Federal Employees Owe Back Taxes Totaling $1.4 Billion

More Than 100,000 Feds Owe Back Taxes – Washington Examiner

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Federal employees owed more in delinquent taxes last year than any year in the past decade, costing the Internal Revenue Service $1.4 billion in 2014.

The 113,805 civilian government employees who declined to pay all of their taxes last year would be ineligible to work for federal agencies under a House bill introduced last week that would hold officials accountable for evading taxes.

Four in 100 federal employees owed the IRS last year, according to the tax agency’s annual delinquency report released Tuesday.

Among cabinet-level agencies, the Department of Veterans Affairs had the highest rate of tax delinquency, with 15,476 of its employees evading all or part of their taxes in 2014.

VA staff collectively owed nearly $162 million in back taxes, the report said.

In the House of Representatives, more than 500 staffers together didn’t pay the IRS $6.7 million last year.

Five of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ 41 staff members owe money. With just 1 percent of its employees owing the IRS, the Treasury Department had the lowest rate.

“It is disconcerting that federal civilian employees owe more than one billion dollars in back taxes,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “These employees are not exempt from their civic responsibility to fulfill tax obligations, and those who refuse to pay what they owe should be held accountable.”

The Oversight Committee will review the Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act of 2015 during a mark-up session Wednesday.

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*VIDEO* Ted Cruz Speech At Liberty University (03/23/15)


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To Liberals, taxes are better than sex

Tax, Tax, Tax…

With EVs and other fuel-efficient vehicles saving consumers money at the pump, Oregon will be the first to issue a per-mile road tax to refill its coffers.

Automotive News reports the state will offer two options to its motorists: pay at the pump, or pay a 1.5-cent rate per mile traversed. The latter will be conducted through a device that plugs into a vehicle’s OBD port, then gathers mileage data to determine how much the motorist will pay in tax.

Right now, the program — set to begin July 1 — will be implemented by the Oregon DOT in partnership with Sanef ITS Technologies America and Intelligent Mechatronic Systems, the latter supplying the aforementioned OBD mileage reader.

Up to 5,000 volunteers will participate in the initial program, which will compare the tax paid at the pump to the miles driven. The results will be turned over to ODOT, which will then determine if a motorist is given a refund or an invoice based on said findings.

Head explosion warning!

IRS Inspector General Now Undertaking Criminal Investigation Into Lois Lerner’s “Missing” Emails

IRS Watchdog Reveals Lois Lerner Missing Emails Now Subject Of Criminal Probe – Washington Times

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The IRS’s inspector general confirmed Thursday it is conducting a criminal investigation into how Lois G. Lerner’s emails disappeared, saying it took only two weeks for investigators to find hundreds of tapes the agency’s chief had told Congress were irretrievably destroyed.

Investigators have already scoured 744 backup tapes and gleaned 32,774 unique emails, but just two weeks ago they found an additional 424 tapes that could contain even more Lerner emails, Deputy Inspector General Timothy P. Camus told the House Oversight Committee in a rare late-night hearing meant to look into the status of the investigation.

“There is potential criminal activity,” Mr. Camus said.

He said they have also discovered the hard drives from the IRS’s email servers, but said because the drives are out of synch it’s not clear whether they will be able to recover anything from them.

“To date we have found 32,744 unique emails that were backed up from Lois Lerner’s email box. We are in the process of comparing these emails to what the IRS has already produced to Congress to determine if we did in fact recover any new emails,” Mr. Camus said.

Democrats questioned the independence of Inspector General J. Russell George, who is overseeing the investigation, saying he’s injected politics into his work.

Rep. Gerald Connolly, Virginia Democrat, said Mr. George is refusing to turn documents over to him, prompting a heated reply.

“You’re not entitled to certain documents,” Mr. George said.

“Oh really? We’ll see about that, won’t we,” Mr. Connolly replied, saying that he questioned whether Mr. George could be trusted if he’s refusing to provide documents, yet is in charge of an investigation into whether the IRS stonewalled document requests.

The hearing was the latest chapter in the complex investigation into the IRS’s targeting of tea party groups for special scrutiny.

Several congressional committees are still probing the matter, and both the inspector general and the Justice Department are conducting criminal investigations.

