Archive for Constitution

Why Bother With Elections?

No matter how you vote, the machine registers for the democrat.

Early voting just started last week in Maryland, but there are already accusations that some voting machines are changing Republican votes to Democrat. Now Republicans are calling for an investigation by the State Board of Elections.

As Marylanders go to the polls, there are concerns that the vote you cast may not be for the candidate you want.

“We’ve heard from scores of citizens in our district and around the state who have had this problem where they hit one button to vote for one person, and when they go to the summary they see that the other person was checked,” said Del Nik Kipke, (R) Anne Arundel County.
Republicans say they’ve received several dozen reports of Republican votes being changed to Democrat.

Del. Kathy Szeliga says it happened to her.
“I kept pushing the Republican guy’s name and the machine kept going beep, beep, beep,” said Szeliga, (R) Baltimore & Harford co.
Now GOP leaders are calling for an investigation.

Investigation, eh? That’ll make a big difference.

– Aggie

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The Monday Morning After

After that exhausting weekend cavorting with golf buddies on the links and at Camp David, President Obama returns to work:

Obama Schedule || Monday, August 4, 2014
by KEITH KOFFLER on AUGUST 3, 2014, 9:30 PM
Today is President Obama’s 53rd birthday.

11:00 am || Receives the Presidential Daily Briefing
11:45 am || Meet with Treasury Secretary Lew

He could sleep till 10:45, haul his hungover ass in to the Oval Office for the briefing (mug of coffee in hand), do the Sudoku until Lew shows up, then go back to bed.

And people say he’s checked out.

PS: What do you give to the man who has everything?

President Obama has made it clear that he has a pen and a phone, and that he is willing to go around Congress and the Constitution to get his way. So for his birthday, the RNC is delivering a copy of the U.S. Constitution to the White House so Obama can read it before he picks up his pen or phone.

PS: Of course, as this writer observes, the only good President Obama is a golfing President Obama:

[T]he best we can hope for is presidents who simply do nothing. Going back to 2009 when he reached the White House, had Barack Obama hung around the White House bowling alley these last six years he would be presiding over a booming economy today as previously mentioned.

Fast forward to 2014, Obama is finally doing very little, and unsurprisingly the health of the economy is starting to reflect stock market optimism about a do-nothing president that began to register many years before this one. To be consistent, conservatives should now be praising our listless, exhausted, unfocused president. Let the economic boom begin!

The jobless economic boom, he means.

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Part Of ObamaCare Illegal

President vows to ignore ruling

In a potentially crippling blow to Obamacare, a federal appeals court panel declared Tuesday that government subsidies worth billions of dollars that helped 4.7 million people buy insurance on HealthCare.gov are illegal.
The 2-1 ruling said such subsidies can be granted only to people who bought insurance in an Obamacare exchange run by an individual state or the District of Columbia—not on the federally run exchange HealthCare.gov. The ruling relied on a close reading of the Affordable Care Act.

“Section 36B plainly makes subsidies available in the Exchanges established by states,” wrote Senior Circuit Judge Raymond Randolph in his majority opinion in the case known as Halbig v. Burwell, where he was joined by Judge Thomas Griffith.

“We reach this conclusion, frankly, with reluctance. At least until states that wish to can set up their own Exchanges, our ruling will likely have significant consequences both for millions of individuals receiving tax credits through federal Exchanges and for health insurance markets more broadly.”

In his dissent, Judge Harry Edwards, who called the case a “not-so-veiled attempt to gut” Obamacare, wrote that the judgment of the majority “portends disastrous consequences.”

Indeed, the 72-page decision threatens to unleash a cascade of effects that could seriously compromise Obamacare’s goals of compelling people to get health insurance, and helping them afford it.

White House will ignore:

The Obama administration said it will ask the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to reverse the panel’s decision, which for now does not have the rule of law.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the ruling—for now—”does not have any practical impact” on premium subsidies issued to HealthCare.gov enrollees now.”

“We are confident” that the ruling will be overturned, Earnest said. “We are confident in the legal position we have . . . the Department of Justice will litigate these claims through the federal court system.”

