William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

What’s The Official Name For Governance By Thuggery?

“I knew nothing! Noooothing!”

To summarize what we know, but only in brief and leaving out many smaller scandals:

  1. The White House lied about the cause of Benghazi. They knowingly, willingly, and falsely claimed the attacks arose because of “spontaneous” anger about an unknown video. The purpose of this ruse was to deflect potential criticism of the president arising shortly before the election. The handling of Benghazi itself was due to either ignorance or incompetence. This is less troublesome than the deception.
  2. The IRS systematically and over a long period of time, and with the eventual knowledge of or by the explicit direction of the White House, illegally and immorally targeted individuals and groups because these people were in political opposition to the Democrat party. It will interesting to discover just how many fines and taxes were incorrectly assessed and how many applications for tax-exempt status were wrongly denied.
  3. The administration knowingly, willingly, and falsely accused a reporter of treason, a crime punishable by death. They lied to trick, or to allow cover for, a judge to issue a warrant which let the White House rifle through the reporter’s personal communications (reportedly even his parents’ phone calls). They did this because the reporter and the company which employs him was not friendly to the Democrat party. It will be interesting to discover what the White House made of the purloined communications.
  4. The administration used similar excuses (i.e. “National security”) to bug the AP, and even Gallup after that company had the temerity to release a poll which showed the President trailing his opponent.
  5. The administration dispatched the HHS secretary to shake down health care businesses, requesting they voluntarily fund a project that was denied funds by Congress. The HHS is writing the regulations which govern these businesses, regulations which necessarily must increase under Obamacare.
  6. The HHS mandated that employers, just because they are employers and for no other reason, must pay for their employees conception prevention medication and devices and for abortifacients in case these should fail. That this violates the religious practices of Muslims, Christians, (some) Jews, and others was ignored because it was discovered that the responsibility of employers to pay trumps the Constitution.
  7. The President routinely and systematically uses language which does not imply but directly accuses any who disagree with him of being not just wrong but evil. He has, more than once, urged citizens to report (rat out) neighbors who are not friendly to the Democrat party. He used government funds (i.e. your money) to set up an apparatus to collect this information.
  8. The administration knowingly and willingly released weapons such that they would end up in the hands of citizens of another country, hoping these weapons would be used for crimes and for murder. A clear case of entrapment, to say the least. One such weapon was used to kill an American citizen. The official who ordered this Fast and Furious campaign was held in contempt by Congress. The official ignored this charge. It will interesting to see why Mexico never declared war on the USA.
  9. The administration, at least the EPA, systematically and willfully covered up information, denying access to Congress and to the press, using the subterfuge of fictitious names and false email accounts.
  10. The administration, via the Department of Homeland Security, systematically tracks, stores, and analyzes communications of this country’s citizens. Its 2009 report warned of “rightwing” “chatter” about the economy.

An interesting test of an individual’s Ideology Quotient is the number and intensity of excuses offered in mitigation of these activities. The more the person espouses that the (utopian) ends justify the (brutal) means, the higher the IQ.

Here is a tell-tale. It is not an argument, in an answer to any of these crimes or behaviors, to say that another also committed them. That is, it is a fallacy to say that because the President lied about the causes of Benghazi that other presidents lied, therefore there is no lie.

Another fallacy: the President didn’t know, therefore there is no crime or immoral behavior. Accepting that the President did not know about his employee’s behavior is not an excuse for that behavior. If no one is looking, a crime is still a crime. This fallacy also backfires, because if we do accept the President’s self-proclaimed ignorance of his subordinates’ activities, then he is guilt of incompetence.

David Axelrod funnily anticipated this last argument and sought to head it off by claiming the government is now so “massive” that no president can oversee it.


50 Comments

  1. Don’t pretend that some if not most of these problems didn’t exist prior to Obama’s being in the white house.

    Who greenlit the Patriot Act? Obama? No. The “freedom fighting” neo-cons.
    When was the “Fast n Furious” operation started? After Obama? No, 2006.

    Point 5 and 6 are beautiful. People hate the government so much they even expect the government *not* to govern at all. Jeeesh.

    You would have a good point in point 7, except that between the “poor and oppressed” GOP and him, they voted him. Now why is that. May it be because this narrative is completely upside down, and that the GOP is just bullying and blackmailing at every level? Just look at the next threat (again) of them letting the government go bankrupt because of a budget *THEY* *THEMSELVES* wrote and approved.

