Media mostly missing the real scandal in IRS brouhaha
Marshall Helmberger

Sometimes, a media firestorm can shine much-needed light on an issue that needs public attention, and sometimes the media even provides sufficient context to a story that can help the public understand the big picture.

Unfortunately, there has been too little of that in the furor over the IRS’s flagging of conservative applications for status as tax-exempt nonprofit social welfare organizations. There is a big story here, just not the one fueling breathless headlines over the supposed targeting of conservative groups for closer scrutiny.

To date, there is no evidence to suggest that the conservative groups were flagged because the IRS employees who worked in the agency’s exempt organizations headquarters in Cincinnati had a political bias. Agency officials insist they used certain names, such as Tea Party, or 9/12, as a quick means of ferreting out from among the recent flood of applications those that may not, in reality, meet the definition of a “social welfare organization” under the rules of IRS code 501(c)4.

And, it should probably be noted, that ferreting out applications that don’t meet the criteria for tax-exempt status is actually the job of the employees who work for the IRS. Those workers clearly erred when they selected names like “Tea Party” as part of their screening process, but mistakes in judgment by low level employees working in Ohio are hardly the makings of a major Washington scandal. Especially, since the IRS, in the end, didn’t deny the tax-exempt status to any of the organizations supposedly targeted.

President Obama’s knee-jerk firing of Acting IRS Steven Miller is yet another example of this administration’s penchant for throwing civil servants under the bus before all the facts are known. It’s reminiscent of the treatment of Shirley Sherrod, who the Obama administration axed after heavily edited video of her seemed to suggest she was racially-biased. It turns out, the full context of her remarks provided exactly the opposite conclusion, but the damage had already been done, both to Sherrod—who lost her job— and to Obama, who looked more interested in protecting his own political hide than the due process of decent civil servants.

The real story in all this, fortunately, has come out, thanks to organizations like Pro Publica, a non-profit online news source that has become a haven for quality public affairs reporting. (Check out for more.)

Turns out, there is a political scandal here— in the systematic abuse of the nation’s tax laws to help fund a flood of political attack ads. While the law states that tax-exempt social welfare organizations are prohibited from engaging in clearly political activity, such as campaigning for or against political candidates, that’s exactly what many of these groups have done. Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS organization now has tax-exempt status as a social welfare organization, despite pouring over tens of millions of dollars into political ads during the last election cycle.

And Crossroads is not alone. Hundreds of mostly conservative groups have taken advantage of the lax oversight and recent court rulings, like the Citizens United case, to set up “social welfare organizations” that look and operate almost exactly like non-exempt political action committees.

But groups like Crossroads get several major benefits from tax-exempt status, the most significant being anonymity for big donors, something that’s not available to regular political action committees. And with the floodgates now opened wide to corporate funding of campaigns, the abuses are only going to get worse, and the public won’t be able to find out who is bankrolling candidates or issue advocacy.

In a few rare cases, journalists have uncovered examples of the kind of corporate money that is now being anonymously injected into our political system, under the guise of “social welfare.” In 2011, the massive insurance conglomerate Aetna gave $3 million to Norm Coleman’s American Action Network, which Coleman’s group promptly spent on election ads.

Aetna’s revelation was apparently an accident— in the vast majority of cases corporations can funnel money into these groups secure in the knowledge that their political involvement will be kept secret and that their contributions can be deducted as “business expenses.” That means we as taxpayers are helping to subsidize the corporate takeover of our political process.

While this activity is actually illegal, neither the law nor IRS rules are being enforced with any regularity. In each case, these groups are asked as part of their application, whether they plan to spend “any money attempting to influence the selection, nomination, election, or appointment of any person to any federal, state, or local public office or to an office in a political organization.” And, invariably, they answer no, since to do otherwise would likely lead to rejection. They answer no, and then do it anyway to the tune of many millions of dollars.

The New York Times recently exposed one egregious case, where the American Future Fund, another conservative social welfare organization, filed its application for 501(c)4 status in 2008, checking no to the question above. That very same day, the group began running campaign ads, including ads supporting Norm Coleman in his race for Minnesota governor.

