|Sarah Swinehart (202) 226-4774|
IRS Claims to Have Lost Over 2 Years of Lerner Emails
Washington, DC – Today, Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) issued the following statement regarding the Internal Revenue Service informing the Committee that they have lost Lois Lerner emails from a period of January 2009 – April 2011. Due to a supposed computer crash, the agency only has Lerner emails to and from other IRS employees during this time frame. The IRS claims it cannot produce emails written only to or from Lerner and outside agencies or groups, such as the White House, Treasury, Department of Justice, FEC, or Democrat offices.
“The fact that I am just learning about this, over a year into the investigation, is completely unacceptable and now calls into question the credibility of the IRS’s response to Congressional inquiries. There needs to be an immediate investigation and forensic audit by Department of Justice as well as the Inspector General.
“Just a short time ago, Commissioner Koskinen promised to produce all Lerner documents. It appears now that was an empty promise. Frankly, these are the critical years of the targeting of conservative groups that could explain who knew what when, and what, if any, coordination there was between agencies. Instead, because of this loss of documents, we are conveniently left to believe that Lois Lerner acted alone. This failure of the IRS requires the White House, which promised to get to the bottom of this, to do an Administration-wide search and production of any emails to or from Lois Lerner. The Administration has repeatedly referred us back to the IRS for production of materials. It is clear that is wholly insufficient when it comes to determining the full scope of the violation of taxpayer rights.”
Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Charles Boustany Jr., M.D. (R-LA) added, “In the course of the Committee’s investigation, the Administration repeatedly claimed we were getting access to all relevant IRS documents. Only now – thirteen months into the investigation – the IRS reveals that key emails from the time of the targeting have been lost. And they bury that fact deep in an unrelated letter on a Friday afternoon. In that same letter, they urge Congress to end the investigations into IRS wrongdoing. This is not the transparency promised to the American people. If there is no smidgeon of corruption what is the Administration hiding?”
Minnesota Supreme Court endorsee’s pending drunken driving case surprises GOP
By Abby Simons, Minneapolis Star Tribune Today at 10:40 a.m.Attorney Michelle MacDonald, the GOP’s endorsed candidate for the Minnesota Supreme Court, was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving and resisting arrest last year, and her case will head to trial this fall, ahead of the general election.
“None of us, including the convention delegates, were aware of this information about the candidate,” Downey said. “She, of course, is innocent until proven guilty, but at the same time, the delegates did not have the full disclosure they should have.”
He declined to comment on whether the party would withdraw its endorsement. MacDonald, 52, who practices family law, maintains that she was not drinking the night she was pulled over by Rosemount police and is taking the case to trial.
A police report said she refused a field sobriety test and did not take other tests that could have determined her blood-alcohol level.
MacDonald said the GOP’s Judicial Election Committee was aware of the pending case against her. She said that when she told her side of the story, she received near-unanimous support. She has no criminal record in Minnesota.
Downey said that the committee’s nomination of MacDonald came forward “at the last minute” and that in hindsight, the party should have done things differently.
According to court documents, Rosemount police stopped MacDonald, identified in court documents as Michelle L MacDonald Shimota, for speeding at 11:18 p.m. on April 5, 2013. The officer testified later that he detected “a slight odor” of alcohol coming from the vehicle and asked her to step out for field sobriety tests. Charges say MacDonald repeatedly refused, saying she hadn’t been drinking, was a “reserve cop” and a lawyer and would walk home. After several minutes, police placed MacDonald under arrest and she “began to physically resist the officers’ attempt to remove her from the vehicle and place her under arrest.”
Court documents say police took MacDonald to the Rosemount police station, where she was read the state’s implied consent advisory, which requires those arrested on suspicion of drunken driving to submit to blood, breath or urine testing. She shook her head no when asked if she understood. She then asked to speak with an attorney and was given 34 minutes to contact one, but was unsuccessful.
Asked by officers if she would take the breath test, court documents say, MacDonald never answered the question directly and instead asked to be taken before a judge. Police warned her that not taking a test within the allotted time frame would be considered a refusal, but she never approached the machine. Alcohol levels dissipate over time, so tests taken later wouldn’t reflect the blood level at the time of the arrest. Under state law, admissible blood tests must be taken within two hours of an arrest.
MacDonald was charged with third-degree test refusal, a gross misdemeanor, and fourth-degree DWI and resisting arrest — both misdemeanors. Trial is scheduled for Sept. 15 in Dakota County.
MacDonald says she took her own blood test at a hospital the following morning that showed no alcohol in her system.
She has filed three previous complaints against Dakota County judges and sued one on behalf of a client. She said she’s taking this case to trial because she believes her arrest and prosecution are retaliatory.
