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After conducting a search and straw poll, a national tea party group has settled on a Republican primary challenger to House Speaker John A. Boehner, picking high school teacher J.D. WintereggJ.D. Winteregg to carry the tea party banner in the intraparty battle.
The announcement, which the Tea Party Leadership Fund (TPLF) will make Wednesday, could help Mr. Winteregg gain attention in a field dominated by Mr. Boehner and his massive campaign bank account. Mr. Winteregg is one of several men running against Mr. Boehner in the GOP primary in the speaker’s western Ohio district.
Rusty Humphries with the TPLF, a political action committee, said Mr. Boehner has failed to follow through on conservative goals during his time as speaker.
“This is a guy that has allowed spending to increase. This is a guy that fought for benefits for congressmen while at the same time fighting to cut benefits for our veterans,” Mr. Humphries said.
Mr. Boehner has been under fire from tea party groups over last year’s budget deal, which boosted spending in 2014 and 2015, and for this month’s debt vote, when he allowed a 13-month debt increase to pass without conditions on the strength of Democratic votes.
Mr. Humphries said voters in the district itself are ready to dump Mr. Boehner, who is serving his 12th term in Congress – and second as speaker.
“The one thing I found a lot when I was in the district is how few people have seen him in the district in a long time,” Mr. Humphries said. “This is a guy who has not kept up with his people.”
But a campaign aide for Mr. Boehner said he’s still well-connected to Ohio’s 8th congressional district.
“John and his wife Debbie still live in Butler County and call it home. They made that choice – and stuck with it, even when he became speaker – because it was important to them to remain part of the community that has always been central to his service in the House,” the aide said.
As for the policy fights, the speaker had said he wouldn’t allow another government shutdown or default on federal obligations – either of which could have resulted from the failure to pass a budget or a debt increase. Mr. Boehner has argued that the 2014 election will be fought over President Obama’s agenda, including his health care law.
Mr. Humphries said the Tea Party Leadership Fund will post billboards and run radio commercials aiding Mr. Winteregg, and said the more money people donate to the leadership fund, the more will be targeted to ousting Mr. Boehner.
Unseating top party leaders is rare.
Mr. Humphries has been signed to write a column for The Washington Times, which has not yet debuted.
Two years ago Mr. Boehner easily saw off another tea party challenger, defeating pro-life activist David Lewis with 84 percent to Mr. Lewis’s 16 percent.
The No. 2 Republican in the House, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, is also facing a primary challenge. Dave Brat, an economics professor at Randolph-Macon College, is challenging the Virginia Republican, arguing his support for passing an immigration bill is kowtowing to big-business interests.
Mr. Winteregg’s positions on the issues:
The premise that seems to align people from all sides in America is a disdain for our representatives in Congress. This is our common ground. Instead of fighting each other–to the delight of those in power – we need to come together for one objective to replace those in power. Fortunately, the Constitution provides us with a way – through an amendment process–that allows us to enact real change in D.C. I’ve come up with a plan that, when implemented within our Constitutional framework, will change how Congress functions. It’s easy to understand, easy to articulate, and easy to support. These four elements will be my focus while in Congress.
Community- All representatives must live among their constituents. The number of days they spend in Washington, D.C. will be capped. With the technology that exists, and with the need to diminish the lobbyist influence, this mandate will ensure that the representatives do what they’re meant to do – represent the people.
Authenticity- Immediately prior to entering Congress, representatives must have held a non-political, non-lobbying position for a period of 4 years. This will break up the political ladder climbing and ensure that our representatives understand what working in the “real world” is like under the current rules and regulations.
Service- The opportunity to represent a district should be viewed as an honor and framed in a way that reflects that. As such, this amazing service opportunity will be capped at 12 years. No representative or Senator may spend more than 12 years representing a district or state in D.C.
Transparency- No former representative or Senator walks out of D.C. as a member of the middle-class. As members of Congress, they – and their spouses – will be required to publicly and prominently display where all of their earnings are derived. No ranges – specific amounts. This instills another measure of accountability on those in D.C.
Reforming Congress must happen first. Only then will representatives be able to effectively–and fairly – fight for the issues that are important to their respective constituents.
In addition to these ideas of reform, I am proud to say that I am a Christian conservative Republican who believes that relying on the Constitution will help to push our exceptional country back in the right direction.
Premise of governance
I believe that words have meaning, so by extension, the Constitution means today what it meant when it was written. The Preamble to this great document makes clear that the Constitution was written, among other reasons, to secure the blessings of liberty. An activist federal government undermines this key founding principle, so I will work to restore our process of governance to what the founders originally intended with the Constitution as my guide.
We need to secure our borders and enforce the laws that we have on the books. I am 100% opposed to amnesty.
I believe in the free market Capitalist system, and the only way for that to thrive is for the government to have a minimalist approach in intervening.
Without life, there is no liberty. I am pro-life, no exceptions.
I believe in our second amendment right to keep and bear arms. This right should be vigorously defended from attempts by the federal government to undermine it.
We need to reduce the government involvement with respect to our healthcare. Allowing the free market to run its course will help to make healthcare more affordable to all. I am in support of the movement to entirely defund Obamacare.
As a public school teacher, I understand the importance of this issue. As someone who feels the effects of federal mandates, and as someone who has witnessed the toll it has taken on my colleagues and students, I believe that education is best left to the local level. Parents and communities know what is best for their own children, and these decisions need to be left to them.
Representatives need to understand that the government is not the primary source of economic growth. The private sector is more efficient and productive than any government effort. Representatives should work with constituents to achieve private solutions to public problems, and they should avoid at all costs taxing the citizens. Federal spending should be done within the parameters of a balanced budget. Government fraud, waste, and abuse should be addressed before any taxes are raised on the American people.