The real scandal here is that the founders of these organization are allowed to perjure themselves in legal documents and escape any consequence for doing so. So where are the headlines about that?

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75 comments on this item

What I would really like to know...why is multi-billionaire George Soros able to qualify for 502 (c) 3 status for his political bully non-profit? And why is multi-billionaire Michael Bloomberg getting tax free status for his Mayors Against Guns political action committee?

Far more liberal leaning groups are getting tax free status than the conservative groups.

And also, unions get 501 (c) 5 status so they can spend members dues money on far left liberal outfits like the Sierra Club and the elections each cycle rather than representing their members in the work place.

I think the editor says it right, the real scandal here is that the founders of these organizations are allowed to perjure themselves at our expense.

Trusting you can provide some source material to support "Far more liberal ..."

I am completely trustworthy, jt. You should sleep well knowing that.

I'll gladly provide my source material when you provide your source material to refute me.

I didn't refute you. Did not even voice an opinion. Only asked for ... well, I guess the impossible.

Consider being less combative and focus more on presenting facts ... which means something other than that which only ego and opinion support.

Now ... where are my sleeping pills.

jt: Shucks, hope you didn't overdose. See how compassionate I am, I care about you. Heck, I'm not egotistical, I'm you humble little fuzzball, coming to you with half my brain tied behind my back, just to make it fair.

jt, it's hopeless. Crushing the "enemies" is the sole raison d'etre.

bonfire: Glad you agree...the Obama administration is trying to crush their enemies, it is their sole reason for existence. Valerie Jarrett reminds me of John Ehrlichman and H.R. Haldeman of the Nixon administration...cookie cutter bully and lying personalities, all three of them.

I hope Congress and the press get to the bottom of these issues like they did Watergate. I see parallels here.

jt: Congressional hearings are going on right now on the IRS scandal. Acting Commissioner Lerwfel has already admitted conservative groups were targeted, he criticized the action and he has pledged corrective action. The hearings are live on FOX, nobody else, as the editor states, seems to be interested in the process. Washington Examiner reports 100% of the union IRS employees in Cincinnati contributed to democrats only. 95% of union IRS employees contributed to democrats only. That does not constitute proof that they targeted conservative groups, but it looks suspicious. For example, if business, which is alleged to contribute to conservatives (even though they split their PAC donations 50-50), were part of the equation here, liberals would be all over the map crying foul.

Tune in now, to FOX, as hard as it hurts you. The hearings are live.

Trusting you can provide some source material to support "Far more liberal ..."

(sadly must repeat myself as the simple request for source info remains being ignored)

jt: You were given source material, you are just too damned lazy to research it. You broke the trust on your own. Get busy lazy bones, get away from your keyboard and put your shoulder to the wheel. GEEZ!

Humans have strong feelings about what they do and they don't like. An old saying goes, we may not always know what we like, but we're pretty sure we don't like what we don't know. I would add that some are absolutely, positively sure they don't like what they don't know.

Bonfire nails it while orrcountry contunues to flail inoblivion.

I would ask again ..; but why. There is no answer.

I continue to count coup ... although victory was long ago assured.

What to do with a bald head scalp!

I must add a thank you to Marshall for offering what again amounts to a fine op-ed piece ... clearly thought out, fully supported with source support ... that which is so lacking among many of the north woods local commenters.

When I was a kid in Mountain Iron grade school, we had a room in the basement where kids that didn't get it were schooled. Today they call it slow learner development, but in those days, they were just kids that were slow. We had some of 8th grade age that the school tried to move into regular classes, some as low as the 3rd grade. And then they went back to the basement.

Once I became 21 and entered the taverns, we had some that had a booth in the back where people that just didn't get it were herded up by the management to keep them away from the people that had adjusted to life. LaRay's in Sturgeon, Crystal and Niv's in Virginia come to mind. Each time those people came up to deal with the adjusted people, they were sent back to their own province.

jt and bf, you remind me of these people of my past. There is no educational process that can take place, just like you can't grow tomatoes in desert sand.

