Tag Archives: tea party

Documents prove IRS targeted conservatives because of ideology

Working for the Democratic Party: Newly released FBI documents show that the IRS purposely aimed its harassment against conservatives and tea party groups solely because of their opposition to the Democratic Party and the Obama administration.

The FBI 302 documents confirm the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) 2013 report that said, “Senior IRS officials knew that agents were targeting conservative groups for special scrutiny as early as 2011.” Lerner did not reveal the targeting until May 2013, in response to a planted question at an American Bar Association conference. The new documents reveal that then-acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller actually wrote Lerner’s response: “They used names like Tea Party or Patriots and they selected cases simply because the applications had those names in the title. That was wrong, that was absolutely incorrect, insensitive, and inappropriate.”

The FBI documents also reveal that IRS officials stated that the agency was targeting conservative groups because of their ideology and political affiliation in the summer of 2011. According to one senior tax law specialist, “The case seemed to be pulled because of the applicant’s political affiliation and screening is not supposed to occur that way … [Redacted] said he thought the cases were being pulled based upon political affiliations.” And IRS senior official Nancy Marks, appointed by Miller to conduct an internal investigation stated, “Cincinnati was categorizing cases based on name and ideology, not just activity.”

Read the whole thing. The documents show that the targeting was under the direct supervision of high IRS supervisors such as Lois Lerner and Holly Paz. The documents also show that the IRS commissioner at the time, Douglas Shulman, lied to Congress when he claimed that “There is absolutely no targeting.” He was clearly informed at the time that conservatives were being targeted for harassment.

Sadly, I will not celebrate when and if Donald Trump uses the precedent of this scandal (whereby the government got away with using the IRS to destroy its opponents) to go after his opponents. I fully expect him to do so, and though some of them might deserve it for their own illegal and oppressive behavior, such retaliation by Trump will only signal the coming end to American freedom.

RINO Ellmers loses in North Carolina

Despite an endorsement from Donald Trump, Representative Renee Ellmers (R-North Carolina), who had been elected as a tea party conservative but became a very moderate Republican with strong allies in the Democratic Party once in power, has been soundly defeated in her primary today.

The Republican who replaces her is a moderate conservative. Moreover, he apparently has been more honest about his positions.

In related news, the conservative with ties to the House Freedom Caucus that John Boehner opposed has won the special election for Boehner’s House seat.

We must remember and continually repeat Milton Friedman’s words, and make them happen:

I do not believe that the solution to our problem is simply to elect the right people. The important thing is to establish a political climate of opinion which will make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing.

Tea party Republican wins primary for John Boehner’s seat

A conservative tea party Republican has won the primary for former House Speaker John Boehner’s congressional seat.

If anything should tell the Republican leadership that they aren’t doing what the voters want, even more than the presidential campaign, it is this story. Boehner did nothing but show contempt for the tea party Freedom Caucus in the House, doing anything he could to block them. In the end, they were instrumental in getting him ousted. And as the article notes,

Davidson’s win Tuesday could give those [tea party] lawmakers reason to dig their heels in as things escalate. They can make their case to Republican leaders that, sure, putting their foot down on a proposed budget that increases spending might hinder Republicans’ goal of passing a budget on time. But what they’re doing is really in the interest of a growing number of Republican voters. Look no further than this highly symbolic seat they just won.

Even though I have serious doubts about Donald Trump’s conservatism, his rise is just another indication that the voters are pissed off at the leadership in Congress, from both parties. That leadership had better change its stripes soon, or it will find others taking their place, as has happened with John Boehner..

Rubio as establishment proves tea party won

David French notes that if Marco Rubio is now considered a RINO establishment candidate whom conservatives must oppose it demonstrates beyond doubt that the tea party has won the debate.

It seems that [Rubio’s] now the “establishment” candidate mainly because a number of establishment figures and donors have defected to him after their preferred candidate — perhaps Bush, Christie, or Kasich — failed to gain traction. But if the standard for establishment status is simply whether establishment figures have chosen to support you after their first-choice candidate fails, then every single GOP contender is either establishment or establishment-in-waiting. After all, if Rubio falters, mass numbers of establishment politicians and donors will rush to back Cruz over Trump. And if Cruz falters, those same people will presumably back Trump over Hillary.

Here’s the reality: In the battle — launched in 2010 — between the tea party and traditional GOP powers, the tea party largely won. The contest between Rubio, Cruz, and Trump is a fight between Tea Party 1.0, Tea Party 2.0, and classic American populism. And each one of these candidates would need traditional Republican or “establishment” support in the general election.

