Hat Tip: BB
Hat Tip: BB
Hat Tip: BB
Hat Tip: BB
By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
The revelations about the IRS targeting voices opposed to Barack Obama’s political agenda came of no surprise to filmmaker Joel Gilbert. His private financial accounts were hacked into and the information used by a George Soros-linked journalist, Seth Rosenfeld, before the presidential election. Gilbert wants to know who provided Rosenfeld with his private bank records. Was it someone at the IRS? Or at the White House?
Gilbert directed the blockbuster film, “Dreams from My Real Father,” which was heavily criticized by the left before the November 2012 presidential election because of the Obama campaign’s fear it could alert voters to Obama’s communist connections and Marxist philosophy. The film featured evidence that Obama’s real father was Frank Marshall Davis, a Communist Party USA operative who indoctrinated Obama into a Marxist ideology during his formative years in Hawaii.
Gilbert was interviewed extensively on radio and television, as well as by major newspapers such as The New York Times, which apparently feared the film would have an impact on the election outcome. His announcement of a promotional campaign to send millions of DVDs for free to various states was of major concern to Obama’s backers in the media.
We noted in our pre-election story, Last Minute Anti-Romney Dirty Tricks Target Filmmaker, that the invasion of Gilbert’s privacy seemed to be an attack on donors to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, since some of them had also contributed to the distribution of Gilbert’s film.
In addition to the scrutiny of his donors, Gilbert tells AIM that in early 2012, the IRS reopened his 2009 tax return, and simply denied all of his business expenses, even though they were well-documented. “My accountant said he had never seen anything like it in 30 years of experience with the IRS,” he told AIM. “To resolve the issue, my accountant met the IRS auditor in Los Angeles, and reported that she had a print-out of the home page of the “Dreams from My Real Father” official film website on her desk. Despite the resubmission of the 2009 expenses, the IRS has still not closed the case, and my accountant continues to meet with them every few months. The next meeting is set for May 19th.”
He says, “I believe I have been illegally targeted by the IRS because my films and interviews have run contrary to President Obama’s official narrative of who he is and what his policies really are for America. The fact that the IRS targeted me indicates they were afraid of me and the information in my film.”
It was in late October of 2012 that the scrutiny of his customers came to light. He says, “…unknown parties illegally acquired private company bank information, and it was passed on to left-wing journalist Seth Rosenfeld, who began targeting my customers who purchased large quantities of the “Dreams from My Real Father” DVD, as well as a limited partner.”
Rosenfeld works for the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), funded by the pro-Marxist billionaire George Soros. Accuracy in Media named the CIR as being among an extensive network of Soros-supported media organizations in our 2004 report, The Hidden Soros Agenda: Drugs, Money, the Media, and Political Power.
Rosenfeld denied that he engaged in any improper or illegal conduct.
But Gilbert says, “The bank information could only be accessed by the IRS or from my corporate bank account with a confidential user ID and password. On October 26th, Seth Rosenfeld called me directly and began citing bank deposit amounts that he purported to be bank wire transfers received in my company bank account, and asked what they were used for. I was so shocked that he claimed to have confidential bank information, I asked him to send an email and hung up, but no email was received.”
Gilbert goes on: “Next, Rosenfeld called a company limited partner on his private number and fraudulently introduced himself as being with the Romney campaign and asked for a donation. When the partner said he wasn’t interested, Rosenfeld admitted to being a reporter and began citing the partner’s confidential bank wiring history. The partner hung up. Next, Rosenfeld called the elderly mother of a customer who had purchased a large quantity of DVDs by check. Rosenfeld tricked the woman into giving out her son’s home phone number by pretending to be an old friend. When Rosenfeld called the customer, Rosenfeld cited the amount of the check, and asked about his political beliefs, and asked by name whether he knew others who made purchases from my company.”
Finally, Gilbert says a major buyer of DVDs was contacted by Rosenfeld on his private unlisted cell phone number. “Again, Rosenfeld cited the customer’s transfer amount to my company, asked what it was for, and asked him to detail his political opinions and any donations to Republican campaigns, including Romney’s,” he says. “Finally, Rosenfeld called my DVD replicator on her private number, but she hung up, as I had forewarned her that Rosenfeld’s campaign might be coming her way.”
