Session’s DOJ is Confusing

Last week the Department of Justice announced they would not seek charges against Lois Lerner. This ignited the internet, and for good reason.

Ms. Lerner’s actions were beyond the pale. She used the might and power of the Internal Revenue Service to harass, intimidate and obstruct both conservative non-profit groups and religious organizations. Her actions were sickening, and frightening to anyone American who loves the Constitution, liberty and democracy.

Since the IRS was discovered to have engaged in this traitorous activity, conservatives in unison have demanded justice. They wanted heads to roll, IRS employees fired, and those responsible indicted.

As usual, Republican politicians promised their constituents a swift and speedy response. Instead, they were treated to Ms Lerner taking the Fifth in front of our Creator and the entire world. They were treated to the IRS Commissioner lying and obfuscating to Congress whenever he appeared under oath. To rub salt into that gaping wound, the IRS allowed Ms. Lerner to retire with a wonderful package.  Even more infuriating, the Commissioner, John Koskinen remains in his position, which is puzzling to the extreme. Mr. Koskinen was appointed by a Democratic administration, yet there hasn’t been any explanation as to his continued employment.

Many if not most conservative Republicans want to see Ms Lerner in prison wearing an orange jumpsuit. Most do not understand why General Sessions and his Department of Justice have made this maddening decision. Their reason to let go of this issue was the uncertainty in obtaining an indictment. (The Hill)

The Justice Department declined to prosecute Lerner in 2015 under former President Obama, but Brady and Roskam wrote a letter in April to Sessions asking him to reconsider the department’s decision. In a letter Friday afternoon, Sessions rejected their request, writing that based on a review of the case, it “would not be appropriate” to reopen the investigation. While “the Department’s investigation uncovered substantial evidence of mismanagement at the IRS,” the Justice letter said, the probe “had not uncovered evidence of criminal intent by any IRS official.”

But on the other hand, this past week the DOJ also acted on a major decision but this one didn’t get the same coverage. (Wash Post)

In a major upcoming Supreme Court case that weighs equal rights with religious liberty, the Trump administration on Thursday sided with a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The Department of Justice on Thursday filed a brief on behalf of baker Jack Phillips, who was found to have violated the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act by refusing to created a cake to celebrate the marriage of Charlie Craig and David Mullins in 2012. Phillips said he doesn’t create wedding cakes for same-sex couples because it would violate his religious beliefs.

This is an incredulous fantastic decision by the DOJ. Made even more amazing, because prior to this announcement, the DOJ was supporting the gay couple that had sued the christian baker.

The MSM didn’t spend much time on this second decision, and the internet hasn’t been as occupied with this announcement as it has with Lois Lerner. Not really surprising, anger over the IRS matter was and is white hot.

In contemplation of these two decisions, I find myself confused by this administration’s Department of Justice. If they plan on investigating Hilary Clinton, we haven’t heard about it. If the Clinton Foundation is being looked at by the FBI and DOJ, its a well kept secret. Those at the State Department who lied to Congress seem to be safe from prosecution, not to mention Platte River and those who enabled Hillary Clinton’s criminal activities.

After conservatives were treated to constant promises concerning the DOJ’s role in draining the swamp, expectations were exceedingly high and management was expected to jump into these issues right away.

Instead it appears General Sessions is mainly concerned about immigration, and law & order. Which isn’t surprising, given that these were his soap box issue in the Senate. But the DOJ is a very large organization and has the ability to multi-task with the best of them.

General Sessions continues to confuse and confound. On one hand, he hasn’t pursued investigations that are important to conservative principles; on the other hand, his work on border control, and protection of religious liberty continues to be stellar and exemplary.

The problem he has created by these inconsistencies is an issue of trust. He is likable as all get-out, and seems to be just a really decent man. However; increasingly he appears nothing more than a swamp senator who achieved his life long goal. He seems to be quite content with the go-along to get-along management model. His friendships with Democrats in the Senate appear to dictate his decisions more than the millions of Trump supporters who enabled his employment.

Until General Session’s DOJ makes a consistent commitment to conservative values, and endeavors to keep President Trump’s campaign promises, he will anger and confuse the President’s supporters. And at the same time, when he makes righteous decisions such as the amicus brief on behalf of the christian baker, he will continue to gratify and bless.

Confusing indeed.

Fake Outrage From Fake GOP Over Lerner

I happen to agree with the Department of Justice’s decision to take a pass on prosecuting Lois Lerner for her obvious bias against conservative groups under the Obama administration. It’s a terrible precedent for one administration to reach back into a previous civil service scandal just to get revenge or make political points.

Rep. Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee faked outrage for the quote “terrible decision” unquote, which he knew full well was coming. The Washington Examiner reported Friday:

“I have the utmost respect for Attorney General [Jeff] Sessions, but I’m troubled by his Department’s lack of action to fully respond to our request and deliver accountability,” the Texas lawmaker said in a statement.

