Two years after activists for same-sex marriage obtained the confidential tax return and donor list of a national group opposed to redefining marriage, the Internal Revenue Service has admitted wrongdoing and agreed to settle the resulting lawsuit.
The Daily Signal has learned that, under a consent judgment today, the IRS agreed to pay $50,000 in damages to the National Organization for Marriage as a result of the unlawful release of the confidential information to a gay rights group, the Human Rights Campaign, that is NOM’s chief political rival.
“Congress made the disclosure of confidential tax return information a serious matter for a reason,” NOM Chairman John D. Eastman told The Daily Signal. “We’re delighted that the IRS has now been held accountable for the illegal disclosure of our list of major donors from our tax return.”
“These emails are not stored on a signal server or a single computer, so if there were a crash of a hard drive or some sort of system failure, they would still be retrievable. According to [John] Koskinen, the IRS Commissioner at the time, he told Congress that emails were stored offsite. That jives with people who said emails were backed up daily. There is a responsibility on the part of government officials to retain the data, make sure that is and can’t be lost in the system. If it’s true that the emails are lost, that’s quite a story in itself,” she said.
She thinks Congress should act fast to investigate if anyone inside the IRS is attempting to hide or destroy the emails.
“I would call in certain officials. Let’s assume there could have been some mischief committed — before they have time to get their stories straight and fix things up, I would get them in there under oath and start digging down and getting the timeline and getting people on the record about this. The only people that I see than can do this are members of Congress. The question is, do they have the will to do that?” Attkisson stated.
Attkisson said that regardless of whether the emails were lost accidentally or improperly, the individuals responsible should be held accountable.
“One official wrote me…to say this is entirely implausible, and he said there are criminal penalties for destroying federal records, which makes sense, including liability for negligence for not taking the necessary steps to protect files, including a federal requirement to backup data. This doesn’t happen. He said … all email servers are backed up with something called ‘RAID’ (Redundant Array Of Independent Disks), and it’s nearly impossible for something to delete the files, and that even if that were to happen they would not be gone forever,” she said.
“One final comment that this particular guy made, he said if there was a cover-up here — let’s just assume for the sake of argument that maybe something went wrong — he said laws have been broken during an alleged coverup that are much easier to prove than the original act, some poor IT schmuck, if you get him under oath, he will fold like a cheap suit, and I do feel like there is some truth to that. So if you call in the IT professionals who supposedly reported the crash and went after the irretrievable material and found they couldn’t be found I think you’d probably get the truth; and maybe the truth is nothing more than what the IRS says, but it’s just strange that they kept the subpoena and official request from Congress for 7-10 months without mentioning it that the emails don’t exist or are that they were gone. And it also then would be exposing a huge vulnerability in our federal computers if indeed data has been irretrievably lost by this. Remember, but the IRS is part of Healthcare.gov, if the IRS system can indeed be so vulnerable that some sort of crash can lose all kind of important data like this, what does t say about the federal system?”
1. What steps did each of you, as counsel for the Defendants, each of them, take to ensure that any and all documents as described in the litigation hold letter and as required by federal law were, in fact, preserved?
2. When did you learn that the destruction, loss or spoliation of emails of Defendant Lois Lerner had occurred?
3. What steps have you, each of you, taken to restore Ms. Lerner’s “lost” emails?
4. Were the “lost” emails from Ms. Lerner’s computer at the IRS or her home computer?
5. Are there documents or records, as described in the Litigation Hold letter or the subpoenas issued to the IRS from any of the Committees, belonging to other defendants that have been “lost”?
Time to find out who the IT guys were that tried to recover the "lost" emails, and get them under oath..
A growing number of computer professionals are stepping forward to say that none of this makes sense. Norman Cillo, a former program manager at Microsoft, told The Blaze: “I don’t know of any e-mail administrator [who] doesn’t have at least three ways of getting that mail back. It’s either on the disks or it’s on a TAPE backup someplace on an archive server.” Bruce Webster, an IT expert with 30 years of experience consulting with dozens of private companies, seconds this opinion: “It would take a catastrophic mechanical failure for Lerner’s drive to suffer actual physical damage, but in any case, the FBI should be able to recover something. And the FBI and the Justice Department know it.”
