Monday, June 3, 2013

Monday, June 3, 2013

IRS Scandal: Washington Knew 

As more details emerge, the IRS scandal is getting worse. Two weeks ago, apologists for the administration attempted to blame the IRS targeting of Tea Party, conservative and Christian ministries on "two rogue agents" in a Cincinnati, Ohio, office. It was a laughable suggestion then. Now it looks like another deliberate attempt to mislead Congress and the American people. Here are some updates on the growing scandal: 

  • Late Friday CNN reported that nearly 90 IRS employees "may have documents relevant to the congressional investigation into targeting of conservative groups." It seems there may be scores of "rogue" agents at the IRS! 
  • According to a partial transcript, one Cincinnati IRS agent told House investigators that it was "impossible" for two rogue agents to be responsible for the scandal. The agent said: "…we are controlled by many, many people.  We have to submit many, many reports.  So the chance of two agents being rogue and doing things like that could never happen." 
  • Asked where the orders came from, the agent said his supervisor "told me that Washington, D.C., wanted some cases." 
  • Another senior IRS employee in Cincinnati told investigators that he/she actually sought a transfer because of inappropriate micromanaging from Washington, D.C.: "It was the whole Tea Party.  It was the whole picture.  I mean, it was the micromanagement.  The fact that the subject area was extremely sensitive and it was something that I didn't want to be associated with." 
  • On CNN's Sunday talk show, "State of the Union," Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), said, "…the reason Lois Lerner tried to take the fifth is not because there is a rogue in Cincinnati, it's because this is a problem that was coordinated in all likelihood right out of [the] Washington headquarters and we're getting to proving it."
  • News broke over the weekend that while the IRS was harassing conservatives, it spent $50 million on lavish conferences. In one case, IRS employees stayed in presidential suites costing as much as $3,500 a night! And Barack Obama has the audacity to tell the American people that his administration just can't find any fat and waste to cut for the sequester.

Ex-Commissioner's Wife Is A Left-wing Activist 

Liberals have tried to downplay the IRS scandal by pointing out that former IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman, who led the agency when these abuses took place, was appointed by George W. Bush. That proves nothing. For example, we know Shulman donated $500 to the Democrat National Committee in 2004. 

In addition, reports that Shulman's wife, Susan, works for a left-wing group pushing so-called "campaign finance reform." She also joined the Occupy Wall Street movement. 

That's an interesting coincidence because some liberals have defended the IRS's abusive actions by citing the need for campaign finance reform. Many liberals also hoped Occupy Wall Street would emerge as a left-wing counterbalance to the Tea Party. 

Criminalizing Dissent 

Last week I wrote that such systematic and widespread targeting of conservative groups and Christian ministries does not happen by accident. Some have labeled it part of a "culture of intimidation," in which dissent is punished. Whatever you want to call it, it is a dangerous development that feeds cynicism and undermines faith in government. Here's how Peggy Noonan described it in a recent column:

"What does it mean when half the country -- literally half the country -- understands that the revenue-gathering arm of its federal government is politically corrupt, sees them as targets, and will shoot at them if they try to raise their heads? That is the kind of thing that can kill a country, letting half its citizens believe that they no longer have full political rights."

Voter Fraud Scandal 

For years liberals and conservatives have fought over voter fraud and ballot security issues. Liberals claim voter fraud is a non-issue and say that voter ID laws are racist measures designed to suppress minority turnout. Conservatives point to ACORN and other scandals and irregularities.

Well, a top staffer for a Florida Democratic congressman resigned late last week in another developing voter fraud scandal. The resignation came about after the FBI raided the homes of the congressman's communications director and his 2012 campaign manager. But unless you are watching Fox News you probably didn't hear about it. 

Stop The Insanity! 

Friday we told you about the five year-old Maryland boy who was suspended for 10 days and questioned for two hours by school officials for bringing a toy gun on the school bus. The public outrage at this injustice was so overwhelming that his suspension was reduced to the three days he already served, but there is still some controversy about clearing his permanent record. 

Unfortunately, there is an even more unbelievable story. Bruce Henkelman of Huntingtown, Maryland, says his 11 year-old son was suspended for 10 days just for talking about guns. According to Henkelman, his son was talking about the Sandy Hook shootings and told his friends, "I wish I had a gun to protect everyone." 

So this boy was suspended apparently for merely talking about exercising his Second Amendment rights. He was punished for wanting to protect people! What kind of perverse message does that send to our youth? 

Flourishing Through Business 

A survey last month found that 41% of college graduates are underemployed. Not only that, many of them are overwhelmed with crushing student loan debt. Welcome to the Obama economy! 

A big problem facing graduating students today is that many are not learning the basics of American civics and fundamental economics. All too often their left-wing professors are hostile to the values essential to successful business careers. Not surprisingly, 66% of hiring managers feel that young adults are graduating college unprepared for the norms of the workplace. 

I'm pleased to report that there is a solution! A good friend of our work, Chuck Stetson, has launched a great online resource called Flourishing Through Business. 

If you have children or grandchildren in college today or if they have graduated recently, please share this with them. Encourage them to check it out. The courses are led by successful entrepreneurs and experts. Best of all, they are free and the values taught will last a lifetime!