Federal Sources Say FBI Investigation Into Htlery’s Emails Is A Criminal Probe

FBI Investigation Of Hillary’s Emails Is ‘Criminal Probe’ – New York Post

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The FBI investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s unsecured e-mail account is not just a fact-finding venture – it’s a criminal probe, sources told The Post on Wednesday.

The feds are investigating to what extent Clinton relied on her home server and other private devices to send and store classified documents, according to a federal source with knowledge of the inquiry.

“It’s definitely a criminal probe,” said the source. “I’m not sure why they’re not calling it a criminal probe.

“The DOJ [Department of Justice] and FBI can conduct civil investigations in very limited circumstances,” but that’s not what this is, the source stressed. “In this case, a security violation would lead to criminal charges. Maybe DOJ is trying to protect her campaign.”

Clinton’s camp has downplayed the inquiry as civil and fact-finding in nature. Clinton herself has said she is “confident” that she never knowingly sent or received anything that was classified.

The inspector general for the intelligence community has told Congress that of 40 Clinton e-mails randomly reviewed as a sample of her correspondence as secretary of state, four contained classified information.

If Clinton is proven to have knowingly sent, received or stored classified information in an unauthorized location, she risks prosecution under the same misdemeanor federal security statute used to prosecute former CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus, said former federal prosecutor Bradley Simon.

The statute – which was also used to prosecute Bill Clinton’s national security adviser, Sandy Berger, in 2005, is rarely used and would be subject to the discretion of the attorney general.

Still, “They didn’t hesitate to charge Gen. Petraeus with doing the same thing, downloading documents that are classified,” Simon said. “The threshold under the statute is not high – they only need to prove there was an unauthorized removal and retention” of classified material, he said.

Clinton’s lawyer in the e-mail probe is longtime Bill Clinton attorney David Kendall, who also repped Petraeus, who pled guilty earlier this year to providing classified documents to his mistress biographer.

“My guess is they’re looking to see if there’s been either any breach of that data that’s gone into the wrong hands [in Clinton’s case], through their counter-intelligence group, or they are looking to see if a crime has been committed,” said Makin Delrahim, former chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, who served as a deputy assistant secretary in the Bush DOJ.

“They’re not in the business of providing advisory security services,” Delrahim said of the FBI. “This is real.”

The Clinton campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Wisconsin Supreme Court FINALLY Stops Nazistic John Doe Investigation Against Conservatives

Wisconsin Supreme Court Stops John Doe Investigation Against Conservatives – Legal Insurrection

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The Wisconsin Supreme Court has effectively killed the “John Doe” case which led to home raids and intimidation of a wide range of Wisconsin conservative activists.

The decision is embedded at the bottom of this post.

Here is the key finding, which completely shreds both the legal theories and motives of the prosecutors, completely vindicates the targets, and praises those who fought back legally against prosecutorial misconduct (emphasis added):

¶133 Our lengthy discussion of these three cases can be distilled into a few simple, but important, points. It is utterly clear that the special prosecutor has employed theories of law that do not exist in order to investigate citizens who were wholly innocent of any wrongdoing. In other words, the special prosecutor was the instigator of a “perfect storm” of wrongs that was visited upon the innocent Unnamed Movants and those who dared to associate with them. It is fortunate, indeed, for every other citizen of this great State who is interested in the protection of fundamental liberties that the special prosecutor chose as his targets innocent citizens who had both the will and the means to fight the unlimited resources of an unjust prosecution. Further, these brave individuals played a crucial role in presenting this court with an opportunity to re-endorse its commitment to upholding the fundamental right of each and every citizen to engage in lawful political activity and to do so free from the fear of the tyrannical retribution of arbitrary or capricious governmental prosecution. Let one point be clear: our conclusion today ends this unconstitutional John Doe investigation.

Andrew Grossman, who filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case and who has served as counsel to Eric O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth (two of the targets of the investigation) in various federal civil rights litigation against the prosecutors, provided me with the following statement:

Today’s decision puts an end to one of the worst abuses of power ever seen in Wisconsin law enforcement. The next step will be holding those responsible accountable for their actions. The Court’s recognition that the John Doe was a politically motivated “dragnet” of Gov. Walker’s allies provides strong support for Cindy Archer’s civil rights action against the Milwaukee prosecutors and lawsuits by potentially any of the other John Doe targets.

Background on John Doe abuses:

We have been covering the John Doe cases for a year and a half. You can read all out posts in the John Doe (WI) Tag.

Here are some key posts:

* Revealed: Wisconsin John Doe investigation was full-blown anti-conservative fishing expedition
* Exposed: How Prosecutors targeted Scott Walker and conservatives
* Was Prosecutor’s union-operative wife behind “John Doe” investigation of Scott Walker?
* Wisconsin “John Doe” War on Walker wins “Nastiest Political Tactic of the Year”
* Wisconsin Dems used battering rams against Scott Walker supporters – literally
* Former Scott Walker Aide Sues prosecutors for WI John Doe “Home Invasion”

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Analysis:

The court found that Wisconsin statutes did not limit “issue advocacy,” and that any attempt to so limit speech was unconstitutional:

¶7 We can resolve the original action, Two Unnamed Petitioners, by first examining whether the statutory definitions of “committee,” “contributions,” “disbursements,” and “political purposes” in Wis. Stat. §§ 11.01(4), (6), (7), and (16) are limited to express advocacy[4] or whether they encompass the conduct of coordination between a candidate or a campaign committee and an independent organization that engages in issue advocacy. Second, if the definitions extend to issue advocacy coordination, what then constitutes prohibited “coordination?”

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¶41 We turn first to Two Unnamed Petitioners, the original action filed with the Wisconsin Supreme Court. This case requires us to interpret Wisconsin’s campaign finance law, Wis. Stat. Ch. 11. By its very nature, this task involves fundamental questions regarding the scope of the government’s ability to regulate political speech. To resolve this case, we must engage in statutory interpretation of the phrase “political purposes,” which includes all activities “done for the purpose of influencing [an] election.” Wis. Stat. § 11.01(16). We conclude, consistent with the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 3 of the Wisconsin Constitution, that the plain language of “political purposes” in Wis. Stat. § 11.01(16) is unconstitutionally overbroad and vague if it is not given a limiting construction and applied to only express advocacy and its functional equivalent. This conclusion invalidates the special prosecutor’s theory of the case and ends the John Doe investigation. Therefore, we agree with the Unnamed Movants and grant their requested relief.

The Court ripped into the investigating prosecutors (emphasis added):

¶68 Having reached our conclusion about the scope of conduct regulated by Chapter 11, we now turn to the special prosecutor’s theories of coordination and whether the alleged conduct is regulated under Wisconsin law.[23] The special prosecutor has disregarded the vital principle that in our nation and our state political speech is a fundamental right and is afforded the highest level of protection. The special prosecutor’s theories, rather than “assur[ing] [the] unfettered interchange of ideas for the bringing about of political and social changes desired by the people,” Roth, 354 U.S. at 484, instead would assure that such political speech will be investigated with paramilitary-style home invasions conducted in the pre-dawn hours and then prosecuted and punished. In short, the special prosecutor completely ignores the command that, when seeking to regulate issue advocacy groups, such regulation must be done with “narrow specificity.” Barland II, 751 F.3d at 811 (quotations omitted).