He’s right. The political debate is now being fought entirely on tea party terms, with those terms forcing the candidates consistently rightward on every issue. Not only is this a good thing, it suggests a major shift by the American public itself. Our so-called “intellectual elites” might still be liberal, standing there with their fingers in their ears and eyes closed chanting “La-la-la-la-la-la-la-LA!!” so they won’t get triggered by new ideas, but the public has heard what tea party advocates have said and has found those positions worth supporting.

This suggests to me that we might even be seeing a shift in the voting patterns of the low-information television voter, the kind of voter who only comes out during Presidential elections and routinely supports the Democratic candidate being pushed by the mainstream networks. If so, the Democratic Party is in very deep trouble, as they continue to behave as if their low-information voting block remains solid and under their control.

History: CNBC, the tea party, and this week’s debate

Link here. The essay is a fascinating look back at the factors that generated the tea party movement in 2009, centered greatly on a single commentary that took place on CNBC at the time. The essay then notes how NBC then revamped CNBC’s lineup, making it far more liberal and Democratic, which is why we had what we had at the Republican Presidential debate this past week.

It is very much worth a read, as it gives some very important background to these events. It also makes this point, which I think is quite significant:

[I]t was Cruz’s defense of the entire field, and of all conservatives, that was like a game changing pick six in football. The debate was instantly different. That was the match and the gasoline to another conservative explosion. I contend nothing will be the same in debates any time soon, or in any liberal media interviews for that matter – and this is critical. [emphasis in original]

Kevin McCarthy drops out of Speaker election

Congressman Kevin McCarthy (R-California) has just announced that he is dropping out of the race for House Speaker.

This is a breaking story, so details remain sparse. However, McCarthy’s exit today suggests that the power of the conservatives, who just yesterday threw their backing to Daniel Webster (R-Florida), is very strong. With two of the top guys from the old Republican leadership out, things are now certainly going to change in the House. This opens up the Speaker election, making it possible for a new compromise candidate to step forward. More important, that candidate is going to have to respect the demands of the conservative wing, which forced this election.

More rumors swirl about replacing Boehner as House Speaker

Link here. The story discusses in detail some of the negotiations that appear to be going in the background within the Republican caucus, all focused on the possibility that Speaker John Boehner could be driven out sometime this fall. It also indicates that the more conservative wing of the Republican Party is pushing the issue, and no matter what happens, is likely to have greater influence in the coming months.

Republican leaders find support for Boehner’s speakership very weak in House

Whoa! The Republican leadership tried prior to the August recess to squelch an effort to oust Speaker John Boehner and discovered they did not have the votes.

House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) had been planning to call up on the House floor last week a measure from Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) that would have removed him as Speaker of the House if it succeeded—intending to embarrass Meadows—but abandoned the plan after his entire leadership structure learned that they did not have the votes to re-elect him as Speaker before the August recess.

Though a lot of the information in the article is about complicated House rules issues, what some call “inside baseball” and quite boring, it is very much worth reading because it indicates strongly that John Boehner’s position as Speaker is very exposed. He could very well be ousted when Congress reconvenes in September.

There are 25 members who voted for a Republican alternative at the beginning of this Congress, and now there are plenty more who are disaffected with the tactics of Boehner and his allies in leadership. More members, those who want to replace Boehner suspect, will, over the course of the month of August, come out publicly against Boehner at town hall events and in interviews with media. Unless Democrats bail Boehner out in September or October, if and when such a vote for the speakership would occur, by that point there would be enough members opposed to Boehner’s re-election for him to lose his position.

Even if Boehner survives, the dynamics here suggest that the conservatives have the stronger hand, and are going to try to force him to cater to their desires — something he has not been interested in doing — or face removal.

Feel the middle-class rage

While this story is about the testimony of a mother before the Arkansas State Board of Education, objecting to Common Core standards and demanding that they be changed or abandoned, I think its most important take-away is watching the intelligent and thoughtful anger she expresses.

I have included the video of her testimony below the fold. Anyone who thinks the tea party movement is dead needs to watch this video to find out how wrong they are. This woman speaking as a representative of over a thousand parents and teachers, all of whom object to Common Core, the federally-imposed education standards. She also reveals the increasing level of rage and anger that is percolating in the general public over the incompetent and destructive dictates that are being imposed on them by bureaucrats in Washington.

