A federal appeals court spanked the IRS Tuesday, saying it has taken laws designed to protect taxpayers from the government and turned them on their head, using them to try to protect the tax agency from the very tea party groups it targeted.
The judges ordered the IRS to quickly turn over the full list of groups it targeted so that a class-action lawsuit, filed by the NorCal Tea Party Patriots, can proceed. The judges also accused the Justice Department lawyers, who are representing the IRS in the case, of acting in bad faith – compounding the initial targeting – by fighting the disclosure.
“The lawyers in the Department of Justice have a long and storied tradition of defending the nation’s interests and enforcing its laws – all of them, not just selective ones – in a manner worthy of the Department’s name. The conduct of the IRS’s attorneys in the district court falls outside that tradition,” Judge Raymond Kethledge wrote in a unanimous opinion for a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. “We expect that the IRS will do better going forward.”
Justice Department officials declined to comment on the judicial drubbing, and the IRS didn’t respond to a request for comment on the unusually strong language Judge Kethledge used.
The case stems from the IRS‘ decision in 2010 to begin subjecting tea party and conservative groups to intrusive scrutiny when they applied for nonprofit status.
An inspector general found several hundred groups were asked inappropriate questions about their members’ activities, their fundraising and their political leanings.
The IRS has since apologized for its behavior, but insisted the targeting was a mistake born of overzealous employees confused by the law rather than a politically motivated attempt to stifle conservatives.
Tea party groups have been trying for years to get a full list of nonprofit groups that were targeted by the IRS, but the IRS had refused, saying that even the names of those who applied or were approved are considered secret taxpayer information. The IRS said section 6103 of the tax code prevented it from releasing that information.
Judge Kethledge, however, said that turned the law on its head.
“Section 6103 was enacted to protect taxpayers from the IRS, not the IRS from taxpayers,” he wrote.
Edward Greim, a lawyer at Graves Garrett who is representing NorCal Patriots, said they should be able to get a better idea of the IRS‘ decision-making once they see the list of groups that was targeted.
“What we’ll be able to see is how, starting in the spring of 2010, with the first one or two groups the IRS targeted, we’ll be able to see that number grow, and we’ll even be able to see at the tail end their possible covering up that conduct,” he said.
He said they suspect the IRS, aware that the inspector general was looking into the tax agency’s behavior, began adding in other groups to try to muddle the perception that only conservatives were being targeted.
Tuesday’s ruling is the second victory this year for NorCal Patriots.
In January U.S. District Judge Susan J. Dlott certified their case as a class-action lawsuit, signaling that she agreed with NorCal Patriots that the IRS did systematically target hundreds of groups for special scrutiny.
Certifying the class allows any of the more than 200 groups that were subjected to the criteria to join the lawsuit. But until the IRS complies with the appeals court’s ruling this week, the list of those groups is secret.
Now that the class has been certified, the case moves to the discovery stage, where the tea party groups’ lawyers will ask for all of the agency’s documents related to the targeting and will depose IRS employees about their actions.
The lawyers hope they’ll be able to learn details Congress was unable to shake free in its own investigations.
The Justice Department has concluded its own criminal investigation into the IRS and said the targeting was the result of bad management. But investigators said they found no criminal behavior, and specifically cleared former IRS head Lois G. Lerner, saying her fellow employees said she tried to correct the problems when she learned of them.
Republicans dismissed that investigation as a whitewash by the Obama administration.
CABINET/OTHER KEY OFFICES
Chief Of Staff: Jeffrey Lord – Former Associate Political Director For The Reagan Administration
Secretary Of State: John Bolton – Former U.S. Ambassador To The United Nations
Attorney General: Trey Gowdy – U.S. Congressman
Secretary Of Defense: James Mattis – Retired 4-Star Marine Corps General
Secretary Of Homeland Security: Frank Gaffney – Founder And President Of The Center For Security Policy
Secretary Of Treasury: Thomas Sowell – Senior Fellow At The Hoover Institution
Secretary Of Education: Newt Gingrich – Former Speaker Of The U.S. House Of Representatives
Secretary Of Health And Human Services: Ben Carson – Former Director Of Pediatric Neurosurgery At Johns Hopkins Medical Center
Director Of National Intelligence: Keith Alexander – Retired 4-Star Army General
Secretary Of Veterans Affairs: Allen West – Former U.S. Congressman
Secretary Of Transportation: Ted Houghton – Former Chairman Of The Texas Transportation Commission
Secretary Of Energy: Tom Tanton – Executive Director Of The American Tradition Institute
Secretary Of The Interior: Sarah Palin – Former Governor Of Alaska
Director Of Immigration And Customs Enforcement: Joe Arpaio – Sheriff Of Maricopa County, Arizona
Chairman Of The Federal Reserve: Mark Thornton – Senior Fellow At The Ludwig Von Mises Institute
Director Of The Office Of Management And Budget: Romina Boccia – Grover M. Hermann Fellow In Federal Budgetary Affairs For The Heritage Foundation
U.S. Trade Representative: Carl Icahn – Business Magnate
Press Secretary: Lou Dobbs – Television News Commentator
OFFICES THAT SHOULD BE ABOLISHED
Department Of Agriculture
Department Of Commerce
Department Of Labor
Department Of Housing And Urban Development
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
NEW OFFICES THAT SHOULD BE CREATED
Secretary Of Free Market Capitalism: Arthur Brooks – President Of The American Enterprise Institute
Director Of Government Downsizing: Thomas Schatz – President Of Citizens Against Government Waste
POTENTIAL SUPREME COURT JUSTICE NOMINEES
William Pryor – Judge On The U.S. Court Of Appeals For The Eleventh Circuit
Diane Sykes – Judge On The U.S. Court Of Appeals For The Seventh Circuit
Roy Moore – Chief Justice Of The Alabama Supreme Court
A. Raymond Randolph – Judge On The U.S. Court Of Appeals For The Washington, DC Circuit
The Constitution Of The United States – Article V
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress; provided that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses in the ninth section of the first article; and that no state, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.
