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Old May 18, 2013, 01:51 AM   #26
Buzzcook
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Unlike Benghazi these are real scandals. They should be investigated to the fullest.

But don't get your hopes up about this leading to the fall of the government.

The basis of the procurement of phone records is a claim by the government that, failing getting a subpoena through regular channel, a warrant can be issued on the signature of the AG.
That line of reasoning is the same used by the Bush administration for by passing the FISA Court and other governmental over reaches. The Bush administration wasn't held to account for its action and in some cases it was upheld by the courts.

Using the IRS for political purposes happened under Nixon, Reagan, and the second Bush. Afaik there weren't any political or legal consequences.

At any rate I would like to see a special prosecutor appointed for each case. In both cases I'd like to see that a prosecutor would have a wider mandate than the specific case. They should investigate all cases of government bypassing the courts and all instances of using the IRS as a political tool.

Powerful institutions will continue to abuse their powers as long as no one goes to jail.

Last edited by Buzzcook; May 18, 2013 at 12:35 PM.
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Old May 18, 2013, 07:11 AM   #27
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Quote:
Using the IRS for political purposes happened under Nixon, Reagan, and the second Bush. Afaik there weren't any political or legal consequences.
That is hardly a fair and unbiased statement. Nearly every administration has done so to a degree since the founding of the IRS:

http://www.nytimes.com/1989/09/03/ma...ted=all&src=pm

The question is to what degree? This is the first time a such widespread pattern of abuse has been noted.



ETA- Interesting update.

Apparently the AG's argument that lives were at risk on the AP phone records is being shown to be without much merit:

Quote:
But the argument doesn’t hold up, some say, because the day after it was released, the White House’s top counterterrorism adviser went on “Good Morning America” and talked about how successful the operation had been. John Brennan, now CIA director, praised the work of U.S. intelligence officials and said that the Al Qaeda plot was never an active threat to the American public.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013...#ixzz2TfLPsAY6

Both these statements can not be true.
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Last edited by Alabama Shooter; May 18, 2013 at 12:21 PM.
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Old May 18, 2013, 01:37 PM   #28
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Quote:
That is hardly a fair and unbiased statement. Nearly every administration has done so to a degree since the founding of the IRS:
I admit to bias, but it is fair to contrast previous instances to what's happening now.
Yes previous administrations have abused their power. To quote Bob Barr, If you give government power it will use it.

Quote:
The question is to what degree?
I believe that there is no instance where abuse of power is tolerable. When we don't go after corruption we set a precedent. That precedent, the camel's nose, was when Ford pardoned Nixon.
That is why I'm not too sanguine about the current scandal leading to a big pay off for the administration's opponents.

Quote:
This is the first time a such widespread pattern of abuse has been noted.
Are you sure of that? I'll wait till the investigation is over before going that far.
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Old May 18, 2013, 04:07 PM   #29
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That is why I'm not too sanguine about the current scandal leading to a big pay off for the administration's opponents.
The really sad part is that has been the focus of nearly all of the media reports. Who will benefit from the scandal? how to minimize the damage to the administration? Investigative Journalism in defense of civil rights died long ago.
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Old May 18, 2013, 05:19 PM   #30
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Buzzcook
Quote:
That precedent, the camel's nose, was when Ford pardoned Nixon.
Exactly. I don't often agree wholeheartedly with Republicans nor Democrats, but I think it was Boehner who said "who's going to jail for this?" If gov't employees don't start fearing what might happen if they knowingly break the law and commit institutional discrimination (against any group), then we're all done.

Unfortunately, most of the talking heads seem to have begun treating this less as a real-live issue with a smoking gun and more as a Republican versus Democrat "gotcha" scandal.

It's an understandable rut. How often have we seen parties fabricate "really important issues" from non-issues? After decades of this, people tend to lose perspective.
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Old May 18, 2013, 06:17 PM   #31
Vanya
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A story from CBS today suggests that the real scandal may be not so much a partisan one, but rather the fact that the IRS has targeted small, local groups instead of going after the major, "deep-pockets" organizations that have sprung up as 501(c)(4)s since the Citizens' United decision on both sides of the political divide, and which are dedicated to political spending rather than social welfare, which is supposed to be their primary purpose.
A Senate investigative panel led by Democrat Carl Levin of Michigan and Republican John McCain of Arizona has been reviewing the use of social welfare groups for political causes for the past year and now is examining the agency's handling of the tax-exempt reviews.

And in a letter to congressional investigators Thursday, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., urged the House Ways and Means Committee not to ignore the influx of groups that may be abusing the tax code as part of its upcoming IRS probe, saying: "I hope we can remove the incentive for any group, regardless of its political orientation, to seek 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status to engage in significant political campaign activities while hiding their donors."
It was clear from the get-go that this kind of abuse and corruption would follow from the Citizens' United decision. If the current IRS scandal brings this to light, some good may come of it.
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Old May 18, 2013, 09:41 PM   #32
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Quote:
Who will benefit from the scandal?
Apparently, that would be the current administration, who are alleged to have known about this as of last summer.
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Old May 19, 2013, 10:43 AM   #33
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According to an article in today's New York Times, the scandal over the IRS' handling of tax-exemption applications is likely to boil down to simple bureaucratic incompetence and overwork:
Overseen by a revolving cast of midlevel managers, stalled by miscommunication with I.R.S. lawyers and executives in Washington and confused about the rules they were enforcing, the Cincinnati specialists flagged virtually every application with Tea Party in its name. But their review went beyond conservative groups: more than 400 organizations came under scrutiny, including at least two dozen liberal-leaning ones and some that were seemingly apolitical.

