Archive for June, 2014
This morning’s ruling in the Harris v. Quinn case is a major setback for public employee unions. First, Harris v. Quinn is the lawsuit brought by Pamela Harris, a home care giver in Illinois. The ramifications will be felt immediately in Minnesota. GOP gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson issued this statement immediately following the ruling:
“Today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling is a tremendous victory for Minnesota childcare providers and all those who value employment freedom. It was beyond the pale for Governor Dayton to use the livelihoods of hundreds of small businesswomen throughout the state as collateral to pay back his union campaign contributors. I congratulate the brave and determined women who fought back, and I look forward to ensuring this November that Mark Dayton never has the opportunity to do this to them again.”
The Supreme Court ruled that public sector unions can’t collect fees from home health care workers who object to being affiliated with a union. The Court’s decision nearly guarantees that Dayton will lose his lawsuit with Minnesota childcare providers.
This statement was issued by Deputy House Republican Leader Jennifer Loon and Rep. Mary Franson after the ruling:
“Today’s ruling is a welcome relief for Minnesota’s small business owners and hardworking families whose livelihoods were put in jeopardy by Governor Dayton and the Democrat-controlled legislature,” said Loon. “With the annual costs of childcare exceeding the average cost of in-state college tuition and fees, combined with the fact that Democrat legislators refused to give moms and dads with kids in daycare bigger tax refunds this year, Minnesota families simply cannot afford the additional strain that unionization would have imposed on their budgets.”
“The ruling from the Supreme Court today sends a clear signal to Governor Dayton and Democrats in the legislature that they must cease their reckless attempts to force independent childcare providers into a government union. Our children deserve better than to be pawns in a scheme to get more union dues out of hardworking parents” said Franson, a former childcare provider. “Minnesota parents and childcare providers can now breathe a sigh of relief knowing it’s likely that their childcare will not be imperiled by the higher costs and reduced choices of forced unionization.”
This is a major setback for AFSCME and the SEIU. Likewise, it’s a stinging defeat for Gov. Dayton and the DFL legislature, who passed the law that allowed for unionization elections. Meanwhile, this is certain to cause joy with in-home child care providers.
This has been a terrible week for the Obama administration. It hasn’t been a stellar week for the Dayton administration, either. They both lost on the Harris v. Quinn ruling. Meanwhile, President Obama got spanked when the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that his recess appointments were unconstitutional. For Gov. Dayton, his other major loss was the news that MNsure won’t be functional before the next open enrollment.
It’s understatement to say that this hasn’t been a good week for liberals. Combine last week’s SCOTUS rulings with the headwinds slamming Democrats electorally and you’ve got reason to believe that this won’t be a happy election campaign season for Democrats.
Technorati: AFSCME, SEIU, SCOTUS, Harris v. Quinn, NLRB v. Noel Cannning, President Obama, Mark Dayton, Special Interests, Democrats, Mary Franson, Jeff Johnson, Small Businesses, MNGOP, Election 2014
Ted Plombon’s editorial in the St. Cloud Times is the best explanation I’ve heard on why the number of uninsured people has dropped in Minnesota. Here’s Mr. Plombon’s explanation, complete with statistics:
Let’s take a look to see where those previously uninsured people are getting their coverage. Some of this information is taken from the State Health Access Data Assistance Center. (View the entire report at www.shadac.org.)
The authors of the report took data from Sept. 30, 2013 and May 1, 2014. Their finding was that there was a drop of 180,500 of uninsured people in Minnesota or 40.6 percent. However, the drop was primarily driven by an increase in the number of Minnesotans who enrolled in the state’s health insurance programs, Medical Assistance (Medicaid) and Minnesota Care. Of the 180,500 newly insured, over 155,000 were enrolled in these two taxpayer programs.
This is possible because Obamacare expands the eligibility for Medicaid. That equates to less than 25,000 insureds who actually purchased private health plans through MNsure. Most of those plans were also subsidized by you and I, the taxpayers.
While this is good news for people enrolling in expanded Medicaid, it’s terrible news for Minnesota taxpayers. Medicaid is funded by both the federal and state government. By expanding Medicaid, Gov. Dayton just destined Minnesota taxpayers to overwhelming tax increases.
Minnesota does have the highest tax at 3.5 percent of premium to help offset some of the cost, but I have a feeling they will be asking the taxpayers to once again dig a little deeper into their pockets.
