Archive for the ‘Congressional Oversight’ Category
After fleecing taxpayers, Community Action Partnership of Minneapolis has shut its doors:
DHS auditors accused the corporation of spending more than it helped. The state wants Community Action Minneapolis to repay more than $850,000 in grant money that was spent incorrectly. The audit showed more than $200,000 paid for unallowable costs like cruises, golf trips and alcohol. William Davis, the Chief Executive Officer, is accused of receiving an excessive bonus and spending thousands on a personal car loan.
Initially, Davis tried rationalizing the expenditures:
Auditors blamed Community Action’s board, which includes several well-known politicians and community leaders, for a lack of oversight and for personally benefiting from $34,892 worth of activities that “do not appear to serve a business purpose, and are considered waste and abuse as defined in state policy.”
Those activities included two weekend trips, between 2011 and 2013, to Arrowwood Resort in Alexandria, where board members and senior management spent $9,000 for lodging, $3,200 for food and $900 for spas.
Davis defended the trips as a “small gesture on our part to offer them a moment of relaxation or entertainment. It’s not like we do this every single week of the year.”
What’s telling is that Davis didn’t think he’d done anything wrong. The only thing more appalling than Davis attempting to rationalize his reckless spending was Gov. Dayton’s statement denying that something like this could happen:
Initially, Mark Dayton responded to Jeff Johnson’s call for an extensive audit of NPOs by saying “The decades-old accusation that Minnesota government recklessly wastes money on people who are poor, sick, or elderly is unfair and unfounded.”
Later, Dayton backtracked quickly:
Gov. Mark Dayton on Monday said that a Star Tribune report of a nonprofit using state funds to subsidize cruises, a director’s car lease and spa treatments was very concerning and alarming. “I was personally really appalled,” Dayton said. “I take it very seriously.”
Let’s revise Gov. Dayton’s statement. Gov. Dayton was “personally really appalled” the minute he thought that the fiasco might damage him politically. Prior to that, he pretended that Community Action was totally trustworthy.
The truth, I’m afraid, is that Gov. Dayton knew about this audit prior to the story going public. Since the Strib article was published, DHS has tried pushing the notion that they should get credit for spotting this during their audit of the organization. Gov. Dayton can’t first say that he’s surprised by this, then say that his administration spotted this during an audit.
I’ve never bought into Gov. Dayton’s I-didn’t-know-about-[Fill in the blank] schtick. I’ve always thought that he used that gambit to get through a politically embarrassing situation. See FarmFest. The DFL legislature should’ve taken their oversight responsibilities seriously. Then again, with tons of prominent DFL politicians and activists on Community Action’s board, it probably didn’t take much to get them to look the other way.
Technorati: Community Action Partnership of Minneapolis, William Davis, Arrowwood Retreat, DFL Legislature, Oversight Hearings, Jeff Hayden, Keith Ellison, Mark Dayton, Department of Human Services, Audit, DFL, Election 2014
Tom Hauser’s Truth Test of Gov. Dayton’s ad might’ve gotten an A in accuracy if he hadn’t tried marketing himself as a tax cutter:
NARRATOR: Cut taxes while increasing our rainy day fund and investing in education.
HAUSER: It’s true that Gov. Dayton increased the rainy day fund and invested more in education but it’s false to say that Dayton cut taxes, so false that it nearly overwhelms everything else that’s true in this ad. In fact, Dayton and the DFL legislature raised taxes by $2,000,000,000 in the 2013 session. In 2014, they cut taxes $508,000,000, partially by repealing taxes that they’d increased the year before. So over those 2 years, there’s a net tax increase of $1,500,000,000.
Later in the segment, Hauser said that “He admits it. He ran for governor by promising he’d raise taxes.” I’ll repeat what I’ve said previously. Repealing taxes that you just raised and/or created isn’t a tax cut. It’s a reduction in the size of the tax increase.
Gov. Dayton’s first instinct, which is shared by House and Senate DFL leadership, is to propose raising taxes first, then submitting a mulligan budget later when political pressure mounts:
In 2011, Gov. Dayton proposed massive tax increases, including a top income tax bracket of 10.95% and a 3% surcharge for people making $1,000,000 or more. When the deficit forecast was revised down from $6,200,000,000 to $5,030,000,000, Gov. Dayton immediately dropped the income tax surcharge. Eventually, the GOP majority forced him to drop his tax increases.