¶69 The limiting construction that we apply makes clear that the special prosecutor’s theories are unsupportable in law given that the theories rely on overbroad and vague statutes. By limiting the definition of “political purposes” to express advocacy and its functional equivalent, political speech continues to be protected as a fundamental First Amendment right.

The court made clear the investigation was stopped cold in its tracks:

¶76 To be clear, this conclusion ends the John Doe investigation because the special prosecutor’s legal theory is unsupported in either reason or law. Consequently, the investigation is closed. Consistent with our decision and the order entered by Reserve Judge Peterson, we order that the special prosecutor and the district attorneys involved in this investigation must cease all activities related to the investigation, return all property seized in the investigation from any individual or organization, and permanently destroy all copies of information and other materials obtained through the investigation. All Unnamed Movants are relieved of any duty to cooperate further with the investigation.

The Court went on in addition to uphold a lower court’s quashing of a subpoenas and search warrants sought by the prosecutors, finding that the John Doe powers did not allow “a fishing expedition”:

¶91 Reasonableness and particularity are not just requirements of search warrants, however. Subpoenas issued by courts, and by extension John Doe judges, must also satisfy these requirements of the Fourth Amendment. In re John Doe Proceeding, 272 Wis. 2d 208, ¶38. A John Doe proceeding, with its broad investigatory powers, must never be allowed to become a fishing expedition.

¶92 It is difficult, if not impossible, to overstate the importance of the role of the John Doe judge. If he does not conduct the investigation fairly, as a neutral and detached magistrate, the risk of harm to innocent targets of the investigation-and we remain mindful that all such targets are presumed innocent-is too great. Through the use of a John Doe proceeding, “law enforcement officers are able to obtain the benefit of powers not otherwise available to them, i.e., the power to subpoena witnesses, to take testimony under oath, and to compel the testimony of a reluctant witness.” Washington, 83 Wis. 2d at 822-23. Such powers, if not wielded with care and skill may serve to transform a John Doe proceeding into an implement of harassment and persecution by a vengeful or unethical prosecutor. Thus, John Doe judges must be mindful of this danger and zealously guard the rights of all citizens against over-reach.

The Court then summarized its holdings, just so there was no doubt that it had completely rejected the prosecutors’ legal theory on coordination of issue advocacy (emphasis added):

¶133 Our lengthy discussion of these three cases can be distilled into a few simple, but important, points. It is utterly clear that the special prosecutor has employed theories of law that do not exist in order to investigate citizens who were wholly innocent of any wrongdoing. In other words, the special prosecutor was the instigator of a “perfect storm” of wrongs that was visited upon the innocent Unnamed Movants and those who dared to associate with them. It is fortunate, indeed, for every other citizen of this great State who is interested in the protection of fundamental liberties that the special prosecutor chose as his targets innocent citizens who had both the will and the means to fight the unlimited resources of an unjust prosecution. Further, these brave individuals played a crucial role in presenting this court with an opportunity to re-endorse its commitment to upholding the fundamental right of each and every citizen to engage in lawful political activity and to do so free from the fear of the tyrannical retribution of arbitrary or capricious governmental prosecution. Let one point be clear: our conclusion today ends this unconstitutional John Doe investigation.

¶134 In Two Unnamed Petitioners, we hold that the definition of “political purposes” in Wis. Stat. § 11.01(16) is unconstitutionally overbroad and vague under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 3 of the Wisconsin Constitution because its language “‘is so sweeping that its sanctions may be applied to constitutionally protected conduct which the state is not permitted to regulate.’” Janssen, 219 Wis. 2d at 374 (quoting Bachowski, 139 Wis. 2d at 411). However, a readily available limiting construction exists that we will apply and that will prevent the chilling of otherwise protected speech; namely, that “political purposes” is limited to express advocacy and its functional equivalent as those terms are defined in Buckley and WRTL II. With this limiting construction in place, Chapter 11 does not proscribe any of the alleged conduct of any of the Unnamed Movants. The special prosecutor has not alleged any express advocacy, and issue advocacy, whether coordinated or not, is “beyond the reach of [Ch. 11].” Barland II, 751 F.3d at 815. Accordingly, we invalidate the special prosecutor’s theory of the case, and we grant the relief requested by the Unnamed Movants.

¶135 To be clear, this conclusion ends the John Doe investigation because the special prosecutor’s legal theory is unsupported in either reason or law. Consequently, the investigation is closed. Consistent with our decision and the order entered by Reserve Judge Peterson, we order that the special prosecutor and the district attorneys involved in this investigation must cease all activities related to the investigation, return all property seized in the investigation from any individual or organization, and permanently destroy all copies of information and other materials obtained through the investigation. All Unnamed Movants are relieved of any duty to cooperate further with the investigation.

Wisconsin Supreme Court – John Doe Decision

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Governor Bobby Jindal Announces Planned Parenthood Investigation, Halts Licenses For New Abortion Clinic

Jindal Announces Planned Parenthood Investigation, Halts Licenses For New Abortion Clinic – Big Government

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Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal announced Tuesday he is directing his state’s Department of Health and Hospitals to launch an investigation into Planned Parenthood. This comes on the heels of the release of an investigative video by pro-life group Center for Medical Progress depicting the abortion giant’s chief medical officer speaking about how to abort a baby intact to harvest its body parts for sale.

“Today’s video of a Planned Parenthood official discussing the systematic harvesting and trafficking of human body parts is shocking and gruesome,” Jindal, a Republican presidential contender, said in a statement sent to Breitbart News.

“This same organization is seeking to open an abortion clinic in New Orleans,” he continued. “I have instructed Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals to conduct an immediate investigation into this alleged evil and illegal activity and to not issue any licenses until this investigation is complete. I am also asking the FBI to assist DHH in investigating this alleged criminal activity by this organization.”

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Cruz Calls For ‘Immediate’ Investigation Into Planned Parenthood – The Hill

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is calling for a full investigation into Planned Parenthood after a high-level official was caught in an undercover video discussing the harvesting of aborted fetal tissue.

“Congress should immediately begin an investigation of Planned Parenthood’s activities regarding the sale and transfer of aborted body parts, including who is obtaining them and what they are being used for,” Cruz wrote in a statement late Tuesday.

The now-viral video, which was created by an anti-abortion group called the Center for Medical Progress, has inflamed conservatives on Capitol Hill since it surfaced early Tuesday. He is the third GOP White House hopeful to condemn the reported trafficking of “fetal parts.”

Earlier Tuesday, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, also a Republican, charged his state health department with investigating the issue.

Planned Parenthood, which receives some of its funding from the federal government, has acknowledged that the video includes one of its executives but denied that she was discussing the sale of fetal tissue. Instead, the group said she was “speculating on the range of reimbursement that patients can receive after stating they wish to donate any tissue after a procedure.”

Cruz also renewed calls for lawmakers to “fully defund” Planned Parenthood, a long-time rallying cry among anti-abortion Republicans.

“There is no place for taxpayer funding of organizations that profit from taking away innocent life, much less profiting off the bodies of the lives they have stolen,” he wrote in a statement.