In a 2013 report, the inspector general said the IRS had improperly targeted conservative and tea party groups’ applications for nonprofit status, asking repeated intrusive questions and delaying their applications well beyond a reasonable time. Some of those groups are still waiting, with their applications now pending for years.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Utah Republican and Oversight Committee chairman, said the ongoing investigations undercut President Obama’s assertion last year that there was no evidence of corruption in the IRS’s targeting.

“I have no idea how the president came to such a definitive conclusion without all the facts,” he said.

The IRS belatedly told Congress it may have lost some of Ms. Lerner’s emails after her computer crashed, and asserted that the backup tapes didn’t exist.

But under questioning from Mr. Chaffetz, Mr. Camus said it took him only two weeks to track down the backup tapes, and when he asked the IRS depository for them, the workers there said they’d never been contacted by the agency itself.

Republicans said that was stunning because IRS Commissioner John Koskinen repeatedly assured Congress the emails were irretrievably lost.

“I think they have misled or lied to the committee,” said Rep. John L. Mica, Florida Republican.

Mr. Camus said they were clued in to the 424 new tapes they just found a couple of weeks ago after realizing the IRS hadn’t given over a key document. They demanded that document, and realized it showed hundreds of other tapes existed.

Democrats said the investigation has dragged on too long and been too expensive, pointing to the IRS’s estimate that it has spent $20 million on staff and equipment to try to comply with the committee’s request.

Ms. Lerner, who oversaw the unit of the IRS that scrutinized nonprofit groups’ applications, is a central figure in the investigations.

After belatedly discovering that some of her emails weren’t being recovered, the IRS did try to reconstitute them by asking other employees to dig through their emails to see if they were the recipients of any messages that involved her. That did produce some of the missing emails.

Democrats said the GOP seemed to be insinuating Ms. Lerner had purposely crashed her hard drive to hide emails – though she herself pushed to try to get messages recovered.

Democrats also questioned why the hearing was happening now, given that Mr. Camus and Mr. George both stressed that their findings are preliminary and could change as they learn more.

“It seems that the best course of action would be to have the inspector general come back when his report is complete,” said Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the panel.

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Leftist Politicians Beg Obama To Illegally Change Obamacare Rules So Their Constituents Can Avoid New Tax Penalties

Democrats Beg Obama To Bend Obamacare Rules To Avoid Tax Penalties For Millions – Big Government

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Three senior House Democrats are pleading with the Obama administration to bend the Obamacare rules to prevent their constituents and millions of Americans from being hit with Obamacare tax penalties.

Reps. Sander Levin (D-MI), Jim McDermott (D-WA), and Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) have strongly requested a special sign-up for the uninsured who will all be hit with a $325 fine or two percent of their income (whichever is higher) for failure to enroll in 2015. In 2016, the Obamacare tax penalty will be an average $1,100, reports the Associated Press. For 2014, the Obamacare tax was $95 or one percent of income.

“Open enrollment period ended before many Americans filed their taxes,” the three lawmakers said in a statement. “Without a special enrollment period, many people (who will be paying fines) will not have another opportunity to get health coverage this year.”

The lawmakers’ pleas come on the heels of a devastating New York Times article published last week titled, “Insured, but Not Covered,” which revealed that many Obamacare customers are hitting the harsh wall of reality about how expensive and flimsy their Obamacare plans truly are. As the Times notes, “A recent New York Times/CBS poll found that 46 percent of Americans said they had trouble affording health care, up 10 percentage points in just one year.”

Obamacare remains deeply unpopular. According to the RealClearPolitics average of polls, just 39% of Americans support Obama’s signature legislative achievement.

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Obama Regime Continues To Stonewall On IRS Targeting Scandal (Video)

Surprise: Obama Administration Still Stonewalling On IRS Scandal – Townhall

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The Inspector General’s office charged with looking into the IRS targeting scandal has denied Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests filed by The Hill pertaining to more than 500 correspondences between their office (known as TIGTA) and various Obama officials and IRS scandal players. Correspondent Bob Cusack reports on the latest stonewall:

The Obama administration is refusing to publicly release more than 500 documents on the IRS’s targeting of Tea Party groups. Twenty months after the IRS scandal broke, there are still many unanswered questions about who was spearheading the agency’s scrutiny of conservative-leaning organizations. The Hill sought access to government documents that might provide a glimpse of the decision-making through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The Hill asked for 2013 emails and other correspondence between the IRS and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). The request specifically sought emails from former IRS official Lois Lerner and Treasury officials, including Secretary Jack Lew, while the inspector general was working on its explosive May 2013 report that the IRS used “inappropriate criteria” to review the political activities of tax-exempt groups. TIGTA opted not to release any of the 512 documents covered by the request, citing various exemptions in the law. The Hill recently appealed the FOIA decision, but TIGTA denied the appeal. TIGTA also declined to comment for this article.