“When I was being interviewed (by committee members) they were saying this is a good thing because I’ve experienced what people are experiencing on a daily basis,” MacDonald said. “I just never thought this would happen and I’m sucked into a system. Why am I even having to bother with a case where I’ve had zero alcohol, and why am I being asked to go to a trial where they cannot prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt?”
Greg Wersal, a lawyer and failed three-time Supreme Court candidate who introduced MacDonald at the state convention, refused to discuss her case or say whether he was aware of it. Wersal noted that the GOP began endorsing judicial candidates in 1998. The DFL does not endorse judicial candidates.
Bonn Clayton, a party delegate from Chanhassen and member of the Judicial Election Committee who backed MacDonald, said he thought the arrest was a “nonissue,” considering that her blood test showed no alcohol — even though the test was not performed by law enforcement and is not admissible.
“Really, what did she do? She got pulled over, that’s all,” Clayton said. “She didn’t do anything to get pulled over.”
MacDonald, who took the podium at the GOP convention with a Bible and a pledge to uphold the Constitution, said she didn’t think the case would become an issue with voters, but said she’s still prepared to fight it.
“This is no secret,” she said. “I want it out there because it is stupid. I think it’s ridiculous that you would prosecute somebody who has proved their innocence.”
Wisconsin police chief allegedly uses tea party activist’s info for porn, dating sites
By Anne Jungen
La Crosse Tribune
Campbell Police Chief Tim Kelemen is on paid leave while authorities investigate whether he broke the law when he used a tea party activist’s information online.
Board members during a special meeting Thursday voted unanimously to take action against the embattled chief after public outcry that he lost credibility and trust from many in the small community.
It’s a routine move when an employee is under investigation and not an indication Kelemen is guilty of a crime, said his attorney Jim Birnbaum.
“It’s neither surprising nor something we don’t understand,” he said.
After months of conflict between the town and police and tea party activists, Kelemen, from his work and home computers, used activist Greg Luce’s email address and name to create accounts on pornographic, dating and insurance websites, according to police reports. He initially denied his conduct during a May 27 interview with investigators.
A prosecutor will decide within two weeks whether Kelemen should face criminal charges. Campbell Town Board Chairman Scott Johnson said last week members were not considering discipline before a charging decision was reached.
Kelemen’s attorney contends tea party members harassed town and police officials for months after board members in October passed a local ordinance prohibiting speech-related behavior on an Interstate 90 pedestrian overpass.
The chief viewed the activity as a public safety risk; Luce and another tea party member argue the ordinance trampled on their rights and responded with a federal lawsuit.
Since Kelemen’s meeting with investigators, attorneys have amended the federal suit to seek damages against the chief for violating Luce’s right to petition without retaliation, invasion of privacy and civil identity theft.
Kelemen will remain on paid leave indefinitely, regardless of the prosecutor’s charging decision, while the town or someone on its behalf investigates, town attorney Brent Smith said.
Hopefully, that investigation gives context to the chief’s conduct, Birnbaum said.
“There’s a big difference between a lapse in judgment and a crime that could end a career,” he said.
Something you won’t see on the MSM. Some Thursday humor..yes, it is humorous that the DFL wants this moron as their next president.
Hillary Fails History: Calls Lincoln a ‘Senator from Illinois’
by JOHN NOLTE 12 Jun 2014, 8:16 AM PDT
President Abraham Lincoln was never a Senator. Ever. From Illinois or anywhere else.
Other than a single, two-year term as an Illinois Congressman, Lincoln held no national elective office other than that of our 16th president. Lincoln did run for the United States Senate in 1858, but lost to Stephen Douglas.
Yesterday, President Obama’s Twitter feed claimed the first moonwalk occurred in 1963 when it really happened in July of 1969.
Democrats can be lazy about facts n’ stuff because the media is too busy checking Sarah Palin’s latest Facebook post to see if she mistakenly used a semi-colon instead of a full colon.
A few days ago Majority Leader Eric Cantor released the House Republican legislative agenda for this summer. Lawmakers will work on job creation, energy, Veterans Affairs, taxes and more – but not onimmigration reform.
It’s hard to find a more telling sign that an overhaul of the nation’s immigration system is dead, at least for this year and perhaps for longer.
|‘Since October, more than 47,000 children traveling without parents have been caught…a 92 percent increase over the same period last year.”|
The House, on the other hand, has a Republican majority that mostly opposes reform, and almost no bipartisan cooperation. Add to that the fact that it is already June of an election year, with the coming fall consumed by campaigning, and it’s clear a big immigration reform bill – or even a series of smaller ones – has no chance.
