Internal Revenue Service

10 things you need to know today: May 8, 2014

Putin dials it back. 

Putin dials it back. | (AP Photo/Sergei Karpukhin, Pool)

The Week

The House holds a former IRS official in contempt, Putin backs down on Ukraine, and more

1. House holds former IRS official Lois Lerner in contempt
The House on Wednesday voted to hold former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner in contempt over her handling of a hearing on the agency’s targeting of conservative groups from 2010 to 2013. In May, Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination during the hearing, but Republicans said she waived the right to remain silent by making an opening statement first. She could face a year in jail and a $100,000 fine. [National Journal]

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2. Putin urges Ukrainian separatists to postpone Sunday’s secession referendum
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that he had pulled his country’s troops away from the Ukrainian border, and urged pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine to postpone an independence referendum. Analysts predicted the separatists would comply and postpone the Sunday vote. Putin’s peace offering was interpreted as a sign he wants to ease tensions in the face of Western sanctions and a looming recession. [Reuters]

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3. Hundreds reported dead after Boko Haram militants attack Nigerian village
Boko Haram attacked a Nigerian village used as a base in the search for 276 high-school girls the Islamist terror group abducted in Nigeria, witnesses said Wednesday. The assault took several hours and reportedly left 310 people dead. Some of those killed were reportedly burned alive. Witnesses said gunmen wearing military uniforms arrived at a market, firing rocket-propelled grenades and throwing improvised explosive devices. [CNN]

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4. Feds crack down on synthetic-drug suspects
Drug Enforcement Administration agents served 200 search warrants and made more than 150 arrests on Wednesday in a nationwide crackdown on makers, wholesalers, and dealers of synthetic drugs. More than $20 million in cash and assets were seized during the operation. The Treasury Department also got involved, announcing its first sanctions against people accused of dealing the drugs. [The Associated Press]

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5. Insurers say 80 percent have paid for ObamaCare policies
Top health insurers told members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday that more than 80 percent of people who signed up for coverage under ObamaCare had paid their premiums. The hearing was called after Republicans last week issued a report finding that only 67 percent had paid premiums as of April 15, a figure the GOP used to refute White House claims thatthe law was a success because more than eight million had enrolled. [The Associated Press]

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6. Tesla stock drops as its research costs rise
Tesla Motors stock fell by more than seven percent in after-hours trading Wednesday after the electric-luxury-car maker reported a $50 million loss in the first quarter. Tesla made a profit in the first quarter of last year, but it is now facing a surge in costs to boost production of its luxury Model S, expand its product lineup, and build a 10-million-square-foot “gigafactory” for assembling vehicle lithium-ion batteries in the U.S. [The Wall Street JournalReuters]

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7. Students math and reading scores show no improvement since 2009
High school seniors have failed to improve since 2009 in math and reading on an exam known as the “Nation’s Report Card,” the Education Department reported Wednesday. Only 38 percent scored as proficient readers, and only a quarter performed proficiently in math on the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress. The lack of progress came despite George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind and President Obama’s Race to the Top initiatives. [Bloomberg]

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8. Vietnam says Chinese ships rammed two of its vessels
Vietnam accused China on Wednesday of ramming two Vietnamese Sea Guard vessels and firing water cannons at them in contested South China Sea waters. The Sunday confrontation, which China did not immediately confirm, increased already high tensions in the region over China’s increasingly bold assertion of authority over waters also claimed by Vietnam, Japan, and other nations. [The New York Times]

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9. Ferry company president detained over deadly South Korean ferry disaster
South Korean prosecutors said Wednesday that they had detained the head of the company that owns the sunken ferry Sewol. The ship sank last month, and investigators believe it was overloaded with cargo that shifted, causing the vessel to tip on its side and sink, leaving more than 300 people dead or missing. Prosecutors said Kim Han-sik, president of Chonghaejin Marine Co. Ltd, knew the Sewol was carrying too much cargo when it left port. [The Associated Press]

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10. Fast-food workers take their demand for higher wages global
Fast-food workers are going global with their push for higher pay. Fast Food Forward, which represents American workers demanding raises to $15 an hour, is planning the latest in a series of U.S. strikes for May 15. Workers from 32 countries on five continents plan to hold solidarity protests on the same day at McDonald’s, Burger King, and KFC outlets. Median pay for U.S. fast food workers is now just over $9 an hour — about $18,500 a year. [AljazeeraCNN]

Secret Service: Motorist who followed motorcade onto White House grounds made a mistake

A man is taken into custody by Secret Service on Tuesday. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Luckily he wasn’t shot dead by the Capitol Police. I’m sure some will dispute the comparison and that’s ok…

The Washington Post

Mathew Goldstein’s wrong turn near the White House started as a moment of confusion and ended as a national incident.