So in addition to the IRS “losing” and “accidentally” destroying certain communications attached to this scandal, the IG’s office is also blocking access to documents that do exist. I discussed these latest developments with AB Stoddard on Fox News earlier today:

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Cusack’s story goes on to list the various reasons TIGTA cited in refusing to release any of the 512 documents:

In its written response to The Hill, TIGTA cited FOIA exemptions ranging from interagency communication to personal privacy. It also claimed it cannot release relevant documents “when interference with the law enforcement proceedings can be reasonably expected.” Yet, congressional Republicans say there is no evidence of any prosecution in the works, and media outlets have indicated that the Department of Justice and the FBI have already determined that no charges will be filed. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) notes that eight months after Lerner was held in contempt of Congress for not testifying at two hearings, the matter has not yet been referred to a grand jury.

They point to “personal privacy” concerns. If only the IRS had been equally concerned about conservative groups’ privacy before leaking donor lists to hostile rival organizations. And if only the IRS were sufficiently committed to privacy that they did not hire back hundreds of employees fired for cause, including improper use of taxpayers’ private information. Alas, different rules. Another excuse given is the ‘reasonable expectation’ of impending criminal proceedings, of which there have been zero indications thus far. As I noted in the segment, one can’t help but wonder if there’s any connection between the lack of charges and the status of the leader of the DOJ’s investigation as an Obama and Democratic donor over multiple election cycles. On one hand, there are no signs of any criminal prosecutions coming down the pike. On the other, the possibility that they might someday materialize is being held up as a cause to deny transparency requests. Neat trick, that. If and when the administration is asked about any of this, they will undoubtedly return to their old playbook, directing reporters to the tens of thousands of documents they’ve released, like these:

Last week, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said the IRS recently delivered 86,000 pages of new documents to the panel. Hatch added, “These documents… were given to us without notice or explanation roughly twenty months after we made our initial document request [on the targeting].”

You’re asking about a few hundred emails over here, but look over there at those tens of thousands of other emails we dumped without warning, nearly two years after they were requested! And of the document drop, who’s to say that the most relevant or damning emails weren’t deliberately excluded, as was the case in the Benghazi cover-up? I should point out that this lack of cooperation emanates from the Inspector General’s office, which is interesting, given the IG’s role as a pro-transparency watchdog. We don’t know nearly enough to impugn anyone’s motives within TIGTA at this point – recall that Democrats launched a shameful assault on the IG’s credibility when this scandal was a front-page story – but it’s not surprising that some Republicans are frustrated. And it’s not as if GOP lawmakers haven’t questioned TIGTA’s practices in the past: When the IRS scandal broke, it eventually became clear that the IG’s office and elements within the Obama administration knew of the agency’s abuse months prior to the 2012 election, but the scandal’s existence was successfully buried until the spring of 2013. Don’t forget, incidentally, that the White House’s official story on how any when they were made aware of the targeting practices shifted roughly half-a-dozen times before they finally settled on an answer. It also seems worthwhile to note that a separate Inspector General’s office came under withering criticism last year for a report on the VA scandal, the findings of which were reportedly watered down following political pressure from the Obama administration.

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Buried In The Numbers: Obamacare’s Costs Are Climbing, Not Receding (Sally Pipes)

Buried In The Numbers: Obamacare’s Costs Are Climbing, Not Receding – Sally Pipes

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Late last month, the Congressional Budget Office reported that the provisions within Obamacare expanding access to insurance coverage would cost 20% less than the agency estimated in 2010, when the law passed.

The White House was ecstatic. “The estimates released today by CBO once again confirm the progress we’ve made,” said deputy press secretary Eric Schultz.

Taxpayers, however, should worry. A closer look at the CBO’s numbers shows that Obamacare is growing much more expensive – and disruptive.

The CBO now expects Obamacare to cover far fewer uninsured than it previously thought. In a March 2011 report, the nonpartisan agency predicted that Obamacare would extend coverage to 34 million uninsured by 2021. It has since downgraded that number to 27 million – and concluded that Obamacare will leave 31 million Americans without insurance.

