Weighing the Probes and Cons
Credibility starts at the top -- and in this administration, so does the lack of it. The President's perpetual eyesore, the Justice Department, is in more hot water now that the House Judiciary Committee has released its report on DOJ's criminal probes of journalists like Fox's James Rosen. Not surprisingly, the House's opinion of DOJ chief Eric Holder hasn't improved much since he was held in contempt of Congress last year.
Nothing about his public scolding seemed to make a dent in Holder's unethical ways, according to Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who explained again why the Attorney General is unfit to lead DOJ. "The Committee finds that Mr. Holder's sworn testimony in the Rosen matter was deceptive and misleading," Goodlatte announced.
Rosen, as you may remember, found himself in the administration's crosshairs when he reported on the CIA's warnings about the possibility of more North Korea nuclear tests. Outraged by the stories, the DOJ tagged him as a "co-conspirator" in a security leak and combed through Rosen's telephone records and State Department logs. Under oath, Holder denied any and all knowledge of the DOJ's activities -- which, of course, was untrue. NBC later broke the story that the country's chief law enforcer not only knew about the shocking crackdown on Rosen but authorized it. Members of the Judiciary Committee launched a probe and concluded that Holder lied to Congress about the DOJ's unlawful snooping of Rosen. "No amount of lawmaking can restore credibility and professionalism to the Justice Department in the wake of these revelations. The only way to achieve this goal is through an improvement in the quality of leadership at the Justice Department."
Once again, the pattern of lawlessness that seems to define this administration is rearing its ugly head, and House members continue to shake their heads. As Goodlatte said, "I find the lack of leadership at the Department of Justice extremely alarming." So do we all.
Defund and Defend
If this is the kind of corruption that's already rampant at the IRS, imagine the explosion of scandals once the agency starts administering America's health care! With $2.5 trillion at its disposal, there's no telling the kind of damage the Obama administration can do to America. Today, conservative leaders and groups rallied at the Capitol to announce our united push to defund ObamaCare before it destroys the nation as we know it. With Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Mike Lee (R-Utah), along with Congressmen Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.), Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) and other conservative leaders, we explained how the wheels are rapidly coming off the ObamaCare gurney.
Opposition among labor unions is surfacing, key Democrats are calling it a train wreck, and the President himself is delaying the employer mandate. If this is the threat to our faith, families, and freedoms that so many campaign speeches said it was, then it's time to put an end to it by cutting off all the funding.
And while FRC stands behind the movement to defund ObamCare, it's important that people realize the necessity of protecting conscience rights in the process. As I told the crowd this morning, ObamaCare in its current state will subsidize abortion and lead to health care rationing -- and defunding the law would stop that. But defunding alone will not stop the HHS mandate that threatens religious businesses, charities and non-profits and religious universities.
Religious employers should not be discriminated against because they oppose contraception or drugs that can cause abortions or contraceptives. And, as we've seen in countless lawsuits across the country, Americans cannot depend on the courts to guard these sacred rights. It's incumbent on Congress to take action and add Rep. Diane Black's (R-Tenn.) Health Care Conscience Rights Act to a piece of must-pass legislation. You can help. Contact your congressman and senators and ask them to defund ObamaCare and defend our First Freedom. To watch the press conference, click below.
This Price Is Right: Stop the IRS
Turns out, the IRS scandals aren't as "phony" as the President wants us to believe. Two days after he brushed off the discrimination against conservatives as another "distraction," a series of emails is suggesting anything but. Sources at the National Review stunned everyone Wednesday morning with the revelation that the IRS may not have been the only federal agency in on the scheme to target right-wing groups. In emails obtained by NRO, it seems the plot seeped into the Federal Election Commission (FEC), where the IRS's tax exempt office appears to have conspired against conservative organizations on at least two occasions.
In one instance, a lawyer for the FEC, whose job is to police campaign finance law, tried to force an investigation into a conservative group by using tax information that the IRS illegally provided. "When we spoke last month," the FEC attorney writes to the IRS's Lois Lerner, "you had told us that the American Future Fund had not received an exemption from the IRS." Soon after, the attorney recommended that the FEC prosecute the group for violations of campaign finance law. "The timing of the correspondence," NRO writes, "...suggests that the lawyer sought information from the IRS in order to influence an upcoming vote by the six FEC commissioners [who decide whether or not to investigate]." The FEC also asked the IRS for the private tax information of another conservative organization, which it provided -- illegally.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) is outraged by the revelations and has asked the IRS to provide all of its communications with the FEC from 2008-2012. "The American public is entitled to know whether the IRS is inappropriately sharing their confidential tax information with other agencies," they write in a letter to acting IRS Chief Danny Werfel. In the meantime, this kind of documented collusion is sure to boost Rep. Tom Price's (R-Ga.) chances with the "Keep the IRS off Your Health Care Act."
His bill, which is scheduled for a floor vote tomorrow, would strip the IRS of its authority to enforce ObamaCare. As of today, the measure had 141 cosponsors -- a sign of members' growing frustration with an agency so ideologically motivated that it won't even cooperate with Congress's investigation. So far, Rep. Camp says the IRS has provided the House with "less than three percent" of the documents it's requested. And of the documents it has received, most pages are completely redacted!
Meanwhile, the President is only digging a deeper hole with his suggestion that this is a manufactured controversy. At a White House press conference yesterday, Jay Carney tried to answer reporters' questions about how these scandals (which the President called "outrageous" a couple months ago) could suddenly be "phony." "What some in Congress have failed to do," Carney replied, "is to provide any evidence -- because there is none -- that [the] activity was in any way known by or directed by the White House -- or was even partisan or political."
Regardless of the President's personal involvement, there's no denying the fact that these attacks were blatantly partisan and political. Conservative groups were asked three times as many questions as liberal organizations in their tax exempt requests. The IRS was also more likely to delay or deny their applications. What does the President call that -- a coincidence?
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.