An investigation into conservative author and “2016: Obama’s America” filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza that resulted in his indictment on campaign contribution charges is rebounding on the FBI, with demands from Congress now to know how the investigation was triggered – and other details.
Four members, including Sens. Charles E. Grassley, Jeff Sessions, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, all Republicans, have written to the FBI with a list of questions for the agency to answer.
The indictment was seen in many quarters as political payback for D’Souza’s film, which was harshly critical of Obama during the 2012 election season, and there has been launched by WND an online petition demanding that Congress halt what gives the appearance of political retaliation.
WND has reported that D’Souza has vowed to present a strong defense to the allegations.
The letter from the senators, addressed to FBI Director James Comey Jr., noted that based on what is known so far, the investigation into D’Souza came following a “routine review by the FBI of campaign filings with the FEC of various candidates after the 2012 election.”
The senators explain, “The articles, however, did not provide any details regarding the scope and methodology of these routine reviews. Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz has said, ‘I can’t help but think that [D'Souza's] politics have something to do with it… It smacks of selective prosecution.’ To dispel this sort of public perception that Mr. D’Souza may have been targeted because of his outspoken criticisms of the president, it is important for the FBI to be transparent regarding the precise origin of this investigation.”
The senators listed the questions that the FBI should answer, including “It appears from U.S. attorney’s office comment that the FBI conducts regular, perhaps random reviews of campaign filings. Is this correct? If so, what methodology does the FBI use to conduct these reviews?”
The senators also ask, “Please identify and describe all methods by which a review of campaign filings may be initiated,” and “Please identify all other government entities involved in the FBI’s review of campaign filings and describe their involvement.”
No. 4 is, “How and why was this particular review initiated?”
No. 5 is, “What criteria involved in this particular review led to the suspicion that warranted further inquiry?”
No. 6 is, “What are the guidelines under which the FBI conducts its reviews of Campaign filings?”
No. 7 is, “Please describe how the FBI’s reviews of campaign filings are conducted.”
No. 8 is, “How many campaign filings has the FBI reviewed in each year from 2008 to the present?”
No. 9 is, “On average, how long does it take to complete a review of a campaign filing?”
No. 10 is, “How many agents are assigned, per case, to review campaign filings?”
No. 11 is, “On average, how many man hours are spent reviewing campaign filings?”
No. 12 is, “When did the FBI begin routinely reviewing campaign filings.”
The letter to Comey continued, “During your confirmation hearing, you pledged that you would carry the values of transparency and try to spread them as far as you could within the FBI. To explain the details of these routine reviews and provide context to those who may be skeptical of the origins of this investigation, please provide answers…”
They all were critical of Obama, and suddenly were being contacted by the Internal Revenue Service, or others.
The petition addressed to Congress seeks “an immediate halt to the Obama administration’s reign of ‘payback’ and ‘punishment’ levied against its political opponents, which it regards as ‘enemies’; and a congressional investigation into the administration’s unmistakable and undeniable pattern of political use of the fearsome machinery of government to punish critics and opponents – which is not only grossly illegal and immoral, but profoundly destructive of everything that makes America exceptional and free.”
WND previously reported that Gerald Molen, the producer of D’Souza’s two full-length feature film documentaries, “2016: Obama’s America,” released in 2012, and the about-to-be-released “America,” had characterized D’Souza’s criminal indictment as a Soviet-style “political prosecution.”
“When Dinesh D’Souza can be prosecuted for making a movie, every American should ask themselves one question: ‘What will I do to preserve the First Amendment?’” he said.
D’Souza told WND that Molen, too, was harassed by the Obama administration for his role producing D’Souza’s full-length feature film documentaries.
“Right after ’2016′ came out, Molen got a call from the IRS,” D’Souza said.
“I just think it’s interesting the searchlight fell on him so randomly, so to speak, and so quickly right after. Molen has been around for a long time. He’s made ‘Minority Report’ and ‘Jurassic Park’ and for all this time he escaped scrutiny from the IRS, but then suddenly in a sense, the moment he comes out of the closet as a conservative, boom – ‘Hello, this is your friendly IRS agent calling,’” he said.
D’Souza argued he was prosecuted because his first feature film offended Obama personally, not just because the film represented a political challenge to Obama’s presidential re-election hopes in 2012.
“When ’2016′ came out, I was carefully monitoring what kind of effect if any this would have on Obama, and I don’t just mean on the Obama campaign, I mean on the president himself,” he said. “And for a while, there was dead silence from the Obama campaign. They said nothing about the film. And, in fact, the major media networks followed and acted as if the film didn’t even exist, even though the film was in just about every major theater chain in America.”
In fact, it ranks as among the most popular documentaries ever.
Then D’Souza noticed “2016″ was attacked on the Obama campaign website, BarackObama.com.
“You can see it is a very intemperate and almost demented attack on the film. Some of the things that it charges about the film aren’t even in the film, although they do appear in my published works. You can see that the film ’2016′ did kind of unhinge Obama. And I think part of the reason for that is that the film wasn’t just a critique of his policies, it delved into his psyche. It kind of got in a way under his skin, I don’t mean by just annoying him, I mean by getting into what are the underlying traumatic factors that have driven him into becoming the kind of man that he is.”
D’Souza told WND the harassment from the Obama administration began when he was filming “2016″ in Africa.
“When we were down in Kenya and we were in the grandmother’s compound and we were observing the homestead and the grave, Obama’s sister got wind – she’s in Nairobi – and she got wind that we were there,” he said. “And she immediately called the cops and she called the local chieftains to basically run us out of town. And we had to literally grab our stuff and flee. And we were worried at that time that we would either be apprehended or equally significant that they would confiscate our film.”
