2:01 PM, Feb 28, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Writing at the Wall Street Journal, Kim Strassel points out that the IRS targeting of conservative groups has only gotten worse:
Perhaps the biggest fiction of this past year was that the IRS's targeting of conservative groups has been confronted, addressed and fixed. The opposite is true. The White House has used the scandal as an excuse to expand and formalize the abuse.
About a month after the IRS inspector general released his bombshell report about IRS targeting of conservative groups last May, Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel unveiled a "plan of action" for correcting the mess. One highlight was that targeted groups would be offered a new optional "expedited" process for getting 501(c)(4) status.
The deal, which received little public attention, boiled down to this: We'll do our job, the IRS said, if you give up your rights. Those taking part in the "expedited" process had to agree to limit to 40% the amount of spending and time (calculated by employee and volunteers hours) they spend on political activity. Current 501(c)(4) rules allow political spending up to 49%, and have no "time" component. The clear point of the "deal" was to use the lure of 501(c)(4) approval to significantly reduce the political activity of targeted conservative groups going forward.
Some groups, desperate to get their tax exemption, took the deal. Others refused to be victimized twice. One of them is the Tea Party Patriots, run by Jenny Beth Martin, who told me that she didn't feel it was right that"every other 501(c)(4) would get to live under a different standard than those of us who had been targeted, and had been waiting for a determination for years." She let the deadline for using the expedited process pass.
Not long after, the IRS was back hounding the Tea Party Patriots with new requirements. In addition to re-demanding information that Ms. Martin's group had already supplied, the IRS insisted on new details, like the groups' fundraising letters from 2012. Cleta Mitchell, an attorney representing targeted groups, tells me one of her clients suffered the same fate. The IRS called to ask if the group would take part in its expedited process. When it turned down the IRS, the government agency hit the group with new questions about its activities. This all happened last summer.
In the latest issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD, Jeff Bergner offers suggestions for how Congress should stop the abuse at the IRS:
Many Republicans—and a handful of independent commentators like George Washington University professor Jonathan Turley—have been highly critical of President Obama’s executive branch overreach. The president has arbitrarily delayed, deferred, or ignored provisions of numerous laws, none more so than his signature Obamacare legislation. There is indeed much to criticize; no other president in recent times has usurped congressional lawmaking powers to the extent Barack Obama has.
Administration spokesmen have defended these actions by pointing out that other presidents have also issued executive orders. But President Obama’s actions are less like executive orders in the usual sense of the term than they are like legislation. Nor are they based upon a constitutional argument that the president must act in response to a Congress that has intruded into areas that are properly under his constitutional authority.
These actions are the pure assertion of an unconstitutional presidential power to make law. What is needed now, however, is not further criticism, but a careful and sober consideration of what Congress can do to address this burgeoning constitutional crisis.
Read the whole thing here.
4:25 PM, Dec 4, 2013 • By ROGER I. ZAKHEIM and THOMAS DONNELLY
House Armed Services Committee chairman Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon doesn’t look like an insurgent. The quintessential Californian – a man of Reaganesque optimism whose congressional district now includes the Gipper’s presidential library – McKeon has been a steadfast supporter of House speaker John Boehner in turbulent times. Yet, to the green-eyeshade editorialists of the Wall Street Journal, McKeon is leading a “rebellion” of defense hawks, an “act of masochism” threatening the Holy of Holies: the sequestration provision of the Budget Control Act (BCA). McKeon’s crime is that he’s hoping for a 2014 budget deal that would reduce the amount of defense sequestration by half.
8:39 AM, Jul 17, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or Fatca, is forcing millions of Americans living abroad to reconsider their U.S. citizenship, a lawyer, Colleen Graffy, writes in the Wall Street Journal.
3:19 PM, Jun 13, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
In Thursday's Wall Street Journal, Barton Swaim, a WEEKLY STANDARD contributor and former speechwriter for Mark Sanford, reviews a new ebook about the disgraced-governor-turned-congressman from South Carolina:
11:25 AM, Dec 14, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, widely believed to be a potential Republican candidate for president in 2016, has an op-ed in Friday's Wall Street Journal encouraging the government to permit the sale of oral contraceptives without a prescription. Here's an excerpt:
10:25 PM, Dec 9, 2012 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
The Wall Street Journal editors are unhappy about the present correlation of political forces. Who isn't? They're also, I gather, unhappy about "Beltway sages" who, facing the fact that the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of this year, have suggested Republicans accept a modest increase in tax rates for the wealthy while leading the charge to keep taxes from rising for 98 percent of the American people.
10:08 AM, Nov 23, 2012 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
I happened to read Michael Connelly's first mystery, The Black Echo, when it was published twenty years ago. I've been a fan every since. His books are now bestsellers, but it's always a nice feeling to have discovered someone (or something) before everyone else did—even if one deserves no particular credit for it.
11:33 AM, Oct 29, 2012 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
There are two U.S. economies. Well, not really. But there is the economy reported in the New York Times as part of its pre-election coverage, and far different one reported in the authoritative financial press.
How we learned to stop worrying and love Bibi's bomb chart.11:59 AM, Sep 28, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
During his address to the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu used a drawing of a bomb to illustrate the threat of Iran's nuclear program. Several media types pooh-poohed Netanyahu's chart, including the Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg. "It is precisely because Iran's nuclear program is such a threat to Israel that turning to cartoon bombs to explain the issue is a lousy idea," Goldberg tweeted yesterday.
12:19 PM, Aug 2, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Wednesday was Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, and Americans flocked to the fast food restaurant in response to criticism of COO Dan Cathy's opposition to same-sex marriage (as well as threats from the mayors of some major cities