I wrote here about the bailout that the DFL legislature passed this year and that Gov. Dayton signed. The bailout was $400,000,000 this time. According to the Pioneer Press’s article, there will be a significant increase in the number of people on Medicaid in 2015 than there are right now. That means the $400,000,000 bailout that the DFL legislature passed is just the start of the Medicaid/MNsure bailout. The next bailout will be substantially higher.
In my earlier post, I quoted Sen. Michelle Benson. Here’s what she said:
He noted pushback from legislative Republicans, including the contention of Sen. Michelle Benson of Ham Lake that, to the extent the reduction came from people enrolling in the state’s Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare insurance programs, the state “didn’t need MNsure at all.”
When Republicans were the majority party in 2011-2012, 93% of Minnesotans were insured. Of those that weren’t insured, half were eligible for taxpayer-subsidized health insurance. In other words, Minnesota could’ve had a higher rate of insured people before MNsure/Obamacare than they have now.
The truth is that Gov. Dayton won’t be able to keep his promise of limiting the tax increases to just the top 2%. He’ll have to raise taxes on the middle class to pay for MNsure. That’s the thing voters need to keep in mind when they hear Gov. Dayton or a DFL legislator say that MNsure is a success.
MNsure will guarantee middle class tax increases. If that’s the DFL’s definition of success, I don’t want to see their definition of failure.
Saturday afternoon, SCSU Prof. Malcolm Nazareth hosted a MoveOn.org event at the St. Cloud Public Library. I wish I could’ve attended just to hear the hardline progressives’ latest chanting points about the Koch Brothers. Here’s what he said in his online invitation:
Message from your host, Malcolm N.: Things go better with bleep.
Things go worse with Kochs.
How have the Koch Brothers toxified US politics, economics, education, culture?
To what extent have they systematically corrupted democratic processes and moved our nation in the direction of fascism?
How can We the People undermine their anti-people agenda and “move on”?
Come. Find out. Dare to share. Enkindle hope.
Check out the truth of the epigraph of “The Godfather” novel by Mario Puzo (Putnam, 1969): “Behind every great fortune there is a crime” (Balzac).
That’s a pretty good sampling of what passes for thinking on the hard left. What Prof. Nazareth lacks in intellectual heft, he apparently makes up for with vitriol. Here’s what some of his students said about him in their ratings:
Would not recommend this teacher to anyone who has an opinion. He will belittle you if you disagree with his opinion. Also he’s really into showing websites and movies about conspiracy theories. Thinks white people and the government are the devil. It is an easy A class but honestly I would take it with someone else if you have the option.
Horrible professor! Extremely bias. Easy A if your write what he wants to hear. If you disagree with him, he will belittle you.
Did not open the book by Zinn and still got an A. I studied very hard for the rest of the class though. Everything everyone is saying is true. Thinks white people are the devil. His opinions are fact and if you disagree he’ll argue with you for the remainder of the class. Interesting course, bad professor
If you can sit through his lectures, you are truly gifted. He constantly preaches conspiracy theories with the government. If you decide to speak your mind, prepare to fail your papers.
This isn’t surprising. If I didn’t know a healthy number of liberals on the SCSU campus, I’d be tempted to think that this nutjob is representative of their thinking. (Think first impressions.) Fortunately, I know a number of liberal professors on the SCSU campus. They’d cringe if they heard this crap.
It’s important, in my opinion, to differentiate between hardline progressives and liberals. Old-fashioned liberals loved a good debate. Hardline progressives are fascists who’d rather shut down debate than engage in it.
I’d love hearing Prof. Nazareth’s explanation on why, in his opinion, the Koch Brothers are toxifying American politics and hurting the economy. More than that, though, I’m curious what’s fueling his animosity. I’m not holding my breath waiting for that explanation.
Saturday’s event was part of MoveOn.org’s campaign against Republicans. The tide is turning against this organization. There was a time when MoveOn.org was the unquestioned dominant part of the Democratic Party. The more strident they become, though, the less influential they become.
Towards the end of the 2014 legislative session, the DFL quietly passed a $400,000,000 bailout of MNsure. Technically, the bailout was for MinnCare but MNsure caused MinnCare’s insolvency. Based on the information in this Pi-Press article, that bailout was just the tip of an iceberg. Here’s what I’m talking about:
Most of those enrolled through the exchange are on public subsidies. As of last week, nearly a quarter-million Minnesotans had enrolled. Of those, 88 percent, 218,615 out of a total of 249,369, are receiving a public subsidy.
