Grover Norquist Show: From Texas to Washington: The Case for An Effective, Cost Conscious Criminal Justice System

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Posted by Emma Boone on Tuesday, July 28th, 2015, 4:10 PM PERMALINK


ATR policy specialist Jorge Marin joins conservative activist Grover Norquist in his latest podcast, “From Texas to Washington: The Case for An Effective, Cost Conscious Criminal Justice System.” The United States has one of the world’s most populated prison systems and an even bigger budget. National leaders on the Left and the Right are calling for major reforms.  Tune in to hear about how Americans for Tax reform and its partners in the Coalition for Public Safety are leading the charge for criminal justice reform across a wide array of areas such as civil asset forfeiture and mandatory minimums.


As Senator, Hillary Voted for Bernie Sanders’ Gimmicky “Millionaires and Billionaires” Tax Hike

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Tuesday, July 28th, 2015, 3:21 PM PERMALINK


On March 13, 2008, Senator Hillary Clinton voted Yes on S Amdt 4218, legislation to create a new top tax bracket for families earning over $1 million in a given year. At the time, the top marginal income tax rate was 35 percent. The amendment would have created a new 39.6 percent bracket on these households. The amendment failed, 43 to 55.

Introduced by self-avowed socialist Bernie Sanders, this amendment promised to “put children ahead of millionaires and billionaires.” The amendment’s ten co-sponsors included Clinton and left-wing icon Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.).

 

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Peter Stevens, https://www.flickr.com/photos/nordique/

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IRS Failed to Search Five of Six Locations for Lois Lerner Emails

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Tuesday, July 28th, 2015, 2:22 PM PERMALINK


The IRS failed to search five of six possible sources of electronic media for Lois Lerner’s emails, according to documentation released by the House Oversight Committee on Monday.

Over the course of investigations into the Lois Lerner targeting scandal, Commissioner John Koskinen repeatedly assured Congress that he would provide all of Lois Lerner’s emails. But based on testimony from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), this did not occur. The agency’s ineptness -- or corruption -- resulted in 24,000 Lerner emails being lost when they were “accidently” destroyed. 

According to TIGTA official Timothy Camus, the IRS had six possible sources to search for Lois Lerner’s emails:

“The hard drive would have been a source, Blackberry source, backup tapes a source, the backup tapes for the server drives and then finally the loaner lap tops.”

When asked how many of these sources the IRS searched, Camus says was unable to say for certain whether the IRS had searched any. Although Camus acknowledged that the agency employees initially checked her hard drive, it appears that more could have been done to recover data from this source. Instead, the hard drive was briefly checked and all data was deemed unrecoverable:

“We’re not aware that they searched any one in particular. They did – it appears they did look into initially whether or not the hard drive had been destroyed, but they didn’t go much further than that.”

The agency’s refusal to conduct due diligence in its search for Lerner’s emails meant that 1,000 emails were not found until TIGTA searched backup tapes. When asked why the IRS did not give these emails to Congress, Camus said it was because the agency never looked for them in the first place:

“To the best we can determine through the investigation, they just simply didn’t look for those emails.”

Commissioner Koskinen stated that the IRS took “extraordinary efforts” to recover any emails, but this is clearly not the case. Years after the investigations into the Lois Lerner targeting scandal began, the agency’s unprecedented obstruction has meant Americans are no closer to the truth.

See also:
IRS Used Instant Messaging System to Hide Internal Communications
House Oversight Committee Details Case for Removal of IRS Commissioner
Watchdog: IRS May Still Be Targeting Conservative Non-Profits
How Exactly Did Lois Lerner’s Hard Drive Receive “scoring on the top platter”?
Meet the Shredder That Destroyed Lois Lerner's Hard Drive

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Becky McCray, https://www.flickr.com/photos/bjmccray/

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samanna

Like the "Justice Department" the "IRS" is merely a wing of the Democrat/Marxist Party.

miker5

Abolish the IRS. Instead of watching online porno all day, they can start guarding the border. Implement a flat tax so everyone has some skin in the game.

LibertyR

If a private organization or person failed to give the IRS what they requested, they would go to jail. Why do we let the government get away with this? No matter your political position you should be scared of this blatant lying and stonewalling.