There is plenty of resource material on this subject Marshall wrote about, only you two can't, or refuse, to research it. I think you two should stay in the basement or the back booth until the world comes around your way.

Continue to ignore the query I see. And meanwhile hallucinating.

I will repeat for one last time: I have not taken any stance one way or another ... other than to applaud Mr. H. for doing a proper job (did not say if I agreed ... just that it was well done.) What I did do ... as is so often the need ... is to ask for support data for Mr. Orrcountry's earler ststement.

If you cannot support it ... and share with us the sources (and perhaps why they should be accepted) ... just admit it.

(meanwhile one seems to know much about this "basement classroom" ... hmmmmmmm)

This morning's Washington Examiner has an excellent story about FBI Acting Director Danny Werfel's testimony before the House Appropriations subcommittee. I haven't checked the NYT or the Post for their coverage yet, but you can.

The second hearing is this morning and will be aired on FOX, but I'm not sure if C-SPAN's 3 networks will be covering it, nor if PMSNBC, CNN or ABC will be covering it.

There is your resource guide. Your choice. Either check it out, or go back to the basement. (I know enough about the basement and the kids that were residents there. jt, you remind me of those disadvantaged kids. They couldn't even join the rest of us for recess, because they didn't play well with others...also reminds me of your fit in society.

In amongst your more than willingness to "name call" ... you continue to ignore the basic question/issue here.

Perhaps ... just perhaps ... as a very wise person once stated: “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”

(a hint as to why I have used the label "ignorant" toward you so often in the past".

Enjoy your illusions ... as you seem want to do.

Given the continued ignoring of my question, I take my coup and go.

You were supposed to be watching the hearings and reading the newspapers. What are you doing clickity-clacking on your computer keyboard.

You are just plain lazy, a person that likes to criticize others, but never puts their head down and gets to work.

Teacher, you get an "F-" for performance on your homework assignment.

I addressed Marshall's original premise that the media is not adequately covering this story. He is correct, only a small number are. And you are like them...AWOL.

Watching the Congressional hearings yesterday, on this issue, was enlightening. Marshall is correct, most of the media is ignoring this issue, as only FOX News covered the hearing live.

Anyone who watched the hearings the last two days, and isn't politically partisan, can agree that the IRS and the Obama Administration are out of control on this targeting "enemies" business. If this business has been going on for years, it's hearings that the media can't control, nor George Soros and Michael Bloomberg, is the way to get to the bottom of all this. Whether republicans or democrats have been sicking the IRS on citizens, like Senator Chucku Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Al Franken (D-MN) did in their letter to the IRS to target conservatives, needs to be openly debated and remedied ASAP.

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”

Who better to know that than you, jt...through your personal experience.

As the editor says, the media is not playing close attention to the IRS issue. The morning, Congressional hearings were held on abuses by the IRS, to the tune of $50 million, for line dancing, $1500/night hotel rooms and lavish spending at "conferences". The only channel I could find that covered the hearings live was your trusted source for news...FOX, fair and balanced. They report, you decide. Where were the other networks?

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”

I guess that is why you have not been watching the Congressional hearings live. Ignorant.

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”

Ahhh, redundancy. Just goes to prove the previous poster lacks attributes of curiosity and credibility. Lack of traits such as those leads to ignorance. Ignorance is merely lack of knowledge.

OC, It is not a fact that more liberal leaning than conservative leaning groups get tax free status. I would suggest you cross check your sources but I suspect you prefer not to do that. I doubt you would believe Pro Publica studies as MH cited or another good source Martin Sullivan at Tax Analysts or any other data from reliable sources because it's a contradiction from what your gut feelings tell you.

Nov 8, 2010, Rep Darrell Issa said in an interview he wanted each of his 7 subcommittees to hold one or two hearings each week. "I want seven hearings a week, times 40 weeks", a huge increase in hearings from the 110th Congress,seeing the his oversight committee's role to "measure failures". Deja vu from when scandal hunter Dan Burton was shooting melons to "prove" Hilary Clinton had Vince Foster murdered. Issa, with a past tainted with grand theft auto and arson incidents, seems to being trying to outdo Burton convening witchhunt hearings. Bringing to attention that groups no matter how they lean that are actually doing little or no "social welfare" work to get tax exempt status while hiding their donor identities and contributions is a good thing but that wasn't Issa's goal in holding IRS hearings at all.