Raising taxes won’t be Jeff Johnson’s first instinct. He’ll ride herd on bureaucrats that don’t have the taxpayers’ best interests at heart because that’s who he is:
The difference between Jeff Johnson and Gov. Dayton is stunning. Gov. Dayton starts with the assumption that every state agency should have its budget increased. Jeff Johnson doesn’t start with the assumption that agencies’ budgets should be automatically increased.
Jeff Johnson has a lengthy history as Hennepin County Commissioner of highlighting government spending money foolishly. He’ll continue that habit as governor.
Minnesota families don’t need a governor who raises taxes first, spends money foolishly second, then tells them that he’s cut taxes on the campaign trail. Minnesota families deserve a governor who’s proven that he’ll be the taxpayers’ watchdog.
Jeff Johnson is the only gubernatorial candidate who fits that last description.
It’s beginning to look like the Democrats are giving Tom Harkin’s Senate seat away. First, Bruce Braley insulted Iowans by criticizing Chuck Grassley for being a hog farmer. Now Braley is fighting for his political life for ignoring his committee assignment on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee:
Over a two-year period, Democratic U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley missed 75 percent of meetings for a committee that provides oversight over the Veterans Administration, including one meeting on a day he attended three fundraisers for his 2012 campaign.
A few months later, news reports exposed systemic problems in patient care that have since resulted in the resignation head of the federal department of veterans affairs.
Of course, Democrats were quick to defend Braley:
Democrats who back Braley, a trial lawyer and seven-year congressman who is now running for U.S. Senate, say he has been an outspoken voice for veterans and it’s wrong for his GOP rival, Joni Ernst, to “try to inject partisan politics into veterans issues.” He missed the veterans affairs meeting on the day of the three fundraisers because he went to another congressional hearing, his aides said.
Veterans don’t need someone who’s all talk. What they need most is someone who’s committed to solving the VA crisis. Clearly, Rep. Braley doesn’t fit that description. By comparison, Ms. Ernst does. In fact, she’s currently away from the campaign trail so she can fulfill her commitment in the Iowa National Guard:
Republicans are appealing to Iowans to help campaign for Joni Ernst while she’s on leave for two weeks for active duty training.
Ernst, a candidate for Iowa’s open U.S. Senate seat and a battalion commander in the Iowa Army National Guard, leaves Friday for Fort McCoy for annual training.
“During this time, she will not be able to fund-raise, walk in parades, door knock or do other political activity,” Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Jeff Kaufmann said in a letter posted on the party’s website this afternoon. “We know Bruce Braley and his liberal D.C. pals will continue their slash-and-burn campaign against Joni while she’s on duty, so anything you can do to help us until Joni returns is greatly appreciated.”
If Braley continues making major mistake after major mistake, he’ll be Ms. Ernst’s best weapon against Bruce Braley. That seems likely considering the fact that he wasn’t where he said he was:
Braley’s aides said he skipped it to attend a 9:36 a.m. Oversight and Government Reform Committee meeting on the “Fast and Furious” gun trafficking scandal. The congressional record marked Braley “present,” but reveals that he offered no testimony during the three-hour hearing, which ran until 12:45 p.m.
Video caught no sight of Braley. His seat isn’t always visible, but the multiple times it’s within camera view during the window the Veterans Affairs committee was in session (10:19 a.m. to 11:54 a.m.), Braley wasn’t seated, a Register review of C-SPAN 3 and committee footage found.
Skipping a House VA Committee hearing for a trio of fundraisers is bad enough. Saying that you’re participating in another commitee hearing might get you off the hook…if you’re where you said you were. Apparently, he couldn’t even manage that.
This race isn’t over by a long shot. Still, it won’t help Democrats if Braley continues his litany of major mistakes. Insulting hog farmers in Iowa is as foolish as insulting Packers fans in Wisconsin. Attending a trio of fundraisers while saying you’re in a committee hearing is foolish, too.