IRS Used Instant Messaging System to Hide Internal Communications

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Tuesday, July 28th, 2015, 11:20 AM PERMALINK


The IRS used a “wholly separate” instant messaging system that automatically deleted office communications, according to documentation released by the House Oversight Committee on Monday. The system appears to have been purposefully used by agency officials responsible for the targeting of conservative non-profits, in order to evade public scrutiny.

The system, known as “Office Communication Server” or OCS was used by IRS officials, including many in the Exempt Organizations (EO) Unit, which was headed by Lois Lerner.

As the Oversight Committee report states, the instant messaging system did not archive any communications, so it is not possible to know what employees of the EO unit discussed on it.

However, in an email uncovered by the Committee Lerner warns her colleagues about evading Congressional oversight:

“I was cautioning folks about email and how we have had several occasions where Congress has asked for emails and there has been an electronic search for responsive emails – so we need to be cautious about what we say in emails.”

Lerner then asks whether OCS is automatically archived. When informed it was not, Lerner responded “Perfect.”

While it is possible to set the instant messaging system to automatically archive messages, the IRS chose not to do so, according to one employee interviewed by the Committee. The fact that the agency chose not to archive messages raises questions about the true purpose of OCS and what discussions took place.

Needless to say, the apparent use of OCS to evade Congressional oversight once again shows that the IRS does not want the American people to learn the truth about the Lois Lerner targeting scandal. 

See also:
Watchdog: IRS May Still Be Targeting Conservative Non-Profits
How Exactly Did Lois Lerner’s Hard Drive Receive “scoring on the top platter”?
Meet the Shredder That Destroyed Lois Lerner's Hard Drive

                                              

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mseery, https://www.flickr.com/photos/mseery/

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svfoxhotmail

They used our own money against us. They need to be fired and prosecuted. Its as close to treason as you can get.

tripl_e

This is as close to actual tyranny as we are likely to see without armed conflict. Pay attention because this is history happening right before our eyes. The United States of America as originally conceived and constitutionally codified can not survive a lawless federal government.

knowbetter

They need to be roasted and toasted. Firing is too good for them.


House Oversight Committee Details Case for Removal of IRS Commissioner

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Monday, July 27th, 2015, 6:00 PM PERMALINK


House Oversight Republicans, led by Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) today called for President Obama to remove IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. Under Koskinen’s leadership, the agency has continually stonewalled the investigation into the Lois Lerner targeting scandal. Years after the scandal first broke, the agency has done its utmost to bury the truth. Taxpayers deserve a transparent and responsive government, but under Commissioner Koskinen the IRS has displayed unprecedented unaccountability.

Chairman Chaffetz vowed to explore all options to remove Commissioner Koskinen including impeachment and holding him in contempt of Congress. As Chaffetz notes, the agency under Koskinen’s leadership has failed time and time again to comply with Congressional investigators:

“Mr. Koskinen failed in his duty to preserve and produce documentation to this Committee. The IRS failed to comply with a congressional subpoena. The IRS further failed by making false statements to Congress. We will pursue all constitutional remedies at our disposal, including potential contempt proceedings or perhaps impeachment of Commissioner Koskinen.”

A recent Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) report found that the IRS destroyed 422 backup tapes that investigators believe contained emails to and from Lois Lerner. Further, TIGTA disclosed that there was “potential criminal activity” in the deletion of these emails. This revelation directly conflicted with previous comments Koskinen made under oath that emails could not be recovered.

See also: How Exactly Did Lois Lerner’s Hard Drive Receive “scoring on the top platter”?

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Brookings Institution, https://www.flickr.com/photos/96739999@N05/

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Good & Bad Tax Proposals Being Considered in North Carolina

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Posted by Nathaniel Rome on Monday, July 27th, 2015, 4:24 PM PERMALINK



With the recent appointment of the budget conference committee, North Carolina legislators continue to work to resolve differences between the House and Senate budgets plans. Among unresolved issues are a number of proposed tax changes. There are a number of positive changes being considered by lawmakers, such as cuts to personal income, corporate income, and franchise taxes. However, some changes have been proposed that represent bad tax policy and would cause the state to take a step back after the tremendously successful 2013 tax reform act.

Today, Americans for Tax Reform sent the following letter to North Carolina legislators assessing the various tax proposals being considered:

Dear Members of the North Carolina General Assembly,
 
On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform and our supporters across North Carolina, I write today to encourage you to keep North Carolina taxpayers in mind as you work through budget negotiations. In recent weeks, some proposals have been put forth that would build upon the successful 2013 tax reform plan, while some would move in the wrong direction and harm taxpayers.
 
