A federal appeals court spanked the IRS Tuesday, saying it has taken laws designed to protect taxpayers from the government and turned them on their head, using them to try to protect the tax agency from the very tea party groups it targeted.
The judges ordered the IRS to quickly turn over the full list of groups it targeted so that a class-action lawsuit, filed by the NorCal Tea Party Patriots, can proceed. The judges also accused the Justice Department lawyers, who are representing the IRS in the case, of acting in bad faith – compounding the initial targeting – by fighting the disclosure.
“The lawyers in the Department of Justice have a long and storied tradition of defending the nation’s interests and enforcing its laws – all of them, not just selective ones – in a manner worthy of the Department’s name. The conduct of the IRS’s attorneys in the district court falls outside that tradition,” Judge Raymond Kethledge wrote in a unanimous opinion for a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. “We expect that the IRS will do better going forward.”
Justice Department officials declined to comment on the judicial drubbing, and the IRS didn’t respond to a request for comment on the unusually strong language Judge Kethledge used.
The case stems from the IRS‘ decision in 2010 to begin subjecting tea party and conservative groups to intrusive scrutiny when they applied for nonprofit status.
An inspector general found several hundred groups were asked inappropriate questions about their members’ activities, their fundraising and their political leanings.
The IRS has since apologized for its behavior, but insisted the targeting was a mistake born of overzealous employees confused by the law rather than a politically motivated attempt to stifle conservatives.
Tea party groups have been trying for years to get a full list of nonprofit groups that were targeted by the IRS, but the IRS had refused, saying that even the names of those who applied or were approved are considered secret taxpayer information. The IRS said section 6103 of the tax code prevented it from releasing that information.
Judge Kethledge, however, said that turned the law on its head.
“Section 6103 was enacted to protect taxpayers from the IRS, not the IRS from taxpayers,” he wrote.
Edward Greim, a lawyer at Graves Garrett who is representing NorCal Patriots, said they should be able to get a better idea of the IRS‘ decision-making once they see the list of groups that was targeted.
“What we’ll be able to see is how, starting in the spring of 2010, with the first one or two groups the IRS targeted, we’ll be able to see that number grow, and we’ll even be able to see at the tail end their possible covering up that conduct,” he said.
He said they suspect the IRS, aware that the inspector general was looking into the tax agency’s behavior, began adding in other groups to try to muddle the perception that only conservatives were being targeted.
Tuesday’s ruling is the second victory this year for NorCal Patriots.
In January U.S. District Judge Susan J. Dlott certified their case as a class-action lawsuit, signaling that she agreed with NorCal Patriots that the IRS did systematically target hundreds of groups for special scrutiny.
Certifying the class allows any of the more than 200 groups that were subjected to the criteria to join the lawsuit. But until the IRS complies with the appeals court’s ruling this week, the list of those groups is secret.
Now that the class has been certified, the case moves to the discovery stage, where the tea party groups’ lawyers will ask for all of the agency’s documents related to the targeting and will depose IRS employees about their actions.
The lawyers hope they’ll be able to learn details Congress was unable to shake free in its own investigations.
The Justice Department has concluded its own criminal investigation into the IRS and said the targeting was the result of bad management. But investigators said they found no criminal behavior, and specifically cleared former IRS head Lois G. Lerner, saying her fellow employees said she tried to correct the problems when she learned of them.
Republicans dismissed that investigation as a whitewash by the Obama administration.
Washington, DC (February 18, 2016) – CRTV is announcing the launch of LevinTV, hosted by one of the nation’s most compelling, passionate and thoughtful Conservative voices, Mark Levin. Having just signed a contract extension to continue his nation wide radio broadcast to millions of listeners for another nine years, the six-time New York Times best-selling author is further expanding his media network, to reach an even larger audience through a dynamic, cutting edge, digital based television platform. LevinTV will be America’s new televised Town Hall meeting and is the next step in the evolution of digital conservative media.
LevinTV will be produced five days a week in a state-of-the-art studio built exclusively for the Show. It will be broadcast in HD, featuring one of the most technologically advanced television sets ever created. Mark Levin will bring his unique perspective of pro-American and patriotic values to his new TV show that champions liberty and true conservatism.
