Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Summer Of Scandals 

Each new day seems to bring to light a new scandal. CBS News reported yesterday that a State Department whistleblower has come forward with shocking allegations of drug use, prostitution and even pedophilia among top Obama Administration officials serving our country overseas.

Aurelia Fedenisn was a career agent and investigator at the State Department. She has gone to Congress with allegations of a massive cover-up of illegal behavior inside the State Department during Hillary Clinton's tenure. 

According to Fedenisn, a report sent to Congress in March was scrubbed of crucial details, including references to meddling in internal security-related investigations by top political appointees at the State Department. 

For example, in 2011 the U.S. ambassador to Belgium, Howard Gutman, came under investigation by the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service. The charge: "the ambassador routinely ditched his protective security detail in order to solicit sexual favors from both prostitutes and minor children." 

Gutman, as it turns out, was a major donor to Barack Obama, raising $500,000 for his 2008 campaign and $275,000 for his inauguration. But the agent investigating Gutman was ordered to drop the case by Patrick Kennedy, Undersecretary of State for Management. Kennedy has been criticized for his role in the State Department's response to the Benghazi attacks. 

Other allegations include: the "endemic" use of prostitutes by members of Hillary Clinton's security detail, an "underground drug ring" close to the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and a State Department official sexually assaulting foreign security guards in Beirut, Lebanon. 

The allegations of such conduct are bad enough. But the most damning accusation from Ms. Fedenisn is that several investigations were manipulated or shut down completely by top officials, including Cheryl Mills -- Hillary Clinton's then-chief of staff. 

When the inspector general's report was being prepared for Congress in December, Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Eric Boswell was reportedly "stunned" by the details. But fearing the potential damage to his department given all the heightened scrutiny at the time over the Benghazi attacks, Boswell ordered the information about the illegal conduct and the manipulated investigations removed. 

Boswell's name may sound familiar too. He was one of the Benghazi scapegoats who reportedly "resigned" after the fallout from the attack. In reality, he merely "switched desks" at the State Department. 

In response to the news, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, promised a thorough investigation. Rep. Royce added that he was "appalled not only at the reported misconduct itself, but at the reported interference in the investigations of the misconduct."   

Kudos to Ms. Fedenisn for coming forward. We need more dedicated public servants to do the same. Unfortunately, the administration's manipulation of investigations and intimidation of whistleblowers appears to be ongoing. CBS News reported that State Department security officers showed up at Ms. Fedenisn house two hours after CBS "made inquiries to the State Department about these charges." 

IRS Tries To Stifle Faith 

Our friends at the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) have released a disturbing transcript of a phone call between an IRS agent and a Texas pro-life organization that waited more than two years to get its tax-exempt status. Here's part of the transcript between the IRS agent and ADF's client: 

Agent: Yeah, you have the religious freedom; the freedom of speech. …You cannot, you know, use your religious belief to tell other people you don't have a belief, so I don't believe you need the right to do this, start confrontation, protesting… You don't apply for tax exemption. … 

Client: My religion says that, you know, we have to reach out to women who are hurting, who are considering killing their own babies. 

Agent: You reach out to women, you can't do that. You can, you know, to educate the woman… You cannot force your religion or force your beliefs on somebody else. 

Client: Is handing a brochure to somebody forcing somebody to do something they don't want to do? … 

Agent: You can't take all kinds of confrontation activities and also put something on a website and ask people to take action against the abortion clinic. That's not, that's not really educational… So here, your action is based on more blind, emotional feelings. 

Client: It's based on what? 

Agent: …an objective, factually a violation.

I am almost speechless. The IRS agent essentially told a pro-life group, "Keep your faith to yourself!" And then she insisted that they could not apply for a tax exemption if they exercised their First Amendment rights of free speech and freedom of assembly. 

No wonder IRS agents occupied the offices of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse last year. Our Founding Fathers must be spinning in their graves! 

This is a chilling warning to every pastor in America. Every church is registered as a tax-exempt organization. Yet here is an IRS agent attempting to intimidate people of faith, strongly implying that they have no right to engage in the public square, and suggesting that doing so amounts to some kind of legal violation. 

Of course, the IRS agent was wrong. (What else is new?) But soon this agency is going to have a critical role in the enforcement of Obamacare. 

Obamacare's Threat To Religious Freedom 

If Obamacare remains the law of the land, we will likely be reading about more reports of IRS abuses in the future. Unfortunately, the stories may well involve reports of churches and ministries being shut down and priests and pastors being hauled off to jail.

In a recent report, I wrote that the conservative movement has not yet seriously entertained the notion of civil disobedience. However, Some Catholic and evangelical leaders have said they will close their hospitals, schools and businesses and go to jail rather than comply with Obamacare's coercive mandates.

In a recent column, Archbishop Charles Chaput warns that our heritage of religious freedom is in jeopardy. He wrote: 

"…the latest IRS ugliness is a hint of the treatment disfavored religious groups may face in the future, if we sleep through the national discussion of religious liberty now.  The day when Americans could take the Founders' understanding of religious freedom as a given is over. We need to wake up."

This is a message I wish would be preached from every pulpit in the country!