    I have no love for Obamanites, Democrats or whatever. For me, they are all the devil or something like it. I take the Tolkien’s moral lesson of power being a source of corruption almost to the extreme here.

    However, I don’t even expect any hint of you behaving in the same way when a conservative president sits himself in the White House. I don’t expect any kind of “fairness” and “objectivity” from your part. You have shown yourself to live inside a “Bill O Reilly” kind of a bubble, where Republicans have good intentions but sometimes fail, and democrats are Satan and their “rule” will be the coming of the Antichrist.

    No, power corrupts everyone, and that includes people like Paul Ryan and Romney. Until you figure this one out, ahhhh forget it.

  2. “well, that is the technical word for sexual intercourse without the intention of reproducing” Where did this definition of fornication come from? Fornication is people having sex outside of marriage, is it not?

    Actually, I am fascinated by Obama’s “I didn’t know” excuse. It would seem the people have twice elected a guy who is totally clueless, not qualified to lead America. He proudly makes this proclamation over and over and over. Amazing. Perhaps it’s time to amend the constitution to require some kind of competency or IQ testing before one can run for President. Actually, the same requirement should apply to voters, too.

  3. Briggs

    22 May 2013 at 9:30 am

    Luis,

    I notice you started with the fallacy, brother.

    May the Patriot Act whither and die. May the TSA lose all funding.

    But I’m willing to listen to why employers should pay for the sexual material of their employees. You seem to imply that because the government ordered it, therefore it’s allowable in the name of governance (a circular argument). Or do you have something else here?

    Power does corrupt. We used to rely on the press to police the government, but unfortunately the press (and academia) feels they are part of government. And given the intermarriages (literally true; several press people’s spouses are government administrators) between press and government, there is not likely to be such policing.

    Sheri,

    Maybe I’m wrong on the word. I’ll remove.

  4. Your error is in arguing that a policy is “thuggery” if you just do not agree with it. You don’t agree with it. Fine. But many others do and their reasoning is really different from your caricature.

    Most if not all people do not agree with the Patriot Act, which *ìs* blatant Thuggery and a direct threat to democracy, freedom, etc.

    Again, I do not expect you to write posts calling a republican a “Thug” or a “Fascist” (Is nazi the “official” name you were looking for?) in my lifetime, despite the fact that they are both guilty of these issues. *That* is my grudge here.

  5. Briggs

    22 May 2013 at 9:41 am

    Very well, Luis, tell us how accusing Rosen of treason was not thuggery.

  6. Briggs

    22 May 2013 at 9:44 am

    All,

    Apropos:

    And now the New York Times agrees?

  7. Matt, here’s another example, which is related to 7

    http://www.barackobama.com/climate-deniers/

  8. Eric Anderson

    22 May 2013 at 10:58 am

    “David Axelrod funnily anticipated this last argument and sought to head it off by claiming the government is now so “massive” that no president can oversee it.”

    Well, that may be an “excuse,” but it is no doubt the case in practice. Yes, the buck stops with the President, but there is a big difference in his personal level of culpability between (i) actions that were done at his specific request, and (ii) those that were done without his knowledge or assent.

    Every once in a while someone proposes some new law that would make parents legally responsible for the criminal acts of their children. I shudder to think what kind of liability I could be saddled with through no fault of my own, just on account of my (thankfully, to date, very law-abiding) children. And the federal government is exponentially more massive and less amenable to monitoring than my small family.

  9. Is Obama a tyrant or a fool? Which is worse.

    His Sergent Shultz defense suggests that he is the fool.

    But it is classic “right-wing paranoia” to fear that that tyranny is right around the corner, that all forms of govenment impinge on my freedoms, etc. But if Obama is the fool, rather than have a govement over-reaching because it is run by a tyrant, we have a goverment over-reaching by its own self organization. And what are the checks and ballances on that?

  10. All that thuggery stuff…that’s politics….

    And that sort of stuff has been ‘part-n-parcel’ of politics, far as anyone can tell, since pre-history…

    Of course, people liked to pretend–and still do–that politics & politicians was & are noble, altruistic and all sorts of such nonsense when it/they wasn’t/aren’t (e.g. the British sentimental fondness for their Royals, including the despots they, still, tend to pretend weren’t).

