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THE SMIDGEN REPORT UPDATE: IRS Commissioner John Koskinen Has Got to Go

Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen testifies under subpoena before the House Oversight Committee as lawmakers continue their probe of whether tea party groups were improperly targeted for increased scrutiny by the IRS, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, June 23, 2014. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

If the president doesn’t tell Commissioner Koskinen to go, then we in Congress should impeach him.

Ron DeSantis and Jim Jordan write:

Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen needs to go.

When it was revealed in 2013 that the IRS had targeted conservative groups for exercising their First Amendment rights, President Obama correctly called the policy “inexcusable” and pledged accountability. He even fired the then-acting IRS commissioner because he said it was necessary to have “new leadership that can help restore confidence going forward.”

“A taxpayer would never get away with treating an IRS audit the way that IRS officials have treated the congressional investigation.”

Unfortunately, Commissioner Koskinen, who took over in the wake of the IRS targeting scandal, has failed the American people by frustrating Congress’s attempts to ascertain the truth. A taxpayer would never get away with treating an IRS audit SMIDG-LRGthe way that IRS officials have treated the congressional investigation. Civil officers like Mr. Koskinen have historically been held to a higher standard than private citizens because they have fiduciary obligations to the public. The IRS and Mr. Koskinen have breached these basic fiduciary duties:

• Destruction of evidence. Lois Lerner, at the time the director of the IRS’s exempt-organizations unit, invoked the Fifth Amendment on May 22, 2013, when appearing before Congress; her refusal to testify put a premium on obtaining and reviewing her email communications. On the same day the IRS’s chief technology officer issued a preservation order that instructed IRS employees “not to destroy/wipe/reuse any of the existing backup tapes for email, or archiving of other information from IRS personal computers.”

“John Koskinen has violated the public trust, breached his fiduciary obligations and demonstrated his unfitness to serve. Mr. President, it’s time for Commissioner Koskinen to go. If you don’t act, we will.”

Foley & Lardner LLP Partner Cleta Mitchell on presidential evasions about the targeting of conservative groups, and the status of Congress’s investigation. Photo: Getty Images

Several weeks later, on Aug. 2, the House Oversight Committee issued its first subpoena for IRS documents, including all of smidgen-lieMs. Lerner’s emails. On Feb. 2, 2014, Kate Duval, the IRS commissioner’s counsel, identified a gap in the Lerner emails that were being collected. Days later, Ms. Duval learned that the gap had been caused in 2011 when the hard drive of Ms. Lerner’s computer crashed.

Despite all this—an internal IRS preservation order, a congressional subpoena, and knowledge about Ms. Lerner’s hard-drive and email problems—the Treasury inspector general for tax administration discovered that the agency on March 4, 2014, erased 422 backup tapes containing as many as 24,000 emails. (Congress learned of the discovery only last month.)smdg-tv2

Ms. Duval has since left the IRS and now works at the State Department, where she is responsible for vetting Hillary Clinton’s emails sought by congressional investigations of the Benghazi attacks.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

• Failure to inform Congress. Mr. Koskinen was made aware of the problems associated with Ms. Lerner’s emails the same month Ms. Duval discovered the gap. Yet the IRS withheld the information from Congress for four months, until June 13, 2014, when the agency used a Friday news dump to admit—on page seven of the third attachment to a letter sent to the Senate Finance Committee—that it had lost many of Ms. Lerner’s emails. Read the rest of this entry »

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[FLASHBACK] One Year Ago Today, May 22, 2014: White House Contacted YouTube During Benghazi Attack, Darrell Issa Says

“The e-mail shows the White House had hurried to settle on a false narrative — one at odds with the conclusions reached by those on the ground — before Americans were even out of harm’s way or the intelligence community had made an impartial examination of available evidence.”

— Darrell Issa

For ABC NewsJohn Karl reports: A still-classified State Department e-mail says that one of the first responses from the White House to the Benghazi attack was to contact YouTube to warn of the “ramifications” of allowing the posting of an anti-Islamic video, according to Rep. Darrell Issa, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

[Issa’s full statement can be read here]

The memo suggests that even as the attack was still underway — and before the CIA began the process of compiling talking points on its analysis of what happened — the White House believed it was in retaliation for a controversial video.

[Sean Smith Condolence Memo Mentions Video]

The subject line of the e-mail, which was sent at 9:11 p.m. Eastern Time on the night of the attack, is “Update on Response to actions – Libya.” The was written hours before the attack was over. Read the rest of this entry »


THE SMIDGEN REPORT UPDATE: How Congress Botched the IRS Probe

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Top officials repeatedly misled investigators without consequences. Congress needs to get tougher.

Cleta Mitchell writes: Two years ago this week, a report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Information confirmed what hundreds of tea party, conservative, pro-life and pro-Israel organizations had long known: The Internal Revenue Service had stopped processing their applications for exempt status and subjected them to onerous, intrusive and discriminatory practices because of their political smdg-tv2views.

“Lying to Congress is a felony. But the Obama Justice Department has not lifted a finger to prosecute anyone responsible for the IRS scandal, including top brass who repeatedly gave false testimony to Congress.”

