"I'll take responsibility for that...[it] was an incredibly bad idea."
Yeah, it was. It was even a worse idea for Lerner to mislead the public about whether the question was planted (the questioner also initially denied any such arrangement). She was the one who planted it, apparently at Miller's behest. Lerner's lies continue to pile up, yet she somehow still has her job. It's also useful to recall exactly what Miller told House Members on Friday. In response to a line of questioning on this narrow matter, Miller's responses were evasive and couched in passive language. He seemed intent on keeping the provenance of the planted question as hazy as possible. Now that the media noose has tightened on the specifics, Miller apparently felt compelled to admit that it was actually his idea all along -- adding obligatory denunciations of his own brainchild for good measure. It was all just another bout malice-free, foolish incompetence, you see. In his testimony today, Miller again insisted that the widespread targeting program was not the product of partisan bias (cough), but rather arose from a desire to be more "efficient." Allahpundit flayed this talking point yesterday:
If the IRS’s big problem circa 2010 was that it was overwhelmed with nonprofit applications (or so the agency falsely claims), why did that lead to unusually onerous demands for information? The typical government response to unmanageable workloads is to cut corners, yet the agency ended up asking Engelbrecht to send them copies of every Facebook post and Tweet that she ever sent, amid hundreds of other questions. That’s odd, no? You would think the big scandal to come out of a glut of tax-exempt petitions is that those petitions were being approved unusually quickly and with little scrutiny. Instead the opposite happened. Go figure.
Basically, the "efficiency" excuse makes no sense because the IRS created more work for itself by pummeling conservative groups with insanely granular, intrusive, and frequently offensive questions and document demands. To recap: Miller told Lerner to plant a question. She did, then pretended she didn't. When that story fell apart, Miller admitted that it had taken place, but danced around questions about who ordered it. When that jig was up, he raised his hand for blame. Both he and his predecessor publicly denied that any targeting was happening, then Miller withheld the truth after he was looped in, even after members of Congress followed-up with additional inquiries. Lerner did the same. But for some reason they expect us to trust them when they tell us there was no partisan motive here, even though they've conceded that no liberal or progressive groups were targeted inappropriately. Media reports and anecdotal evidence bear out the unequal treatment, too. With all that context in place, I'll leave you with Miller's sad-face quotation about public perceptions of the agency he runs -- which he himself said is guilty of "horrible customer service:"
Outgoing IRS commissioner Steven Miller on the perception of the agency after scandal: "It breaks my heart."— Chris Moody (@Chris_Moody) May 21, 2013
I desperately want to believe Pfeiffer. I’ve known him for years. I like him. He’s never lied to me. But Pfeiffer is part of an institution that has demonstrated an inability and/or unwillingness to tell the full truth about the IRS scandal and a spate of other controversies. The White House can’t be trusted. That depressing conclusion (not unique to the Obama White House, sadly) was driven home Monday when spokesman Jay Carney used his daily briefing to announce that presidential advisers knew more about the IRS scandal a bit sooner than previously disclosed...In politics, as in life, when you constantly change your story, even on small matters, you sow doubt about your credibility and competence. In different ways, each of the so-called Obama scandals revolve around the issue of trust (as I wrote here, here, here, here, and here).
Sins of omission and real bipartisanship.
CBS Investigative Reporter Sharyl Attkisson, who has been at the forefront of the Benghazi and Fast and Furious scandals, has revealed to POLITICO that her personal and work computers have been compromised.
"I can confirm that an intrusion of my computers has been under some investigation on my end for some months but I'm not prepared to make an allegation against a specific entity today as I've been patient and methodical about this matter," Attkisson told POLITICO on Tuesday. "I need to check with my attorney and CBS to get their recommendations on info we make public."
In an earlier interview with WPHT Philadelphia, Attkisson said that though she did not know the full details of the intrustion, "there could be some relationship between these things and what's happened to James [Rosen]," the Fox News reporter who became the subject of a Justice Dept. investigation after reporting on CIA intelligence about North Korea in 2009.
Remember when Attkisson was screamed and yelled at by DOJ and White House officials for inquiring about Operation Fast and Furious? I do.
