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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 19, 2014 / 21 Sivan, 5774

IRS scandal implicates Democrats

By A. Barton Hinkle




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "Special interests are planning and running millions of dollars" in ads, warns President Barack Obama. But despite their "benign-sounding names," adds Democratic operative David Axelrod, some of them are "front groups for foreign-controlled companies." Together, they are trying to sway the outcome of elections all across America.

Want examples? No problem.

In 2012 alone, Toyota spent $2 billion in the hope that Americans would elect to buy Toyotas rather than Fords, Chevrolets or Hondas. Samsung, a South Korean multinational conglomerate, spent $881 million. Walmart spent huge sums to sell you on buying goods made in China.

Hoping more Americans will elect to use renewable energy, environmental groups have been cranking out sunny brochures and op/ed columns pitching its merits. Among those who stand to benefit the most: Chinese solar-cell makers and German wind-turbine manufacturers.

Obviously, these aren't the interests Obama and Axelrod had in mind when they made those comments four years ago, after the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. They meant groups like Crossroads GPS, Americans for Prosperity and other "outside groups." In that, they spoke for many liberal Democrats — and even some Republicans, like Sen. John McCain — who don't like such groups speaking out on politics.

Little wonder, then, that since the IRS scandal broke Republicans and their conservative supporters have been looking for the smoking gun that would prove Obama ordered the agency to seek and destroy conservative social-welfare groups. The U.S. has a long and sordid history of presidents trying to sic the IRS on their political foes; that was even one of the charges of impeachment against Richard Nixon.

In this case, however, the GOP's Obama Derangement Syndrome might be pointing it in the wrong direction. Granted, the administration did laughably appoint an Obama campaign donor to investigate whether Obama critics had been treated fairly. But much of the impetus for the IRS' abuse of conservative groups seems to have come from Congress.

That becomes apparent from a complaint filed this month with the Senate's ethics committee by the Center for Competitive Politics. The complaint asks the committee to investigate Sens. Carl Levin, Dick Durbin, Chuck Schumer, Al Franken, and several others for improperly trying to sway IRS deliberations and obtain confidential taxpayer information.

Admittedly, asking the Democrat-controlled committee to investigate Democrats for targeting Republican-leaning groups is a Quixotic pursuit. But Quixotic is not the same as meritless. And the complaint contains mountains of merit.

The complaint details several letters Levin wrote to the IRS in which he insisted that "a message needs to be sent" to social-welfare groups "on an urgent basis," and that the message should make it "crystal clear" they needed to restrict their political activities. Just so the IRS would not misunderstand, he drew attention to two TV advertisements — one by Crossroads GPS and another by Patriot Majority USA.

Unsatisfied by the IRS response, Levin continued to press the agency to give such groups — which are organized under Section 501(c)(4) of the tax code — "a choice: either lose their exempt status (and pay taxes) or eliminate the partisan political activity." He followed that up with a demand to see confidential information about Crossroads GOP, Priorities USA, Americans for Prosperity, and Patriot Majority USA. Informed that "the IRS cannot legally disclose" what he wanted, he tried again — and again. As the ethics complaint notes, "IRS Acting Commissioner Steven Miller acknowledged in an interview that Senator Levin's effort did, in fact, have an effect on the IRS' internal proceedings."


Durbin not only demanded that the IRS investigate groups he didn't care for — he boasted about it in news releases that drew the attention of the media. No wonder: Durbin made the demand a month before the fall congressional elections. Subtle!

Schumer, Franken and Co. also wrote to the IRS, wondering — purely out of idle curiosity, you understand — whether the agency "is investigating or intends to investigate" whether certain groups might be engaging in — gasp! — "campaign activity." Which groups? Oh, "Elections operations such as Mr. (Karl) Rove's." They followed that up a month later with a request that the IRS change the rules governing social-welfare nonprofits.