LevinTV is a commercial-free explosion of Mark Levin’s engaging personality, unique intellect and passionate commentary about history, economics, philosophy and the latest political and current events. The show will also feature exclusive, long-form interviews with compelling guests from all walks of life.
“I have the greatest audience in the world and I give them my best every night,” said Mark Levin. “I am thrilled we are expanding our Town Hall meeting place for patriots, by taking TV broadcasting to a new level on multiple platforms where I will speak directly to my audience – uncensored, without middlemen, and commercial free.” Levin added, “I make no excuses for my patriotism, I am proud of it, and LevinTV will reflect it. It’s about time there is a place on television where people can go and have their principles, beliefs, and values reinforced rather than attacked.”
How to Watch
LevinTV launches on March 7, 2016. His inaugural episode, along with hours of preview material, can be accessed on any digital or mobile device. Levin’s loyal audience and new fans alike can subscribe for an entire year for $59 (just $4.92 a month) saving $10 off the regular price of $69 a year by subscribing on or before March 7. Monthly subscription fees are $7.99. By keeping subscription prices low, LevinTV will be accessible to a large and growing audience.
For more information, visit www.LevinTV.com.
Mary Mayhew, commissioner of Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services, knows her politics aren’t always popular.
“I can’t stress enough what an attack campaign it has been from the media for four and a half years,” Mayhew said Thursday at an anti-poverty forum in Washington, D.C., hosted by The Heritage Foundation.
Then there are the more personalized critiques: “There is a poet, or he calls himself a poet, and he sends me poems all the time,” she added. “They are not nice poems.”
Mayhew claims that detractors – who mostly take issue with welfare reforms enacted by Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican, since his election in 2011 – have gone so far as to call her “Commissioner Evil,” and her and LePage’s policies a “War on the Poor.”
The irony, according to Mayhew, lies in the fact that her and LePage’s efforts actually aim to empower Maine’s poorest citizens. She says a third of the state is on welfare.
“The welfare hurricane doesn’t just destroy one family; it destroys generations of them,” Tarren Bragdon, president and CEO of the Foundation for Government Accountability, said at the event Thursday. “This work is about giving children a better chance for a future.”
To illustrate that point, Mayhew told a story of one of her first days on the job as DHHS commissioner, spent touring a substance abuse treatment facility for adolescents:
I was taken aback by one of the youth who came up to me – it was actually several youth, who were just completely focused on whether I could help them get disability. These were 15-year-old, 16-year-old young men clearly battling addiction, but they had decided that the answer for them was to pursue disability. And, frankly, as we all look at that pathway, that truly is committing individuals to a lifetime of poverty.
Since LePage assumed the governorship, Maine has reduced enrollment in the state’s food stamp program by over 58,000; currently, according to Mayhew, there are 197,000 people on food stamps, down from a high of 255,663 in February 2012.
Mayhew says the decline is due to eliminating the waiver of the work requirement previously attached to food stamps, as also witnessed in Kansas. Under the new legislation, recipients would need to work 20 hours per week, volunteer for about an hour a day, or attend a class to receive food stamps past three months.
LePage and Mayhew have also rolled back Medicaid eligibility through a series of battles Mayhew called “fierce.”
With a population of roughly 1.3 million, Maine had 357,000 individuals receiving Medicaid benefits when LePage took office. Today, 287,000 people are on Medicaid, according to Mayhew.
“What we have done truly has taken the arguments to the public to underscore what has been lost as that program grew out of control, never mind that the resources that had to be devoted to Medicaid were being taken away from education, infrastructure, and reduced tax burden on the state of Maine,” Mayhew said.
In August, Maine DHHS announced they planned to redirect $3.24 million in welfare savings to fund home care services for elderly citizens as well as the Meals on Wheels program.
Lastly, Mayhew touched upon Maine’s efforts to retool the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card programs, stating that Maine had over 15,000 open TANF cases when LePage took office. That number is down to less than 5,000.
