White House that Promised Transparency Refuses to Cooperate with IRS Probe

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Stephen Dinan reports: The White House told Congress last week it refused to dig into its computers for emails that could shed light on what kinds of private taxpayer information the IRS shares with President Obama’s top aides, assuring Congress that the IRS will address the issue — eventually.O-SMDGE-CONDENSED

The tax agency has already said it doesn’t have the capability to dig out the emails in question, but the White House’s chief counsel, W. Neil Eggleston, insisted in a letter last week to House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan that the IRS would try again once it finishes with the tea party-targeting scandal.

“It is my understanding that in May 2014, Commissioner Koskinen responded to this request by indicating that the IRS would be able to address new topics such as these following its completion of document productions already in progress,” Mr. Eggleston wrote in a Feb. 17 letter. “To the extent that the committee continues to have an oversight interest in this matter, I encourage you to continue working with the IRS to address those questions.”

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“The IRS has been under fire for years over several scandals, including its targeting of tea party groups for politically motivated scrutiny and its illegal release of private taxpayer information…”

But IRS Commissioner John Koskinen’s letter last year didn’t say that. Instead Mr. Koskinen said the IRS was logistically incapable of performing the search because it would have required combing through 90,000 email accounts.

The White House’s stiff-arm comes even though it performed a similar kind of email search in the past after the IRS lost thousands of emails of former division chief Lois G. Lerner, a key figure in the tea party targeting.

Mr. Ryan is trying to figure out whether the laws that govern taxpayer information security are working, which is part of his committee’s jurisdiction.SMDG-TV2

“The White House’s stiff-arm comes even though it performed a similar kind of email search in the past after the IRS lost thousands of emails of former division chief Lois G. Lerner, a key figure in the tea party targeting.”

The IRS has been under fire for years over several scandals, including its targeting of tea party groups for politically motivated scrutiny and its illegal release of private taxpayer information concerning the National Organization for Marriage. The IRS insisted the disclosure was accidental and not politically motivated, but it did pay a settlement to the organization.

Some outside pressure groups argue the IRS’s improper behavior goes further, and includes disclosing private taxpayer information to the White House. The groups point to comments by a top White House economic adviser who in 2010 said Koch Industries, the company run by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch, paid no corporate income taxes. Read the rest of this entry »


Demonstrating Restraint, Foresight, Leadership, and Common Sense, Governor Christie Vetoes Gun Magazine Reduction Bill

Faith And Freedom Coalition Holds Policy Conference

Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a gun control bill Wednesday that would have banned ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds.

In his veto message, the Republican governor rejected the idea that limiting the number of bullets that guns can hold will put an end to mass shootings, calling it a “simplistic” and “trivial” approach. The bill would have reduced the legal ammunition capacity from 15 to 10 rounds.

(NEWARK, N.J.) — Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a gun control bill Wednesday that would have banned ammunition magazines holding more than 10 rounds.

In the bill’s place, Christie called for a series of reforms to mental illness treatment, including a new standard that would make it easier to commit people involuntarily…(read more) TIME


Bummer! Perry’s poaching starting to annoy other states

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I assume this means that Governor Rick Perry’s poaching has been successful:

Gov. Rick Perry’s high-profile efforts to lure jobs to Texas from other states may be good business and smart politics back home, but they’re infuriating to prominent Democrats around the country.

And now at least one Republican business leader says Perry’s taking the Lone Star swagger a little too far.

Perry’s forceful recruitment campaigns, featuring radio and magazine ads as well as personal appearances, promise low-tax, pro-growth policies in Texas —and they also trash the business climate in places like California (“…I hear building a business in California is next to impossible”) and Illinois (“…an environment that, intentionally or not, is designed for you to fail.”)

Those attacks hit where it hurts and have touched off an angry political backlash against Perry outside the Texas borders, with Democrats mocking his attempts to steal jobs as clownish – and warning the Republican governor to keep his handsoff. In a memorable put-down, Gov. Jerry Brown said Perry’s incursions into California were about as effective as breaking wind.

But other observers say Perry knows exactly what he’s doing.

“At the end of the day, no matter how any of the [states] respond, people are left with two distinct messages: That guy down in Texas has got big brass balls and he’s creating a lot of jobs,” Mark McKinnon, a political strategist with deep Texas ties, told POLITICO. “It’s brilliant marketing and very smart politics.”

Well, that’s usually the case when competition produces dominant players — a lot of less-competitive players get annoyed, resentful, and dismissive.  A few of them will start trying to compete better. The rest simply go out of business altogether.  Perry’s critics seem to be in the dinosaur group.

via The Greenroom