In March of this year, John Koskinen, the new IRS commissioner, testified before Congress that all the e-mails of IRS employees are “stored in servers.” The agency’s own manual specifies that it “provides for backup and recovery of records to protect against information loss or corruption.” The reason is simple. It is well known in legal and IT circles that failure to preserve e-mails can lead to a court ruling of “spoliation of evidence.” That means a judge or jury is then instructed to treat deletions as if they were deliberate destruction of incriminating evidence.
Why is the loss of the Lerner e-mails particularly important? Last year’s report by the IRS inspector general set out a timeline of the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups. A full 16 of the 26 non-redacted events in the inspector general’s timeline took place during the period for which all of Lerner’s e-mails were “lost,” and these 16 instances refer to “e-mail” as the source for information on that event. As tax expert Alan Joel points out, much of the context about how the IRS scandal developed and who may have known about it is now “lost” in the black hole the Lerner e-mails are supposed to have been sucked into.
Since the IG report, we have learned that Lerner was engaged in highly suspect activity. As the Wall Street Journal editorial page noted on Saturday:
She shipped a database of 12,000 nonprofit tax returns to the FBI, the investigating agency for Justice’s Criminal Division. The IRS, in other words, was inviting Justice to engage in a fishing expedition, and inviting people not even licensed to fish in that pond. The Criminal Division (rather than the Tax Division) investigates and prosecutes under the Internal Revenue Code only when the crimes involve IRS personnel.
If there is an ongoing cover-up of the IRS scandal, it’s obvious why some folks would be desperate to continue it. Last year, Time magazine’s liberal columnist Joe Klein wrote that the IRS scandal placed President Obama “on the same page as Richard Nixon.” Article II of the Articles of Impeachment by the House Judiciary Committee in 1974 included a charge that Nixon had caused, “in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.” The Judiciary Committee was also deeply disturbed by the Nixon administration’s apparent efforts to conceal evidence. When investigators found a crucial “18-and-a-half-minute gap” from a Watergate break-in conversation involving Nixon and his aides, the administration implausibly claimed that Rose Mary Woods, Nixon’s longtime secretary, had accidentally erased that portion of the tape. Later, Woods herself said she could have been responsible for no more than five minutes of the gap.
Now we have the “IRS server ate the e-mails” excuse. “Barack Obama has brought us Jimmy Carter’s economy and Richard Nixon’s excuses,” Steve Stockman (R., Texas) waggishly observed Friday. At a minimum, the House committees investigating the IRS scandal should demand that everyone involved in the search for the Lerner e-mails appear before them and testify under oath. I strongly suspect that if anything is amiss, one or more employees will not want to commit perjury to protect political higher-ups.
With some tearing up gun registration forms in public protest on Tuesday, some 1 million New York gun owners shrugged off an April 15 deadline to register assault-style weapons under a tough post-Sandy Hook gun control law.
The rebellious stance is being taken by a subgroup of Americans who often make a show of being “law-abiding.” But it’s now set off a possible standoff with the New York State Police over registering assault-style weapons – a sore subject in a country simmering with gun-confiscation fears after myriad high-profile shootings.
For now, gun rights experts say, the outcome in New York is uncertain. Will the state take the initiative to seize unregistered weapons? If it doesn’t, will the new gun controls be exposed as toothless, even meaningless?
“The line in the sand has been drawn, and if Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to send state police out on house-to-house searches and put hundreds of thousands of people in prison, they can do that,” says Dave Kopel, research director at the Independence Institute, a free-market think tank in Denver.
Tuesday’s protests were another sign of New York emerging as a battleground on gun issues. In late 2012, The Journal News in White Plains, N.Y., drew heavy criticism after publishing addresses of pistol permit holders in the county. Just this week, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg pledged $50 million toward a national effort called Everytown for Gun Safety, focused on improving background checks.