Over three years, as the office struggled with a growing caseload of advocacy groups seeking tax exemptions, responsibility for the cases moved from one group of specialists to another, and the Determinations Unit, which handles all nonprofit applications, was reorganized. One batch of cases sat ignored for months. Few if any of the employees were experts on tax law, contributing to waves of questionnaires about groups’ political activity and donors that top officials acknowledge were improper.
It's also telling that critics of the administration have switched their emphasis from the actual behavior of the IRS to the administration's handling of the scandal, and even that is becoming an uphill struggle: Republican leaders have acknowledged that they have no evidence that President Obama ordered the IRS to target conservative groups. From this article from NBC news:
Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell said the IRS controversy amounted to evidence of a "culture of intimidation" by the administration. But he and Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., admitted they lacked evidence that the targeting of conservatives was ordered by the White House.

"We don't have anything to say that the president knew about it," said Camp, who chairs the House committee looking into the IRS controversy, on NBC's "Meet the Press."
It's unfortunate that the critics' focus is on making political hay from this, rather than on the legitimate questions raised by the behavior of the IRS in this instance:
  • Why have they not gone after the major 501(c)(4)s on both right and left, which spent half a billion dollars on the last election?
  • And do we really want the IRS, of all agencies, to become the arbiter of political speech?
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Last edited by Vanya; May 20, 2013 at 10:39 AM. Reason: missing link...
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Old May 20, 2013, 08:29 AM   #34
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Color Me Shocked

Joe Scarborough and Piers Morgan seem to have had their unshakable faith in the government ability to honestly regulate firearms shaken. They seem to have seen the light on potential for abuse of power.

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Journal...ists-not-crazy

These videos are worth a gander.
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Old May 20, 2013, 10:58 AM   #35
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Will Morning Joe recant on his statement that he doesn't see why we should have ARs, etc. as he doesn't need a clip with 30 cop killer bullets to take his six year old hunting?
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Old May 20, 2013, 02:47 PM   #36
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There's some interesting observations from the National Journal about the current Scandalgate(s). The National Journal is evidently pro-administration most of the time:
Quote:
First, there is some element of “spin," . . .

Second, there is almost comical bungling. While denying involvement in high crimes and misdemeanors, the Obama administration appears to be pleading guilty to lesser crimes of bureaucratic incompetence. But that is an unsustainable position for a president who wants Americans to believe again in the power and grace of good government, particularly as it relates to the implementation of Obamacare.
(emphasis added).

So, even if successful at spinning these scandals as bureaucratic blunders, they nevertheless weaken the administration because they foster less trust from the masses. The article suggests several ways for the administration to "restore the public trust," including the appointment of a special prosecutor to look into the IRS probe.
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Old May 20, 2013, 02:57 PM   #37
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I know of the monster Fast and Furious thread but thought a quick mention here was relevant --
Quote:
The Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General published a new report Monday that confirms former U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke leaked a document intended to smear Operation Fast and Furious scandal whistleblower John Dodson.

The DOJ IG said it found “Burke’s conduct in disclosing the Dodson memorandum to be inappropriate for a Department employee and wholly unbefitting a U.S. Attorney.”
http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Governm...-whistleblower.

The IG is referring the matter to the Office of Professional Responsibility to determine if Burke violated the Rules of Professional Conduct in the states in which he is licensed.

Given everything else going on with the administration right now, this probably won't get much play. Yet, Burke's actions seem consistent with the method of the administration to intimidate opponents. information leakers, and whistle blowers.
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Old May 20, 2013, 03:30 PM   #38
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DOJ Inspector General's Report on smears

Surprise, surprise...

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Governm...-whistleblower

... so Dennis Burke actively tried to smear John Dodson, and the director for public affairs worked with Media Matters to smear whistleblowers, Congress, and any investigating journalists.

Bet this won't even make page 32 in the NYT and similar...

Let your fence sitting acquaintnces know about this report; heck, tell the antis, too.
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Old May 20, 2013, 04:51 PM   #39
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Yup. And if you think that happened without the express approval of one Eric Holder, esq., you'd be quite mistaken.
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Old May 21, 2013, 01:32 PM   #40
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Should add that the AP scandal is a 4th amendment question more than 1st.

With the war on drugs and now the terrorism excuse the 4th is almost moribund.
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Old May 22, 2013, 08:27 AM   #41
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The head of the department where the IRS actions took place has plead the fifth in a letter and is not expected to testify. Should get interesting....