I don't know why the WH would bother to politically target only small conservative leaning groups and not the gigantic money groups such as CrossroadsGPS, American Action Network, etc. That doesn't make a lick of sense.

Bonfire, what ... what? This cannot be true as it was not on FOX news!!!

and to Orrcountry, “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”

Think about why such redundancy is required!

bf: If what you state are facts, and they probably are, from the far left leaning rinky dink outfits, FOX would have reported it since they America's first choice for news...far and balanced. They report, you decide.

Didn't see anything you talked about in the Washington Examiner, a belt-line newspaper. Could you be reading old pulps in the and jt?

Dang, but it seems SO redundant, but ... “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”

I must add that they are "far" indeed

And another fine quote for the day (week, year, forever) ... "Fox News flatulence"

FOX News, your trusted source for news. Fair and balanced. We report, you decide. FOX is the leading news organization and is already eclipsing the non-cable networks for viewership.

The ignorant, that is those who lack knowledge, are having a hard time accepting that. I think there is a 12 step program somewhere for those low information voters.

Not mine ...

(am thinking how Joseph Geobbels was successful, though)

High viewership numbers have no relation to the quality or credibility of any particular show. I've read with astonishment that so-called reality shows Honey Boo Boo and Jersey Shore had quite a high number of viewers too. Come to think of it, Fox and most "reality" tv have more than number of viewers in common. They have barely anything to do with reality and are deliberately designed to be infotainment vehicles to gain viewers, advertisers, money. Any substance is accidental.

Bonfire, there is little doubt but that we waste our time and efforts. Severe tunnel vision seems to be the case. Even if there was a might of credence that Fox News was truly "news", it would remain just one source. I have seen not only a great lack of diversity of sourcing by our "friend" ... but an obvious avoidance of any but the very short list of tea party supporting "news" sources ... both broadcast and print.

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”

A great quote, but one which continues to sail over his head. All indications are that he will only continue to flaunt the above ... albeit in his own ignorance of the assessment.

jt: You indeed do waste your time and efforts trying to get a non-partisan to move to your demented home of the far left.

I found the Congressional hearings quite informative. You wouldn't know, since your communist PMSNBC wouldn't cover them and you refuse to tune into FOX.

It makes little difference today, what happened before. But today, we have the opportunity to prevent what happened before and is happening now. Only you two, think it's OK when your Democrats do it, however, you raise holy hell when the Republicans do.

It's time for all this tax exempt crap to stop, repeal Section 501 in it's intirety, and send a message to BOTH political parties, not just the Republicans, that we are not going to tolerate it anymore. But you two still have your ostrich heads in the sand and can't stand to have your wacko, communist left nuts have their pee-pees slapped.

I am non-partisan, unlike you two slants.

bonfire: Please provide bona fide proof that FOX News is not a legitimate news organization. Try to find just one non-partisan member of the media that supports your claim. All members of the White House Press corps supported FOX when the Obama administration tried to black ball FOX. Just last week, the New York Times, McClatchey Newspapers, (even)NBC, CBS, the Huffington Report, CNN and who am I missing, supported FOX over the Obama administration targeting FOX's correspondent James Rosen and refused to meet "off the record" with AG Eric Holder.

bonfire: You don't talk like a seasoned adult. In fact, you sound like some young kid still wet behind the ears. You can't refute the integrity of FOX News other than spout off some gossip and innuendo liberal crap that we all have heard.

Bonfire: as I stated!

Looks like I got to this post a little late.

oc, your right, these two talk about Fox but won't watch it. They are afraid they might hear something they don't like. Libs would like to see all conservative programs off the air. They are afraid of the truth, they can't argue facts. When the Hyp. askes for facts he is just trying to change the subject. When you give him facts he will just ignore them or say they are not credible. For them facts can only come from a lib. sources.

