Saturday, August 12, 2017

Swamp doing fine: Trump DOJ and IRS identical to Obama's. Conservative and Tea Party groups were deprived of free speech over two election cycles under Obama, now fighting same battles with Trump DOJ which continues to withhold documents, mocks pending lawsuit v IRS, stalls and wastes plaintiff resources-Wall St. Journal, Kimberley Strassel

Obama era IRS and DOJ lawyers may have been front men then as they are now, but it was only their Republican buddies and Republican House Speakers for whom free speech and Tea Party groups posed big problems. The Tea Party was no threat to the left:
"A headline in The Hill, said it all: “Dems vow to protect [Republican House Speaker] Boehner from conservative coup...."[Republican House Speaker] Boehner who has grappled with dissent from the Tea Party wing since he took the Speaker's gavel in 2011, has seen opposition to his reign grow this year, even as he commands the largest GOP majority since the Hoover administration." This remarkable statement must leave Tea Partiers tearing their hair out. It was only through the efforts of the Tea Party that Boehner became Speaker at all. He owes his position to them;"...3/16/2015

Aug. 10, 2017, "Trump’s IRS Swamp," Wall St. Journal, Kimberley Strassel, opinion

"Obama-era lawyers are still obstructing lawsuits to hold the agency accountable."

"Donald Trump promised to drain the swamp, and here’s a seven-month progress report: The Washington bog is still as wide and fetid as ever. Consider that Mr. Trump’s Justice Department has inexplicably continued to defend the IRS’s misdeeds under President Obama. 

Voters put a Republican in the White House in part to impose some belated accountability on the scandal-laden Obama administration. 

And the supreme scandal was the IRS’s assault on tea-party groups....This abuse stripped the right to political speech from thousands of Americans over two election cycles. To this day, no one has answered for it.

The groups targeted are still doggedly trying to obtain justice through lawsuits that have dragged on for years. They believed Mr. Trump’s election would bring an end to the government obstruction. It hasn’t. “The posture of the DOJ and the IRS under the Trump administration is identical to the posture under the Obama administration,” Mark Meckler, president of Citizens for Self-Governance, tells me. “Nothing has changed.”

Mr. Meckler was one of the founders of Tea Party Patriots. His current organization is funding a class-action suit in Ohio federal court on behalf of groups targeted by the IRS. So far the effort has cost $3 million.

That money is now going to fight Mr. Trump’s administration. In recent months the Justice Department has continued refusing to hand over documents or make witnesses available for depositions. The plaintiffs finally managed to depose Ms. Lerner and another key IRS player, Holly Paz, earlier this summer. But their counsels successfully demanded that the transcripts be kept secret from the public. As former federal employees, Ms. Lerner and Ms. Paz are presumably getting backup from government lawyers. 

The suit has slowly ground through discovery and is teed up for trial early next year. Yet in its latest stunt, the Justice Department has asked for summary judgment—arguing that the facts are so far beyond dispute that the judge should dispense with the trial and simply rule now. This is laughable. The judge is unlikely to even consider it, meaning the motion is nothing more than a way to waste further time and sap the plaintiffs’ resources. 

To this day, conservative nonprofits are being toyed with by the IRS. The Texas Patriots Tea Party has waited five years for tax-exempt status and has continued to receive round after round of intrusive agency questions, long after the scandal was exposed and the IRS promised reform.

Other litigants are experiencing the same treatment. The IRS is fighting Judicial Watch in a suit over document requests. Government lawyers are hamstringing a suit against the IRS brought by Z Street, a pro-Israel nonprofit—as described last month in an op-ed on these pages.

The problem is that the same old Obama-era lawyers have been left to run these cases in the same old hostile ways. Who are these people? Laura Beckerman, one of the lead lawyers defending the IRS in the Ohio class action, left government only this month. Her LinkedIn profile says she is now pro bono coordinating counsel at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. CREW is among the most liberal outfits in the capital, fanatically devoted to taking down conservatives.

That’s the type still calling the shots in Mr. Trump’s bureaucracy.

The Justice Department’s job is to defend the government, but it is also supposed to pursue justice. And there is no question the IRS did wrong. It has been documented by the Treasury Department’s inspector general and admitted by the IRS itself.

It’d be one thing if the plaintiffs were demanding a billion-dollar payout, but they aren’t. Their main request is that the IRS come clean on what happened, and the government is resisting with all its power. The real question is why the Justice Department is even fighting this suit, when it ought to be leading a renewed investigation into what happened and how it got covered up.

This stonewalling cannot be laid solely at the feet of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, another Obama appointee who bizarrely remains in his post. The IRS, as the client, no doubt is calling many of the legal shots. But the Justice Department has the authority in important cases to make the ultimate judgment call on how the government will handle the litigation.