This afternoon, I was sent a copy of a letter that Jim Grabowska sent to MnSCU Chancellor Steven Rosenstone about MnSCU’s hiring of McKinsey and Co. as consultants. Grabowska is the president of the Inter Faculty Organization, aka the IFO. Here’s part of Grabowska’s letter:
You can well imagine our dismay this morning when we found out about the $2 million contract that existed with McKinsey to support Charting the Future. We are writing to ask what the firm actually did for the $2 million they collected from Minnesota taxpayers and students. What assessment/criteria lead to the conclusion that the System Office needed a consultant firm to assist staff on implementation? Of specific concern is why it was determined before our collective internal implementation teams were even formed, or allowed to make recommendations for an implementation plan.
What’s disappointing (infuriating?) is that the IFO president asked more probing questions in that paragraph than the St. Cloud Times reporters have asked of President Potter since he was hired years ago.
The IFO asked substantive questions that question Chancellor Rosenstone’s justification for hiring McKinsey in that paragraph in a respectful fashion. Here’s more from the IFO’s letter:
From the story in the Pioneer Press, it sounds like consultants were hired on January 2nd, began work in March and finished in June. What could they have done in three or four months that wasn’t noticed but was worth $2 million?
I suspected that this consulting contract wasn’t legitimate. The fact that the IFO is questioning what McKinsey did to earn the money highlights why they’re questioning Rosenstone’s decision. There’s nothing that I’ve seen that suggests McKinsey’s work product was worth $2,000,000.
In the article, you justify the expenditure by saying students and their families might save $14 million if 10% of the students graduate faster. The problem is there is no indication that the $2 million spent will result in $14 million of savings — or any savings at all.
In the past decade, MnSCU has spent money by the tens of millions on IT consultants that claimed they would create efficiencies that would result in efficiencies for students — student tuitions still continued to skyrocket. The only savings we have seen for students in recent years came from the legislative buy down of tuition rates.
As much as this letter is an indictment of Chancellor Rosenstone, it’s an indictment of MnSCU’s trustees and the chairs of the higher education committees the past few years. This has been a bipartisan failing, with Bud Nornes and Michelle Fischbach failing to conduct proper oversight before Gene Pelowski and Terry Bonoff failed in their oversight responsibilities.
It’s a frightening statement that the IFO’s oversight of MnSCU outdistances the oversight provided by the MnSCU Trustees and the higher ed committees in the legislature. Combined.
At this point, it’s reasonable to ask whether MnSCU serves as anything more than another do-nothing bureaucracy. Further, it’s reasonable to ask whether the higher ed committees’ leadership pays attention to anything other than appropriating money. I haven’t seen proof that they’ve paid attention to what’s happening at MnSCU or the universities.
Taxpayers can’t afford this consistent nonchalance from Chancellor Rosenston, the Trustees or the higher ed committee chairs. Their performance, or lack thereof, has been infuriating.
UPDATE: Here’s the IFO’s letter to Chancellor Rosenstone:
Technorati: IFO, Jim Grabowska, MnSCU, Board of Trustees, Steven Rosenstone, Higher Ed Committees, Gene Pelowski, Bud Nornes, Terry Bonoff, Michelle Fischbach, Oversight Hearings, McKinsey & Co., Consultants, Tuition Increases
Greg Riegstad’s LTE is short because he accepted the task of explaining why Zach Dorholt deserves re-election:
Zach Dorholt deserves re-election to the Minnesota House of Representatives.
After years of gridlock in our state government, this last session made real progress. The Legislature made a real commitment to education, reduced taxes for the middle class, and turned the budget deficit to a surplus.
The second paragraph is utterly laughable. First, the DFL spent more money on education. That isn’t the same as saying that they “made a real commitment to education.” Dorholt was the vice-chair of the Higher Ed Committee. As vice-chair of the committee, Dorholt didn’t pay attention to the corruption within MnSCU. Clarence Hightower, then-chairman of the MnSCU Board of Trustees, negotiated a contract renewal with MnSCU Chancellor Steve Rosenstone.
What’s stunning is that the House Higher Ed Committee did’t even know that it’d been negotiated. The other thing that’s stunnning is that Hightower negotiated the contract extension before giving Rosenstone a performance review.
During the 2014 ‘Unsession’, the House Higher Ed Committee met 4 times, twice to hear bonding presentations, once to hear about a supplemental appropriation and another time to move a bill onto the General Register. Noticeably missing are any oversight hearings.