Since the report, additional congressional investigations have revealed a lot about IRS dysfunction—and worse. But they’ve also revealed Congress’s inability to exercise its constitutional oversight responsibilities of this and other executive agencies.

Consider the repeated testimony and other statements to Congress subsequently shown to be false. The report issued in December by Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.)—then chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform—details numerous instances in which senior IRS officials, including former Commissioner Doug Shulman, Acting Commissioner Steven Miller and Exempt Organizations Director Lois Lernerlied to Congress, denying and covering up the targeting of tea party and conservative groups before the inspector general’s May 2013 report.

Mr. Shulman told the Ways and Means Committee in March 2012 that there was no targeting of conservative groups. Congressional investigations, the Issa committee report notes, established that at the time of his denial Mr. Schulman knew there was “a backlog of applications, delays in processing, and the use of inappropriate development questions.”

Shulman, Lerner and Wolin take their seats to testify before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on targeting of political groups seeking tax-exempt status from by the IRS, on Capitol Hill in Washington

In the early months of 2012, Ms. Lerner made multiple false statements to Congress. In personal meetings, telephone interviews and written communications with congressional investigators, Ms. Lerner denied there were any changes in the criteria for evaluating applications for exempt status. O-SMDGE-CONDENSEDShe stated, falsely, that the intrusive demands from her agency for proprietary information from grass-roots organizations were “ordinary”—a characterization the inspector general’s report specifically rebutted.

Ms. Lerner also told Congress that “nothing had changed” about the way her unit handled such applications. But at the very time she said that, the IRS, including Ms. Lerner, had already identified seven types of information that it had inappropriately demanded from conservative groups between 2010 and 2013. These included donor lists, transcripts of speeches by public officials to meetings, and lists of groups to whom leaders made presentations.

Between May 2012 and May 2013, Mr. Miller testified before Congress on at least six occasions, first as deputy IRS commissioner, then as acting commissioner. He withheld information from Congress each time about the targeting. In a November 2013 interview with congressional investigators—well after the targeting had been documented in the inspector general’s report—Mr. Miller admitted that he became aware of possible IRS misconduct in February 2012. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Gruber Refuses to Tell Congress Amount Government Paid Him for Obamacare

“Would you agree to supplement your Exhibit B, so that we would have . . . your state revenue that you would’ve also received, since ultimately it’s Affordable Care Act-related?”

Fresh from The CornerBrendan Bordelon reports: Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber repeatedly refused to answer how much money the government paid him for advice on crafting and explaining the Affordable Care Act — prompting incredulous responses from Republican lawmakers, who reminded the professor he was under oath.

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“I’m sure my counsel would be happy to take that up with you.”

— Jonathan Gruber

GOP Oversight chairman Darrel Issa informed Gruber that due to a misfiled form, the committee did not receive the complete compensation data for his work on Obamacare.

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“Actually I was asking would you agree to provide it.”

— Oversight chairman Darrel Issa

IRS Hearing

“Why doesn’t he just tell us? How much money did you get from the state taxpayers and the federal taxpayers? He’s under oath, why doesn’t he tell us how much he got paid by the taxpayers? We don’t have to wait for him to send something to us, he should just be able to tell us.”

— Ohio Republican Jim Jordan

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 “As I said, the committee could take that up with my counsel.”

— Jonathan Gruber

 National Review Online


Photo of the Day: ‘Under Oath’

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Gruber Agrees to Testify Before Congress

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Brendan Bordelon writes: Jonathan Gruber, the MIT professor and Obamacare architect behind a series of revealing and offensive comments on the health-care law, has agreed to testify before the House Oversight Committee next month.

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Gruber became notorious earlier this month after a series of videos surfaced showing him explaining how Obamacare was deliberately designed to be deceptive — and belittling the intelligence of American voters in the process. Read the rest of this entry »


Document Dump: Attorney General Eric Holder Releases ‘Fast and Furious’ Documents That Got Him Cited for Contempt

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In an “election eve dump,” as House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa put it, DOJ handed over 64,280 pages of documents, a release that is still only a partial fulfillment of the committee’s request.

“This production is nonetheless a victory for the legislative branch, a victory for transparency, and a victory for efforts to check Executive Branch power.”

— House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa

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At The CornerJoel Gehrke writes:

Justice Department officials provided House investigators with thousands of documents related to Operation Fast and Furious that President Obama had previously claimed were exempt from congressional review.holder-enforcer

[Order John Fund’s book “Obama’s Enforcer: Eric Holder’s Justice Department” from Amazon]

In an “election eve dump,” as House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) put it, DOJ handed over 64,280 pages of documents, a release that is still only a partial fulfillment of the committee’s request.

“Since these pages still do not represent the entire universe of the documents the House of Representatives is seeking related to the Justice Department’s cover-up of the botched gun-walking scandal that contributed to the death of a Border Patrol agent, our court case will continue.”

