Indiana’s bloated voter registration rolls, which officials say make elections more susceptible to fraud, will soon come under more scrutiny by the state. The Indiana Secretary of State’s office will spend more than $2 million to purge the voter registration rolls in each of Indiana’s 92 counties, removing the names of voters who are dead, in prison, or have moved away.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Not only did IRS employees improperly target groups based on politics, but they also improperly demanded a host of details about the groups’ activities, according to a report on the abuses by a Treasury Department inspector general. Some groups, including several interviewed by The Washington Post, were asked to provide names of donors or membership lists, which experts say the IRS cannot legally do. The agency also demanded names of board members, copies of meeting minutes and résumés, details of community organizing efforts and numerous other details, according to questionnaires obtained by The Post.
Disrespectful revelation: Lois Lerner’s admission that some IRS agents in one office (Cincinnati, which is charged with nonprofit reviews) had subjected Tea Party and other right wing groups to over-the-top grilling over their applications to become 501(c)(4)s took place on Friday. Everyone in Washington knows what a Friday news leak is: a story meant to fade away over the weekend. If the question at Lerner’s presentation at the American Bar Association that spurred her acknowledgement and apology for the behavior of the IRS wasn’t teed up, the timing and content of the answer certainly was. With an Inspector General’s report to be released soon after, Lerner and her colleagues knew the story was about to break. Her ability to answer with a statement that seemed all but rehearsed was an attempt to make the story happen on a Friday and have it die in the Saturday papers. Except in the new world of social media, it doesn’t work that way. By the time Lerner left the ABA conference dais, the audience was looking at the Associated Press story reporting on Lerner’s ABA admission that had already run. One lawyer grabbed Lerner as she made her way out of the room and showed her the story on his cell phone. The attempt to have the story wither over the weekend failed—embarrassingly so—as a statement of disrespect to the public that deserved not to be manipulated and played by the White House press controllers.
Voters are now evenly divided when asked if elections in the United States are fair today, and a solid majority continues to believe that the U.S. government does not have the consent of the governed. But the Political Class strongly disagrees. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 40% of Likely U.S. Voters now consider elections fair to voters, a 17-point drop in confidence from shortly before Election Day last year. Just as many (41%) say American elections are not fair. Nineteen percent (19%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
While appearing Tuesday on KABC’S morning show, “McIntyre in the Morning,” veteran ABC News analyst Trey Hardin dropped a bombshell when he said he is convinced that the IRS scandal emanates from the West Wing of the White House. Hardin states his case with “with a very strong sense of certainty,” but does not offer any new information to support the claim: “I will tell you this on the IRS front. I’ve worked in this town for over 20 years in the White House and on Capitol Hill and I can say with a very strong sense of certainty that there are people very close to this president that not only knew what the IRS were doing but authorized it. It simply just does not happen at an agency level like that without political advisers likely in the West Wing certainly connected to the president’s ongoing campaign organization that didn’t know about it.” Careful not to implicate President Obama directly, “at least, not yet,” Harden does suggest that “staff or advisers will insulate their boss, the elected official or political candidate, so that person has deniability.”
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
An emerging liberal narrative is that this tempest is all the Supreme Court’s fault: The Citizens United decision — that corporations, particularly nonprofit advocacy groups, have First Amendment rights — so burdened the IRS with making determinations about who deserves tax-exempt status that some political innocents in Cincinnati inexplicably decided to begin by rummaging through the affairs of conservatives. Ere long, presumably, they would have gotten around to groups with “progressive” in their titles. Remember, all campaign “reform” proposals regulate political speech. And all involve the IRS in allocating speech rights. Liberals, whose unvarying agenda is enlargement of government, suggest, with no sense of cognitive dissonance, that this IRS scandal is nothing more sinister than typical government incompetence. Five days before the IRS story broke, Obama, sermonizing 109 miles northeast of Cincinnati, warned Ohio State graduates about “creeping cynicism” and “voices” that “warn that tyranny is . . . around the corner.” Well.
The Securities and Exchange Commission under new chief Mary Jo White is approaching a crucial decision on whether to require publicly traded corporations to disclose their campaign spending to shareholders. If pursued, new disclosure rules could have major ramifications for both political spending on elections and the increasingly influential regulator.
- SEC Nears Decision on Requiring Businesses to Reveal Political Donations
- SEC nears decision on requiring businesses to disclose donations
- SEC To Require Businesses To Disclose Donations
- Business groups fight to head off disclosure rules
- Viewpoints: Will the SEC save us from Citizens United?
- SEC Asked to Force Disclosure of Donations
- SEC May Require Corporations to Disclose Political Donations