The IT specialist for the Internal Revenue Service was driving his gray Honda Civic along 17th Street NW on Tuesday afternoon when he inadvertently followed the motorcade carrying President Obama’s daughters into the secure perimeter for the presidential compound.

Goldstein, 55, who is charged with a misdemeanor and was released after a brief appearance in D.C. Superior Court on Wednesday, told law enforcement officials that he had made a mistake and was not familiar with the roads around the White House.

“He was at a function downtown with colleagues and said he was just checked out mentally and confused,” said an official familiar with the incident. “It seems to be bad luck on his part.”

But Goldstein’s mistaken left turn raised serious questions about how an unauthorized vehicle was able to travel within five feet of the Obama girls’ motorcade and get through two rows of metal security bollards at the checkpoint at 17th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.

Goldstein, described by a friend as brilliant but absent-minded, was so close to the motorcade that the large metal posts could not be raised in time to block the car, according to court papers filed Wednesday.

A foot patrol officer stopped Goldstein, of Mitchellville, by stepping in front of the Honda as it neared Jackson Place NW and Pennsylvania Avenue. The officer removed Goldstein from his car. He was arrested, and the Honda was towed to lot in Southwest for “safe keeping,” according to the documents.

When asked Wednesday how Goldstein was able to breach the outer perimeter, Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said the agency would “have to review and find out how that did happen.”

“This incident is being taken seriously and it should not have happened,” Donovan said.

Former Secret Service officials characterized the incident, which led to the lockdown of the White House for more than an hour, as a modest failure of security. Even though Goldstein maneuvered past the checkpoint, he did not get past the rear-most vehicle.

“Obviously, any failure is basically viewed as unacceptable with the Service,” said W. Ralph Basham, who served as director of the agency from 2003 to 2006.

“It’s the human element,” he said. “You’re not expecting to see something like that and when it’s that quick, being able to react in a timely fashion is challenging.”

Dan Emmett, another former Secret Service agent, said it was “amazing this did not happen long ago.”

A presidential motorcade has a marked tail car that stops to block the entrance once the “secure package” transporting the president is inside. On Tuesday, there was apparently no tail car blocking for the Obama daughters.

“Literally anyone can follow them,” said Emmett, the author of a book about his career, “Within Arm’s Length.” “I would be willing to bet they now have a tail car and will from now on.”

Donovan, the Secret Service spokesman, said the agency “does not comment on specific security arrangements for motorcades and neither should our former personnel.”

But it is not uncommon for a presidential motorcade to be inadvertently breached when the president travels outside the District, and it happens a couple of times a year, according to the agency.

Intrusions occur when checkpoints are unmanned prematurely and cars enter the lengthy motorcade, which can have substantial gaps between the more than 20 vehicles. The overwhelming majority of breaches are considered mistakes.

But having a breach at the 17th Street checkpoint is extremely unusual, according to two law enforcement sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Both Basham and another former Secret Service agent, who has experience with motorcades, said Obama’s daughters would have been traveling in a “stripped down” motorcade with far fewer support vehicles than the president’s entourage. In some cases, the smaller motorcades are without local police escorts so as not to draw attention, they said.

Basham said that during his tenure, confused motorists sometimes got near the motorcade but that they were forced out by police or intelligence vehicles. He could not recall any instance when a motorist got near the motorcade with the intent of doing harm to the president or another dignitary.

The president and first lady Michelle Obama would probably be briefed on Tuesday’s incident, he said.

“I’m sure they would be curious about whether this should have happened,” Basham said.

In the courtroom Wednesday, Magistrate Judge Karen A. Howze released Goldstein pending a hearing May 21. The misdemeanor charge of unlawful entry carries a maximum of 180 days in jail and a fine of as much as $1,000. The judge ordered Goldstein to stay away from the White House and its grounds.

Goldstein and his attorney declined to comment.