D’Souza disclosed the film crew established emergency measures to make sure their film footage got out of Kenya should D’Souza and the film crew be detained in the country, or in case the Kenyan government made an attempt to otherwise confiscate the film footage.
“So my point is, it’s very clear with the Obama family that these people take this stuff very seriously and they try to run interception where they can,” he stressed. “Now, they did not succeed in blocking ’2016,’ and the film in fact made a big stir in 2012 after being released.”
D’Souza told WND his lawyers have a hearing with the federal court in New York to determine when his case will be tried, but he expects the case will go to trial with a 12-member jury, possibly beginning before the scheduled July 4 opening of “America” across the nation.
“Launching a defense in the federal criminal indictment has been every expensive,” D’Souza admitted.
“I won’t deny that it is traumatic. You have to take it seriously because they are looking to lock you up. So you can’t be frivolous about. At the same time, I want to be clear this is not something that has knocked me out for the count. I’m not someone to give in easily on this kind of a thing. I’m determined to continue to speak my mind and do my work.”
He explained that “America” was written in part to answer the question, “What is unique about America?”
Answering that question took D’Souza on a historical examination of America’s key conflicts, leading back to the challenges that faced our Founding Fathers.
He explained: “I think that the remarkable thing about our debate today is that the left and the right agree there is something unique about America, but the conservatives believe that America in some ways is uniquely good and the progressives led by Obama think that America is uniquely bad – in other words, that American history has been characterized by a unique set of crimes and offenses, that American capitalism is uniquely materialistic and selfish, that American foreign policy is uniquely devoted to plunder. So, we wanted to take on this argument head-on in the film and answer it at the root level.”
Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee introduced legislation today that would allow states to set their own standards as to what defines marriage.
On Thursday, U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced S. 2024, the State Marriage Defense Act, which allows states to set their own standards as to what defines marriage and protects the states from having the federal government encroach on that territory.
Thirty-three states define marriage as the union between one man and one woman.
I support traditional marriage. Under President Obama, the federal government has tried to re-define marriage and to undermine the constitutional authority of each state to define marriage consistent with the values of its citizens. The Obama Administration should not be trying to force gay marriage on all 50 states. We should respect the states, and the definition of marriage should be left to democratically elected legislatures, not dictated from Washington. This bill will safeguard the ability of states to preserve traditional marriage for [their] residents.
How a state should define marriage should be left up to the citizens of each state. It is clear the Obama administration finds the principles of federalism inconvenient in its effort to force states to redefine the institution of marriage. The State Marriage Defense Act provides an important protection for states, respecting the right to choose for themselves how each will treat the institution of marriage under the law.
Meanwhile… A federal judge struck down Virginia’s ban on gay marriage on Thursday.
Around one hundred lawsuits challenging the president’s signature policy achievement are currently making their way through the courts.
Some of these lawsuits challenge very specific parts of the law, while others are challenging the law in its entirety. Here is a list of the six major legal challenges to the law.
1. Legal Taking of Private Property
Hotze v. Sebelius challenges the constitutionality of the employer mandate. The Fifth Amendment prohibits the government from taking private property for public use without “just compensation.” Steve Hotze, a doctor in Texas, is arguing that Obamacare violates this “takings clause” by mandating that his business give money to another business, specifically an insurance company, without any compensation.
Hotze filed his lawsuit in May. If the suit were successful, the employer mandate – which requires businesses with over 50 full-time employees to provide affordable insurance to their employees – would be struck down.
A district court in Texas ruled against Hotze on January 10 by calling the Obamacare business mandate a tax and not a “taking” under the Fifth Amendment. The judge based her decision on the Supreme Court’s ruling in 2012, which characterized the individual mandate as a tax. Hotze is appealing the ruling.
2. Origination Clause
Hotze is also challenging the law’s constitutionality under the Constitution’s “origination clause,” which requires that all spending bills originate in the House of Representatives. The substance of Obamacare was first introduced in the Senate by replacing the text of an unrelated bill that came from the House.
Matthew Sissel and the Pacific Legal Foundation are also making this argument in Sissel v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Hotze lost his case based on this argument, as did Sissel in a D.C. district court. Sissel, like Hotze, is appealing.
Should this argument succeed, the whole law would be struck down.
3. Separation of Powers
Another lawsuit is challenging the law’s attempt to consolidate some legislative power in an executive agency. Obamacare creates the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), which will make cost-saving cuts to Medicare that Congress can only override with a strong majority and with equal cuts.
The case, Coons v. Lew, challenges the legality of the IPAB on the grounds that it violates the Constitution’s separation of powers. The Goldwater Institute, an Arizona-based think tank, is sponsoring the challenge.
This lawsuit is much more targeted than the other suits. Obamacare does not rely on the IPAB to function, and so the rest of the law would still stand if the IPAB were ruled illegal.
The plaintiffs have lost in federal court and are appealing to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Oral arguments before a three-judge panel were set for the end of January, but they were unexpectedly delayed.
4. Subsidies to Congressional Staff
Obamacare requires members of Congress and their staff to buy insurance on the law’s new exchanges. By having to buy insurance on their own, Congressmen and their staff would be losing a valuable benefit, since the federal government was paying about 75 percent of the cost of insurance.
The Obama administration decided last August to let the federal government continue subsidizing the health insurance of staff members who buy insurance on the exchanges, even though this is not explicitly allowed by the law. Under the administration’s rule, the federal government could help Congress and their staff buy insurance on the District of Columbia’s small business, or SHOP, exchange.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) launched a lawsuit in a federal district court in Wisconsin challenging the administration’s new rule. Johnson and WILL are arguing that the administration’s decision is not justified under any law and unfairly benefits Congressmen and their staff.
