Refuting Democratic suggestions that progressive groups were also swept up in the IRS probe of the tax status of Tea Party organizations, the Treasury Department's inspector general has revealed that just six progressive groups were targeted compared to 292 conservative groups.
In a letter to congressional Democrats, the inspector general also said that 100 percent of Tea Party groups seeking special tax status were put under IRS review, while only 30 percent of the progressive groups felt the same pressure.
The Wednesday letter to the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee punched a huge hole in Democratic claims that progressive groups were targeted as much as the Tea Party groups from May 2010-May 2012, the height of the Tea Party movement.
The letter from the Treasury Department Inspector General for Tax Administration revealed that there just weren't many progressive groups who even sought special tax exempt status. A total of 20 sought it, and six were probed. All 292 Tea Party groups, meanwhile, were part of the IRS witchhunt.
"At this point, the evidence shows us that conservative groups were not only flagged, but targeted and abused by the IRS," said Sarah Swinehart spokeswoman for the Ways and Means Committee.
"As we gather the facts, we will follow them wherever they lead us. Chairman [Rep. David] Camp encourages all groups, regardless of political affiliation, that feel they may have been targeted to come forward and share their story."
Democrats had noticed that the word "progressives" was on the so-called Be On The Lookout, or BOLO, list. But the Treasury IG suggested that the list wasn't used.
The operative paragraph from the IG letter:
"Based on the information you flagged regarding the existence of a 'Progressives' entry on BOLO lists, TIGTA performed additional research which determined that six tax-exempt applications filed between May 2010 and May 2012 having the words 'progress' or 'progressive' in their names were included in the 298 cases the IRS identified as potential political cases. We also determined that 14 tax-exempt applications filed between May 2010 and May 2012 using the words 'progress' or 'progressive' in their names were not referred for added scrutiny as potential political cases. In total, 30 percent of the organizations we identified with the words 'progress' or "progressive" in their names were processed as potential political cases. In comparison, our audit found that 100 percent of the tax-exempt applications with Tea Party, Patriots, or 9/12 in their names were processed as potential political cases during the timeframe of our audit."
A TEA Party Rebuttal to the misguided attacks by the Republican Establishment and Conservative Media on Ted Cruz and the TEA Party
March 1, 2014
By Tom Zawistowski, President of the Ohio Citizens PAC
In recent weeks a coordinated attack has been launched by the Republican Establishment on Senator Ted Cruz and any Congressman associated with the TEA Party, to belittle their efforts to do what is necessary to reign in an out-of-control government that even liberal law professor Jonathan Turley describes as being at a “constitutional tipping point.” This attack has been waged, using media stories by prominent conservative columnists, to label Cruz as “irresponsible”, “misguided”, “self-serving” and inferring that he is a using the TEA Party to benefit his own fortunes while single-handedly destroying Republican chances to win the Senate. We contend that nothing could be further from the truth and we will prove it.
The storyline the establishment is selling, that was articulated by Thomas Sowell and other well respected commentators like Charles Krauthamer, Kim Strassel, and more, is that “the only way to repeal Obamacare is to win the Senate”, and that anyone who doesn’t understand that is tactically misguided and, in Cruz’s case, destructive. To them it is perfectly fine for the Republicans in the Senate and the House to prostrate themselves in the face of an out-of-control executive branch that is spending us into oblivion, gutting our military, and destroying the personal finances of millions of American families through the implementation of Obamacare - as long as Republicans take the Senate and keep the House.
What the corporate-owned Establishment Republicans, like John McCain and John Boehner, want us to believe is that somehow, like magic, when the Republicans have control of the Senate, and presumably win the Presidency in 2016 with some “moderate” big-government proponent, that things will be different. That they will act conservatively, repeal Obamacare, reign in government spending and suddenly be all for lessoning their own power. Unfortunately, history tells a much different story, and we in the TEA Party know that it is a lie intended only to protect the Republicans Establishment’s power and money.
What Thomas Sowell and the others fail to add into their calculus is the fact that the 27 Republican Senators who threw Ted Cruz under the bus to end the President’s government shutdown, will mostly still be in office in 2016 and beyond -unless we elect someone else. We know that nothing will change as long as the same people, elected and un-elected, remain in control of our Government. As a case in point, no one can possibly defend the out-of-control spending and growth of government during the Bush Administration when the Republican Establishment did have total control and there was no TEA Party to stop them. Yet the conservative media is foolish enough to believe the Establishment Republicans when they shout that the answer to our out-of-control federal government is to have “less” TEA Party Representatives when they take back the Senate and the White House? That is laughable.
For another example just look at our state of Ohio where in 2010 the TEA Party elected every Republican from dog catcher to Governor. Republicans now hold super majorities in the House and the Senate and control the State Supreme Court. Total, supposedly conservative, Republican control led by a man that the Washington media continues to falsely hold up as conservative. What has that gotten us? How about a 23% increase in state spending over Kasich’s four years, the forced implementation of Medicaid Expansion through the Controlling Board against the wishes of the Republican legislature and 65% of registered Republicans, unemployment that is going up not down, and a state economy that is 43rd in the nation in job growth because our supposedly conservative Governor will not pass Workplace Freedom or even Pay Check protection, while neighboring Michigan and Indiana did so and rank in the top 10 in job growth. John Kasich is as Establishment Republican as they come and he is no conservative. Electing the Republican Establishment is not the solution, it is the problem!