Thanks to Mssrs. Pelowski and Dorholt, $2,000,000 was quietly spent on a consulting firm that prefered to “work in the background.” Saying that oversight wasn’t a priority for Mssrs. Pelowski and Dorholt is understatement.
Second, the DFL promised property tax relief. That won’t happen because school districts are raising property taxes. A tiny percentage of people will see the property tax relief that the DFL promised.
Third, saying that they started with a deficit and turned it into a surplus isn’t an accomplishment. Thanks to the fiscal restraint of the GOP legislature, the deficit was $624,000,000. When the DFL controlled the legislature from 2007-2010, the deficits were more than $5,000,000,000.
Fourth, what the DFL isn’t telling people is that they spent one-time money on ongoing expenses. The surplus that they’re bragging about doesn’t exist.
Let’s also remind people of some other things that this “working group” accomplished. They spent $90,000,000 on a plush office building that’ll be used 4 months a year. They spent it on that instead of using that money to fix Minnesota’s roads and bridges. That money could’ve fixed ton of roads. Instead, Mr. Dorholt chose to spend it on his friends in the Senate.
Mr. Dorholt also voted to raise taxes and fees by $2,500,000,000. Then he voted to reduce that tax increase by $300,000,000, which he’s now calling a tax cut. The taxes he raised has sent companies scurrying from Minnesota.
We can’t afford more of Zach Dorholt’s accomplishments. That’s why he needs to be replaced by Jim Knoblach.
Technorati: Zach Dorholt, Gene Pelowski, Higher Ed Committee, Oversight, Steven Rosenstone, MnSCU, Charting the Future, Tax Increases, Senate Office Building, Property Taxes, DFL, Jim Knoblach, Taxpayer Watchdog, MNGOP, Election 2014
Heather Carlson’s and Brianna Jett’s reporting is damning to the Dayton administration. According to their reporting, Lucinda Jesson, the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Services, was notified that people weren’t getting notified that the state needed more information to process their applications for MinnesotaCare:
The recent revelation that the state failed to send out letters to 16,000 low-income Minnesotans seeking medical assistance to let them know their applications had not been processed and they were not covered does not surprise Olmsted County Community Services Director Paul Fleissner.
“Every county has been screaming that we didn’t think notices were going out, and the state kept saying yes, yes, yes, people are just forgetting this. We had a really strong sense that they weren’t and finally it’s been confirmed that they weren’t going to our people,” Fleissner said.
Gov. Dayton and Commissioner Jesson were either incompetent or disinterested in making sure the workarounds actually worked. Either way, the Dayton administration let 16,000 applicants down because they didn’t do what they were supposed to do.
Some of these 16,000 applicants have been without health insurance for 6 months. Some have accumulated significant personal debt through no fault of their own.
The process to send out the letters was supposed to be fully automated, but it still requires manual workarounds. The lack of letters sent was a known issue in January, but late last week the problem was not resolved and many people still did not know that their applications were incomplete. Often, more information was needed such as verification of income, citizenship or tribal membership.
Gov. Dayton’s and Commissioner Jesson’s inaction and inattentiveness is unacceptable. Why did’t DHS verify that these letters would be sent before the end of January? It’s disgusting that nobody verified that important step.
Fleissner said the failure of the state to send out the letters is just the latest in a string of software problems related to the state’s healthcare exchange.
“It’s incredibly frustrating,” Fleissner said. “It’s wearing (county employees) out, to be honest with you. It’s been disheartening just because any time you are in a job you want to have the right tools to do the job, and we don’t have the tools right now.”
Gov. Dayton pushed hard to create MNsure. Unfortunately, he’s been as disinterested in verifying that MNsure was working as he was excited in pushing for its creation. Governing isn’t just signing bills. That’s just the first step. Governing requires people actually verifying that the things required by those laws are being followed. If nobody is interested in verifying that these things are happening, then government collapses.
This should end any possibility that single payer should be considered. Single payer requires the government to do everything, including paying the customers’ bills. Based on what we’ve seen in both St. Paul and DC, does anyone think that government is capable of handling that responsibility?
Now that it’s been revealed that Lois Lerner targeted sitting US Sen. Chuck Grassley with an audit, the debate over whether to prosecute Ms. Lerner should be over. I say should be because we don’t have a real attorney general or a real Justice Department. If we did, we’d already have an indictment in hand and a trial date would’ve been set.