I think you really shot them down when they wouldn't watch the hearings because it was on Fox. They would rather not watch, they are afraid they might learn something that goes against their lib. talking points.

bf, you have a section on facts and reliable sources, You won't believe our sources, why should we believe yours? Your comments there make me believe you think the dems. have never done anything like that. I guess you don't remember GHWBush and the SR71.

Dems. said we have no evidence but the severity demands we investigate. I don't believe anything will top that.

I see the Hyp. has a new quote. He's used it on a couple sites already. To bad he doesn't practice what he preaches.

OC, maybe you better sit down...I totally agree with you that no tax exemption should be given to ANY organization that is not operating exclusively as a social welfare non-profit. When regulators interpreted "exclusively" to be "primarily" in 1959, it opened the door for groups to spend 51% of their money on "education", a vague term that could include ads criticizing politicians and spend 49% on ads directly political. The IRS never clarified any limits. These groups can also keep their political donors anonymous. The Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court allowed corps to pay for political ads anonymously using social welfare profits. Social welfare non-profits don't even have to actually apply to the IRS for tax exempt status in the first place. They, unlike charities, can simply incorporate and can raise and spend money without ever applying to the IRS. This is the real scandal. All this info and more can be found at ProPublica (as MH mentioned) with at least 40 different link sources.

I can't speak for jt, but I have seen more than enough of Fox News to know it's definitely not the place to go for facts.

It's pretty amusing that you assume that I or other liberals think "it's OK when Democrats do it and only raise holy hell when Republicans do". You obviously have not ventured outside your news source circle into, gasp, liberal land or you'd be aware of all the vehement criticisms, arguments, teeth gnashing among liberals concerning Democrat legislators, politicos, policies..pick an issue, any issue, it gets pretty heated. The old saying, getting Democrats to fall in line and agree, is pretty accurate, lol.

Bonfire ... I think it is safe for you to talk for me most anytime. But, dang ... I just figured out your ploy ... and it totally went over my head till now. So very well done. I applaud you for it ... although it must be a major chore to keep your story straight on both sides.

Even fooled the jaybird ... but then, that's child's play.

Again ... so very well done. Now it will be interesting to see how you maintain it.

Dang, I forgot the 2nd half of the saying, getting Democrats to fall in line and agree is like herding cats.

bf: I noticed you support "some" repeal of 501 status. Does this mean you support George Soro's and Michael Bloomberg's Mayors Against Guns organizations, both of which have 501 (C) 4 status? You didn't call out these, the worst of all non-profits in our country, so what gives here. Also, you didn't call out the BlueGreen Alliance with the Steelworkers Union which extorts members dues for far left environmental causes and elections, when the unions 501 (c) 5 status was intended only so unions could collect dues to represent their members in the workplace, not the polling places.

Tell me, Mr. Bonfire, are you ready to publicly criticize the forementioned crooked organizations for abusing their tax free status?

You seem to be coming across as hypocritical as the old lady from Arizona jt.

Now that I have figured this out ... Bonfire, you are amazing. Sometime I want to hear how you thought this up. And I roll in the aisles with your "old lady from Arizona" schtick.

I was going to do it once, but on a much smaller scale.

course I feel dumb for missing it for so long.

Well,well. This morning on CNN, Joe Concha of Mediaite, stated that PMSNBC is losing viewership because of their support of Obama's missteps on the Benghazi, IRS, AP and now the National Security Agency spying on all American's phone records and e-mails. Further, CNN reports, Jonathon Alter has taken a hit for being critical of FOX News Chief Roger Ailes, currently the most powerful man in the news business, in his new book. The balance of the media is lining up against PMSNBC for their extreme liberal bias, including opinion hosts Chris Matthews, Rachal Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell and they are tuning out.

If only the old lady in Arizona would crawl out of the desert hole and watch other stations, she would become informed, rather than ignorant.

Bonfire ... do you think it is from your debate training ... or theater training that gives you these skills?

And to continue the old lady schtick ... vaudeville would be proud.