It is our position that Ted Cruz has been nearly 100% correct in his principled efforts to force Senate Republicans to vote on cloture during the recent debt-ceiling vote; to not endorse Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn or the other Establishment Republicans; and yes, to filibuster to stop Obamacare from being implemented and stopping millions of Americans from losing their healthcare. The Republican Establishment, including the Washington media establishment, panicked last September when they saw that the TEA Party Conservatives in the House and in the Senate would actually act for the American people during the Continuing Resolution and Debt Ceiling debate in an attempt to stop the ravages of Obamacare. The Establishment could not believe that such a thing was possible in a town where the only things that normally matter are keeping power and collecting as much of the taxpayers’ money as possible for their handlers. So the Establishment Republicans joined their big government allies in the Democrat Party to intentionally sabotage the principled stands that Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and House Conservatives made, and that the American People wanted, by cooperating with the President in shutting down the Government.
John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell pulled out all the stops to demonize, chastise and undermine Cruz by falsely contending that “Shutting Down the Government would cost Republicans the Senate in 2014” and supporting the outrageous lies that “Obamacare was the law of land and could not be changed.” Which is proven a lie by the President’s 27 unilateral changes to the law since then and today nobody cares who “shut down” the government last October.
The fact of the matter is that all the House Republicans had to do was call the President’s bluff and keep voting to fund everything but Obamacare, until hell froze over, and we would have at least delayed Obamacare and restored some balance of power against this out-of-control President. They did not because they were told that they could not win by their own “leaders” who were more concerned about keeping their own jobs and power than they were about the American people. It is beyond pathetic to those of us who live in the real world, that anyone elected to such an important office would agree to hurt millions of people simply because of “pressure” by the media to do something they know is wrong.
If not for the scurrilous efforts of the Establishment Republicans, Obamacare implementation would have been at least delayed and millions of Americans would have been saved untold misery and expense. But standing with Cruz and the House TEA Party Republicans would have threatened their power, and they could not let that happen. Thus the relentless attacks by Republicans on Cruz and the TEA Party ever since in an attempt to kill the threat.
The Republican Establishment is gaming the media and trying to turn the American people against the Cruz and the TEA Party because they are afraid that they have been exposed. This ruse that “We can’t change anything until we have the Senate” and “the pain caused by Obamacare is what will bring us a win in November” is simply an excuse to do nothing in an effort to keep their power by keep anyone from running against them.
Their actions belie their own words. If the “key” to winning in November is to keep the focus on Obamacare, then why would it be such an outrage for Cruz to have lead another filibuster during the debt-ceiling vote, or even the omnibus spending bill vote, with the point being that no Republican will vote for ANYTHING until Obamacare is delayed in an effort to protect the projected 50 million Americans who will be adversely affected by it this year? Such a tactic could have curtailed our outrageous spending and borrowing, while also aligning Republicans with the will of the American people AND keeping the media focus on Obamacare!!! That is what they say they want to do, but that is not what they really want to do. Supporting such a tactic would not only win this fall’s elections, but put the Republicans on the side of the common man for the first time since Reagan!
It is obvious to those of us outside the Washington bubble that the “misguided” are not Ted Cruz or the TEA Party, but the conservative media who are buying this ruse and are complicit in selling it to the American people. History and the facts simply do not support the case the Republican Establishment is making that they can be trusted to fix anything if given power. It is imperative that FreedomWorks, TEA Party Patriots, Heritage, the Senate Conservative Fund, and most importantly the millions of individual members of the TEA Party, do everything they can to defeat the likes of Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell, John Coryn and all the other Establishment Republicans. Our experience shows, that if we do not, nothing will change if Republicans get the Senate and then the White House. John Boehner said that they could not pass Immigration Reform because they could not trust the President. Unfortunately the majority of Americans feel the same way about everyone in government - and for good reason.
The leader of a super PAC that is using donations from labor unions to wage war on the Tea Party went on MSNBC to say that Sen. Ted Cruz should leave the Republican party.
Former Rep. Steven LaTourette is a member in the establishment's war on the Tea Party. His deceptively named "Defending Main Street" PAC is being financed primarily by Wall Street and labor unions, which have contributed at least 20% to the group's fundraising haul.
In an appearance on MSNBC's The Last Word on Tuesday, LaTourette said that Cruz was "reprehensible" for forcing Republicans to go on the record to advance a bill to raise the debt ceiling without reducing spending. Cruz forced those like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) to vote to move the bill to the floor. McConnell said he had to act to "protect the country" before then voting against final passage of the bill, which passed with no Republican support.
"I don't think he is a Republican, to tell you the truth," LaTourette said on MSNBC, dividing Republicans on a liberal outlet that has vilified Republicans to the point where RNC Chairman Reince Priebus had previously called for a boycott. "I wish he would stop being a Republican and leave the party. That would be a nice thing."
LaTourette continued to criticize Cruz and conservatives for trying to "cannibalize" and "criticize" the party without mentioning that conservatives have been frustrated that when Republicans--like LaTourette--finally got control of government during the 2000s they expanded it instead of shrinking it. Conservative voters have elected those like Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) to make the GOP more reflective of its voters that have beentrending more conservative the last 13 years since the "Boomtown" GOP crowd started controlling the federal government.
Yet, the more LaTourette and his gang of establishment Republicans want to get rid of Cruz and declare their hatred of him, the more his favorability ratings among conservatives and Tea Partiers rise.