— Darrell Issa

DOJ handed over the documents pursuant to a court order. Read the rest of this entry »


SMIDGEN REPORT UPDATE: ‘Please Delete HealthCare.gov E-mails with White House’

Jillian Kay Melchior writes: During the first week of HealthCare.gov’s troubled launch, Marilyn Tavenner, the chief of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told an agency spokesperson to delete an e-mail exchange with the White House and the Departmentsmdg-tv2 of Health and Human Services, according to new records released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

“Right on cue, when the going gets tough, the Obama administration proclaims it can’t find the documents.”

— Committee Chairman Fred Upton

This development comes just a week after CMS’s admission that Tavenner had probably deleted e-mails that may be public record — “in order to stay below the agency’s Microsoft Outlook email size limit,” wrote MSNBC, which broke the story on August 7.

But today’s letter from the House committee to Tavenner says: “One of the e-mails in this production shows that you directed a subordinate to delete an e-mail communication featuring a number of White smidgen-rep-PFaPHouse representatives. This e-mail is an October 5, 2013, communication in which you forwarded a discussion with White House representatives to the Director of Communications for CMS with the message: ‘Please delete this email- but please see if we can work on call script.’”

[Also see – SCRATCH THAT! IRS Tech Said Lerner’s Hard Drive WASN’T Damaged]

The committee concludes: “This contradicts the letter [CMS recently] sent to the National Archives, which explained that your practice was to instruct subordinates to retain copies of e-mails.” Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Noted Constitutional Expert Eleanor Holmes Norton Schools Congress: ‘You DON’T Have a Right to Know Everything’ Government Does!

OUT: Government Transparency. IN: Government Secrecy, and proud of it! Oversight is not cool, my friend. 

Washington, D.C.’s non-voting congressional Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton told her House colleagues on Friday that other branches of government do not necessarily have a right to know what the White House does in private. The remarks came during a Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing, as the Democratic official railed against Republicans for ignoring a White House assertion that Office of Political Strategy and Outreach director David Simas cannot be subpoenaed to appear oversight-so-not-coolbefore Congress.

“You don’t have a right to know everything in a separation-of-powers government. That is the difference between a parliamentary government and a separation-of-powers government.”

As the Washington Examiner‘s Sean Higgins explains, the committee’s Republicans “believe the office is being used a political campaign operation, a violation of federal election law.”

Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., noted he was not alleging any wrongdoing by Simas, but there was a history of violations involving that particular office in prior administrations that justified requesting his testimony. Read the rest of this entry »


Stonewalling: White House Ignores Subpoena, Refuses to Send Witness to Congress, Yet Another Court Battle Ahead

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The White House is refusing to allow political adviser David Simas to respond to a subpoena from House Oversight chairman Darrell Issa.

“Flouting a federal judge’s opinion about our system of checks and balances is yet another attack on our nation’s Constitution by this president.”

— Darrell Issa, in a statement late Tuesday night

National Review‘s John Fund reportsWhite House counsel W. Neil Eggleston says Issa has no power to compel Simas to testify at a hearing Wednesday morning about whether the office he runs has been engaged in improper political activity in violation of the Hatch Act, which bars federal employees from such activities as campaign fundraising and explicit political support.

David Simas, right, in the White House last year. His new job is political director, and his goal is to help Democrats do well in political campaigns, even if it means violating the Hatch Act, because White House counsel W. Neil Eggleston believes Simas is immune from congressional process and can refuse to respond to subpoenas.  Doug Mills/The New York Times

David Simas, right, in the White House last year. His job is political director, and his goal is to help Democrats do well in political campaigns, even if it means violating the Hatch Act, because White House counsel believes Simas is immune from congressional process and can decline to respond to subpoenas. Doug Mills/The New York Times

Eggleston cited a new opinion from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel that cited precedents going back to Presidents Harry Truman and Richard Nixon of executive privilege being asserted against testimony by White House aides.

“This hearing seeks to examine a political office embedded within the White House which, under Democratic and Republican administrations, has had a controversial role of coordinating political campaign activity for the president at taxpayer expense.”

Issa responds that in a case brought by congressional Democrats in 2008 against the Bush White House, a federal judge found that the idea of absolute immunity of a White House official from a congressional subpoena was “unprecedented” and held that presidential aides are “not absolutely immune from congressional process.” Read the rest of this entry »


SMIDGEN UPDATE: Lois Lerner’s Former FEC Colleague Has Emails Go Missing Too

Shulman looks on as Lerner delivers an opening statement to a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in Washington

The Daily Caller‘s Chuck Ross reports that 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, FEC-Atty_April-Sandsaccording to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

“Dear every single Republican ever, When will U learn that Barack Hussein Obama is simply smarter than U? Stand down, Signed #Obama2012 #p2”

— April Sands, former co-worker of Lois Lerner

SMG-REPORTSands 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, Oversight 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.

“The bias in these messages is striking, especially for an attorney charged with the responsibility to enforce federal election laws fairly and dispassionately.”

— Oversight letter to Goodman

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. Read the rest of this entry »


SMIDGEN REPORT: Lois Lerner’s Attorney Claims ‘She’s as Upset as Anybody Else…’

For National Review OnlineAndrew Johnson writes: Lois Lerner isn’t to blame for the loss of thousands of emails sent during the period of the IRS’s alleged targeting of conservative groups, according to her attorney…

“The truth is this was one of those things that happened — at the time she did everything she could to retrieve it.”