Don Wharton, who runs the Secular Perspectives blog, said he recruited Goldstein to be a contributor about five years ago. He described Goldstein as an introverted and intelligent atheist who cares deeply about the separation of church and state and had concerns about government surveillance.

Wharton said Goldstein never expressed any ill will toward President Obama or showed signs of violence. He spends some time as an activist for the coalition and writes a personal blog called the Explicit Atheist that has touched on subjects ranging from cosmology to political races in Arizona.

Goldstein’s brilliance, Wharton said, was also punctuated by an absent-mindedness.

“He is very capable of taking philosophical aspects of quantum mechanics and talking about them with clarity, Wharton said. “By most standards, that is a very competent manner of thinking. I can imagine him getting lost though.”

10 things you need to know today: November 27, 2013

Two unarmed B-52 bombers flew through airspace that China recently claimed as its own.

Two unarmed B-52 bombers flew through airspace that China recently claimed as its own. (AP Photo/U.S. Air Force)

The Week

The Supreme Court reviews another ObamaCare challenge, the U.S. challenges China’s claim over disputed airspace, and more

1. Justices agree to review another ObamaCare challenge
The Supreme Court is wading back into the battle over ObamaCare. The high court, which upheld the law’s individual mandate to buy insurance last year, agreed on Tuesday to review a provision requiring private companies to offer coverage of birth control and other reproductive health benefits with no co-pay. Appeals courts have sided with employers who say some treatments, such as morning-after pills designed to prevent embryos from implanting, violate their religious beliefs. [CNN]
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2. The U.S. and Japan defy China’s new airspace claims
The U.S. sent two unarmed B-52 bombers on a training mission over disputed islands in the East China Sea on Tuesday in defiance of China’s newly declared airspace defense zone. Japanese airlines also ignored Beijing’s claim to the airspace and flew through on Wednesday, without notifying Beijing. The provocative moves intensified a standoff between China and Japan over which country controls the area, and experts in U.S.-China relations said Beijing would be forced to respond if the flights continue. [Reuters]
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3. Government moves to limit non-profits’ political spending
The Obama administration is proposing new rules to curb the political activities of tax-exempt non-profit groups. The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service want to spell out more clearly what constitutes political spending — such as TV ads or get-out-the-vote drives — and put limits on how much of it non-profits can do. The move threatens to drag the IRS deeper into partisan politics, as some Republicans complain it will encourage attacks on free speech by administration opponents. [New York Times]
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4. Storm fouls up Thanksgiving plans 
The deadly and messy winter storm that is fouling up Thanksgiving travel plans on the East Coast is threatening to disrupt another holiday tradition — the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. The sloppy mix of snow, rain, and winds gusting to 36 miles per hour has already forced the cancelation of hundreds of airline flights. Parade organizers say if the nasty conditions continue through Thursday they could also force the grounding of the parade’s giant flying balloons depicting Snoopy, SpongeBob, and other cartoon favorites. [Christian Science Monitor]
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5. Pope Francis attacks the “tyranny” of unchecked capitalism
Pope Francis, in a statement outlining his papacy’s mission, called unchecked capitalism a “new tyranny” plaguing the world’s poor. “We… have to say thou shalt not to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills,” said the Pope, who has drawn admirers in and out of the church for his modest ways and defense of the poor. He called on world leaders to fight poverty and overhaul the global financial system to share the world’s wealth more evenly. “Money must serve,” he said, “not rule!” [Associated Press]
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6. CBS News star Lara Logan is put on leave
Lara Logan, a high-profile CBS News correspondent, has been placed on leave for using a discredited source in 60 Minutes’ October report on the Benghazi attack. Logan told an account of the attack, which left ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead, by security contractor Dylan Davies, even though he had told his employer he was not at the scene. CBS didn’t say whether Logan — or producer Max McClellan, who was also suspended — would be out, or whether she would still be paid. [USA Today]
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7. A once-distant comet zooms close to the sun
Comet ISON, which soared far out on the edge of the solar system for 4.5 billion years, will make a spectacular fly-by past the sun on Thursday. Some scientists believe the comet will burn up as it nearly grazes the sun, but they are also pretty sure that it will provide a never-before-seen glimpse of some of the building blocks that formed planets. If the comet survives, it could provide an impressive light show in the early December night sky. [New York Times]
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8. Microsoft executives debate how to block NSA spying
Microsoft is preparing a major push to better encrypt its internet traffic over growing suspicions that the National Security Agency might have hacked into its global communications networks. Microsoft was worried even before news reports in October that said the NSA had been intercepting traffic of Microsoft rivals, Google and Yahoo. Insiders say leading Microsoft executives are meeting this week to decide when and how to beef up their company’s encryption. [Washington Post]
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9. Historic book sells for a record $14.2 million
One of 11 surviving copies of the first book printed in America — the Bay Psalm Book — sold for $14.2 million at a Tuesday night auction at Sotheby’s in New York. It was the most ever paid for any book in an auction. The previous record was set in December 2010 when a buyer paid $11.5 million for John James Audubon’s Birds of America. David Rubenstein, co-founder and co-CEO of private equity firm Carlyle Group, purchased the Bay Psalm Book and plans to loan it to libraries. [Reuters]
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10. Maddux and Glavine make Hall of Fame ballot
Major League Baseball has unveiled this year’s Hall of Fame ballot, and it includes some revered pitchers, including four-time Cy Young Award winner Greg Maddux and two-time winner Tom Glavine. The nominees also include tainted heroes from baseball’s steroid scandal, including pitcher Roger Clemens and sluggers Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Mark McGwire. About 600 sports writers will cast votes. The inductees will be announced Jan. 8. [Associated Press]