    It wasn’t until around 1500 when a then-budding & quickly & still famous social scientist observed analyzed and documented the reality of how things were — which was NOT news to those actually in power & exercising their power successfully (as evidenced by their ability to survive).

    That social scientist noted, and advised, that the guy in power often needed to do things they [the guys in power] found despicable…or they’d lose effectiveness–meaning they’d be killed.

    In modern & arguably more civilized times Lee Iacocca (ex-Pres of Ford & CEO of Chrysler) observed essentially the same thing within a corporation: “There are times when even the best manager is like the little boy with the big dog, waiting to see where the dog wants to go so he can take him there.”

    Still, again, some people like to pretend power & politics are not, literally, life & death matters, sometimes even today, and, that some people in power must do things they despise to stay in power — if staying in power, and alive (sometimes, even today) is what matters to them. It definitely matters to enough such people that this state of affairs is reality.

    Shure…it COULD be better…but things just ain’t that way.

    And if you’re a philosopher, even a famous & highly regarded one inclined to want to get the noble/altruistic best out of people, you’ll concoct revisionist history to argue–falsely–that that early (first?) social scientist didn’t simply report what he observed and present that in an advice-giving format…he espoused a whole new philosophy [when he didn't] you’d write something like the following, which is chock-full of historical revisionism of this sort bolstered by outright fabrications and the clear denial [at least to himself] that a particular Church institution (distinct from the doctrine it, at the time, hypocritically espoused) was every bit as corrupt in the very manner that social scientist observed (i.e. there was no attack there–it was, again, a demonstration of telling it like it was, which people today more than then like to pretend wasn’t):

    http://www.integratedcatholiclife.org/2011/10/dr-kreeft-the-pillars-of-unbelief-machiavelli/

  11. Luis-the “Fast and Furious” under Obama was not the same as Bush. Bush knew where the guns went–Obama did not apparently care to know. Bush had no part in the “Fast and Furious” scandel that Obama is part of.

    Briggs: Noted. Thank you.

    Doug: Theoretically the press is the “checks and balances” in this scheme. However, the press seems to adore Obama and have no interest in serving in that role. I do not think the framers of the constitution ever foresaw a press that was owned and operated byone party. Certainly, they never envisioned a society addicted to Twitter and Facebook, too busy to really pay attention to government. Congress should also function as a check/balance and the House seems to be trying to serve that purpose.

  12. @Sheri
    As long as I can remember the media has been in the tank with the Democrats. I was in college when Kennedy and Nixon were running for president. The media loved kennedy and loathed Nixon. Kennedy was from Camelot and Nixon was from hell. The media worshiped Kennedy and would write gushing adulatory articles about him. Kennedy could do no wrong and if he did the press would cover for him. Now the media worships Obama and they have become Obama’s praetorian guard. The media is no longer a watch dog, but a lap dog. They have voluntarily turned themselves into Pravda.