News organizations often disagree about what Americans need to know. MSNBC, for example, apparently believes that traffic in Fort Lee, N.J., is the crisis of our time. Fox News, on the other hand, chooses to cover the September 2012 attacks on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi more heavily than other networks. The American people, for their part, disagree about what they want to watch.
But everyone should agree on this: The government has no place pressuring media organizations into covering certain stories.
Unfortunately, the Federal Communications Commission, where I am a commissioner, does not agree. Last May the FCC proposed an initiative to thrust the federal government into newsrooms across the country. With its "Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs," or CIN, the agency plans to send researchers to grill reporters, editors and station owners about how they decide which stories to run. A field test in Columbia, S.C., is scheduled to begin this spring.
The purpose of the CIN, according to the FCC, is to ferret out information from television and radio broadcasters about "the process by which stories are selected" and how often stations cover "critical information needs," along with "perceived station bias" and "perceived responsiveness to underserved populations."
How does the FCC plan to dig up all that information? First, the agency selected eight categories of "critical information" such as the "environment" and "economic opportunities," that it believes local newscasters should cover. It plans to ask station managers, news directors, journalists, television anchors and on-air reporters to tell the government about their "news philosophy" and how the station ensures that the community gets critical information.
The FCC also wants to wade into office politics. One question for reporters is: "Have you ever suggested coverage of what you consider a story with critical information for your customers that was rejected by management?" Follow-up questions ask for specifics about how editorial discretion is exercised, as well as the reasoning behind the decisions.
Participation in the Critical Information Needs study is voluntary—in theory. Unlike the opinion surveys that Americans see on a daily basis and either answer or not, as they wish, the FCC's queries may be hard for the broadcasters to ignore. They would be out of business without an FCC license, which must be renewed every eight years.
This is not the first time the agency has meddled in news coverage. Before Critical Information Needs, there was the FCC's now-defunct Fairness Doctrine, which began in 1949 and required equal time for contrasting viewpoints on controversial issues. Though the Fairness Doctrine ostensibly aimed to increase the diversity of thought on the airwaves, many stations simply chose to ignore controversial topics altogether, rather than air unwanted content that might cause listeners to change the channel.
The Fairness Doctrine was controversial and led to lawsuits throughout the 1960s and '70s that argued it infringed upon the freedom of the press. The FCC finally stopped enforcing the policy in 1987, acknowledging that it did not serve the public interest. In 2011 the agency officially took it off the books. But the demise of the Fairness Doctrine has not deterred proponents of newsroom policing, and the CIN study is a first step down the same dangerous path.
The FCC says the study is merely an objective fact-finding mission. The results will inform a report that the FCC must submit to Congress every three years on eliminating barriers to entry for entrepreneurs and small businesses in the communications industry.
This claim is peculiar. How can the news judgments made by editors and station managers impede small businesses from entering the broadcast industry? And why does the CIN study include newspapers when the FCC has no authority to regulate print media?
Should all stations follow MSNBC's example and cut away from a discussion with a former congresswoman about the National Security Agency's collection of phone records to offer live coverage of Justin Bieber's bond hearing? As a consumer of news, I have an opinion. But my opinion shouldn't matter more than anyone else's merely because I happen to work at the FCC.
Mr. Pai is a commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission.
The report, “The Status of the Tea Party: Membership, Support and Sympathy by the Numbers,” looks at the state of the movement that arose in response to Barack Obama’s far-left agenda and helped Republicans regain the House in 2010.The group is led by Leonard Zeskind, who describes himself as “a leading authority on white nationalist political and social movements.” He was trained as a community activist and and has work for more than a decade in the field.
“Against IREHR’s expectations, the national organizations at the center of the tea party movement have maintained stable memberships in 2013,” states the report, which analyzes membership, location and commitment to the ideals of the movement.
“During the past year, tea parties have endured leadership changes, significant splits, and the emergence of competitive forces. Nevertheless, core membership numbers have neither receded nor died, but grown by four percent.”
The report notes that opposition to the tea party’s goals have “hardened,” but tea-party members have responded by a surge of commitment.
The report says the “core membership” is estimated at more than half-a-million people, concentrated geographically in the South, even though some local groups no longer are “active” and staging events.
“At its core, this report is a wakeup call for everyone who cares about human rights. The tea party threat to human rights remains persistent on a multitude of fronts,” Zeskind said.
The author of the report, Devin Burghart, warned: “Tea partiers are more than minions for millionaires, or the sum of ballots cast on Election Day. They are not illusions created by public relations magicians. Over the last five years, real people have been involved in real activities aimed at impacting politics, culture, and civil society in negative ways.”
The study charges that tea-party members, essentially, are racist.
“The tea party movement has been populated by large numbers of self-motivated persons, obviously angry and dismayed by the presidency of Barack Obama, his policies, and the change he signifies – particularly the fact that he has broken the white monopoly on the presidency.”
But the movement should not be ignored or discounted, the study warns.
“To claim that these individuals and their actions are somehow ‘fake’ ‘ignores the substantial evidence to the contrary, belittles those involved, and makes it more difficult to muster effective countervailing strategies,” it says.
The study identifies those who are “sympathizers” and explains it is this group that influences polls that “sometimes falsely conclude … that the tea party movement was dead or dying” through their answers to pollsters.
IREHR quotes charges by University of Washington political scientists Christopher Parker and Matt Barreto, who also claim racism in the tea party.
But the report notes that when a government scandal emerges, such as this summer’s revelations that Internal Revenue Service was discriminating against conservative groups, support for the tea party spikes upward.