 

VIDEO: House GOPer Won’t Push Back on Birther Calling Obama “Communist Despot”

Mother Jones

Martha Roby

Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.) Wetumpka Tea Party

Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.) is no John McCain.

At a town hall forum in her district on Monday that was sponsored by a local tea party group, Roby was asked by an attendee what she would do to counter the supposed abuses of President Barack Obama, whom the man described as ineligible for office, a communist, and a tyrant. Here’s how the fellow put it: “What I need from you is to know what you can do, you and your fellow non-communist colleagues in the lower House, what you can do to stop these communist tyrannical executive orders laid down by this foreign-born, America-hating communist despot?”

After the room erupted in laughter and supportive applause, Roby responded with a smile: “Thank you for your question—he said it loud enough that you all heard it.” Roby did not push back on the questioner’s claims. Instead, she validated his fears. “Look I can’t emphasize the oversight part of my job enough,” she said. “And I think that that gets lost in what we do every day, because that’s exactly what we’re doing—we’re chasing down these executive orders, we’re chasing down these rules that are promulgated, that are backdoor legislation, whether it’s the EPA, the IRS, go down the list.”

Watch:

 

Contrast Roby’s dodgy reply with the direct response employed by McCain during the 2008 campaign, when a McCain supporter called then-Sen. Obama “an Arab.” McCain grabbed the microphone and wouldn’t let this stand:

 

House GOP To Hold 40th Obamacare Repeal Vote

The classic definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. ~ Albert Einstein

The Huffington Post

House Republicans plan a 40th attempt at repealing Obamacare next week, with legislation that would block the Internal Revenue Service from enforcing or implementing any portion of the health care reform law.

House Republicans have scheduled a vote next Friday on Rep. Tom Price’s (R-Ga.) Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act of 2013.

“Public distrust continues of agency that has dozens of powers under Obamacare, and whose actions President Obama has called outrageous,” said Doug Heye, spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). “As an ever increasing number of Americans — including labor unions and moderate Democrats — worry that Obamacare has become a nightmare, it is critical to prevent the IRS from implementing any portion of the law.”

Both House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) issued statements Friday afternoon blasting Republicans for the anticipated vote.

“It is only fitting that Republicans would waste the last week at work this summer voting for the 40th time to repeal the Affordable Care Act and continue their record of no jobs bills, no budget agreement, and no solutions for the middle class,” said Pelosi.

“Every day wasted on yet another repeal bill that will never be taken up by the Senate, much less survive a presidential veto, is another day that could have been spent advancing legislation to create jobs for the middle class, negotiating a balanced and bipartisan approach to deficits that can end the painful budget sequester, or debating a path forward on immigration reform,” added Hoyer.

Price’s bill isn’t an explicit vote to fully repeal Obamacare, but it would have the same effect, crippling President Barack Obama’s signature law. The IRS is responsible for crucial elements of Obamacare, such as distributing the tax credits that individuals and small businesses will use to defray the cost of health insurance.