  13. Sylvain Allard

    22 May 2013 at 4:42 pm

    There are many false scandals in this list. Some I’m unfamiliar with and won’t comment on them but there are at least three that are misreported.
    A. The supposed Benghazi lies: Three hearings have been held about this attack and no proof has been found of any cover up or lie linking to the WH.
    a. Benghazi was an isolated consulate and CIA outpost and request for better security was denied by the ambassador.
    b. The CIA itself didn’t know if the attack spawned from a protest or concerted attack.
    c. Talking points always go through revision between different departments. ( Condoleza Rice and Dick Chesney willingly lied about the WMA in Iraq and dismissed the CIA own information about the Uranium and tube purchases that lead to >4000 American death and thousands of injured in a misleading war ). It is unbelievable that these guys are not in prison.
    The biggest lies from the “Benghazi scandal” came from ABC who falsely reported the content of an email. Under the Bush presidency there were 54 attacks and 13 deaths on American embassy (8 or 9 of them in Iraq), where was the outrage from the right to the inability by G W Busch to keep American safe.
    B. The IRS: After the hearings it is clear that everything was decided in the Cincinnati offices. The person leading the IRS at that time was appointed by Busch and if anyone would have tried to force him to investigate republican he would have gone screaming scandal to the press. The reality is that this is a false scandal.
    d. BTW not a single request by conservative groups were refused, they were just more closely looked at. If they had been rejected because they were conservative then you would have a scandal but not when they were only more closely scrutinized.
    e. Also, the Tea Party is a political movement and it is normal that the IRS should check there 501C4 status, since less than 51% the activity link to this tax exemption can be applied to political activity.
    C. The AP. It was not the AP journalists that were investigated but they were trying to find out who talk. The information they got ousted an individual who had infiltrated Al-Qaida high enough to get his hand on a bomb before it was exploded. This guy was working for the British and this source is no longer able to inform or prevent a future plot because his identity is compromised.
    D. The contraceptive: Other than the fact that there has been a compromise to the satisfaction of the clergy. It is normal that non-religious organisation have to be prevented from discriminating against the religious belief of their employees. By default insurance cover contraceptive. Employer had to specifically ask that it should not be covered. The removal of the coverage probably didn’t change the cost of the coverage. It was only the employer imposing his own will on his female employees, consequently discriminating against them.
    The liberty of the employer ends were the liberty of the employee begins. In this case the liberty to have access to contraceptives which are prescribed by doctor for contraception, but also for other medical reason that can be life threatening. Surely, the employer doesn’t have the right to place himself between the doctors and patients.

  14. Briggs

    22 May 2013 at 6:08 pm

    Sylvain,

    Good to see you agree their are at least a couple genuine scandals, and that you put the others down to incompetence. Your charge of ineptness might well turn out to be true. Would be better than actual malice.

  15. intrepid_wanders

    22 May 2013 at 7:13 pm

    Lighten up everyone. Everyone knows that politics are just for sport…
    http://www.smalldeadanimals.com/Images/ObamaScandalBracket.png

  16. Sylvain Allard

    22 May 2013 at 7:48 pm

    Briggs,

    You have a strange way of distorting people words.

    The IRS is in no way Under the supervision of the president. If their is incompetence it is at the level of the Cincinnati office, and this is if there is a scandal. You are much more likely to be audited if you make some specific déductions like home office.

    In Benghazi: If there was any incompetence it was the CIA and any scandal has to include the refusal by the GOP to provide proper funding.

  17. Sylvain: Obama is commander-in-chief and that makes Benghazi HIS problem. Four people died. It is HIS fault, pure and simple. The commander is held responsible for his troops. Bottom line, that is how it works.
    (The outrage is not that he failed to keep Americans safe–it’s that he blamed this on a video and then tried to deny he knew differently. It’s not the deaths, it’s the lies that followed. Did Bush ever claim a video caused and attack and then jail the maker without bail?)

    The IRS holding up tax exempt paperwork on conservative groups delays the tax exempt status and can result in people not donating. Since elections are about money, the delays could have cost donations to the conservative groups. There is no evidence that other political leanings were scrutinized to this extent–which lends credibility to the claim that this was a deliberate attempt to remove political opposition by the IRS. Any time only one party is scrutinized, this is a problem.

  18. Sylvain Allard

    22 May 2013 at 9:42 pm

    Sheri,

    You can find a timeline of Benghazi here:

    http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2013/05/very-brief-benghazi-recap

    The CIA itself believed for a while after the event that the video played a role. Mainly the fact that those who carried the attack said that it was carried because of the video. Of course, their were people Inside the CIA that could have had different opinion about what happened, like it was the case with the preparation for the war in Iraq, when the CIA was asked by Busch/Chesney to find a link between Al-Quaida and Iraq (many voice were muted that were saying that there were no link).

    IRS: That is the thing, the 501C4 is not supposed to be political

    Here is the purpose of the 501 C 4

    http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/eotopici03.pdf

    ”The general concept, however, can be expressed as follows:
    Organizations that promote social welfare should primarily promote the common good and general welfare of the people of the community as a whole.
    An organization that primarily benefits a private group of citizens cannot qualify for IRC 501(c)(4) exempt status.”

    No money given under a 501 c 4 should go toward political motive, and so should have no impact on any election.

  19. obiwankenobi

    22 May 2013 at 9:44 pm

    That, that is, is.
    That, that is not, is not.
    And, that’s that.

