FBI agents working alongside Utah state prosecutors in a wide-ranging corruption investigation have uncovered accusations of wrongdoing by two of the U.S. Senate’s most prominent figures — Majority Leader Harry Reid and rising Republican Sen. Mike Lee — but the Justice Department has thwarted their bid to launch a full federal investigation.The probe, conducted by one Republican and one Democratic state prosecutor in Utah, has received accusations from an indicted businessman and political donor, interviewed other witnesses and gathered preliminary evidence such as financial records, Congressional Record statements and photographs that corroborate some aspects of the accusations, officials have told The Washington Times and ABC News.
“We’re just two local prosecutors but everybody who was supposed to look at this evidence above us has made a decision not to, and by default left it to us to investigate and prosecute at the state level.”
— Sim Gill, chief prosecutor in Salt Lake County
But the Justice Department’s public integrity section — which normally handles corruption cases involving elected figures — rejected FBI agents’ bid to use a federal grand jury and subpoenas to determine whether the accusations are true and whether any federal crimes were committed by state and federal officials.
“There are allegations, but they are very serious allegations and they need to be looked at by somebody…If true, or even if asserted, they truly should be investigated and put to rest, or be confirmed.”
— Sim Gill
[VIDEO] Jonathan Turley: The Left’s Indifference to Obama’s Executive Power Grabs is ‘Beginning to Border on a Cult of Personality’Posted: February 13, 2014
“Look out for the phrase “borders on authoritarianism.”
There’s nothing here that you haven’t heard before if you watched him testify before Congress in December but it’s still worth watching for two reasons. One is his tone, which has grown darker and more apocalyptic since then…
…More than once here he warns that Obama’s “enablers” are destined to rue the fact that they remained silent “during this period.” Precedents are being set that will be built on by future presidents of both parties; for all the complaining about executive overreach by Democrats circa 2006 and Republicans today, the cold realities of power are what they are.
I’m tempted to say that it was O’s latest unlawful delay to ObamaCare’s employer mandate that soured Turley’s mood, but I don’t think that’s it. I think it was the State of the Union, where Obama embraced bypassing Congress as formal policy. Look out for the phrase “borders on authoritarianism.”
The other reason to watch is his debunking near the end of the “power of the purse” strategy to check Obama. Mike Lee told the Weekly Standard two days ago that that’s the way he thinks Congress should rein in the president: They’re not going to roll the political dice on impeachment and they can’t sue for lack of standing, but they can go ahead and cut off Obama’s money in areas where he’s exceeded his constitutional boundaries — in theory.
Senator Mike Lee knows…
Jennifer Rubin writes: The high-profile winners in politics don’t let you forget they won. But organizations and individuals do some of the most important work out of the limelight to defend, sustain and enrich our political system and society as a whole. There were a number of these that made a difference in 2013.
• The American Enterprise Institute: Under president Arthur Brooks AEI has hit its stride, becoming the premiere right-leaning think tank. Unlike Heritage, it has stayed out of politics and stuck to the realm of political philosophy and policy. It has been a major mover on the right to create a more people-centric, positive vision of conservatism. And to top it off, Brooks is doing some fascinating work on happiness — who is happy, what makes us happy. AEI has and continues to provide intellectual sustenance and encouragement to conservatives like Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah).
• Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee: He started 2013 with a controversial report that began a year of rebuilding and positive debate about the party’s future. He recognized immigration as an issue that had to be addressed. And most important, he began work on a new primary system that will be shorter and less self-destructive. The extent of his work won’t be fully known until 2016, but he is making critical strides in modernizing the party.
1,500 to 2,000 supporters of Senator Mike Lee, waving American flags and holding home-made signs, gave a ten minute ovation to their favorite Senator at a rally in Salt Lake City, Saturday morning, to counter the media narrative that ‘his constituents don’t like him.’
VINDICATED: Not So Extreme After All
Deroy Murdock writes: One year from today — and perhaps much sooner — Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and other Republican “extremists” will look like heroes. For trying to defund the (un)Affordable Care Act, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid smeared them as “anarchists,” and both liberals and some weak-kneed Republicans have offered their own denunciations.
Jeff Poors reports: Senate Republicans furiously attacked Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Utah Sen. Mike Lee behind closed doors and leaked details of an off-record meeting to the media to harm the two senators, according to Lee.
Lee divulged some of the details of a closed-door meeting on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show on Friday, since he said much of it had been leaked to the media by his own colleagues.
“[N]ormally, I don’t comment at all on closed-door meetings between Republican senators,” Lee said. “It’s a pretty strict rule we follow. But one exception I’ll make is circumstances like this, where contents of the meeting were leaked deliberately by several of my colleagues and leaked in a very one-sided way. I’m happy to tell you about it here.”