As for the legislation in question, the SAFE Act, it bans semiautomatic rifles that can take detachable magazines and those with military features like pistol grips, folding stocks, second hand grips, bayonet mounts, and flash suppressors.
New York residents who already own those guns can legally keep them so long as they register them with the state – the failure of which is punishable as a misdemeanor and, possibly, a felony.
Your move, Mr. Governor. Are you going to issues warrants, and arrest a million of your taxpaying citizens, or are you going to do nothing?
“These new emails show that the day before she broke the news of the IRS scandal, Lois Lerner was talking to a top Obama Justice Department official about whether the DOJ could prosecute the very same organizations that the IRS had already improperly targeted,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “The IRS emails show Eric Holder’s Department of Justice is now implicated and conflicted in the IRS scandal. No wonder we had to sue in federal court to get these documents.”
Received my notification from the City and County of Denver that my application for a CCW permit was approved. Next step is to visit the Police Department and pick up my credentials.
The process was an interesting one. Colorado requires you take a class (instructor must be certified), pass a background check, and pay a fee ($152.50!). Really enjoyed the class I took. Instructor was a former Jefferson County Sherriff Deputy, and taught me a lot more than I thought I would learn. I would highly recommend using Joe, if you plan on taking such a course. The process at the Police station was a little challenging, as my fingers don't like being fingerprinted.
My permit is good for 5 years, at which point I pay a lower fee to get reissued.
Nice to know that I have the option of carrying in situations that would make my family feel safer. Ever since the shooting at the Batman movie a few years ago, the fetching Mrs. P has been uncomfortable at movie theaters. She was actually the one who pushed for me to get my permit.
Not sure how often I'll actually carry one of my guns, but I'm glad that I live in a State that still believes in the Constitution, and respects my Second Amendment right. I may carry frequently, I may not.
The Obama administration announced Monday it would give medium-sized employers an extra year, until 2016, before they must offer health insurance to their full-time workers.
Firms with at least 100 employees will have to start offering this coverage in 2015.
By offering an unexpected grace period to businesses with between 50 and 99 employees, administration officials are hoping to defuse another potential controversy involving the 2010 health-care law, which has become central to Republicans’ campaign to make political gains in this year’s midterm election.
Even the nation’s largest employers got a significant concession: They can avoid a fine by offering coverage to 70 percent of their full-time employees in 2015 and 95 percent starting in 2016. Under an earlier proposal, employers with at least 50 employees would have been required to offer insurance, beginning 2015, to 95 percent of those who work 30 hours or more a week, along with their dependents.
The regulation finalized by the Treasury Department involves one of the biggest issues surrounding the Affordable Care Act: how the law’s employer mandate plays out in practice. The mandate has enormous ramifications for how businesses classify their employees and how much these men and women work.
Initially, these requirements — which affect firms employing 72 percent of all Americans — were supposed to take effect this year, at the same time that most individuals faced a new obligation to obtain health insurance or risk a tax penalty. Last July, the administration announced it would delay the regulation for a year after many employers and some unions complained about the law’s reporting requirements and classification system for workers.
A senior administration official, who briefed reporters on the proposal on the condition of anonymity because the rule was not yet public, said the Treasury Department decided to allow medium-sized businesses more flexibility because they “need a little more time to adjust to providing coverage.”
Businesses that fail to offer coverage face a fine of up to $2,000 for each employee that is not covered, though workers are not required to sign up for the benefits.
Laws are for the little people.
When will someone on the Hill have the guts to challenge this fraud in the White House?
On the morning of the shooting, he used a valid badge to gain access to the sprawling Navy Yard and Building 197, bringing with him a sawed-off shotgun on which the cryptic messages of "better off this way" and "my ELF weapon" were scrawled, according to a law enforcement document reviewed by The Associated Press. The meaning of those words wasn't immediately clear.
If I didn't know any better, it's almost as if criminals will ignore laws or something.