ATR Supports S. 1728, The “Access to Court Challenges for Exempt Status Seekers (ACCESS) Act”

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Posted by Alexander Hendrie on Wednesday, July 29th, 2015, 5:24 PM PERMALINK


Earlier this month, S. 1728, the “Access to Court Challenges for Exempt Status Seekers (ACCESS) Act” was introduced by Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.). S. 1728 will rein in the out-of-control IRS by granting protections to social welfare groups seeking 501 (c)(4) status during the application process. ATR supports this legislation and urges all members of the Senate to vote for and support this important legislation.

Currently, the IRS has total discretion to approve or deny the application of a group seeking 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status. In light of revelations that the IRS inappropriately targeted conservative groups over several years, it is clear that this authority was abused. Conservative groups waited as long as two years for the IRS to act on their applications and faced far greater scrutiny than their liberal counterparts.

The ACCESS Act will put a stop to this by ensuring organizations seeking tax-exempt status are treated fairly regardless of political affiliation. Specifically, it gives nonprofits seeking 501(c)(4) status the ability to advocate for themselves in Tax Court if the IRS takes longer than nine months to approve their application. This process is already available to organizations applying for 501(c)(3) charity or foundation status, and so affording social welfare groups this same protection against bureaucratic obstruction should be a common-sense proposal to all. By passing the ACCESS Act, Congress will ensure social welfare groups applying for non-profit status receive fair treatment during their application process.

In the wake of the IRS targeting conservative 501 (c)(4) applicants with improper scrutiny, it is clear that stronger protections for applicants are needed. The ACCESS Act will create a fairer, more streamlined application system for non-profits and will put a stop to the IRS processing social welfare applications based on political affiliation.

 

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Rumble Press, https://www.flickr.com/photos/rumblepress/

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Obama Carbon Regulations could leave Manatees out in the cold

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Posted by Justin Sykes on Wednesday, July 29th, 2015, 9:50 AM PERMALINK


President Obama and the EPA are expected to unveil the final version of their Clean Power Plan (CPP) next week. While criticism of the rule has centered on the economically disastrous impact the CPP’s carbon emissions regulations will have, some in Washington are crying foul for a different reason – that the regulations could leave hundreds of Florida manatees out in the cold…literally. 

It’s no secret the President’s carbon regulations will force the premature retirement of coal-fired power plants across the U.S. In fact the President seems wholly indifferent to the thousands of jobs and livelihoods he’s destroying. However what the President and EPA did not count on is that some of the power plants that will be shuttered are integral to the survival of hundreds of Florida manatees.              

The issue stems from the fact that the warm-water discharge from some Florida coal-fired power plants, such as Florida’s Big Bend Power Station, has become home to hundreds of West Indian manatees. The manatees are drawn to the warm-water discharge for a nearly six-month period in the winter.

In fact, as reported by the Washington Times, the Big Bend Power Station actually created a “Manatee Viewing Center” in 1986 with nature walks and observation platforms for visiting tourists. Thus the likely closure of such plants under the Clean Power Plan would have a profound impact on the manatee populations that rely on such sanctuaries to survive during the winter months. 

However in drafting the soon to be released Clean Power Plan, the President nor EPA took these impacts into consideration as would otherwise be required under the Endangered Species Act.

“This is troubling for the manatee, but even more disturbing is the possibility that the Obama administration would strategically disregard the law when it serves their interests or the President’s legacy,” said Julia Bell, press secretary for the House Natural Resources Committee.

The EPA has deflected charges the Agency failed to take into account the impact on certain endangered species like the Florida manatee, instead arguing the choice to close such power plants will be left to the states. However this argument holds little water given the Clean Power Plan’s compliance standards leave states with almost no “choice” but to shutter the plants.

While the outcome of this dilemma is still unclear, what is overwhelmingly clear is that nothing, not the destruction of thousands of people’s livelihoods or even the Endangered Species Act, will prevent the President from doing what he has to do to preserve his legacy.     

 

Photo Credit: Psyberartist

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Tom Magee

I'm no fan of the regressive, de-industrilization, so called 'progressives' but these manatees are no different than birds congregating around a snack bar at the airport. Using progressive, heart strings tactics to save the industrial revolution just doesn't seem right, IMO. We need no excuses to keep our way of life going.

JBRoux

I say save the manatee. Not as cuddly looking as a polar bear. So won't get the press. No pictures of a shut down coal plant with manatees on the shore shivering. They are big majestic beasts, maybe we can get solar heating for their winter havens.


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.

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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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Shaun

What does big government do with those extra big taxes? Spread it around to their campaign bundlers, Solyndra kickbacks, and Obama's Public Private Investment programs where Billionaires get Billions in non-recourse loans from the tax payers to invest. Why doesn't Clinton care? She gets her money tax free from the Clinton Charity scam. The big taxes of democrates goes to their rich buddies. How about the ObamaCare website? 500 million for a website that doesn't work without major band-aids. In the private sector it would be 25 million TOPS. That's why we don't want your confiscatory tax rates.

Marcus Landon

Oh please stop it. For generations, the top federal tax bracket exceeded 50% -- and we also actually taxed capital gains at a respectable rate.
And guess what? America prospered!
Bottom line, a large part of the very real and growing income gap is a direct result of federal tax policy. And the Grover Norquists, and other free market charlatans of the world, who worship capital but despise human beings, are too damn pig headed to acknowledge that without a very robust middle class, growth will always stagnate. The time to impose substantially higher top rates both on very high incomes and huge capital gains (seven figures), is long past due! The Club for Growth should be renamed to the
far more apt, Billionaires’ Growth Club.

cosmopolite

It is true that the top tax rate on income other than realised capital gains, ranged from 77% to 94%, 1936 to 1964. This top rate kicked in around 2.5-3.5M of income, in today's dollars. The top tax rate on realised capital gains was half that on other forms of income. What happened? Corporate CEOs were not paid more than about 520K/year. Investors were reluctant to sell stocks, fearing having to pay substantial taxes on the realised capital gains. Many trust funds invested primarily in municipal bonds, a poor protection against inflation. The wealthy donated a lot of their wealth to nonprofits. The share of wages in total incomes crept up, 1935-70. You decide whether all this was a desirable state of affairs.


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

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

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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.

rashirey

Excellent ideas !

samanna

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


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

                                              

Photo Credit: 
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.

knowbetter

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

AaA1960

The Obama...
The IRS isn't targeting anyone...
There isn't a smidgen of corruption in the IRS...


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”?

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

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Insure Guy

No removal of Koskinen will prove O'bama's guilt in the IRS scandil.

UnclePete1946

Remove him? How about prosecuting him and sending him to a SuperMax facility

guest

The IRS Commissioner needs to be removed ASAP!

Every country gets the government it deserves! If the USA votes for a president like Obama then it's our own damn fault.

Who are we going to vote for in 2016???


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
 

Photo Credit: 
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. 

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

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