Such diversity of projected persona!

oc, I agree with you that this corrupt use of 501Cs by all political organizations must stop and you're not one bit pleased about that. Go figure. I think you are addicted to conflict and bi-partisan agreement on issues just doesn't feel "right" to you.

btw. what's up with the "slants" comment? Using a slur on asians.asian americans to insult people is odd and objectionable to say the least whether I or tj are ethnically asian or not.

tj, I'm not sure what you have figured out but maybe you could enlighten me. I think you may be overthinking this and giving me way too much credit for whatever it is that I am doing.

Blah, blah, blah. Cry, Cry if it makes you feel better. Write all down on a tear stained letter. jt reminds me about old country songs, in this case about a bitter old lady.

Bonfire ... awesome. Sometime I want to learn where and how you came up with the details. Name. Likes and dislikes. Of course the dedication to things like Fox News is obvious.

Just a great character. I can almost see the book ... or the movie.

Have you considered talking to the folks at COMEDY CENTRAL?

I don't think bonfire watches Comedy Central. He watches PMSNBC instead. Same comedy, different delivery.

Oh great, now I have an ear worm that won't go away...Beach Boys, Little Old Lady from Pasadena, er Arizona.

jt, Rep. Cummings was on CNN today explaining he has written two letters to Rep. Issa begging him to release the transcripts of the interview a Republican lawyer had with the IRS manager in the Cincinnati office. Portions of the interview have been released but Chairman Issa is in charge, has made the statement last week that he believed the IRS were directly bering ordered from Washington but so far he won't release the entire transcript of the 21 year IRS veteran who self-describes as a conservative Republican.

Rep. Cummings said the transcripts show the WH was not involved and if Rep. Issa doesn't release the entire transcript this week, he will do it. My question is do you think Rep. Cummings follow through?

OK bonfire, let's really get to the bottom of this whole thing. Why, may I ask, did you bring up Rep Cummings, who I watched, and not any other folks? Now, you call out a conservative Republican, but you have yet to call out all the liberal democrats guilty in all these scandals.

Could it be it is OK if the democrats do it, but not if the republicans do it? Why don't we all agree that now is the time to crack down on this whole mess? But what are we supposed to do...wait until a republican is in charge? It makes no difference to a non-partisan like me who did what, it makes no difference what happened during the Bush years, what's going on right now deserves our immediate attention. Whatever happened then should have been dealt with then, what's happening now should be dealt with now. Valerie Jarrett should be hung upside down for secretly orchestrating this crap and keeping Obama out of the loop. And it makes no difference to me that the "law" allows this behavior, Obama still didn't have to practice it just because it became legal...or did it?

Just because some say Bush started it doesn't make it right today. At least I call out both parties, I'm waiting to see your bi-partisan agreement, if you can bring yourself to exercise it.

And I forgot to add, Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) also said he did not support the NSA's (Obama administration) snooping on Americans phone calls and internet communications. I wonder why you conveniently neglected to share that with the readers?

Bonfire ... I am picturing maybe Harrison Ford playing you, and ... oh, wait. Maybe Tom Hanks instead. Still struggling with actor for orrcountry. Such a range to pick from! Give me time

I'm thinking jt could be Chaz Bono in a casting for her film. I see where she was referred as a he in JayBerg's post. I didn't know she was a transvestite. I'll be more sensitive in the future and refer to her as he. Anyway, Chaz Bono is my choice to play jt in her (opps, I meant his) film.

Bonfire ... how you can keep all this straight I don't know ... but wowser.

What do you think of Jack Nicholson for your alter ego? At least acting at his very best. (My first guess was Costello of Abbot and Costello, but no ...)

Again, Bonfire, you are playing this for all it's worth ... even after I figured out the schtick!!!

Rep. Issa's response to Elijah Cummings on the IRS scandal. Failure to work on a bi-partisan effort...where have I seen that on the pages of the Timberjay posts before?

