ELIJAH CUMMINGS CAUGHT IN A CIRCLE OF CORRUPTION: Who Will Oversee the Overseers?

Guest post by Investor’s Business Daily

Corruption: New IRS emails released by a congressional panel show staff working for the Democratic ranking member communicated with the IRS multiple times in 2012 and 2013 about a voter-fraud prevention group.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said on CNN’s “State of the Union” last year, “Based upon everything I’ve seen, the case is solved. And if it were me, I would wrap this case up and move on, to be frank with you.”

Of course he wanted to move on, for he had been working hand in glove with the IRS to target conservative groups and wanted the fact to remain a secret.

On Feb. 6, in a subcommittee hearing that heard the testimony of Catherine Engelbrecht — founder of True the Vote, who was targeted by the IRS, FBI and other federal agencies — Cummings vehemently denied having any contact or coordination in targeting True the Vote.

Responding, attorney Cleta Mitchell, who is representing True the Vote, indicated that staff on the committee had been involved in communication with the IRS. In short, Cummings was not telling the truth.

After the hearing, Engelbrecht filed a formal ethics complaint accusing the Maryland Democrat of trying to intimidate her by causing the targeting.

Cummings on three separate occasions had sent letters with his title on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee stating that he had concerns and that True the Vote should be investigated.

Emails released by House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, a California Republican, show that Cummings’ Democratic staff had requested information from the IRS’ tax-exempt division, the one headed by Lois Lerner, on True the Vote, a conservative group that monitors polling places for voter fraud and supports the use of voter IDs, something Cummings opposes. “The IRS and the Oversight Minority made numerous requests for virtually identical information from True the Vote, raising concerns that the IRS improperly shared protected taxpayer information with Rep. Cummings’ staff,” the Oversight panel said in a statement.

According to Issa, Cummings and his staff sought “copies of all training materials used for volunteers, affiliates or other entities” from True the Vote.

Five days later, the group received an almost identical request from the IRS for (1) “a copy of (True the Vote’s) volunteer registration form,” (2) “the process you use to assign volunteers,” (3) “how you keep your volunteers in teams” and (4) “how your volunteers are deployed … following the training they receive by you.”

As Townhall.com reports, the first contact between the IRS and Cummings’ staffers about True the Vote happened in August 2012.

On Jan. 25, 2013, Cummings’ staff asked for more information from the IRS about the group.

Three days after that, Lerner wrote an email to her deputy, Holly Paz, asking, “Did we find anything?”

Paz responded by saying not yet, to which Lerner replied, “Thanks, check tomorrow please.”

On Jan. 31, Paz sent True the Vote’s 990 forms to Cummings’ staff.

“Although you have previously denied that your staff made inquiries to the IRS about conservative organization True the Vote that may have led to additional agency scrutiny, communication records between your staff and IRS officials — which you did not disclose to majority members or staff — indicates otherwise,” states a letter to Cummings from Issa and five other subcommittee chairmen.

After Engelbrecht formed her group and sought tax-exempt status, she and her family, which previously had no contact with any government agency of any kind, were buried by an alphabet soup of government harassers, including the ATF, OSHA and the IRS that Cummings was coordinating with.

“This is what the beginning of tyranny looks like,” Engelbrecht told Breitbart.com.

Indeed it is. Elijah Cummings has a lot of explaining to do.


Read more at Investor’s Business Daily

Doug Ross @ Journal

BUSTED: EPA Officials Caught Red-Handed Conspiring with Radical Enviro-Marxists on Your Dime

Great job by Lachlan Markay, writing at the Washington Free Beacon, who has caught the Obama EPA with their hands in the taxpayers’ cookie jar.

Internal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emails show extensive collaboration between top agency officials and leading environmentalist groups, including overt efforts to coordinate messaging and pressure the fossil fuel industry.

I forget who said it, but I’ll believe global warming climate change is a global emergency when they start treating it like a global emergency. That is, using videoconferencing rather than private jets; ordering their groceries online instead of driving to Piggly Wiggly; and selling a few of their 10,000-square foot mansions (I’m looking at you, Al Gore, and it’s hard to miss you with your enormous waistline carbon footprint).

Emails show EPA used official events to help environmentalist groups gather signatures for petitions on agency rulemaking, incorporated advance copies of letters drafted by those groups into official statements, and worked with environmentalists to publicly pressure executives of at least one energy company.

As Mark Levin says, “Green is the new Red.”

As in CCCP Red.

Critics of the agency and its nonprofit allies were surprised by the cooperation…. “The level of coordination in these documents is shocking,” EELI said in a statement.

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.), a member of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power, said the emails suggest that the EPA is straying from its mission by working hand-in-hand with hardline green groups.

It’s unfortunate that EPA has spent more of its resources promoting and coordinating a political agenda with environmentalists instead of doing its job,” Pompeo said in an emailed statement… “we expect public officials to serve the public interest, not the interests of radical environmentalist groups.”