5. The Subsidies on Federal Exchanges
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is suing the Obama administration over another rule, this one allowing the federal government to subsidize health insurance bought on federally run exchanges.
The law explicitly allows the federal government to help people buy health insurance if they make under four times the official poverty line, as long as they buy the insurance on exchanges run by the states.
However, most states did not set up their own exchanges, relying on the federal government’s exchange in whole or in part. The law does not explicitly allow the federal government to subsidize insurance plans bought on these federally run exchanges.
Oklahoma, which did not set up its own exchange, is challenging the federal government’s legal authority to offer subsidies in the state. It is arguing that the subsidies were meant to encourage states to set up their own exchanges and not as a benefit available to any individual who qualifies in any state.
Without the subsidies, fewer people will likely sign up for insurance and the exchanges could collapse from a lack of participation.
A federal district court in the District of Columbia struck down a lawsuit, Halbig v. Sebelius, based on the same argument as Oklahoma’s in January.
Oklahoma’s suit is currently in a different federal district court, meaning the judge could come to a different conclusion. The state’s written brief to the court is due on February 18, according to the Attorney General’s office.
6. The Contraception Mandate
Obamacare’s requirement that all insurance plans offer women 20 different kinds of birth control for free is facing the largest number of challenges.
The administration has tried to accommodate religious nonprofits that object to the mandate, but many of them have found the accommodation insufficient and are still seeking an injunction.
Some for-profit companies, such as Hobby Lobby, also object to the requirement. Christians who object to providing some or all of the contraceptives typically own these companies. The administration has made no attempt to accommodate these for-profit companies and is arguing that they have to comply fully.
Over 300 plaintiffs have sued in 93 cases over the contraception mandate, according to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. 47 of the cases come from for-profit companies, while 46 come from non-profit groups.
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear Hobby Lobby’s case on March 25.
On Jan. 1, 2014, tens of thousands of defiant gun owners seemingly made the choice not to register their semi-automatic rifles with the state of Connecticut as required by a hastily-passed gun control law. By possessing unregistered so-called “assault rifles,” they all technically became guilty of committing Class D felonies overnight.
Police had received 47,916 applications for “assault weapons certificates” and 21,000 incomplete applications as of Dec. 31, Lt. Paul Vance told The Courant.
At roughly 50,000 applications, officials estimate that as little as 15 percent of the covered semi-automatic rifles have actually been registered with the state. “No one has anything close to definitive figures, but the most conservative estimates place the number of unregistered assault weapons well above 50,000, and perhaps as high as 350,000,” the report states.
Needless to say, officials and some lawmakers are stunned.
Due to the new gun control bill passed in April, likely at least 20,000 individual people – possibly as many as 100,000 – are now in direct violation of the law for refusing to register their guns. As we noted above, that act is now a Class D Felony.
Mike Lawlor, “the state’s top official in criminal justice,” suggested maybe the firearms unit in Connecticut could “sent them a letter.” However, he said an aggressive push to prosecute gun owners in the state is not going to happen at this point.
Lawlor, the undersecretary for criminal justice policy in the state Office of Policy and Management, also suggested that the legislature should reopen the registration period to encourage more gun owners to register their firearms.
You may recall the viral photo of Connecticut gun owners waiting in line to register their guns in December, which one person said reminded them of the “Weimar Germany.”
Republican state Sen. Tony Guglielmo told The Courant he recently spoke to a constituent at a meeting in Ashford, who informed him that some of his friends with semi-automatic rifles are intentionally taking a stand.
“He made the analogy to prohibition,” the lawmaker recalled. “I said, ‘You’re talking about civil disobedience, and he said ‘Yes.’”
Guglielmo said he really thought the “vast majority would register.”
Other officials think the low registration numbers are due to ignorance on behalf of gun owners who aren’t aware of the new law. It’s impossible to know the main reason why gun owners aren’t showing up to register their guns without hearing from them directly, though Guglielmo’s constituent indicates at least some are practicing “civil disobedience.”
“Sorting out the number of potential new felons is a guessing game. State police have not added up the total number of people who registered the 50,000 firearms, Vance said. So even if we knew the number of illegal guns in the state, we’d have a hard time knowing how many owners they had,” the report concludes.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is making good on his promise to sue the Obama administration over what he calls ‘precisely the kind of overreach we fought a revolution over.’ His targets are the National Security Agency, the FBI and other federal government offices that snoop on private communications at home and abroad.
With former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli as his lead attorney, Paul is filing suit Wednesday morning in Washington, D.C. federal court along with the conservative FreedomWorks organization.
The legal action, officially titled ‘Rand Paul v. Barack Obama,’ will hit the court running with at least 350,000 plaintiffs, according to a source close to the process. Paul is aiming for 10 million, judging from a message on two websites run by his political staff.
‘When we learned that the NSA was collecting the phone data of every American last year,’ the senator said in a video message Tuesday night to supporters, ‘it posed a serious Constitutional question: Do we no longer have a Fourth Amendment?’
The lawsuit will argue that the president ‘has publicly refused to stop a clear and continuing violation of the Fourth Amendment,’ Paul said in a statement from his political action committee. ‘I expect this case to go all the way to the Supreme Court and I predict the American people will win.’
President Obama is named as a defendant, along with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Director of the National Security Agency Gen. Keith Alexander, and FBI Director James Comey.
A White House National Security Council Staff spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
But Obama said during a lengthy January 17 speech about U.S. signals intelligence gathering – an oration that might be a preview of the government’s courtroom defense – that ‘the men and women of the intelligence community, including the NSA, consistently follow protocols designed to protect the privacy of ordinary people.’