I strongly disagree with Ranking Member Cummings‘ assertion that we know everything we need to know about inappropriate targeting of Tea Party groups by the IRS and the case is, in his word, ‘solved,’” Mr. Issa said in a statement released to the press. “His extreme and reckless assertions are a signal that his true motivation is stopping needed Congressional oversight and he has no genuine interest in working, on a bipartisan basis, to expose the full truth.

Read more:

Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

I'll take the role of Joe Bauer (Luke Wilson) in Idiocracy. You'all can fight it out for the other roles.

I'll be John Wayne or Marshall Dillon. You guys choose which medicine you get.

Sailinf sailing over the combined heads!!!

jt, Ah well, it is to be expected.

Bonfire, since you thought it up, I figured you would easily know. And then, obviously, so would ...

Good news today. The ACLU has filed suit against the Obama administration over the snooping on Americans. While they also filed suit against the Bush administration over the Patriot Act, this is particularly significant in that the ACLU also has Verizon as it's phone carrier. Let us hope this will be successful and the Sierra Club lover and gun hater Obama gets his knuckles rapped hard. And I hope Valerie Jarrett is finally exposed for what many of us consider behavior reminescent of H.R. "Bob" Haldeman and John Erhlichman of the Nixon adminsitration.

And more bad news for the Obama administration. Remind you of Nixon days?

Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell abruptly announced his retirement on Wednesday, and a White House lawyer will take over the second-highest-ranking position at the spy agency.

“Whenever someone involved in the rough and tumble of Washington decides to move on, there is speculation in various quarters about the ‘real reason,’” Morell said in a statement. “But when I say that it is time for my family, nothing could be more real than that.”

And the plot thickens. The editor is once again correct...only FOX News is reporting this IRS scandal.

An Internal Revenue Service official at the center of the agency’s political targeting scandal has reportedly been fired and has since “dropped off the edge of the world,” according to a new report from National Review Online.

Holly Paz, the director of the agency’s Rulings and Agreements office, was fired last Friday, according to the NRO report, and her agency-issued computer, phone, and Blackberry have shown no activity since.

Bonfire, you continue to crack me up. Careful or I'll think you DO watch Fox News just to come up with these silly talking points.

Next I'll think you are script writer for Issa also!

News reports today have the new IRS Director admitting that the targeting of conservative groups was more wide spread than formerly known. Obama involvement? Valarie Jarrett? As the editor stated, this story is not widely reported, especially on PMSNBC. Wonder why?

Bonfire ... to have created this character with no mind, no heart, no soul. Perfection. Seems so real and lifelike, yet no such human could actually exist.

Looking ahead you may want to consider small adjustments to the name you created. Where appropriate try "OR COUNTRY" and the obvious "ORE COUNTRY".

Breaking news. Now it has been revealed that the IRS targeted liberal groups who opposed the Obama Administration policies. Further revelations include the IRS targeting Jewish groups. It's piling on time, boys and girls (jt).

You continue to awe me, Bonfire. Keep it up. Great display of tea party type thinking. But you must give your alter-ego better skills at sex determination. Or is that a part of your great portrayal of minlessness you intend? Hey ... I was so slow to catch your whole schtick ... easily coulda missed this part

More truth coming through. Tax exempt status for a multi-billionaire, using government employees to advance his agenda.

Michael Bloomberg’s gun control group sent a city employee to register as a lobbyist in Nevada on state-based firearms issues, a use of government resources that raises further questions about the relationship between the city and the mayor’s self-funded 501(c)(4).

City Hall confirmed to POLITICO that Christopher Kocher, who works as a special counsel for Bloomberg’s office, registered as a lobbyist for the 2013 legislative session in Nevada, to push a background checks bill there.

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OK, jt. Taking a page of your worn out book "Trusting you have facts to refute the facts presented at today's Congressional hearings.

Another top Internal Revenue Service official has refused to testify before an investigative House committee, invoking his Fifth Amendment rights against self incrimination during questioning over tainted agency contracts.

Gregory Roseman, a deputy director in the agency’s procurement office, would not answer questions Wednesday at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing held to examine the questionable awarding of contracts the panel said are worth $500 million to a man with whom Roseman had a personal relationship.

