Fewer groups sought recognition as 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations that year than in 2009, according to the Treasury Department.
A number of people have sought to explain the IRS targeting of Tea Party, patriot, and 9/12 group applications -- as well as those from other conservative groups -- for "specialist team" treatment (mainly delays and excessive and inappropriate questions) in 2010 by pointing to the Citizens United decision that year allowing for unlimited, undisclosed fundraising by such groups. That's the explanation IRS official Lois Lerner gave a week ago when she first revealed that the agency had improperly handled a slew of applications -- the political shorthand was a mistaken attempt to deal with a surge in applications.
Was the White House involved in the IRS's targeting of conservatives? No investigation needed to answer that one. Of course it was.
President Obama and Co. are in full deniability mode, noting that the IRS is an "independent" agency and that they knew nothing about its abuse. The media and Congress are sleuthing for some hint that Mr. Obama picked up the phone and sicced the tax dogs on his enemies.
But that's not how things work in post-Watergate Washington. Mr. Obama didn't need to pick up the phone. All he needed to do was exactly what he did do, in full view, for three years: Publicly suggest that conservative political groups were engaged in nefarious deeds; publicly call out by name political opponents whom he'd like to see harassed; and publicly have his party pressure the IRS to take action.
On Friday, May 10, President Obama ventured into Ohio to give a Mother's Day defense of the sagging fortunes of his signal achievement, the misnamed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The law, the President assures us, "is here to stay" -- a comment that is best regarded as a threat and not a promise. His conclusion was not coincidental; support for the ACA has dropped from 42 percent to 35 percent between November 2012 and April 2013.
This recent drop in popularity is not a function of some detailed analysis of the ACA's key provisions. Rather, the public seems to feel that the sheer complexity of the program makes it highly unlikely that it will be able to take effect in any form by its ostensible January 1, 2014 start date. The most obvious difficulty in implementation stems from the unwillingness of many states to participate in its two gargantuan initiatives, even with heavy federal support...
New York Times: In the winter of 2010, after a decade of defending the government against bias claims by Hispanic and female farmers, Justice Department lawyers seemed to have victory within their grasp. Ever since the Clinton administration agreed in 1999 to make $50,000 payments to thousands of black farmers, the Hispanics and women had been clamoring in courtrooms and in Congress for the same deal. They argued, as the African-Americans had, that biased federal loan officers had systematically thwarted their attempts to borrow money to farm. But a succession of courts -- and finally the Supreme Court -- had rebuffed their pleas. Instead of an army of potential claimants, the government faced just 91 plaintiffs. Those cases, the government lawyers figured, could be dispatched at limited cost. They were wrong. read more
Stephen P. Knott: The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum will be dedicated Thursday at Southern Methodist University, an event that will draw all of the nation's living presidents to Dallas. Despite the coming fanfare, many Americans consider Bush's presidency a failure. There is little evidence that scholars, including the influential historians who pronounce the success or failure of an administration, are having second thoughts about their assessment of Bush as a failed chief executive. ... Bush may not have been a great president; he may even be considered an average or below-average president, but he and -- more important -- the nation deserve better than this partisan rush to judgment.