So the law’s overall price tag has declined only because it’s covering fewer people.

Left unsaid is the fact that Obamacare is set to spend more per person. If the law is not repealed, Obamacare will shell out $7,740 in subsidies for every person who gains coverage in 2021. That’s a 7% increase over the agency’s per-person estimate in 2011.

The CBO now projects that the law will cost nearly $2 trillion over the next ten years. Obamacare’s subsidies alone will cost $1.1 trillion. In 2010, the agency put the cost of the entire law at $940 billion over its first decade.

Obamacare hasn’t just failed to expand coverage as projected – it’s caused more people to lose their insurance than its architects intended. The CBO now estimates that 10 million people will lose their employer-provided health benefits by 2021. That’s a tenfold increase over the agency’s 2011 projections.

Indeed, the CBO originally predicted that Obamacare would boost employer-based health coverage by several million from 2011 to 2015.

This latest round of CBO projections could look downright rosy if health costs rise in the future.

That seems likely. National health spending shot up 5.6% last year. The agency predicts that it will climb 6% a year for the foreseeable future. That’s a 50% uptick from the average annual health inflation rate over the past six years.

Meanwhile, by offering subsidies for the purchase of insurance on state or federal exchanges, Obamacare will increase demand for it. That will fuel further price inflation.

Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber admitted as much in a January 2014 interview, saying, “The law isn’t designed to save money. It’s designed to improve health, and that’s going to cost money.” The president, of course, promised otherwise.

The law’s costs could rise even faster if companies dodge the employer mandate, which require firms with at least 100 full-time employees to offer health plans or pay a fine starting this year. Those with at least 50 full-timers must do the same beginning in 2016.

Employers might cut back on their workers’ hours so that they’re considered part-time — or stop hiring workers. Some firms may dump their health plans altogether, thanks to Obamacare’s many other cost-inflating mandates and regulations. The fine may be cheaper than the cost of coverage.

That may be good for their bottom line. But workers would suddenly have to pay for their own coverage on the exchanges. Taxpayers would have to pick up a share of the tab for those that qualify for subsidies.

These possibilities are becoming reality. A recent survey of small companies in southwestern Michigan found that one-quarter planned to drop their health plans this year because of Obamacare. Another quarter expect to do so next year.

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, another of Obamacare’s architects, believes these mass exoduses will continue. He predicts that Obamacare will bring about “the end of employer-sponsored insurance.”

It doesn’t have to be this way. Our healthcare system can deliver better quality care at lower cost – but only if the federal government repeals the Affordable Care Act and replaces it with a healthcare law based on market-friendly reforms.

Consider the market for senior care – dominated, of course, by Medicare. Lawmakers should replace the current, open-ended, fee-for-service system with means-tested vouchers available to beneficiaries at age 67, just as Social Security is. Under such a system, seniors would be able to pick from a variety of privately administered health plans. Competition can do the job of reducing costs and improving quality.

It’s already done so in the Medicare Part D drug benefit, which allows seniors to choose from among prescription drug plans offered by competing insurance companies. According to the CBO, Part D’s cost between 2004 and 2013 was 45% lower than the agency predicted at the outset.

Lawmakers should adopt a similar approach to reforming Medicaid, the joint state-federal health plan for the poor. A fixed block grant for each state – and private options for Medicaid enrollees – would empower states to experiment with their programs to determine how to deliver the best care at the lowest cost.

There’s evidence that this approach can save money and improve care. In 2011, Oregon convinced the Obama administration to give it a block grant of sorts. The results have been impressive. Emergency-room visits declined 17%. From 2011 to 2014, costs fell 19%.

If Oregon’s approach were adopted nationwide, Medicaid spending could decline by more than $900 billion over the next decade, according to CMS.

Obamacare is failing to reduce our nation’s health costs and to expand access to insurance as promised. Congress’s own budget watchdog now admits as much.

Congressional Republicans have finally begun to do something about that reality, with their vote to repeal Obamacare last week and their reinvigorated drive to formulate a replacement. They must complete the job.

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*VIDEO* The Trillion-Dollar Obamacare Tax Tsunami Is Upon Us


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Is any US senator more appropriately named than DICK Durbin?

Has this buffoon ever been right, about anything? William Teach highlights Durbin’s latest trip on the Idiot Highway

(The Hill) Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says he thinks “now is the time” to raise the gas tax, which hasn’t been touched by Congress in over 20 years.

