By Patrick Howley
The brother of a top Obama administration official is also the president of CBS News, and the network may be days away from dropping one of its top investigative reporters for covering the administration’s scandals too aggressively. CBS News executives have reportedly expressed frustration with their own reporter, Sharyl Attkisson, who has steadily covered the Obama administration’s handling of the Benghazi terrorist attack in Libya since late last year.
“Network sources” told Politico Wednesday that CBS executives feel Attkisson’s Benghazi coverage is bordering on advocacy, and Attkisson “can’t get some of her stories on the air.”
“I first learned about it from the same news reports that I think most people learned about this,” Obama said. “I think it was on Friday.”
By Reid J. Epstein
The White House on Monday once again added to the list of people who knew about the IRS investigation into its targeting of conservative groups — saying White House chief of staff Denis McDonough had been informed about a month ago. Press secretary Jay Carney said again that no one had told President Barack Obama ahead of the first news reports: not his top aide McDonough, nor his chief counsel Kathy Ruemmler, nor anyone from the Treasury Department. Monday’s revelation amounts to the fifth iteration of the Obama administration’s account of events, after initially saying that the White House had first learned of the controversy from the press.
Related Article @ The White House’s shifting IRS account
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The outgoing head of the Internal Revenue Service took responsibility on Tuesday for his agency’s decision to expose its political targeting scandal by planting a question in the audience at a tax conference.
Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller told a congressional hearing that IRS official Lois Lerner’s orchestrated apology during an American Bar Association conference question-and-answer session was meant to “get the apology out” before a Treasury Department audit on the matter was published.
“I will take responsibility for that,” Miller said. “The entire thing was an incredibly bad idea.”
via IRS’ Miller says planting question on tax targeting was bad idea – Yahoo! News.
By Harold Maass
Lois Lerner’s silence before the House Oversight committee is bad optics for the Obama administration.
Lois Lerner, a high-ranking IRS official, invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to answer questions in an appearance Wednesday before a House committee investigating the tax agency’s improper targeting of conservatives. IRS leaders and an inspector general have said there is no evidence anyone broke any laws in the case, in which IRS employees singled out conservative groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status between 2010 and 2012. Conservatives disagree. Is Lerner’s apparent concern that she might incriminate herself an admission of guilt, and proof that laws were in fact broken?
Some say her move doesn’t exactly help her case. Lerner, head of the IRS’ tax-exempt organizations division, which did the profiling, was the one who, at a legal conference two weeks ago, disclosed the IRS scandal. She discovered in June 2011 that some staff had used terms such as “Tea Party” and “Patriots” to weed out groups that wouldn’t qualify for tax exemptions due to their political activities. “She ordered changes,” note Richard Simon and Joseph Tanfani at The Los Angeles Times. “But neither Lerner nor anyone else at the IRS told Congress, even after repeated queries from several committees, including the House Oversight panel, about whether some groups had been singled out unfairly.”
To critics of the Obama administration, Lerner’s silence speaks volumes. Steven Miller, who was forced to resign as acting IRS commissioner after the scandal broke, testified that the IRS had done nothing illegal. That didn’t sit well with members of Congress, so when Lerner’s lawyer, in a letter to the House Oversight committee, said there was no point in making her appear since she’s taking the Fifth, committee Chairman Darrell Issa issued a subpoena anyway. Lerner’s testimony — or lack thereof — offers “the nation vivid evidence that something is up, possibly criminal, with the IRS targeting of Tea Party organizations,” says Thomas Lifson at American Thinker:
Read the Rest @ An embattled IRS official takes the 5th: Damning proof of a crime? – Yahoo! News.
By John Kass
… It is opening American eyes to the fundamental relationship between free people and those who govern them. This one is about the Republic and whether we can keep it. And it started me thinking of years ago, of my father and my uncle in Chicago and how government muscle really works.
… The worker doesn’t have to be told. The worker wants a promotion. If an irritant rises, it is erased. The hack gets a promotion. This is government.
So everybody kept their mouths shut, and Chicago was hailed by national political reporters as the city that works. I didn’t understand it all back then, but I understand it now. Once there were old bosses. Now there are new bosses. And shopkeepers still keep their mouths shut. Tavern owners still keep their mouths shut.
Even billionaires keep their mouths shut.
One hard-working billionaire whose children own the Chicago Cubs dared to open his mouth. Joe Ricketts considered funding a political group critical of Obama before last year’s campaign. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s former chief of staff, made it clear that if the Cubs wanted City Hall’s approval to refurbish decrepit Wrigley Field, Ricketts better back off.
It happened. He backed off. It was sickening. But it was and is Chicago.
And now — with the IRS used as political muscle and the Obama administration keeping that secret until after the president was elected — America understands it too.
Read the Rest @ IRS scandal a reminder of how I learned about the Chicago Way – Chicago Tribune.
By Aaron Blake
Lois Lerner, the IRS official who first disclosed the agency’s improper targeting of conservative groups two weeks ago, will invoke her right not to testify Wednesday for fear of self-incrimination, her lawyer has told the House Oversight Committee.
“The committee has been contacted by Ms. Lerner’s lawyer who stated that his client intended to invoke her 5th amendment right and refuse to answer questions,” said oversight spokesman Ali Ahmad.
While Lerner’s lawyer requested that she not be forced to appear, Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) has issued a subpeona that compels her to appear. His spokesman said that remains the case.
