We must solve Illinois’ insolvency for our children and theirs

Reboot Illinois -

Most of us like to give our children and grandchildren savings bonds or cash to invest and grow over time. We see it as helping to finance their futures.

In Illinois, we’re doing the opposite. We’re leaving our children and grandchildren a gargantuan bill for our short-sighted political expediency. Years of skipped state pension payments and meager recessionary returns mean that if the bill for all of Illinois’ debts came due today, every single one of us who pays taxes in Illinois would need to come up with $43,400.

That college fund for your child? Turn it over. Illinois isn’t paying its bills. It’s not providing enough to cover retirement security for the teachers, prison guards, state troopers and others who have been guaranteed a pension.

Confronting this crisis remains an absolute must for us all. Already, it is strangling our ability to devote more resources to better schools, smarter transportation options and healthier communities with homes near jobs and reliable public transit. Soon we will have no choice but to make severe cuts to basics including schools, roads and rail, and water infrastructure, hurting our communities now and for decades to come.
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Posted in Illinois Items | 1 Comment

Roskam Demands Answers on New Allegations of IRS Targeting of Conservative Religious Organizations

WEST CHICAGO—Today, Congressman Peter Roskam (IL-06) sent a letter to Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen, inquiring about recent reports of an agreement between the IRS Exempt Organizations Examinations Department and the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) to investigate 99 “high priority” churches.

In the letter, Roskam raises concerns about the IRS-FFRF agreement coming on the heels of the ongoing targeting scandal where IRS was found to have targeted organizations applying for tax-exempt status based on their personal political, social and religious beliefs.  This IRS-FFRF agreement to more closely monitor and investigate the electioneering activities of a select number of churches could be the latest threat to the free speech protections and religious liberties of the organizations.

The text of the letter is below.  A PDF of the letter can be found here.

The Honorable John Koskinen
Commissioner
Internal Revenue Service
1111 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20224

Dear Commissioner Koskinen,

I write today to express my strongest concerns about an apparent agreement recently entered into between the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF). This agreement has raised serious questions that require immediate answers.

Specifically, I request a written response to the below questions no later than Monday, August 25, 2014:

1.       What criteria were used to identify the 99 churches referenced in the letter from Mary Epps, Acting Director, Exempt Organizations (EO) Examinations, to the Department of Justice dated June 27, 2014 that would be subject to “high priority examination?”
2.       List the city and state of each church identified for high priority examination.
3.       What, if any, communication took place between the IRS and FFRF relating to the selection of churches subject to examination?
4.       According to page two of the Plaintiff’s Memorandum in Support of the Motion to Dismiss, “The IRS has recently, in the context of this litigation, tried to assure FFRF that procedures are now in place for enforcement of the electioneering restrictions of § 501(c)(3), including a procedure to initiate investigations/examinations of churches for possible violations.”

a.       How were these new procedures promulgated?
b.      Were they subject to any public comment period?
c.       If they were subject to a public comment period, what were the nature and quantity of the comments?
d.      If they were not subject to a public comment period, how were organizations subject to examination under the new procedures notified about them?
e.      If such organizations have not yet been notified, how and when does the IRS intend to do so?
f.        If the IRS does not intend to notify such organizations, what specific authority does the IRS rely on to keep the details of this program secret?
g.       Please describe the provisions that are in place in these new procedures to protect the religious freedom of groups subject to examination.
h.      Were these procedures in place at the time that the alleged violations by the 99 churches identified for high priority examination occurred?
i.         Who from the IRS will be involved in implementing the new procedures?
j.        What, if any, training have they received in order to perform this task?

Ongoing Congressional investigations have exposed extraordinary, potentially criminal overreach at the IRS dating back to early 2010 with respect to enforcement activities seeking to curtail individual expression and association in contravention of the protections enshrined in the Bill of Rights. The EO Examinations Division was the focal point of this overreach, targeting groups applying for tax-exempt status based on their personal political, social, and religious beliefs. The correspondence uncovered over the course of the Congressional investigations between the EO Examinations Division and applicants for tax-exempt status was exceptionally onerous and intrusive, going so far as to ask one group to detail specifically the content of their prayers.

