Nope, not even a smidgen: Or how did Obama tell that lie and not burst into flames???


When questioned about the IRS scandal targeting Conservative groups by Bill O’Reilly, Barack Obama assured Bill that their wasn’t even a smidgen of corruption in what the IRS did. Yea, that assertion was a full on flat out liar liar pants on fire moment, no doubt about it.

Senate Dems to IRS: You’re our only hope

Two years ago, Democrats bragged about raising a billion dollars to re-elect Barack Obama. They had super-PACS like House Majority PAC and Priorities USA Action raise tens of millions of dollars to backstop both the presidential and Congressional races in the last cycle. Now that Priorities Action USA has taken a seat on the sideline and Republicans and conservatives are raising tens of millions of dollars against them, Senate Democrats want IRS intervention to curb the very same channels that they exploited so well in the 2012 election:

Senate Democrats facing tough elections this year want the Internal Revenue Service to play a more aggressive role in regulating outside groups expected to spend millions of dollars on their races.

In the wake of the IRS targeting scandal, the Democrats are publicly prodding the agency instead of lobbying them directly. They are also careful to say the IRS should treat conservative and liberal groups equally, but they’re concerned about an impending tidal wave of attack ads funded by GOP-allied organizations. Much of the funding for those groups is secret, in contrast to the donations lawmakers collect, which must be reported publicly.

One of the most powerful groups is Americans for Prosperity, funded by the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch. It has already spent close to $30 million on ads attacking Democrats this election cycle.

They’re sore about groups using the fig leaf of “social welfare” to cover political affairs, but by their own standards, political affairs that avoid electoral campaigns are social welfare. Besides, I don’t recall these same voices complaining when a 501(c)(4) called Agenda Project Action Fund produced ads that showed Paul Ryan pushing a grandma off a cliff in an attempt to demagogue his budget-reform efforts. They actually ran two of those ads, one in 2010 and another in 2011, and bought air time in several states each time.

Griping about this now is not just hypocritical, it’s an expression of impotence. The legislative branch writes the laws; if they don’t like the current campaign-finance structure, then they should replace it with something that works better — like full disclosure and an end to contribution limits and tax exemptions for donations to outside groups. If Senate Democrats actually took civic responsibility seriously, they’d propose such a solution, and I’d guess it would get a significant amount of support from Republicans, too.

But Senate Democrats aren’t interested in fixing the campaign-finance system. They’re interested in getting the IRS to intimidate their opponents and fix their own electoral woes in the midterms. That’s just pathetic, especially for a party that controls one chamber in a branch of government that should be on guard against usurpation of legislative power by the executive.


Vulnerable Dems want IRS to step up

Senate Democrats facing tough elections this year want the Internal Revenue Service to play a more aggressive role in regulating outside groups expected to spend millions of dollars on their races.

In the wake of the IRS targeting scandal, the Democrats are publicly prodding the agency instead of lobbying them directly. They are also careful to say the IRS should treat conservative and liberal groups equally, but they’re concerned about an impending tidal wave of attack ads funded by GOP-allied organizations. Much of the funding for those groups is secret, in contrast to the donations lawmakers collect, which must be reported publicly.

One of the most powerful groups is Americans for Prosperity, funded by the billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch. It has already spent close to $30 million on ads attacking Democrats this election cycle.

“If they’re claiming the tax relief, the tax benefit to be a nonprofit for social relief or social justice, then that’s what they should be doing,” said Sen. Mark Begich (D), who faces a competitive race in Alaska. “If it’s to give them cover so they can do political activity, that’s abusing the tax code. And either side.”

Asked if the IRS should play a more active role policing political advocacy by groups that claim to be focused on social welfare, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) responded, “Absolutely.”

“Both on the left and the right,” she said. “As taxpayers, we should not be providing a write-off to groups to do political activity, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

She called the glut of political spending by self-described social welfare groups that qualify under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code “outrageous.”

Shaheen is in a good position now but could find herself embroiled in a tight campaign if former Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) challenges her.

Sen. Mark Pryor (Ark.), the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent, said the IRS has jurisdiction over 501(c)(4) groups, as well as charities, which fall under section 501(c)(3) of the tax code and sometimes engage in quasi-political activity.

“That whole 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4) [issue], those are IRS numbers. It is inherently an internal revenue matter,” he said. “There are two things you don’t want in political money, in the fundraising world and expenditure world. You don’t want secret money, and you don’t want unlimited money, and that’s what we have now.”

This month, Americans for Prosperity launched a three-week advertising campaign targeting Pryor. The group has also targeted Shaheen and Sen. Kay Hagan (N.C.), another vulnerable Democratic incumbent.

Last month, Americans for Prosperity-New Hampshire launched a television ad criticizing Shaheen for her 2009 and 2010 votes for the Affordable Care Act. It highlighted the plight of New Hampshire residents who have to travel hours to find healthcare in hospitals covered by the state’s insurance exchange.

Last week, the group announced a $1.4 million TV campaign against Hagan.

On Wednesday, it unveiled an ad hitting Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), another endangered incumbent, for voting for ObamaCare.

A spokesman for Americans for Prosperity estimated the three-week advertising campaign would cost $750,000.

Robert Maguire, the political nonprofit investigator at the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks spending by outside groups, said Americans for Prosperity has spent far more money than any other 501(c)(4) group this election cycle.

In the last election cycle, Crossroads GPS, a group founded by GOP super-strategist Karl Rove, spent the most political money of any social-welfare group, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which estimated the total at $71 million. The group has remained relatively quiet this cycle.

The law states that 501(c)(4) groups must be operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare, but the IRS has traditionally adopted a more lenient standard, said Paul S. Ryan, senior counsel at the Campaign Legal Center.

The IRS says social-welfare activity must be the primary activity of such groups. It gives them broad leeway by not classifying voter registration drives and even ads that criticize candidates as political activity.

This is exactly what political corruption looks like, using the IRS to crush political opposition. The Democrats would not be pushing for the IRS to crush their political opponents, if they did not believe that there were some possibility that the IRS both could, and would. These Democrats know damned well that Obama profited from the IRS targeting and intimidating Obama’s political opponents, and now they demand to receive the same help in their political contests. This isn’t just corruption, it’s corruption that is both endemic and systemic, it’s institutionalized corruption.

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