  20. john robertson

    22 May 2013 at 9:59 pm

    Government is nought more than a morality play, enacted by volunteer actors, to convince the rest of us that civilization is real.
    Trust is all they have to sell, the power of death to the citizen is something they usurped as “necessary”.
    These scandals are just more evidence that the actors have forgotten their roles and responsibilities.
    As the cost of and damage caused by government now exceeds the benefit of civilization, something has to give.
    And it will.
    Socialism and bureaucracy is wonderful until you run out of people to steal from.

  21. Let me try to stay civil – but forgive me when I cannot.
    Sylvain and Luis!
    The President of the United States (POTUS) is the commander in chief of the armed forces of the United States of America. The POTUS does not get golf days off. Benjazi is at best incompetence. If the POTUS wanted US marines in Bengazi – they would have been there!
    The president of the united states is a chief executive. He does not get good behavior for golf days off. The IRS is an office he is responsible for. If the POTUS wanted equal treatment of his political enemies – the IRS would have obeyed!

    You two need to stick it somewhere where Briggs is too nice to mention.

  22. Sheri.
    I apologize.
    I was twisted by emotion.
    Did not read the trail properly.
    Responded too quickly.
    You stated the situation better than I.

  23. Sylvain Allard

    22 May 2013 at 11:45 pm

    Bill,

    A few fact that you don’t seem to know:

    http://theweek.com/bullpen/column/235844/deconstructing-the-5-most-ridiculous-myths-about-barack-obama

    Busch jr spent 4 month a year on vacation.
    Reagan spent almost 500 days at his Ranch.
    Obama 72 days of vacation as of october 2012. About 2 days a month.

    I know that down South you see black as lazy and that it infuence your judgement but you should check your fact.

    Where was the outrage of the right when Bush was Président?

    Since Nixon, and for good reason, the US President can middle very little with the justice department and the IRS.

    Never forget that 501C4 appliquant should not meddle in politic in the first place. It is a deduction for welfare services.

  24. Briggs,

    What’s worse is the rubber stamp the judges seems to employ. The administration wouldn’t try so hard if it got slapped more often in court.

    The NYT article linked to another case where a leaker got 20-months for leaking 5 documents but the judge was completely in the dark as to the seriousness of the offense.

    His reasoning:

    Williams went on to say that he believed “it was a very, very serious offense.” The judge said “it had to be” because prosecutors had filed such a serious felony charge

    but he had no idea if the prosecutors were overstating their case.

  25. intrepid_wanders

    23 May 2013 at 1:40 am

    Sylvain Allard,

    Yes, Bush and Obama are the cheeks of the same ass. Both have there failing moments, but when does does the lying stop? Yes, *ALL* politicians lie, and *ALL* people stretch the truth.

    But… when we invoke/evoke that archaic thing of oath, we are trying to say as children of a freedom loving society, “For realsies?”. Especially when you have the “non-judicial” nonsense of a Congressional Hearing. And then they lie again, and again and… until they “evoke” the fifth.

    From your writing and comment of the current state of “the South”, I take it that you have not been here in the US in some time or a case of ESL. Whatever it may be, I can assure you that the Jim Crow laws have been repealed and Obama’s faults are only because he insists on listening to the inner portions of the political ass. Everyone should think for themself.

  26. Milton Hathaway

    23 May 2013 at 1:56 am

    Number 1 bothers me the most, by far. Sources indicate that the only person that could have ordered the “stand down” in Benghazi is the president. I believe that deep down Obama sympathizes with ‘the enemy’ in the war on terror, and in the pressure of the moment when a quick decision was required, he fell victim to his underlying sympathies, issued a directive to underlings that cost American lives, then flew the coop. After the fact, this directive would clearly appear evil rather than just disengaged, and therefore had to be covered up at all costs.

  27. Sylvain Allard

    23 May 2013 at 2:06 am

    Intrepid_Wanders,

    Truth is a very elusive thing. There are people who believe that 9/11 was done by the US government. There are still a vast portion of people who think that Obama is a muslim or not born in America, or that the American never landed on the moon. People believe the truth they want to believe.

    Jim Crowe is dead and many laws have been repealed, yet it doesn’t means that racism is dead. At the recent CPAC conference their was an argument that slavery was great for the black, because thy were given food, shelter and clothes. Of course, it didn’t matter that they had no right or liberties. That they could be lashed or killed without any due process.