That leaves 30,754 Minnesotans who purchased a plan on their own via MNsure.
The ratio of subsidized to “commercial” enrollees “needs a long hard look going forward,” said Julie Brunner, executive director of the Minnesota Council of Health Plans. Unless they “ramp up significantly,” she wonders if the low numbers on the commercial side will provide “the financial support that MNsure needs to have a balanced budget.”
That’s stunning information. Based on that information, MNsure isn’t sustainable financially. If MNsure needs a bailout, that means tax increases can’t be far behind. This is more bad news:
The system is preparing to absorb still more public enrollees. MNsure has delayed until August a major transition of public insurance beneficiaries to the system. About 800,000 Minnesotans will be renewing their current coverage.
MNsure CEO Scott Leitz told the editorial board earlier this month that the agency “wanted the system to be stable” to handle the influx.
That’s disturbing because MNsure isn’t stable:
During the assessment, 47 of the 73 sub-functions addressed were found either to be absent or not functioning as expected. Six of the 73 sub-functions could be considered for implementation post-open enrollment. The remaining 41 sub-functions need to be provided for the 2015 Open Enrollment either through changes/enhancements to the systems or through contingent means.
That’s what instability sounds like. Last fall, MNsure’s rollout was a disaster. This year’s open enrollment will be a bigger disaster than last year’s open enrollment. Thanks in part to that, the revenue shortfall will be greater this year than last year.
With MNsure stability being at least a year away, it’s likely that the shortfall for the next biennium will be huge. It’s difficult to see this turning out well for Minnesota taxpayers. In the end, though, these shortfalls will put pressure on the DFL Senate to resist changing MNsure.
It’s time for the DFL to accept the reality that it’s time to start over on health care reform. When a system is this disfunctional, this expensive and this unpopular, it’s time to start from scratch. Minnesota was a leader in health care. We should’ve learned from that. Instead, Gov. Dayton and the DFL legislature created this financial nightmare.
Sen. Michelle Benson might’ve put it best:
A key point, however, noted by the Pioneer Press’ Christopher Snowbeck: The report couldn’t say exactly where the uninsured found coverage, that is, whether insurance was obtained through public programs, private insurers available through MNsure or commercial plans sold outside the health exchange.
He noted pushback from legislative Republicans, including the contention of Sen. Michelle Benson of Ham Lake that, to the extent the reduction came from people enrolling in the state’s Medical Assistance and MinnesotaCare insurance programs, the state “didn’t need MNsure at all.”
That’s spot on. Rather than weighing the options, Gov. Dayton, Sen. Bakk and Rep. Thissen let their ideology drive their votes. As a result, all Minnesotans will be hurt financially.
Let’s be clear about this. There aren’t enough rich people in Minnesota to raise taxes on…again. The DFL will have to raise taxes on the middle class if these MNsure deficits continue as expected.
This past Thursday, President Obama once again characterized the IRS scandal as a “phony scandal”, saying that it’s the type of thing that Washington manufactures rather than dealing with what he thinks they should deal with. He’s right that there’s a phony in Washington, DC. Unfortunately for Americans, it’s the president.
During his visit to Minnesota, he visited Rebekah Erler. According to this article, Ms. Erler had written President Obama:
With 2 1/2 years remaining in his term, President Barack Obama has been blocked by Congress and is running out of steps he can take on his own to achieve his goals. So the White House is trying to maximize Obama’s exposure to “real Americans,” hoping that more intimate and less scripted interactions will remind struggling citizens why they voted for him in the first place.
A poignant letter from one of those Americans prompted Obama to fly to Minnesota to spend time Thursday with Rebekah Erler, an accountant and mother of two whose tale of financial struggle made its way to Obama’s desk, one of the 10 letters from Americans that Obama reads each night.
As he joined Erler, 36, for burgers under dim neon lights advertising beer at Matt’s Bar, her quest to do right by her family despite economic headwinds animated the president’s rallying cry for Washington to pay attention to the plight of the American middle class. It’s a popular theme for Democrats in a midterm election year.
