Category Archives: Economy

Obama IRS targeted for audit 1 in 10 donors to conservative groups

Under Obama, conservative Americans suddenly found themselves living not in the U.S.A., but in the (former) Soviet Union.

In 2013-14, news came that the all-powerful Internal Revenue Service of the Obama administration was singling out for scrutiny conservative groups that had applied for non-profit status. See:

But what actually happened is even worse. It turns out Obama’s IRS targeted for audit:

  1. Not just conservative groups that had applied for non-profit 501(c)(4) status, but also conservative groups that already were 501(c)(4)s.
  2. Not just conservative groups, but also individual conservative Americans.

(1) Obama IRS targeted all right-wing groups

In February 2014, then-Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee Dave Camp (R-MI) stated that:

“Additionally, we now know that the IRS targeted not only right-leaning applicants, but also right-leaning groups that were already operating as 501(c)(4)s.  At Washington, DC’s direction, dozens of groups operating as 501(c)(4)s were flagged for IRS surveillance, including monitoring of the groups’ activities, websites and any other publicly available information. Of these groups, 83 percent were right-leaning. And of the groups the IRS selected for audit, 100 percent were right-leaning.

The right-leaning groups that were targeted included the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Leadership Institute, a 501(c)(3) that trains young conservative activists. The group’s president, Morton Blackwell, told Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) the audit had cost his organization more than $50,000 and hundreds of man-hours. As part of the investigation, the Leadership Institute was required to produce 23,430 pages of documents and answer far-ranging questions about its interns and other miscellaneous topics.

(2) Obama IRS targeted conservative individuals

On July 22, 2015, the D.C. citizens’ watchdog group Judicial Watch announced that it obtained documents from IRS which confirm the IRS had used donor lists to conservative tax-exempt organizations (such as the aforementioned Leadership Institute) to target those donors for audits. The IRS produced the records in a Freedom of Information lawsuit by Judicial Watch seeking documents about selection of individuals for audits, based upon application information and donor lists submitted by Tea Party and other 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organizations (Judicial Watch v. Internal Revenue Service (No. 1:15-cv-00220)).

One of the damning documents is an exchange of letters between then-Democrat Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and then-IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman:

  • In his letter to Shulman of September 28, 2010, Baucus wrote: “I request that you and your agency survey major 501(c)(4), (c)(5) and (c)(6) organizations.…”
  • Shulman replied in a letter dated February 17, 2011: “In the work plan of the Exempt Organizations Division, we announced that beginning in FY2011, we are increasing our focus on section 501(c)(4), (5) and (6) organizations.”

Note: Sen. Roy Blunt wrote that Douglas Shulman was cleared to visit the White House more than 100 times during his four years as Obama’s IRS commissioner. In contrast, Shulman’s predecessor, Mark Everson, says he was cleared to visit the Bush White House just once during his four years as IRS commissioner.

After receiving Sen. Baucus’s letter, the IRS considered the issue of auditing donors to 501(c)(4) organizations, alleging that a 35% gift tax would be due on donations in excess of $13,000, which required the IRS audit the donors.

But the 35% gift tax was really just a ruse because a gift tax on contributions to 501(c)(4)’s was considered by most to be a dead letter since the IRS had never enforced the rule after the Supreme Court ruled that such taxes violated the First Amendment. In fact, the IRS had not enforced the gift tax since 1982.

The documents show that individual donors to Crossroads GPS, associated with Republican Karl Rove, were specifically referenced by IRS officials in the context of the gift tax audit. IRS attorney Lorraine Gardner emailed a 501(c)(4) donor list to former Branch Chief in the IRS’ Office of the Chief Counsel James Hogan. Later, this information was shared with IRS Estate Gift and Policy Manager Lisa Piehl.

In September 2014, another Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit forced the release of documents detailing that the IRS sought, obtained and maintained the names of donors to Tea Party and other conservative groups. IRS officials acknowledged in these documents that “such information was not needed.” The documents also show that the donor names were being used for a “secret research project.

At a May 7, 2014 hearing, the House Ways and Means Committee announced    that, after scores of conservative groups provided donor information “to the IRS, nearly one in ten donors were subject to audit.” In 2011, as many as five donors to the conservative 501(c)(4) organization Freedom’s Watch were audited, according to the Wall Street Journal. Bradley Blakeman, Freedom’s Watch’s former president, said he was “personally targeted” by the IRS.