The Republican leadership in the House and Senate might think they were elected to keep the government open, but this woman’s testimony tells me that the mid-term elections were a demand by the public for the Republicans to shut it down.

And they better do it soon, because the rage is continuing to build. If our elected officials don’t respond to it soon the very system of democracy on which our society was built — founded on the principle that government is the servant to the people — is going to become very seriously threatened.

» Read more

The crooks in the tea party movement

John Hawkins has released a blockbuster report revealing which tea pary/Republican PACS are legitimate and helpful to conservative candidates and which are nothing more than scams.

The bottom line:

If you gave a dollar to the gold standard of PACs that we researched, Club for Growth Action, 88 cents of every dollar you gave went to a candidate. On the other hand, there were a number of PACs that gave 10% or less of the money they received to candidates. When there’s a 78 cents per dollar difference in the effective use of money between the top of the heap and more than half of the PACs we researched, there’s an elephant in the room that needs to be addressed.

It is essential that conservatives review carefully the graph at the link before they give money to anyone.

IRS harassment of conservatives continues

Working for the Democratic Party: After five years, the IRS has still not moved on a New Mexico tea party organization application for tax exempt status.

I found the following quote from the article most revealing:

Soon after the scandal went public in 2013, the IRS offered the targeted tea party groups a deal: Agree to keep overt political activity to less than 40 percent of what they do and the agency would approve them. Forty-three groups chose to accept that deal, but the ACLJ and other attorneys advised their clients not to take it, saying it would have meant giving up their rights.

In other words, even after the IRS harassment was revealed, the IRS was still trying to find ways to restrict the free speech rights of these conservative groups.

Conservatives can remove John Boehner as House speaker

Makes sense to me. Erik Erickson suggests that 30 conservative Republicans can force the House Republican caucus to replace John Boehner as Speaker.

Some will argue that a vote against Boehner is a mere protest vote. It is not. There are 30 House conservatives whose vote against Boehner, along with the united front of Democrats voting for Pelosi, could deny him reelection. These 30 would be exercising a veto. There would be no chance of a Democrat becoming Speaker (an obvious point but an argument sure to be advanced by some Republican), because a actual majority of the whole House of Representatives is required. Republicans would simply go back and re-nominate someone else who would not be subsequently vetoed.

In other words, if about 30 Republicans made it clear to the caucus that they will not vote for Boehner, the caucus will be forced to find a more acceptable candidate for speaker.

As my readers are aware, I have not been as outraged by the budget deal as many conservatives. That does not mean, however, that I am pleased with Boehner’s wimpy leadership. Having conservatives flex some muscle and dump him would I think be an excellent start to this next Congress. It would signal to everyone that they mean business.

What Cantor’s loss and Graham’s win mean.

What Cantor’s loss and Graham’s win mean.

I think Trende’s analysis here is the best I’ve seen of this ongoing primary election cycle. These three paragraphs especially pinpoint why things are happening as they are:

We are in a deeply anti-Washington environment, both throughout the country and in the Republican Party in particular. In this environment, representatives who pay insufficient attention to what is going on in their districts are in grave danger of losing. There are two components to this explanation.

First, analysts need to understand that the Republican base is furious with the Republican establishment, especially over the Bush years. From the point of view of conservatives I’ve spoken with, the early- to mid-2000s look like this: Voters gave Republicans control of Congress and the presidency for the longest stretch since the 1920s.

And what do Republicans have to show for it? Temporary tax cuts, No Child Left Behind, the Medicare prescription drug benefit, a new Cabinet department, increased federal spending, TARP, and repeated attempts at immigration reform. Basically, despite a historic opportunity to shrink government, almost everything that the GOP establishment achieved during that time moved the needle leftward on domestic policy. Probably the only unambiguous win for conservatives were the Roberts and Alito appointments to the Supreme Court; the former is viewed with suspicion today while the latter only came about after the base revolted against Harriet Miers.

His second component notes that the politicians who understand this environment win, while those who do not lose. Read the whole thing. It will help clarify not only what has happened but what will happen in the coming months.

This is how the tea party ends.

This is how the tea party ends.

The Tea Party’s success is not gauged by primaries alone. It’s gauged by how much the Tea Party’s priorities become the Republican Party’s priorities.

