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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A group of lawyers who have been investigating the origins of the IRS scandal for the past year-and-a-half say they've uncovered the real roots of the IRS scandal -- and they'll surprise both liberals and conservatives alike. The group, Cause of Action, which has subpoenaed thousands of pages of documents from the agency and is still embroiled in litigation with it, says the targeting of conservative groups resulted as much from IRS personnel merely following the instructions laid out in their employee handbook, the Internal Revenue Manual, as from any political bias at the top.


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Every journalist lives in fear of a certain scenario: You have a news story, quite possibly an exclusive, on a significant public figure. You Google the keywords and a jumble of old links pops up; no one has written it! So you take your revelations to the public figure's PR rep and ask whether your reporting is true and real. In making that inquiry, you relinquish a bit of control over your investigation; now someone outside of your news organization -- a PR official -- knows what you have. You have no choice but trust that the official doesn't play any games with a prospective scoop.

Games may have been played yesterday in connection with the week's resounding media story....


Thursday, May 14, 2015

House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., on Wednesday unveiled a plan to repeal President Obama's healthcare law and replace it with an alternative.

The move is the latest effort by Republicans to show that they have a vision for reforming the healthcare system beyond merely undoing Obamacare. With Republicans taking over the Senate, a looming Supreme Court decision, and the 2016 campaign heating up, there has been increased pressure on the GOP to offer alternatives.

Price, an orthopedic surgeon who in January took over the budget panel from Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has been one of the leading voices on healthcare policy among Republicans.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

he year is 2023, and President Ted Cruz is ending the second of his contentious terms in the Oval Office. While his policies have been controversial -- for example, undoing major social legislation (Obamacare) without a single Democratic vote -- his administration's continual expressions of hostility toward dissent have finally proved intolerable to millions of Americans. Liberal grievances date back to 2017, the first year of Cruz's administration, when his Department of Homeland Security issued a report declaring that fears about economic stagnation and inequality combined with liberal hatred of a conservative Latino could foster left-wing extremism. Specifically, failure to achieve comprehensive immigration reform could lead to violence. According to DHS, left-wing "extremist groups' frustration over a perceived lack of government action on illegal immigration has the potential to incite individuals or small groups toward violence."


Sunday, May 10, 2015

It isn't every day that judges on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals declare themselves "shocked." But that happened on Monday when an animated three-judge panel eviscerated the IRS and Justice Department during oral argument in a case alleging the agency delayed the tax-exempt application of a pro-Israel group due to its policy views. In December 2009, Pennsylvania-based Z Street applied for 501(c)(3) status to pursue its pro-Israel educational mission. In July 2010, when the group called to check on what was taking so long, an IRS agent said that auditors had been instructed to give special attention to groups connected with Israel, and that they had sent some of those applications to a special IRS unit for additional review. read more


Comments

Monte,

The problem with your example is it's a drafting error. This isn't a drafting error.

Congress indisputably chose exactly that crazy, insane, totally inconceivable structure for the Medicaid expansion passed in the same law. In fact, it was considerably more coercive: if you didn't expand, you lost all your Medicaid funding, not just the new stuff. Why would Congress choose a structure that might result in a net loss of insurance coverage? We can sit around and speculate, but ultimately the correct answer is "Who cares? They did." [snip]

you have the legislators and staffers right there! Why not just ask them what they meant, rather than trying to puzzle it out from the statutory language?

Actually, this is not crazy, but very wise. Memory is incredibly fallible, especially about stuff you're highly motivated to believe. [snip]

Memory is so very terrible, and this law is so very complex. Anyone who tells you that they have a full and accurate memory of the evolution of the various moving parts is lying -- at least to themselves. They are incapable of being accurate about what must have seemed like a minor point in a law that was drafted five years ago. That's why the Supreme Court largely ignores post-hoc statements, and we should too. That is also why we should give a whole lot less credence to eyewitness testimony in trials, by the way, but that's a column for another day.

In the absence of a clear record of legislative intent, which we don't have, we have to go back to where we should have been in the first place, the place from which the Supreme Court is going to rule: the text of the law.


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