Yesterday we found out that Fox News Reporters James Rosen, William LaJeunesse and a producer were secretly monitored by the Department of Justice. Rosen's personal and work emails and phone calls were monitored in addition to his movement. In an affidavit filed by the FBI against Rosen, Rosen was named as a "co-conspirator" and treated as a criminal for gathering the news. LaJeunesse was targeted for his work on Operation Fast and Furious.
Two weeks ago, the Associated Press revealed that the Justice Department had secretly monitored 20 phone lines and dozens of reporters.
This won't stop here. It is clear Obama's Department of Justice, with Attorney General Eric Holder at the helm, has made monitoring reporters routine.
America’s most dangerous Mayor used his commencement address at Kenyon College in Ohio as a political opportunity to slam members of Congress for failing to pass background check legislation.
“Have courage to act on your hopes, don’t be paralyzed by your fears,“ Mayor Bloomberg told the graduating class. “Have the courage to think for yourself and to believe in your ideas. That kind of idea lies in the heart of human invention and progress. And a lot of it lies in the heart of our political problems today.”
The mayor then spent the better part of his 15 minute address on gun control, celebrating the occasion by attacking the NRA and highlighting recent gun violence.
“Too many members of Congress did not have the courage to stand up for the increasingly extremist views of the NRA’s Washington lobbyist,” he said. “Many of them feel that voting for common sense policy would lead to someone challenging them in a primary or hurt their chances to win their party’s nomination to higher office.”
Bloomberg told the graduates that since they were freshmen four years ago, more than 40,000 American people have been murdered with guns. He referenced a shooting last year by a 17-year-old who opened fire at an Ohio high school, killing three and injuring others.
“It was national news — for a day or two. Then came mass shootings in Pittsburgh, Miami, Oakland, Tulsa, Seattle, Wilmington, Aurora, Milwaukee, Texas A&M, Minneapolis, Brookfield, Portland, and after each one, those in Washington just shrugged,” he said.
“Then Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut -- 20 children, six faculty members, all gunned down,” Bloomberg continued. “As a parent I can tell you it is just unthinkable if it happened to one of your children. After Newtown, President Obama and some congressional leaders finally, finally stood up and said something has to be done.”
Bloomberg, co-chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, said Congress's failure to pass the gun control bill was "Washington at its worst -- the worst thing that it's ever done."
He justified politicizing the commencement address by reiterating that the theme was "courage."
“Why? Why do I tell you this?” Bloomberg asked. “Number one, this is one of the great tragedies happening in America and two, because I believe it comes down to one word, and that word is courage.”
The New York City mayor spent more than $14 million in support of legislation that would have required universal background checks for all gun-buyers, although the bill died in the Senate on April 17, but the mayor insists the battle isn't over.
“I believe we will win — sooner or later—because I believe in all of you,” he said.
One could have reasonably assumed that Bloomberg’s address would center around career advice for the class of 2013 due to the fact that he is after all a billionaire media mogul.
Despite union leaders campaigning to re-elect President Obama and despite many union leaders campaigning for passage of ObamaCare, more unions have decided to...bail on ObamaCare. More from The Hill:
Months after the president’s reelection, a variety of unions are publicly balking at how the administration plans to implement the landmark law. They warn that unless there are changes, the results could be catastrophic.
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) — a 1.3 million-member labor group that twice endorsed Obama for president — is very worried about how the reform law will affect its members’ healthcare plans.
Last month, the president of the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers released a statement calling “for repeal or complete reform of the Affordable Care Act.”
UNITE HERE, a prominent hotel workers’ union, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters are also pushing for changes.
In a new op-ed published in The Hill, UFCW President Joe Hansen homed in on the president’s speech at the 2009 AFL-CIO convention. Obama at the time said union members could keep their insurance under the law, but Hansen writes “that the president’s statement to labor in 2009 is simply not true for millions of workers.”
Repeal? I thought it was only those crazy Tea Party reps in the House who wanted repeal?
Meanwhile, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is starting to feel the heat for her extortion of private companies in order to fund ObamaCare.
On top of the troubles the administration is facing over its handling of the attack on the Benghazi mission, the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative groups, and the Justice Department's seizure of Associated Press phone records, Republicans hope to target Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
They are questioning her soliciting of funds on behalf of a non-profit group, called Enroll America, from two private entities, a practice which if not unprecedented is at the very least unusual. Federal law bars officials from soliciting any organization or individual with whom they do business or regulate.