The emails released by EELI reveal a host of scandalous activities by the EPA:

• Coordinating with radical Marxist groups to hold hearings on coal plants in states that aren’t economically dependent on coal to exclude those citizens’ voices.

• Using (even more) personal email addresses to avoid public email archiving requirements.

• Conspiring with radical groups to “devastate the [coal] industry” even though clean coal production is critical to electric power generation in the U.S.

• Secretly coordinating with Marxist environmentalists to levy “endangerment orders” against natural gas companies.

Once again, we have proof that the Obama administration is violating federal laws, evading Constitutional checks and balances, and conspiring to destroy America’s energy independence.

But, with all that said, according to Mitch McConnell, “It’s a sad day.”

And maybe Darrell Issa can open up yet another House Oversight investigation on this topic, seeing as how he only has 828 other investigations underway. Certainly at this point a Select Investigative Committee isn’t warranted.

Hat tip: BadBlue News

Doug Ross @ Journal

ATF Caught Using Felons, Teens, and the Mentally Handicapped to Systematically “Manufacture” Gun Crimes

Charles C. W. Cooke, writing at National Review, describes the latest appalling ATF scandal:

Since the president was reelected in November of last year, a good deal of poison has been poured into Washington’s grimy alphabet soup. Among the departments that have become embroiled in scandal are the IRS, the DOJ, the DOE, the EPA, the NSA, the USDA, and, of course, the ATF. This week, the lattermost is back in the news — and for good reason.

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) is probably best known these days for the failure of its disastrous Fast and Furious scheme — a botched initiative that aimed to give American guns to Mexican cartels first and to ask questions later. Under pressure, the administration was quick to imply that the mistake was an aberration. But a watchdog report, published last week by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, suggests that the caprice, carelessness, and downright incompetence that marked the disaster was no accident. In fact, that it is endemic in the ATF.

After a bungled sting attracted the suspicion of the Milwaukee press earlier this year, reporters started to examine similar enterprises in the rest of the country. What they found astonished them. Among the tactics they discovered ATF agents employing were using mentally disabled Americans to help run unnecessary sting operations; establishing agency-run “fronts” in “safe zones” such as schools and churches; providing alcohol, drugs, and sexual invitations to minors; destroying property and then expecting the owners to pick up the tab; and hiring felons to sell guns to legal purchasers. Worse, perhaps, in a wide range of cases, undercover agents specifically instructed individuals to behave in a certain manner — and then arrested and imprisoned them for doing so. This is government at its worst. And it appears to be standard operating procedure.

As with Fast and Furious, the primary objective of the ATF’s stings seems not to be to fight a known threat but instead to manufacture crime. Across the country, the agency has set up shops in which it attempts to facilitate or to encourage illegal behavior, and it has drafted citizens into the scheme without telling them that they were involved. It is fishing — nonchalantly, haphazardly, even illegally. And the consequences can go hang.

Some of the stories are heartrending. Tony Bruner, a convicted felon with an IQ of 50, was hired in Wichita to work at “Bandit Trading,” a fake store that agents had established as a front. Bruner didn’t realize that he was working for the ATF — he thought he had finally found a steady job. But the agents knew how valuable Bruner could be to them, recognizing immediately that he was disabled (or “slow-headed,” in one agent’s unlovely phrase) and that he would therefore be easy to manipulate. Having established his trust, agents asked Bruner to find guns for them, which he agreed to do…

The Journal Sentinel investigation is worth reading in its entirety. Some of the low-lights:

■ Agents in several cities opened undercover gun- and drug-buying operations in safe zones near churches and schools, allowed juveniles to come in and play video games and teens to smoke marijuana, and provided alcohol to underage youths. In Portland, attorneys for three teens who were charged said a female agent dressed provocatively, flirted with the boys and encouraged them to bring drugs and weapons to the store to sell.

■ As they did in Milwaukee, agents in other cities offered sky-high prices for guns, leading suspects to buy firearms at stores and turn around and sell them to undercover agents for a quick profit. In other stings, agents ran fake pawnshops and readily bought stolen items, such as electronics and bikes — no questions asked — spurring burglaries and theft. In Atlanta, agents bought guns that had been stolen just hours earlier, several ripped off from police cars…

■ Agents pressed suspects for specific firearms that could fetch tougher penalties in court. They allowed felons to walk out of the stores armed with guns. In Wichita, agents suggested a felon take a shotgun, saw it off and bring it back — and provided instructions on how to do it. The sawed-off gun allowed them to charge the man with a more serious crime.

Perhaps House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa could open up a formal inquiry into the almost unbelievable misbehavior of the ATF.

That is, if it doesn’t impact the 42 other investigations he’s “working on”.

Doug Ross @ Journal