LePage’s and Mayhew’s policies, as Mayhew herself highlighted, have not been without controversy.
Earlier this week, amid an ongoing dispute over EBT cards being used to wire money abroad, critics accused the LePage administration of using last Friday’s terror attacks in Paris to justify reforms.
“This proposal is really an example of fear-mongering at its worst,” Robyn Merrill, executive director of Maine Equal Justice Partners, told MPBN News.
But Mayhew does not plan to back down – especially if it means reducing her own influence long-term, and shifting that responsibility to local non-profits.
“I can’t underscore enough that part of the issue is government is too big, my agency is too large, and people are trying to preserve their jobs,” she said.
“We have got to reduce the size and scope of these agencies if we are going to have communities really take on the responsibility of supporting these families and these individuals on those pathways [to independence].”
Now who’s being the child?
Conservative YouTube sensation CJ Pearson, a 13-year-old black middle schooler from Georgia, revealed on Wednesday that he’s been blocked from following President Obama on Twitter. He’s also unable to view the president’s tweets.
11,040 Likes – 4,948 Comments – 5,410 Shares
“It’s an honor,” Pearson tells The American Mirror, insisting he did nothing to warrant being blocked, except his most recent video released last week.
In the video, he accuses the president of playing politics with the Texas student who was suspended for bringing a clock to school that appeared to be a bomb.
“He’s used this child as a political prop,” Pearson said. “This president has used this child to push his radical, leftward agenda. And I think it’s disgusting, and I think many, many people agree.”
Pearson’s video has been viewed over 1.8 million times on YouTube.
UPDATE – 10:23 p.m.:
CJ says the White House issued a statement saying the president didn’t block him on Twitter. CJ responds here:
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
Unfortunately, instead of standing up to the mobs, the mainstream platforms cower and side with them while turning their backs on thousands if not hundreds of thousands of customers. All for the simple mindset that mainstream platforms would rather discriminate against their own customers over being accused of something they aren’t guilty of by a noisy minority.
This is not only ridiculous, it’s disingenuous, weak and anti-American in principle.
Today RallyBuilder quietly launched the Beta version of its platform and is working with a handful of project creators that it will unveil early next week. RallyBuilder says they will also be hosting a major crowdfunding campaign next week on behalf of a Christian small business that was banned from GoFundMe several weeks ago.
According to RallyBuilder the new platform will have every feature available on any of the mainstream crowdfunding websites. The service will enable project creators to rally peers and others around their products, business ideas, causes and fundraising campaigns, and will have the added benefit of ensuring project creators are not bullied off the site by politically correct special interest groups.
“The crowdfunding market is due for an overhaul,” said Eric Odom, architect of the RallyBuilder platform. “Crowdfunding is a powerful tool that can be abused by people who want to silence others. We saw a void in the crowdfunding space and we’re filling it. Our pledge to our users includes the promise that we won’t cave to the PC crowd.”
RallyBuilder is fully functional and open for business, but says it won’t go public with a full version of its website until late May or early June. A quick visit to the RallyBuilder.com website reveals that it already accepts new accounts and new users can create projects to immediately begin raising funds.
Q.) Why do leftists embrace the scientifically disproved – and otherwise nonsensical – notion of anthropomorphic (human-caused), catastrophic climate change?
A.) For the same reasons that they embrace Marxism; because they want to, and because they’re not very bright.
No, REALLY! Those are the reasons. They’re just a bunch of incurious dimwits who exhibit no capacity for self-reflection, self-correction or self-improvement. To quote Lieutenant General Russel L. Honoré, they are truly “stuck on stupid”.
Dennis Michael Lynch (born August 28, 1969) is an American entrepreneur, documentary filmmaker, and conservative commentator. He is the founder and CEO of TV360Media, a company specializing in the production and distribution of digital film, and often appears as a guest on Fox News and TheBlaze. He is currently running for President of the United States as a conservative Republican.