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said:

These documents that we had to force out of the IRS prove that the agency used donor lists to audit supporters of organizations engaged in First Amendment-protected lawful political speech. And the snarky comments about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the obsession with Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS show that the IRS was targeting critics of the Obama administration. President Obama may want to continue to lie about his IRS scandal. These documents tell the truth – his IRS hated conservatives and was willing to illegally tax and audit citizens to shut down opposition to Barack Obama’s policies and reelection.

See also:

~Eowyn

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Abortion is not negotiable: Democratic Party Draws A Line In The Sand On Abortion Rights

tom perez

The DNC future: Agree with us or go

A personal/religious belief shall not go against the collective thinking of the demorat platform.

Tom Perez is the best thing to happen to the RNC (and yes, I mean RNC)!

From HuffPo: Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez became the first head of the party to demand ideological purity on abortion rights, promising Friday to support only Democratic candidates who back a woman’s right to choose.

“Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health,” Perez said in a statement. “That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state.”

“At a time when women’s rights are under assault from the White House, the Republican Congress, and in states across the country,” he added, “we must speak up for this principle as loudly as ever and with one voice.” 

Perez’s statement follows the DNC’s controversial embrace of Heath Mello, a Democratic mayoral candidate in Omaha, Nebraska, whose years-long history of voting against abortion rights in the state Legislature drew fire from progressives this week. Daily Kos, a liberal website that raises money for lesser-known Democratic candidates, pulled its endorsement of Mello this week after discovering his history on the issue, and NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue slammed the DNC for adding him to its cross-country unity tour.

“The actions today by the DNC to embrace and support a candidate for office who will strip women — one of the most critical constituencies for the party — of our basic rights and freedom is not only disappointing, it is politically stupid,” Hogue said in a statement.

Perez initially defended the DNC’s acceptance of an anti-abortion Democrat. “Our job at the DNC is to help Democrats who have garnered support from voters in their community cross the finish line and win ― from school board to Senate,” Perez said. “The biggest threat to women’s reproductive rights is the relentless Republican attacks on women’s health care, including legal, accessible abortion services. And I won’t let anyone get in the way of our fight to protect a woman’s right to choose.”

But Perez changed course Friday and delivered a big victory to the reproductive rights movement, saying that he “fundamentally disagree[s] with Heath Mello’s personal beliefs about women’s reproductive health” and that “every candidate who runs as a Democrat should do the same, because every woman should be able to make her own health choices. Period.” 

Perez’s statement will likely alienate some high-profile anti-abortion Democrats in the party, including Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and Sens. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Edwards said at the Democratic National Convention in 2016 that the party might be more successful in the Deep South if it allowed more anti-abortion candidates to rise in the ranks. 

“It’s hard to remain a big-tent party if you have a very small platform,” he said. “We have to make our voices heard.”

Reproductive rights advocates agree with Perez that the party must stand firm on the issue. Hogue celebrated the victory for the movement on Friday.  “Kudos to Chair Tom Perez and the DNC for recognizing that we are a stronger party when we stand for our core values,” she said in a statement to The Huffington Post. “Women across the country who are, and have always been, the heart and soul of the Party, are breathing a sigh of relief to know that the DNC has our backs, and we look forward to a day when we don’t have to fight this fight again.”

h/t Twitchy

DCG

The problem with today’s generation…avoidance of learning a real life skill

They believe the key to acting like a grown up is purchasing roadside assistance coverage instead of actually learning how to change a flat tire. Ugh…

DCG

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray proposes income tax for city’s ‘high-end’ households

ed murray

A sure-fire way to get re-elected: Another tax

The devil is in the “high-end” number, which Murray doesn’t define.

And this proposed tax, combined with his alleged sexual assault allegation, just may not get Murray re-elected. But then again, it’s socialist Seattle.

From Seattle Times: Seattle Mayor Ed Murray will propose a city income tax on “high-end” households, he said Thursday night during a forum for mayoral candidates. On stage with six challengers in a Lake City church, Murray said he would send a proposal in the “next few weeks” for a City Council vote. He didn’t offer many details.

 “We all know that Washington state has a regressive tax system,” Murray told a crowd at the forum hosted by the 46th District Democrats.

“We can all argue about what we’re going to do about it. Those discussions have been going on since I was a kid in this city. But what I’m going to send to council is a proposal for a high-end income tax.”

Thursday’s event was the first such candidates’ forum in the 2017 race for mayor and came two weeks after a 46-year-old Kent man sued Murray for alleged child sexual abuse decades ago.

The mayor has adamantly denied the accusation and similar allegations made by two other men, who also claim Murray abused them as teenagers in the 1980s. Murray has vowed to remain in his job and continue running for a second term.