The report defines another group as “supporters” of the tea party, estimating it numbers 6 million to 8 million.
Then there are “members,” who make “a powerful statement in a low-commitment culture.”
They “make calls, knock on doors, organize meetings, recruit new members, become leaders, and more,” the report said. It identifies five groups leading the national movement: FreedomWorks, Tea Party Patriots, Patriot Action Network, Tea Party Nation and Tea Party Express.
The report notes that each one of those organizations faced obstacles during 2013, “nevertheless, all five of these national tea party factions continue to expand their membership base.”
The report said the criticism from “progressive pundits” that the movement is AstroTurf – driven from the top by large sums of money from a handful of people – is wrong. So is the view held by “Beltway political reporters” that it is about electoral campaigns.
“In both instances, movement dynamics, influence, and overall societal impact are ignored. … From the earliest days of the tea party movement … the evidence has suggested to IREHR that neither of these positions captures the full story of the tea party movement.”
The report also examines tea-party participation by region and state.
Victory in Peruta v. San Diego: Ninth Circuit Confirms Right to Carry Arms in Public
Posted on February 14, 2014
In a tremendous victory for the right to keep and bear arms, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has confirmed that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to carry firearms for self-defense in public. The landmark decision came in the NRA-supported case of Peruta v. San Diego County, brought on behalf of the CRPA Foundation and five individuals who were denied carry licenses by the San Diego Sheriff. In its ruling, this federal court struck down a San Diego County Sheriff’s policy that prevented most law-abiding adults from getting a license to carry a firearm.
California law generally prohibits the carrying of firearms in public places, but allows sheriffs and chiefs of police to issue licenses to carry that exempt people from that prohibition. California law also sets out criteria for issuing those licenses. An applicant must: 1) be a resident of their respective city or county, 2) be of “good moral character,” and 3) have “good cause” for such a license. Applicants must also pass a firearms training course.
Although many rural California counties accept self-defense as “good cause” to get a license to carry, many urban sheriffs and scores of urban chiefs of police across California have a policy, like that of San Diego Sheriff William Gore, that does not recognize self-defense as sufficient “good cause” to get a license to carry. Instead, San Diego requires individuals to prove that they have a special need, beyond the desire to defend themselves and their families, in order to get a license. Under this heightened standard nearly all citizens are disqualified. So Sheriff Gore’s restrictive policy was essentially a ban on carrying firearms outside the home for most law-abiding adults, including the plaintiffs.
Peruta was filed in the federal district court in October 2009. That court upheld Sheriff Gore’s policy as constitutional, so the plaintiffs immediately appealed that decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The case got a great deal of attention when former Solicitor General, Paul Clement joined plaintiffs’ legal team. Mr. Clement argued eloquently on behalf of gun owners before the Ninth Circuit on December 6, 2012.
In its opinion reversing the district court’s decision, the Court of Appeals held that San Diego’s “good cause” policy is unconstitutional, and echoed the points made in the briefs and by Mr. Clement at oral argument; that the government can ban open carry or concealed carry, but the Second Amendment prohibits the government from banning both.
Peruta was one of many cases that have been filed all over the country challenging the constitutionality of laws limiting the issuance of licenses to carry a firearm in public since the U.S. Supreme Court confirmed in 2008 and 2010 that the Second Amendment prohibits state and local governments from infringing the right to keep and beararms. The cases decided since then have met with mixed results. Many were unfavorable and contrary to theHeller decision’s analysis. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals did confirm the right to carry is protected outside the home in its opinion in another NRA-supported case, Shepard v. Madigan. The Peruta court was heavily influenced by the rulings in the Sheppard and Moore cases. But those decisions did not go as far as Peruta, because the issue of carry licenses was not before the court in them. So Peruta is the first appellate decision to hold that licenses to carry cannot be denied to law-abiding citizens just because they do not have a special need to carry.
The Peruta ruling is a significant victory for the Second Amendment, and for the constitutional rights of all Americans, especially those in the Ninth Circuit. We want our members and supporters to know that your hard work and loyalty is paying big dividends in the vindication of the Second Amendment.
MEDIA NOTES: PDF Copy of Letter and ONG Documents Attached
Documents show more "targeting" of TEA Party by Feds
Akron, OH: We the People Convention President, Tom Zawistowski, sent a letter today to Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan demanding an immediate investigation into what he called "an even more onerous type of targeting" of TEA Party Groups by the Federal Governement. The letter was sent after a story appeared today on the Ohio media website, www.Mediatrackers.org, based on Ohio National Gaurd documents acquired through a FOIA request, about an ONG training drill conducted last January (2013) in Portsmouth, Ohio.
The “fictional target” of that real military drill was a group “where Second Amendment supporters with “anti-government” opinions were portrayed as domestic terrorists.” according to the documents released by the ONG. Zawistowski's letter demands to know "How many similar “drills” have been and are being conducted around the nation with TEA Party type groups or individuals as the target? Who decided we should be the “target” and why? In what percentage of “drills” were we the target compared to radical Islamist who present a real threat to our national security?"
In his letter, Zawistowski said "Those of us in the TEA Party movement have been aware of targeting by the military, CIA and NSA, of our movement for several years, such as putting the TEA Party and Religious Conservatives on the HSA terrorism watch lists. However, until now, we had not seen actual proof of military exercises design to prepare our military to “control” members of our movement and we are outraged by this revelation."