VETERANS TEAR DOWN OBAMA BARRICADES AT WWII MEMORIAL
SEAN HANNITY TELEVISION SPECIAL: THE COST OF AMNESTY
BUNDY RANCH STANDOFF
DML FOR AMERICA PAC
The Young Conservative National Tour 2016 will showcase young conservatives CJ Pearson, Benji Backer, Markeece Young, Yvonne Dean-Bailey and Avery Jesmer as they tour the country rallying support for the eventual Conservative nominee and inspire young people to find the “right” way in the political arena.
Please make a donation to the Young Conservative National Tour 2016.
The conservative group Freedom Watch has filed a racketeering lawsuit against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that accuses her of failing to produce documents under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
The civil suit, filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, argues that Clinton used her private emails to sell access to other officials in return for donations to the Clinton Foundation.
It alleges that, during her tenure, Clinton withheld documents requested under FOIA regarding State Department waivers given to businesses or individuals doing business with Iran, possibly undermining U.S.-imposed sanctions.
The complaint, which lists Bill and Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation as defendants, alleges the Clintons sold access to other U.S. government officials in return for donations to their organization, which they concealed, allegedly, by using a private computer server for her emails operated from their home in Chappaqua, New York.
Larry Klayman, the founder of Freedom Watch, launched dozens of lawsuits against former President Bill Clinton’s administration.
In the new lawsuit, he alleges that, during Hillary Clinton’s tenure, the State Department “clearly leaked” information to New York Times reporter David Sanger on U.S. and Israeli efforts to counteract Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
“Public reports about plans to counter Iran’s nuclear weapons development programs undermined the effectiveness of those plans by revealing them to Iran and other terrorist organizations and states,” the complaint states.
The civil suit alleges the Clintons “systematically and continuously… conducted a corrupt enterprise” over more than 10 years, allegedly in violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act, which deals with abuse and misuse of organizations or businesses.
In a statement, Klayman cast his lawsuit as “the first and only hard-hitting case to address the growing email scandal.”
“What Hillary Clinton, her husband, and their foundation have done is nothing new. It is simply part of a criminal enterprise which dates back at least 10 years, all designed to enrich themselves personally at the expense of the American people and our nation. It’s time, however, that they finally be held legally accountable,” Klayman said.
Clinton acknowledged the private server earlier this month, explaining that she deleted more than 30,000 emails her aides deemed personal, and turned over the rest to the State Department for archiving.
The House select committee investigating the deadly 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, has asked Clinton to turn over her server to an independent arbiter. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has also demanded Clinton turn over the server but has so far not directed House Republicans to subpoena her records.
Last April House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) released a report implicating Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) in colluding with the IRS and Lois Lerner against the nonpartisan voters rights group “True the Vote.”
Catherine Engelbrecht, the founder of “True the Vote,” testified before Congress in February. She was targeted by FBI, IRS, ATF, and OSHA after she filed for tax exempt status for her voters rights group.
Engelbrecht said this during her testimony before Congress and Cummings: “Frankly, to sit before my accuser and be silent in the face of what he did was unconscionable.”
This week the House Oversight Committee released more emails that prove the IRS was feeding Rep. Cummings with confidential tax information on the voter fraud prevention group True the Vote.
New IRS emails released by the House Oversight Committee show staff working for Democratic Ranking Member Elijah Cummings communicated with the IRS multiple times between 2012 and 2013 about voter fraud prevention group True the Vote. True the Vote was targeted by the IRS after applying for tax exempt status more than two years ago. Further, information shows the IRS and Cummings’ staff asked for nearly identical information from True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht about her organization, indicating coordination and improper sharing of confidential taxpayer information.
Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa, along with five Subcommittee Chairmen are demanding Cummings provide an explanation for the staff inquiries to the IRS about True the Vote and for his denial that his staff ever contacted the IRS about the group.
“Although you have previously denied that your staff made inquiries to the IRS about conservative organization True the Vote that may have led to additional agency scrutiny, communication records between your staff and IRS officials – which you did not disclose to Majority Members or staff – indicates otherwise,” the letter to Cummings states. “As the Committee is scheduled to consider a resolution holding Ms. Lerner, a participant in responding to your communications that you failed to disclose, in contempt of Congress, you have an obligation to fully explain your staff’s undisclosed contacts with the IRS.”