Earnest said “it was obvious” that Congress intended subsidies, or tax credits, to be issued to Obamacare enrollees regardless of what kind of exchange they used to buy insurance.

Our Tin-Pot-Dictator-In-Chief Has Spoken!

Also, Professor Larry Tribe of Harvard has this to say:

President Obama’s old Harvard Law professor, Laurence Tribe, said that he “wouldn’t bet the family farm” on Obamacare’s surviving the legal challenges to an IRS rule about who is eligible for subsidies that are currently working their way through the federal courts.

“I don’t have a crystal ball,” Tribe told the Fiscal Times. “But I wouldn’t bet the family farm on this coming out in a way that preserves Obamacare.”

– Aggie

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He’s Not Constitutional, Bitches

And far from being the law of the land, he is the law unto himself:

JONATHAN TURLEY: Frankly it’s difficult to discuss these quaint constitutional issues in what is often a poisonous political environment. As a people we’ve become — we’ve come to the point where we can’t just simply disagree, we have to despise each other. We subscribe to the worst motivations of our opponents and elevate our own proposals over process. To put it simply, we’ve embraced what the Queen Mother said in Richard III. We just think of our babies as sweeter than they were and he who slew them is fowler than he is.

I don’t believe the president has a desire for tyrannical authority. I don’t question his motivation. I question his means. Our system is changing and this body is the one branch that must act if we’re to reverse those changes. We’re seeing the emergence of a different model of government, a model long ago rejected by the framers. A dominant presidency has occurred with very little Congressional opposition. Indeed, when President Obama pledged to circumvent Congress, he received rapturous applause from the very body that he was proposing to make practically irrelevant. Now many members are contesting the right of this institution to even be heard in federal court. This body is moving from self-loathing to self-destruction in a system that is in crisis.

The president’s pledge to effectively govern alone is alarming, and what is most alarming is his ability to fulfill that pledge. When a president can govern alone, he can become a government unto himself, which is precisely the danger the framers sought to avoid. What we’re witnessing today is one of the greatest crises that I expect the members of this committee and this body will face. It has a patina of politics that is hard to penetrate. It did not start with President Obama. I was critical of his predecessor, and certainly this goes back long before George Bush, but it has reached a tipping point. (House Rules Commitee, July 16, 2014)

And this guy is a self-described fan of Obama. He even tries to share the blame for Obama’s unconstitutional behavior with a spineless Congress. To which there is some truth, even if that’s like blaming the victim of an abusive relationship. Obama says he wants to “do stuff”, but Congress won’t let him. A former Senior Lecturer at law school, he should recognize that as a “check”, intended to “balance” two equal branches of government. Instead, this petulant brat acts out by leaving his family behind and gorging on junk food. If only that were all.

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Smidgen of Corruption Update

Another red line is crossed:

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC: Jonathan, let me bring you in now. [...] Presidential overreach, executive orders they think sort of undercut Congress, but you know, you’ve been following this, their complaints for the last few years, really. Legally speaking, is there any kind of a case here?

JONATHAN TURLEY, PROFESSOR OF LAW: Oh, I think there is a case against the president for exceeding his authority. I happen to agree with the president on many of his priorities and policies, but as I testified in Congress, I think that he has crossed the constitutional line.

KORNACKI: Where has he crossed it? Like what specific issue has he crossed it on?

TURLEY: When the president went to Congress and said he would go it alone, it obviously raises a concern. There’s no license for going it alone in our system, and what he’s done, is very problematic. He has shifted $454 million of the ACA from appropriated purpose to another purpose. He’s told agencies not to enforce some laws, like immigration laws. He has effectively rewritten laws through the active interpretation that I find very problematic. While I happen to agree with him, I voted for him, I think this is a problem.

One broken law is a tragedy. A million is a statistic.

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I Know Where Lois Lerner’s Emails Are!

Buried with Jimmy Hoffa! Once we find the highest profile victim of a mob hit, we’ll find the highest profile target of the Obama criminal family.

Start with the north end zone of Giants Stadium.