Republicans have been going after the IRS in recent weeks after revelations that it targeted tea party groups applying for nonprofit status with extra scrutiny. Later revelations, however, showed that the IRS also screened progressive groups.

“When it comes to an individual’s personal health care decisions, no American should be required to answer to the IRS — an agency that just forfeited its claim to a reputation of impartiality. It has always been an untenable and unacceptable scenario, and we ought to take this common sense step to take the IRS out of health care,” said Price when he introduced his bill in May.

Boehner recently said on CBS that the House GOP would continue pushing the repeal of Obamacare — even though it has no chance of clearing the president’s desk.

“The program isn’t ready,” Boehner told the network. “This is not ready for prime time. This is not good for the country, and we’re going to stay at it.”

More than a dozen Senate Republicans, led by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), arethreatening to block a continuing resolution that would keep the federal government open beyond Sept. 30 if it includes funding for the implementation of Obamacare. In other words, unless Obamacare is repealed, the government would shut down. Several Republican lawmakers have denounced this plan, calling it a “temper tantrum” and “shenanigans.”

Next week’s House vote will be the 40th attempt by Republicans to repeal or significantly cripple, Obamacare. Last week, the House GOP took its 38th and 39th such votes, passing legislation that called for one-year delays on two key provisions of the law. Obama promised to veto the measure, and the Senate indicated no plans to consider it.

This article has been updated to include background on House Republicans’ 38th and 39th attempts to repeal Obamacare.

Wednesday Blog Roundup – 7-10-2013

America’s Secret Spy Court Has Been Radically Expanding The Powers Of The NSA

NY Times Editorial: The Laws We Can’t See

Pro-Hillary super PAC signs up top Obama aides

Snowden Asylum Applications Reveal More Stupidity

Insurer Refuses To Cover Gun-Carrying Kansas Schools

Perry decides not to seek another term as Texas governor

Defense in Zimmerman trial expects to rest its case Wednesday

Obama Calls On Congress To Help Streamline Government Services

Elisabeth Hasselbeck Joining Fox News, will Co-Host ‘Fox & Friends’

Dems to GOP: Your new anti-abortion push is dead on arrival in Senate

Media Matters staff: Limbaugh Walks Back His Criticism Of Fox, Declares “We’re On The Same Team”

 

Saturday Blog Roundup 7-6-2013

On undermining Obamacare

The job-killing Republican sequester

The IRS ‘scandal’ evaporates into nothing

Zimmerman Judge Rejects Motion to Dismiss

Nicaragua, Venezuela offer asylum to Snowden

A good jobs report, but a new low-wage reality

U.S. reviews aid to Egypt, debates whether it was a coup

CNBC Host Loses It: Climate Science Is A ‘Bona Fide Cult’

Abortion limits at state level return issue to the national stage

David Brooks observes Americans will soon be ‘mutts,’ which does not go over well

 

Darrell Issa and the overblown scandals

The Washington Post – Dana Milbank

This is how a scandal implodes:

First, the head of the investigation overpromises. “This was a targeting of the president’s political enemies, effectively, and lies about it during the election year so that it wasn’t discovered until afterwards,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House oversight committee, said in May of the IRS targeting scandal. He later declared President Obama’s press secretary a “paid liar” for stating otherwise.

Next, facts emerge to undermine the investigator’s presuppositions. Documents released by Ways and Means committee Democrats this week show that the IRS, in addition to targeting tea party groups, also had “Be on the Lookout” (BOLO) lists for groups using descriptors such as “progressive,” “health care legislation,” “medical marijuana,” “paying national debt” and “green energy.”

Finally, evidence surfaces that the investigator stacked the deck. Tuesday night, the Hill newspaper quoted a spokesman for Treasury’s inspector general, Russell George, saying the group was asked by Issa “to narrowly focus on tea party organizations.” The inspectors knew there were other terms, but “that was outside the scope of our audit.”

Certainly, something went badly wrong at the IRS that caused groups to be targeted because of ideology. But it’s nothing like the conspiracy Issa cooked up in which the president and his men supposedly used the tax authority to attack their political foes.

The White House deserves some of the blame for letting things get this far; a full release of information by the administration at the outset would have put the controversy to rest quickly. But the collapse of the Issa-driven scandal has reinforced a growing impression in the capital that ultimately will help Obama: The chairman is full of it.