The President’s problem is that Ms. Erler isn’t someone whose letter simply caught President Obama’s attention. As Paul Harvey used to say, here’s the rest of the story:
Erler, whose LinkedIn profile shows she was once a field organizer for Democratic Senator Patty Murray, wrote to Obama earlier this year to express her frustrations about the economy.”
Chalk it up as just another visit with a “real American” who happens to be a Democratic activist and field staffer for Patty Murray. Nothing says visiting with real people like having a choreographed lunch with a Washington insider.
Janet Beihoffer, the MNGOP National Committeewoman to the RNC, wasn’t impressed:
“President Obama is so out of touch with reality that he thinks a former Democrat campaign staffer speaks for every Minnesotan,” said MNGOP National Committeewoman Janet Beihoffer. “By using a former political staffer to further his argument, Pres. Obama turned a policy debate into partisan political theater. In Minnesota, we value an honest debate about the facts, not slick, choreographed stunts like this. If this is how the party of Obama, Franken, Nolan and Peterson operate there is no reason for Minnesotans to send them back to Washington.”
Calling this “partisan political theater” and a “choreographed stunt” is calling it like it is.
President Obama’s staff should be fired for this stupidity. If nothing else, they should’ve found a real Minnesotan who isn’t this tied into Washington, DC. This stunt is all downside and no upside. Now President Obama looks twice as fake as he did before.
The first rule of holes is to stop digging if you’re in one. Apparently, President Obama didn’t learn that. Perhaps, he needs to talk with real people instead of staging choreographed photo-ops.
When George Stephanopoulos interviewed President Obama, President Obama’s arrogance was on full display:
BARACK OBAMA: You notice that he didn’t specifically say what exactly he was objecting to. I’m not going to apologize for trying to do something while they’re doing nothing.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Even if you get sued?
OBAMA: You know…the suit is a stunt. What I’ve told Speaker Boehner directly is: if you’re really concerned about me taking too many executive actions, why don’t you try getting something done through Congress? The majority of the American people want to see immigration reform done. We had a bipartisan bill through the Senate, and you’re going to squawk if I try to fix some parts of it administratively that are within my authority, while you are not doing anything.
First, President Obama got slapped around yesterday in the NLRB vs. Noel Canning decision. That’s because he insisted that the executive branch had the authority to tell the legislative branch when the legislative branch was in session. (Apparently, he didn’t pay attention to the constitutional concept of co-equal branches of government.)
Second, getting things done is a two-way street. There are literally dozens of bills waiting for a Senate vote that’ve been passed by the House of Representatives. President Obama and Sen. Reid are pretending they don’t exist because they don’t want to admit that Republicans have constructive, substantive solutions to America’s problems.
In their minds, they think they’re the only people with solutions. In President Obama’s mind, his ideas are the only legitimate ideas worthy of consideration. In President Obama’s mind, anything that Republicans propose isn’t worthy of consideration.
Thirdly, and most importantly, the federal government is based on checks and balances. That’s what the Constitution mandates. President Obama thinks the presidency is really a kingdom, a place where he has the authority to unilaterally rewrite laws that he’s signed. Yesterday, the Supreme Court slapped him down again. Their ruling in the NLRB v. Noel Canning case marked the thirteenth straight time that the Supreme Court told him he’d overstepped his authority.
If President Obama were to speak honestly in his response to Stephanopoulos, here’s what he would’ve said:
BARACK OBAMA: I’m not going to apologize for acting like an autocrat. It isn’t my fault that the Founding Fathers didn’t choose a monarchy. It’s time it became a monarchy.
President Obama is a despicable person who doesn’t care about laws he’s signed or the Constitution he’s sworn to uphold.
The end of his term can’t come soon enough. Ditto with the repeal of his policies. President Obama’s lawlessness can’t come soon enough.
Technorati: President Obama, George Stephanopoulos, Recess Appointments, NLRB v. Noel Canning, Supreme Court Ruling, Affordable Care Act, Imperial Presidency, Failed Policies, Iraq Crisis, National Security, Islamic Caliphate, Democrats
President Obama is still convinced that he can bamboozle the American people. To a certain extent, he’s right. What’s discouraging, though, is that he still thinks he’s America’s king, not America’s president. President Obama’s press team is doing its best to sell him as a man who cares about the middle class. Meanwhile, Al Franken didn’t want anything to do with President Obama’s visit to Minnesota.