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Hitlery’s State Department Accused Of Covering Up Sex Crimes Investigation (Video)

Ugly: State Department Scandal Deepens Amidst New Sordid Allegations – Townhall

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To be clear, we’re talking about the most recent mess at State – not the lethal parade of failures known as “Benghazi.” Keeping these scandals straight is getting exhausting. Katie wrote yesterday about CBS News’ report on damning findings of an Inspector General investigation into Hillary Clinton’s State Department. The basics:

CBS News has uncovered documents that show the State Department may have covered up allegations of illegal and inappropriate behavior within their ranks. The Diplomatic Security Service, or the DSS, is the State Department’s security force, charged with protecting the secretary of state and U.S. ambassadors overseas and with investigating any cases of misconduct on the part of the 70,000 State Department employees worldwide… according to an internal State Department Inspector General’s memo, several recent investigations were influenced, manipulated, or simply called off. The memo obtained by CBS News cited eight specific examples. Among them: allegations that a State Department security official in Beirut “engaged in sexual assaults” on foreign nationals hired as embassy guards and the charge and that members of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s security detail “engaged prostitutes while on official trips in foreign countries” – a problem the report says was “endemic.” The memo also reveals details about an “underground drug ring” was operating near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and supplied State Department security contractors with drugs.

So we have a drug ring, an “endemic” prostitution problem among Hillary Clinton’s security detail, and pattern of alleged sexual assault in Beirut (where, by the way, our embassy astoundingly isn’t up to snuff on security measures), investigations into which were manipulated or terminated by State Department higher-ups. As we know from the Benghazi matter, they’re hyper-sensitive about bad political optics. The CBS News story also mentioned the IG’s discovery that one US Ambassador “routinely ditched” security to solicit prostitutes in a public park. The Ambassador in question was recalled to Washington, then sent on his merry way by by Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy – a familiar name from the Benghazi imbroglio. It gets worse. The ambassador in question is also alleged to have solicited sexual acts from “minor children,” according to NBC News:

The ambassador who came under investigation “routinely ditched his protective security detail in order to solicit sexual favors from both prostitutes and minor children,” according to documents obtained by NBC News…Former State Department investigator Aurelia Fedenisn has said that investigators dropped the ball in the case, and that a final report published in March of this year was “watered down,” according to her attorney. “She felt it was important that Congress get this information,” Fedenisn’s lawyer Cary Schulman told NBC News.

Did the State Department keep a known (or at least heavily suspected) pedophile on the job, try to block the investigation, then “water down” the final report? State denies any undue influence on internal probes, and the ambassador is decrying the allegations “smears.” Who is he? The New York Post unearths a name with deep financial ties to President Obama and Democrats:

A DS agent was called off a case against US Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman over claims that he solicited prostitutes, including minors. “The ambassador’s protective detail and the embassy’s surveillance detection team… were well aware of the behavior.” Undersecretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy ordered the investigation ceased, and the ambassador remains in place, according to the memo. Gutman was a big Democratic donor before taking the post, having raised $500,000 for President Obama’s 2008 campaign and helping finance his inaugural.

Why did Kennedy “order the investigation ceased”? The Post story also notes that Clinton’s Secretary of State Cheryl Mills – you remember her, too, right? – personally involved herself in a separate investigation, effectively shutting it down.

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26 States Call For Investigation Of Obama’s Executive Amnesty Scheme And Federal Court Perjury

26 States Want Investigation Of Obama’s Amnesty – Daily Caller

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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is asking a judge to allow an investigation of the closed-door workings of President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty, following the discovery that 100,000 illegal immigrants had secretly been given three-year amnesty documents well before a promised start date.

“The Obama Administration appears to have already been issuing expanded work permits, in direct contradiction to what they told a federal judge previously in this litigation,” Paxton said in a Thursday statement describing his legal request, which was signed by the governors or attorneys general of 26 states.

“The circumstances behind this must be investigated, and the motion we seek would help us determine to what extent the Administration might have misrepresented the facts in this case,” he added.

The judge has frozen Obama’s amnesty since Feb. 16, pending the future decisions of appeals court judges. Without the judge’s decision, Obama’s deputies already would be preparing work permits and tax rebates for illegals.

Paxton’s hardball response was cheered by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. ”I commend Attorney General Paxton for continuing to hold the Obama Administration accountable, and I’m confident an investigation would find the Administration knowingly or recklessly misled a Federal Court in issuing thousands of amnesty documents illegally,” he said Thursday.

“President Obama has continued to show complete disregard for the Rule of Law by acting beyond his Constitutional authority at every stage of this process,” he added.

The judge, Andrew Hanen, showed his skepticism about the administration in a 2014 case, when he said border officers were being used by the administration to illegally transfer foreign children from Central America to their parents living illegally in U.S. cities.

On Feb. 16, Hanen froze Obama’s two-part amnesty, which was intended to provide residency, work permits and tax rebates to at least four million illegals, after concluding it likely violated the federal government’s rule-making process.

The amnesty for roughly 1 million younger illegals is called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and it was launched in June 2012, five months before the 2012 election. Obama’s November amnesty extends the work permits given to the younger illegals from two years to three years.

The amnesty for roughly 4 million parent illegals is called DAPA, or Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents. Obama’s plan would give them work permits, tax rebates, Social Security numbers, drivers’ license and a fast-track to citizenship.

In November, administration statements had declared it would not start the DACA upgrade until Feb. 18, and would not start the DAPA amnesty until in May 2015. On Jan. 15, Obama’s lawyer told the judge that “no applications for the revised DACA… would be accepted until the 18th of February.”

But Obama’s deputies were already handing out the three-year DACA amnesties. By mid-February, 100,000 three-year amnesties had been given to illegals who had received two-year amnesties in 2012 or 2013.

On March 3, Obama’s lawyers admitted to the judge that officials had already given the three-year DACA amnesties to 100,000 people, according to a March 4 article in the Washington Examiner.

“Out of an abundance of caution, however, Defendants wish to bring one issue to the Court’s attention,” said the administration’s document given to the judge. “Between November 24, 2014 and the issuance of the Court’s [Feb. 16] Order, USCIS granted three-year periods of deferred action to approximately 100,000 individuals who had requested deferred action under the original 2012 DACA guidelines.”

The officials excused the deception by claiming that the announced Feb. 18 start date “may have led to confusion about when USCIS had begun providing three-year terms of deferred action to individuals already eligible for deferred action under 2012 DACA.”

The administration’s “confusion” was exposed March 3, the same day that top GOP leaders allied with Democrats to pressure GOP legislators to pass a budget bill for the Department of Homeland Security. The budget did pass, and it doesn’t block funding for Obama’s unpopular and possibly illegal amnesty.

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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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The Leftist Douchebaggery Continues Unabated In Wisconsin (Videos)

Former Prosecutor Says Wisconsin Investigation Fueled By “Hyper-Partisan” DA And Union Activist Wife – Hot Air

Last we checked on Gov. Scott Walker, he was (a) knotted in the polls with his Democratic challenger, and (b) fending off mind-bendingly dishonest media coverage of the scurrilous investigation into Wisconsin conservative groups – which has been summarily thrown out of court by two different judges. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals took up the ‘Joe Doe’ circus yesterday, as twice-thwarted prosecutors sought to have their secret probe reinstated; lawyers for the Wisconsin Club for Growth, one of the targeted organizations, argued that a scathing lower court ruling shutting down the investigation and exposing the prosecutors to misconduct lawsuits ought to be be upheld. A press account of Tuesday’s oral arguments said the judges, “repeatedly quizzed lawyers… why the federal courts should weigh in on a state investigation” at all. Leading up to the proceedings, former FEC official Hans Von Spakovsky penned an op/ed in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel spelling out what’s at stake in the case:

The fact that such a secret persecution of citizen advocacy organizations even occurred ought to be an embarrassment to a state that prides itself on being a progressive bastion of individual freedom. It is more reminiscent of a banana republic than the world’s foremost democracy… The [conservative] group’s supposed “crime” was coordinating its efforts on public policy issues with elected officials such as Gov. Scott Walker and with other conservative advocacy organizations. This resulted in SWAT-like raids in the middle of the night by armed law enforcement officials to seize “evidence,” as if these organizations were dangerous drug cartels or mob operations. Last week, I joined three other former members of the Federal Election Commission in filing an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief for the organizations unfairly targeted.

