James Morrone Jr

EPA Playing Fast, Loose, and Possibly Illegal, with WOTUS

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Posted by James Morrone Jr on Friday, January 29th, 2016, 9:54 AM PERMALINK

In an effort to further promote their Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule, the EPA may have violated the Financial Services and Government appropriations Act of 2014, according to a recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). How they broke the law; through their use of government funds for “unauthorized publicity and propaganda” and the use of “indirect or grassroots lobbying”. To put it simply, the EPA used government funds, designated for other purposes, to orchestrate false support for their new land grab.

In a thinly veiled attempt to spin their rule into something more presentable, they used a crowd speaking website known as Thunderclap. The EPA set up an initial page and support goal, and when that goal was reached, Thunderclap would send out a tweet previously made by the EPA that would be automatically sent out by the campaign supporters, and thus spreading the message. Thunderclap estimates the EPA’s message reached almost 2 million people.  The GAO argues that since the EPA did not take responsibility for the tweets themselves, they violated the statute. 

They didn’t stop there either; they continued their grassroots campaign through the use of two outside websites in favor of the rule. Through the use of hyperlinks, the EPA allowed and promoted travel to websites, for the Surfrider Foundation and National Resources Defense Council, with opinions and blogs that would attempt to trick people into being in favor of the rule.  This collusion clearly is against the statute, and even though the EPA didn’t directly post, they sent traffic to these sites, once more likely violating the statute. 

This ignorance of the law by the EPA did not go unnoticed and was soon questioned by Senators Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.). They petitioned the GAO to further back their claims. Low and behold, the GAO agreed that the EPA had violated the law, and thus should begin their own internal investigation into the matter. 

Shockingly, the EPA ignored this and the Senators turned to the Attorney General to resolve the issue. In a letter to Attorney General Lynch, Senators Inhofe and Sasse stated:

“The Constitution is clear: ‘No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law… The Antideficiency Act is a tool, enshrined in law, designed to defend this basic principle. In effect, it says that any government employee who spends money not authorized by Congress has violated the principle of separation of powers.”

This power and land grab by the Obama Administration’s EPA only further exemplifies the lengths the Agency and Administration will go to further their agenda by skirting the will of the American people, Congress, and possibly the law.

 

Photo credit: TexasGOPVote.com

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Grover’s Stance on Internet Access Tax

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Posted by James Morrone Jr on Thursday, January 28th, 2016, 5:08 PM PERMALINK

The tax guru, Grover Norquist, recently wrote a piece featured in National Review explaining the need for a permanent ban and how the issue has been passed to following sessions of Congress.  A tax on the Internet has never been an acceptable ideal, and both parties have repeatedly voted to keep a ban on such a tax in place.  Unfortunately, these bans have all been temporary, thus forcing a new vote to occur every so often. 

Take action here to make the Internet Tax Ban permanent! 

Shockingly enough, Minority Leader Harry Reid and his cronies are stirring up a new fight to remove the ban from current legislation.  As Grover states is his own article,

“One of the greatest barriers to Internet access is cost. For example, a tax that increased the price of Internet access by just 1 percent would reduce demand for Internet access.”

Check out the full article on National Review.  

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Bernie's Big Government Tax Plan

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Posted by James Morrone Jr on Tuesday, January 26th, 2016, 3:06 PM PERMALINK

As we all know, Bernie Sanders is a declared Socialist with very blunt intentions of raising taxes for everyone. He recently displayed his tax plan if he is elected.  Shockingly enough, there are significant increases across the board. The goal of the plan is to fully cover the costs of his single-payer healthcare plan that he claims would cost $1.4 trillion, with others claiming it would cost up to $2.8 trillion. His tax plan only is supposed to bring in $1.4 trillion annually, leaving a massive deficit of $14 trillion over a span of ten years.

To begin, Sanders’s proposal leads with an increase of the income rate to 52% for the top tax bracket. Included in this plan would be increases in all of the tax brackets, not only the ones for the wealthier Americans. This is due to his new tax on healthcare premiums of 2.2% that will force another unaffordable tax upon American households.  In fact, only those making $28,800 or less will be exempt, leaving whopping total of 74% of the households paying higher taxes. 

Unfortunately, he continues with this tax extravaganza with a new payroll tax of 6.2% that would be applied to employers. A very big caveat is the understanding of the effects of such a tax would have on wages and workers. By this, it means that the wages could either decrease or stay stagnant, even though Sanders’s claims that workers will be taking home 6% more after taxes. I’m going to put my money on the economists over the socialist on this one.

And that still is not all either, he continues to increase the capital gains and the death tax too. Under his plan, capital gains will now be subject to an increase from 23.8% to 52%, a gross increase. There is already a current problem with the double taxing of capital gains and will only harm further business endeavors and economic growth. 

It makes sense though, a socialist tax plan to pay for a socialist healthcare system.  This tax will only hamper economic growth in a still fragile economy whilst at the same time slamming the ever evaporating middle class with new taxes that they cannot afford, specifically, over $1 trillion dollars in new taxes levied against the American people to fund his flawed agenda.  

Photo credit: Brookings Institution 

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Obama Goes in for the Kill on Coal

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Posted by James Morrone Jr on Friday, January 22nd, 2016, 9:31 AM PERMALINK

The business of leasing public lands to mine and drill on has been happening over the course of a century in the United States.  Now that President Obama faces no more elections, he is going in for the kill of this industry vital to affordable and reliable energy production.  Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewel, under the instruction of President Obama, will be issuing a moratorium on federal land leases for the use of coal mining.  According to the Department of the Interior, this moratorium will stay in place for at least three years, if not longer. 

This move can have a great effect on energy prices across the nation, let alone taking another shot at the mining industry.  Even after all the attempts the administration has made to hurt and weaken the industry, coal still makes up 39% of all energy production.  The other more lauded renewable energy sources only make up a whopping 7% of the total amount of energy produced, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.  From the output alone, it is odd that this attack on coal would come without a viable replacement to pick up the slack in energy production.

The green movement has already set its sights on the second highest energy provider of reliable base load energy production, the natural gas sector.  Members of the green movement like Bill McKibben have said, "set the precedent that must quickly be applied to oil and gas as well."  This effort to weaken and remove 66% of the current energy production in the nation is absurd.  According to Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, Bishop explained,”

"Unfortunately, the President’s bid to solidify his legacy with the extreme left will come at the expense of America’s energy needs and will make the lives of people more expensive and more uncomfortable."

Hidden within this act, is a dark irony the administration sweeps under the rug.  Through the leasing programs, the federal government was able to secure $1.29 billion in returns.  The federal government would share the revenues collected with the states that contain the lead land.  In 2014 alone, Wyoming received more than $550 million in royalties resulting from lands leased for mining purposes.  This action will indirectly harm those not even involved in the mining industry, which is wrong and unjust. 

The next president will have the choice of whether to protect these vital energy producing industries and save the livelihoods of thousands of hardworking Americans, or continue an ideological crusade, and as such the decision in November carries even more weight. 

 

Photo credit: Jose Luis Agapito

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