Friday, July 18, 2014

Judicial Watch Smoking Gun Busts Open IRS Scandal, Again By Tom Fitton


June 17, 2014

The news just keeps going from bad to worse for President Obama and disgraced former IRS Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner, thanks in large part to Judicial Watch’s investigative work. 

JW has been instrumental in uncovering evidence of Lerner’s role in the IRS “Tea Party” scandal, obtaining records even Congress could not get – documents proving the nation’s tax collecting agency attempted to silence conservative organizations through abusive practices. 

And these discoveries led the Congress to push for more accountability. 

On Wednesday, May 7, 2014, the House of Representatives voted 231-187 to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify about the agency’s targeting of Tea Party groups. Moments after the contempt vote – and arguably more importantly – the House passed a separate resolution asking the Department of Justice (DOJ) to appoint a special counsel to probe the IRS over the scandal by a vote of 250-168, with 26 Democrats joining Republicans. 

And previously, on April 9, 2014, the House Ways and Means Committee voted to refer Lerner to the DOJ for criminal prosecution for alleged actions relating to the IRS’s targeting scandal. 

And now this, as reported by’s Katie Pavlich

Back in April, Judicial Watch released documents showing IRS officials, including former head of tax exempt groups Lois Lerner, discussing the possibility of bringing criminal charges against tea party groups for engaging in “political activity.” In fact, the documents showed Lerner wanted to make an example out of someone with charges in order to chill all of the groups in the tea party movement… 

Now according to a release from House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, Lerner had a database of tax exempt organizations sent to the FBI just before the 2010 midterm elections. That database included legally protected taxpayer information. Emails show Lerner and DOJ Election Crimes Branch official Richard Pilger discussing what format the FBI prefers when it comes to receiving information for their investigation. 

“Thanks Lois – FBI says Raw format is best because they can put it into their systems like excel,” Pilger wrote in an October 6, 2010 email to Lerner. 

So the Obama IRS worked with the FBI to advance a scheme to criminally prosecute conservative organizations in the final weeks of the campaign season! 

While at first the DOJ said the 1.1 million pages of records included only publicly available tax information, Justice officials ultimately reversed course, admitting that some confidential information was released as well. 

According to Reps. Darrell Issa and Jim Jordan in a letter to IRS commissioner John Koskinen: “This revelation that the IRS sent 1.1 million pages of nonprofit tax-return data — including confidential taxpayer information — to the FBI confirms suspicions that the IRS worked with the Justice Department to facilitate the potential investigation of nonprofit groups engaged in lawful political speech.” 

“[T]his revelation likely means that the IRS — including possibly Lois Lerner — violated federal tax law by transmitting this information to the Justice Department in 2010." 

From the very beginning of the IRS scandal, Judicial Watch has been unearthing the truth about Lerner’s efforts to harass and hamstring conservative organizations. 

JW’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and lawsuits resulted in revelations of Lerner’s collusion with the DOJ and the Federal Election Commission, as well as her spearheading efforts within the IRS to delay or block applications from Tea Party groups for 501(c)(4) tax exempt status. 

Judicial Watch’s leadership led Congress to uncover that the FBI is now part of the IRS abuse scandal. Where will it end? And when will someone be held criminally accountable? Eric Holder’s DOJ and the FBI are now supposed to be investigating themselves? This is untenable. 

In addition to Judicial Watch’s independent investigation, we need a special counsel – who isn’t a stooge of Obama or of Eric Holder – to investigate this administration, an idea with which even twenty-six House Democrats already agree.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Newly-released WH email shows Rice talking points on Benghazi politically motivated By Ed Morrissey

April 29, 2014

If this isn’t a smoking gun on Benghazi, at least on the controversy over the talking points that blamed a YouTube video rather than the terrorists who plotted and then conducted the attack, then it’s not clear what would qualify. Judicial Watch forced the release of additional White House e-mails relating to the evolution of the talking points and finds a rather bald-faced admission of Obama administration interests in Susan Rice’s television appearances the following Sunday. The YouTube story was designed to distract from “policy failures,” according to Barack Obama’s aide Ben Rhodes:


Judicial Watch announced today that on April 18, 2014, it obtained 41 new Benghazi-related State Department documents. They include a newly declassified email showing then-White House Deputy Strategic Communications Adviser Ben Rhodes and other Obama administration public relations officials attempting to orchestrate a campaign to “reinforce” President Obama and to portray the Benghazi consulate terrorist attack as being “rooted in an Internet video, and not a failure of policy.”  Other documents show that State Department officials initially described the incident as an “attack” a possible kidnap attempt.

The documents were released Friday as result of a June 21, 2013, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed against the Department of State (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:13-cv-00951)) to gain access to documents about the controversial talking points used by then-UN Ambassador Susan Rice for a series of appearances on television Sunday news programs on September 16, 2012.  Judicial Watch had been seeking these documents since October 18, 2012.

The Rhodes email was sent on sent on Friday, September 14, 2012, at 8:09 p.m. with the subject line:  “RE: PREP CALL with Susan, Saturday at 4:00 pm ET.”  The documents show that the “prep” was for Amb. Rice’s Sunday news show appearances to discuss the Benghazi attack.

The document lists as a “Goal”: “To underscore that these protests are rooted in and Internet video, and not a broader failure or policy.”

Rhodes returns to the “Internet video” scenario later in the email, the first point in a section labeled “Top-lines”:

[W]e’ve made our views on this video crystal clear. The United States government had nothing to do with it. We reject its message and its contents. We find it disgusting and reprehensible. But there is absolutely no justification at all for responding to this movie with violence. And we are working to make sure that people around the globe hear that message.

Among the top administration PR personnel who received the Rhodes memo were White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, Deputy Press Secretary Joshua Earnest, then-White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer, then-White House Deputy Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri, then-National Security Council Director of Communications Erin Pelton, Special Assistant to the Press Secretary Howli Ledbetter, and then-White House Senior Advisor and political strategist Davie Plouffe.

That’s a rather extensive distribution list, and that prompts another question:

Didn’t the White House insist that they’d offered complete transparency to Congress and the public on the talking points? It was just eleven months ago that the White House claimed to have released their whole archive on the development of those talking points and accused the GOP of “doctoring” them to make their critical response look political. The Washington Post gave White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer three Pinocchios for that claim. Hopefully, Glenn Kessler has a few more Pinocchios in reserve, now that this bombshell has hit.

It’s possible to read this as an extension of a sincere belief that the video caused a riot which led to the attack. By the time this e-mail was written, there was plenty of evidence — even in the e-mail chain itself — to show that wasn’t the case, but let’s say for argument’s sake that Rhodes actually thought this argument was valid. The flip side of it is that, since it wasn’t an ad-hoc demonstration that turned into a riot, the takeaway should be that this was the result of “a broader failure or policy” from the Obama administration. Right?

Update: Fixed a couple of typos, thanks to an e-mail from the indispensable Jeryl Bier. (Took a couple of tries, though.)