It’s not unusual for rumors to go around that Speaker John Boehner has some sort of plan to pass reform after Republican members have cleared primary challenges. But nobody, not even the best-connected Hill insiders, seems to know what the alleged plan is, or whether it really exists.
Of course, such a plan, were it put into action, would be opposed by an overwhelming majority of House Republicans. Passing it with Democratic votes would mean political death for Boehner. But the rumors still pop up.
The fact is, when it comes to immigration, nobody trusts anybody in the House. Republicans and Democrats don’t trust each other, Republicans don’t trust each other, and Republicans, and even some Democrats, don’t trust the White House.
There’s a significant group of House Republicans who suspect Boehner and Cantor might try to use the passage of any immigration-related bill, no matter how small, to press for a much larger reform package. So just to be safe, they don’t want to pass anything.
And now, reform prospects have been dimmed further by the administration’s response to a building wave of illegal immigrants attempting to cross into the U.S. from Mexico. “Since October, more than 47,000 children traveling without parents have been caught trying to cross the southwest border,” the New York Times reported recently, “a 92 percent increase over the same period last year.”
How did the administration react? On Friday, it announced the formation of something called “Justice AmeriCorps” to provide taxpayer-funded lawyers to help those young illegal immigrants fight deportation. “We’re taking a historic step to strengthen our justice system and protect the rights of the most vulnerable members of society,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.
There’s little doubt Obama has encouraged a surge of new illegal immigrants to try to enter the U.S. The entire thrust of administration policy has been to end or curtail deportations of young people. Word gets out in Mexico and Central America. More come. And when they come illegally, the president’s reaction is to give them a lawyer. So even more will come in the future.
That doesn’t create confidence among Republicans who doubt Obama’s commitment to border enforcement. “Everything the administration is doing is spurring on more illegal immigration, telling would-be border crossers to make the trek because the U.S. will spend whatever it takes to keep you here and unite your extended family in America,” says a Hill aide opposed to comprehensive reform. “Tax-paying American citizens fighting to comply with the IRS or the EPA must wonder: Where’s my free lawyer? One group of people has to follow all the rules and pay all the costs, and the other group doesn’t.”
Since the beginning of the nearly two-year reform fight, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, who championed comprehensive reform in the Senate but has now cooled on his own bill, warned that President Obama would act by himself if Congress didn’t.
“I believe that this president will be tempted, if nothing happens in Congress, to issue an executive order as he did for the Dream Act kids a year ago,” Rubio said in August 2013, “where he basically legalizes 11 million people by the sign of a pen.”
Well, nothing is going to happen in Congress. After November, Obama will be 100 percent lame duck, with no more elections to worry about. He might do precisely what Rubio predicted. Or, with a crisis of his own creation building on the Mexican border, he might hesitate to make things even worse. But one thing is sure: He won’t get any help from Capitol Hill.
Do you think the Liar in Chief has read any part of the Constitution let alone the 2nd amendment? Think he’d give up his armed body guards?
Obama Praises Australia’s Gun Confiscation
One doesn’t bring up countries that have confiscated firearms as a shining example unless one wishes to push the conversation toward confiscation.
During his Tumblr Q&A Tuesday, President Obama hailed Australia’s confiscation of firearms following the 1996 Port Arthur shootings:
“Couple of decades ago, Australia had a mass shooting, similar to Columbine or Newtown. And Australia just said, well, that’s it, we’re not doing, we’re not seeing that again, and basically imposed very severe, tough gun laws, and they haven’t had a mass shooting since. Our levels of gun violence are off the charts.There’s no advanced, developed country that would put up with this.”
The Port Arthur Massacre had Martin Bryant, a 28-year-old from New Town, shoot and kill 35 people and wound 23.
Predictably, Obama praised a government that forced its citizens to give up their guns because of a national tragedy.
Charles Cooke of National Review summed up the real message behind Obama’s praise of Australia perfectly:
“You simply cannot praise Australia’s gun-laws without praising the country’s mass confiscation program. That is Australia’s law. When the Left says that we should respond to shootings as Australia did, they don’t mean that we should institute background checks on private sales; they mean that they we should ban and confiscate guns. No amount of wooly words can change this. Again, one doesn’t bring up countries that have confiscated firearms as a shining example unless one wishes to push the conversation toward confiscation.”
I had to read this story three times to make sure I wasn’t missing something. What if there is nobody to report maltreatment? A Federal Judge tells these a holes they aren’t doing their job and the decision is to simply drop the ball further? Insanity….more of your tax dollars hard at work.
