Tag: United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

Former IRS official Lois Lerner refuses to testify, unless she gets immunity

Recall that Lerner was very forceful in telling Congress that she did nothing wrong. Recall that she also took her fifth amendment privilege, so as not to testify. Now, Ms. I Did Nothing Wrong wants immunity to testify. If she did nothing wrong, what does she need immunity from? Weasel Zippers has more

Via Politico:

Embattled IRS official Lois Lerner will not testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee unless she’s given immunity from prosecution, her lawyer told POLITICO Tuesday.

“They can obtain her testimony tomorrow by doing it the easy way … immunity,” William W. Taylor III said in a phone interview. “That’s the way to resolve all of this.”

The comments reflect the hard-line approach Lerner, the former head of the IRS division that scrutinized conservative groups, and her legal team are taking in defending her role in the agency’s scandal.

I just cannot wait until goons like her are running my health care!

 

Lois “Fifth Amendment” Lerner directly involved in IRS targeting

I wonder if she is going to be thrown under the Magic Obama Bus or if Obama will reward her good deeds by promoting her too

A series of letters suggests that senior IRS official Lois Lerner was directly involved in the agency’s targeting of conservative groups as recently as April 2012, more than nine months after she first learned of the activity.

Lerner, the director of the IRS exempt organizations office in Washington, D.C., signed cover letters to 15 conservative organizations currently represented by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) between in March and April of 2012. The letters, such as this one sent to the Ohio Liberty Council on March 16, 2012, informed the groups applying for tax-exempt status that the IRS was “unable to make a final determination on your exempt status without additional information,” and included a list of detailed questions of the kind that a Treasury inspector general’s audit found to be inappropriate. Some of the groups to which Lerner sent letters are still awaiting approval.

Lerner has denied involvement in the targeting, which she has blamed on a few “front-line people” in the agency’s Cincinnati field office. “I have not done anything wrong,” she told members of the House oversight committee on Wednesday. However, she then refused to answer any questions, citing protection under the Fifth Amendment. She has since been placed on (paid) administrative leave, and the committee may call her to testify again.

“One thing is clear: this correspondence shows [Lerner’s] direct involvement in the scheme,” wrote Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the ACLJ. “Further, sending a letter from the top person in the IRS Exempt Organization division to a small Tea Party group also underscores the intimidation used in this targeting ploy.”

 

Rep. Issa to Lois Lerner: You WILL testify

YES! Keep the pressure on these Neo-Marxists

Via Politico:

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa said embattled IRS official Lois Lerner waived her Fifth Amendment rights and will be hauled back to appear before his panel again.

The California Republican said Lerner’s Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination was voided when she gave an opening statement this morning denying any wrongdoing and professing pride in her government service.

“When I asked her her questions from the very beginning, I did so so she could assert her rights prior to any statement,” Issa told POLITICO. “She chose not to do so — so she waived.”

Lerner’s decision to speak at all immediately triggered a dust-up among lawmakers who were confused about whether she gave up her Fifth Amendment protections when she made an opening statement.

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), a former federal prosecutor, said Lerner lost her rights the minute she started proclaiming her innocence, and that lawmakers therefore were entitled to question her. But Ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings of Maryland said hearing rules were not like those of a courtroom.

 

Rep. Gowdy rips into Former IRS head

Gowdy is pissed and should be. Shulman is a weasel, and a disgrace.

“Why was the culture such under your watch that an employee felt comfortable targeting conservative groups?” Gowdy continued. “Did you investigate that?”

“From my reading of the report, um, I can’t tell if it was political motivation or if it was tone-deaf, somebody trying to expedite a way –” Shulman started.

“You still don’t know that this was political?”

“Excuse me?”

“You still don’t know that this was political?”

“I defer to the inspector general.”

“Well, I’ll tell you this, Mister Shulman, your predecessor said that he wasn’t sure if it was partisan and that requires the listener to be as stupid as the speaker.”

 

Benghazi update. More whistle blowers looking to tell their stories

Potentially devastating

Jay Carney: Romney at fault for Benghazi story

It takes a special kind of ass hat to lie like that. Carney is a shoe in for an MSNBS gig after his days as Obama ‘s Chief of Propaganda

 

Multiple requests for additional security in Benghazi denied? UPDATED! Military Intervention Rejected?

 

Via Big Government

Asked about claims that requests for additional security in Benghazi were denied, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney refused to comment, citing an ongoing investigation by the FBI. Nearly three weeks after the attack, FBI agents sent to Libya to investigate have yet to set foot in Benghazi.

In another additional detail not contained in his letter, Issa says there were a total of 13 threats and/or attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi prior to the September 11 attack.