‘They’re not abusing authorities in order to listen to your private phone calls or read your emails,’ the president insisted.
His press secretary, Jay Carney, followed up ten days later with assurance during a daily briefing that ‘to the extent that the NSA collects information, it is focused on valid foreign intelligence targets and not the information of ordinary Americans.’
‘Look,’ he told reporters, ‘I mean, terrorists, proliferators, other bad actors use the same communication tools that others use.’
Sen. Paul’s objection focuses on the so-called bulk phone-record ‘metadata’ that the NSA gathers routinely. The data includes phone numbers, dates, times, and the durations of calls.
National security analysts say the massive tranches of data can be helpful when terrorism suspects are identified, because they allow investigators to establish who they have been talking to – and when.
Paul’s legal advisers thought about filing suit in a Kentucky federal court, MailOnline’s source said, but decided on Washington, D.C. because its judges are accustomed to sifting through the thorny issues surrounding whether a class-action group deserves to be ‘certified’–if, that is, its members have standing to sue.
He plans a press conference in front of the federal courthouse on Wednesday morning to boast that he’s protecting the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment from the White House’s national security apparatus.
‘The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated,’ that Amendment reads in part.
The senator first forecast his legal action in late December, and told the Fox News Channel that since the Obama administration ‘has used the IRS to go after people… we wonder if they would use the NSA that way.’
‘Everybody who has a cellphone would be eligible’ to become a plaintiff, he said.
That interview came on the same day the NSA convinced a top-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act judge to green-light its metadata collection for a new 90-day period.
That program, the subject of worldwide leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, has won reauthorization at least 36 times during the past seven years.
Paul’s odd mix of libertarian crusade and conservative button-pushing isn’t new, and it might become the norm on the right as more Republicans try to find common ground between what amount to warring cousins.
‘Libertarian, or liberty, doesn’t mean libertine,’ the GOP presidential hopeful told a red-meat right-wing crowd at a D.C. gala last week.
‘To many of us,’ he said, playing deftly to a room full of social conservatives, ‘Libertarian means freedom and liberty. But we also see freedom needs tradition.’
The speech came an hour after a lobbyist was heard introducing him to friends during a pre-dinner reception as a ‘Libertarian rock star.’
But Paul cautioned that ‘I don’t see libertarianism as, “you can do whatever you want”.’
Now the federal legislator is applying that message to the executive branch of government, and hoping the judicial branch will see things his way.
But while his lawsuit percolates, Freedomworks president Matt Kibbe will manage the plaintiff-lists and turn them into a political mobilizing tool.
‘If you use a phone, you should care about this case,’ Kibbe said Tuesday, adding that his group’s 6 million members stand behind the legal effort.
Names are initially collected on websites run by PaulPAC, the Kentucky senator’s Political Action Committee, and by his political campaign – presumably one now engaged in planning for the 2016 presidential race.
Both websites ask Web surfers to ‘sign below and join my class-action lawsuit and help stop the government’s outrageous spying program on the American people.’
They also ask for donations.
‘After you sign up, please make a generous donation to help rally up to ten million Americans to support my lawsuit to stop Big Brother,’ a message reads.
H/T Right Scoop
The IRS Conservative Targeting Scandal involved:
* At least 292 conservative groups
* At least 5 pro-Israel groups
* Constitutional groups
* Groups that criticized Obama administration
* At least two pro-life groups
* An 83 year-old Nazi concentration camp survivor
* A 180 year-old Baptist paper
* A Texas voting-rights group
* A Hollywood conservative group was targeted and harassed
* Conservative activists and businesses
* At least one conservative Hispanic group
* IRS continued to target groups even after the scandal was exposed
The Obama IRS gave preferential treatment to liberal groups during the same period.
Now their is proof the IRS and Treasury Department secretly drafted rules to target conservatives. This email shows the IRS’s Lois Lerner and Treasury Department conspired to draft new 501(c)(4) regulations targeting conservatives.
Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) revealed this email yesterday during House Committee on Ways and Means committee hearing with the IRS commissioner John Koskinen.
The Daily Caller reported:
The Obama administration’s Treasury Department and former IRS official Lois Lerner conspired to draft new 501(c)(4) regulations to restrict the activity of conservative groups in a way that would not be disclosed publicly, according to the House Committee on Ways and Means.
The Treasury Department and Lerner started devising the new rules “off-plan,” meaning that their plans would not be published on the public schedule. They planned the new rules in 2012, while the IRS targeting of conservative groups was in full swing, and not after the scandal broke in order to clarify regulations as the administration has suggested.
The rules would place much more stringent controls on what would be considered political activity by the IRS, effectively limiting the standard practices of a wide array of non-profit groups.
“Don’t know who in your organizations is keeping tabs on c4s, but since we mentioned potentially addressing them (off -plan) in 2013, I’ve got my radar up and this seemed interesting…,” Treasury official Ruth Madrigal wrote in a June 14, 2012 email to Lerner and others obtained by Ways and Means and provided to The Daily Caller.
Ways and Means chairman Rep. Dave Camp blasted the off-the-record plan during a hearing Wednesday with IRS commissioner John Koskinen, and called for the administration’s newly proposed 501(c)(4) rules to be halted until criminal investigations into the IRS targeting scandal are complete.
It looks like President Obama was just caught in another lie.
The IRS was targeting conservative groups despite what he told Bill O’Reilly.
Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) on Thursday blasted President Barack Obama’s recent claim that there was “not even a smidgen of corruption” involved in the Internal Revenue Service’s alleged targeting of conservative groups.