Based on our extensive experience interpreting federal campaign finance law, we argue that issue advocacy is at the core of our rights to free speech, to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. The right of citizens and their membership associations to directly engage elected leaders is all the more important on politically charged questions of public policy. Such collaboration is the norm in the political arena, where there is extensive interaction between citizens groups and elected officials about proposed legislation. In fact, such coordination is vital to a functioning democracy… I hope that the civil rights lawsuit filed against these prosecutors is successful and results in a large judgment that deters this type of investigation from ever happening again.

As we await the panel’s ruling – which is expected before the upcoming elections – a new report from respected journalist and Brookings senior fellow Stuart Taylor, Jr. sheds fresh light on the possible motivations behind the whole imbroglio. According to a source described as a former prosecutor with firsthand knowledge of the investigation’s inner workings, Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisolm’s efforts have been driven by intense partisanship. The source says Chisolm’s wife is a fanatical anti-Walker agitator, and assesses the entire inquiry as a vindictive political crusade:

A longtime Chisholm subordinate reveals for the first time in this article that the district attorney may have had personal motivations for his investigation. Chisholm told him and others that Chisholm’s wife, Colleen, a teacher’s union shop steward at St. Francis high school, a public school near Milwaukee, had been repeatedly moved to tears by Walker’s anti-union policies in 2011, according to the former staff prosecutor in Chisholm’s office. Chisholm said in the presence of the former prosecutor that his wife “frequently cried when discussing the topic of the union disbanding and the effect it would have on the people involved… She took it personally.” Citing fear of retaliation, the former prosecutor declined to be identified and has not previously talked to reporters. Chisholm added, according to that prosecutor, that “he felt that it was his personal duty to stop Walker from treating people like this.” Chisholm was referring to Gov. Walker’s proposal – passed by the legislature in March 2011 – to require public employee unions to contribute to their retirement and health-care plans for the first time and limited unions’ ability to bargain for non-wage benefits.

This former Chisolm associate goes on to allege that the culture within his office was about as far removed from the paradigm of impartial law enforcement as could be imagined:

Chisholm said his wife had joined teachers union demonstrations against Walker, said the former prosecutor. The 2011 political storm over public unions was unlike any previously seen in Wisconsin…Chisholm’s private displays of partisan animus stunned the former prosecutor. “I admired him [Chisholm] greatly up until this whole thing started,” the former prosecutor said. “But once this whole matter came up, it was surprising how almost hyper-partisan he became… It was amazing… to see this complete change.” The culture in the Milwaukee district attorney’s office was stoutly Democratic, the former prosecutor said, and become more so during Gov. Walker’s battle with the unions. Chisholm “had almost like an anti-Walker cabal of people in his office who were just fanatical about union activities and unionizing. And a lot of them went up and protested. They hung those blue fists on their office walls [to show solidarity with union protestors] …At the same time, if you had some opposing viewpoints that you wished to express, it was absolutely not allowed.”

Read Taylor’s whole story, which traces the history of the ‘John Doe’ campaign finance probe and describes the pair of lower court decisions that lowered the boom on overzealous prosecutors. Not one person has been charged throughout the ordeal (let alone indicted or convicted), and prosecutors admit that Walker hasn’t even been served with a single subpoena. Meanwhile, conservatives in Wisconsin say the groundless, never-ending, punitive, secret investigation has frozen them into a state of paralysis, which they argue is a clear violation of their rights. President Obama’s former White House counsel appears to agree:

Bob Bauer, one of the nation’s leading election law experts, counters that however valid the reformers’ concerns may be, the Wisconsin investigation raises important constitutional and policy issues. “There are serious problems with the effort to prohibit or limit issue ad coordination,” Bauer said. “I’m very wary of using the criminal law to enforce them.” Punishing coordination, Bauer said, would “drive apart natural allies who should be free to collaborate on common political goals.” …Since Bauer served as President Obama’s White House Counsel, he cannot be discounted as a conservative partisan.

This is only the latest skirmish in the Left’s apparent campaign to criminalize political disagreement – ranging from a proposed Constitutional amendment restricting political speech, to an endless ‘Bridgegate’-to-nowhere investigation in New Jersey, to the utterly preposterous indictments against Texas Gov. Rick Perry. If these tactics prove successful, what’s to stop agenda-driven prosecutors in heavily partisan jurisdictions from routinely cooking up criminal inquiries and charges for the sole purpose of hanging a dark cloud over a rival politician during an election season? By the time the target has time to clear his or her name, the political damage has been done. The attack ads already aired. The people already voted (see: Stevens, Ted and DeLay, Tom). Genuine public corruption is a scourge that must be rooted out, but abusing the legal system to harass and silence ideological opponents is disgraceful. I’ll leave you with one of Walker’s latest ads touting Wisconsin’s job growth, followed by an RGA hit on Mary Burke:

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Democrats are now seizing on new projections of a future structural deficit – estimated to emerge between 2015 and 2017 – to pummel Walker. These gripes come from the same people who left Wisconsin drowning in a $3.6 billion sea of red ink, which Walker has mopped up by reducing spending and reforming the budget, all while lowering taxes across the board. A Republican member of the state’s Joint Finance Committee offers a six-point primer on what Democrats won’t mention as they fulminate about potential structural deficits, which they suddenly care about very deeply. His first point: Walker and the Republican legislature have produced a string balanced budgets, leading to a sizable surplus and a robust rainy day fund. These latest projections employ a static analysis that assumes no efforts will be undertaken to adapt, respond, and achieve balance.

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Corruption Update: Wisconsin John Doe Investigation Was Full-Blown Anti-Conservative Fishing Expedition

Revealed: Wisconsin John Doe Investigation Was Full-Blown Anti-Conservative Fishing Expedition – Legal Insurrection

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We’ve covered the abusive anti-conservative Wisconsin “John Doe” proceedings many times before.

The short story is that two separate proceedings were commenced under the auspices of Democratic District Attorneys in order to try to take down Scott Walker.

John Doe No. 1 concerned Walker’s time as County Executive and ended without finding any wrongdoing by Walker himself.

John Doe No. 2 concerned Walker’s time as Governor and recall election. Both a state court judge and a federal judge found that even if everything the investigators claimed was true, it was not illegal. This John Doe No. 2 resulted in a federal lawsuit by two of the targets alleging that the investigators violated the targets’ constitutional rights.

Some documents released Friday by the federal Court of Appeals reveal just how abusive this John Doe No. 2 was.