The top Republican on one of the House committees investigating the IRS targeting scandal reacted furiously late Wednesday to a report that ex-IRS official Lois Lerner’s hard drive had been recycled, making it likely that many emails sent to and from Lerner prior to the summer of 2011 will never be recovered.

The Politico report cited two anonymous sources, as well as Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who confirmed that the Senate Finance Committee had been told that the hard drive had been discarded.

“If the IRS truly got rid of evidence in a way that violated the Federal Records Act and ensured the FBI never got a crack at recovering files from an official claiming a Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination, this is proof their whole line about ‘losing’ e-mails in the targeting scandal was just one more attempted deception,” House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said in a statement. “Official records, like the e-mails of a prominent official, don’t just disappear without a trace unless that was the intention.”

Are there no Woodwards among the press anymore? I’d take even one Bernstein. Heck, I’d accept Geraldo Rivera in a towel if he just asked the basic questions. Like, I don’t know, what kind of idiots do you think we are? Check that: we know what kind of idiots they are:

That was from the New York Times, if you didn’t catch it. You think someone like that is going to accuse Obama of Nixonian tactics? Even Nixon destroyed only 18 minutes.

Anyway, as any and all IT professional has already told us, there ought to be multiple back-ups, indeed possibly hard copies, of everything on Lerner’s computer. One could even access the computers of all of Lerner’s common correspondents to piece together an email trail. If the Iranian revolutionaries could piece together the secrets of the US Embassy in 1979, how hard could it be today if we really wanted to know?

PS: I am reminded of my favorite Doonesbury strip from over 40 years ago:

Untitled

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The Koch Amendment

You can call it the Steyer Amendment if you prefer

But if you want to know Harry Reid’s target, Koch is it:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Thursday said the Senate would vote in the coming weeks on legislation for a constitutional amendment to give Congress the power to regulate spending levels in federal campaigns.

Reid said Democrats are pushing for the vote to combat what he said is an effort by billionaires Charles and David Koch to “buy” the U.S. Senate this year. He said that effort is allowed in light of Supreme Court decision that prevents limitations on political spending, and said Congress must act to save democracy from the rich.

“It’s unacceptable that the recent Supreme Court decisions have taken power away from the American voter, instead giving it to a select few of mega-billionaires,” Reid said on the Senate floor.

Reid said the vote would be held shortly on a proposed constitutional amendment from Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), S.J.Res. 19.

I was curious to know: what does the Amendment say?

‘‘ARTICLE
‘‘SECTION 1. Congress shall have power to regulate the raising and spending of money and in kind equivalents with respect to Federal elections, including through setting limits on—

‘‘(1) the amount of contributions to candidates for nomination for election to, or for election to, Federal office; and

‘‘(2) the amount of expenditures that may be made by, in support of, or in opposition to such candidates.

‘‘SECTION 2. A State shall have power to regulate the raising and spending of money and in kind equivalents with respect to State elections, including through setting limits on—

‘‘(1) the amount of contributions to candidates for nomination for election to, or for election to, State office; and

‘‘(2) the amount of expenditures that may be made by, in support of, or in opposition to such candidates.

‘‘SECTION 3. Congress shall have power to implement and enforce this article by appropriate legislation.’’.

Odd that the legislation is dated November 1, 2011—two and a half years ago—and Reid is only now getting around to it. You wouldn’t suspect politics, would you? It sounds innocuous enough, until you think about it. Congress is partisan by nature—yet Congress will seek to regulate free speech. It’s a direct contradiction of the First Amendment.

What’s going on inside their heads? And what will they say if this thing becomes law (it won’t), and Tom Steyer and the Teamsters are told to put their checkbooks away? Our home state of Massachusetts offers a clue: when the Democrat legislature feared that a Republican governor might make an interim appointment, they changed the law. When the law later threatened to work agains them, they changed it back.

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Thank God

It’s Constitutional, bi—…blessed:

The Supreme Court says prayers that open town council meetings do not violate the Constitution even if they routinely stress Christianity.

The court said in 5-4 decision Monday that the content of the prayers is not critical as long as officials make a good-faith effort at inclusion.

The ruling was a victory for the town of Greece, N.Y., outside of Rochester.