A report published last April 2014 confirmed that Lois Lerner funneled information on Conservative group True the Vote to Democrat Cummings.
New IRS E-mails: Lois Lerner Funneled Elijah Cummings Info On Targeted Conservative Group – Ranking Democrat previously denied his staff contacted the IRS about group True the Vote
WASHINGTON – Newly delivered internal IRS e-mails sent and received by former IRS Exempt Organizations Director Lois Lerner and other IRS employees show that House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Minority staff, working for Ranking Member Elijah Cummings, began contacting the IRS in August 2012 about targeted non-profit applicant True the Vote. The IRS produced this e-mail on April 2, 2014 – only days after Oversight Committee Members had taken new IRS Commissioner John Koskinen to task for withholding relevant e-mails. The Chairman and five Subcommittee Chairmen on the Oversight Committee today sent a letter to Ranking Member Cummings demanding an explanation for his staff’s queries, why the Minority hid these efforts from the Majority, and why the Ranking Member denied such actions by his staff at a February Subcommittee hearing:
“Although you have previously denied that your staff made inquiries to the IRS about conservative organization True the Vote that may have led to additional agency scrutiny, communication records between your staff and IRS officials – which you did not disclose to Majority Members or staff – indicates otherwise,” wrote the Chairman and five Subcommittee Chairmen of the Oversight Committee. “As the Committee is scheduled to consider a resolution holding Ms. Lerner, a participant in responding to your communications that you failed to disclose, in contempt of Congress, you have an obligation to fully explain your staff’s undisclosed contacts with the IRS.”
The letter notes:
* The IRS and the Oversight Minority made numerous requests for virtually identical information from True the Vote, raising concerns that the IRS improperly shared protected taxpayer information with Rep. Cummings’ staff.
* Five days after Cummings contacted True the Vote seeking “copies of all training materials used for volunteers, affiliates, or other entities,” the IRS sent True the Vote a letter requesting True the Vote provide “a copy of [True the Vote’s] volunteer registration form,” “…the process you use to assign volunteers,” “how you keep your volunteers in teams,” and “how your volunteers are deployed… following the training they receive by you.”
* On or before January 25, 2013, Cummings’ staff requested more information from the IRS about True the Vote. The head of the IRS Legislative Affairs office e-mailed several IRS officials, including former Exempt Organizations Director Lois Lerner, that “House Oversight Committee Minority staff” sought information about True the Vote. On Monday, January 28, Lerner wrote to her deputy Holly Paz: “Did we find anything?” When Paz informed her minutes later that she had not heard back about True the Vote’s information, Lerner replied: “thanks – check tomorrow please.”
* On January 31, 2013, Paz attached True the Vote’s form 990s, which she authorized the IRS to share with the Minority staff. Neither Cummings nor the IRS shared these requested documents with the Oversight Majority. None of the Minority’s communications about True the Vote with the IRS were shared with the Committee Majority even though Ranking Member Cummings frequently complains about the Committee Majority contacting individuals on official matters without the involvement of Minority staff.
Cummings denied that his staff, “might have been involved in putting True the Vote on the radar screen of some of these Federal agencies” at a February 6, 2014, Subcommittee hearing:
Here is the exchange:
Ms. Mitchell: We want to get to the bottom of how these coincidences happened, and we’re going to try to figure out whether any – if there was any staff of this committee that might have been involved in putting True the Vote on the radar screen of some of these Federal agencies. We don’t know that, but we – we’re going to do everything we can do to try to get to the bottom of how did this all happen.
Mr. Cummings. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. Meadows. Yes.
Mr. Cummings. I want to thank the gentleman for his courtesy. What she just said is absolutely incorrect and not true.
Click here for a copy of the letter from the Chairman and five Subcommittee Chairman to Ranking Member Cummings.
Click here for documents about Cummings’ interactions with the IRS about a targeted conservative organization.
Top Democrat Elijah Cummings faces up to five years in prison for his criminal actions.