[End update]

The security lapses in Benghazi that led to the death of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans trace back to security decisions made in Washington. That’s the message of a letter Rep. Darrell Issa sent to Secretary Clinton Tuesday. The letter indicates that the US mission in Libya made repeated request for increased security prior to the September 11th attack but that these requests were denied. Issa’s House Oversight committee is planning a hearing on Wednesday, October 10, to investigate the failure.

It just looks worse and worse each time new information is discovered. Now the Wall Street Journal reports this disturbing news

According to the Wall Street Journal, as the attack on the U.S. consulate was raging, Obama took a “wait and see” approach.

Ninety minutes after news of the attack reached Washington, Obama, Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, JCS Chair General Martin Dempsey, and a national security adviser convened for an oval office meeting in which they ultimately rejected the course of U.S. military intervention. Instead, they decided to reach out to the Libyan government to ask if they would send reinforcements.

When the U.S. personnel at the consulate left the main building for what was supposed to be a safe house, questions regarding the deployment of forces seemed moot. 

But the battle was still raging, and Ambassador Stevens’ life was close to its end.

Again, we show weakness and it costs us dearly.

 

Just think how much better Congress would be if they just kept walking?

Dear CBC: Please don’t go away mad, just go away

Let’s face it. They don’t give a damn about who killed border agent Brian Terry.
The Hill reported:

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) plan to stage a walkout during Thursday’s vote on whether to place Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress.

The CBC is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. on Thursday to discuss the details of the walkout and is planning to circulate a letter to House Democrats requesting that they join them on the Capitol steps for a press conference during the contempt vote.

The move comes less than 24 hours before the House plans to vote for the first time in history to hold a sitting attorney general in contempt of Congress for not complying with a congressional subpoena. Holder is the first black attorney general in U.S. history.

The walkout is reminiscent of a similar move made by Republicans in 2008 during a Democratic-led vote on whether to hold two senior staffers in President George W. Bush’s administration in contempt of Congress.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) — then the minority leader — led the walkout with Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) following closely behind him. Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is the sponsor of the contempt resolution against Holder.

“The House floor is the scene of a partisan, political stunt,” said Boehner at the time. House Democrats have been expressing similar comments about the Holder contempt measure.

CBC Chairman Cleaver released this statement on the Fast and Furious investigation this week.

“During this critical moment in our nation’s history, the attention of our country’s chief law enforcement officer should be focused on addressing ongoing law enforcement challenges and championing real issues, instead of being distracted by manufactured, partisan political ones. This is an extremely low moment in our body politic. The cause for civility has been met by an unnecessary and unfortunate partisanship.”

These miscreant racists bottom feeders are a disgrace

Operation Fast and Furious, is the fit about to hit the shan

An AK-47 assault rifle (over 1,000 of which we...
Image via Wikipedia

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has the story

The House Oversight Committee has released interviews with four ATF agents indicate that a top official in the Department of Justice may have lied to, or at the least misled, Congress on a controversial operation that put guns in the hands of Mexican drug cartels, one of which was used to kill a Border Patrol agent.  Ronald Weich, an Assistant Attorney General under Eric Holder, assured Congress in writing that the ATF and Department of Justice “made every effort” seize all illegally-purchased weapons.  However, the ATF agents testifed that the ATF and DoJ deliberately allowed hundreds of such weapons to cross the border as part of Operation Fast and Furious:

Dodson, Casa, Alt and Forcelli say they were instructed to watch weapons purchased illegally en route to criminal networks but not seize the weapons as they had been trained. …

Dodson estimates 1,730 weapons escaped to the clutches of Mexican drug cartels throughout the lifespan of “Fast and Furious.” Many were later recovered at the scene of violent crimes.

“This guy comes in, buys 10, 15, 20 AKs or … a 22-year-old girl walks in and dumps $10,000 on … AK-47s in a day, when she is driving a beat up car that doesn’t have enough metal to hold hubcaps on it. They knew what was going on. The ‘may have facilitated’ to me is kind of erroneous. We did facilitate it. How are we not responsible for the ultimate outcome of these [g]uns?” Dodson said.

The agents said they complained vociferously about the operation to superiors. Eventually, a “schism” between team members developed over whether the tactics being used were wise or even legal.

When the agents raised objections to the wisdom and legality of the operation, they were met with a rather pointed response:

David Voth, the team’s supervisor, sent a March 12, 2010 email to the team, saying the tactics of “Fast and Furious” were backed by “HQ.”

“Whether you care or not people of rank and authority at HQ are paying close attention to this case and they also believe we…are doing what they envisioned the Southwest Border Grouops doing. It may sound cheesy but we are ‘The tip of the ATF spear’ when it comes to Southwest Border Firearms Trafficking,” Voth wrote.