Enroll America is run by the president's former campaign backers to do something Congress refused to fund: sell "Obamacare" to the public.
An HHS statement last week said that since March Sebelius solicited financial donations for Enroll America from H&R Block Inc, the tax preparation company, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a philanthropic entity devoted to public health issues. Asked Monday for a list of all solicitations before or after March, an HHS spokesman referred Reuters to the department's original statement.
The nightmare of ObamaCare is becoming a reality and the more we find out about what's in the legislation, the more Americans (and unions) hate it.
Last week the House voted again to repeal ObamaCare 229-195.
Ahhhhh, that's good to know. The IRS "accidently" targeted conservative groups because they were trying to be "more efficient." Indeed.
A bipartisan Congressional panel yesterday released its findings regarding Apple's international tax regime and, specifically, how it was able to pay a relatively low tax rate when the U.S. corporate statutory tax rate is 35% (the highest in the developed world). The investigation turned up no wrongdoing, and that Apple follows the letter of the law and pays every dime of its legally-required taxes.
Nonetheless, Congress summoned Apple CEO Tim Cook in front of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations to testify on Apple's tax compliance. The Congressional report found that, had Apple not shifted its profits to other subsidiaries around the word,
Over all, Apple’s tax avoidance efforts shifted at least $74 billion from the reach of the Internal Revenue Service between 2009 and 2012, the investigators said. That cash remains offshore, but Apple, which paid more than $6 billion in taxes in the United States last year on its American operations, could still have to pay federal taxes on it if the company were to return the money to its coffers in the United States.
Sen. Rand Paul, who is not the chair or ranking member of this morning's committee, offered an unconventional opening statement for the record. "Frankly, I'm offended by the tone and tenor of this hearing," Sen. Paul Said. "Tell me a politician up here that doesn't try to minimize their taxes... Instead of Apple executives, we should have brought in here a giant mirror."
"I frankly think that the committee should apologize to Apple," Paul said.
Sen. Paul said that he was also "offended by the spectacle of dragging in executives that aren't doing anything illegal," a framing that subcommittee chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) took issue with.
"We did not drag them in front of this subcommitee," Levin said. "This subcommittee is not going to apologize to Apple."
Sen. Paul also took to Twitter to express his outrage.
Instead of examining our broken tax system, the US Senate is about to harass Apple-one of the greatest business success stories in history.— Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) May 21, 2013
I am offended by a $4 trillion government bullying, berating and badgering one of America's greatest success stories.— Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) May 21, 2013
I am offended by the spectacle of dragging in here executives from Apple using the brute force of government to bully a great success story.— Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) May 21, 2013
To US Senate: I say, instead of Apple executives, you should have brought in a giant mirror if you want to see who is responsible.— Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) May 21, 2013
Today we could vote to lower the corporate income tax but we won't. Today we could vote to let profits come home at 5% but we won't.— Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) May 21, 2013
Instead of doing the right thing we drag businessmen and women in here to berate them for trying to maximize their profits for shareholders.— Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) May 21, 2013
Money goes where it is welcome. If you want more money to be earned in the United States, make profit welcome here.— Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) May 21, 2013
Apple has done more to enrich people's lives than politicians will ever do.— Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) May 21, 2013
To the Apple executives here, I apologize for this theater of the absurd.— Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) May 21, 2013
I will do everything in my power to make our tax code simpler. I will not be a party to witch hunts that mistake cause for effect.— Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) May 21, 2013
If there is anyone to blame here it is not Apple, it is Congress and the tax code it created.— Senator Rand Paul (@SenRandPaul) May 21, 2013
Following the attack in Benghazi, senior State Department officials close to Hillary Clinton ordered the removal of a mid-level official who had no role in security decisions and has never been told the charges against him. He is now accusing Clinton’s team of scapegoating him for the failures that led to the death of four Americans last year...“The overall goal is to restore my honor,” said Maxwell, who has now filed grievances regarding his treatment with the State Department’s human resources bureau and the American Foreign Service Association, which represents the interests of foreign-service officers...“I had no involvement to any degree with decisions on security and the funding of security at our diplomatic mission in Benghazi,” he said.