Quote:
Lerner’s attorney William Taylor III asked committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., in a letter if she could skip Wednesday’s hearing since she would be pleading the Fifth. Taylor argued in the letter that forcing Lerner to appear “would have no purpose other than to embarrass or burden her.”
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013...#ixzz2U1mVcLJO
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Old May 22, 2013, 02:20 PM   #42
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And, it seems the program manager for the Tax Exempt Division, Cindy Thomas, had previously sent pending applications to ProPublica media - which is a felony.

http://www.fox19.com/story/22380127/...in-irs-scandal

Thomas would apparently be a direct subordinate of Lerner...
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Old May 22, 2013, 02:24 PM   #43
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Quote:
The head of the department where the IRS actions took place has plead the fifth in a letter and is not expected to testify. Should get interesting....
She was, however, permitted to read an unsworn self-serving prepared statement before raising her 5th amendment privilege. That should never have been allowed to occur.
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Old May 23, 2013, 01:12 PM   #44
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That statement may have been her undoing. Maybe one of the many TFL lawyers can answer that?


Quote:
A brief assessment by the Cato Institute agreed, saying that unlike in a courtroom, Lerner could in a hearing room "selectively" invoke her Fifth Amendment right.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013...#ixzz2U8mxCaDC
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Old May 23, 2013, 01:19 PM   #45
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At the local, rather than federal, level it seems that some camera-shy police departments are trying out a new method to suppress 1A rights:

[URL="http://www.infowars.com/cops-being-trained-that-cell-phones-could-be-guns/"]http://www.infowars.com/cops-being-trained-that-cell-phones-could-be-guns/[/URL

Once again, I take Alex Jones with a grain of salt, but given previous harassment of people who have recorded LE interactions I have little trouble finding this at least somewhat credible.
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Old May 23, 2013, 07:40 PM   #46
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http://openchannel.nbcnews.com/_news...cial-says?lite
I think we may be getting some due payback for F&F now that the lid has been blown on Holder's personal responsibility in this. He went after all of James Rosen's personal information, a Fox News reporter.
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Old May 23, 2013, 08:58 PM   #47
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Regarding Lerner's appearance, I cannot say if she has waived her Fifth Amendment right or not. I know that in civil cases and in front of a grand jury, a witness is not normally allowed not to testify at all. They must invoke their Fifth Amendment right to individual questions. In civil cases, the fact finder can draw adverse inferences on the witness's refusal to answer questions.

At criminal trials, they are not usually allowed to testify at all if they are going to invoke their Fifth Amendment right to some of the questions because it is simply unfair to both parties to get only part of the story. At least I think that is the rationale as I have never seen a witness take the stand knowing he or she is going to take the Fifth.

If I'm not mistaken, one doesn't have to be under oath to be guilty of misleading or obstructing Congress. I believe that Lt.Col. Oliver North had made unsworn statements to members outside of committee meetings which misled them in their duties. He was convicted of obstruction of Congress but that conviction was vacated because of an unrelated foul up.
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Old June 12, 2013, 03:53 PM   #48
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Apparently the suppression of Political groups was going on for longer than suspected as early as 2010:

Quote:
Hofacre’s Cincinnati bureau used a “be-on-the-lookout” (BOLO) list that included the words “Tea Party” and “Patriot” that was used to flag conservative applications for extra scrutiny. Many targeted groups have come forward in the days since the scandal broke and said the IRS held up their applications, asked invasive questions and tried other tactics to slow the approval process.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013...#ixzz2W2NnErI8
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Old June 12, 2013, 04:51 PM   #49
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Just for the record, the IRS has been used to target political opponents (and dissenters in general) by every administration since at least that of President Eisenhower. The IRS was one of the main tools of the illegal COINTEL program, begun by J. Edgar Hoover in 1956. Under that program, the FBI used information provided by the IRS to target a wide range of "subversive" individuals and groups under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

During the Nixon administration, the IRS was given lists of (left-wing) activists by the Dept. of Justice, and instructed to audit and harass them. Around 3,000 groups and 8,000 individuals were so targeted, solely on the basis of their political speech.

The Kennedy, Clinton, and both Bush administrations all used the IRS in similar ways.

There's nothing new about any of this. What's actually different about the current "scandal" is that the Ohio IRS office was conducting routine investigations of whether 501(4)(c) organizations were eligible for tax-exempt status. They seem to have been more zealous in investigating groups with "Tea party" or "Patriot" in their names, but it was their legitimate job to investigate applications by all such groups.
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Last edited by Vanya; June 12, 2013 at 09:28 PM.
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Old June 12, 2013, 08:54 PM   #50
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Quote:
Under that program, the FBI used information provided by the IRS to target a wide range of "subversive" individuals and groups under both Republican and Democratic administrations.


What's actually different about the current "scandal"...

What is also different is that some of those organization were trying to over throw the government through illegal means, some had backings of foreign powers unfriendly to the US (USSR, Cuba etc) or out right enemies (Vietnam, North Korea). There were a lot of other differences too such as Hoover essentially considering himself to be the embodiment of the law himself. Oh, wait, maybe there is not that much difference after all. It just moved up the chain a bit.
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