He concludes his letter by stating "We will not be intimidated by this out-of-control lawless executive branch. We will not stop exercising our Constitutional rights and participating in the political process. We will not sit back and allow criminal activity by OUR Federal Government without taking peaceful action to hold those responsible accountable. We urge you to take this new information and investigate the full scope of this activity so that the American people will get yet another look at the un-American actions condoned by this Administration. We will do everything we can to aid Congress in its investigation and look forward to knowing the truth about this latest level of targeting of the TEA Party movement and our fellow conservatives."
I write to you today in anger over the continued targeting and profiling of TEA Party members, and conservatives in general, by what is supposed to be OUR Federal Government. Let me be clear, we appreciate your continued efforts to investigate and stop the unlawful targeting of our groups and individuals by the IRS and the Treasury Department, which we exposed to you in 2011. However, with this letter I bring you evidence of yet another, even more onerous, type of targeting that now must also be investigated and stopped.
Today, the Ohio-based media website, www.Mediatrackers.org ran a very disturbing story, based on ONG documents acquired through a FOIA request, about an Ohio National Guard training drill conducted last January (2013) in Portsmouth, Ohio. The “fictional target” of that real military drill was a group “where Second Amendment supporters with “anti-government” opinions were portrayed as domestic terrorists.” We were aware of this drill at the time but had no evidence that OUR Federal Government was preparing OUR National Guard to defend against us - the TEA Party!
Those of us in the TEA Party movement have been aware of targeting by the military, CIA and NSA, of our movement for several years, such as putting the TEA Party and Religious Conservatives on the HSA terrorism watch lists. However, until now, we had not seen actual proof of military exercises designed to prepare our military to “control” members of our movement, and we are outraged by this revelation. I have attached a copy of the Ohio National Guard document to this letter for your review, and we certainly expect that your staff will go online to read the full story.
With this letter we demand a full and complete investigation of this additional targeting of our movement. How many similar “drills” have been and are being conducted around the nation with TEA Party type groups or individuals as the target? Who decided we should be the “target” and why? In what percentage of “drills” were we the target compared to radical Islamists who present a real threat to our national security? We demand answers and we demand that this targeting be stopped immediately.
Our movement has been unfairly characterized as racists, bigots, nazis, islamophobes and every other slur the left could concoct without a shred of evidence. So now our military is conducting drills with us as the target because we are somehow a perceived threat? We are not terrorists. We as common citizens who want to stop OUR Federal Government from bankrupting our nation, from destroying our health care system and from violating our individual rights. This latest targeting is simply outrageous.
It is even more outrageous when your read the story and find that the ONG was planning another “drill” in which “anti-fracking” groups were the “fictional terrorists”. The ONG changed the target after being confronted by the left, and even apologized to them, despite the fact that anti-fracking groups have actually attacked a drilling site in Ohio and had committed a real terrorist act!!! They get an apology? Where is our apology? They change the target when confronted by the left because they are convinced it is inappropriate, despite evidence to the contrary, and no one in OUR Federal Government can figure out that painting TEA Party members as terrorists is simply wrong??? It’s the IRS all over again. No one in OUR Federal Government will stand up and do what is right, even when they know it is wrong!
Our record speaks for itself. We stood up for the past four years against ObamaCare because we knew that it can not work and will not work and that it will destroy our health care system. The facts now prove that we were correct. We were right about the IRS targeting, by their own admission, yet few believed us when we first brought it to light. We were right about having our phone calls, emails and web searches monitored and we now know that is true. Now we have real evidence that OUR Federal Government is in fact instructing branches of our military to make plans to “deal with” American citizens who dared to question the actions of our government, who dared to defend their 2nd Amendment rights and who dared to organize and speak out peacefully for a conservative approach to our nation’s problems.
We will not be intimidated by this out-of-control lawless executive branch. We will not stop exercising our Constitutional rights and participating in the political process. We will not sit back and allow criminal activity by OUR Federal Government without taking peaceful action to hold those responsible accountable.
We urge you to take this new information and investigate the full scope of this activity so that the American people will get yet another look at the un-American actions condoned by this Administration. We will do everything we can to aid Congress in its investigation and look forward to knowing the truth about this latest level of targeting of the TEA Party movement and our fellow conservatives.
With Sincere Disgust,
Thomas R. Zawistowski
We The People Convention, Inc.
1- 800-846-4630 Ext 104
Apology issued for terror training scenario
Posted: Thursday, December 12, 2013 5:45 pm | Updated: 8:22 pm, Fri Dec 13, 2013.
By STEVE ROBB Messenger staff journalist
An apology was issued Thursday for the scenario that was used in an Athens County exercise to train emergency responders in the event of a terrorist incident.
The scenario involved a fake anti-fracking extremist group.
“The Athens County Emergency Management Agency and the Athens County LEPC (Local Emergency Planning Committee) are issuing this release to apologize for our choice of scenario...,” stated a news release issued Thursday afternoon.
“The scenario caused distress to people who have spent countless hours striving to protect the environment and our citizens,” the release stated. “The role of the Athens County Emergency Management Agency and LEPC is to protect our citizens (from) natural as well as man-made disasters. We strive to bring our county together and our standard is to remain neutral on local issues. We fell short of that standard.”
The news release was issued by Fred Davis, director of Athens County EMA, and Dan Pfeiffer, chairman of the Athens County LEPC.
“There was no intent to offend any local group, and it (the scenario) was not based on any local group,” Pfeiffer told The Messenger.