“The president says there’s not a ‘smidgeon’ of criminality or corruption,” Gowdy said during a House Ways and Means hearing on the IRS scandal.
“Do either of you,” he said, addressing two Tea Party leaders who appeared to testify on their experiences with the IRS, “remember seeing a witness named Lois Lerner, sitting at the very table y’all are sitting at?”
Lerner, formerly in charge of the IRS’ tax-exempt organization division, ignited the scandal in May after she apologized for the agency’s handling of conservative groups. She later invoked the Fifth Amendment and resigned her post in September.
“Do you remember her invoking her Fifth Amendment privilege? The same privilege that she targeted some of your groups for trying to educate people about?” Gowdy asked. “Some of your groups just want to simply educate people about the Constitution – the one she availed herself of the very second she was exposed to criminal investigation.”
“So how can the president say there’s not a ‘smidgeon’ of criminality when Lois Lerner invoked the Fifth Amendment? Forty-one witnesses haven’t been interviewed, including the two who are here right now!” he added. “How can he possibly draw that conclusion?”
Watch the South Carolina representative’s heated take on Obama’s assessment:
One of the most high-profile victims of the IRS Tea Party targeting scandal is planning to unveil surprising new allegations about the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee at a hearing this morning.
Catherine Engelbrecht, the head of election integrity group True The Vote and Tea Party group King Street Patriots, alleges Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) demanded information from her group in a similar manner to the IRS, according to her testimony. “Hours after sending letters, he would appear on cable news and publicly defame me and my organization,” Engelbrecht said.
The Tea Party leader is filing a formal ethics complaint against Cummings with the Office of Congressional Ethics, a panel of outside advisers who review allegations and refer those they consider to have merit to the official Hosue Ethics Committee.
Engelbrecht is one of several witnesses testifying at an oversight subcommittee hearing on the IRS scandal on Thursday. The committee’s subcommittee on Economic Growth, Job Creation and Regulatory Affairs will be holding a hearing titled: “The IRS Targeting Investigation: What is the Administration Doing?”
In her opening statement, published on the committee’s website late Wednesday, Engelbrecht offers the painstaking details of how the IRS and administration as a whole targeted her, noting “my private businesses, my nonprofit organizations, and family have been subjected to more than 15 instances of audit or inquiry by federal agencies.”
Engelbrecht said she is disgusted with Cummings’ behavior, and that Cummings was engaged in activity that “misrepresent[s] this governing body in an effort to demonize and intimidate citizens.”
“Such tactics are unacceptable,” Engelbrecht wrote in her prepared testimony. “It is for these reasons that immediately after this hearing I am filing a formal complaint with the House Office of Congressional Ethics and asking for a full investigation.”
Earlier in her testimony, Engelbrecht lumped Cummings’ actions in with those of the administration, writing that after she filed IRS papers to create her groups, “an assortment of federal entities – including law enforcement agencies and a Congressman from Maryland, Elijah Cummings – came knocking at my door.”
It is highly unusual for a witness at a hearing to announce she is filing a formal ethics complaint against the ranking member of the committee holding it. Cummings’ office did not respond to a request for comment sent late Wednesday.
Cummings has been a Democratic thorn in the side of oversight efforts of full committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and other committee Republicans on the IRS scandal since he ascended to the top Democratic slot on the committee in 2010.
Cummings released sensitive investigation documents this past summer, including a redacted transcript of an interview committee investigators conducted with IRS employee John Shafer. Cummings did so, according to an NPR story on the matter, because he said the transcript “debunks conspiracy theories about how the IRS first started reviewing these cases.”
But Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) said in response to that renegade Cummings action that it “will severely undermine the Oversight Committee’s ability to gain the full truth of what has transpired at the IRS.”
“Since he called for an end to this investigation, we have learned that IRS officials in Washington had been more involved in the targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups than we initially were lead to believe,” Turner said then. “This maneuver will do nothing more than obstruct the Committee’s investigation. It’s clear that Ranking Member Cummings is concerned only with ending a highly embarrassing and troubling investigation before we learn the full truth of who was responsible and why.”
On the Benghazi scandal, Cummings outed a trip Issa was taking to Libya – something Issa’s office feared could have put the chairman in danger as terror threats were being made against Issa’s life at the time by a Libyan national.
Testifying along with Engelbrecht at Thursday’s IRS hearing will be American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) chief counsel Jay Sekulow, Alabama’s Wetumpka Tea Party president Becky Gerritson and lawyer Cleta Mitchell of Foley & Lardner LLP. Barbara Bosserman of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division is invited to testify, according to the House Oversight Committee’s website but has not confirmed.
Appearing on Fox News Channel’s Special Report on Wednesday, conservative columnist George Will said the scandal involving the Internal Revenue Services’ targeting of conservative groups is as serious as Watergate or Iran-Contra. The distinction between those scandals and the one involving the IRS, he said, was that the press covered those earlier controversies heavily while they have largely dismissed the latest.
Will began by recalling that, immediately after former IRS official Lois Lerner preemptively apologized for targeting conservative groups, President Barack Obama called the scandal “outrageous.” Lerner would go on to resign and refuse to testify before Congress about the details of the scandal.
Today, however, Will noted that the scandal has evolved to a point where the president dismisses the IRS’s actions as mere “boneheaded decisions.”
He added that the nation’s capital has seen three major scandals “involving the distortion and abuse of institutions” in the past 40 years; Watergate, the Iran-Contra affair, and the IRS targeting scandal.
“The first two were ravenously covered by the media – they were Republican presidents’ problems,” Will said. “This is not being pursued and the president knows that. Hence, his sense of weariness and boredom as he discussed this with Bill O’Reilly.”