This past January, Schumer gave a speech denouncing "the great advantage the tea party has," namely "the huge holes in our campaign-finance system" that allowed 501(c)(4) groups to spend "millions in undisclosed dollars" on "ads that distort the truth and attack government." To whom did he give this speech? The Center for American Progress Action Fund, a 501(c)(4) organization. Now that's chutzpah.

But sometimes chutzpah pays off. As everyone now knows, the IRS did launch a pogrom against conservative groups — not just the big ones, like Rove's, but many much smaller ones as well. For months it harassed them with intrusive questionnaires demanding everything from Facebook posts to the contents of prayers said at meetings.

And remember what terrible offense those groups were committing: They were supporting or opposing candidates for public office, often by buying TV ad time. But a political advertisement cannot make you vote for or against a political candidate any more than a commercial advertisement can make you buy a Toyota instead of a Ford. What Levin, Durbin, Schumer, et al. find outrageous is the fact that some Americans have been speaking about political candidates without those candidates' authorization.

Indeed, some Democratic congressmen find that so outrageous they would like to amend the Constitution. News stories have referred to the amendment as the "Democrats' answer to the Koch Brothers." But the amendment would not apply only to the Kochs. It would allow politicians to ration political speech by everyone. That would be like letting Ford decide which companies get to advertise cars on TV. How many ads for Toyotas would you see in that case? Take a wild guess.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

A. Barton Hinkle is Deputy Editor of the Editorial Pages at Richmond Times-Dispatch Comment by clicking here.


Previously:




05/27/14: A modest proposal to ban volunteering
05/07/14: Loophole's Just Another Word for Freedom You Can Lose
05/05/14: Is It Time to Welcome Our Robot Overlords?
04/21/14: So who is standing in the way of progress?
04/14/14: Bush Lied. So Did Obama. And Clinton. And. . .
04/10/14: You can have my knife when you pry it from my cold, dead hands
04/07/14: Zoning's racist roots still bear fruit
04/01/14: You just can't fix stupid
03/27/14: Apostles of violence
03/24/14: What the Left Doesn't Know About Weaponizing the IRS
03/20/14: All the cliches about aging are true. Or: Hey, where'd the craft-beer me go?
03/14/14: Our long national austerity nightmare is over!
03/10/14: The progressive mirage
03/03/14: If Hillary had gotten her way
02/18/14: The Lovecraftian world of Obamacare
02/03/14: Eat your Frankenfood!
01/28/14: The retributionist case for limited government
01/22/14: Why school choice foes remain wrong
01/09/14: The great inequality debate
01/02/14: Do-nothing Congress? Please, Do Much Less
12/09/13: Mozart for babies all over again?
11/25/13: Food police are gluttons for punishment --- of others
11/12/13: Cheer up --- things are getting better
10/29/13: Cure for ignorant voters --- really small governments
10/24/13: If they can't cut the small stuff...
10/22/13: Political speech --- dumb as a ham sandwich
10/15/13: Why College Costs Will Soon Plunge
09/19/13: Progressives Reap What They Sow
09/13/13: You are being watched
09/10/13: Sorry, your business isn't desirable enough
09/05/13: The least bad option: Kill Assad
08/27/13: GOPers wrong ones to take on ObamaCare
08/08/13: Gas prices: What can the president do?
08/02/13: Chris Christie pulls a Dowd
07/29/13: Should Click and Clack wind up in the clink?
07/08/13: Commit any felonies lately?
06/18/13: Citizens and the State: the problem is bigger than you think
06/06/13: Political derangement threatens basic rights
05/30/13: Should we fear ex-Marine --- or those who detained him?
05/23/13: Professor of Constitution goes to war against it
05/23/13: REVEALED: IRS letter to tea party groups
05/15/13: Today on NPR: The smothering tax burden
04/30/13: What does Boston say about diversity?
04/25/13: For some libs, 'courage' = agreeing with them
04/18/13: Utterly outraged by their president's callous betrayal
04/11/13: Cognitive dissonance on guns
04/04/13: Do unto others, but not unto us, say the media
04/01/13: Observations from the auto shop holding pen
03/14/13: The nation-building follies
03/12/13: Will the right come around on pot?
03/07/13: Another U.S. dupe falls for a dictator
02/28/13: How dare you say that here!
02/26/13: Eating Frito-Lay chips at gunpoint
02/20/13: Death Star petitions are just what we need
02/13/13: ObamaCare proves law correct --- deep down you knew it would
01/29/13: It's Time to Get Judgy About Incompetency
01/23/13: Look who's mocking fascist fear-mongering now
01/16/13: Only in Washington could you get away with referring to spending and tax increases as spending 'cuts'
01/09/13: Obama begins his second term, Bush's fourth
01/07/13: Who's Attacking the Constitution Now?
01/03/13: Why, historically, January is the perfect time to debate the filibuster
12/26/12: When libs devalue diversity
12/20/12: Mark Your Calendars
12/13/12: Gun control, ad infinitum
12/11/12: Fracking can help fix the CO2 problem
12/06/12: Let's open the door to lots more immigration
12/04/12: Who's watching the kids? Just about everyone
11/29/12: The Real Middle-Class Champion was Mocked and Opposed
11/26/12: It's time to cut a deal on the budget
11/20/12: The case for a carbon tax
11/15/12: Cue the hysterics. Reports of Democracy's Death Greatly Exaggerated
11/07/12: The $4,000 Trash Can: We need regulation, but not this much
10/23/12: The Ballad of Islamist Rage Boy
10/17/12: Undermining the values that enable people in poverty to escape it? Sadly, yes
10/11/12: How Much Is This Tax Cut Gonna Cost Me, Doc?
10/04/12: Warrantless spying skyrockets under Obama
08/20/12: The wrong side absolutely must not win
08/14/12: America was not built on dirt alone
08/02/12: Libs Discover Their Inner Cheney
07/30/12: Feds want to help you --- whether you want help or not
07/23/12: Barack Obama, Storyteller-in-Chief
07/23/12: Nation's worst outsourcer? You
07/19/12: Listen up, America: You need to knuckle under
07/12/12: Obama, Romney: As Different as Two Peas in a Pod
07/05/12: Are teenagers big children --- or little adults?
06/25/12: Minorities treated as mere numbers
06/21/12: Memo to the the Little Guy: Seemingly innocuous activity could bring the federal hammer down out of a clear blue sky
06/19/12: We mustn't let America be buffaloed
05/31/12: Drop and Give Uncle Sam 20
05/15/12: The feds would like to know if you enjoyed that video
05/03/12: Obama inspires: 'America --- Still Not as Bad Off as Venezuela!'
04/26/12: It's everyone's favorite time of year again
03/29/12: GOP disillusionment is a good thing
03/27/12: Just what America needs: more red tape
03/20/12: Nation wondering: what happening to language?
02/21/12: Culture warriors resort to propaganda
02/15/12: Step away from that cookie and grab some air
02/08/12: Lessons in heresy
02/01/12: Do We Really Need Pickle-Flavored Potato Chips?
01/11/12: Shut up, they explained
12/30/11: A Modest Proposal: Let's Ban All Sports!
12/26/11: A Christmas letter from the Obamas
02/24/11: Will the next Watson need us?
12/24/10: Here Are Some Good Gifts for People You Hate
06/15/10: The Presinator
05/26/10: More than equal
04/08/10: Angry Right Takes a Page From Angry Left but guess who is ‘ugly’?
02/16/10: Either Obama owes George W. Bush an apology, or he owes the rest of us a very good explanation for his about-face on wiretapping
02/03/10: Talkin' to us 'tards
01/27/10: I never thought I'd see the day when progressives would howl in ragebecause the Supreme Court said government should not ban books
01/07/10: Gun-Control Advocates Play Fast and Loose
12/31/09: Nearly everything progressives say about neoconservative interventionism abroad applies to their own preferred policies at home





© 2011, A. Barton Hinkle

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