The Tea Party’s impact in primaries is largely about putting fear into establishment candidates, whether they knock them off or not. It took them two cycles, but the traditional Republican establishment took the right lessons from the Bennett and Lugar losses. Orrin Hatch spent 2011-12 voting lockstep with Mike Lee. Primary threats made Mike Enzi part of the organizing group for the defund push. Pat Roberts is doing his best to don the winger apparel. Lindsey Graham is trying like mad to re-establish his conservative credentials. Thad Cochran is the exception that proves the rule: it’s no accident that a traditional Washington appropriator who hasn’t modified his ways is the most vulnerable GOP Senator this cycle. So if establishment Republicans understand that they are vulnerable in primaries, and have to pretend to be Tea Partiers when they’re in cycle, is that a sign that the Tea Party is dead – or a sign that it’s had a significant political impact?

The tea party movement has won because it is now driving the political debate, in both parties. Republicans want to look like tea partiers, and even Democrats are shaping their election campaigns with tea party issues in mind.

“Indeed we are not purists. We just want people who fundamentally represent our values.”

The real tea party platform: “We are not purists. We just want people who fundamentally represent our values.”

Indeed, despite the allegations that we seek purity within the party, it is clear that what we want is a bold party of contrast – whether in the majority or minority. We want a party that will offer a bold stance on immigration and the debt ceiling, for example, and fight for it with equal and opposing force. We want loyal conservatives that share and fight for our conservative values the same way elected liberals fight for the Democrat party platform. Instead we are given a pale pastel version of Republicans who placate conservatives during election years, and then enact the liberal Democrat talking points through clandestine political efforts.

We know who is with us and who is with the political class. Everybody takes bad votes once and a while. Even Ted Cruz recently voted for a bad flood insurance bill. None of us are demanding purity from him because we know that on almost every issue he is not just a vote but a courageous and effective voice for the millions of us who are disenfranchised by the ruling class oligarchy. He fights every day in Washington for us.

The article also looks in detail at the recent debt ceiling vote and notes how it clearly revealed the loyalties of the Republican leadership. As the author states, “The leaders in the House and Senate, along with their boot lickers, are fundamentally against us. Many of us have known and observed this privately for years, but the debt ceiling vote – both in the House and Senate – brought their devious subterfuge out in the open.”

Read it all. Its goal is not to make you give up, but to recognize the difference between the Republicans who matter and the Republicans who are quislings.

More details here about the growing leadership fight in the Republican Party. Based on what I read, the present leadership, especially in the House, is on very thin ice.

A tea party look at 2013.

A tea party look at 2013.

In 2013, the five-year old conservative grassroots upsurge has grabbed Washington, D.C. by the collar, tearing the city colloquially known as “Boomtown” in a conservative direction for the first time in decades.

Though the article sees far more success in 2013 for tea party politicians than I think is warranted, I also think it does outline the birth of the future. The left is increasingly old and out of touch. The tea party, small now, has got the right ideas, and will thus grow stronger with time — assuming of course that it stays true to those ideas.

Why the shutdown was a total victory for conservatives, both in the short and long runs.

Why the shutdown was a total victory for conservatives, both in the short and long runs.

The shutdown/debt limit imbroglio wasn’t a defeat. Defeats leave the losers feeling defeated. But the designated losers, the conservative base of the GOP – which, more accurately, now is the GOP – is more eager and excited than it has been in a long time.

Why? Someone fought. Finally.

Sure, we didn’t win the repeal of Obamacare. The only people talking about actually repealing Obamacare as a direct result of the tactical moves of recent weeks were the doddering dinosaurs and their media accomplices trying to put out the notion that Ted Cruz and his band of merry marauders had suckered us numbskull conservatives with promises of total victory right here and right now.

Being very familiar with the Constitution, we realize that it’s kind of difficult to pass a law when we only hold the House. We’re clear on that. We were always clear on that. What Ted Cruz did – and what the go-along, get-along gang of Republican stegosauruses hate – is that he fought. He fought. There’s a huge value to drawing a line, to taking a stand, to rallying the troops.

Real leaders – which the GOP establishment lacks – know that. We’ve had two presidential elections in a row with a demoralized base. That’s bad. Just ask Presidents McCain and Romney. [emphasis in original]

The key for determining which side is winning this battle is to look at the positions that new politicians are taking. That tells you the trend. And what I see is that the challengers all want to be Ted Cruz, not John McCain.

The House Ways and Means committee request for information from anyone targeted by the IRS because of their political beliefs is apparently bearing fruit.

The House Ways and Means committee request for information from anyone targeted by the IRS because of their political beliefs is apparently bearing fruit.

Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, a member of Ways and Means, confirmed to The Washington Examiner on Thursday that the evidence being sent to the committee includes secret recordings with IRS officials. This information comports with legal sources who have clients who believe they were targeted by the IRS because they are politically active conservatives who opposed President Obama’s re-election.

Photos from various tea party protests across the nation today.

Photos from various tea party protests across the nation today.

The protesters wearing targets on their backs were especially clever, considering the vicious attacks after the Tucson shootings two years ago against Sarah Palin for using tiny target graphics in some of her literature. Back then, Palin and conservatives got slimed for this irrelevant act, something they had nothing to do with the Tucson murders. Now, the IRS has made them real targets. And it both cases, they are innocent, doing nothing more than expressing their beliefs and ideas.

When the IRS harassed this tea party group in Toledo in 2011, demanding what books they read or discussed, they responded by sending the IRS a copy of the Constitution.

Working for the Democratic Party: When the IRS harassed this tea party group in Toledo in 2011, demanding what books they read or discussed, they responded by sending the IRS a copy of the Constitution.

“They wanted a synopsis of all the books we read,” Bower said. “I thought, I don’t have time to write a book report. You can read them for yourselves.”

Sadly, I doubt the IRS did that.

Ten crazy and unconstitutional demands made by the IRS to conservative organizations in its effort to harass opponents of the Democratic Party.

Ten crazy and unconstitutional demands made by the IRS to conservative organizations in its effort to harass opponents of the Democratic Party.

All of the examples above are taken from actual IRS correspondence received by ACLJ’s 27 clients. There were many versions of the in-depth questionnaire sent to different organizations, suggesting there was more than one agent or one office involved. Though IRS officials blamed “low-level” employees in the Cincinnati office, which is the central IRS office in charge of tax exemptions, French said the abuse was far more widespread. ACLJ’s clients dealt with inquiries from IRS offices from “coast to coast.” Of ACLJ’s 27 clients, 15 finally had their status approved after 6-7 months with legal help. There are 12 groups whose status remains in limbo.

It’s the ideology, stupid.

It’s the ideology, stupid.

It’s easy to forget, but Republicans swept the 2010 midterms not through a sweeping indictment of Obama’s economic stewardship, but by hammering Congressional Democrats over their support of the president’s health care law, the stimulus and Democrats’ pursuit of a cap-and-trade energy policy. Running on a firmly ideological agenda, House Republicans picked up 63 House seats – a larger pickup for Republicans than in any election since 1946.

What’s remarkable is that all the fundamental indicators from that historic moment have hardly changed – and in some ways, have worsened for the president. The 2010 midterm NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showed 32 percent believing the country was headed in the wrong direction; their latest poll shows that “right track” number exactly the same, with even more believing the country was on the wrong track. Obama’s job approval in the October before the midterm was at 47 percent; it’s only inched upwards to 48 percent in the most recent survey. [emphasis mine]

2010 wasn’t a fluke, it was a trend. And running on the “ideology” of fiscal responsibility, a balanced federal budget, and a smaller federal government does not seem to me to be very ideological. Rather, it is simple common sense, which is why it worked in 2010 and will work again in November.

The perspective of one man

The perspective of one man running for President:

[W]hat exactly accounts for prosperity if not culture? In the case of the United States, it is a particular kind of culture that has made us the greatest economic power in the history of the earth. Many significant features come to mind: our work ethic, our appreciation for education, our willingness to take risks, our commitment to honor and oath, our family orientation, our devotion to a purpose greater than ourselves, our patriotism. But one feature of our culture that propels the American economy stands out above all others: freedom. The American economy is fueled by freedom. Free people and their free enterprises are what drive our economic vitality. [emphasis mine]

Sounds good to me, though we should all reserve the right to remain skeptical of anything a politician says. It is what they do that matters. Nonetheless, that Romney is making freedom a central part of his platform is further proof that he recognizes the trends and, like any politician, wants to be on the cusp of that wave. Or to once again repeat the words of Milton Friedman, “The important thing is to establish a political climate of opinion which will make it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing.”

The Republican establishment choice for Texas senator was resoundingly defeated today by the tea party candidate.

Another tea party victory: The Republican establishment choice for Texas senator was resoundingly defeated today by the tea party candidate.

2010 was a trend, not a fluke. And this detail from the article should give anyone with an open mind a good hint at what November will bring.

More than 1 million Texans voted in the runoff, a surprisingly strong turnout for balloting that came during the dog days of summer.

Just like in Wisconsin, Republican turnout was high. Come November, it will be higher.

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