The State Department declined to comment on the reasons that Maxwell and the other officials were placed on administrative leave, or on what the four were told about the reasons for the decision. It did confirm that the ARB did not recommend direct disciplinary action because it didn’t find misconduct or a direct breach of duty by the officials...Since the leave is not considered a formal disciplinary action, Maxwell has no means to appeal the status, as he would if he had been outright fired. To this day, he says, nobody from the State Department has ever told him why he was singled out for discipline. He has never had access to the classified portion of the ARB report, where all of the details regarding personnel failures leading up to Benghazi are confined. He also says he has never been shown any evidence or witness testimony linking him to the Benghazi incident.
Soon after being removed from his job, Maxwell was visited at his home late one evening and directed to sign a letter acknowledging his administrative leave and forfeiting his right to enter the State Department. He refused to sign, responding in writing that it amounted to an admission he had done something wrong. “They just wanted me to go away but I wouldn’t just go away,” he said. “I knew Chris [Stevens]. Chris was a friend of mine.” The decision to place Maxwell on administrative leave was made by Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills, according to three State Department officials with direct knowledge of the events. On the day after the unclassified version of the ARB’s report was released in December, Mills called Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Beth Jones and directed her to have Maxwell leave his job immediately...One State Department official close to the issue told The Daily Beast that Clinton’s people told the leadership of the NEA bureau that Maxwell would be given another job at State when the Benghazi scandal blew over. Maxwell said Jones assured him he would eventually be brought back to NEA as a “senior advisor,” but that Mills, Clinton’s chief of staff, reneged.
A CNN/ORC International survey released Sunday morning also indicates that congressional Republicans are not overplaying their hand when it comes to their reaction to the three controversies that have consumed the nation’s capital over the past week and a half. And the poll finds that a majority of Americans take all three issues seriously…According to the poll, 44% say statements made by the Obama administration soon after the attack were an attempt to intentionally mislead the public. Half of those questioned say those statements reflected what the Obama administration believed, at the time, had occurred. But 59% now say that the U.S government could have prevented the attack in Benghazi, up 11 points from last November. And only 37% say that congressional Republicans are overreacting in their handling of the matter, with 59% saying they’ve reacted appropriately.
Making a brief statement to the American people in the White House Tuesday, President Obama reassured people in Oklahoma that all resources have been deployed to help in tornado recovery efforts and that Americans will open their hearts and homes to those who lost everything.
"There will be enormous grief that has to be absorbed," Obama said. "The country will travel with you."
Last night Obama declared parts of Oklahoma a disaster zone.
The President today declared a major disaster exists in the State of Oklahoma and ordered Federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms and tornadoes beginning on May 18, 2013, and continuing.
The President's action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Cleveland, Lincoln, McClain, Oklahoma, and Pottawatomie.
Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
Federal funding also is available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work in the counties of Cleveland, Lincoln, McClain, Oklahoma, and Pottawatomie.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.
W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Sandy Coachman as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area.
FEMA said that damage surveys are continuing in other areas, and more counties and additional forms of assistance may be designated after the assessments are fully completed.
FEMA said that residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties may apply for assistance by registering online at http://www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.
With numerous scandals plaguing the Obama White House, Americans are turning into Fox News and turning off MSNBC.
The scandals of the Obama administration seem to be hurting not just the White House but MSNBC as well while Fox News Channel scored its second-best week of the year. After double-digit gains during last year’s presidential election, May 13-17 saw the progressive-aligned “Lean Forward” news network hit new lows as the IRS scandal erupted and revelations that the Justice Department secretly obtained AP records became public. With 350,000 viewers on average and 94,000 among the adults 25-54 demo, MSNBC had its least-watched and lowest-rated total-day results of the year last week. That was also the lowest total-day demo result the network has had since the week of June 26-July 2, 2006, when MSNBC pulled in just 83,000 viewers among adults 25-54, according to Nielsen data.
Last week’s total day results were down 17% in viewers and 22% among the demo from the comparable May 14 to May 18 week of last year. In primetime, the numbers were even worse for MSNBC as a steady decline from the beginning of the year continued.
Baucus & Hatch Grill IRS Commissioners Who Don't Know Anything: "That's A Lie By Omission" | Greg Hengler