In 1983, the court upheld an opening prayer in the Nebraska legislature and said that prayer is part of the nation’s fabric, not a violation of the First Amendment. Monday’s ruling was consistent with the earlier one.

Raised by a pair of atheists (one nominally Christian, one nominally Jewish), I was occasionally made uncomfortable by public prayer. So the [bleep] what? I lived, I got over it. In fact, I’m a little jealous of those with a religious upbringing. Faith is the one thing I find hard to fake.

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Is Obama Administration Blocking Mergers Of Republican CEO’s?

Looks like it

Like all mergers, the proposed $45.2 billion Comcast CMCSA +1.28% merger with Time Warner Cable TWC +0.97%—the largest and second largest cable providers in the nation—has its advocates and critics. There are certainly important questions about what impact the merger would have on consumers—but there are equally significant issues associated with the highly politicized approval process.

The Obama Department of Justice, led by Eric Holder, must review the merger and decide whether to approve or block it. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration and Justice Department have a long track record of pushing the rule of law aside and making decisions based on politics. Will the proposed Comcast merger with Time Warner TWX +0.81% Cable receive the scrutiny it deserves, or simply be fast-tracked for approval based on politics?

Let’s look at some history—which is detailed in a new Frontiers of Freedom report. In 2009, the Obama Administration gave Solyndra, a failing California solar panel firm, a $536 million “loan.” Shortly thereafter, Solyndra was fully bankrupt. Prior to the loan, Solyndra executives and board members gave generously to Barack Obama, including Tulsa oil billionaire and Obama bundler George Kaiser, one of Solyndra’s main investors.

United Health Group is expecting higher earnings thanks to ObamaCare. After United supported passing the plan, one of its subsidiaries, Quality Software Services, Inc. won a contract of $90 million for the rollout of Healthcare.gov. United Health’s Executive Vice President Anthony Welters and his wife are significant Obama donors and bundlers. The Administration did not perceive any conflict of interest in providing the nation’s largest health insurer with the keys to Healthcare.gov.

If money buys favors from the Obama Administration, a lack of it produces the opposite.

In 2011, AT&T announced it would seek permission from the government for a $39 billion merger with T-Mobile. Processing the application was expected to take at least twelve months. But within five months, the Department of Justice announced it had filed a lawsuit blocking the friendly merger.

Enter AT&T CEO Randall L. Stephenson, well known to be a free market Republican favoring pro-growth tax reform and opposing Obama-style redistributing income from the working class. Mr. Stephenson has a long history of Republican giving, and averaging the three election cycles between 2006–2010, AT&T employees supported Republican candidates by 60%.

Key government players during merger talks were Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski and Renata Hesse, now Deputy Attorney General for Anti Trust at DOJ, and of course, Attorney General Eric Holder, who runs the most blatantly politicized DOJ in history.

FCC Chairman Genachowski is a longtime technology advisor for Barack Obama, serving on his transition team. Obama appointed him FCC Chairman in 2009. He and his wife, another Obama appointee, are long time Obama donors. Ms. Hesse, then in charge of the AT&T merger at FCC, has donated more than $6K to Obama for America. In a policy forum last year, Ms. Hesse stated the Obama Administration’s approach to antitrust was “vigorous enforcement.” But does that apply evenly across all merger applications?

On February 14, 2014, Comcast announced intent to acquire Time Warner Cable in a deal worth $45.2 billion—$6 billion more than the AT&T/T-Mobile deal. This merger would also result in an approximate 40% market share. Overseeing this application at DOJ will be vigorous enforcer Deputy AG Hesse. As with AT&T, will the FCC and Department of Justice deny the Comcast merger, and in record time?

If AT&T is “red,” Comcast and Time Warner Cable are deep “blue.” In 2012, Comcast employees donated $465K to the Democrat National Committee vs. $114K to the Republican National Committee and supported Obama over Republican Mitt Romney by nearly four to one. Time Warner donations were $442K Obama and $28K Romney.

You get the drift. They’re so slimy.