Watch the clip below, via Fox:
Eric Gurr is a 48-year-old Ohioan and a lifelong Republican. He was born and raised in Hamilton, a suburb of Cincinnati. Mr. Gurr is the CEO of a computer consulting firm based in West Chester, Ohio. He is married and has three children as well as two grandchildren. He and his family reside in fast-growing Liberty Township. He has never run for political office before.
Oh, and he just happens to be challenging House Speaker John Boehner in the Republican primary for Ohio’s 8th congressional district.
Mr. Gurr was kind enough to grant yours truly an exclusive interview.
ROBERT ELLIOTT: Thank you for agreeing to do this interview, Mr. Gurr.
So did you go to college in Ohio? How does your family feel about your decision to run for high public office? What prompted someone who has never run for political office before to decide to challenge one of the most powerful elected officials in the country?
ERIC GURR: I went to college at The University of Cincinnati. I started out in mechanical engineering in 1983, then switched to computer related. I dropped out in ’87 and have worked with computers, programming, and related endeavors since that time.
My family has been very supportive of my decision.
What prompted me to run was the realization that since 2008 Mr. Boehner had slowly pulled away from my views and what I thought was in the best interest of the nation long-term. I was not in favor of the TARP programs and I still think our monetary policy is on the wrong track.
Syria was the tipping point. I thought that war with Syria was a terrible idea. Essentially it is a very high-risk proposition with little or nothing to be gained. I also believe strongly that the immigration bill was a bad bill at the wrong time. It makes no sense at all to add to a workforce burdened by high unemployment and underemployment.
When I started putting all of these things together I realized that Speaker Boehner has just been in Washington too long. Publicly elected servants should serve a few terms and then leave lest they become forever detached from their constituents. Over time this leads to a moderation not only in positions and policy, but in passion for the fight. Inside that beltway, conservative values (both economically and socially) are seen as “extreme.” We as the base of the GOP have no desire nor need to apologize for these conservative principles as they have served the nation quite well for over 200 years.
ROBERT ELLIOTT: What are your thoughts on the multiple scandals that have engulfed the Obama administration – IRS, NSA, Benghazi, Fast & Furious, etc.?
ERIC GURR: The IRS scandal is the biggest scandal to hit this country since Watergate. The most feared institution has been used for political purposes. I find it highly improbable that Ms. Lois Lerner acted of her own volition. I am stunned that the Democrats don’t seem to understand the gravity of this situation. This scandal needs to be investigated until we know absolutely everything.
The NSA is not permitted to spy on citizens without a proper warrant. I think that the Constitution is quite clear on this. I know there are many who say that this invasion of privacy protects us all, but where does that end?
I also believe Benghazi is a real and serious scandal. If we follow the timeline it appears that we first received word of an attack at 10:00 PM. If the State Department didn’t send help they must answer the question: why? The canned response is that the main thrust of the attack happened at 4:00 AM and the forces would not have had time to get there. But there is no way they could have known when the next attack was coming.
Fast & Furious was probably a well-intended venture that spiraled out of hand. But when our own agents are shot with these weapons I think some answers should be expected. The attorney general has some real inconsistencies in his statements to Congress and needs to be brought back on the carpet. If we cannot trust the attorney general to follow the laws, who can we trust?
ROBERT ELLIOTT: How do you feel about the recent efforts of House and (some) Senate Republicans to defund Obamacare?
ERIC GURR: I think Ted Cruz and others supporting him are on the right track. With control of only the House there are few tools left in the tool box. It will be no consolation for Republicans to say in three or four months, “We told you this would happen.”
The bill is axiomatically prevented from working for several reasons. The biggest reason being that there is no addressing of the supply side in the bill. If you want to lower cost while increasing demand for services you must first address the supply. It takes years to become a doctor. So the first portion of a serious bill like this would have been to delay for eight years while you fund an increase in the number of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers and equipment. This bill added an anti-science and anti-technology excise tax of 2.3 percent. If the GOP is somehow successful in the endeavor and at least delays implementation by a year or two the economy will rebound, job growth will ensue, and we will have a clearer picture of what needs to be done to reform existing systems. If some of the old guard in the GOP leadership continue to delay and obfuscate, we’ll never get the opportunity to explain to the American people (the few who still support the bill) how damaging it is to the long term economic viability of the nation.
ROBERT ELLIOTT: Candidates who seek to unseat incumbents are almost always at a financial disadvantage. This is especially true in your case, since you are taking on such a powerful and high-profile incumbent in the Speaker of the House. How much cash do you think your campaign will need to raise in order to mount a credible challenge? And how do you plan to raise it? Have you considered a “money-bomb” type of event?
ERIC GURR: Money is the challenge. I’ve been contacted by people all over the country suggesting a “money bomb” type of event. I have tried to contact a few of the conservative outlets, but have been told I must be “vetted” first. Over the past two weeks I’ve tried to respond to as many online requests as I can and that’s starting to produce. The website gurrforcongress.com is averaging over 300 visits per day. I’ve tried to analyze the situation in the 8th congressional district of Ohio and the good news is that millions of dollars probably won’t be needed. Speaker Boehner can only bombard the voters with so much information. I’ve figured I’ll need about $300,000 to make a serious challenge. Although it sounds like a lot, the reality is if I can get a few thousand people to donate $25 – $50 I’ll be in a strong position. In order to become competitive with his fundraising machine I’ll have to look outside the district. With a solid drive and $100,000 or so I think I can pull that off.
ROBERT ELLIOTT: How do you feel about term limits? If elected, would you pledge to serve only a certain number of terms?