Come now. John Koskinen is the IRS Commissioner. He was IRS Commissioner under Obama for three years, and Trump hasn’t seen fit to replace him, despite him being 78 years old. Koskinen presided over the lost-then-found Lerner 30,000 email fiasco.

The House kicked around a resolution to impeach Koskinen in 2015 but nothing was ultimately done after DOJ elected not to prosecute Lerner.

Nothing has changed, except maybe Brady’s mind and desire to make points with his constituency, many of whom are battling Harvey’s flood waters. Brady voted for the $1.1 trillion omnibus in 2015, the pork-heavy transportation/EX-IM bank reauthorization, and the fake health care bill that didn’t repeal Obamacare.

As a matter of fact, Brady has voted for every big spending bill that comes across the GOP table, with a 62% rating from Heritage Action and an 84 score from Club for Growth (ranked 68 in 2016), but his 2015 score was 64 (ranked 152). In 2009 he held a 97 from Club for Growth and it’s been sliding into the pork barrel ever since.

Politicians who do things purely for political advantage are what makes the public hate Congress. Brady’s fake outrage over something that happened three years ago, when nothing has changed is about what we expect from a Republican willing to go along to get along.

Lerner is never going to be prosecuted. Let’s quit with the fake outrage from fake Republicans.

Feingold Violated FEC Regulations, Hit With Hefty Fine

In 1992, Russ Feingold asked Wisconsin voters to support him in part because he pledged to “rely on Wisconsin citizens, not out-of-staters, to pay for this campaign.” Since that first promise about campaign contributions, Sen. Feingold (D-WI) has made his opposition to money in politics central to his political identity. But the image of a down home political crusader intent on creating tougher campaign finance laws was threatened in 1999, when Feingold and his campaign were found to be in violation of Federal Election Commission reporting requirements.

According to FEC documents, Feingold’s campaign failed to properly report $54,726.73 in campaign contributions during the final weeks of the Senator’s 1998 re-election effort. The cash was split between 51 different contributions by individuals and political action committees. Feingold’s campaign was notified of the violations in October of 1999. The campaign responded by choosing to sign a so-called conciliation agreement, in which they admitted fault and wrongdoing and paid a civil penalty of $9,000.

“On November 23, 1999, the Federal Election Commission accepted the signed conciliation agreement and civil penalty submitted on behalf of Feingold Senate Committee,” a letter from the FEC to Feingold’s campaign reads.

Internal FEC documents related to the case bear the signature of Lois Lerner, the infamous IRS official who used her office to target and harass conservative organizations, including Media Trackers. Before going to work at the IRS, Lerner, a close personal friend of deposed former Wisconsin Government Accountability Board head Kevin Kennedy, spent some time as a lawyer working for the FEC.

The bi-partisan FEC had no qualms about unanimously recommending that the investigation into Feingold’s campaign finance troubles move ahead. The Commission voted 6-0 in favor of pursing Feingold after staff discovered glaring discrepancies between Feingold’s post election campaign cash report and his pre-election filings.

Ironically, just months before being caught by the FEC violating campaign finance laws, Feingold was awarded the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for his work with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in introducing McCain-Feingold, a landmark piece of legislation designed to put stringent restrictions on how political candidates raise and spend money. The bill eventually passed into law in 2002.

In his speech accepting the award, Feingold praised his 1998 re-election campaign as a model of transparency and limited political spending.

“As I was preparing to run for reelection in 1998, I was hoping to win and to return to much unfinished business for Wisconsin and the nation including my bipartisan efforts with John McCain to pass our bill. In the spirit of our legislation, I decided to voluntarily limit my spending in the manner that we hope will become the practice for all candidates,” Feingold declared.

The campaign cash crusader then went on to tout the success that came his way after his decision to limit his own campaign spending in that race.

“After I realized that my opposition was going to lake advantage of my voluntary spending limit by infusing millions of dollars of soft money into the race, I had to make another decision and that was whether to have my allies respond in kind. I simply decided I could not justify being reelected on that basis. But this was not an attempt at political suicide. I honestly believed that if I limited my spending, the people of Wisconsin would see what was happening and would take control. And they did.”

Fast-forward to 2010, when Feingold was ousted from office, and the ex-Senator proceeded to set up an outside spending group called Progressives United. While ostensibly existing to support like-minded candidates for office, the entity really served as a vehicle through which Feingold could keep old staff employed and lay the groundwork for yet another senate campaign in 2016.

Also during the 2016 race, Feingold was hit by the media for reversing his original pledge to raise the majority of his U.S. Senate campaign funds from inside of Wisconsin. “While many major Senate campaigns would brag about that ratio, it’s a reversal from the iconic in-state fundraising pledge that Feingold painted on his garage in a 1992 campaign ad,” a story by National Journal noted.

