Chad’s Morning Brief: IRS Emails Show Lerner Talked With DOJ About Pursuing Political Groups, Americans Believe Obama Lies on Important Issues, and Other Top Stories
Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of April 17, 2014. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am. Remember, you can listen online at KFYO.com or on your iPhone/Android with the radioPup App.
Important Election Dates:
Early Voting for City and School Board Election: April 28 – May 6
Election Day for City and School Board: May 10
Early Voting for GOP and Dem. Primary Runoff: May 19 – May 23
Election Day for GOP and Dem. Primary Runoff: May 27
New Emails About the IRS Targeting Tea Party Groups
New emails show that Lois Lerner talked to the Department of Justice about political groups days before she publicly admitted that the IRS was targeting Tea Party organizations according to FOX News.
Newly uncovered emails show Lois Lerner, the key figure in the IRS scandal, was talking with the Justice Department about going after groups seeking tax-exempt status, just days before she publicly acknowledged the agency was targeting Tea Party and other organizations.
The emails, obtained by Judicial Watch and first reported by TownHall.com, are another indication the targeting may have stretched deeper into the Obama administration. Lerner, the director of the agency’s Exempt Organizations division before retiring last year, initially said the targeting was limited to agents working in the IRS’ Cincinnati field office.
However, a series of inspector general and congressional probes since the scandal broke last year appear to show the targeting of mostly conservative-leaning groups seeking tax-exempt status was orchestrated in Washington.
In a May 2013 email, Lerner responded to a Justice Department inquiry about whether tax-exempt groups could be criminally prosecuted for lying about political activity.
“I got a call today from Richard Pilger Director Elections Crimes Branch at DOJ,” Lerner reportedly wrote to the office of Steven Miller, the agency’s acting director at the time. “He wanted to know who at IRS the DOJ folk s [sic] could talk to about Sen. Whitehouse idea at the hearing that DOJ could piece together false statement cases about applicants who ‘lied’ on their 1024s — saying they weren’t planning on doing political activity, and then turning around and making large visible political expenditures.
“DOJ is feeling like it needs to respond, but want to talk to the right folks at IRS to see whether there are impediments from our side and what, if any damage this might do to IRS programs. I told him that sounded like we might need several folks from IRS.”
Nikole C. Flax, Miller’s chief of staff, responded: “I think we should do it — also need to include CI [Criminal Investigation Division], which we can help coordinate. Also, we need to reach out to FEC. Does it make sense to consider including them in this or keep it separate?”
House Republicans claimed after the emails were published that they were further proof of coordination among various agencies to target conservatives.
“The release of new documents underscores the political nature of IRS Tea Party targeting and the extent to which supposed apolitical officials took direction from elected Democrats,” House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said in a statement. “These e-mails are part of an overwhelming body of evidence that political pressure from prominent Democrats led to the targeting of Americans for their political beliefs.”
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said that if the targeting hadn’t been stopped, “Eric Holder’s politicized Justice Department would likely have been leveling trumped up criminal charges against Tea Party groups to intimidate them from exercising their Constitutional rights.”
The administration at the highest level denied the targeting, from 2010 through the 2012 presidential election cycle, was illegal or politically motivated.
President Obama told Fox News in February there was “not even a smidgen of corruption” in connection with the targeting.
And last week, emails obtained by the GOP-led House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform show the office of the committee’s top-ranking Democrat, Elijah Cummings of Maryland, contacted the IRS in January 2013 about True the Vote, one of the conservative groups that was targeted.
A Lerner staffer in response sent the group’s related 990 IRS forms to Cummings and his staff.
In another email, Lerner discussed with agency staffers the purpose of an upcoming, April 9 2013, hearing that also suggests the targeting went beyond the IRS.
“There are several groups of folks from the [Federal Election Commission] world that are pushing tax fraud prosecution for c4s who report they are not conducting political activity when they are (or these folks think they are),” she wrote.
“One is my ex-boss Larry Noble (former General Counsel at the FEC), who is now president of Americans for Campaign Reform. This is their latest push to shut these down. One IRS prosecution would make an impact and they wouldn’t feel so comfortable doing the stuff. So, don’t be fooled about how this is being articulated — it is ALL about 501(c)(4) orgs and political activity.”
Not even a smidgen of corruption huh? Not sure about you, but I don’t buy it. Never have and never will.
Is He Lying?
When it comes to important issues, many Americans just assume President Obama is lying. That is according a new FOX News Poll that shows six in ten American voters think he lies to the country.
About six in ten American voters think Barack Obama lies to the country on important matters some or most of the time, according to a Fox News poll released Wednesday.
Thirty-seven percent think Obama lies “most of the time,” while another 24 percent say he lies “some of the time.” Twenty percent of voters say “only now and then” and 15 percent “never.”
President Obama has been accused by political opponents and media fact-checkers alike of telling falsehoods. Frequently cited: His repeated claim that under Obamacare “If you like your plan, you can keep it” and his insistence that “the day after Benghazi happened, I acknowledged that this was an act of terrorism.”
The number of voters saying Obama lies “most of the time” includes 13 percent of Democrats. It also includes 12 percent of blacks, 16 percent of liberals, 31 percent of unmarried women and 34 percent of those under age 30 — all key Obama constituencies.
Yet some of those groups are also among those most likely to say Obama “never” lies to the country on important matters: blacks (37 percent), Democrats (31 percent), liberals (28 percent) and women (19 percent).
The poll also asks about the trustworthiness of a few possible 2016 presidential candidates. For comparison, about half of voters think former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton (54 percent) and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (49 percent) are honest and trustworthy, while fewer think the same of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (41 percent).
On a more positive note for the White House, Obama’s overall job performance rating has improved. The new poll finds that 42 percent of voters approve of the job he’s doing, while 51 percent disapprove. That means he’s underwater by nine percentage points.
Last month the president was in negative territory by 13 points with a 40-53 percent rating (March 23-25).
Approval of the president is up six points among independents and now stands at 32 percent. Obama was near record-low approval among independents last month (26 percent). He also improved four points among Democrats and now stands at 80 percent among his party faithful.
How voters feel about Obama as a person closely matches his job ratings: 45 percent have a favorable opinion of him, while 51 percent have an unfavorable view. A year ago those numbers were reversed: 52 percent favorable, 46 percent unfavorable (April 2013).
The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,012 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from April 13-15, 2014. The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.
Other Top Stories:
These and many more topics coming up on today’s edition of The Chad Hasty Show. Tune in mornings 8:30-11am on News/Talk 790 KFYO, streaming online at kfyo.com, and now on your iPhone and Android device with the radioPup App. All guest interviews can be heard online in our podcast section after the show at kfyo.com.