“Dreams from My Real Father” was Gilbert’s most recent film on Obama. He also produced the 2010 award winning “Atomic Jihad: Ahmadinejad’s Coming War and Obama’s Politics of Defeat.”
Based on the evidence in his and other cases coming to light, Gilbert says he believes there is a “criminal conspiracy” that used the IRS “to target the First Amendment rights of Americans,” and that President Obama and other high-level officials should be targets of the investigation into the admitted wrongdoing.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected].
By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media
You would have thought that the Obama administration would have learned from the growing Benghazi scandal that the best way to handle such controversies is to get out in front of them, and put it all out there, rather than let it drip, drip, drip, as is now happening with the recent IRS blowup.
According to The Washington Post, based on documents it obtained from a congressional aide, the Internal Revenue Service has targeted and singled out for added scrutiny, groups applying for tax-exempt status which have made statements that “criticize how the country is being run” and that were involved in educating Americans “on the Constitution and Bill of Rights.”
If so, this IRS scandal could well be an abuse of power by the executive branch, reflecting one of the issues that was an article of impeachment drawn up for then-President Richard Nixon, before he resigned.
“Lois G. Lerner, the IRS official who oversees tax-exempt groups, said the ‘absolutely inappropriate’ actions by ‘front-line people’ were not driven by partisan motives,” reports The Washington Post.
“Does anyone actually believe this?” asks Joe Klein of Time Magazine. “But I don’t think Obama ever wanted to be on the same page as Richard Nixon,” writes Klein. “In this specific case, he now is.”
In 1998, when liberal journalists such as Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune, and Lars-Erik Nelson of The New York Daily News said that President Clinton should resign in the wake of revelations about lying to the country about his affair with Monica Lewinsky, it foreshadowed the impeachment that would occur several months later. And though 50 U.S. senators voted to remove him from office, the requirement was for two-thirds of the Senate, and Clinton remained in office to complete his second term.
When a liberal Obama enthusiast like Joe Klein starts comparing Obama to Richard Nixon, that spells trouble.
President Obama announced on Monday at his joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron that he had not heard of the scandal until it made major news last Friday, following Lerner’s public statement, which seemed inadvertent. The Washington Post said that “it appeared to have happened by chance when Lerner, appearing Friday at a conference held by the American Bar Association, responded to a question about the allegations by conservative groups.” When asked later why she announced it, she said that she “heard it was going to be leaked on Friday.”
So what exactly happened with the IRS, and when? The New York Times has published a timeline which covers from March 2010 to May 2012, and outlines the changing criteria that the IRS Determinations Unit employees used to refer applications for extra scrutiny.
In March and April 2010 the unit “began searching for requests for tax exemption involving the Tea Party, Patriots, 9/12” and “political sounding names” such as “We the People” or “Take Back the Country,” according to The New York Times. In July 2011, after concerns were raised, the definition was made more generic and the politicization was removed.
But in January 2012, these criteria were again highly politicized to target “Political action type organizations involved in limiting/expanding government, educating on the constitution and bill of rights, social economic reform/movement” (emphasis added). The criteria were supposedly corrected to be less political starting in May 2012.
May 2012 is also when, as ABC News reported, the current acting IRS commissioner, who was then deputy commissioner, was aware of these actions by the agency. ABC called it a “controversy” on their evening news on Monday, while both NBC and CBS led the news with the story and called it a “scandal.”
In all, about 300 applications were referred for special scrutiny. Of these 300 organizations, 85 were flagged for having the words “Tea Party” or “Patriot” in their name, while 11 more had “9/12” in their name. “So far, none of those applications have been rejected, although some have been withdrawn,” reports ABC News (emphasis added). According to the Post, 130 out of the 300 organizations have had their tax-exempt status approved, while 25 have withdrawn their applications.
Ms. Lerner, who is “three rungs down” from the commissioner, argues that this inappropriate targeting of conservative groups was conducted by low-level officials at the Cincinnati office. However, it isn’t just rogue agents or officials, which the news media accounts might have superficially left readers to believe. According to the Associated Press, “Lerner said the number of groups filing for this tax-exempt status more than doubled from 2010 to 2012, to more than 3,400.”
“To handle the influx, the IRS centralized its review of these applications in an office in Cincinnati.” In other words, it was the central office that was mishandling tax exemption applications.