ERIC GURR: I’m in favor of term limits but much more in favor of politicians keeping their word. I would not serve more than four terms and prefer to serve three, then be challenged in a primary to get the word out about new candidates. If you lose, you lose. If not, the next year there are a few candidates the public has come to know who can run for the seat and I would drop out. There is absolutely no chance I would serve more than four [terms]. A citizen legislator must be a citizen first. If you stay in Washington for 15 or 20 years, you have become a professional politician.
ROBERT ELLIOTT: How would you work to tackle the federal budget deficit? Assuming you plan to support spending reductions, are there any areas that you think should be off-limits to cuts?
ERIC GURR: The deficit should be cut in two phases. In the first phase I would propose to Congress cutting 3% across the board with an exemption for Social Security and Medicare. Then I would push hard for a significant cut in the capital gains tax. This tax cut has historically increased revenue. I would also delve deeper into cuts for the EPA, agricultural subsidies, and even the Department of Education. All of these agencies have poor track records recently and have seen their budgets bloated beyond any reasonable level of growth.
Defense spending is worth a look, but I don’t know that I would commit to any cuts at this point. It’s not that I think there isn’t room, it’s just that I know when you have a certain level of access to information you may be inclined to change your views. I am in favor of missile defense but not in favor of a large standing army with bases spread across the world.
The American people have felt the pinch for five years and I think it is time for Washington, D.C. to share in a little of the belt tightening.
ROBERT ELLIOTT: Would your campaign like to communicate a direct message to potential donors and/or Republican primary voters in your district?
Frank Milillo, Eric Gurr’s campaign manager:
As many of you may have heard, Hamilton native Eric Gurr is challenging John Boehner in the May primary for the Ohio 8th district U.S. congressional seat. Many of us have supported Mr. Boehner over the past 20-plus years, but I think many of you now agree it’s time for a change. Eric is a principled conservative and wants to cut spending, lower taxes to promote jobs and economic growth, and put an end to the ill-conceived Obamacare.
It is difficult to defeat a politician as entrenched in Washington culture as Mr. Boehner has become. He has nationwide donations and deep pockets. But we believe the people of Ohio deserve better, and with your donation of as little as $25 we can get the word out and make a hopeful and helpful change for the people of Ohio and the United States of America.
To donate, please visit the campaign website at gurrforcongress.com
Orr if you prefer, you can send a check to:
Gurr For Congress
7182 Liberty Centre Drive, Suite O
West Chester, Ohio 45069
From an anxious New York Times:
Fund-Raising by G.O.P. Rebels Outpaces Party Establishment
By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE | FEB. 1, 2014
Insurgent conservatives seeking to pull the Republican Party to the right raised more money last year than the groups controlled by the party establishment, whose bulging bank accounts and ties to major donors have been their most potent advantage in the running struggle over the party’s future, according to new campaign disclosures and interviews with officials.
You would never know it from the New York Times’ vapid and long-winded article, but according to FEC filings on Friday Tea Party groups and conservative SuperPACs raised about three times more money than the Republican establishment SuperPACs did in 2013.
The shift in fortunes among the largest and most influential outside political groups, revealed in campaign filings made public late Friday, could have an enormous impact on the 2014 election cycle…
Yes, for one thing it might have motivated the sudden change in tone from the Republican leadership about ramming through amnesty this year.
Groups representing the party establishment, like Karl Rove’s Crossroads, are struggling to bring in the level of cash they raised in 2012, when Crossroads spent more than $300 million in a failed effort to defeat President Obama and retake the Senate, leaving donors grumbling that their dollars had been wasted.
Meanwhile, insurgent conservative groups like the Tea Party Patriots – emldened by activists’ fury over compromises that Republican leaders have struck with Democrats on federal spending – now have formidable amounts of cash to augment their grass-roots muscle…
The Times goes on to numb us into submission for another 19 paragraphs, many of which are devoted to bashing the Koch Brothers.
So we will turn to Breitbart for a more succinct summation:
GOP War on Conservatives Backfires
By Mike Flynn | 2 Feb 2014
On Friday, every political campaign had to file its 2013 year end report with the FEC. The reports delivered two big surprises. The Democrats are dominating the Republicans in fundraising. More surprising, perhaps, though, is that Tea Party and conservative SuperPACs raised around three times as much as GOP establishment SuperPACs. The DC GOP may have started the war against the Tea Party, but it won’t finish it…
Whatever strategy the DC GOP is employing… clearly backfiring. All the official Democrat campaign committees collectively raised around $200 million in 2013. The Republican committees raised just over $170 million. This disparity comes when the GOP hold on the House is solid and the party stands a very real chance of taking control of the Senate. It ought to be swimming in donations. The long-standing GOP advantage on fundraising has evaporated.
The most interesting data from Friday’s reports is the surging financial strength of conservative SuperPACs. Karl Rove’s three SuperPACs collectively raised $6.1 million last year. The Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund, where I am Political Director, alone raised $6.4 million. The four largest conservative SuperPACs raised $20 million. GOP establishment SuperPACs raised just over $7 million.
Donors haven’t stopped giving. They have just stopped giving the Republican party…
This is what happens when you try to bypass your base. Just as with elections, political positions have consequences.
President Denial is at it again. H/T The Other McCain. IRS scandal? What IRS scandal?
Just a bunch of inept bureaucrats accidentallytargeting the president’s political enemies:
Rather, he said, IRS officials were confused about how to implement the law governing those kinds of tax-exempt groups.
“There were some bone-headed decisions,” Obama conceded.
But when asked whether corruption, or mass corruption, was at play, he responded: “Not even mass corruption — not even a smidgen of corruption.”
He acknowledged that then-IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman had been to the White House more than 100 times but said he couldn’t recall speaking to him on any of those occasions.