This week, former Mayor Mike McGinn and urban planner Cary Moon declared bids. They joined Murray at Thursday’s forum, along with educator and activist Nikkita Oliver, who entered the race earlier.

The mayor’s income-tax proposal came as a surprise to many in the crowd and seemingly to McGinn, who in launching his campaign Monday had called for an income tax.

For weeks, a coalition of local organizations led by the Transit Riders Union has been drumming up support for a city income tax under the slogan Trump Proof Seattle.

When asked about the campaign previously, Murray said he had supported the idea at the state level when he was a lawmaker in Olympia, but stopped short of backing Trump Proof Seattle, describing it as ill-fitted to pay for immediate needs.

Washington has long lacked an income tax because of a restrictive state law and voters have said no to statewide proposals before. A 2010 statewide initiative proposing a high-earners tax was defeated.

A Seattle tax likely would be challenged in court and could serve as a legal test case with statewide implications. “It’s going to be challenged,” Murray told the crowd Thursday. “It’s too soon to cheer … But if we win in court and we can get that high-end income tax we can shift our regressive taxes on sales tax and on property tax onto that high-end income tax.”

Asked after the forum to clarify his plan, the mayor said the income tax would be accompanied by reductions in other taxes that hit poorer people harder. During his term as mayor, Murray has backed a number of property- and sales-tax hikes.

The income tax wouldn’t be completely revenue neutral because some of the new revenue would be set aside to backfill potential cuts in federal funding by the Trump administration, Murray said.

“He didn’t steal it. I think he finally saw the wisdom of the idea,” McGinn said after the forum, reacting to Murray’s proposal. “Elections have a way if doing that sometimes.”

Murray said his initial plan is to propose a resolution stating the city’s intent to pass an income tax rather than an actual ordinance putting it into effect. That could potentially leave open the option of asking voters to weigh in later on the ballot.

Oliver declined to immediately comment on Murray’s proposal. Moon answered during a lightning round that she would not support a local income tax. Also taking part in the forum were Jason Roberts, Mary Martin and Alex Tsimerman.

During the lightning round, every candidate expressed support for allowing more duplexes and triplexes in neighborhoods now zoned for single-family houses, including Murray, who put forward and then quickly withdrew such a change in 2015.

DCG

DOJ issues ultimatum to NYC and other ‘sanctuary’ cities

trump and jeff sessions

Works for me.

From NY Post: The US Department of Justice on Friday gave New York City and eight other local governments that provide “sanctuary” to illegal immigrants until June 30 to prove they’re not violating federal law by refusing to cooperate with immigration authorities.

The ultimatums from President Trump’s administration were accompanied by an accusation that many of the targeted jurisdictions are “crumbling under the weight of illegal immigration and violent crime.”

“New York City continues to see gang murder after gang murder, the predictable consequence of the city’s ‘soft on crime’ stance,” the DOJ said in a news release.

A related letter to the director of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Office of Criminal Justice warns that the feds could withhold funding, suspend or terminate grants, declare the city ineligible for future funding or take “other action, as appropriate.”

A City Hall spokesman called the threat “nothing new.”

“This grandstanding shows how out of touch the Trump administration is with reality,” spokesman Seth Stein said.

“Contrary to their alternative facts, New York is the safest big city in the country, with crime at record lows in large part because we have policies in place to encourage cooperation between NYPD and immigrant communities.”

Letters were also sent to officials in Chicago, New Orleans, Philadelphia and Miami; Clark County, Nev.; Milwaukee County, Wis.; Cook County, Ill., and the state of California.

DCG

A third of American millennials live with their parents, US Census report finds

pajama boy

From Fox News: Most U.S. millennials believe that education and economic security are key for becoming an adult. But fewer than half are achieving those goals, according to a study released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau, which determined that more than one third of American millennials still live with their parents.

The report, entitled “The Changing Economics and Demographics of Young Adulthood: 1975-2016,” focuses on the shift in attitude and belief of today’s millennials versus their counterparts four decade ago. This report marks one of the first times the Census Bureau has paired economic and demographic data with social surveys.  The report looks at a “snapshot” of the young adult population, defined by the Census Bureau as those between the ages of 18 and 34 years old.

According to the report, more young people today live in their parents’ home than in any other living arrangement. One in three young adults, or about 24 million, lived in their parents’ homes in 2015, with the highest percentage in the nation occurring in three northeastern states: About 47 percent in New Jersey; about 42 percent in Connecticut; and about 41 percent in New York.

“Living arrangements are tied with economic characteristics, which is why we looked at the numbers by state and region,” Jonathan Vespa, the author of the report, told Fox News. “We know that there is not one national trend. The numbers vary by state.”