Whether or not Feingold’s double lifestyle of saying one thing about campaign finance but doing another for himself catches up to him is up to voters this fall.

Cross-posted from Media Trackers.

Read the Full IRS “Enemies List”

The federal Internal Revenue Service has finally released a comprehensive list of non-profit groups whose applications for tax-exempt status were held up by bureaucrats around the time of the 2012 election. The list was filed in federal court in late May as part of an ongoing class action lawsuit waged by conservative groups against the IRS. The news was first reported by the Washington Times, but until Media Trackers obtained copies of the federal court filings, the list was not published in many of the stories detailing the development.

A majority of groups on the list are conservative organizations skeptical of the Obama administration’s policies. The initial filing for the class action lawsuit notes:

“While these groups were formed for a variety of specific purposes, they have at least one important characteristic in common: their apparent dissent from the policies or ideology of the Executive Branch of the United State Government under its current Administration . . . . Because their primary purposes are charitable or to promote the common good and general welfare of the citizens of their respective communities, the dissenting groups sought recognition of exemption from taxation by the Internal Revenue Service under Section 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. However, the IRS and/or its agents targeted the dissenting groups for intensive and intrusive scrutiny, probing pervasively into their members’ associations, speech, activities, and beliefs.”

A handful of organizations on the list appear – by their name – to be liberal. But the disproportionate and overwhelming majority of the organizations targeted by the IRS were conservative. Lois Lerner oversaw the non-profit groups division at the IRS during the time that the Obama Administration denied or otherwise investigated conservative non-profit applicants. Lerner later destroyed critical records from her office pertaining to the incident after public and Congressional scrutiny was directed at her.

Lerner is a close friend of Kevin Kennedy, the outgoing head of Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board, who worked with Democratic prosecutors in Wisconsin to harass conservative groups in secretive investigations that involved pre-dawn raids and the confiscation of personal property. Federal courts have since shut down the coordinated government actions and have sided with the free speech claims made by conservatives.

In 2013, Lerner apologized for the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups. A Washington Post story at the time placed the number of affected groups at around 300. In the new court filings, the IRS admits it targeted 426 organizations, with an additional 40 groups declining to be included on the list.

At least 5 of the groups targeted by the IRS were located in Wisconsin, including Media Trackers.

Enemies list (PDF)

IRS Cover Letter

This post originally appeared on MediaTrackers.org.

Lois Lerner’s Emails Are to Obama as the Missing Watergate Audio Was to Nixon

Lois Lerner’s emails are gone. Her hard drive crashed and the IRS wants us to believe a scenario that they would never believe if it happened to you. They claim her emails are not salvageable. There is no backup apparently.

They waited until Friday afternoon to tell the world. Expect the press to ignore it and gloss it over. The circle of jerks in the press is far more interested in a recent survey of just how partisan Republicans and Democrats are.

Two years worth of emails are down the drain. Katie Pavlich has more on this.

According to the House Ways and Means Committee, the IRS has “lost” two years of emails belonging to former head of tax exempt organizations Lois Lerner. The IRS doesn’t have a record of her emails to outside groups or government agencies from January 2009 through April 2011, conveniently encompassing some of the same time when tea party groups were being targeted for extra scrutiny and possible criminal prosecution. The IRS says the loss of emails is due to a “computer crash” and claims emails from or to Lerner from the White House, Democratic members of Congress, the Treasury Department, FEC and Department of Justice cannot be located. They do however have emails belonging to Lerner that she sent to other IRS employees.

The post Lois Lerner’s Emails Are to Obama as the Missing Watergate Audio Was to Nixon appeared first on RedState.

IRS and Congressional Democrats Worked Together Against Conservatives

Katie Pavlich did the reporting on this over at Townhall. It is quite an impressive scoop.

New IRS emails released by the House Oversight Committee show staff working for Democratic Ranking Member Elijah Cummings communicated with the IRS multiple times between 2012 and 2013 about voter fraud prevention group True the Vote. True the Vote was targeted by the IRS after applying for tax exempt status more than two years ago. Further, information shows the IRS and Cummings’ staff asked for nearly identical information from True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht about her organization, indicating coordination and improper sharing of confidential taxpayer information.

This contact began before the 2012 general election while Democrats were trying to tar True the Vote as a voter suppression effort. Lois Lerner, emails show, was working to find information for the Democrats in Congress.

More troubling, over the past few months, Elijah Cummings has been dismissive of the investigation into the IRS. He has repeatedly tried to block it and paint it as a partisan smear campaign. Now we know why. Elijah Cummings has been working with the IRS behind the scenes against conservative groups.

The post IRS and Congressional Democrats Worked Together Against Conservatives appeared first on RedState.