Roxanne Groff, a member of the Athens County Fracking Action Network, was at Thursday’s Athens County Commissioners meeting on another matter. She ask the commissioners to seek an apology from Pfeiffer.
Groff said that because local groups are trying to educate the public on fracking, she was offended that fracking was a topic of the scenario. Groff said she is supportive of the training that was taking place.
“Fracking is in the news because we’re concerned about it,” Groff said.
Commissioner President Lenny Eliason, who at the time Groff made the request did not know how the scenario originated, said he also thought it was inappropriate.
“You want to have it as realistic as possible, but you don’t want to single out an issue as emotional as that,” Eliason said.
Commissioner Charlie Adkins said he thought the choice of scenarios was divisive.
; Twitter @SteveRmessenger
Beware the left-wing-funded “Main Street” Republicans
by Michelle Malkin
What do George Soros, labor unions and money-grubbing former GOP Rep. Steven LaTourette all have in common? They’re control freaks. They’re power hounds. They’re united against tea party conservatives. And they all have operated under the umbrella of D.C. groups masquerading as “Main Street” Republicans.
LaTourette heads up the so-called “Main Street Partnership,” which claims to represent “thoughtful,” “pragmatic,” “common sense” and “centrist” Republican leadership. Reality check: The pro-bailout, pro-debt, pro-amnesty, anti-drilling group founded by former liberal New York GOP Congressman Amory Houghton includes three liberal Senate Republicans (John McCain, Mark Kirk and Susan Collins) and 52 center-left House Republicans. LaTourette himself is a self-serving Beltway barnacle who held office for nearly two decades. Now he’s leveraging his new tea party-bashing platform to benefit a family-operated lobbying business.
The New York Times shed light on LaTourette’s tangled web of GOP establishment outfits last week. But that story just scratched the surface. As the paper reported, the Main Street Partnership is a nonprofit group that charges members up to $25,000 per year to rub elbows with Washington’s rich and powerful. The Main Street Advocacy Fund and the Defending Main Street SuperPAC are political satellites planning to amass $8 million to bolster Republican liberals and moderates facing tea party challengers in 2014. McDonald Hopkins Government Strategies is LaTourette’s lobbying firm.
The Times notes that “corporations and lobbyists” fund the Main Street Partnership. But far-left donors provided seed money for these affiliated K Street fronts. Who’s behind the Defending Main Street SuperPAC? Big Labor. National Journal’s Scott Bland reported last month that “two labor organizations, the International Union of Operating Engineers and the Laborers’ International Union of North America, directed a combined $400,000 to the Republican group in September and October. Main Street says it has raised roughly $2 million total between its super PAC and an affiliated nonprofit group so far — and that means labor has supplied at least 20 percent of those funds.”
Along with the anti-tea party U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the “Main Street” fat cats and union leaders have banded together to help President Obama push through illegal alien amnesty. The payoff: cheap labor for big business, cheap votes for the Democratic Party.
Main Street Partnership’s chief operating and financial officer is Sarah Chamberlain Resnick. She also serves on the partnership’s board of directors and previously served as an officer of the soft-money-raising Main Street Individual Fund. The MSIF is yet another spinoff group that received $50,000 from progressive billionaire George Soros in 2002 soon after it was created. Soros also dangled a “seven-figure contribution” in front of the Main Street Partnership, but Resnick said the group declined that one. The MSIF accepted a separate $50,000 Soros donation during the 2004 election cycle. It was mysteriously returned in November 2005 after I called attention to it.
These various groups are legally independent entities on paper, but have shared staff and legal resources. When I reported on the “Main Street” farce eight years ago, the partnership’s counsel sent me a threatening letter baselessly claiming I had made “libelous” statements about its network. My sin? Exposing the radical environmental funders of “Main Street” Republicans who had sabotaged House conservative efforts to open up drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The “Main Street” Republicans back then gloated over their successful campaign to force squishy GOP leaders in D.C. to cave in to the left. There’s nothing principled about their agenda. It’s not about “common sense.” It’s about the Benjamins. These statists in populist clothing are running a Washington incumbency protection racket. Same as it ever was.
The Justice Department selected an avowed political supporter of President Obama to lead the criminal probe into the IRS targeting of tea party groups, according to top Republicans who said Wednesday that the move has ruined the entire investigation.
Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa, California Republican, and regulatory affairs subcommittee Chairman Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican, said they have discovered that the head of the investigation is Barbara Kay Bosserman, a trial lawyer in the Justice Department who donated more than $6,000 to Mr. Obama's 2008 and 2012 campaigns, as well as several hundred dollars to the national Democratic Party.
"The department has created a startling conflict of interest," Mr. Issa and Mr. Jordan said in a letter sent Wednesday and reviewed by The Washington Times. "It is unbelievable that the department would choose such an individual to examine the federal government's systematic targeting and harassment of organizations opposed to the president's policies."
The Internal Revenue Service's internal auditor revealed in May that the agency had been inappropriately targeting and blocking applications for tax-exempt status from tea party and conservative-leaning groups. In the immediate aftermath, Mr. Obama promised that the FBI and the Justice Department would investigate whether the IRS broke any laws.
Eight months later, the investigation has not produced any public findings, and Mr. Issa says the FBI and Justice Department have stonewalled his efforts to find out what's going on.
Ms. Bosserman didn't respond to an email seeking comment.