  28. Sylvain Allard

    23 May 2013 at 2:33 am

    Milton Hataway,

    How do you explain:

    That the army explained why they could not have intervene soon enough?

    That offer to raise the marine contingent was refused by the ambassador?

    That Benghazi was a CIA compound, not an ambassy or consulate, which was the responsibility of the CIA, not the State department?

    Their may have been misjudgment somewhere but to believe that their was malice or intent in Benghazy is the same has saying that Bush was behind 9/11.

    You simply want to believe what makes you feel better.

  29. To summarize what we know, but only in brief and leaving out many smaller scandals:

    Do YOU really know what’s going on? Or do you just decide to see Obama administration in a negative light for whatever reason? Where do you get your information?

  30. Sylvain proves once and for all he lacks any evidence or argument for his position. Pulling the “race” card is the best way I know of for someone to “out” their ignorance. Well done, Sylvain, well done.

  31. Sylvain Allard

    23 May 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Sheri

    You sure took the easy way out and made sure to avoid to comment on the different argument I made and for which you didn’t have any counter argument.

  32. Sylvain–I don’t waste my time talking to people who invoke race as an argument.

  33. Milton Hathaway

    23 May 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Sylvain,

    Nothing I have come to believe about Benghazi is making me feel any better. And the “couldn’t have intervened soon enough” is an argument that is convincing (to some, apparently) only in hindsight.

    I realize now that I could have been more succinct. I believe that Obama, when faced with a decision to sacrifice dozens of Libyan lives to potentially protect a few American lives, was driven by his deep underlying anti-America sympathies and ordered the stand-down.

    Another way of looking at this is to imagine ‘what if’ – if Obama had ordered an intervention, if no Americans had died, and if many Libyans had died as a consequence of the intervention. How would this play out on the world stage? The argument “we had to intervene to save American lives” would be a hard sell, and indeed would certainly not be accepted in many of the countries where Obama has in the past apologized for America’s actions.

  34. Eric Anderson

    23 May 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Sylvain wrote:

    “No money given under a 501 c 4 should go toward political motive, and so should have no impact on any election.”

    If what you are saying is that 501(c)(4)’s cannot legally engage in political activities, then you are incorrect.

  35. From the IRS site:. Organizations that engage in substantial lobbying activities sometimes also are classified as social welfare organizations. (The first part-organizations……activities is highlighted but goes nowhere.)

    If a group is teaching about the constitution, re-enacting history, etc, that should qualify.
    The groups do not have to disclose donors, but do have to maintain records.

    This is the IRS document that discusses the 501c 4 qualifications:
    http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/eotopici03.pdf

  36. Sheri.
    Go Girl Go!

    Those ninwits who want to believe Obama could not respond.
    – suggest you start with google of F18
    –might not hurt to stretch your liberal brain around the concept of aircraft carrier
    — then look at a globe and notice a body of water north of Libya

    One last shot to see if Sylvain can think.
    POTUS decides where Marines go. They were not in the country he invaded by his choice.
    Do you really believe Hillary told BO to stay out of her egg basket?

  37. Sylvain Allard

    23 May 2013 at 11:35 pm

    The link you provided is the same I provided. It describe the general purpose of the 501 c 4:

    The law/statute of 501 c 4 is clearly labeled:

    IRC 501(c)(4) provides for exemption of:
    – Civic leagues or organizations not organized for profit but operated exclusively for the promotion of social welfare.
    – Local associations of employees, the membership of which is limited to the employees of a designated person or persons in a particular municipality and the net earnings of which are devoted exclusively to charitable, educational, or recreational purposes.
    The statutory terms disclose that IRC 501(c)(4) embraces two general classifications:
    a. Social welfare organizations, and
    b. Local associations of employees.

    Note the use of the word “exclusively” this word was illegally (i.e.: without the consent of congress) changed by the IRS to “primarily” in 1959 for some obscure reasons.