Appearing on State of the Union, William Taylor explained that Lerner’s computer screen “went blue” one day, and ultimately resulted in her losing all of her emails during a two-year span.

“That’s the story — that’s all there is to it.” 

(read more)

National Review Online


[VIDEO] IRS Commissioner Insists Law Hasn’t Been Broken, Admits He Doesnt Know the Law

For The Weekly Standard, Daniel Halper reports: The IRS comissioner insists his agency did not break the law or relevant statutes. But under questioning by Rep. Trey Gowdy, the IRS commissioner also admitted that he doesn’t know the law or the relevant statutes:

“You have already said, multiple times today, that there was no evidence that you found of any criminal wrongdoing,” Gowdy said. “I want you to tell me: What criminal statutes you have evaluated?”

“Common sense? Instead of the criminal code, you want to rely on common sense?”

“I have not looked at any,” the IRS commissioner admitted.

“Well then how can you possibly tell our fellow citizens that there is no criminal wrongdoing if you don’t even know what statutes to look at?” Gowdy followed-up. Read the rest of this entry »


‘We have a problem with you, and you have a problem maintaining your credibility’: House Republicans Grill IRS Commissioner as they Subpoena White House Lawyer

No apologies: In a separate congressional hearing on Friday, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen insisted the loss of Lerner's emails was due to an oddly timed glitch

No apologies: In a separate congressional hearing on Friday, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen insisted the loss of Lerner’s emails was due to an oddly timed glitch

For Mail OnlineDavid Martosko reports: Republicans dropped a hammer on IRS Commissioner John Koskinen during a testy hearing covering the disappearance of emails tied to the agency’s tea party targeting scandal.

“You worked to cover up the fact they were missing and only came forward to fess up on a Friday afternoon after you had been caught red-handed.”

The emails, covering the period January 2009 to April 2011, belonged to embattled former official Lois Lerner and could shed light on whether an expansive scheme to single out conservative groups for special scrutiny was guided by members of Congress or administration officials outside the IRS.

‘The committee requested all of Lois Lerner’s emails over a year ago,’ said House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa. ‘And we subpoenaed the emails in August 2013 and again in February 2014. … You worked to cover up the fact they were missing and only came forward to fess up on a Friday afternoon after you had been caught red-handed.’

‘You personally did not cause the targeting,’ he told Koskinen, referring to the tea party scandal. ‘You personally did not destroy the emails. But by your actions and your deception, you now own this scandal.’

‘We have a problem with you,’ Issa sniped, ‘and you have a problem maintaining your credibility.’

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Rep. Darrell Issa slammed IRS Commissioner John Koskinen: ‘We have a problem with you, and you have a problem maintaining your credibility’

Monday’s unusual evening hearing came as the result of a subpoena, and will continue Tuesday morning with a command performance from another Obama administration official.

Issa subpoenaed White House lawyer Jennifer O’Connor on Monday afternoon. He had invited her on Thursday to testify during the Tuesday session, but on Monday afternoon White House Counsel W. Neil Egglestonwrote Issa to say his underling would not appear.

Koskinen fended off accusations Monday night that he lied to Congress on March 26 when he promised the IRS would turn over all of Lerner's emails

Koskinen fended off accusations Monday night that he lied to Congress on March 26 when he promised the IRS would turn over all of Lerner’s emails

Before O’Connor’s promotion to the White House Counsel’s office, she was counsel to then-Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel.

Just ten days ago the IRS informed congressional investigators that a hard drive crash had destroyed 28 months of emails to and from Lerner, who led the IRS’s office in charge of vetting and policing tax-exempt nonprofit groups. Read the rest of this entry »


Geller: ‘It’s Issa Who Should be Taken to the Woodshed, Not Donnelly’

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., speaks to an Associated Press reporter in his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010. Issa who has assumed the role of President Barack Obama's chief antagonist in Congress will become head of the House's main investigating committee and gain even more stature as an administration critic who has to be reckoned with if his Republican party takes power in next month's elections.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., speaks to an Associated Press reporter in his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Darrell Issa Shows Ignorance of Islam

Pamela Geller writes: California State Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, who is running for governor, recently pointed out that his rival Neel Kashkari “supported the United States submitting to the Islamic, Shariah banking code in 2008 when he ran TARP.”

The charge was true, but that didn’t stop the influential Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chair, from furiously denouncing not Kashkari, but Donnelly – illustrating again what’s wrong with the right.51-vUc1zSRL._SL110_

Geller‘s book: The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America is available at Amazon.com

Issa raged: “There is no place in any public discussion for this type of hateful and ignorant garbage. As far as I’m concerned, this type of stupidity disqualifies Donnelly from being fit to hold any office, anywhere. Donnelly is no longer a viable option for California voters… There is no place in the Republican Party or in this race for someone like Tim Donnelly.”