Vespa said one of the biggest trends in his findings was the attitude that young adults have about adulthood. “There is a big difference in what today’s young Americans believe,” Vespa said.

Most millennials believe finishing college and being employed full-time are accomplishments that are “extremely important” to be considered an adult, while parenthood and marriage are somewhat put on the back burner, with millennials today ranking those milestones as “not very important.” The data correlated with the rise in student loan debt for young families. In 2013, 41 percent of young families had student debt, compared to 17 percent in 1989.

“But several young adults are missing the bar and have not yet accomplished what they want to by the age they believe they should,” Vespa said. “The ideal age most Americans believe they should be financially independent from their parents is 21, but only 28.9 percent are actually reaching that goal.”

The report looks at the “ideal age” for millennials to four goals: concluding formal schooling; becoming employed full-time, becoming financially independent and moving out of their parents’ homes. While those goals are set for the age of 25 or younger, less than half of millennials are actually reaching that goal for each category.

“In 1975, there was one predominant adult milestone — family formation — that people largely experienced during their 20s. Today, while the milestone has remained the same, the pathways are more diverse,” the report reads. “That young people wait to settle down and start families tells us about their behavior, but not how they feel about their experiences.”

The report concludes that most American millennials believe that education and financial independence should happen before marriage. The report calls marriage a “capstone experience,” meaning that it comes after young people feel financially secure. Vespa said that only 12 percent of millennials think that marriage is an “extremely important” part of being an adult.

While young people are delaying marriage, most still, eventually, tie the knot. In the 1970s, eight in 10 Americans were married by the time they turned 30; now eight in 10 millennials are married by the time they turn 45.

The report determined that there was a “complexity” for millennials. “Taken together, the changing demographic and economic experiences of young adults reveal a period of adult-hood that has crown more complex since 1975,” the report says. “A period of changing roles and new transitions as young people redefine what it means to become young adults.”

DCG

This is Chiraq: 11 people shot (2 fatally) on Monday; 15 people shot (3 fatally) in Tuesday violence

blacks protesting black-on-black crimesUnbelievable. At this rate, they are going to kill off each other until no one is left in that town.

From MyFoxChicago: Three people were killed and at least 12 others were wounded in shootings Tuesday across Chicago.

Most recently, a woman was shot to death about 11:35 p.m. in the Roseland neighborhood on the Far South Side. Officers responded to a call of a person shot and found 22-year-old Brittany Leflore lying on the sidewalk in the 10700 block of South Indiana, according to Chicago Police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office. Leflore, who lived in the neighborhood, had been shot in the abdomen and left ankle and was taken to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where she was pronounced dead at 12:13 a.m. Wednesday.

A 25-year-old man and 22-year-old woman were shot to death at 8:17 a.m. in the South Side Back of the Yards neighborhood. They were sitting in a dark vehicle in the 5100 block of South Halsted when a white vehicle pulled up and two people got out and fired shots. The man and woman were both pronounced dead at the scene at 8:30 a.m., according to police and the medical examiner’s office. Their names have not been released.

Tuesday’s latest nonfatal shooting happened about 11:20 p.m., when a 20-year-old man was shot in the back while standing on the sidewalk in the 300 block of North Laramie in the West Side Austin neighborhood, police said. He was taken to Stroger Hospital, where his condition was stabilized.

About 10 p.m., a 19-year-old man was walking north in the 6100 block of South Hamlin in the West Lawn neighborhood on the Southwest Side when two males walked up to him and “uttered gang phrases,” police said. One of the males pulled out a gun and fired multiple times, striking the 19-year-old in the left leg. He was taken in serious condition to Christ Medical Center.

About 9:30 p.m., a 20-year-old man was walking in the 4500 block of North Clarendon when a white vehicle approached, stopped, and someone exited the vehicle and fired multiple shots, police said. The man suffered gunshot wounds to both arms and his right leg and was taken in critical condition to Illinois Masonic Medical Center.

About that same time, a 19-year-old man was wounded in a drive-by shooting in the Lawndale neighborhood on the Southwest Side. He was standing near a parked vehicle about 9:30 p.m. in the 1200 block of South Komensky when he heard gunshots and felt pain, police said. A witness told investigators the shots were fired by someone inside a passing maroon vehicle. The man was shot in the right arm and was taken in good condition to a Mount Sinai Hospital.

On Monday, 11 people were shot in Chicago, two fatally. More than 925 people have been shot in the city so far this year, according to Chicago Sun-Times data.

Read the rest of the story here.

DCG