It’s time for some judgment. Senior leaders in the Justice Department may be wary of replacing or redirecting attorneys on the IRS cases, fearing it might provoke another round of media caterwauling. The White House may be wary of canning Mr. Koskinen, thinking it would be cast as another high-profile firing

But Mr. Trump was hired to impose exactly that sort of accountability. If he’s going to get rapped for dramatic moves, it might as well be for doing something that serves justice."


Added: Not mentioned in above article, it wasn't Democrats who needed to silence Tea Party groups, it was the Establishment Republicans (de facto Democrats). Tea Party groups weren't about to peel away many democrat votes or gain ascendancy on the left. 4 articles follow: NPR (2012), NY Times (2012), Angelo Codevilla (2013), Lester Jackson (2015):

Once "boxed in" by the Tea Party, GOP House Speaker John Boehner was greatly helped by Obama's 2012 re-election: NPR.

12/8/2012, "Once Boxed-In, Boehner May Finally Be Master Of The House," NPR, Frank James

"In a paradoxical way, Obama's re-election victory coupled with congressional Democrats adding to their numbers may have helped Boehner. Some of those wins came at the expense of the Tea Party, the conservative movement whose affiliated House members have been very willing to stand up to Boehner.

In recent weeks, Boehner...has gotten his entire leadership team to sign his tax-raising, fiscal-cliff counteroffer....

"That was a message that the [Republican] conference as a whole has read the tea leaves," Feehery wrote in a blog post in which he also ticked off other indicators of Boehner's strength."...

Despite complaints from conservative activists and bloggers, however, Boehner remains the most powerful Republican in Washington."...


In Nov. 2012, GOP House Speaker Boehner reminded Republicans that their party had lost badly in the 2012 election, so it was time for Republicans to fall in line, follow his instructions, and realize democrats have the upper hand

11/10/2012, Boehner Tells House G.O.P. to Fall in Line, NY Times, by Jonathan Weisman and Jennifer Steinhauer 

2/15/2013,  "Breaking the UniParty," Angelo M. Codevilla

"The Republican Party’s leaders have functioned as junior members of America’s single ruling party, the UniParty. Acting as the proverbial cockboat in the wake of the Democrats’ man-of-war, they have made Democratic priorities their own when the White House and the Congress were in the hands of Republicans as well as in those of Democrats, and when control has been mixed.

The UniParty, the party of government, the party of Ins, continues to consist of the same people. The Outs are always the same people too: American conservatives. They don’t have a party.

Whatever differences exist within the Uniparty, between Republican John Boehner and Democrat Nancy Pelosi, between Republican Mitch McConnell and Democrat Harry Reid, get worked out behind closed doors. Those differences are narrow....

The UniParty is unanimous: more of the same!

Hence, so long as the Uniparty exists, mere voters will have no way of affecting what the government does."...


""Boehner, who has grappled with dissent from the Tea Party wing since he took the Speaker's gavel in 2011, has seen opposition to his reign grow this year, even as he commands the largest GOP majority since the Hoover administration."
This remarkable statement must leave Tea Partiers tearing their hair out. It was only through the efforts of the Tea Party that Boehner became Speaker at all. He owes his position to them;"...

3/16/2015, "Speaker Boehner: Democrat Dissenter," American Thinker, Lester Jackson

"On March 3, after repeatedly huffing and puffing in support the Republican position on one of the major issues of the 2014 election, John Boehner predictably went back on his word, betraying conservatives on a signature campaign promise: to rein in President Obama’s unconstitutional and lawless actions in support of lawlessness. 

This was Boehner’s final surrender, ceding the last vestige of the immense power of the purse that a majority of voters sent Republicans to Washington to exercise. In ratifying law-breaking by both the president and millions of aliens, he removed any lingering doubt that he is the Democrat-preferred Obama-Pelosi House Speaker. 

A headline in The Hill, said it all: “Dems vow to protect Boehner from conservative coup. This headline and the accompanying Mike Lillis story validate and vindicate articles recently published here, here and here. Democrats now consider Boehner to be their puppet in a one-party leftist dictatorship ruling against a conservative country. So it was no surprise that, when conservatives protested this latest Boehner betrayal, Democrats rallied to reciprocate the vast aid and comfort he had given them.

Reflecting media bias, Lillis echoed a longstanding and oft-repeated distortion of reality: 

"Boehner, who has grappled with dissent from the Tea Party wing since he took the Speaker's gavel in 2011, has seen opposition to his reign grow this year, even as he commands the largest GOP majority since the Hoover administration."
This remarkable statement must leave Tea Partiers tearing their hair out. It was only through the efforts of the Tea Party that Boehner became Speaker at all. He owes his position to them; they are not there by his sufferance. It was their reinforcements arriving after the 2010 election that provided the Republicans with their majority. By default, Boehner happened to be the senior RINO party hack already there. 