“I think now is the time to do it, but we ought to do it in a thoughtful way,” Durbin said on Wednesday.

Thoughtful he says, because we should really be thoughtful when screwing the lower and middle classes who have to DRIVE to work! Why how thoughtful of you Dick! So, how stupid is Senator Dick?

One, Durbin said, is “the most devastating impact is on lower and middle income families… so we have to find some tax relief for them if we increase that gas tax.”

“I think we can do it,” Durbin added, saying one way to shield lower income families could be through a refundable tax credit.

So, he admits that such a tax would have a devastating impact, so we have to find a way to mitigate this impact a higher tax would cause? Here is an idea Dick, wouldn’t the easiest way be to NOT INCREASE THE TAX TO BEGIN WITH? What a dumb dick!

Corruption Update: Emails Show Lois Lerner Met With DOJ Election Crimes Division One Month Before 2010 Midterms

Judicial Watch Documents: Lois Lerner Met With DOJ Election Crimes Division One Month Before 2010 Midterm Elections – Townhall

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New documents obtained through a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act lawsuit show former IRS head of tax exempt groups Lois Lerner met with the Department of Justice Election Crimes Division as early as October 2010, just one month before the historic 2010-midterm elections when Republicans regained control of the House and at the peak of the tea party movement.

From Judicial Watch:

As result of a court order, the DOJ last month produced only two pages of heavily redacted emails (832 pages were withheld in entirety) that show the Obama Justice Department initiated an October 8, 2010, meeting between the IRS and top criminal prosecutors at the DOJ Public Integrity Section and Election Crimes Division “concerning 501(c)(4) issues.” On September 29, 2010, a DOJ official (whose name is blacked out) emailed a staff assistant at the IRS (whose name is also redacted):

“As we discussed this afternoon, we would like to invite Ms. Ingram [apparent reference to Sarah Hall Ingram former commissioner, IRS Tax Exempt and Government Entities] to meet with us concerning 501(c)(4) issues, and propose next Friday at 10:00 a.m. We are located in the Bond Building, 12th Floor, New York Avenue, NW, Thank you for your assistance.”

The document shows that the unknown DOJ official setting up the meeting is with the Election Crimes Division of the Public Integrity Section of the DOJ’s Criminal Division. (Judicial Watch believes the redacted name of the DOJ official is Richard Pilger, Director of the Election Crimes Division.) The DOJ email setting up the IRS meeting is cc’d to the DOJ’s Public Integrity Section Chief, Jack Smith, and Principal Deputy Chief Raymond Hulser. The documents show that Ingram was not available but arranged for her deputy, Lois Lerner, then-Director of the IRS Exempt Organizations branch, to meet with the DOJ senior officials.

On September 30, 2010, the Election Crimes prosecutor emails Lerner:

“Hi Lois-It’s been a long time, and you might not remember me, I’ve taken on [REDACTED] duties. I’m looking forward to meeting you, Can we chat in advance? I’m a [REDACTED]”

Lerner responded on October 2, 2010:

“Sure-that’s a good Idea [sic]. I have a meeting out of the office Monday morning, but will try you when I get back sometime early afternoon. You can try me at 202 283-8848.”

The Justice Department has withheld in full at least 832 additional pages of documents, citing various “taxpayer privacy,” “deliberative privilege,” and other exemptions to keep the records secret.

“These new documents dramatically show how the Justice Department is up to its neck in the IRS scandal and can’t be trusted to investigate crimes associated with the IRS abuses that targeted Obama’s critics. And it is of particular concern that the DOJ’s Public Integrity Section, which would ordinarily investigate the IRS abuses, is now implicated in the IRS crimes. No wonder the Department of Justice under Eric Holder has done no serious investigation of the Obama IRS scandal,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “It is shameful how Establishment Washington has let slide by Obama’s abuse of the IRS and the Justice Department. Only as a result of Judicial Watch’s independent investigations did the American people learn about the IRS-DOJ prosecution discussions of Obama’s political enemies and how the IRS sent, in violation of law, confidential taxpayer information to the FBI and DOJ in 2010. Richard Nixon was impeached for less.”

As a reminder, previously reported emails show Lerner was in contact with DOJ officials about criminally prosecuting members of tea party groups for “lying” about political activity, with an end goal of getting at least one person thrown in prison to prove a point.

It wasn’t just the IRS targeting conservative groups, DOJ was heavily involved too.

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