Daily Media Links 6/19: Court Gives Final Approval for Appeals Court Ruling in Bequest Case, IRS Rules To Be Challenged In Court, and more…

June 19, 2013   •  By Joe Trotter   •  
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Court Gives Final Approval for Appeals Court Ruling in Bequest Case 
By Joe Trotter
A federal judge Monday denied a Federal Election Commission (FEC) motion to reconsider his decision to send a case involving a bequest to the Libertarian National Committee (LNC) to the en banc U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
“We are pleased that the LNC will now be able to make its constitutional arguments to the D.C. Circuit, as Congress intended” said Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) Legal Director Allen Dickerson, co-counsel in the case. “The district court was correct to certify the LNC’s case, and correct in reaffirming that ruling.”
“The District Court is correct that the government’s suppression of an individual’s choice to leave a political legacy raises serious First Amendment questions,” said co-counsel Alan Gura “We look forward to defending the right of free speech before the full Court of Appeals.”
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Independent Groups
Huffington Post: Chris Van Hollen: IRS Rules To Be Challenged In Court
By Paul Blumenthal
WASHINGTON — Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said Tuesday that he and two campaign finance watchdog groups would sue the IRS, challenging regulations that allow nonprofit groups to be involved in politics if they’re “primarily” devoted to a social welfare purpose.
Van Hollen said he and watchdog groups Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 would sue to clarify an IRS regulation that he said was at odds with the law, which requires certain groups to “exclusively” engage in social welfare to earn nonprofit status. The IRS regulation permitting groups “primarily” engaged in social welfare allows the organizations to participate in an undefined amount of political activity, said the congressman, a leading advocate of campaign finance reform and ranking member of the House Budget Committee.
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Washington Post: Rep. Elijah Cummings releases a full IRS interview transcript  
By Josh Hicks
The House Oversight Committee’s top Democrat on Tuesday released the fulltranscript of a congressional interview that he said “debunks conspiracy theories” about the IRS targeting controversy.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), ranking member of the committee, produced a complete interview transcript in which an IRS manager in Cincinnati said he elevated the first tea party case that led the agency to begin singling out conservative groups for extra scrutiny.
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NPR: 6 Surprising Things About The IRS Scandal  
By Tamara Keith
Throughout the transcribed interviews, both Hofacre and Muthert refer to Tea Party groups as “tea parties,” indicating either an unusual vocabulary that developed inside the IRS or a total lack of awareness of how most people talk about the Tea Party movement and individual Tea Party groups. Muthert told investigators he learned about the existence of the Tea Party movement watching CNN and describes himself as an apolitical person.
“I didn’t know what the Tea Party was or what,” Muthert said. “I still don’t know what it is.”
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The American Spectator: Keep the IRS Scandal Alive 
The NSA scandal has shoved the IRS scandal off the front pages, and it shouldn’t be that way. Our media is sprawling and pluralistic: perfectly capable of devoting substantial resources to both. But despite its size, the press tends to act less like a network of journalists dividing up concurrent stories, and more like a mindless herd of gazelles charging to the freshest breaking news item. Add in the fact that most reporters, being progressive, are more interested in covering civil liberties abuses than government attacks on conservatives, and you have good reason to believe that the press will let the IRS story fade away. 
The IRS, the Treasury Department, and Eric Holder’s Justice Department—that unextinguishable lantern of good government—are all investigating the agency’s misconduct. That, of course, shouldn’t comfort anyone. Congressional Republicans are also on the case, including the pugnacious Rep. Darrell Issa. Issa has been masterful at keeping needed investigations alive in the ADD news cycle, most notably last year when he forced the media to pay attention to Fast and Furious for a few days. But even Issa can only do so much; the gunrunning scandal still hasn’t received the coverage it deserved. 
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Wall Street Journal: Treasury’s Lew: IRS Set to Recommend Changes 
By Damian Paletta
Mr. Lew wouldn’t suggest what some of those recommendations might be, but he said the White House was still committed to holding responsible any agency officials that might have been involved in improperly targeting conservative groups applying for non-profit status.  
He also said the White House was going to “look beyond [the current scandal to] make sure that if there’s a structural issue in the IRS that allowed this to happen, we make sure we fix that as well.”  
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Candidates, Politicians and Parties

CNN Poll: Did White House order IRS targeting?
Washington (CNN) – A growing number of Americans believe that senior White House officials ordered the Internal Revenue Service to target conservative political groups, according to a new national poll.  
And a CNN/ORC International survey released Tuesday morning also indicates that a majority of the public says the controversy, which involves increased IRS scrutiny of tea party and other conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, is very important to the nation. 
State and Local
New York –– NY Times: Lawmakers in Albany Should Stay Put
After another run of indictments and arrests of public officials, New York’s lawmakers are planning to leave Albany this week without doing anything about the scandals around them. The list of unattended priorities left for next year is long and shameful. And at the top is campaign finance reform — specifically a system of public financing that would encourage more candidates to run for office and give voters wider choices. It is hard to throw rascals out if there is nobody else on the ballot. 

Joe Trotter