The House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Senator Jeff Sessions wrote a letter to President Obama this week arguing his administration is shunning the union representing 7,000 immigration and customs officers. The National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council has warned Congress that immigration reform will cause an uptick in illegal immigration.
Now, usually the Obama administration is great with the unions. That’s Obama’s bread and butter, but why is he not responding to this group? Could it have anything to do with the fact that they do not support his stance on immigration reform?
We write today to express concern over the exclusion of immigration and customs enforcement officers and their representatives from the negotiations surrounding immigration reform,” Goodlatte and Sessions wrote in a letter dated May 23.
To be effective any immigration reform bill must heed the warnings from our federal immigration agents,” they wrote. “Unfortunately, far from being included in the process, ICE officers have been shut out and have even had their day-to-day operations handcuffed by [Department of Homeland Security] officials to the point of being unable to carry out their sworn duties.”
The lawmakers pointed out that the union of ICE workers requested a meeting with the administration over 3 months ago and have yet to receive an invitation. They could have provided a firsthand look at immigration policy and its enforcement, but obviously the administration is not interested in actually hearing what they have to say.
Senator Sessions is one of the most outspoken lawmakers against the 800 page immigration reform bill crafted by the so called Gang of Eight. He has tried to put several amendments to the bill and its enforcement provisions, but Democrats defeated them in the Judiciary Committee’s mark-up.
Border-security officers wrote a letter Monday warning Congress the Senate immigration bill would create a surge in illegal entries by failing to secure the nation’s borders before granting provisional legal status to millions of illegal immigrants.
The legislation grants legal status only to illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. before Dec. 31, 2011, but the border-security officers said that would make little difference.
“Cut-off dates established in S. 744 will mean little to those in other countries who are unfamiliar with the 867-page bill,” they wrote. “Without a strategy of border security first, S. 744 will only draw more illegal immigrants into the United States, resulting in unnecessary harm to many.”
There is still a little bit of time before the bill comes to the floor in June. The house is still working on crafting legislation that will work hand in hand with the Senate version. But it is clear that there is one side that is being ignored by the administration. It seems quite out of character for Obama to ignore a union. So it looks like once again certain sides of an argument and different viewpoints are being ignored by our administration.
The Justice Department said on Friday that officials up to Attorney General Eric Holder vetted a decision to search an email account belonging to a Fox News reporter whose report on North Korea prompted a leak investigation. In a statement emailed to Reuters, the department said the search warrant for the reporter's email account followed all laws and policies and won the independent approval of a federal magistrate judge.
We're apparently supposed to feel better about everything because the DOJ "followed all laws and policies" and secured their warrant from a judge. That would be the same warrant that designated journalist James Rosen as a potential "criminal co-conspirator" in order to keep it secret. Details about the breadth of the investigation continue to emerge. Via The New Yorker's Ryan Lizza, another eye-opening scoop:
The Obama Administration fought to keep a search warrant for James Rosen’s private e-mail account secret, arguing to a federal judge that the government might need to monitor the account for a lengthy period of time...Ronald C. Machen, Jr., the U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a former State Department adviser who allegedly leaked classified information to Rosen, insisted that the reporter should not be notified of the search and seizure of his e-mails, even after a lengthy delay...He argued that disclosure of the search warrant would preclude the government from monitoring the account, should such a step become necessary in the investigation. Machen added that “some investigations are continued for many years because, while the evidence is not yet sufficient to bring charges, it is sufficient to have identified criminal subjects and/or criminal activity serious enough to justify continuation of the investigation.” The new details indicate that the government wanted the option to search Rosen’s e-mails repeatedly if the F.B.I. found further evidence implicating the reporter in what prosecutors argued was a conspiracy to commit espionage...In addition to Rosen’s correspondence with Kim, the government wanted to know about Rosen’s contacts with other government officials, including “records or information relating to the Author’s communication with any other source or potential source of the information disclosed in the Article.”
One stunner after the next. The Justice Department wanted to "repeatedly" monitor Rosen's personal emails for a "lengthy period of time" -- years possibly -- in order to track his "contacts with other government officials" beyond the source at the center of the North Korea leak investigation. In other words, they wanted to troll Rosen's contacts and news-gathering methods indefinitely. And the Attorney General of the United States didn't just sign off of it. He personally "vetted" it. That would seem to preclude relying on the "I don't read my own memos" excuse of which Holder is so fond. Good thing the president has put Eric Holder in charge of investigating the alarming things Eric Holder has done. A final point: Katie raised the possibility that Holder perjured himself during last week's House Judiciary hearing. The Justice Department's admission locks another piece into that puzzle. To review: Holder swore an oath at the beginning of a hearing at which he said he'd *never* been a part of, or even heard of, any *potential* prosecution of a journalist. Now his own department has confirmed that he personally reviewed and approved a warrant that explicitly treated a reporter as a criminal co-conspirator. I'll leave it to the legal experts to determine whether that constitutes perjury, but it certainly looks profoundly dishonest. The Huffington Post (!) called for Holder's ouster this morning, and that was before DOJ confirmed NBC's report. Those calls may grow louder. Enjoy your long weekend, Mr. Attorney General.