“Why should the American taxpayer legitimize and institutionalize the Sharia? “

Donnelly duly apologized. But he shouldn’t have. He was right. Did Darryll Issa even look into the charge? Or did he knee-jerk smear Donnelly? And who died and made Issa king of the Republican Party? Who is this uninformed loudmouth to say who is or isn’t welcomed into the Republican Party? Like Brody said in Jaws, we need a bigger boat. If every time someone touches the third rail – jihad and sharia – they get burned and turned on, then the Republicans are going the way of the Whigs. Read the rest of this entry »


EPA Staffer Watches Porn For 2-6 Hours Every Day, Receives Performance Awards

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EPA Employees Not Fired For Watching Pornography, Theft. 

“This individual spent four consecutive hours on a site called ‘sadism is beautiful’. You are running an organization from which no one can get fired.”

—  Rep. Darrell Issa

tiedupatmomentxFor The Daily CallerMichael Bastasch writes: The Environmental Protection Agency has not been firing employees for watching pornography and falsifying federal documents, according to California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa.

“How much pornography would it take for an EPA employee to lose his job?”

Issa asked EPA officials, including the agency’s second-in-command, testifying before the House Oversight Committee. Issa chairs the committee.

Issa was pressing EPA officials to answer his question on whether or not falsifying documents is a crime. It is a crime, but Issa wanted an answer from the panelists. The EPA officials testifying before the House Oversight Committee struggled to answer Issa’s questions about agency employees falsifying federal documents by saying they are working while they were not.

An EPA employee has been viewing pornography while at work, and has even received performance awards for his time at the agency. The employee was even watching porn when inspector general agents visited his office. The employee had 7,000 porn files on his computer and had been watching porn for two to six hours per day since 2010. This employee still works at the EPA. Read the rest of this entry »


House Lights the Torch, Turns Up the Heat: Criminal Charges for Lois Lerner?

Too late now to plead the Fifth?

The Oversight Committee will vote on Thursday on whether to issue her a contempt citation for obstructing its investigation

Eliana Johnson reports:  The House Ways and Means Committee, led by outgoing chairman Dave Camp, will vote this week to ask the Department of Justice to pursue criminal charges against former Internal Revenue Service employee Lois Lerner.

“The Congress will take up that contempt resolution. If she’s not going to tell us the truth, the House will hold her in contempt.”

— House Speaker John Boehner

In an executive session on Wednesday, Camp’s panel will mark up a letter to attorney general Eric Holder that outlines “one or more crimes” it claims Lerner committed, based on evidence the committee uncovered in its investigation, while the agency was inappropriately targeting tea-party groups.

Read the rest of this entry »


It Begins: Oversight Committee Will Move to Hold Lerner in Contempt

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For National Review OnlineEliana Johnson reports: The House Oversight Committee will vote next Thursday on whether to hold former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress, sources say.

(read the whole thing here, but Eliana added the following update)

UPDATE: Issa has announced the hearing, saying in a statement that “Ms. Lerner’s involvement in wrongdoing and refusal to meet her legal obligations has left the Committee with no alternative but to consider a contempt finding.”

A committee aide tells National Review Online the panel will “make an announcement on the contempt process for Lois Lerner sometime today,” and a GOP congressman confirms that committee chairman Darrell Issa has indicated the vote will take place “next week.”

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/Files

Lerner has twice declined to answer questions from lawmakers about her role in the targeting of right-leaning groups. At a June hearing, the panel determined in a party-line vote that she had waived her Fifth Amendment rights by making an opening statement declaring her innocence when she appeared at hearing in May. “I have not done anything wrong,” Lerner said at the time. “I have not broken any laws. I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations, and I have not provided false information to this or any other congressional committee.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Issa Subpoenas ATF Over Mismanaged Gun Operation

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Rep. Darrell Issa has subpoenaed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for information about what he calls a “dangerously mismanaged” program, which originally was launched to get crime guns off the street.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which Issa chairs, has been looking into complaints about the program for months. Under the operation, ATF agents set up storefronts in multiple cities to try and entice criminals to sell their crime guns, unwittingly, to the government so they could be traced. But their tactics and missteps, including using mentally disabled people, drew criticism.

Read the rest of this entry »


Elijah Cummings Gives Oscar-Worthy Performance in IRS Hearing Freakout

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, holds up a sheet detailing IRS conference spending as he makes opening remarks on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Thursday, June 6, 2013, during the committee's hearing regarding IRS conference spending.  (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

“… it’s absolutely un-American.”

Kurt Bardella gives his review of Cummings’ performance, read the whole thing…here’s a sample:

Kurt Bardella is a former Senior Advisor and Spokesperson for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and is the President of Endeavor Strategic Communications, a PR-firm that represents Issa for Congress.

“You cannot have a one-sided investigation,” shouted Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the Ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. “There is something absolutely wrong with that. And it’s absolutely un-American.”

Oscar-StatueHis tirade–and it should be noted that while Cummings was yelling Issa remained composed and calm–was an instant made-for-YouTube moment, and I suspect that was exactly the point.

If anything, this moment personifies the entire reason why Cummings is the ranking member today.

People forget that the panel’s former chairman, Edolphus “Ed” Towns (D-NY), was in-line to be the leading Democrat on the Committee, but the Democratic Leadership pushed him out and Cummings was instilled (over the more senior Carolyn Maloney) for the sole purpose of obstructing the investigations led by incoming Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA).

