IRS to reconsider proposed nonprofit rules

A remarkable 87% of all public comments sampled opposed the rule-making outright, with 64% of comments from organizations, experts, and public officials in firm opposition. Even among comments favoring changes to current regulations, the rule proposed by the IRS was deeply unpopular. In all, 97% of comments from organizations, experts, and public officials were opposed to the proposed rule in varying degrees.

Not only were the comments received overwhelmingly opposed, they also set a record for number of comments.

Wed Jul 30 16:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

IRS Abuses: Ensuring that targeting never happens again

That's the title for the House Oversight hearing, but frankly it's a bit optimistic. So far we've had one person resign and another retire with full pension after months of paid vacation. Those aren't consequences.

The actual reform proposals seem like weak tea. While archiving instant messages is an obvious step, people who destroy data to evade Congressional investigations don't just need to be fired. People need to go to jail for the original offenses and probably for the cover-up, too. Short of that, no one will be discouraged.

Wed Jul 30 15:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Lerner's emails reveal contempt for conservatives

Not really a surprise that Lerner referred to conservatives as "assholes", "crazies", and "terRorists" in official emails, but it's at best rude, at worst illegal (under the Hatch Act, but perhaps stretching it), and definitely destroys any claim by the Left that Lerner was a neutral, unbiased civil servant.

There is also new evidence that Lerner used her home computer for IRS business. Personally, I'm disappointed that we are reading about this in the news, rather than reading about the House Sergeant at Arms confiscating computer and cell phone equipment from Lerner's home to hold in protective custody. We wouldn't want there to be an accidental hard drive crash, after all.

Wed Jul 30 14:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

ATF multiple-rifle demand letters upheld by appeals court

Remember that there is no basis for this in the law whatsoever. ATF just made it up the requirement.

Presumably they are adding the names they receive to their so-called "Suspect Gun Database", which they appear to use as a gun registration database and, as such, is illegal.

And all this is adding insult to injury over the Fast and Furious operation, where government agents encouraged licensed firearms dealers to make suspicious sales to crimes with the deliberate intent of seeing those firearms smuggled across the border to Mexico and retrieved from crime scenes there.

Wed Jul 30 13:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

DC Police enforcing carry ban again

The Palmer decision was stayed for 90 days while they figure out whether to appeal or write legislation to comply.

Wed Jul 30 12:44:35 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Remember when the IRS scandal was just about the IRS?

We have already uncovered links between the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Justice concerning possible prosecution of the tax-exempt groups. Now the Ways and Means Committee has uncovered emails linking the IRS effort to persecute organizations supporting Israel to the State Department.

So, let's sum up.

(Read More...)

Wed Jul 30 11:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Could the National Archivist know whether the White House also lost emails?

It seems that he should know, if the White House followed the law. Congress should ask.

Wed Jul 30 10:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

DC Police Procedure for CCW

My advice would be to stay out of the District with a concealed firearm for the present, despite the recent victory in Palmer v DC. The city is very hostile to gun ownership, and if they catch you, they will pursue anything they can think of to catch you on something, including silly technicalities. If the court ruling is overturned on appeal, it's possible that could also be a problem.

Alan Gura has posted the memo to DC police on what their police for concealed carry should be following the Palmer decision and before DC implements any legal changes.

Wed Jul 30 09:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

SAF says DC plans to appeal Palmer victory

Saturday’s long-awaited victory in Palmer v. District of Columbia is “one more important step toward firearms freedom,” the Second Amendment Foundation said today after reviewing the ruling, which the District of Columbia now reportedly plans to appeal.

The victory itself was a surprise, since many lower courts have been fairly shy about striking down gun laws, but the appeal? Not a surprise.

Tue Jul 29 15:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Legislation introduced to reform civil asset forfeiture

It's Rand Paul's work. The chances the legislation will pass the Senate are probably nil. But it's a beginning, and these things build support gradually.

Tue Jul 29 14:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Fast and Furious may have implemented gun registration

The lawmakers contended that ATF agents, under the Operation Fast and Furious investigation, added extensive amounts of firearms to what is termed the Suspect Gun Database maintained by the agency. All told, between 1992 and 2012, the agency added data on 173,784 guns to the database. Once added, even if an investigation is concluded, the information cataloged on both the gun and the purchaser remains active.

As far as building an actual, complete registration list of firearms, this is a drop in the bucket. But if the ATF is building a database of people who own politically incorrect guns for use as a target list, well, it might work for that.