The investigators conducted a widespread fishing expedition through the otherwise private records of numerous conservative activists, as described by M.D. Kittle of Wisconsin Reporter, who has followed the case more closely than anyone (h/t Instapundit):

‘Retaliation’: Docs show state prosecutors’ launched mini-NSA probe of state conservatives

Conservative targets of a Democrat-launched John Doe investigation have described the secret probe as a witch hunt.

That might not be a big enough descriptor, based on records released Friday by a federal appeals court as part of a massive document dump.

Attorneys for conservative activist Eric O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth point to subpoenas requested by John Doe prosecutors that sought records from “at least eight phone companies” believed to serve the targets of the investigation. O’Keefe and the club have filed a civil rights lawsuit against John Doe prosecutors, alleging they violated conservatives’ First Amendment rights.

Subpoenas also demanded the conservatives’ bank records, “emails from every major private email provider” and other information in what some have described as a mini-NSA (National Security Agency) operation in Wisconsin.

“In fact, Defendants’ submissions confirm and expand upon the scope and intensity of retaliation previously demonstrated,” O’Keefe’s attorney wrote in documents ordered unsealed by the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

The documents raise serious concerns about the tactics of Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, two of his assistant DAs and others involved in the investigation targeting dozens of conservatives.

We are in a dangerous place when prosecutors can identify the target first, and then try to find a crime.

Hey Wisconsin conservatives. You’re not paranoid, Democrats really are out to get you.

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Lois Lerner’s Former FEC Deputy Under Investigation For Illegal Political Activities Has Emails Go Missing

Lois Lerner’s Former FEC Colleague Has Emails Go Missing Too – Daily Caller

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The Federal Election Commission recycled the computer hard drive of April Sands – a former co-worker of Lois Lerner’s – hindering an investigation into Sands’ partisan political activities, according to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Sands resigned from the Federal Election Commission in April after she admitted to violating the Hatch Act, which bars executive branch employees from engaging in partisan political activities on federal time and at federal facilities.

The twist is that Sands also worked under Lois Lerner when the ex-IRS agent – who is currently embroiled in a scandal over the targeting of conservative political groups – worked at the FEC’s enforcement division.

In a letter to FEC chairman Lee Goodman, committee chairman Darrell Issa and committee member Jim Jordan laid out Sands’ partisan activities and asked for records pertaining to the recycling of her hard drive and of the agency’s records retention policies.

Sands took part in a heavily partisan online webcam discussion from FEC offices and also operated a Twitter account with the handle @ReignOfApril which were sent during Sands’ normal working hours.

One of Sands’ tweets, from June 4, 2012 read “I just don’t understand how anyone but straight white men can vote Republican. What kind of delusional rhetorical [sic] does one use?”

Sands is a black female.

“Dear every single Republican ever, When will U learn that Barack Hussein Obama is simply smarter than U? Stand down, Signed #Obama2012 #p2,” Sands wrote on May 1, 2012.

In a message from Aug. 25, 2012, Sands called Republicans her “enemy.”

In others, Sands issued fundraising pleas on behalf of Obama. “Our #POTUS’s birthday is August 4. He’ll be 51. I’m donating $51 to give him the best birthday present ever: a second term,” she wrote on July 18, 2012.

“The bias in these messages is striking, especially for an attorney charged with the responsibility to enforce federal election laws fairly and dispassionately,” read the committee’s letter to Goodman, an Obama appointee.

The FEC’s Office of Inspector General sought to conduct a criminal investigation into Sands’ activities but were stymied when they found that the agency had recycled her computer hard drive.

“Therefore the OIG was unable to show that Ms. Sands’ solicitations and political activity were done from an FEC computer,” reads the letter.

Because of this, the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Columbia declined criminal prosecution.

“The FEC’s failure to retain Ms. Sands’ hard drive prevented the FEC OIG from fully pursuing appropriate criminal sanctions for Ms. Sands’ admitted violation of federal law,” wrote Issa and Jordan.

“Like the IRS’s destruction of Lois Lerner’s hard drive, the FEC’s recycling of Ms. Sands’ hard drive may have also destroyed material responsive to Freedom of Information Act and congressional oversight requests,” the letter continued.

Lerner’s computer hard drive crashed in the middle of 2011, right around the time that questions were being raised over whether the IRS’s enforcement agency was targeting conservative non-profit groups while considering whether to grant them tax-exempt status.

News of the loss of Lerner’s emails was only made public last month, much to the frustration of Issa and the Oversight Committee.

Though it is unclear whether Sands and Lerner communicated after Lerner’s move to the FEC, the Oversight Committee letter points out that Lerner was known to have communicated with other FEC employees after her switch. That correspondence included the sharing of information protected by section 6103 of the tax code, the letter notes.

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*AUDIO* Mark Levin Calls Out GOP Over Incompetent IRS Investigation


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Stupefying – U.S. Army Won’t Interview Bowe Bergdahl As Part Of Its Investigation Into His Desertion

US Army Won’t Interview Bergdahl As Part Of Investigation Into His Disappearance – Downtrend

I’m neither a military intelligence expert nor a seasoned investigator, but it seems to me that the best way to get to the bottom of things is to interview the parties involved. That will not be the case in the controversial disappearance of Bowe Bergdahl as the Army has said it will not be speaking to him as part of their probe.

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A US Army statement reads in part:

The primary function of this investigation, as in any other investigation, is to ascertain facts and report them to the appointing authority. These types of investigations are not uncommon and serve to establish the facts on the ground following an incident. The investigating officer will have access to previously gathered documentary evidence, including the 2009 investigation.

The Army’s top priority remains Sgt. Bergdahl’s health and reintegration. We ask that everyone respect the time and privacy necessary to accomplish the objectives of the last phase of reintegration. The investigating officer will not interview Sgt. Bergdahl until the reintegration team clears such interaction, so no timeline for completion of the investigation has been set.

Considering there is compelling evidence that Bergdahl not only left his post and renounced his citizenship, but also converted to Islam and helped the Taliban, I’m wondering why the Army isn’t interrogating him as a possible enemy combatant.

It is curious as to why officials seem to be treating Begdahl with kid gloves. Why is there so much concern for his health when he appears to be perfectly healthy? The Obama administration said they had to pull the trigger on the deal because he was gravely ill, yet he seems fine. Reports out of Germany were he was healthy. Upon transfer to Texas; same thing. He’s A-OK.

Now, because they are still worried about his health, they’re not going to talk to him about why he abandoned his post? Rather than try to get his side of the story, the Army is focused on reintegrating him to society. This story just keeps getting fishier.

This action, or inaction as it were, reeks of intervention from the top. No doubt, from the Commander-In-Chief himself. Obama wants to mitigate the embarrassment of an already embarrassing situation. Two things have to happen for this not to blow up in Obama’s face: the 5 Taliban fighters traded for Bergdahl have to remain off the battlefield, and Bergdahl has to be proven a hero.

Since 4 out of the 5 Taliban fighters have publicly stated they will take up arms again, Obama’s only hope is to show America that Bergdahl was not a deserter and that he “served with distinction.”

Bergdahl has clearly lost his mind, so the administration does not want any of his statements to become a matter of public record. The best way for that to happen is to not interview him and keep him isolated while he is “reintegrated.” I’m guessing this is a process that will last until after the mid-term elections.

I think it is painfully obvious that this investigation into the disappearance has already been drawn up by Obama. All damning evidence will be ignored and Bergdahl will not be given the opportunity to incriminate himself.