“It was an all-out attack against Ted Cruz and me,” he continued. “It was unflattering. It was unfair. It was demeaning. It was demeaning to Sen. Cruz and me, but more than anything, it was demeaning to those who engaged in the attack.” Read the rest of this entry »
How to Constitutionally Fund the Government
It’s the House’s prerogative to supply funds, or not, for Obamacare.
- After his disgraceful attacks on Cruz, including his reach-across-the-aisle, dog-in-the-manger response today, this should be the end of Senator John McCain as a voice of influence in the Republican party. Ditto his mini-me, Senator Lindsey Graham. Indeed, the entire Old Guard of business-as-usual “comity” fans passeth. When you care more about what the other side thinks, it’s probably time either to switch teams or step down.
- There is new leadership in the GOP, whether the party wants to admit it or not: Cruz, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Jeff Sessions, and the others who stepped into the breach to spell the senator from Texas.
- The popular reaction to Cruz will be immediate and noticeable; the more the old bulls carp, the more the public will rally to Cruz’s side. The country has been spoiling for a real fight since the election of 2008, and now it has one. Read the rest of this entry »
A curious moment happened on Fox News Sunday. Chris Wallace told Karl Rove that a number of Republicans in Congress had sent him opposition research on Ted Cruz once Fox announced Cruz would be on.
Rove responded. He said this was all happening because Cruz and Mike Lee had not worked out strategy in the regular Senate Republican Conference lunches on Thursdays. Rove said that was what was supposed to happen. Except that for a year now, Senate Republicans have routinely leaked the proceedings of those meetings to the New York Times and Washington Post in ways designed to harm Cruz, Lee, and others who side with them. Read the rest of this entry »
Patrick Howley writes: Republican Rep. Tom Graves’ budget plan to defund Obamacare while avoiding a government shutdown is rapidly gaining House support, but President Obama’s advocacy group Organizing for Action (OFA) is still using claims that Republicans want a shutdown in its fundraising pitch.
Graves’ Stability, Security, and Fairness Resolution now has 70 House cosponsors after 11 more lawmakers cosponsored Tuesday. The continuing resolution proposal for fiscal year 2014 actually avoids a government shutdown and funds all facets of the federal government, with the exception of spending related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Graves introduced the plan last Thursday. Read the rest of this entry »
Washington’s Boogey-Man Bad-Boy Voodoo-Doll Senator
How does Senator Ted Cruz freak out liberals? Usually by being good at what he does.
Several times a day, especially if he’s out travelin’ and talkin’ to folks, as he always is when the U.S. Senate isn’t in session, Ted Cruz will stand before an audience and reflect, seemingly for the first time, about the generational shift taking place in the Republican party. Read the rest of this entry »
By Betsy McCaughey
Obama’s unconstitutional actions have forced Congress’s hand.
Two weeks ago, the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee voted to strip the scandal ridden Internal Revenue Service of nearly one quarter of its 2014 budget as punishment for its targeting of political groups and its costly boondoggles. Shockingly, Senate Democrats voted to increase the IRS’s budget.
Last week, numerous Republicans in both houses of Congress threatened to cut off all funding for the federal government as of October 1, in response to President Obama’s unconstitutional stance that he can pick and choose which parts of Obamacare he will implement.
On July 3, the Obama administration disclosed that it would not implement Obamacare’s employer mandate on January 1, 2014, though the law says the mandate “shall” go into effect that day. The administration pretended it was no big deal. But it violates the law and affects 10 million currently uninsured or underinsured workers whose employers would have been subject to the mandate. The cost of insuring these workers is shifted from employers to taxpayers, who foot the bill for subsidized insurance on the new Obamacare exchanges. At an average cost of $5,290 per subsidized enrollee, according to the Congressional Budget Office, this will add billions to the cost of Obamacare next year alone.
Two days later, another whopper. On July 5, the Obama administration revealed that it would also skip the health law’s requirement that applicants seeking taxpayer subsidies to pay for their insurance have their income and insurance eligibility verified. Welcome fraudsters, too bad again for taxpayers.
President Obama does not have the authority to choose which parts of the law are enforced. In 1975, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously against President Richard Nixon’s inflated claims that he could selectively carry out the law. But going to court to keep presidents in line is slow and necessitates finding litigants to sue the president. The framers gave Congress a more practical way to resist a power-hungry president: defunding. Defunding is precisely what members of Congress are supposed to do when a president breaks the law. It’s checks and balances in action. Two centuries ago, the chief architect of the U.S. Constitution James Madison declared in Federalist No. 58 that Congress’s authority over spending is the “most complete and effectual tool” to stop a president from grabbing more power than the Constitution allows.