The other issue, alleged targeting of minorities, is also troubling. The raw conviction statistics do not prove racism, of course, but it is also true that the ATF has some very troubling history in that area. History aside, the current objections are to sting operations where the ATF goes into a particular neighborhood and tries to talk individuals there into committing crimes:

"There’s something very wrong going on here,” University of Chicago law professor Alison Siegler told USA Today. “The government is creating these crimes and then choosing who it’s going to target.”

From the descriptions of the sting operations in the press, I agree. Recruiting local criminals to conduct an armed robbery from a drug stash seems to me like creating a crime rather than solving one. So does recruiting the mentally-handicapped.

Tue Jul 29 13:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

IRS settles with atheist group to monitor content of sermons

I see a couple problems with this arrangement. The first is the obvious. Should the IRS be monitoring content of sermons at all? It implicates the rights of free speech, free assembly, and free exercise of religion. The IRS will obviously argue that this is simply a condition of the tax-free status, but I don't really think that excuse flies. Obviously the courts have allowed it, but that doesn't mean it's right.

In this specific case we're talking about a court settlement the IRS has made with the Freedom From Religion Foundation. That reminds of the EPA's practice of being sued by and then settling with friendly environmental groups in order to implement policies it might find politically difficult otherwise. I suspect that's what's happening here, and that enforcement will be quite thoroughly biased.

Given what we now know about the internal IRS culture, we absolutely should not allow that agency anywhere near regulation of speech or politics.

Tue Jul 29 12:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Boys Scouts Crossing Borders

If you want to cross the southern border of the US, you will be waved right through, whether you are a US citizen or not. If you are crossing the northern border, though, even a group of US citizen boy scouts can be detained for 4 hours.

Tue Jul 29 11:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Something that has always interested me about the missing Lerner emails...

I have wondered ever since the missing emails started being discussed... how exactly do they know that "about 24,000" emails are missing? How did the IRS determine that number in order to provide it to Congress? If the emails are missing, they cannot be counted, right?

I can see a couple possibilities.

It could be that the number is just an estimate. Perhaps the IRS looked at how many emails Lerner sent in a typical month from the time period they do have, and extrapolated over the missing time period? That would produce a number that's better than a wild guess, but wouldn't really tell us anything for sure.

It's possible they have more information than that. It's possible that the server logs from that time period have been preserved. It's been long enough since I admined an Exchange server that I don't remember what would be logged, exactly, but most email servers do maintain traffic logs with metadata information. If the IRS has email server logs which they used to estimate the number of emails Lerner sent and received, it would be worth asking them to produce the whole log in the hopes of obtaining a list of people she was corresponding with.

It's worth asking them how they came up with that number.

Tue Jul 29 10:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

A brief summary of smidgens

Megan Kelly does a good job summing up some of the reverses the IRS has made. Remember, one of the indications of a cover-up is when the story keeps changing to accomodate new evidence. When you tell the truth, it tends to fit without needing to be changed.

Tue Jul 29 09:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The tip of a very large iceberg

A police chief in Wisconsin pleaded no contest Friday to a charge that he signed a local Tea Party leader up on gay dating, pornography and federal health care websites.

He's going to get off with a clean record if he stays out of trouble for two years, something that should be fairly easy for a chief of police. What concerns me here is not so much the harm to the victim, which seems minor, but the motivation (presumably political advantage) and the abuse of police databases to obtain the information necessary.

We trust individual police officers with all kinds of otherwise-secret information and authority. For a rank and file officer to abuse the privilege is common enough but always a matter for serious concern; to have a chief of police, who is supposed to set an example of ethical conduct for his subordinates, abuse personal information for political gain suggests that the problem is far larger than it appears on the surface.

This is not an isolated incident. It is part of a pattern.

Mon Jul 28 18:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Hillary goes on record supporting censorship

“With Klein, Halper and Kessler, we now have a Hat Trick of despicable actors concocting trashy nonsense,” Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said in an interview with the Washington Examiner. “Their behavior should neither be allowed nor enabled, and legitimate media outlets who know with every fiber of their beings that it is completely made up should not get down in the gutter with them.”

We don't do censorship here, Hillary.

Mon Jul 28 17:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Obama advisor refuses to appear

Top White House political adviser David Simas refused again Friday to honor a congressional subpoena, prompting Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to vote to rebuke the administration.

The Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted 19-14 to reject the White House’s claim that Simas has absolute immunity from a subpoena from Congress.