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Senator Ted Cruz Verbally Bitchslaps FBI Director Over IRS Investigation (Video)

Sen. Ted Cruz Grills FBI Director In IRS Investigation – Right Scoop

Sen. Ted Cruz went after FBI Director James Comey, who promised a year ago that the IRS investigation would be a very high priority. Yet today, as Comey sits before the Senate Judiciary Committee, he won’t answer whether a single person has been interviewed or, really, much else about the investigation, hiding behind the fact that it’s an ‘ongoing investigation’.

What I like about this clip is the passion with which Cruz questions the FBI Director.

He also hits back at Leahy, the committee chair, when he’s basically told to accept the witness’ non-answer. Cruz pretty much tells Leahy that he can accept the FBI Director’s answer if he wants, and he understand the non-answer might be good enough for them because many Democrats don’t really care about getting answers in the IRS investigation. Leahy noted that his motives had nothing to do with it, but that the non-answer given by Comey was appropriate. Cruz fired back, to make his point, that when he sought to criminalize the targeting of anyone by the IRS based on their political views, Democrats on that committee voted it down.

Watch:

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Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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War Hero Congressman Calls Out Democrats For Their “Fake Outrage” Over Benghazi Investigation (Video)

GOP Rep. Sternly Lectures Democrats On The Lessons He Learned In The Army During Impassioned House Floor Speech On Benghazi – The Blaze

Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) blasted Democrats for expressing “fake outrage” and claiming the investigation into the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi is purely political. He cited some of the “lessons” he learned while serving in the Army to make his point.

“A couple lessons I learned in the Army were you moved to the sound of gunfire and the most important step in the troop leading procedures is to supervise the execution of you orders,” he said. “When Americans were fighting for their lives in Benghazi, Barack Obama did neither. He sent no quick reaction force and didn’t even stay in the situation room to supervise the execution of his orders. We expect more from the lieutenants in the army than our president gave us that night.”

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Cotton accused the Obama administration of covering up the president’s “failure of leadership by stonewalling.” However, Congress is determined to uncover the truth, he added.

Democrats “express great outrage at politicizing” Benghazi, he continued. However, he suggested their outrage is extremely selective.

“When I was leading troops in Iraq in 2006, men and women who were being shot at and blown up by al Qaeda, where was the outrage as they fundraised endlessly off the Iraq war?” he asked. “Where was the outrage as they viciously attacked our commanders? Where was the outrage when they said soldiers were war criminals? Where was the outrage when they said the war was lost? Where was the outrage when they said only high school dropouts join the Army?”

The congressman then revealed one more lesson he learned while in the Army: We leave no man behind. And we will not leave these four men behind.”

The Washington Free Beacon has the video:

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Related video:

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As DOJ Tries To Stop Florida From Purging Ineligible Voters From Rolls, Investigation Reveals Voter Fraud

TV Investigation Reveals Florida Voter Fraud, While DOJ Tries To Stop Florida From Purging Ineligible Voters From Rolls – Weasel Zippers

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Via Judicial Watch:

While the Obama Justice Department mounts a legal challenge against Florida for purging ineligible voters from its rolls, a television news station broadcasts an unbelievable segment that proves non U.S. citizens living in the Sunshine State vote regularly in elections.

The investigative piece was aired this week by an NBC affiliate in southwest Florida that actually tracked down and interviewed non U.S. citizens who are registered to vote and have cast ballots in numerous elections. The segment focused on Lee County, which has a population of about 620,000 and Collier County with a population of around 322,000. The reporter spent about two months digging around the voter rolls in the two counties and the discoveries are dumbfounding.

In that short time, more than 100 people registered to vote in those two areas were proven to be ineligible by the reporter. A Cape Coral woman, eligible to vote in elections, was tracked down through jury excusal forms that verify she’s not a U.S. citizen. A Naples woman, who is not a U.S. citizen either, voted six times in 11 years without being detected by authorities. A Jamaican man is also registered to vote though he’s not eligible. The reporter obtained his 2007 voter registration form, which shows the Jamaican man claims to be a U.S. citizen. Problem is, no one bothers checking to see if applicants are being truthful.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Personnel On Ground During Benghazi Attacks Outraged That CIA IG Has Never Conducted An Investigation

‘Very Upset’: CIA Sat On Benghazi Investigation, US Personnel Fuming – Fox News

American personnel on the ground in Benghazi the night of the 2012 terror attack are outraged after learning that the CIA’s inspector general never conducted an investigation into what happened – despite two CIA workers being killed in the attack and despite at least two complaints being filed by CIA employees.

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Former Ambassador Chris Stevens, another State official and two ex-Navy SEALs working for the CIA were killed in that attack.

Many in the agency were told, or were under the impression, that an investigation was in the works, but that is not the case.

One person close to the issue told Fox News: “They should be doing an investigation to see what the chief of base in Benghazi and station chief in Tripoli did that night. If they did, they’d find out there were some major mistakes.”

This source claimed an investigation would likely uncover a lot of details the public does not know.

Asked why such a probe has not been launched, a CIA spokesman said: “CIA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) always reviews carefully every matter that is brought to its attention, and takes appropriate action based on a variety of factors.”

Still, at least two complaints were filed by CIA employees concerned about the attack, which began at the U.S. compound and eventually spread to the CIA annex one mile away. There is no question that CIA personnel saved a lot of lives; those on the ground that night continue to herald the heroism of the individuals who responded to try and help Stevens and others under attack.

Yet questions remain about the overall decision-making, possible destruction of evidence and warnings of an impending attack.

“There needs to be a CIA investigation… there was a lot of things done wrong,” one special operator said.

But a CIA spokesman said the OIG has already “explained fully” to the agency’s congressional oversight committees “why it did not open an investigation into Benghazi-related issues.”

“That decision was based on a determination that the concerns raised fell under the purview of the State Department’s Accountability Review Board, and that a separate OIG action could unnecessarily disrupt the FBI’s criminal investigation into the Benghazi attacks,” the spokesman said.

The Accountability Review Board probe was ordered by the State Department, and the board reported its findings in December 2012.

But separate investigations haven’t stopped the OIG from investigating issues before. Why they held back in this instance is a question starting to filter through the agents at the CIA. Fox News has been told some of the investigators initially assigned to review the Benghazi complaints are “very upset and very frustrated” that they were told to stop the process.

Some members of the Senate Intelligence Committee expressed some of these same concerns in their review of the Benghazi attacks. On page 15 of the Republican response on Jan. 15, it states: “…the committee has learned that the CIA Inspector General did not investigate complaints relating to the Benghazi attacks from CIA whistle blowers. Whether these complaints are ultimately substantiated or dismissed is irrelevant. On a matter of this magnitude involving the deaths of four Americans, the Inspector General has a singular obligation to take seriously and fully investigate any allegation of wrongdoing. His failure to do so raises significant questions that we believe the Committee must explore more fully.”

Fox News has also learned that the Senate Committee was told by the CIA that the investigation did not take place because it would interfere with the State Department Accountability Review Board, which was conducted to “examine the facts and circumstances of the attacks.” While that review contained major criticism aimed at State Department officials in Washington, it didn’t directly mention the CIA.

“Since when does the CIA defer to State? The ARB is in a total different agency anyway,” one special operator said.