When I covered President Clinton’s second term, White House officials were delighted to have the eccentric Dan Burton in charge of the House oversight committee. He gained prominence by shooting a melon to try to prove that Clinton aide Vince Foster hadn’t killed himself but had been murdered.

Now Issa has fallen to Burtonian levels of credibility. He’s launched a dozen or so probes, but what often begins as a legitimate inquiry into government failure turns quickly into a lunge for the Oval Office, missing each time.

Even before the Republican victory in 2010 gave him the chairmanship, Issa announced the discovery of “Obama’s Watergate” — the White House floating an administration job for a Democratic congressman to keep him out of a Senate primary. Issa backed off after learning that the Bush administration had done similar things.

Shortly before the 2010 election, Issa told Rush Limbaugh that Obama “has been one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times.” He later said Obama isn’t “personally corrupt” but his administration is.

Issa then set out to prove it. He led a probe into the failed “Fast and Furious” gun sting by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Issa declared that “it went all the way to the White House,” insisting that the plan was approved “at the highest levels of the Obama appointees,” and that the Justice Department “has blood on their hands.”

The Justice Department inspector general determined that Attorney General Eric Holder didn’t even know about the program until after it was shut down.

After the failure of Solyndra, a government-aided solar company, Issa probed Energy Department loan guarantees, saying “I want to see when the president and his cronies are picking winners and losers … that it wasn’t because there were large contributions given to them.”

The committee documented no cronyism and no presidential involvement.

Issa probed the response to Freedom of Information Act requests by the Department of Homeland Security, saying the matter “reeks of a Nixonian enemies list, and this committee will not tolerate it.”

Nothing Nixonian surfaced.

After the killing of U.S. officials in Benghazi, Libya, Issa accused then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of giving false information to Congress when she said she wasn’t involved in denying the Libyan diplomats’ security requests. He also said that it was “perhaps the White House” that later changed talking points to make it appear that the assault had begun as a protest.

It turned out Clinton wasn’t involved in the security decision and the White House wasn’t behind the change in the talking points.

Then came the IRS. Instead of delivering on Issa’s promise to reveal politically motivated harassment of conservatives by the Obama administration, the committee instead turned up evidence (including the account of a “conservative Republican” who managed IRS screening) that the actions weren’t political.

The most Issa et al. can hope to prove now is that conservatives were hassled by the IRS more than liberals. That’s a worthy topic to explore, but it’s no Watergate.

The Last Word – Gitmo vs food stamps GOP hypocrisy exposed

I believe the GOP doesn’t care about their apparent hypocrisy.  Their House caucus has gerrymandered enough districts in this country to assure majorities in the House for a while.  Meanwhile, The Last Word reports on said “hypocrisy”…

Cummings gets tired of waiting for Issa

Last week I embedded this clip from Lawrence O’Donnell’s show.  

It’s a good summary of what prompted the following move by Rep. Elijah Cummings  the ranking member on the House Oversight Committee .

The Maddow Blog

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking member on the House Oversight Committee, has seen the same interview transcripts as Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), documenting the interviews investigators conducted with IRS officials in Cincinnati. And with that in mind, Cummings was getting a little tired of Issa playing partisan games, releasing carefully edited, cherry-picked quotes from the transcripts in the hopes of keeping a “scandal” alive.

Indeed, Cummings has declared publicly, more than once, than if Issa didn’t provide the public with all of the information — rather than the portions Republicans found convenient — than Cummings would feel compelled to make the disclosures himself.

Today, the Maryland Democrat and his colleagues apparently got tired of waiting. Greg Sargent has the story:

Democrats on the House Oversight Committee have just released a full transcript of testimony from a key witness in the investigation of IRS targeting of conservatives — and it appears to confirm that the initial targeting did originate with a low-level employee in the Cincinnati office.

It also shows a key witness and IRS screening manager – a self-described conservative Republican — denying any communication with the White House or senior IRS officials about the targeting.

Imagine that. Issa didn’t want the public to see all of the relevant information, because the truth interfered with the preferred Republican narrative.

The documents are now online for public review. Part I (pdf) is 103 pages, Part II (pdf) is 102 pages, and both feature some redactions to protect the identities of specific individuals whose names are not relevant to the testimony.

Of particular interest were the remarks of one particular IRS official, whose interview led Cummings to argue that the entire controversy has been “solved” and it’s time for the political world to “move on.”

Continue reading here