Daily Media Links 7/18: Absurd rhetoric and patent falsehoods, What Sen. Schumer and Rep. Deutch Get Wrong About the Senate’s Constitutional Amendment Proposal, and more…

July 18, 2014   •  By Brennan Mancil   •  
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Amending the First Amendment: Absurd rhetoric and patent falsehoods (Video)

By Joe Trotter

Patent falsehoods? Absurd rhetoric? These are hallmarks of those who are trying to convince America that we need to amend the First Amendment so that politicians can decide what limits they can impose on our right to associate and speak about politics.

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What Sen. Schumer and Rep. Deutch Get Wrong About the Senate’s Constitutional Amendment Proposal

By Scott Blackburn

“Equality of speech” is a new balancing test, one that has never been used before in America. For good reason. What does equality of speech mean? Does it mean that every citizen has a right to be published in the pages of The New York Times? Does it mean anyone who wants to run for political office must be included in every political debate, regardless of political party or polling numbers? Does it mean that candidates should be limited to the same number of volunteers, so that one candidate can’t gain an advantage handing out flyers? All it seems to mean, in the context of this amendment, is that certain Americans should be prohibited from spending money expressing their opinion – because they have too much money.  

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Daily Caller: Department of Justice: We Heard About IRS Missing Emails On The News

By Patrick Howley

“So you actually read about it in the press and nobody in the IRS ever went to the Justice Department to give you a heads-up, knowing you were conducting the investigation that some evidence may have been destroyed?,” Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis ventured.

“Not before the 13th of June,” Cole replied.

Cole confirmed at the hearing that DOJ is now “looking into” the IRS commissioner’s delayed response in the IRS emails case.

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The Hill: Justice: No need for IRS special prosecutor

By Bernie Becker

A top Justice Department official on Thursday brushed aside GOP requests for a special prosecutor to investigate the IRS’s treatment of Tea Party groups, saying the evidence didn’t warrant such a appointment.

“It is very, very rare to use a special prosecutor,” Deputy Attorney General James Cole told a House Oversight subcommittee, adding that he and Attorney General Eric Holder determined the IRS case “didn’t meet any sort of standard to warrant a special prosecutor.”

Cole tried to assure Republicans at a House hearing that his department was taking seriously a criminal investigation that a host of GOP lawmakers have accused of being shoddy.

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Politico: GOP skeptical of Justice IRS probe

By Rachael Bade

The Justice Department learned about Lois Lerner’s lost emails through press reports and would like to know why the IRS waited at least two months to tell investigators, a top official said Thursday.

Deputy Attorney General James Cole told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that his department learned of the 2011 hard drive crash that erased two years of the former IRS official’s emails from the media around the same time the IRS told lawmakers in June.

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WSJ: Justice Department Learned of Lost IRS Emails From Press, Official Says

By John D. McKinnon

Justice Department officials didn’t learn until June that the Internal Revenue Service had lost two years’ worth of emails that could shed light on the agency’s treatment of conservative groups, a top Justice official said.

Deputy Attorney General James Cole told a congressional panel Thursday that the agency learned from press accounts in June that the IRS had lost the emails. The Justice Department announced more than a year earlier, in May 2013, that it was investigating the alleged IRS targeting of conservative groups, after an inspector general found tea party groups faced unusual scrutiny and lengthy delays as they sought tax-exempt status.

Republicans said the disclosure supports their claim that the Justice Department under President Barack Obama hasn’t been aggressive in pursuing its investigation of the matter.

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Independent Groups

Accounting Today: House Republicans Seek Lois Lerner Emails on Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS Group

By Michael Cohn

House Ways and Means Committee chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., and Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee chairman Charles Boustany, Jr., R-La., have written a letter to the advocacy group Democracy 21 asking it to provide all communications with the former director of the Internal Revenue Service’s Exempt Organizations unit, Lois Lerner, including emails.

They are specifically seeking emails regarding applications for tax-exempt status by Crossroads GPS, a group co-founded by Karl Rove, the architect behind George W. Bush’s gubernatorial and presidential campaigns, which provided crucial funding to Republican candidates during the 2010 and 2012 elections. However, Democracy 21 president Fred Wertheimer said he doubted there were any emails between his group and Lerner, but said there was a public letter, which his group will provide to the congressmen.

“We’ll comply with their request,” he told Accounting Today on Wednesday.

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The Atlantic: The Easiest Fix for Dark Money: Disclose Less Often

By Lindsay Mark Lewis

Super PACs are unquestionably a scandal: The lightly regulated committees mean wealthy donors can funnel unlimited amounts of money into elections anonymously. But one of the remedies being proposed—early and frequent disclosure of super-PAC donors and expenses—would very likely make things worse.

Senate Democrats have proposed a bill, the DISCLOSE Act, that would require super PACs to publicly file lists of their donors and spending every 90 days during an election cycle. This sounds good—who is against transparency?—but it ignores the real-word dynamics of fundraising. In fact, ill-conceived disclosure requirements have already stimulated a campaign-spending arms race and made U.S. elections more expensive.

Let’s be clear: Transparency is vital to our democracy. Americans are rightly concerned about the cascade of “dark money” into U.S. elections. The question is not whether to disclose, but when and how. What the last decade shows is that early and frequent reporting of donations creates a perverse incentive to start the money chase earlier—and to raise more cash to pay for perpetual fundraising.

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Candidates, Politicians, Campaigns, and Parties

Detroit Free Press: Where did Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land’s $3 million come from?

By Todd Spangler

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Terri Lynn Land has given her own campaign nearly $3 million this year and last, but nowhere in her federal financial disclosure form has she listed any bank accounts or other assets in her control worth that much.

Her campaign says it’s an oversight, claiming Land — who for two terms as Michigan’s secretary of state oversaw the enforcement of election laws — inadvertently failed to disclose a joint account she has with her husband, Dan Hibma.

But it still leaves unanswered questions about the source of the funds. And it raises questions about if such a transfer — if from her husband’s assets — violates the spirit of the campaign contribution law.

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Brennan Mancil


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