Former U.S. United Nations spokesman Richard Grenell also is critical of the CIA actions. “It’s puzzling that the Obama administration is so reluctant to do a real investigation of the facts surrounding the Benghazi attack,” he said. “The ARB conveniently never interviewed Hillary Clinton or her political team about what they knew in the lead up or how they reacted during the crisis. And now we learn that the CIA wasn’t interested in conducting a real investigation either.”

The frustration within the agency is building over the fact that many see the CIA inspector general as their last line of defense internally. While the internal complaints are classified, Fox News has learned that besides questioning the actions of the station chief and chief of base, the complaints also question dealings with the Libyan security forces – and include questions about the reliance on a group of local volunteer militiamen called the February 17 Martyrs Brigade for security and their likely participation in the attack.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Obama EPA Nazis Obstructed Fraud Investigation

EPA Officials Obstructed Fraud Investigation – Washington Free Beacon

Several Environmental Protection Agency employees obstructed an investigation into the mismanagement that allowed a senior EPA official to bilk taxpayers for nearly $900,000, the EPA Inspector General said in a letter to Sen. David Vitter (R., La.) released Wednesday.

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EPA employees threatened Inspector General investigators, refused to cooperate, and handed out non-disclosure agreements to other employees to keep them from being interviewed, EPA Inspector General Arthur Elkins Jr. wrote in response to a request for information by Vitter on the case.

“Over the past 12 months, there have been several EPA officials who have taken action to prevent [the Office of Investigations] OI from conducting investigations or have attempted to obstruct investigations through intimidation,” Elkins wrote.

John Beale pleaded guilty in September 2013 to time card and travel fraud spanning two decades and amounting to nearly $900,000 in taxpayer dollars. Beale also spent a total of two and a half years absent from work, claiming he was away on CIA business. He was sentenced to 32 months in prison in December 2013.

After closing its criminal investigation, the Inspector General began an audit of the lack of internal controls that allowed Beale to defraud the agency. That audit has implicated a growing number of EPA officials.

“We are starting to see proof of what we had already suspected: John Beale’s time and attendance fraud was the tip of the iceberg at the EPA,” Vitter said in a statement to the Free Beacon. “The whole agency seems to be in complete disarray, which is exactly why we need to have a full [Environment and Public Works] Committee hearing on the fraud surrounding this case and other prevalent problems.”

In the public version of Elkin’s letter released Wednesday, the names of the EPA employees in question were redacted. However, the Free Beacon has obtained an unredacted version of the letter.

The letter identified one of the alleged obstructionist employees as Steve Williams in the EPA’s Office of Homeland Security (OHS).

“During the course of an OI administrative investigation, Mr. Williams approached an OI special agent in a threatening manner, preventing the special agent from conducting her official duties in an ongoing investigation involving Mr. Williams and other members of OHS,” Elkins wrote. “Additionally, Mr. Williams issued non-disclosure agreements to EPA employees that prevented these employees from cooperating with [the Office of the Inspector General] OIG investigations.”

“The Federal Protective Service conducted a criminal investigation and referred its finding of facts to support an assault charge to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia (USAO),” Elkins continued. “The USAO declined prosecution and referred the matter back to the EPA OIG for administrative action as necessary.”

Williams’ office originally attempted to investigate Beale’s fraud, a move the Inspector General said set their own investigation back by months.

Elkins also identified Nancy Dunham in the EPA’s Office of General Counsel and John Martin at OHS as two other employees who impeded the Inspector General’s investigation.

OIG agents interviewed Dunham during its criminal investigation of Beale, but she refused to be interviewed for an audit of the management issues that failed to prevent Beale’s fraud.

“A potential gap in information exists due to Ms. Dunham’s noncompliance,” Elkins wrote.

Dunham told investigators that she learned about Beale’s pay issues in late 2012. However, Elkins wrote that his office “later developed information through other interviews which indicates that Ms. Dunham hay have been aware of Mr. Beale’s pay issues several months or even a year prior to what she told OI during her interview.”

According to Elkins, Martin left his interview early and later issued non-disclosure agreements to EPA employees.

The EPA and the EPA OIG originally credited EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy with bringing Beale’s fraud to the attention of investigators after first becoming suspicious of him in April 2012.

However, emails and reports released by the EPA in response to requests by Vitter revealed that McCarthy was aware of issues related to Beale’s pay as early as 2011.

One February 2011 email obtained by Vitter’s office said: “Gina is reluctant to finalize [the cancellation of Beale’s bonuses] unless OARM Craig gives her the okay that the White House is aware and there will not be any political fallout.”

Elkins said the Inspector General did not investigate White House involvement in the case.

The EPA did not respond to a request for comment.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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*VIDEO* Lawyer For Targeted Conservative Groups Slams FBI, Holder DOJ For Bogus IRS Investigation


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Obama’s IRS Goon Squad Ramping Up Efforts To Target Conservative Groups In 2014 – Weasel Zippers

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Via WSJ:

President Obama and Democrats have been at great pains to insist they knew nothing about IRS targeting of conservative 501(c)(4) nonprofits before the 2012 election. They’ve been at even greater pains this week to ensure that the same conservative groups are silenced in the 2014 midterms.

That’s the big, dirty secret of the omnibus negotiations. As one of the only bills destined to pass this year, the omnibus was—behind the scenes—a flurry of horse trading. One of the biggest fights was over GOP efforts to include language to stop the IRS from instituting a new round of 501(c)(4) targeting. The White House is so counting on the tax agency to muzzle its political opponents that it willingly sacrificed any manner of its own priorities to keep the muzzle in place.

And now back to our previously scheduled outrage over the Chris Christie administration’s abuse of traffic cones on the George Washington Bridge.

Yet my sources say that throughout the negotiations Democrats went all in on keeping the IRS rule, even though it meant losing their own priorities. In the final hours before the omnibus was introduced Monday night, the administration made a last push for IMF money. Asked to negotiate that demand in the context of new IRS language, it refused.

That’s a lot to sacrifice for a rule that the administration has barely noted in public, and that then-acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel claimed last fall when it was introduced is simply about providing “clarity” to nonprofits. It only makes sense in a purely political context. The president’s approval ratings are in the toilet, the economy is in idle, the ObamaCare debate rages on, and the White House has a Senate majority to preserve. With one little IRS rule it can shut up hundreds of groups that pose a direct threat by restricting their ability to speak freely in an election season about spending or ObamaCare or jobs. And it gets away with it by positioning this new targeting as a fix for the first round.

This week’s Democratic rally-round further highlights the intensely political nature of their IRS rule. It was quietly dropped in the runup to the holiday season, to minimize the likelihood of an organized protest during its comment period. That 90-day comment period meantime ends on Feb. 27, positioning the administration to shut down conservative groups early in this election cycle.

Keep reading

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House Investigation Finds Obama Wanted To Make Sequestration As ‘Painful As Possible’ For Rural Schools

Probe Finds White House Wanted to Make Sequestration As ‘Painful As Possible’ For Rural Schools – Pajamas Media

A House Natural Resources Committee investigation has found that President Obama’s Office of Management and Budget ordered that sequestration cuts be applied retroactively to funding for rural schools over the opposition of the Agriculture Department.

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The committee’s report released today, “A Less Secure Future for Rural Schools: An Investigation into the Obama Administration’s Questionable Application of the Sequester to the Secure Rural Schools Program,” detailed how last February the USDA had determined 2013 sequestration wouldn’t apply to 2012 funds that had already been distributed in the program. The White House stepped in and overruled the USDA, though both agencies haven’t turned over numerous subpoenaed documents that could reveal more behind the decision.