The White House is claiming "absolute immunity".

Mon Jul 28 16:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

FEC trying to interfere with distribution of Rand Paul's book

“By failing to affirm this publisher’s constitutional right, statutory right, to disseminate a political book free from FEC conditions and regulations, we have effectively asserted regulatory jurisdiction over a book publisher,” warned Chairman Lee E. Goodman, one of three Republicans on the six-person FEC.

The Democrats are well past desperation if they are willing to try to interfere with publishing a book.

Mon Jul 28 15:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Representative says we have no right to know what our government is doing

Eleanor Holmes Norton, the non-voting congressional representative for the District of Columbia, angrily sputtered during a congressional hearing Friday that the White House should not be held up to scrutiny, saying that there was no right to know what it was doing behind closed doors.

The words of a woman in government who doesn't understand government. At least, not our form of government.

It's a good thing she doesn't actually get to vote, since she represents DC. But I suspect her attitude is not at all unusual.

Mon Jul 28 14:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

The antis tell you this sort of thing never happens

As we’ve previously reported, an armed doctor prevented a possible mass shooting in a Pennsylvania hospital yesterday. The doctor engaged the shooter, hitting him multiple times in the chest and saving an unknown number of lives in the process.

He violated policy in order to be armed, and he was right to do so.

Mon Jul 28 13:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

MA police chiefs want control over gun ownership

Last month, a bill was introduced in Massachusetts that, among other gun control provisions, would give local police chiefs an enormous amount of power to determine who in their jurisdiction could own a long gun (rifle or shotgun).

This is inconsistent with the 2nd Amendment as a fundamental, individual right. I do not think that the proposed law would survive a Supreme Court challenge, but the legislation is still in play (currently in negotiations between the House and the Senate). We should also be aware of who has supported this provision to make sure their future political aspirations are appropriately limited.

To borrow a meme from Joe, don't ever let anyone tell you they don't want to take your guns.

Mon Jul 28 12:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Concealed carry holder captures 5 fleeing suspects

This man went above and beyond the call of duty, but the gun control advocates claim it never happens.

Mon Jul 28 11:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

IRS backs off initial denial of providing legal advice to employees before testifying

John Koskinen had told lawmakers Wednesday that the IRS doesn’t talk to employees who are going to sit for interviews with congressional investigators.“ Any employee who wants assistance in preparing for transcribed interviews may receive assistance from the Office of Chief Counsel,” Koskinen wrote to Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.), the top lawmakers on the House Oversight subcommittee he testified before on Wednesday.

This is yet another walkback from Koskinen's prior testimony. If IRS lawyers are helping prep employees before those employees testify to Congress, it raises ethical concerns over whether the advice being given is intended to protect the individual employee or the agency as a whole. The lawyers could also be a source of information for IRS cover-up efforts seeking to stay ahead of a Congressional investigation.

Mon Jul 28 10:44:34 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

Victory in Palmer v DC!

In light of Heller, McDonald, and their progeny, there is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny. Therefore, the Court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional. Accordingly, the Court grants Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and enjoins Defendants from enforcing the home limitations of D.C. Code § 7-2502.02(a)(4) and enforcing D.C. Code § 22-4504(a) unless and until such time as the District of Columbia adopts a licensing mechanism consistent with constitutional standards enabling people to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.4 Furthermore, this injunction prohibits the District from completely banning the carrying of handguns in public for self-defense by otherwise qualified non-residents based solely on the fact that they are not residents of the District.

Another tremendous win for Alan Gura on the 2nd Amendment. This one strikes down the last jurisdiction in the country that has no provision for law-abiding residents to carry arms in public. Gura is likewise responsible for striking down the Illinois law prohibiting concealed carry.

It must be noted that this is a DC District Court opinion. Appeals are both possible and likely.

If DC chooses not to appeal, they will need to write legislation allowing for carry by law-abiding citizens. If they take this path, it will be interesting to see what sort of legislation results. Although several states maintain may-issue licensing regimes for handgun carry, when Illinois was forced to implement a carry law they went for shall-issue. In my opinion, anything short of shall-issue is likely to have constitutional problems, though training requirements and the like might survive.

Given the timing, I suspect that the House amendment to block all DC gun laws had something to do with finally getting a decision in this case.

UPDATE: SAF press release says DC does plan to appeal.

Sat Jul 26 21:39:15 CDT 2014 by TriggerFinger. Comments [Tweet]

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