Click HERE to purchase Mark. Levin’s book The Liberty Amendments: Restoring The American Republic.
The Iowa Caucus, which will be held on February 1, is the first caucus in the country. As a result, it is a key focal point for nearly everyone running for president. It is a critical state to win as it helps set the stage for all the caucuses that follow.
For a Republican to win the caucus in Iowa, there is one man’s endorsement that is critical to secure. He is a top evangelical leader in the state and his endorsement matters. On Thursday morning, Bob Vander Plaats, President and CEO of Family Leader, announced his endorsement for the 2016 presidential race and the weight of his name behind this candidate is expected to be a game changer.
Vander Plaats announced that he is endorsing Texas Senator and constitutional conservative Ted Cruz for the presidency. The blessing of the Cruz campaign by Vander Plaats carries a lot of weight with the coveted and important evangelical Christian voting bloc in Iowa.
Speaking with the Des Moines Register, Vander Plaats shared why he chose to endorse Ted Cruz instead of one of the other 14 candidates in the GOP presidential race. He said, “At the end of the day, we truly believe that Ted Cruz is the most consistent and principled conservative who has the ability to not only win Iowa but I believe to win the (Republican) nomination.”
The majority of the GOP presidential candidates were trying desperately to secure Vander Plaats’ endorsement. Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and Lindsey Graham were all hopefuls for this endorsement. Each auditioned with Vander Plaats in an attempt to get his support. The only two candidates who did not work to get his endorsement were Jeb Bush and Chris Christie.
Vander Plaats not only shared why he chose to endorse Cruz, but also explained why he chose Cruz over a few of the other candidates.
In regards to Donald Trump, Vander Plaats said, “Mr. Trump, he was probably taken off our radar when he made the decision not to attend the forum.” He said the two will move on as friends, however.
Though he described Marco Rubio as a conservative, his history regarding amnesty and illegal immigration played a major role in Rubio not getting Vander Plaats’ endorsement.
“However, I do believe the one issue he decided he was going to lead in Washington, D.C., with (Democratic New York U.S. Sen. Chuck) Schumer and (Republican Arizona U.S. Sen.) John McCain and the ‘gang of eight’ gave and gives everybody a little bit of cause for pause. And with immigration being such a big issue today, I think that’s going to be a hurdle that’s going to be a very steep for Marco Rubio to clear.”
Though some have attempted to portray Ted Cruz as a DC insider since he is a sitting senator, Vander Plaats begged to differ with such a description of Cruz. He contended, “But I think what’s appealing about Ted Cruz is he still gives that ‘outside’ appearance. He has not been embraced by the Washington establishment community, on either side of the aisle. So he’s still viewed as that outside candidate who really knows how this thing works and what needs to be changed.”
A former U.S. congressman urged Attorney General Loretta Lynch to arrest him after she warned on Thursday that her office would take a more aggressive approach to those spewing anti-Muslim rhetoric.
“I think Islam has a real freaking problem, alright?” Former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh said in a video posted to his Facebook page. “There is a cancer in Islam, and if they’re not going to learn to assimilate, I don’t want them in this country.”
“You got a problem, Loretta Lynch, with me saying that? Then throw me in jail,” Walsh, a conservative talk show host, argued. “I think Islam is evil. I think Islam has a huge problem. I think most Muslims around the world are not compatible with American values. I don’t want them here.”
Walsh continued to slam Lynch in his video for the comments she made at Muslim Advocate’s 10th anniversary dinner one day after law enforcement officials say two people opened fire at a holiday party in San Bernardino, California, leaving 14 people dead and more than one dozen injured. According to reports, the wife pledged allegiance to the Islamic State on her Facebook page just moments before the attack.
“When we talk about the First Amendment we [must] make it clear that actions predicated on violent talk are not American. They are not who we are, they are not what we do, and they will be prosecuted,” Lynch said at the banquet. “My message not just to the Muslim community but to all Americans is: we cannot give in to the fear that these backlashes are really based on.”
Walsh, who now hosts his own radio program, served in Congress from 2011 to 2013.