If the agents didn’t like it, “Maybe the Maricopa County Jail is hiring detention officers and you can get paid $30,000 (instead of $100,000) to serve lunch to inmates all day,” Voth wrote.

Dodson said he was told “the U.S. Attorney is on board, and it was Mr. [Emory] Hurley, and they say there is nothing illegal going on.”

Agents clearly didn’t agree, and accurately predicted the outcome of allowing the weapons to cross the border:

ATF agents interviewed by congressional investigators described supervisors trying to tamp down agents’ misgivings about the strategy to allow the weapons purchases.

Larry Alt, an ATF agent, told investigators agents opposed the weapons sales as early as December 2009 and wanted to arrest straw purchasers, who are paid to buy guns for others. Mr. Alt said he agreed with a fellow agent who expressed the view that “someone was going to die.”

And, as we know someone, a Border Agent did die. Lots more at the link, and Michelle also is on top of this

Just in from Issa’s office:

Moments ago in his opening statement at today’s hearing, Operation Fast and Furious: Reckless Decisions, Tragic Outcomes, Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) released three e-mails detailing the intimate involvement of ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson and Acting Deputy Director Bill Hoover in Operation Fast and Furious:

* The first e-mail from March 10, 2010, to Operation Fast and Furious Group VII Leader David Voth indicates that the two most senior leaders in ATF, Acting Director Kenneth Melson, and Deputy Director Billy Hoover, were “being briefed weekly on” Operation Fast and Furious. The document shows that both Melson and Hoover were “keenly interested in case updates.”
* A second e-mail from March 12, 2010, shows that Deputy Assistant Director for Field Operations William McMahon was so excited about Fast and Furious that he received a special briefing on the program in Phoenix – scheduled for a mere 45 minutes after his plane landed.
* A third – and perhaps the most disturbing – e-mail from April 12, 2010, indicates that Acting Director Melson was very much in the weeds with Operation Fast and Furious. After a detailed briefing of the program by the ATF Phoenix Field Division, Acting Director Melson had a plethora of follow-up questions that required additional research to answer. As the document indicates, Mr. Melson was interested in the IP Address for hidden cameras located inside cooperating gun shops. With this information, Acting Director Melson was able to sit at his desk in Washington and – himself – watch a live feed of the straw buyers entering the gun stores to purchase dozens of AK-47 variants.

GOP seeking to head off Obama power grab

Darrell Issa
Image via Wikipedia

Obama wishes to, by Executive Order, force government contractors to disclose their political donations before they get any government contract. The House GOP, has other ideas

Republicans are working on multiple fronts to stop President Barack Obama from making companies bidding on federal contracts disclose their donations to third-party political groups.

The chairmen of the House Oversight Committee and the Small Business Committee have introduced legislation that would ban the federal government from collecting or using information about the political expenditures of federal contractors, allowing them to keep their political donations to third party groups secret. Yesterday, the House passed an amendment to the 2012 defense bill which would prevent federal agencies from collecting such data.

Introduced by Reps. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Tom Cole (R-OK) in response to a leaked draft of an executive order the Obama administration was considering which would have mandated federal contractors disclose their donations to third-party groups, the legislation is titled the “Keeping Politics Out of Federal Contracting Act of 2011.”

A companion bill is being introduced in the Senate by Susan Collins (R-ME), Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Rob Portman (R-OH).

Center for Competitive Politics President Sean Parnell called Cole’s amendment to the defense bill a “strong rebuke to the executive branch’s effort to bring politics into the federal contracting process and enable the creation of a Nixon-style Enemies List.”

I think it is safe to say that this power grab by Comrade Obama is not about “transparency” but rather about political strong arming tactics. Unions, by the way, would not be forced to give up inf o on THEIR political contributions under Obama’s vision. And I believe we all know the love between Obama and unions thugs don’t we? Sen. Jim DeMint sure does.

Senator Jim DeMint, R-S.C., sat down for an interview with Coffee and Markets, a podcast hosted by Brad Jackson and Ben Domenech. When asked about the National Labor Relations Board’s attempt to keep Boeing from building a factory in his state, DeMint had some exceptionally harsh words for the NLRB:

DeMint: I mean, they’ll lose the first couple of appeals because they go back to the board that the President has stocked with union thugs basically, and –

Cianfrocca: “Union thugs”, may we quote you? That’s a great word.

DeMint: Once this gets in front of a fair and impartial judge they’ll win, but it’s only after millions of dollars in legal expenses and several years of chilling effect.

Cianfrocca: Yes.

DeMint: What they’re trying to do is to tell any company in America, don’t even think about moving to a right to work state or expanding to a right to work state or you’re going to have to go through millions of dollars of legal expenses and this type of government harassment. It’s pretty amazing in America that we’re dealing with this type of third world tyranny.

BINGO Senator!