Minnesota human services agency suspends certain death investigations
Article by: CHRIS SERRES , Star Tribune
Updated: June 11, 2014 – 11:10 PM
Backlogged, DHS passes on cases where no maltreatment is alleged.
- In an effort to eliminate a massive backlog of maltreatment investigations, state regulators charged with protectingMinnesota’s most vulnerable populations are suspending investigations of deaths at state-licensed facilities where no abuse is alleged.
The move is part of a broad series of measures designed to expedite maltreatment investigations at more than 8,800 state-licensed programs and facilities, such as child care centers, mental hospitals and homes for the disabled. Currently, the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) violates state law by taking an average of seven months to complete an investigation of abuse or neglect instead of the required 60 days. The state is under legal pressure to reduce its more than two-year backlog of maltreatment investigations. In April, a federal judge ordered DHS to take action toimprove the timeliness of maltreatment investigation reports.
“DHS must and can do better to continue to improve our handling of these important cases,” DHS Commissioner Lucinda Jesson wrote in a May 15 letter to a federal judge.
But the agency’s move to suspend investigations of certain deaths at state-licensed facilities has aroused concern from advocates and the chair of a key legislative committee that sets social service policy.
“Someone’s eyes should be on those [death] cases,” said Rep. Tina Liebling, DFL-Rochester, chair of the House Health and Human Services Policy Committee. “Many of these people are vulnerable and have no family members, so I’m not comfortable with no one taking an outside look at these cases.”
While advocates agree the state could suspend certain death investigations, such as when an elderly person dies of natural causes, there are other deaths that warrant automatic scrutiny. In some cases, family of the deceased may not have enough information to allege maltreatment, which means an investigation might not be conducted under the new policy.
DHS Inspector General Jerry Kerber said the agency will review all deaths to determine the cause and if care was adequate. However, in a break with past policy, the agency will do only full-scale investigations in cases where the agency “has some reason to believe the death resulted from inadequate care.” All deaths of children at state-licensed child care facilities will continue to be subject to full-scale investigations, he said.
“We are not ignoring any deaths, but we are cutting back on some of our public reporting,” Kerber said. The office of the state Ombudsman for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities also provides a layer of oversight, reviewing 800 to 1,000 death reports a year.
Timely investigations are considered an important safeguard against abuse and neglect. The longer a maltreatment investigation takes, the more likely it is that an abusive or neglectful caregiver will go unpunished, putting other people at risk of mistreatment. Lengthy delays can also deprive victims, their families and the wrongfully accused of the right to speedy justice.
In March, a court-appointed monitor overseeing the state’s efforts to phase out the use of restraints in state-licensed facilities, criticized the timeliness of DHS’s maltreatment investigations. The monitor found 14 percent of DHS maltreatment reports are completed within 60 days, as required; and 65 percent take longer than 120 days.
In one case, it took DHS investigators 452 days to determine whether a patient at Minnesota Security Hospital, the state’s largest psychiatric hospital, was placed naked in seclusion for two days, before concluding that the findings were “inconclusive.” In another case, it took investigators 375 days to determine that staff at the mental hospital neglected a patient who repeatedly rammed his head against a wall, causing his head to swell and turn purple.
“While there may be situations in which it is not possible to compete certain investigations within 60 days, there appears to be no reason for investigations to take hundreds of days,” court monitor David Ferleger wrote in a March report.
The backlog of unfinished investigations has jumped, in large part, because of policy and legislative changes since the late 1990s that require DHS to determine who is responsible maltreatment and the steps to correct the abuse.
The suspension of certain investigations is one of several measures DHS has taken since January to reduce its backlog.
The agency is also cutting back on investigations of low-dollar thefts and writing abbreviated reports for non-complex cases.
The agency has reduced its backlog of maltreatment investigations lasting more than 60 days by more than 100 cases since March.
The agency’s goal is to eliminate the entire backlog by the end of the year. “The law makes it clear that there’s a timeline that’s expected to be met,” Kerber said, “so we’re going to meet it.”
Chris Serres • 612-673-4308
REPORT: BENGHAZI ATTACKERS COMMUNICATED VIA STATE DEPT. CELL PHONES DURING ATTACK
The Islamist terrorists that were responsible for attacking the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and killing four including Ambassador Chris Stevens were overheard by multiple US spy agencies communicating by means of State Department cell phones they seized during the attack, according to a Fox News report.
The report, put together by Fox’s Bret Baier and James Rosen, concludes that the newly uncovered information shows the Obama administration knew the events unfolding in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 were nothing short of a terrorist attack the very day they unfolded. The report adds to the stack of evidence that the attacks were not a spontaneous demonstration caused by a poorly made YouTube video, as the Obama administration had claimed for weeks.