The emails appear to show Lerner mistakenly received an invitation intended for Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, in 2012.
The event organizer, whose name is not disclosed, apparently offered to pay for Grassley’s wife to attend the event, which caught Lerner’s attention. The December 2012 emails show that in response, Lerner suggested to an IRS colleague that the case be referred for an audit.
“Looked like they were inappropriately offering to pay for his wife. Perhaps we should refer to Exam?” she wrote.
Her colleague, though, pushed back on the idea, saying an offer to pay for his wife is “not prohibited on its face.” There is no indication from the emails that Lerner pursued the issue any further.
What’s disturbing is the fact that Lerner is a lawyer within the IRS. Apparently, she didn’t know that this offer didn’t violate the law. Last night on Greta, she said that Lerner should know better. Then she said that everything is fine if the Grassleys report the payment on their income tax filings. Then Greta threw in a final caveat of import: At the time she wanted Grassley audited, it wasn’t clear if Sen. Grassley would accept the speaking engagement.
It’s stunning that Ms. Lerner targeted a sitting US senator. This clearly proves that, at least in her mind, the IRS should be weaponized against conservatives. This also proves that President Obama’s statement that there “isn’t even a smidgen of corruption” within the IRS is pure BS.
Lois Lerner is exceptionally corrupt. Ditto with John Koskinen and Steven Miller.
Grassley said in a statement that this kind of incident fuels concerns people have about “political targeting” at the highest levels. “It’s very troubling that a simple clerical mix-up could get a taxpayer immediately referred for an IRS exam without any due diligence from agency officials,” the senator said.
That type of corruption should make indicting and prosecuting Ms. Lerner an imperative. Unfortunately, like I said before, that won’t happen because Attorney General Holder and President Obama are as corrupted by ideology as Ms. Lerner is.
On the bright side, the St. Cloud Times is attempting to commit journalism, albeit after the facts are known. This editorial is, at best, after-the-fact journalism. A week after this story broke, the Times’ Editorial Board weighed in:
When the state’s top public official, the governor, names you one of 15 public trustees to oversee the state’s $1.9 billion public Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, it should be understood you must operate with the public’s interests top of mind.
When newspapers and legislators don’t pay attention to low-profile institutions like MnSCU, they quickly turn into fiefdoms. The Times is now covering this story because what was just exposed is so outrageous that even the Times can’t ignore it. Here’s what just happened:
Sadly, as recent news reports have noted, the MnSCU board of trustees failed to come anywhere close to that when it allowed just one trustee, Chair Clarence Hightower, to set up a new three-year contract with Chancellor Steven Rosenstone eight months ago!
I’ll be brief. Hightower shouldn’t have had the responsibility of negotiating a new contract with Chancellor Rosenstone. Chancellor Rosenstone should’ve been told that his contract wouldn’t be extended. Two MnSCU university presidents are ‘retiring’ rather than getting fired. Another president just cost his university hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and $100,000 in back pay for wrongfully terminating their head football coach.
Still, the Times is right that the MnSCU Board of Trustees disgraced themselves. Consider what they said in their evaluation of Chancellor Rosenstone:
In the public summary of the evaluation, Renier said Rosenstone excelled at focusing on the key question of what’s best for MnSCU students.
Renier also commended Rosenstone’s handling of a new strategic plan for MnSCU, “Charting the Future,” which calls for the system’s colleges and universities to work more collaboratively.
“We are extraordinarily enthusiastic about the new and powerful ways in which our colleges and universities have begun to work together under Chancellor Rosenstone’s leadership,” Renier said.
That’s astonishing. Chairman-Elect Renier is acting like Charting the Future has been implemented and that it’s producing incredible results. That isn’t close to the truth. Charting the Future is a document that hasn’t been implemented yet. What, exactly, is Chairman-Elect Renier gushing about?
The Board of Trustees’ performance review of Chancellor Rosenstone came months after they’d negotiated a contract extension. Given the difficulties within MnSCU, they should’ve written Chancellor Rosenstone’s performance review before authorizing Chairman Hightower to negotiate a new contract.
This recommendation isn’t satisfactory:
Gov. Mark Dayton and legislators should follow the dismay and disgust they expressed about the new contract with a new protocol for such contracts.