But the Justice Department said it isn't allowed to consider a career lawyer's political leanings when doling out assignments and that it would violate an employee's constitutional rights if he were penalized on the job for making legal political contributions.
"It is contrary to department policy and a prohibited personnel practice under federal law to consider the political affiliation of career employees or other non-merit factors in making personnel decisions," said spokeswoman Dena Iverson.
According to campaign finance records, Ms. Bosserman donated $400 to the Democratic National Committee in 2004 and $250 in 2008. She gave $3,600 to Mr. Obama's campaign in 2008, $2,000 to his campaign in 2012, and $500 to the separate Obama Victory Fund in 2012.
The tea party scandal has faded from the headlines but the fallout continues. The IRS is trying to come to terms with some of the conservative groups it delayed in approving tax-exempt status.
Meanwhile, the criminal investigation continues, according to an FBI letter sent to Mr. Issa late last month. The FBI says it's because of that investigation that the agency will not release any of its documents to Mr. Issa.
"We would request that the committee permit the investigators to complete their investigation and consult with federal prosecutors," Stephen D. Kelly, assistant director of the FBI's office of congressional affairs, said in a Dec. 31 letter to Mr. Issa. "As a result, we cannot provide the documents requested ... while the criminal investigation is active."
The FBI didn't say when it would complete the investigation.
Mr. Issa and Mr. Jordan warned Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. that the FBI's refusal to cooperate could rise "to the level of criminal obstruction" of Congress' oversight responsibilities. The Justice Department promised to at least brief congressional investigators on the status of the FBI probe, but then backed out.
Mr. Kelly's letter didn't address the reason, but it did reply to another request from Mr. Issa seeking information about the FBI's contacts with King Street Patriots, one of the tea party groups that applied for tax-exempt status but was stonewalled.
Catherine Engelbrecht, a chief organizer of King Street Patriots, said she felt the government was targeting her after the FBI made repeated inquiries about someone who attended a King Street Patriots meeting.
In its letter to Mr. Issa, the FBI said it contacted the King Street Patriots after receiving a complaint in 2010 that a member of the group had said he wanted to start a revolution and had visited a firing range.
Mr. Kelly said FBI agents checked with the group, which said the man attended a training session but was asked to leave. Mr. Kelly said the group provided an address the man had given, but that address turned out to be false. When the FBI ultimately tracked down the man, he "indicated that his remarks were made in jest."
"The King Street Patriots were questioned concerning their limited relationship with the individual in question," Mr. Kelly said in the FBI letter.
But that doesn't jibe with Ms. Engelbrecht's recollection, nor with the paper record that was released. In a heavily redacted copy of one of the FBI's contact reports, which Ms. Engelbrecht obtained, the FBI makes no mention of the individual Mr. Kelly said the agency was investigating. Instead, the report lists the contact as part of "community outreach."
Ms. Engelbrecht said the FBI made a half-dozen inquiries over the course of a year. She said she also fielded inquiries at her business from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; faced an audit by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of Engelbrecht Manufacturing; and underwent an IRS audit of her personal tax returns.
Kent, Ohio - In a letter to members of the U.S. House and Senate today, eighty-five Ohio based TEA Party/Conservative Groups pledged to stand with Conservative Representatives for the defunding of Obamacare. In releasing the letter, Portage County TEA Party Executive Director, Tom Zawistowski said "At this critical movement in our nation's history, we wanted to make clear our support for those Representative who are standing up to defend Liberty and the American people. Our letter is intended to make public the support of our groups, their tens of thousands of members, and the hundreds of thousands of TEA Party supporters in Ohio, and to clarify our position for all Americans." Any citizen can sign their name to the letter online at: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/i-support-the-defunding-of-obamacare/The letter reads as follows:
Members of the US Senate and the US House of Representatives:
We, the members of TEA Party and other Liberty and Conservative groups in Ohio, by our signatures below, hereby thank the conservative members of the United States House of Representatives for protecting our families from the destruction of Obamacare. For standing with the people and living up to their promise to us to do everything in their power to stop the government takeover of health care, commonly known as Obamacare, from being implemented. While we acknowledge that their power is limited, just as the President, the Senate, and the Supreme Court's power is limited, it is none-the-less their responsibility to exercise their power in a manner that most benefits the welfare of all Americans. Not just politically connected big businesses, government employees and big unions who have or will get exemptions from Obamacare, which are unfairly being denied to all American Citizens by the President and the Senate.
We accept that they have no power to repeal Obamacare at this time. However, Congress does have the power of the purse and we rightfully expect them to exercise it in balancing the power of the other branches of government. We therefore pledge our support for their decision to fund the rest of our federal government, and not to fund Obamacare, and we ask them to stand strong on that principle for however long it takes to stop this catastrophe from being imposed upon our nation. Particularly while the Senate, at the behest of the President, refuses to negotiate through a conference committee which is a fundamental abrogation of their constitutional obligation.
For three and a half years, we have been told by pollsters, think tanks, economists, doctors and plenty of politicians that Obamacare will "destroy our economy" and will "destroy our health care system." However, the major concern of those of us in the TEA Party movement, is the loss of liberty that a government-controlled health care system portends for our future and that of our children and grandchildren when it controls everything from what we eat, to what we believe, to what we do with our lives.