Roseman is the second IRS official ducking questions before Congress.

Last month, Lois Lerner, the former head of the agency’s tax exempt division, pleaded the Fifth during a hearing about the tax agency’s targeting of conservative organizations seeking tax exempt status. The IRS is also under scrutiny for spending tens of millions of dollars on employee conferences.

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“The American people are wanting answers,” Rep. Scott DesJarlaise, R-Tenn., said. “What’s going on with the IRS? We’ve got targeting of conservatives. We have got excess of spending. We’ve got situations like this. I mean, I understand you want to be proud of who you work for, and you should be. But how are we going to get justice? Do you think that the IRS needs to bring people to justice?”

Roseman allegedly helped Leesburg-based Strong Castle Inc. receive a $266 million purchasing contract, the largest contract issued by the IRS in the last 15 years, based in part on Roseman’s friendship with company owner Braulio Castillo.

“On the advice of counsel I respectfully decline to answer any questions, and invoke my Fifth Amendment privilege to remain silent,” Roseman told committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif.

Castillo, who agreed to testify, received scathing criticism from lawmakers who questioned how he secured a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business designation even though he never served in combat.

Castillo applied for the status based on an ankle injury he received in 1984 while playing football at a military prep school. Decades later, a doctor performed surgery on the foot based on the old injury, Castillo said, but he is still able to play sports.

Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., an Iraq war veteran who lost both her legs and severely injured her arm in combat, angrily mocked Castillo for using his injury to help his business in a riveting exchange during the hearing.

“My feet hurt too,” Duckworth, a former assistant secretary for Veterans Affairs, told Castillo. “In fact, the balls of my feet burn continuously and I feel like there’s a nail being hammered into my right heel right now. So I can understand pain and suffering and how service connection can actually cause long-term, unremitting, unyielding, unstoppable pain.”

Duckworth criticized Castillo for using his school injury to win federal contracts, recounting not only her own grave injuries, but those of others who served in Iraq with her, including a Navy corpsman “who had his leg knocked off with an RPG. He put a tourniquet on himself and crawled forward. He is who played through the pain, Mr. Castillo. You did not.”

But Castillo argued the injury occurred during active duty in military prep school and that he obtained his disability status legally.

“Shame on you,” Duckworth told him. “You may not have broken any laws, but you certainly broke the trust of this great nation. You broke the trust of veterans.”

Congressional investigators are primarily focused on more than 350 text messages exchanged by Roseman and Castillo leading up to and including the time when the IRS contracts were awarded. The two were friends and often spoke by phone.

Roseman sent anti-gay slurs in some of the messages as well as “offensive jokes about the physical appearance of other IRS employees,” according to the committee’s written report.

Roseman was able to help Castillo contracts because he’s a voting member of the IRS contract review board. Records show Roseman and Castillo spoke by phone for more than 20 minutes the night before Castillo requested a quote for an $80 million computer contract.

Roseman was reassigned rather than fired and faced no disciplinary action so he’s still being paid, Beth Tucker, an IRS deputy commissioner, told the panel.

Initially, the IRS said it could not cancel the contract with Strong Castle because it would be disruptive, but Tucker reversed that position Wednesday, saying “it is our intention” to end the contract and that the IRS is now “exploring options.”

Tucker said most of the $500 million contract would be paid not to Strong Castle, but to its technology provider, IBM. Much of the money has yet to be paid out, she said.

“Strong Castle has not received anywhere near that amount of money from the software teaming arrangement,” Tucker said. “In fact, 98 percent of the value of that contract, if it was awarded, would go direct to IBM.”

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In defense of the editor, this morning I channel surfed the three major networks, ABC, NBC, and CBS morning shows. Not a mention of the IRS scandal, not even a 5 second blurb. Nelson Mandela, Gay Marriage, Trayvon Martin, Paula Deen (the cook) and other various non-news stories. Thank God for FOX News, Washington Times and the Washington Examiner for covering the scandal. We will continue to have abuses like this when the media turns a blind eye to protect a President they love. I bet Nixon wished he had the same treatment.

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