– Aggie

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Obama Administration Desperate For Money, Stealing Tax Refunds From Children If Parents Failed To Pay Up Back In The 1970s

Yes, folks, an authoritarian, lawless regime can do stuff like this. If you like your tax refund, you can keep your tax refund.

I am alerting you to this, because who reads the Washington Post? :) Readers of BTL will make it go viral.

A few weeks ago, with no notice, the U.S. government intercepted Mary Grice’s tax refunds from both the IRS and the state of Maryland. Grice had no idea that Uncle Sam had seized her money until some days later, when she got a letter saying that her refund had gone to satisfy an old debt to the government — a very old debt.

When Grice was 4, back in 1960, her father died, leaving her mother with five children to raise. Until the kids turned 18, Sadie Grice got survivor benefits from Social Security to help feed and clothe them.

Now, Social Security claims it overpaid someone in the Grice family — it’s not sure who — in 1977. After 37 years of silence, four years after Sadie Grice died, the government is coming after her daughter. Why the feds chose to take Mary’s money, rather than her surviving siblings’, is a mystery.

Across the nation, hundreds of thousands of taxpayers who are expecting refunds this month are instead getting letters like the one Grice got, informing them that because of a debt they never knew about — often a debt incurred by their parents — the government has confiscated their check.

Mary Grice
Mary Grice

The Treasury Department has intercepted $1.9 billion in tax refunds already this year — $75 million of that on debts delinquent for more than 10 years, said Jeffrey Schramek, assistant commissioner of the department’s debt management service. The aggressive effort to collect old debts started three years ago — the result of a single sentence tucked into the farm bill lifting the 10-year statute of limitations on old debts to Uncle Sam.

No one seems eager to take credit for reopening all these long-closed cases. A Social Security spokeswoman says the agency didn’t seek the change; ask Treasury. Treasury says it wasn’t us; try Congress. Congressional staffers say the request probably came from the bureaucracy.

The only explanation the government provides for suddenly going after decades-old debts comes from Social Security spokeswoman Dorothy Clark: “We have an obligation to current and future Social Security beneficiaries to attempt to recoup money that people received when it was not due.”

Since the drive to collect on very old debts began in 2011, the Treasury Department has collected $424 million in debts that were more than 10 years old. Those debts were owed to many federal agencies, but the one that has many Americans howling this tax season is the Social Security Administration, which has found 400,000 taxpayers who collectively owe $714 million on debts more than 10 years old. The agency expects to have begun proceedings against all of those people by this summer.

“It was a shock,” said Grice, 58. “What incenses me is the way they went about this. They gave me no notice, they can’t prove that I received any overpayment, and they use intimidation tactics, threatening to report this to the credit bureaus.”

CAN YOU IMAGINE THE HOWLS IF THE G. W. BUSH ADMINISTRATION HAD DONE THIS????? The accusations of racism? Lawlessness?

Hey O-Bots, what if Granny didn’t pay? Do you suppose the government can come after you?

Grice filed suit against the Social Security Administration in federal court in Greenbelt this week, alleging that the government violated her right to due process by holding her responsible for a $2,996 debt supposedly incurred under her father’s Social Security number.

Social Security officials told Grice that six people — Grice, her four siblings and her father’s first wife, whom she never knew — had received benefits under her father’s account. The government doesn’t look into exactly who got the overpayment; the policy is to seek compensation from the oldest sibling and work down through the family until the debt is paid.

The Federal Trade Commission, on its Web site, advises Americans that “family members typically are not obligated to pay the debts of a deceased relative from their own assets.” But Social Security officials say that if children indirectly received assistance from public dollars paid to a parent, the children’s money can be taken, no matter how long ago any overpayment occurred.

They are doing this because they can.

Grice, who works for the Food and Drug Administration and lives in Takoma Park, in the same apartment she’s resided in since 1984, never got any notice about a debt.

Social Security officials told her they had sent their notice to her post office box in Roxboro, N.C. Grice rented that box from 1977 to 1979 and never since. And Social Security has Grice’s current address: Every year, it sends her a statement about her benefits.

“Their record-keeping seems to be very spotty,” she said.