Subsequent Congressional rebuke has been strong and bipartisan. Any IRS effort to change the standards or process of examination and enforcement in a way that may impede the religious liberties of private citizens and nonprofit organizations should therefore be afforded the highest level of transparency and accountability.

These new IRS actions raise serious questions about the appropriateness of the agency’s enforcement conduct. On behalf of my constituents and the American people, I request detailed answers to the above listed questions no later than August 25, 2014.

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MAJORITY WHIP STEVE SCALISE SEEKS HELP FROM ANTI-TEA PARTY LOBBYIST

Breitbart -

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise has been seeking help from a federal lobbyist while putting together his new staff, according to a Politico report.

The report shows that John Feehery, aligned with the lobbyist shop Quinn Gillespie & Associates, “sat in on and participated in multiple official interviews with job candidates,” helping Scalise put together his press operation.

Part of the old establishment, Feehery managed communications for Speaker Dennis Hastert and Majority Whip Tom Delay.

But Feehery has a history of being critical if not outright hostile about the Tea Party.

“It is time to get rid of the Tea Party. They are an embarrassment,” he wrote in a January post titled, “Tea Party Must be Crushed”

Feehery described he modern Tea Party as ”a collection of wing-nuts, racists, hucksters, extremists, con-men and front-men, who collaborate with Hollywood and left-wing organizations to plot the demise of Republicans in good standing.”

Chief among the “good” Republicans, he wrote was Mitch McConnell, who he described as “probably the most conservative leader of either party in the history of the Senate.”

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Posted in National GOP | 1 Comment

REBEL LEADER JUSTIN AMASH WINS BIG IN MICHIGAN

Breitbart -

Rebellious Republican Rep. Justin Amash has won his primary re-election battle in Michigan’s 3rd district against his challenger Brian Ellis, a blow to the GOP Establishment which had put significant resources into the race.

Ellis conceded the race as Amash had 55 percent of the vote and Ellis had 44 percent with 44 percent of the precincts reporting.

Allies of Speaker John Boehner had rallied for pro-establishment candidate Republican Brian Ellis and to take out Amash, the first lawmaker to vote against Boehner for speaker on the House floor in January 2013.

Ellis, a Grand Rapids businessman, loaned his campaign over $1 million and earned the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce.

Ellis used his money for an onslaught of negative ads that painted Amash as “Al Qaeda’s best friend” and accused the pro-life congressman of voting to allow “gender-selection abortions to continue.”

After winning his 2010 election, Amash went to Congress at the age 30 making him the second-youngest sitting congressman in Congress.

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Posted in National GOP | 1 Comment

Democrats cheer lower 2015 health insurance premiums and ignore illegal bail outs to insurers

C. Steven Tucker -

Democrats are cheering an August 1, 2014 initial analysis  of 2015 health insurance premium increases performed by Price Waterhouse Cooper. Many on the political Left are pointing to this as proof that “Obamacare is working”. That depends on how you define “working”. If robbing taxpayers of $10 billion dollars in 2014 and then handing it to the health insurance industry is “working” then Democrats are right.

As I have stated before, Obamacare is the greatest transfer of wealth from the U.S. Treasury to the health insurance industry in U.S. history. Those massive transfers of wealth are just getting started via the Obamacare “Three Rs” provision. The truth is that without the Obamacare Three Rs consisting of Risk Adjustment, Reinsurance and “Risk Corridors”, premiums would be dramatically higher  in 2015 as most of us policy wonks predicted. What does just one leg of the “Three Rs” accomplish? Cori Uccello – Senior Health Fellow at the American Academy of Actuaries spelled out for us what the “Reinsurance” part does during a recent testimony in congress:

“In 2014, $10 billion will be collected from health plans (CBS says this will cost policyholders $25 billion) which will then be used to pay plans in the individual market when an individual’s claims exceed $45,000. Plans will be reimbursed (by taxpayers) for 80% of an individual’s health claims between $45,000 and $250,000.” – Cori Uccello.