In an interview with Fox, retired Air Force Major Eric Stahl, who piloted the aircraft that took the attack’s survivors and victims’ corpses from Benghazi, said CIA personnel were “confused” by the administration’s strategy to blame the YouTube video. He said they knew very well, the same day, that the Islamist assault was a planned attack. Stahl said, “They knew during the attack… who was doing the attacking.” He continued, “Right after they left the consulate in Benghazi and went to the [CIA] safehouse, they were getting reports that cell phones, consulate cell phones, were being used to make calls to the attackers’ higher ups.”
Another source confirmed Major Stahl’s account, requesting anonymity because the nature of the conversation required disclosing classified information. The second source also confirmed that the American intelligence agencies were aware of the Islamists’ cell phone communications on the same day of the raid on the Consulate.
Stahl had another starting revelation: the first individual to question the survivors after the attack was not an FBI agent, but instead the senior State Department diplomat on the ground. “There were taken away from the airplane. The U.S. ambassador to Germany [Phillip D. Murphy] met us when we landed, and he took them away because he wanted to debrief them that night,” said Stahl.
Stahl continued, saying that he believed he could have established a crew to intervene in Benghazi during the attack. He noted that his task force in Germany was specifically designed for such a mission: “We were on a 45-day deployment to Ramstein air base. And we were there basically to pick up priority missions, last-minute missions that needed to be accomplished.”
He continued, “A hurried-up timeline probably would take us an hour-and-a-half to get off the ground and three hours and fifteen minutes to get down there. So we could’ve gone down there and gotten them easily,” said Stahl.
Sit down and shut up, don’t disagree or or you will be punished. Yet another dog and pony show in Duluth.
Duluth School Board votes to investigate Johnston
By Jana Hollingsworth on Jun 10, 2014 at 11:21 p.m.
Allegations include assault or otherwise improper conduct toward the superintendent and board chairman, racist or an otherwise improper comment toward a staff member, abuse of authority as a School Board member as it relates to a staff member or members, conflict of interest in relation to a staff member and violation of the board’s code of ethics.
The meeting — run by Vice Chairman Bill Westholm because of Miernicki’s involvement in the allegations — was called by members Annie Harala, Rosie Loeffler-Kemp and Judy Seliga-Punyko.
Lengthy, contentious accusations were made by Johnston before the vote was taken. He accused Gronseth of lying to him about a personnel issue, and district administration of personally attacking him because of his outspoken opinions on various issues facing the district. He denied all of the allegations, saying in particular the incidents described as assaults were situations in which he was merely angry, and no assaultive behavior occurred.
“Did I raise my voice and point my finger at Chair Miernicki and Bill Gronseth … Yes I did,” he said, noting his behavior was rooted in a personnel issue involving his longtime partner, who works for the school district.
The allegation of a racist comment struck a particular chord with Johnston, who said he prides himself as a champion of people of color.
“There are people here in the audience from the NAACP,” he said, who are there supporting him. “This is a pretty serious allegation.”
He and Welty asked several times that people who brought forth the allegations talk about why they did. Westholm told each repeatedly that that information would come out in an investigation.
“The sole intent of this meeting is to approve an investigation,” he said. “We need a neutral party.”
Johnston railed on the potential high costs of the investigation and disagreed that the chosen firm — Fafinski Mark and Johnson of Eden Prairie, Minn., would be objective. He made a motion to have the News Tribune choose one instead. The measure failed. The newspaper had not been consulted on the issue and probably would not get involved in the matter.
The investigation could result in the removal of Johnston from the board. State statute allows the removal of a member, for proper cause, by vote of at least four members. The statute is rarely used, said Greg Abbott, communications director for the Minnesota School Boards Association.
After the meeting, Welty said the allegations were mean-spirited, and highlighted the dysfunction of the board.
“It’s a terrible distraction of the education of our children,” he said.
Privacy laws prevented Gronseth from responding to much of what Johnston said, he noted. He said the process of the investigation would “allow the facts to come to light.”
Johnston — in the first year of his second term on the board — is known for his outspoken attacks on Johnson Controls, the company that managed the district’s $315 million long-range construction and consolidation plan, and for accusations against the district of financial mismanagement. He said he had retained an attorney.
“This is the modus operandi of the School Board,” he said of its actions. “They do character assassinations.”
Loeffler-Kemp said an attorney was consulted before deciding to hold the meeting, a decision that wasn’t made lightly.
“We as a board have a code of ethics for School Board members,” she said. “It was with a lot of thought and consideration that we came to bring this resolution forward, and I hope the public can understand that.”