Ya’ Think???? Are you suggesting that the government is maybe a touch incompetent? Hey, here’s a thought. Let’s given them an additional 1/6th of our economy to manage – our health care system – and see how it goes. Maybe if they can’t raise enough dough there, they can come after saps like you and me.

Treasury officials say that before they will take someone’s refund, the agency owed the money must certify the debt, meaning there must be evidence of the overpayment. But Social Security officials told Grice they had no records explaining the debt.

“The craziest part of this whole thing is the way the government seizes a child’s money to satisfy a debt that child never even knew about,” says Robert Vogel, Grice’s attorney. “They’ll say that somebody got paid for that child’s benefit, but the child had no control over the money and there’s no way to know if the parent ever used the money for the benefit of that kid.”

Grice, the middle of five children, said neither of her surviving siblings — one older, one younger — has had any money taken by the government. When Grice asked why she had been selected to pay the debt, she was told it was because she had an income and her address popped up — the correct one this time.

You see? They took it because they could. Plain and simple. They wanted, they took.

Think Ms. Grice’s case is a fluke?

In Glenarm, Ill., Brenda and Mike Samonds have spent the past year trying to figure out how to get back the $189.10 tax refund the government seized, claiming that Mike’s mother, who died 33 years ago, had been overpaid on survivor’s benefits after Mike’s father died in 1969.

“It was never Mike’s money, it was his mother’s,” Brenda Samonds said. “The government took the money first and then they sent us the letter. We could never get one sentence from them explaining why the money was taken.” The government mailed its notice about the debt to the house Mike’s mother lived in 40 years ago.

And for all you math whizzes out there, cogitate on this for a moment: How much employee time was spent stealing $189.10 from Brenda and Mike Samonds of Glenarm, Illinois? Because I will bet you a nickel that they spend more, for more, finding and collecting that money than they acquired in stealing it. If we really want to add to the Treasury, perhaps we should fire 10% of all IRS staffers?

Here’s a nice quote:

“I’ll put in the request,” a Social Security clerk told Verbich, “but in reality, you’ll never get anything.”

In other words: We take because we can.

Grice was also told there was little point in seeking a waiver of her debt. Collections can only be halted if the person passes two tests, Clark said: The taxpayer must prove that he “is without fault, and [that] repayment of the overpayment would deprive the person of income needed for ordinary living expenses.”

In other words: We are an authoritarian regime and you have no recourse.

The Moral of the Story? Never, ever overpay your taxes. Pay what you owe, fair and square, when it is due. They cannot confiscate your refund because your father happened to die in 1960, and your mother may or may not have received too much money in benefits, if there is no refund due.

– Aggie

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Brave Man Stands Up To Eric Holder

Let’s send him cookies when he ends up in prison.

– Aggie

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Obama’s IRS Lies And The MSM

In fact, the IRS did not hassle “progressive” groups

IRS agents testified before Congress that the agency’s political targeting did not apply to progressive groups as Democrats and the media have claimed, according to a bombshell new staff report prepared by the House Oversight Committee chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa.

IRS agents testified before Oversight that ACORN groups were scrutinized because the agency thought they were old organizations applying as new ones. Emerge America was scrutinized for potential “improper private benefit.” No evidence exists that the IRS requested additional information from any Occupy Wall Street group.

“Only seven applications in the IRS backlog contained the word ‘progressive,’ all of which were then approved by the IRS, while Tea Party groups received unprecedented review and experienced years-long delays. While some liberal-oriented groups were singled out for scrutiny, evidence shows it was due to non-political reasons,” according to the Oversight staff report, which was obtained by The Daily Caller.

“[T]he Administration and congressional Democrats have seized upon the notion that the IRS’s targeting was not just limited to conservative applicants,” the report states. “These Democratic claims are flat-out wrong and have no basis in any thorough examination of the facts. Yet, the Administration’s chief defenders continue to make these assertions in a concerted effort to deflect and distract from the truth about the IRS’s targeting of tax-exempt applicants.”

“[T]here is simply no evidence that any liberal or progressive group received enhanced scrutiny because its application reflected the organization’s political views,” the report stated.

Big surprise.

– Aggie

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