After Towns was successfully shoved aside and Maloney passed-over, Cummings boasted to Politico that he was eager to take on Issa, saying, “I live in the neighborhood where The Wire was filmed…”

Read the rest of this entry »


Lerner’s Pension Could Be as Much as $3.96 Million Lifetime, $102,600 a Year

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“…prior to her decision in favor of voluntarily retiring, Lerner was in danger of being removed from her job due to findings from an IRS inquiry board citing “neglect of duties” and mismanagement…”

Executive vice president for the National Taxpayers Union Pete Sepp reports: Even before she retired, lois-good-timesscandalized IRS official Lois Lerner’s compensation was already attracting attention.  While on administrative leave, federal rules allowed her to keep collecting a salary, one that reportedly totaled $177,000. So it was no surprise when speculation arose over how much Lerner could collect in federal pension benefits.

obama-toastUnfortunately, that speculation, which initially projected a benefit of over $50,000, might be off by about half … and in the wrong direction.

National Taxpayers Union calculations show that Lerner could qualify for a starting pension at the annual equivalent of as much as $102,600, and up to $3.96 million over her lifetime.

[See also Lois Lerner’s ‘punishment’: Retirement with full pension]

The individual retirement choices of federal employees are not a matter of public record. However, precisely because NTU has been denied this information in the past (specifically pertaining to Members of Congress), we’ve developed the most accurate method available to provide solid estimates of how much federal employees can collect.

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Elijha Cummings Stages Crazy Beans Cuckoo Bananas Phony Rage Fit on TV

DEMOCRATIC BASE THRILLED, ELECTION-YEAR SHOWBOATING AT IT’S FINEST. FIVE STARS!

Elijha Cummings Phony Grandstanding Performance – YouTube


BREAKING [VIDEO] COPS A PLEA: Lois Lerner Pleads The Fifth Again When Asked About IRS Scandal

Deirdre Shesgreen reports:  Former IRS official Lois Lerner declined to answer any questions Wednesday when she appeared before a House committee investigating the tax agency’s scrutiny of applications from conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.

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House Republicans summoned Lerner to testify before Congress on Wednesday, more than nine months after she invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., has argued that she unintentionally waived her right when she answered a question at that hearing.

In response to a series of pointed questions from Issa, Lerner repeatedly said, “On the advice of my counsel, I respectfully exercise my Fifth Amendment right and decline to answer that question.”

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Will She or Won’t She? Awaiting Lois Lerner’s Testimony at IRS Scandal Hearing

lois-loisA former IRS official who refused to answer questions about the agency’s targeting scandal at a hearing last spring is expected to appear before a House committee on Wednesday, but it’s unclear whether she will answer questions this time, either.

[See IRS emails shed light on dispute between Lois Lerner, congressional investigators]

Lois Lerner headed the IRS division that improperly targeted tea party and other conservative groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status.

[Also see [VIDEO] Lois Lerner to Testify before Congress on Wednesday]

After publicly disclosing the targeting, Lerner refused to answer questions about it at a congressional hearing, invoking her constitutional right not to incriminate herself.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., told “Fox News Sunday” he expected Lerner to testify at Wednesday’s hearing. But a committee spokeswoman said Tuesday she could only confirm that Lerner was expected to attend the hearing. Read the rest of this entry »


Best Excuse to Avoid Being Sworn in, Give Testimony: Lois Lerner’s Lawyer Whines to Darrell Issa ‘My Client is Facing Threats’

“Ms. Lerner has been the subject of numerous threats on her life and safety, and on the life and safety of her family,” her lawyer William Taylor III wrote to Issa on Wednesday morning in a letter obtained by POLITICO…

Darrell Issa attending House Oversight and Government Reform Committee / AP - See

“Oh, yes, well, that changes everything, definitely. You’re right. She doesn’t have to obey the same laws the rest of us do. Lois? You can go home, it’s okay,  you don’t have to testify.”

Too late now to plead the Fifth?

POLITICO.com


[VIDEO] ‘Sit Down, Lois’: Issa Brings Back Lois Lerner to Testify on Wednesday

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Lois Lerner, the official involved in the IRS‘s targeting of conservative and Tea Party groups, will testify before Congress on Wednesday, according to House oversight committee chairman Darrell Issa.

“We believe that evidence that we’ve gathered causes her, in her best interest, to be someone who should testify.”

Lerner had previously invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to answer questions from members of Congress about her role in the IRS scandal.

Read the rest of this entry »


‘Sit Down, Bitch’ Part 2

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/Files

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/Files

Issa, House GOP to recall Lois Lerner

House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is hauling Lois Lerner back to Congress.

Issa told Lerner’s attorney in a Tuesday letter that he expected the retired IRS official to appear before his committee on March 5.

“Because the committee explicitly rejected her Fifth Amendment privilege claim, I expect her to provide answers when the hearing reconvenes on March 5.”