The Secure Rural Schools program helps provide rural counties with funds for teachers, schools, police officers, emergency services and infrastructure – “necessary because the federal government had failed to uphold its century-old promise to actively manage our national forest to provide a stable revenue stream for rural counties containing national forest land,” Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) said in reference to the timber industry link.

The program dates back to a 2000 bill, which was extended in July 2012 for that fiscal year. The $323 million in funds were doled out to 41 states by the USDA in January 2013. But two months later, after sequestration went into effect, the Obama administration announced it wanted $17.9 million back – prompting bipartisan backlash from governors and congressional representatives of the affected states.

“The Obama administration appeared intent on making this sequester as painful and visible as possible, and this was another example. Instead of working with Congress to make responsible cuts and reforms, the administration took the political opportunity to go after funds used to pay teachers and police salaries,” Hastings said at a hearing on the report today.

The chairman expressed his “frustration and disappointment in the Obama administration for repeatedly stonewalling Congress and stalling our legitimate oversight efforts” – ignoring requests for documentation and forcing the committee to issue subpoenas. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack turned down a request to testify, as did U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, USDA General Counsel Ramona Romero, and OMB Director for Budget Brian Deese.

The only witness sent by the administration was USDA Undersecretary for Natural Resources and the Environment Robert Bonnie.

Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) said it was a case of “you create a bad law, the administration applies the bad law.”

“It’s nothing really to investigate here. But we can waste a couple hours on it instead of doing something proactive to try and figure out how we are going to better provide for counties, schools and economic activity in rural areas,” DeFazio said.

Bonnie similarly testified that “the negative impacts of sequestration on Secure Rural Schools demonstrate that sequestration is a bad policy.”

He said that 19 states weren’t able to give back the funds as requested under sequestration, with half a dozen in the administrative appeals process. They could get docked for “outstanding debt” in the distribution of fiscal year 2014 funds.

“One option is to withhold dollars from Secure Rural Schools in F.Y. ’14. A second option is to withhold it through the departmental funds that may go to states. A third option is to refer to Treasury,” Bonnie said.

The report by the committee’s Republican majority summarized that “the Obama Administration complied with the law to make a SRS payment authorized in FY 2012, but then acted to retroactively apply the FY 2013 sequester to payments that had already been disbursed with the full knowledge that sequestration was set to take effect. This action demonstrates an obvious attempt of the Administration to make the sequester appear as ‘painful as possible.’”

However, the report notes, none of the responses from OMB or USDA on the incident “included internal emails or other documents that would shed light on the inner workings of the Obama Administration or how the decision to apply the sequester was made or how it was implemented.”

Over the course of the investigation the OMB has provided more than 1,300 pages of documents and the USDA more than 2,200 pages.

“Given the change in USDA’s legal analysis, pressure by the White House’s OMB, and the choice to apply the sequester of SRS funds as broadly as possible, it is clear that Congress, states, and rural communities were right to question whether these decisions were correct and made for any reason other than to make sequestration as visible and painful as possible in rural communities across the country,” the report states.

Hastings said the ultimate solution needs to be Senate passage of H.R. 1526, the Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act, which already passed the House with bipartisan support and is intended to stop the Band-Aid for timber-reliant communities.

“The Secure Rural Schools program was intended to be a short-term solution and counties are still lacking a stable, dependable source of revenue,” Hastings said.

Click HERE For Rest Of Story

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Congressman Issa Charges HHS Secretary Sebelius With Criminal Obstruction Of HealthCare.gov Investigation

Issa Charges Sebelius With Criminal Obstruction Of HealthCare.gov Investigation – Nextgov

The lead congressman investigating HealthCare.gov’s dismal performance during its first two months online ratcheted up the executive-congressional conflict on Wednesday, accusing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of criminal obstruction of his investigation.

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The dispute centers around a letter the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services sent to a contractor that worked on the online health insurance marketplace, directing it not to turn over correspondence and other documents to congressional investigators and stating CMS would manage any congressional inquiries.

That letter amounted to “criminal obstruction of a congressional investigation,” according to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif.

“Obstructing a congressional investigation is a crime,” Issa said in a statement. “The federal obstruction laws reflect the fact that Congress’ right of access to information is constitutionally based and critical to the integrity and effectiveness of our oversight and investigative activities.”

HHS Spokeswoman Joanne Peters responded that the department is attempting to comply with Issa’s investigation while ensuring it doesn’t reveal any private consumer information or technology secrets.

“We have worked to accommodate the committee’s oversight interests in a number of ways, including by allowing the committee to review unredacted copies of the requested documents in person,” she said in a statement. “The committee already has copies of the requested documents that have been redacted to protect sensitive security information.”

The department plans to respond directly to Issa later, Peters said.

Issa issued a subpoena in October to compel Sebelius to turn over documents related to HealthCare.gov’s troubled launch.

His charges come on the same day Sebelius asked her department’s inspector general to launch his own investigation into HealthCare.gov’s failures. She also asked CMS, which led the Obamacare implementation, to appoint a chief risk officer to investigate why risks weren’t identified during the building of HealthCare.gov and how the agency can avoid such failures in the future.

Issa’s committee has uncovered evidence of significant doubts among contractors that HealthCare.gov would be successful upon launch. He has also charged government officials with forcing last minute changes to the site for political reasons that may have contributed to its troubles after launch.

The oversight committee’s Democratic leaders did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Issa’s charges.

HealthCare.gov has been operating generally well since Nov. 30 following a “tech surge” by the government and contractors that included 400 bug fixes, increased server capacity and a new management structure.

About 137,000 people enrolled in new health insurance plans through the marketplace during its first two months online. An additional 227,000 people enrolled through state-run online marketplaces.

The government hopes to enroll 7 million people in new insurance plans by the end of March. Some experts worry the slow start to enrollment may deter young and healthy people from enrolling in plans through the site, leading to unsustainably high premiums for people who do purchase the plans.

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Jobless Rate May Have Been Rigged – Investigation Underway As Data Falsification Suspected

Warning: Jobless Rate May Be Rigged – New York Post

The most curious thing of all about the November jobs report released on Friday was the huge drop in the unemployment rate – and the fact that the Labor Department chose not to disclose that the data going into that figure are under investigation for falsification.

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On Nov. 19, I broke the news in my column that the Census Bureau, which collects data that goes into the jobless rate on behalf of Labor, had caught one of its enumerators fabricating interviews in 2010.

The culprit said back then (and to me during an interview) that he was told to do so by Census supervisors who were in the position to instruct others to make similar fabrications.

In fact, a source who I haven’t named but who is familiar with the Census data accumulation process has told me that falsifications have been occurring on a regular basis.

The Census Department surveys that went into the November jobless rate actually took place during the week that included Nov. 5 instead of the normal Nov. 12 week.

The Labor Department did put in a note about the survey week change in its November report.

But it should also have included another line that said: “The data for the unemployment rate may have been compromised. Lots of people are looking into the matter right now. We’ll get back to you on whether you should believe these numbers or not.”

Why didn’t the Labor Department include a note like that? A source who knows the department well says the concept of data being falsified is so unprecedented that the bureaucrats just don’t know how to react.

They had better figure it out soon. That drop in the unemployment rate might be the straw that sends the Fed into tightening mode.

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