Not to fear, America -- she's been placed on "administrative leave," a terribly severe form of discipline that's effectively tantamount to paid vacation. At this week's House Oversight Committee hearing, Lerner (sort of) invoked her fifth amendment rights and refused to answer any questions. She claimed she's done "nothing wrong," which explains why she's reportedly refusing to resign. Question, though: Might Lerner be a relatively innocent patsy in all of this (a la the Benghazi scapegoat)? Er, probably not, via National Review:
A series of letters suggests that senior IRS official Lois Lerner was directly involved in the agency’s targeting of conservative groups as recently as April 2012, more than nine months after she first learned of the activity. Lerner, the director of the IRS exempt organizations office in Washington, D.C., signed cover letters to 15 conservative organizations currently represented by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) between in March and April of 2012. The letters, such as this one sent to the Ohio Liberty Council on March 16, 2012, informed the groups applying for tax-exempt status that the IRS was “unable to make a final determination on your exempt status without additional information,” and included a list of detailed questions of the kind that a Treasury inspector general’s audit found to be inappropriate. Some of the groups to which Lerner sent letters are still awaiting approval. Lerner has denied involvement in the targeting, which she has blamed on a few “front-line people” in the agency’s Cincinnati field office.
More from the ACLJ, which is representing a number of clients who say they were victimized by the IRS targeting scheme:
The timing of her letters coincide with the appearance of former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman before Congress in March 2012 who testified that no such targeting scheme existed. It appears Lerner did nothing to stop the abusive conduct. And our evidence suggests she was actively participating in the improper targeting in March 2012. In fact, she appears to have been quite active with her inquisition. In addition to the letter sent to the Ohio Liberty Council, our records indicate that Lerner sent 14 other letters to 14 of our clients in the March-April 2012 time frame. It's unclear why her name appears on letters to some organizations, and not others. But one thing is clear: this correspondence shows her direct involvement in the scheme. Further, sending a letter from the top person in the IRS Exempt Organizations division to a small Tea Party group also underscores the intimidation used in this targeting ploy.
Time to add another bullet point to the growing list of Lerner's untruths, it would seem. Why isn't this woman out on her ear by now? Simple: She won't step down on her own volition, and federal employees -- especially white collar ones like Lerner -- are exceedingly, almost comically, difficult to fire. Plus, it's no sure bet that Lerner will take responsibility for these letters sent under her name. Eric Holder basically got away with the "there are just so many memos" excuse on Fast & Furious, and Hillary Clinton has attempted a similar maneuver on Benghazi security requests (about which a high-ranking whistle-blower says she was "absolutely" in the loop). And while we're on the subjects of responsibility and disclosure, I still want to know how and why Congress wasn't informed until this week about the IRS' internal probe that confirmed the wrongful targeting practices a full year ago. In any case, Lerner's return trip to Capitol Hill promises to be must-see TV.
While we await that spectacle, I interviewed one of Lerner's former colleagues from the Federal Elections Commission to gain more insight into how she's operated over her lengthy career in government work. (Lerner said this week that she's "very proud" her record). Craig Engle is a prominent Republican-aligned election law attorney in Washington, DC who worked with Lerner in two different capacities at the FEC in the mid-1980's and early 90's. "I'm probably the person in this town who's known Lois the longest, dating back to 1985," he says, tracing their history back to when he briefly worked for her as a young lawyer. After Engle was promoted to chief legal counsel for FEC Commissioner Lee Ann Elliot, his new perch afforded him the opportunity to see and read all of Lerner's memos and recommendations. "What did I see? I saw everything," he says. "I saw everything the commissioners were asked to vote on. How did I feel? I would say that Lois is pro-government. The bigger, the better. The more demanding the regulations, the better. The larger the investigation, the better it is. Anything that would be considered an activist government, that's the Lois Lerner I worked with."