    The word “primarily/primary activities” appears in this document from the IRS: (Note that it was recognized during this week senate hearings that political activities related to campaign were not covered by the 501 c 4, or were even unlawful.

    http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/eotopicm95.pdf

    A. Political Campaign Activities
    Reg.  1.501(c)(4)-1(a)(2)(ii) provides that the promotion of social welfare does not include direct or indirect participation in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. Thus, an organization exempt under IRC 501(c)(4) may engage in political campaign activities if those activities are not the organization’s primary activity. In contrast, organizations exempt under IRC 501(c)(3) are absolutely prohibited from engaging in political activities (and may, in addition, be subject to tax under IRC 4955 if they make any “political expenditures”).

    You should also note that you don’t have to be registered to claim the tax exemptions. So anyone saying that they were delayed by the IRS in fund raising are lying since they could legally operate and most were operating with the mention of the 501 c 4 pending.

  38. Sylvain Allard

    23 May 2013 at 11:57 pm

    Bill-

    Benghazi was a CIA compound not a consulate orembassy.

    Their were Marines at the embassy in Tripoli.

    The closest air base is in Italy and the Air Force confirmed that there where no plane ready to fly or on alert. Their were also no tanker available to refuel in flght like it would hvae been required.

    I’m also not sure what good a F18, f16, f15 or f14 could have done to help those on the ground AGM 65 or Harpoon would have been too powerful for close combat. The A10 or Apache are much better in helping in those situation.

    You can see a timeline of the event here. Where could they have reacted faster, or better? Remember that ir took a week to reach some people after Katrina in 2005.

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1112/83713_Page2.html

    A question: are you one of those who believed that Bush was behind 9/11. I don’t like him, heck I despise him but I’m not crazy enough to think he was.

  39. Briggs

    24 May 2013 at 7:43 am

    All,

    Must reading. The IRS scandal and Obama’s culture of intimidation.

    The president’s lawyers circulated a draft executive order in 2011 that would have required anyone bidding for a government contract to disclose political donations. The message was clear: If you want a government contract, be careful which causes or candidates you support because the White House will know.

    Holder OK’d search warrant for Fox News reporter’s private emails

  40. Sylvain: It was late and I missed your link (it’s not blue like they usually are….) Now that I’m fully awake, this is the important issue:
    http://www.lwvmn.org/document.doc?id=46

    If you google “Citizens United Supreme Court decision”, you can find all kinds of information. This is why the whole mess existed–and it was to benefit BOTH parties. Because of this decision, politics could enter the 501c 4 arena–or at least that was the interpretation of the decision and why there were groups applying in the first place.

    It is interesting to note that saying these groups were applying for a status they were not entitled to is wrong in and of itself. As noted by other commentors, applications were eventually approved. The argument that these groups were not allowed to have tax-exempt status is obviously false. The intent was to delay, not deny.

  41. Sylvain:
    On Benghazi:
    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57584921/officials-on-benghazi-we-made-mistakes-but-without-malice/

    This is from the “main stream media” and covers much of what went on in Benghazi. Help could have been sent. Precautions could have been taken. What is up for interpretation is whether or not there was criminal misconduct in the affair or gross incompetence. Either must be addressed. Stupidity or incompetence is not an excuse.

  42. Sylvain Allard

    24 May 2013 at 10:50 am

    Sheri,

    501C4- is only a tax exemption that an organization can request. It does not require any registration, though it is possible to register.

    The Citizen United case had nothong to do with 501c4. It had to do with the legality of corporation, a moral person, to participate in élections.

    The decision was that it could and for any amount regardless of a tax exempt status.

    The Audit of 501c4 did not delay any fundrasing since the status is used on the tax return. You do not have to be registered to operate as 501c4.

    So what seemed a scandal at first is only hot air. A few low level employees got swamped in 501c4 request. Unable to audit all request as they did before they concentrated their effort on those who had political name, since the “tea party” is a political movement.

    The role of the IRS is to find false deduction claims and they seem terrible at it. I wish you good luck if you wanted to try that with our provincial agency. Any unusual tax deduction are audited.

  43. How can you say the Supreme Court decision had nothing to do with 501c 4 groups–it most certainly did:

    In the wake of Citizens United, non-profit 501(c)(4) organizations have become increasingly popular. This is due to the fact that these tax-exempt corporations and associations are not required to disclose the names of their donors.
    (Economy in Crisis is the source for this)

    The ruling opened the door to using 501c 4 for much more political action–though it never was forbidden. It just could not be the primary activity. Which resulted in the IRS trying to figure out what the ruling meant and what is a primary activity.