I can’t blame Sen. Franken for not associating with President Obama, especially a day after the Commerce Department admitted that the Obama-Franken economy shrunk by 2.9% in Q1 of 2014. If I were Sen. Franken’s campaign manager, I’d tell him to distance myself from President Obama, especially after the Supreme Court issued its 13th straight 9-0 rebuke of an unconstitutional presidential power grab.
I’d especially want to distance myself from the arrogant man that insisted that the IRS scandal is just Washington being Washington. How dare that arrogant SOB tell us that Lois Lerner’s targeting of TEA Party organizations is just Washington being Washington. How dare that arrogant SOB tell us that Lois Lerner’s targeting of a sitting US senator is Washington being Washington.
President Obama is the most corrupt president in US history. Whereas President Nixon told the FBI that they didn’t need search warrants, President Obama thinks that obeying the Constitution is optional. Further, President Obama thinks he’s king of the United States, rewriting the law he signed over 30 times.
That isn’t a public servant. That’s the profile of a narcissist. If I had a $10 bill for every time President Obama said that he had a pen and he had a phone and that that’s all he needed to govern, I’d be wealthy. That’s what autocrats say, not presidents. At least, presidents prior to President Obama never said they’d ignore the legislative branch.
President Obama’s arrogance is displayed another way. RNC spokesman Michael Short issued this statement criticizing President Obama and Sen. Franken:
“While President Obama is out surveying the economy his policies have failed to rejuvenate, hopefully he will take the opportunity to consider a different approach. Instead of pushing for more policies that make it even harder to create jobs, the President ought to call on Harry Reid and Al Franken to take up the dozens of House-passed jobs bills languishing in the Democrat-controlled Senate. As we saw with yesterday’s news that the economy shrank more than originally thought during the first three months of 2014, it’s clear President Obama’s policies still aren’t working and the country needs a new direction.”
President Obama has made it clear that he thinks his failed policies will provide the solutions families need. He couldn’t be more wrong about that. The sooner his policies are repealed, the sooner the economy will start doing what it’s always done, which is grow at incredible rates.
I’ll borrow a Reagan line to illustrate my perspective. A recession is when your neighbor is unemployed. A depression is when you’re unemployed. The recovery will start when President Obama is unemployed and his policies are dismantled.
It isn’t surprising that Sen. Franken hid during President Obama’s visit. I’d hide from President Obama’s track record of lawlessness, corruption and incompetence, too. That’s the last thing I’d want to be associated with.
Technorati: Al Franken, President Obama, Unemployment, IRS Scandal, Lois Lerner, Autocratic Rule, NLRB vs. Noel Canning, SCOTUS, Corruption, Democrats, Chuck Grassley, Sitting Senator, IRS Audit, Republicans, Election 2014
Former Minneota Gov. Al Quie has endorsed Marty Seifert’s bid to replace Gov. Mark Dayton. Quie was once barred from participating in GOP events, including the 2012 Republican National Convention. First, here’s Quie’s endorsement:
“I have been impressed by Seifert’s ability to connect with Minnesotans all over our state and his unique grasp of the issues that are important for our future,” said Quie. “We need a leader who is dedicated to justice and he will appoint judges and justices who respect the law and the Constitution, have radical integrity, and who will respect the litigants.”
Quie is urging his fellow Republicans to vote for Seifert in the upcoming August 12th primary in order to defeat Dayton.
“Just as I defeated a DFL incumbent to become governor, Marty Seifert has the ability to bring people together and win in November.”
The notion that Seifert “has the ability to bring people together” is only credible if you think he pushed some of his supporters into supporting someone other than him when he tried to prevent Republicans from endorsing a candidate for governor.
Further, a substantial number of Seifert supporters also support judicial elections. Quie is the face of retention elections, which opposes judicial elections.
The reality is that Quie hasn’t been relevant to Republican Party politics for almost a generation. He’s from the RINO wing of the Minnesota GOP. Here’s more on why Quie was disciplined:
MPR reports that delegates to the party’s state central committee meeting voted 59-55 Saturday to bar 18 Republicans from party activities for two years, including the 2012 Republican National Convention.
The list of those who supported Independence Party candidate Tom Horner includes former Govs. Arne Carlson and Al Quie, former U.S. Sen. Dave Durenberger and donor George Pillsbury.