Engle says Lerner saw violations around every corner, even when her legal reasoning was slight. "Under [Lerner], the general counsel's office functioned as a prosecutor. Nine times out of ten, her recommendations were against the respondent. I think she was philosophically opposed to money in politics and was very much a critic of people spending money in political affairs. She could always find a violation -- at least in her opinion, or in her head. In my opinion, her interpretation of the law was sometimes just incorrect." Engle believes Lerner relished her role as a regulator that allowed "government to bestow things on people rather than acknowledging them as equals, based neutrally on the law," he explains. In response to the Weekly Standard's reporting on Lerner's overzealous (and eventually fruitless) FEC investigation into the Christian Coalition, Engle says that episode tracked closely with her general modus operendi. "That was a very long investigation. It was very deep, unnecessary, and frankly, it collapsed under its own weight." His reaction to the recent revelations that conservative Christian groups once again found themselves in the government's crosshairs after Lerner obtained a prominent position at the IRS? "Quite a coincidence, isnt it?"
In spite of his philosophical differences with Lerner and his less-than-glowing reviews of her legal positions, Engle emphasizes that he believes Lerner to be an honest woman who's in over her head. "I think Lois Lerner is an honest person who has made a big mistake, and she may have said some false things in an arena that she didn't think would hold her accountable. She hasn't had a lot of experience in dealing directly with Congress and I'm not sure she understood the ramifications of not testifying fully before them. That lack of familiarity has made her problem a little worse. She doesn't see it," he says, concluding on a sympathetic note. "I feel badly for her. It's painful to be a witness, and it's painful to watch someone you've known for 30 years to go through this."
Getting in President Obama's way has been the top priority for Republicans in Congress since day one. But now they've gone too far.
They've been caught red-handed making up so-called 'scandals' out of thin air to stir up false rumors of vast 'cover-ups' happening in the White House.
Did they find a single shred of evidence to back up their outrageous claims? No.
But rather than let the truth stand in their way, Republicans actually doctored emails between administration officials about Benghazi. Then, they released them to the press, trying to pass them off as real in order to create their scandal. Fortunately, they got caught in the act when the White House released all of the actual emails.
Tell President Obama you've got his back right now, no matter what Republicans come up with next.
While Republican leaders were focused on stirring up controversy, Michele Bachmann was talking about impeaching President Obama for absolutely no reason, and Republicans in the House voted to repeal Obamacare -- for the 37th time.
That's how they think they should be spending their time and your money.
Make sure the President knows that you stand behind him and his agenda right now -- and that you won't let Republican games distract you from advocating for real change that will benefit all Americans.
Stand with President Obama today -- and send the message to Republicans that it's time to stop playing political games and get back to work for the American people:
Its time for them to do their damn jobs.
Democratic National Committee
It has long been part of the Washington game for officials to discredit a news story by playing up errors in a relatively small part of it. Pfeiffer gives the impression that GOP operatives deliberately tried to “smear the president” with false, doctored e-mails.
But the reporters involved have indicated they were told by their sources that these were summaries, taken from notes of e-mails that could not be kept. The fact that slightly different versions of the e-mails were reported by different journalists suggests there were different note-takers as well.
Indeed, Republicans would have been foolish to seriously doctor e-mails that the White House at any moment could have released (and eventually did). Clearly, of course, Republicans would put their own spin on what the e-mails meant, as they did in the House report. Given that the e-mails were almost certain to leak once they were sent to Capitol Hill, it’s a wonder the White House did not proactively release them earlier.
The burden of proof lies with the accuser. Despite Pfeiffer’s claim of political skullduggery, we see little evidence that much was at play here besides imprecise wordsmithing or editing errors by journalists.
Lois Lerner has taken the Fifth Amendment. Though she cannot necessarily be fired for that, at the very least, she oversaw the Exempt Organizations Office at the IRS when it embarked on a mission to target certain groups because of their beliefs. She was in charge.
Construing all the events that we now know occurred in the light most favorable to Lerner, at the very least she is guilty of terrible management and non-existent oversight. Given Jay Sekulow's evidence that she herself sent harassing letters to conservatives, there is even more reason that American taxpayers should not be paying her salary as she sits home on "administrative leave." Heck, even Democrat Elijah Cummings thinks she should be terminated. So what is President Obama waiting for?
This is our government, people. Federal employees like Lerner work for us. At the very least, she abused her position by allowing this targeting to go on (through negligence or worse) and failing to inform Congress (and possibly some of her superiors) about it.
If the laws governing the firing of federal employees do not permit Lerner to be terminated immediately in circumstances like these, then there's a big, ripe reform issue for any politician with the initiative to seize it.