— Chairman Darrell Issa

Lerner, the official at the center of the IRS targeting controversy, invoked her Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination at a May 2013 hearing, just days after she apologized for the agency’s treatment of Tea Party groups.

See “Sit Down, Bitch, We’re Not Done Yet (punditfromanotherplanet.com)

But the Oversight Committee later ruled that Lerner waived her rights by making an opening statement, setting the stage for her recall next week.

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[VIDEO] New Info About Man at Center of Benghazi ‘Talking Points’ Scandal

Susan-Rice-FaceNation

YouTube

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Darrell Issa: Obama Administration Waging ‘a War on Guns’ with ‘Rogue’ ATF Sting Operations

Brendan Bordelon reports:  California Rep. Darrell Issa, the Republican chair of the House Oversight Committee, accused the Obama administration of waging “a war on guns” after new reports of “rogue” sting operations by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) conducted during 2013.

Daily Caller [VIDEO]

Daily Caller [VIDEO]

Issa spoke to Fox News’ Shannon Bream Sunday about a report by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, which claimed that ATF agents operating firearm stings in 6 separate cities “took advantage of the mentally ill, set up stings near churches and schools and made decisions which some claim actually increased crime in their neighborhoods.” Issa and Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley sent a letter to ATF Director Todd Jones this week to demand answers on the tactics and how often they’ve been used.

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CRACK: House Democrats break ranks with the White House on ObamaCare vote

Speaker+Pelosi+Swears+Members+111th+Congress+1ub7AYCflDAlPete Kasperowicz  reports:  Dozens of House Democrats broke ranks with President Obama on Friday to support legislation that would require people to be notified of security breaches under ObamaCare.

The House passed the Health Exchange Security and Transparency Act, H.R. 3811, in a 291-122 vote. Sixty-seven Democrats voted for the bill, ignoring arguments from party leaders that the bill was a “messaging” vote meant to discourage people from signing up for insurance.

The one-sentence bill says that no later than two business days after any security breach on an ObamaCare site is discovered, “the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall provide notice of such breach to each individual.” Republicans said that under current law, the government is not required to notify people if their information is put at risk.

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Tainted Tea: Obama Donor to Head IRS Tea Party Targeting Investigation

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Frances Martel reports:  The attorney heading the internal investigation into potential unfair targeting of conservative groups by the IRS is a frequent and significant donor to both the Democratic National Commission and President Obama, Rep. Darrell Issa revealed today, in what he calls a “startling conflict of interest” that jeopardizes the investigation.

Rep. Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, sent a letter today to Attorney General Eric Holder revealing new information that reached the committee on who is conducting the internal investigations at the IRS regarding the inappropriate targeting of conservative groups. Seeking an explanation as to why the FBI has been unresponsive to the committee, Rep. Issa noted that current and former IRS officials revealed Barbara Bosserman, a trial attorney within the IRS’s Civil Rights Commission, is leading the internal investigation.

Bosserman’s leadership raises all sorts of questions about the investigation’s fairness. Rep. Issa’s investigations revealed that she has been a loyal financial backer of the DNC since 2004 and has donated multiple times personally to President Obama’s two campaigns. Her personal donation total reaches $6,750 to both the party and President Obama.

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Another EPA Official Under Investigation in CIA Scheme

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 and  report: Investigators for the Environmental Protection Agency are reviewing the activity of another high-level official in the agency’s Air and Radiation Office to determine whether to forward the case for possible prosecution, according to congressional aides briefed on the matter.

Investigators for the EPA’s inspector general’s office described the woman as a “person of interest,” according to the aides. She approved many of the lavish travel and lodging expenses run up by John C. Beale, the EPA executive who has pleaded guilty to defrauding the government of nearly $900,000 in pay, bonuses and travel reimbursement while he masqueraded as a CIA agent. Beale is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday.

All three of then-Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy’s deputies in the Office of Air and Radiation have come up in the investigation: Beale; Robert Brenner, a longtime friend of Beale’s who acknowledged accepting an $8,000 discount on a luxury car allegedly arranged by a lobbyist who did business with the EPA; and the woman who approved Beale’s travel.

The woman “was making the majority of the decisions and authorized the actions that enabled” the fraud, said one person briefed about the investigation, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the report had not been made public yet.

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Carney: ‘I’m Not a Computer Expert’

Jay Carney continued to dodge questions about the various problems plaguing Obamacare’s online exchanges today, by pleading ignorance and repeatedly pointing reporters’ questions to the Department of Health and Human Services. At the end of Tuesday’s daily briefing, after offering one last referral to HHS, Carney walked out of the room as frustrated reporters continued to ask him questions.

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The IRS vs. Privacy

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Representative Darrell Issa (R., Calif.), as usual doing the unpleasant work of trying to figure out what exactly it is our so-called public servants are up to all day, requested a series of e-mail exchanges between IRS staffers and White House political personnel regarding provisions of the new health-care law requiring religious organizations to violate their consciences and pay for contraceptives and abortifacients. The e-mail transcripts came back partly redacted, and the IRS labeled those redactions “6103.” And those four digits are a serious problem for the IRS and the Obama administration.