Left-leaning news organizations such as ABC News and The New York Times would like this scandal to go away for the Administration. Thus, they have generally cast their reporting as if there is no scandal—as if this is all Republican or conservative bluster. “Conservative groups have rejected an Internal Revenue Service apology for unjustifiably scrutinizing tax-exempt conservative groups during the 2012 election cycle,” reports Abby Phillip for ABC News. “The IRS apology has seemingly validated conservatives’ fears of politically motivated regulation.” The bias, in fact, seems pretty clear.
During the press conference last Friday, Ms. Lerner stated that there was no political bias, but was unable to name any liberal groups or associated words that were targeted. She also wouldn’t say at first whether anyone was being disciplined, then “appeared to say there was no disciplinary action, then went back to saying she wouldn’t comment.” And as to how she found out about the wrongdoing, “Lerner said the investigation stemmed from media reports about conservative groups claiming that they were targeted, not from any internal review.”
That same day, White House spokesman Jay Carney called the actions “inappropriate.” The IRS has officially apologized, and House Republicans will be holding Congressional hearings regarding the matter later this week. The Post has reported that the IRS lied repeatedly about it when asked by members of Congress. And even some Democrats are voicing their disapproval: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said, “The actions of the IRS are unacceptable and un-American.” Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) said there is “No excuse for ideological discrimination in our system.” Outgoing Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) called it an “Outrageous abuse of power and breach of the public’s trust.”
But, for Abby Phillip, “The rare apology in some ways vindicates conservative groups that have been hounded by allegations that their activities were not completely legal.” Such reporting is meant to turn the head on conservative groups and insinuate that they deserved to be targeted.
The New York Times is also pushing the idea that this is about Republicans bashing the Administration, rather than a real story. “Since last year’s elections, Republicans in Congress have struggled for traction on their legislative efforts, torn between conservatives who drove the agenda after their 2010 landslide and new voices counseling a shift in course to reflect President Obama’s re-election and the loss of Republican seats in the House and the Senate,” write Jonathan Weisman and Matthew L. Wald in a New York Times article entitled “I.R.S. Focus on Conservatives Gives G.O.P. an Issue to Seize On.” You see, it’s the Republicans who are playing politics here, not the Administration.
“But the accusations of I.R.S. abuse are sure to fuel an effort that appears to be uniting dispirited Republicans and their conservative political base: investigating Mr. Obama and his administration,” continue Weisman and Wald. Such reporting insinuates that the Administration does not deserve to be investigated for targeting its political opponents with the government apparatus.
As it is, the IRS scandal may not just be limited to Tea Partiers or patriotic organizations. It may also include pro-Israel organizations, as well. “The IRS required that Jewish organization [Z Street] to state ‘whether [it] supports the existence of the land of Israel,’ and also demanded the organization ‘[d]escribe [its] religious belief system toward the land of Israel,’” according to Lori Lowenthal Marcus with the Jewish Press. Lowenthal Marcus is the founder of Z Street, which is currently suing the IRS.
This scandal isn’t about to go away.
Investor’s Business Daily recalled “a chilling memo from Nixon White House counsel John Dean in 1971 describing how ‘we can use the available federal machinery to screw our political enemies.’ Dean emphasized that ‘a low visibility of the project is imperative.’ The Watergate break-in seemed low level, but relentless reporting found it led to the top. Within 27 months a presidency was toppled.
“We know the Obama administration is capable of misusing the IRS. In 2010, an attorney for donors Charles and David Koch told the Weekly Standard of a senior Obama aide telling reporters that the Kochs ‘do not pay corporate income tax’ through their firm. He wondered how the White House got his clients’ private information from the IRS.”
National Review editorialized that “This episode is not the only reason we have had to question the rectitude of the IRS’s conduct in recent years. Somehow, Mitt Romney’s tax returns managed to be leaked, as did documents from American Crossroads, the organization associated with Republican strategist Karl Rove.”
They added, “The misuse of confidential IRS documents is a crime, and a serious one. To target individuals and organizations because of their political and religious beliefs is a serious offense to our constitutional order. To use federal employees, offices, and records to do so is the misappropriation of government funds and other resources.”
President Obama claimed he didn’t know about this until last Friday. At his press conference on Monday, he said, “I first learned about it from the same news reports that I think most people learned about this. I think it was on Friday.” As Joe Klein asked, “Does anyone actually believe this?”