The State Department spokeswoman who earlier this month found herself in the middle of the controversy surrounding key revisions to the Benghazi talking points appears to be in line for a promotion. The White House announced Thursday that President Barack Obama intends to nominate Victoria Nuland as assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs, a position that requires Senate confirmation...Nuland, who has served as the State Department spokesperson from 2011 until earlier this spring, came under fire from Obama administration critics last week after leaked e-mails revealed she raised concerns with the CIA-prepared talking points on the deadly terror attack last September 11. Specifically, Nuland asked that references to al Qaeda and previous CIA warnings about threats posed to U.S. diplomats in Libya be scrubbed from the document that was used by U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice on news talk shows to explain the administration's understanding of events in Libya.
In one email, previously reported by ABC News, Nuland said that including the CIA warnings "could be used by Members [of Congress] to beat the State Department for not paying attention to Agency warnings so why do we want to feed that? Concerned …" After some changes were made, Nuland was still not satisfied. "These [changes] don't resolve all my issues or those of my building leadership," Nuland wrote.
House Democrats Dismiss Existence Of Obama Scandals
This short testimony is one of the most powerful I've ever seen.
Dr. Anthony Levatino closes by quoting Obama: "If there is just one thing that we could do that would save just one child don't we have an obligation to try?"
The recent news about the FBI’s seizure of the phone and email records of Fox News employees, including James Rosen, calls into question whether the federal government is meeting its constitutional obligation to preserve and protect a free press in the United States. We reject the government's efforts to criminalize the pursuit of investigative journalism and falsely characterize a Fox News reporter to a Federal judge as a "co-conspirator" in a crime. I know how concerned you are because so many of you have asked me: why should the government make me afraid to use a work phone or email account to gather news or even call a friend or family member? Well, they shouldn’t have done it. The administration’s attempt to intimidate Fox News and its employees will not succeed and their excuses will stand neither the test of law, the test of decency, nor the test of time. We will not allow a climate of press intimidation, unseen since the McCarthy era, to frighten any of us away from the truth.
I am proud of your tireless effort to report the news over the last 17 years. I stand with you, I support you and I thank you for your reporting with courageous optimism. Too many Americans fought and died to protect our unique American right of press freedom. We can’t and we won’t forget that. To be an American journalist is not only a great responsibility, but also a great honor. To be a Fox journalist is a high honor, not a high crime. Even this memo of support will cause some to demonize us and try to find irrelevant things to cause us to waver. We will not waver.
As Fox News employees, we sometimes are forced to stand alone, but even then when we know we are reporting what is true and what is right, we stand proud and fearless. Thank you for your hard work and all your efforts.
Yesterday, I wrote about how the IRS' abuse of innocent Americans was an all-but-infalliible sympton of a government that had grown too big and too arrogant.
Here's another symptom of the same disease: A report from The Nation (of all places!) disclosing the dirty little scam the Center for American Progress has going on. Big companies (who get to remain undislosed!) donate money, and in return, the prominent and connected lefties who work at this liberal "think tank" will, in effect, lobby for you and further your interests in myriad other ways with the prominent and connected lefties who are now controlling our government.
The hypocrisy is stunning. On the one hand, lefties condemn the "money in politics" on the grounds that it will motivate Republicans to side only with the evil "corporate interests" while neglecting the common weal; on the other, they collect hefty "donations" in exchange for helping to advance certain specified corporate interests.
Why do corporations have to play these games? Essentially, it's a protection racket. You need go-betweens who can shield you from unwelcome regulation and intrusion from a government that has grown too big, too powerful and too intrusive.
Why can lefties justify this hypocrisy? Because -- like the IRS' harassment of innocent citizens' or AG Holder's willingness to spy on the press -- it's not really wrong when high-minded types like them do it. And don't expect an Obama-dominated IRS to check out the legality of this (powerful lefty) nonprofit. Harassment only goes one way.
Did Attorney General Eric Holder lie under oath about his involvement in the phone monitoring of reporters? It sure looks like it. Holder was asked last week by Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson about his involvement with prosecuting the press and he claimed he had no involvement. Last night, NBC News reported Holder personally signed off on the secret monitoring of Fox News Reporter James Rosen. In that case, Rosen was named as a "co-conspirator" and treated as a criminal for trying to obtain information from a source. More from Gateway Pundit:
First of all you’ve got a long way to go to try to prosecute the press for publication of material. This has not fared well in American history… In regard to potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material. This is not something I’ve ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be wise policy.
Fox News' Roger Ailes: Administration's Excuses Won't Work, Americans Died For Press Freedom | Katie Pavlich