The number 6103 is the IRS’s notation for information that is being redacted because it contains confidential taxpayer information. There are relatively few people authorized to view 6103 information, mostly nonpolitical staff at the IRS (i.e., the guy performing your audit) and, in a few narrow circumstances, particular members of Congress — not including Darrell Issa, apparently. But the content of those 6103 redactions is in e-mails sent by IRS professional staff, who have access to all manner of private taxpayer information, to White House political staff, who are barred by law from receiving 6103 information. There are two possibilities here: Either the IRS is attempting to stonewall Issa’s investigation by improperly and illegally redacting documents he has requested, or the IRS improperly and illegally shared confidential taxpayer information with White House political staff. The latter is the more likely outcome. Read the rest of this entry »


BUSTED: White House, IRS exchanged confidential taxpayer info

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Patrick Howley reports: Top Internal Revenue Service Obamacare official Sarah Hall Ingram discussed confidential taxpayer information with senior Obama White House officials, according to 2012 emails obtained by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and provided to The Daily Caller.

Lois Lerner, then head of the IRS Tax Exempt Organizations division, also received an email alongside White House officials that contained confidential information.

Ingram attempted to counsel the White House on a lawsuit from religious organizations opposing Obamacare’s contraception mandate. Email exchanges involving Ingram and White House officials — including White House health policy advisor Ellen Montz and deputy assistant to the president for health policy Jeanne Lambrew — contained confidential taxpayer information, according to Oversight.

The emails provided to Oversight investigators by the IRS had numerous redactions with the signifier “6103.”

Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code forbids a federal employee from “disclos[ing] any return or return information obtained by him in any manner in connection with his service as such an officer or an employee.”

Federal employees who illegally disclose confidential taxpayer information could face five years in prison. Read the rest of this entry »


IRS Officials Sent Private Data Over Personal Email Accounts

Darrell Issa attending House Oversight and Government Reform Committee / AP - See

Darrell Issa attending House Oversight and Government Reform Committee / AP 

CJ Ciaramella writes: Senior Internal Revenue Service officials—including one at the heart of the IRS “targeting” scandal—violated agency policies and possibly federal records laws by using private email to send confidential taxpayer information, the GOP-led House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform said in a letter.

In a Sept. 30 letter to IRS Acting Commissioner Daniel Werfel obtained by the Free Beacon, Oversight Chairman Darrel Issa (R., Calif.) said an investigation revealed a “troubling pattern” of at least four top IRS officials using their private email addresses to relay confidential tax information. Read the rest of this entry »


Issa: ‘There’s a reason to fear’ Obama agencies

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Ginni Thomas writes: Republican California Rep. Darrell Issa, the GOP’s top government watchdog, warns that we have entered a time to “love my country, fear my government.”

“Right now, there’s a reason to fear the IRS and other agencies, including the EPA, who are loaded with people who feel empowered to bend the rules against those they disagree with,” the California Republican explained.

Issa has been investigating the Internal Revenue Service since Lois Lerner’s May 2013 admission that the agency treated conservative groups differently, and his Sept. 17 committee report details the committee’s progress and findings to date.

Issa now believes that President Obama’s criticism of the U.S. Supreme Court in his 2010 State of the Union address sent an important signal to left-wing activists throughout the federal government that “I can work with the president even if it’s inconsistent with my job or the Constitution.” Read the rest of this entry »


IRS agents tell House committee that the targeting started in D.C.

Since the IRS targeting scandal began, top IRS brass has maintained that this very politically convenient suppression of conservative non-profit groups’ applications was the work of a few low-level employees in the Cincinnati IRS office. But those provincial IRS employees have offered a very different story under questioning from the House Oversight committee staff.

House Oversight chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., posted partial transcripts today from two of the interviews, in which all names are redacted. Although the Cincinnati employees’ denials should be taken with a grain of salt (like all the other IRS officials’ denials), these two interviews both point the finger back at the IRS in Washington — which is consistent with other accounts that both the conservative and mainstream press has unearthed.

One of the low-level employees said that the Washington office was “basically throwing us underneath the bus” for an operation they had ordered and directed. And an employee described as being more senior said that he viewed the entire project as unfair and was so worried about being blamed for it later that he actually applied for another job in the summer of 2010. “I didn’t want my name in the paper for being this rogue agent for a project I had no control over,” the more senior employee said.

This should make for some good hearings in the near future.

Follow the link for a partial transcript released by the committee:

via Targeting started in D.C. | Conservative Intelligence Briefing.


Darrel Issa: Lerner Waived Her 5th Amendment Rights By Offering Her Claims Before Invoking Her Right to Silence

She’ll be recalled tomorrow.

What I expect is that she will be forced to invoke the 5th for each of a series of pointed questions, such as her previous refusal to investigate an illegal Al Gore donor, and her previous hardline stance against Christian organizations. As well, of course, about her complicity in the IRS scandal.

She will look very bad doing so.

I didn’t know the law on this and Allah recaps it at the link: While you may not selectively invoke the 5th in a criminal trial, you probably can at a Congressional hearing, so she won’t be held in contempt.

She will, however, be made to look awful, which sounds about right.

via Ace of Spades HQ.