One proposal that, if passed, would result in bad tax policy is the proposal to apply the state sales tax to advertising. Approval of this tax change would be a serious mistake. It is a principle of sound tax policy that business to business transactions should not be taxed. Applying the state sales tax to advertising would result in tax pyramiding and higher costs passed down to North Carolinians. North Carolina businesses would also be faced with onerous compliance costs.
 
Currently, no state applies the sales tax to advertising, and for good reason. One state, Florida, tried to impose an advertising tax and it was an unmitigated disaster. Because of Florida’s experiment with taxing advertising, the state lost 100 million in advertising revenue to neighboring states. Advertising purchases plummeted 12 percent in Florida, while rising 3 percent nationally during that same time. As such, Florida legislators repealed that misguided tax six months later.
 
While applying the sales tax to advertising is a proposal that should be rejected, several proposals have been put forth in budget negotiations that would help grow the state economy and build upon the successful 2013 tax reform package. Commendable proposals that would allow your constituents to keep more of their hard-earned income include reducing the income tax rate from 5.75 to 5.5 percent and raising the standard deduction to $18,500, which would save North Carolinians $3.1 billion over the next five years. Other proposals that would greatly benefit North Carolina employers and the state economy include the proposal to ensure the corporate tax rate falls to 3 percent and changing corporate tax apportionment to a “single-sales factor” formula, which would incentivize in-state investment and job creation. Legislators have also smartly proposed cutting the franchise tax on capital stock and tangible property.
 
Since 2013, North Carolina has been a national model for pro-growth tax reform. This year, the Tar Heel State has an opportunity to continue making itself more attractive to employers, investment, and new residents. Moving forward, Americans for Tax Reform will be working to educate your constituents on the tax proposals being considered in Raleigh and how their representatives and senators vote on these important matters. If you have any questions or if ATR can be of assistance, please contact Patrick Gleason, ATR’s director of state affairs at 202-785-0266.
 
Onward,

Grover G. Norquist
President
Americans for Tax Reform
 

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Jimmy Emerson, https://www.flickr.com/photos/auvet/

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Grover Norquist Show: Ending Earmarks and the Ex-Im Bank

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Posted by Emma Boone on Monday, July 27th, 2015, 2:07 PM PERMALINK


Sometimes doing nothing is better than doing anything at all as conservatives proved on June 30 when Congress decided to simply let the Export Import Bank expire. However, conservative activists must remain vigilant as efforts will be made to reauthorize the bank by attaching an amendment to “must pass" bills. The march to phase out Ex-Im is unstoppable. Grover Norquist, president of ATR, tackles the issue of the Ex-Im Bank in his latest podcastTune in to find out how taxpayers can win the fight against Ex-Im Bank and stop the march towards crony capitalism.

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Senate Digs Up Ex-Im Grave In Dead of Night

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Posted by Emma Boone on Monday, July 27th, 2015, 12:30 PM PERMALINK


In an unusual Sunday night session, the Senate voted 67-26 to move forward with the attachment of an amendment to the Highway Trust Fund bill that would reauthorize the Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank of America, which expired June 30. The undisputed poster child of crony capitalism, Ex-Im is behind numerous taxpayer-funded loans and guarantees given to corporations to fund and insure foreign companies’ purchase of U.S. products. Unsurprisingly, many of these million dollar loans have defaulted or have gone to complete waste, leaving taxpayers in the red.

While supporters of the bank claim the reauthorization of Ex-Im will save jobs, the reality of the matter is that Ex-Im never created jobs in the first place. Supporters also mention that Ex-Im helps small businesses. Wrong again. Ex-Im picks and chooses politically connected corporations to loan billions of dollars to, leaving a measly 2 percent of Ex-Im’s funds going to small businesses.

The language of this amendment, expected to be voted on later today, will extend the charter of the Ex-Im Bank for another four years. The banks lending cap will be lowered to $135 billion, still a large sum of money when taxpayers are asked to foot the bill. The amendment is also sure to mention that Ex-Im loans will now increase the percentage of small businesses they assist to a whopping 25 percent. Interesting, considering the bank already claims they help an impressive 90 percent of small businesses.