First, the legislature and the next governor should pay attention to what’s happening at MnSCU. That would be a major improvement from what they’ve done the last 4-8 years. Further, the DFL shouldn’t just throw more money at MnSCU. They’ve done that the last 2 year, then patted themselves on the back for what they did.
Meanwhile, they didn’t hold hearings on whether Chancellor Rosenstone deserved a contract extension. Obviously, the MnSCU Board of Trustees has the final say on that because they’re the part of the executive branch that deals with that. Still, holding hearings would’ve allowed public input on whether Rosenstone deserved another contract.
The Times’ brand of journalism is an indictment against institutional journalism. It’s just a matter of time before the Times is history.
This Strib editorial rightly criticizes the MnSCU Board of Trustees for their negotiating Dr. Rosenstone’s contract extension:
The 15 public appointees who oversee MnSCU, the state’s crucial network of state universities and community and technical colleges, have serious work ahead of them to put the trust back in the board of trustees on which they serve. It’s disappointing how difficult it is to tell if this reality has sunk in after the recent troubling news that the board renewed its well-paid chancellor’s contract eight months ago, and gave him a healthy raise, without bothering to take a vote on the deal or make the details public.
These trustees have their heads buried so deep in the sand that it’s impossible to think that they realize their credibility is on a par with the IRS. The legislature should void Dr. Rosenstone’s contract and demand that it be more in line with his accomplishments, not the Board’s childish gushings in their evaluation of Dr. Rosenstone’s performance. That would require legislative leadership, something Rep. Pelowski isn’t famous for. Mostly, he’s known for criticizing things after-the-fact.
That Rosenstone’s contract had been settled quietly, and with a bump in salary and expenses that made up for the administrative bonuses banned by state lawmakers, understandably raised ire statewide.
Outgoing Board Chairman Hightower negotiated a luxurious deal with Rosenstone, especially considering his history of failures. Let’s remember that he didn’t notice the payroll scandal at Metropolitan State until after the entire HR Department resigned right before they would’ve been fired. Let’s remember that Chancellor Rosenstone didn’t intervene when President Richard Davenport improperly fire Mankato head football coach Todd Hoffner.
Chairman Pelowski hasn’t held a single hearing looking into any of these disgraceful events. Examining the minutes for the House Higher Ed Committee’s meetings shows that Chairman Pelowski didn’t devote a single minute on oversight. Chairman Pelowski didn’t ask Clarence Hightower where negotiations were at between the Board and Chancellor Rosenstone. He didn’t ask the MnSCU Board about contract negotiations between MnSCU and the IFO.
To be fair, 2 of the 4 hearings that Chairman Pelowski held dealt with the U of M’s and MnSCU’s bonding proposals.
Trustees are there to provide oversight on behalf of the public. It’s hard to see how they lived up to their responsibilities by failing to follow up with board chairman Clarence Hightower after delegating to him negotiation duties with Rosenstone. Incredibly, some of the trustees apparently weren’t aware of the terms until this week. That reflects poorly not just on Hightower, but on everyone serving.
I’ve written many times that MnSCU doesn’t do oversight. It’s common knowledge that Chancellor Rosenstone discourages Trustees from visiting the campuses. The trustees haven’t fought him on that nor have they defied him on that. They aren’t watchdogs. They’re more like Rosenstone’s lap puppies:
Hightower also did not help himself or the board by dubbing the lack of transparency “an unfortunate oversight,” a “distraction” and a “lapse in communication.” These characterizations trivialize a lack of judgment and raise concerns about the board’s broader oversight.
While the Strib is critical of Hightower and the MnSCU Board, they aren’t critical of Rep. Pelowski or Sen. Bonoff:
Pelowski and Bonoff have vowed to follow up on the questions raised by the poor handling of the contract. Good. Clearly the board charged with assessing Rosenstone’s performance is in need of a job review itself.
If an unpaid board is charged with representing Minnesota’s taxpayers, then paid legislators on the higher education committees should represent Minnesota’s taxpayers, too. Apparently, they’re too busy spending the taxpayers’ money to be bothered with finding out whether that money is being wisely spent.
I’m totally on board with criticizing the MnSCU Board of Trustees. It’s been repeatedly proven that they haven’t done their job. It’s just that the Strib’s criticism shouldn’t stop at the board. The Strib should’ve also criticized Rep. Pelowski and Sen. Bonoff. They’ve let the taxpayers down, too.