Roger Aronoff is the Editor of Accuracy in Media, and can be contacted at [email protected].
By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings
There’s an AP story out of Converse County, Wyoming, which explains that under the Obama administration wind energy companies are not held to the same rule of law as are oil, gas or electric generation companies when it comes to killing protected bird species such as Golden Eagles. Key words in that opening salvo are ‘rule of law’; that firm foundation upon which society depends in order to maintain order and equity.
“More than 573,000 birds are killed by the country’s wind farms each year, including 83,000 hunting birds such as hawks, falcons and eagles, according to an estimate published in March in the peer-reviewed Wildlife Society Bulletin.”
Don’t get the wrong idea; I’m not one of those whacko environmentalists who thinks we should give up driving automobiles that use carbon based fuels. What bothers me is an uneven approach to enforcement of laws. If there’s a law on the books it should apply equally to everyone; either that or take the law off the books. (think Obamacare and those who have exempted themselves from it)
Certain endangered bird species are protected by law and heaven help you if you kill one, either intentionally or by accident.
“Each death is (a) federal crime, a charge that the Obama administration has used to prosecute oil companies when birds drown in their waste pits, and power companies when birds are electrocuted by their power lines. No wind energy company has been prosecuted, even those that repeatedly flout the law.”
“Nearly all the birds being killed are protected under federal environmental laws, which prosecutors have used to generate tens of millions of dollars in fines and settlements from businesses, including oil and gas companies, over the past five years.
“What it boils down to is this: If you electrocute an eagle, that is bad, but if you chop it to pieces, that is OK,” said Tim Eicher, a former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service enforcement agent based in Cody, Wyo.”
In a similar vein, Jim Wiegand’s article posted to Family Security Matters back on March 22nd of 2013, Hiding the Slaughter, exposed the Obama administration’s double standards when enforcing environmental laws and giving wind energy producers a free ride.
“Since the early 1980s, the industry has known there is no way its propeller-style turbines could ever be safe for raptors. With exposed blade tips spinning in open space at speeds up to 200 mph, it was impossible. Wind developers also knew they would have a public relations nightmare if people ever learned how many eagles are actually being cut in half – or left with a smashed wing, to stumble around for days before dying.
To hide this awful truth, strict wind farm operating guidelines were established – including high security, gag orders in leases and other agreements, and the prevention of accurate, meaningful mortality studies.
For the industry this business plan has succeeded quite well in keeping a lid on the mortality problem. While the public has some understanding that birds are killed by wind turbines, it doesn’t have a clue about the real mortality numbers. And the industry gets rewarded with subsidies, and immunity from endangered species and other wildlife laws.”
Many years ago when assigned to a foot beat in downtown Houston my partner and I were placed in an awkward situation by our supervisors; issue parking tickets to all violators except certain vehicles parked in front of a particular hotel because those folks are above the law. That’s not exactly how they explained it; however, each ticket issued to the vehicles owned by that hotel eventually found their way into a supervisor’s hand and were voided as a political favor to the hotel.
Eventually our supervisors got tired of voiding tickets and approached us on the street to express their desire that we stop making things difficult. What followed was an ‘inappropriate response’, formally classified as insubordination; do I have to spell it out? It wasn’t as crude as Dick Cheney’s recommendation to Sen. Patrick Leahy during their heated exchange of words, all the same it had long term ramifications; the Department tried to have us fired.
I received a 40 day suspension for insubordination, insubordination which included my remarks all the way up the chain of command to include 3 deputy chiefs who didn’t like being told to ‘shove it where the sun don’t shine’. Those supervisors were unable to justify their attempts to enforce the rule of law unevenly and my natural sense of right and wrong had a short fuse; not much different than today.
I haven’t brought up the latest scandals involving the Obama administration, the IRS targeting Tea Party groups, Eric Holder’s Justice Department ignoring voter intimidation by the Black Panthers, Fast & Furious being swept under the rug as if it never happened or that other fiasco…Benghazi where lying and deception at the highest levels seems to be expected daily.
‘We The People’, deserve better from our government. The rule of law is important. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about something as insignificant as a parking ticket or the slaughter of an endangered Golden Eagle; laws need to be enforced equally or done away with.
I should note, curiously; today marks 21 years to the day that I celebrate my retirement from the Houston Police Department in spite of my insubordinate nature. I bet Dick Cheney would have a line for that too.