It’s predicted that a final vote on this bill will take place on Thursday, the deadline for the Highway Trust Fund’s authorization. With heavy support in the Senate, hope lies in the members of the House to strike down this amendment which so clearly supports corporate welfare and the revival of an outdated relic needed to be put to rest for good. 

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Archangel12, https://www.flickr.com/photos/archangel12/

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Chicago’s “Amusement Services” Tax: A Comical Solution to Serious Overspending

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Posted on Monday, July 27th, 2015, 11:56 AM PERMALINK


In a recent Op-Ed for Townhall, Americans for Tax Reform Associate Tim Wilt exposes the nickel and dime tax policy being employed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The latest in Rahm’s onslaught of tax hikes is the extension of the “amusement services” tax to the digital marketplace. Starting in September Chicago residents will be on the hook for an additional 9 percent tax on services like Netflix, Xbox Live, and Spotify. Fighting to abate a $900 million overspending problem, Mayor Emanuel refuses to make the government reforms and spending cuts necessary, and instead continues to tax the already overburdened citizens.

Wilt reports:

“The new policy is predicted to generate $12 million in revenue, a drop in Chicago’s ocean of debt. But wait, there’s more. Combine that with other creative solutions from the mayor’s office like, the higher tax on parking spaces, the new tax on leased vehicles, and the new tax on personal property lease transactions, and we have a grand total of $62.4 million in new revenue!

Hardly enough to put a dent in the $900 million bill. These new taxes will not solve Chicago’s problems. They will, however, cripple innovation and investment in the city, establish a dangerous gateway for tax discrimination in the digital marketplace, and violate federal law, state law, and Supreme Court precedent.”

Uncertainty abounds with this latest tax hike and many have even questioned the $12 million revenue estimation. The new costs will hit Chicago citizens this September, following a moratorium on the new policy.

 Chicago’s financial situation looks increasingly bleak as it speeds towards a $1 billion short fall in next year’s budget. Expert analysts have indicated that major tax increases will likely be needed to keep the city afloat. Mayor Emanuel has thus far avoided such tax hikes for fear of the political repercussions, but it is becoming ever more certain that his penny pinching policies will fail, and the tab for his administrations rampant overspending will finally come due.

Click here to read the Full Article. 

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Mike Boening Photography https://www.flickr.com/photos/memoriesbymike/

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Ex-Im Bank Finances Small Business Ponzi Scheme

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Monday, July 27th, 2015, 11:43 AM PERMALINK


The Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) provided millions of dollars in financing to a Miami small business perpetrating a Ponzi scheme, according to a recent report by the Department of Justice (DOJ). The business had already defrauded private lenders out of $8 million in loans and used $2 million in Ex-Im financing to pay off these lenders and continue their scam.

The business, run by three family members defrauded private lenders out of millions of dollars by creating fictitious invoices for the sale of merchandise that never occurred. As the report notes, when private lenders started to get suspicious and refused to provide new loans, the small business went to Ex-Im:

“After the Miami lenders refused to extend further credit, the defendants and their co-conspirators allegedly created false invoices and shipping documents to obtain a loan guaranteed by the Ex-Im Bank.”

The conspirators used Ex-Im financing to continue their Ponzi scheme by paying back private creditors and pocketing whatever was left:

“Rather than acquiring, selling and shipping American-manufactured goods as required for Ex-Im Bank-guaranteed loans, the defendants allegedly used the loan proceeds to extend the fraudulent scheme by paying off other lenders, and split the remaining funds among themselves and other co-conspirators.”

The Ex-Im Bank Inspector General’s office is currently prosecuting the family, with assistance from the FBI and the Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a first for the Ex-Im Bank. Since 2009, the bank has been tied to fraud and corruption in alarmingly frequent fashion culminating in 85 criminal indictments, 48 criminal judgments, and a quarter billion in fines, restitution, and forfeiture from investigations into Ex-Im.

Outrageous stories of waste and fraud have become all too common with the Ex-Im Bank and as a result, Congress decided to let its charter expire last month. But now, supporters of the bank have tied reauthorization to must-pass highway funding. Despite the objection of many members, the US Senate is this week expected to reauthorize the bank.

Key “reforms” in the reauthorization amendment include lifting the floor on required small business loans from 20 percent of the bank’s operations to 25 percent. But given the lax oversight that allowed the Miami business to use Ex-Im to continue its Ponzi scheme, it is unlikely that these changes to Ex-Im will do anything but put taxpayer dollars further at risk.

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