In text that included some stronger language accompanying his video, which has been viewed more than 110,000 times as of Saturday morning, Walsh continued to argue that “most Muslims around the world are terrorists, support terrorism and/or support Sharia Law.”
“Any Muslim that is a terrorist or supports terrorism should be killed,” Walsh wrote. “If ‘Moderate’ Muslims don’t speak out against terrorism, they are our enemy and we should call them out and kick them out of this country.”
“Is that ‘anti-Muslim rhetoric’ that ‘edges toward violence,’” he continued. “Go ahead and prosecute me. I dare you.”
Anyone at all familiar with Thomas Jefferson is well aware of our third president’s vital influence on the crafting of the American Constitution. While Jefferson is primarily known as the chief author of the Declaration of Independence and James Madison is primarily known as the early architect of what would become our Constitution and the prime mover behind the Bill of Rights, the two men were close friends, lived not very far apart in Virginia, and kept regular correspondence.
Jefferson and Madison were of like political minds, and during the Constitutional Convention, while Jefferson was across an ocean as U.S. Minister to France, the two men enjoyed an intense and productive correspondence about what the U.S. Constitution should look like.
My media hero of the week (more on this below), USA Today editor David Mastio, accurately sums up the rest of the story:
After the Constitution Convention was over, Jefferson had this other idea called a “Bill of Rights,” which you might have heard is a part of the Constitution. Jefferson sorta played a key role in all that First Amendment, Second Amendment stuff. If you don’t believe me, go ask the American Civil Liberties Union, which is big on rights like free speech and freedom of religion.
Saith the ACLU: “The American Bill of Rights, inspired by Jefferson and drafted by James Madison, was adopted, and in 1791 the Constitution’s first 10 amendments became the law of the land.”
The ACLU even quotes Jefferson’s argument: “A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, and what no just government should refuse.”
To get the basics of Jefferson’s role in the creation of the Bill of Rights, which are, as I mentioned, a pretty important part of the Constitution, all you have to do is read the Spark Notes version. Or you can get it in easy Q&A format from the U.S. Archives.
Not to take anything away from Mr. Mastio, who did a righteous thing defending Ben Carson, but none of this is a secret, or hidden history. It’s not even deep-dive history. Anyone who has picked up a biography of Jefferson or Madison is well aware of this.
Apparently, the following news outlets – CNN, Politico, and the Washington Post – have not picked up that biography, or they are intentionally smearing Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson… again.
During a Monday appearance on C-Span, Carson said, quite correctly, that he admired Jefferson primarily for his role in helping to craft the Constitution:
But I’m particularly impressed with Thomas Jefferson, who seemed to have very deep insight into the way that people would react and tried to craft our Constitution in a way that it would control people’s national tendencies and control the natural growth of the government.
The reaction from the DC Media on Twitter was not just instantaneously ignorant, it was fantastically ignorant. Within moments my Twitter stream was buried in smug reporters laughing and dehumanizing the black apostate conservative who doesn’t – har, har – know the difference between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
Except, as Mr. Mastio points out, they are all wrong.
One-hundred percent wrong.
Rather than crack open a book or use that Google-thingy right in front of them, Politico, The Washington Post, and CNN actually went so far as to publish stories claiming Carson got it wrong.
Worse still, but to no one’s surprise, all three outlets have refused to properly correct their provable errors.
Politico’s Nolan McCaskill:
Carson says, wrongly, that Thomas Jefferson crafted the Constitution…
The problem: Jefferson crafted the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution. In fact, Carson noted Jefferson’s absence in his book, “A More Perfect Union,” writing that he was “missing in action” during the birth of the Constitution as he served abroad as ambassador to France.
I’ve reached out to McCaskill to ask if he is going to correct his post. As of now, he has not responded. This is the same Politico that admitted to lying (only after being caught) about Carson’s West Point story.
CNN’s Gregory Krieg:
Carson flubs Thomas Jefferson’s role in the Constitution…
But as the Washington Post noted Monday morning, Jefferson was a no-show at the Constitutional Convention and was instead an ocean away in Paris as Minister to France, while his North American-based colleagues were crafting the foundational document.
I’ve reached out to Krieg to ask if he intends to correct his story. As of now, he has not yet responded. This is the same CNN that published racially-motivated serial lies about key elements in Carson’s biography.
Via Twitter, Mastio tells me CNN did update the piece. Nevertheless, the incorrect headline remains.
Washington Post’s Fred Barbash:
Ben Carson, author of book about the Constitution, incorrectly states that Thomas Jefferson crafted it…
That did not stop Carson from praising Jefferson in a C-Span interview Sunday as one of the most impressive of the Founding Fathers because he “tried to craft our Constitution in a way that it would control peoples’ natural tendencies and control the natural growth of the government.”
I’ve reached out to Barbask to ask if he intends to correct his story. As of now, he has not responded. This is the same Washington Post that lied about Carson comparing Syrian refugees to rabid dogs.
When the entire media has risen up and proclaimed that This Is The Narrative, it cannot be easy for one of their own to say, “Actually, uhm, you’re 100% wrong.” The USA Today’s David Mastio deserves enormous credit for publishing the truth and doing so using the mockery deserved.