We do not need polls or think tanks or experts, to tell us that Obamacare is not in our best personal interest, or that of our nation. We have seen with our own eyes our doctors retiring or leaving the profession, insurance premiums soaring, and employers unwilling to create new full-time jobs and cutting full-time jobs because of the overhead Obamacare adds to that decision. We have already been subject to the intrusive questions about our sex lives, our gun ownership, and our personal activities that are being forced upon us through our healthcare providers by an out of control federal government. We have seen what a single-payer healthcare system looks like, which the supporters of Obamacare openly state is their ultimate goal. We have seen it in the horrific performance of the Veterans Administration in treating our veterans, where wait times are as long as a year and "choices" are severely restricted because of bureaucratic incompetence, even when given adequate funding.
No person in this great nation wants our government to have direct access to our medical information, to have the ability to extort our most intimate personal information through the threat of withholding medical treatment. No one wants to allow the government to be able to correlate our health records with our financial records through the IRS. We do not and never have believed the lies about caring for the poor, cutting healthcare costs or improving treatment and outcomes. The facts disprove it all. This is not about health care, or economics. This is about a government that wants to control everything in our lives and our unwillingness to give up our hard-earned individual liberty for anything, much less a flawed healthcare scheme.
So, we say to the members of the Senate and the House, when faced with a chance to vote on such a momentous issue, how could any one of you vote to destroy our economy and enslave our people—under ANY circumstance? If you were under the threat of physical harm, it would be better for you to lay down your own lives for your country than to knowingly vote to destroy our economy or allow this government intrusion into the lives of free men and women. However, no one is asking you to lay down your lives, as so many brave men and women have done for our country. We are simply asking you to cast a RIGHTEOUS VOTE FOR LIBERTY. The pundits and Washington elitists say that you have no choice but to capitulate, and sell the citizens you swore an oath to serve into perpetual dependency. We say you have no choice but to protect and defend our and your freedom no matter what the personal cost.
Those who have chosen to sign below, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, mutually pledge to each other, and to those Representatives who stand strong with the people at this historic time, our lives, our fortunes and our most sacred honor in defense of our liberty.
Tom Zawistowski, Executive Director
Portage County TEA Party
Glenn Newman, Founder
Citizens for fair taxation - Avon Lake OH
John McAvoy, Founder
NW Ohio Conservative Coalition
Toledo Tea Party
Stephanie R. Kremer & Tiffany G. Hoelscher
Co-Chairmans of the Mercer County Liberty Group
Duane Plessinger, Director & Jim Eilert, Treasurer
Wayne County TEA Party
Carol Caudill, Founder
The Ohio Valley Tea Party
Steve & Cynthea Sabolich
Westshore Tea Party Ohio
James W. Hellyer, Chairman
Licking County Tea Party
John R. Sans, Treasurer,
Akron Tea Party
Jill S. Russell
Athens/SE Ohio 9/12
Amanda Suffecool, Director
REALIZE Firearms Awareness Coalition
Anderson Tea Party
Westerville TEA Party
Beth Cox, Leadership Team
Preble County Liberty Group
North Ridgeville TEA Party Patriots
Rick & Sue Burkholder
Licking County Conservatives
Fairfield County Executive Central Committeeman
Rita Scott, Founder
Aurora Friends and Neighbors
Jack A Deem, Board Member
Preble County Liberty Group
Mary Ellen Buechter, Group Leader
Miami County Liberty Group
Women for Liberty
Hamilton County GOP
Licking County Conservatives
Doug and HR Pence
Sidney Shelby Liberty Group
Miami Valley Citizens Informed
Kirsten Hill, Chairman
Totally Engaged Americans
Don Birdsall, President
Dayton TEA Party
Fred and Chris Engelhardt, Group Leaders
The Constitution/TEA Group
Anderson and Cincinnati Tea Parties
Judy Guju & Susan Hardenbergh
Anderson Tea Party and
Members of Hamilton County Republican Central Committee
Garry Harper, President & Linda Studer, Director
Wayne County T.E.A. Party
Kathie Phillips, President
Hardin County Common Sense Tea Party
George Momirov, Director
Julie Klusty, Assistant Director
Susan Maxey, Assistant Director
Upper Arlington 912 Group
Sharon Blocher, Group Leader
Patriots of Liberty Tuscarawas
Paula Litton, President
Union County 912
Jim Lewis & Pam Jones
West Chester TEA Party
Cheryl Blakely, Co-Organizer
Findlay 9.12 Project
Northwest Region Board Member
The Ohio Liberty Coalition
Kelly Kohls, Chairman
Warren County Tea Party
Nelson Hack, Coordinator
Morrow County Tea Party
Jane Deeter, Group Leader
Huber Heights Liberty Group
Eagle Forum of Ohio
Springfield TEA Party
Fayette County Coordinator
Ohioans for Healthcare Freedom
Central Ohio OLC Board Member
Jason Dover, President
Fairfield County Tea Party Patriots
Lorain County Totally Engaged Americans (LCTEA)
Lake County Liberty Coalition
Mary Lou Cook
Voices of Liberty
Marion, Ohio Tea Party
Gary Young, Founder
North Ridgeville Tea Party Patriots
Amy Brighton, Co-founder and Co-coordinator
Medina Tea Party Patriots
Nan Zawistowski & Anne Kaczmarek
Liberty Camp for Kids
George & Darla Lee, Grant Wisener,
Bill & Linda Barry, Joy Kantner, Carol Berg,
Auglaize County. Patriots, Steering Committee
George A. Moorman
Northern Montgomery County Liberty Group
John J. Currid, President
South Euclid GOP
North Olmstead Republican Club
Bob Longshore and Member of the Fair Tent Committee