    Read more: http://www.thenation.com/blog/174458/five-501c4-groups-might-have-broken-law#ixzz2UEEa2kEe
    http://www.independentsector.org/501c4_organizations
    http://netrightdaily.com/2013/05/the-irs-vs-citizens-united/
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/government-elections-politics/big-sky-big-money/the-rules-that-govern-501c4s/

    I will not argue that the IRS is really bad at it’s job and there needs to be a major overhaul. That is very apparent. However, whether or not the rules are right or fair, they are the rules. Using them in a partisan fashion is not acceptable.

  44. Sylvain Allard

    24 May 2013 at 2:17 pm

    Sheri,

    This is the supreme court ruling:

    http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-205.pdf

    There is 4 mention of 501c4 in it and it is about the right of a corporation to give money to it or not. Before they couldn’t after the judment they could.

    So now, a company with a vested interest in a cause can give millions of dollars ananymously to a 501-c-4 so they can sway the public opinion in their favor.

  45. Sylvain: Yes, that is exactly what it means. When the IRS held up applications for the status, it effectively put some groups at a disadvantage to those with the status.

    American campaign financing has always been a problem. Another clever method for campaign financing is to “loan” a committee millions, then after the election, write off the loan as a business expense.

    Yes, we do need a better system.

  46. Sylvain Allard

    24 May 2013 at 9:38 pm

    Sheri,

    How can I explain that you don’t need the 501-c-4 status to claim it. You just put it in your tax return as any other deduction. You don’t need the status to be able to raise money.

  47. Sylvain Allard

    24 May 2013 at 9:58 pm

    Watch the Colbert report on May 20th 2013.

    His lawyer is explaining what I mean. It starts around 9 min.

    http://www.colbertnation.com/#tool_tip_1

  48. I know you don’t need the status to raise money. You need the status to raise money anonymously–as in not listing your donors. That is very important in American politics–the ability to hide the identity of your donors. Thus, let’s say Fred of Corporation XYZ wants to make a substantial donation to the DNC. If he does this directly, he is listed on their donor list and everyone knows that Fred supports the DNC. However, if he goes through one of these 501c 4 groups, no one knows he donated. The donor list is not made public.
    I believe this became a way to get around super pacs, that went out with the last campaign reform measure.

    From the Washington Post:
    Here’s the key difference: Super PACs must disclose their donors while 501(c)(4)s do not. If you are a donor looking to influence election but do not want to reveal your identity, the 501(c)(4) is an attractive option through which to send your cash.

    Colbert had his own Super Pac:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colbert_Super_PAC
    This is one of the final entries on that Wiki entry:
    Colbert reported that the Super PAC still had nearly $800,000 in funds. Colbert’s lawyer, Trevor Potter, advised Stephen that he could form a second anonymous 501(c)(4), then make out a check with the remaining funds to his first 501(c)(4) along with an Agency Letter which instructed the original 501(c)(4) to pay those funds to the second 501(c)(4) and give dispersal instructions to that second 501(c)(4). In doing so, he could avoid telling anyone – even the IRS – where the money went.

  49. Sylvain Allard

    25 May 2013 at 12:15 am

    This is what Colbert’s lawyer (Trevor Potter (Caplin Drysdale
    (former FEC chairman)))said (he is also the former lawyer from the 2008 McCain campaign).

    Sheri:

    Yes, Colbert had his own superpac, and he played a few funny ad during the primary. In the end he gave the money to different charities though their may be some money left in it.

    TP “There is no legal requirement to file with the IRS an application for exemption”
    SC “You can form a 501-c-4 without asking to form one”
    TP “yes”

    Filed or not filed with the IRS a 501-c-4 have the same rights to keep their donnor anonymous, their is nothing to be gained to file with the IRS.

    You can believe that superpac, democrat or republican (like the one by Karl Rove) will have used such schemes.

    In the aid the end, though it was stupid to single out application that had some specific name on the application, no one was prevented to act as they wanted. What they did was profiling which is usually seen as a good thing for conservative, unless they are the one that are being profiled.

  50. This is quite a litany! I’m still ticked off about the stealing of GM and Chrysler and those companies being handed over to Obama allies in probably the most egregious act of naked cronyism in US history. And it didn’t even make the top-ten list!

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