Joe Lisbon’s LTE is typical progressive chanting points stuff. Lisbon apparently put little thought into his LTE because it’s reciting the same stuff for the gazillionth time. Here’s the opening of his LTE:
Republican opposition to Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, has become an embarrassment for the GOP, and conservatives seeking political advantage need to fire up their donor base for fundraising.
Thsi is of the same tone as saying this is a political witch hunt, that there’s been a gazillion investigations into Benghazi, that there’s nothing new to learn. If they kept it pithy, they’d say it’s time to move onto something the American people cared about.
First, the “Republican base” is fired up and then some. It’s been fired up for over a year. Poll after poll shows how the GOP is on the right side of the enthusiasm gap. That’s why professional political predictors like Charlie Cook, Michael Barone and Larry Sabato think Republicans will have another strong election cycle.
Right after the 2012 elections, Nancy Pelosi started talking about retaking the majority in the House. From time to time, you’d hear those mumblings resurface. Then came the IRS scandal, the DOJ spying on reporters scandal and the VA Hospital scandal. That’s in addition to the Benghazi scandal.
If you’re going to write an LTE, you shouldn’t put this BS in it:
The GOP says there is a coverup of internal discussions of whether to call the attack “terror” or “terrorism” because the White House did not want to admit al-Qaida was behind the attack. Except, of course, nobody has shown al-Qaida was behind it, nor have they claimed credit.
There’a huge problem with that statement. Within the first 24 hours of the start of the attack, the Libyan president said that Ansar al-Shariah, an affialiate of al-Qa’ida, had taken credit for the precision terrorist attack.
Forgive me but the Libyan president is definitely a somebody.
Gen. Robert Lovell testified that it was clear it was a terrorist attack:
Lovell said that as intelligence was streaming into command, it became “quickly evident” to AFRICOM that terrorists, namely Ansar al-Sharia, were behind the attack.
“What we did know quite early on was that this was a hostile action,” he said. “This was no demonstration gone terribly awry.”
In other words, the spin coming from Jay Carney and Susan Rice was BS from the earliest moments of the attack.
This Republican kangaroo court’s purpose is just to make misleading or false political headlines about Clinton and Obama. I doubt there is a Fox News Channel viewer who even recalls that Benghazi occurred in the wake of Cairo. There were eight demonstrations on the same day at other U.S. embassies, 40 worldwide in major cities — which, at one point, were thought to be about an Internet video.
As someone who watches Fox News, I know that the military should’ve been put on high alert on 9/10 Egyptian time because the Blind Sheikh’s son announced that he was going to attempt to take the Cairo embassy staff hostage, then barter those hostages to get his father, the planner of the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, released.
Not only do Fox News viewers know about the other demonstrations but they know that there never were any protests outside the Benghazi compound. We know that because of Gen. Lovell’s testimony and Greg Hicks’ dramatic testimony. This statement is disgusting but predictable:
No one inside the Fox bubble cares about the millions spent on the 54 repeal votes on Obamacare, or the millions spent on closing down the government, or that Mitt Romney on the day of the attack was grandstanding about Benghazi for political advantage before he had the facts of what happened.
Mitt Romney’s statement, the one which he’s accused of grandstanding about, was a reaction to the administration’s statement:
“The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims, as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.”
Jay Carney repeatedly took to the podium, saying that intelligence was still coming in. Later, Carney said that the administration’s story changed as that intel came in. Apparently, Mr. Lisbon doesn’t think the administration was grandstanding when it issued a statement about the video within an hour of the start of the Cairo protests.
We know that President Obama thought this wasn’t a big deal because he never went to the White House Situation Room that night. We don’t know whether he received hourly updates as the terrorist attack continued. That isn’t to say he didn’t. It’s just that we don’t have proof of President Obama receiving updates.
Lisbon is a political hack who does what he’s told. This closing paragraph is proof of that:
At this point, anyone who is flogging this as a scandal has BDDS, Benghazi Delusional Derangement Syndrome. The only way to keep these shenanigans from happening is to vote Republicans out of office.
Shame on Mr. Lisbon for reading the Democrats’ chanting points rather than thinking for himself.