If Marty Seifert wants Quie’s endorsement, that’s his option. If Quie wants to endorse Seifert, that’s fine, too. The question is whether Quie’s support will have a positive impact on Republicans. I’m betting it won’t because most of the people who will vote in August’s primary don’t know who Quie is because he served before they were born. Here’s Seifert’s spin on Quie’s endorsement:
“Governor Quie has been universally praised for being a public servant willing to take risks, offering out-of-the-box ideas for education and judicial reforms,” said Seifert. “I am looking forward to hearing more of his advice on how to make Minnesota an even better place.”
Now that’s professional spin. Saying that Quie is “willing to take risks”, I suspect, is Seifert’s way of saying he’s supported former Independence Party gubernatorial candidate Tom Horner’s tax increases and Horner’s candidacy. Nothing says ‘Let’s pull people together’ like getting endorsed by one of the erstwhile Republicans who cost Tom Emmer the election in 2010.
Compare that with State Sen. Michelle Benson endorsing Jeff Johnson, the endorsed GOP gubernatorial candidate. Sen. Benson is a talented legislator with impeccable conservative credentials and who’s very much relevant in Republican Party politics.
The latest KSTP-SurveyUSA poll showed Seifert trailing Jeff Johnson and Kurt Zellers by 10 points. There’s no reason to think the endorsement battle will help Seifert close that gap in any substantial way.
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.
Chuck Todd, NBC’s Chief White House Correspondent, apparently hasn’t figured it out that the initial IRS scandal isn’t the only IRS scandal. Here’s what he said on the matter:
On Monday, the IRS Commissioner testified before Congress. A week after the IRS told Senate investigators that two years of e-mails disappeared in a computer crash back in 2011. While this certainly doesn’t make the Obama administration nor the IRS look very good, it’s important to remember what this actual story is about because it’s gotten lost.
The question at hand is whether explicitly political organizations should be filing as tax exempt social welfare groups under the tax code and both political parties are pointing blame. Republicans say that just conservative-sounding groups were targeted by the IRS.
The thing is that the IRS targeting of TEA Party organizations is just part of the scandal. Another facet of the scandal is Lois Lerner’s illegal activities, starting with her sending confidential donor information of the National Organization of Marriage to the Human Rights Campaign.
Another facet of the scandal is how her emails were suspiciously ‘lost’. That’s actually a big deal because the only plausible explanation for 2 years of Ms. Lerner’ emails disappearing is that they were intentionally destroyed to hide incriminating facts about how she was using the IRS to terrorize President Obama’s political opponents.
In fact, it was learned Wednesday that Ms. Lerner used her position within the IRS to get a sitting US senator audited.
People that think this scandal is about whether 501(c)(3) organizations “should be filing as tax exempt social welfare” organizations have their head in the sand. This scandal is mostly about whether the Obama administration is using the IRS to terrorize its political enemies. Whether the tax code should be fixed is trivial in comparison.
When the IRS targets the president’s political opponents, it’s frightening because the IRS has the ability to destroy people’s lives. When the IRS attempts to limit organizations’ ability to participate in the political process, that’s trampling on those organizations’ constitutional rights. When a high-ranking official attempts to have a sitting US senator audited, That’s about as corrupt as it gets.
In fact, I’d argue that that’s more corrupt than Watergate. Here’s part of what Article 2 in the Articles of Impeachment brought against President Nixon said:
He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavoured to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposed not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be intitiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.
It clearly states that Nixon tried to obtain “confidential information” from the IRS. Lois Lerner didn’t resist HRC’s request for confidential information from NOM’s filing with the IRS. Ms. Lerner handed them over without hesitation.
If Chuck Todd thinks that Lois Lerner’s allegedly illegal actions aren’t the focus of this scandal, then he isn’t qualified to be a journalist. That doesn’t mean, though, that he isn’t the closest thing MSNBC has to a journalist. In all seriousness, though, I suspect Todd would like to take that statement back.
Finally, I wish Lois Lerner was never a government employee. She’s done tons of damage to average citizens over the past 5 years. If we had a real attorney general, she’d already have been indicted for her treachery.
Technorati: Chuck Todd, MSNBC, IRS, Lois Lerner, Confidential Records,Richard Nixon, Watergate Scandal, Archived Emails, Targeting Conservatives, IRS Audits, Democrats, Chuck Grassley, TEA Party Activists, Republicans