“Ms. Lerner remains under subpoena from Chairman Issa to appear at tomorrow’s hearing — the Committee has a Constitutional obligation to conduct oversight,” Ahmad said. “Chairman Issa remains hopeful that she will ultimately decide to testify tomorrow about her knowledge of outrageous IRS targeting of Americans for their political beliefs.”
Lerner hasn’t yet testified in the case, even as former IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman and former acting IRS commission Steven Miller have.
She was scheduled to testify Wednesday but will instead plead the 5th Amendment, according to someone with knowledge of her plans.
via IRS official Lois Lerner to plead the Fifth.
Sen. Rand Paul attends the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Subcommittee hearing that called for executives of Apple to testify on the companies tax practices. In the hearing, Sen. Paul defended the job-creating efforts Apple has made and lambasted his fellow Members for perpetuating a U.S. tax code that hinders corporate growth and productivity
By Keith Wagstaff
On Sunday, a senior White House official told The Wall Street Journal that Kathryn Ruemmler, head of the Office of the White House Counsel, knew as early as April 22 that an inspector general audit of the IRS would likely show that the agency was targeting conservative groups applying for 501(c)(4) status, by singling out applicants with words like “Tea Party” and “patriot” in their names.
That timeline prompts an important question: If Obama’s top lawyer knew about the IRS situation weeks before it went public, shouldn’t she have told the president
… “Either Ruemmler was incredibly incompetent or the White House is lying about when Obama knew of the scandal,” writes Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. “We got a big hint in last week’s press conference that it’s the latter, when Obama changed the context of a question about his awareness of the scandal to his awareness of the IG report, which is pointedly not the same thing.”
Read the Rest @ How close was Obama to the IRS scandal?
By Charles Babington
WASHINGTON (AP) — White House chief of staff Denis McDonough and other senior advisers knew in late April that an impending report was likely to say the IRS had inappropriately targeted conservative groups, President Barack Obama’s spokesman disclosed Monday, expanding the circle of top officials who knew of the audit beyond those named earlier.
But McDonough and the other advisers did not tell Obama, leaving him to learn about the politically perilous results of the internal investigation from news reports more than two weeks later, officials said.
The Treasury Department also told the White House twice in the weeks leading up to the IRS disclosure that the tax agency planned to make the targeting public, a Treasury official said.
The apparent decision to keep the president in the dark about the matter underscores the White House’s cautious legal approach to controversies and reflects a desire by top advisers to distance Obama from troubles threatening his administration.
Obama spokesman Jay Carney defended keeping the president out of the loop on the Internal Revenue Service audit, saying Obama was comfortable with the fact that “some matters are not appropriate to convey to him, and this is one of them.”
Read the Rest @ More Obama aides knew of IRS audit; Obama not told
Here is the guy that was sent out this weekend, by the White House to all the news shows to try and defend the Administration…
WASHINGTON AP — The president and chief executive officer of The Associated Press on Sunday called the government’s secret seizure of two months of reporters’ phone records “unconstitutional” and said the news cooperative had not ruled out legal action against the Justice Department.Gary Pruitt, in his first television interviews since it was revealed the Justice Department subpoenaed phone records of AP reporters and editors, said the move already has had a chilling effect on journalism. Pruitt said the seizure has made sources less willing to talk to AP journalists and, in the long term, could limit Americans’ information from all news outlets. Pruitt told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the government has no business monitoring the AP’s newsgathering activities.”And if they restrict that apparatus … the people of the United States will only know what the government wants them to know and that’s not what the framers of the Constitution had in mind when they wrote the First Amendment,” he said. In a separate interview with the AP, Pruitt said the news cooperative had not decided its next move but had not ruled out legal action against the government. He said the Justice Department’s investigation is out of control and President Barack Obama should rein it in.”It’s too early to know if we’ll take legal action but I can tell you we are positively displeased and we do feel that our constitutional rights have been violated,” Pruitt said.”They’ve been secretive, they’ve been overbroad and abusive — so much so that taken together, they are unconstitutional because they violate our First Amendment rights,” he added.
via AP CEO calls records seizure unconstitutional – Yahoo! News.
Mike Kelly (R-PA) delivered a brutal takedown of the IRS. Kelly deemed the IRS officials’ explanation for the politically-motivated targeting insufficient and said that their overreach was one reason why Americans’ faith in their government was so low. The congressman’s speech which was met with applause from the audience.
“If you think it’s uncomfortable sitting over there, you ought to be a private individual when the IRS is across from you questioning,” Kelly said to Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller…”You talked about that you’re a horribly run organization. If you’re on the other side of the fence, you’re not given that excuse,” Kelly said. “When the IRS comes in, you’re not allowed to be shoddy. You’re not allowed to make mistakes. You’re not allowed to be run horribly.”
The Treasury, part of an Administration which claims to have no prior knowledge of the partisan IRS targeting, was alerted to it by the IRS in June of 2012.
By Jonathan Weisman
WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans, not resting with the Internal Revenue Service scandal, are moving to broaden the matter to an array of tax malfeasances and “intimidation tactics” they hope will ensnare the White House.
Republican charges range from the clearly questionable to the seemingly specious, and they grow by the day. On Friday, lawmakers sought to tie the I.R.S. matter to the carrying out of President Obama’s health care law, which will rely heavily on the agency. Whether they succeed holds significant ramifications for Mr. Obama, who will soon know if he is dealing with a late spring thunderstorm that may soon blow over or a consuming squall that will leave lasting damage.