As for growing opposition “even as [Boehner] commands the largest GOP majority since the Hoover Administration,” that majority was obtained because victorious Republicans campaigned on a message of opposition to President Obama’s abuse of power, especially on two critical issues: 

the Obama-Pelosi takeover of the health care system and the legalization of law-breaking by millions of aliens. 

It would be stunning if Boehner, Pelosi or Obama could cite a single Republican Representative who campaigned in support of illegal immigration or what swiftly became Obama-Boehner Care. 

The painful truth is not that Boehner must “grapple with dissent” but that those who elected him must confront his relentlessly dishonest and dictatorial dissent from the issue positions on which they campaigned. 

Even worse, this is not a just Speaker with an “R” after his name who does the bidding of Democrats. This is the de facto Democrat Speaker, using the Pelosi-type high-handed and duplicitous tactics to further policies of the Democrats. Indeed, Pelosi actively collaborated with Boehner on the latest betrayal of Republican voters.

Consider the key roll call vote surrendering to Obama/Pelosi on amnesty for massive law-breaking. As “proof of the discontent,” Lillis notes that 167 Republicans opposed Boehner. This does not do justice to what really happened. That was 167 out of 242 voting Republicans – an astonishing 69%. 

When 69% of Republicans vote against 31%, just who is dissenting from whom? This is not “discontent” on the part of a fringe rump group; it is wholesale disapproval by the Republican Party mainstream -- a mainstream that somehow has managed not to control its own party. 

In addition, 182 of the 257 House votes for the surrender were provided by Democrats. That’s 71% of the total -- an astounding 100% of voting Democrats! When a recorded vote on one of the major issues of the last election gives a Speaker 71% support from the opposition party and a mere 29% from his own, just which party does he lead? Does he lead at all, or is he led by the nose?

After all, Boehner did the bidding of every single ecstatic voting Democrat. Pelosi “proudly” celebrated! 

The Boehner House majority is now overwhelmingly Democrat, with the difference supplied by a RINO minority of all Republicans. 

We have come a long way from the days of House Republican Speaker Dennis Hastert, who promised to prevent a vote any matter opposed by a majority of his caucus, a promise renewed by Boehner himself. According to Hastert:

“If you…rely on the minority to get the majority of your votes, thenyou’re not running the shop. He added that it was best to “make sure your people are on board on any major piece of legislation ….” Hastert applied this rule if his party’s division was 51% to 49%. Boehner, by contrast, used unanimous Democrats to defy a 69%-31% Republican vote against him. 

One reading Lillis might be tempted to feel sorry for Boehner. Poor John Boehner. Those whose votes resulted in his becoming Republican Speaker won’t even stay silent while he defies their wishes, views, and interests by transmogrifying himself into leader of the Democrats. 

Before shedding too many tears, however, remember that this is the same man who, when possible, ruthlessly disciplines Republicans who defy his wishes, stripping them of chairmanships and exiling them to House Siberia.

This is the same man who not only broke his pledge to honor the Hastert Rule but also approved use of a very rarely used rule in order to ram through a bill that an overwhelming majority of Republican colleagues and voters opposed. 

Finally, as Lillis makes clear, without Democrat support, no attempt to oust Boehner can succeed at this time. Now, as before, the main goal of the loudest protesters is to protect themselves against their own votes to make Boehner Speaker in the first place. 

For example, Lillis quotes Matt Salmon and Jim Jordan. Salmon: “sad day for America … If we aren't going to fight now, when are we going to fight?” Jordan: “The point is to do what we told the voters we were going to do.” Also, Rep. David Schweikert pronounced himself heartbroken.

Can the protests of these and other representatives be taken seriously if they actually voted for instead of against Boehner when their votes really would have counted? Just look at the roll call vote. Any claim of surprise proves either dishonesty or incompetence. Conspicuously absent from all the whining were any expressions of regret for having voted for Boehner or any promises never to do so again in the future. 

In 2016, apart from the presidential election, no single contest will have greater impact than the one in the Ohio 8th congressional district. If conservatives are really serious, shouldn’t they immediately start a campaign to defeat Boehner in his home district? First, a true conservative should announce a primary against him. But if that fails, what alternative is there but to vote for his Democrat opponent?

Conservatives could descend en masse upon Boehner’s district to persuade voters there that, no matter what Boehner may say or do from now on, he must be defeated -- either by a genuine conservative Republican or by a junior Democrat who can do little harm. 

After the amnesty debacle, there can be no doubt that Boehner is not even a RINO; he is the next-best-to-Pelosi front-man for the far left Democrats."
"Lester Jackson, Ph.D., a former college Political Science teacher, views mainstream media suppression of the truth as essential to harmful judicial activism. His recent articles are collected here and here." 





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