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Posted in Obamacare | 3 Comments

Action Alert: Call the White House – No Executive Amnesty

Call to Action: Call the White House at (855) 851-3093 and tell them not to grant executive amnesty!
Last week, the House passed a bill to deal with the border crisis. While it didn’t come out exactly the way we wanted it, our phone calls made the difference in getting substantial changes added to the bill that calls for tighter enforcement. 
The Senate has gone home for August recess and very likely won’t even bring the bill to a vote when they return in September. The White House has been toying with issuing executive orders to essentially grant amnesty for millions of people who are here illegally. 
This week, we need to flood the White House with phone calls to tell them that they do not have the authority to grant executive amnesty and demand that the President refrain from any such action.
We should also remind the President that he said this on March 28, 2011:

“There are enough laws on the books by Congress that are very clear in terms of how we have to enforce our immigration system that for me to simply through executive order ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as President.”

Even the President agreed at one point that executive amnesty was beyond his authority!

Call the White House at (855) 851-3093 and tell them not to grant executive amnesty!
Please share this with all you know   LETS BURN THE PHONE LINES!!!
Posted in Immigration Policy/Border Security | 1 Comment

ROLL CALL TILTS ILLINOIS TOWARDS REPUBLICANS

Illinois Review -

WASHINGTON DC – Roll Call says Illinois’ gubernatorial race is leaning red now, mainly because incumbent Democrat Governor Pat Quinn is so disliked – especially outside Cook County. Quinn’s numbers are so bad that congressional Democrats are growing concerned they could get swept up in an anti-Democrat election sweep.

There is some concern Quinn’s poor standing could hurt the re-election efforts of Democratic Reps. Brad Schneider, Bill Foster, Bill Enyart, and Cheri Bustos — all targets of national Republicans.

And watch for this strategy to hit airwaves, the Internet and mailboxes -

Democrats’ best strategy appears to be to turn GOP nominee Bruce Rauner, a wealthy businessman, into “Mitt Romney on steroids.” It could work, but to call this race a tossup right now would be understating Quinn’s standing in the race.

In the meantime, it appears right now that Illinois will be going red in November -

We’re changing the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating of the race from pure Tossup to Tossup/Tilts Republican, giving the GOP a narrow advantage to capture the state in November.

Posted in Illinois GOP | 1 Comment

Rep. Kinzinger Voted Against Curtailing Executive Amnesty Because It Would Make “Our Already Broken Immigration System More Confusing And Inefficient”

USofArn -

On Friday evening the House of Representatives passed a bill authored by Tennessee congresswoman Marsha Blackburn that would keep President Obama from continuing or expanding his DACA executive amnesty program.

DACA, Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals, was an executive order issued by President Obama in the summer of 2012 that granted amnesty to up to 1 million illegal immigrants that had been brought to the United States as children by their parents.

Blackburn’s DACA bill, H.R. 5272 would prohibit the federal government from making modifications to Obama’s original amnesty granting executive order that would expand the number of illegal immigrants eligable for it, the bill would also stop any authorization of any new deferred deportations, and would prohibit those illegal aliens from being able to work within the US.

11 House Republicans would vote against the bill, however as Roll Call reports not a one of them took to the House floor to explain why they were against Blackburn’s bill which was viewed as a necessary component to the House passing any legislation to address the flood of illegal immigrants from Central America crossing into Texas in the Rio Grande Valley.

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Posted in Immigration Policy/Border Security | 1 Comment

IT WASN’T PRETTY, BUT IT WORKED: HOW THE RIGHT WON THE SUMMER IMMIGRATION BATTLE

Breitbart -

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nobody — even those among their ranks — thought it could happen, but House conservatives cracked GOP leadership to get almost everything they wanted out of a supplemental appropriations immigration bill before the Congress broke officially for recess.

Conservatives capitalized on a perfect storm of the new House GOP leadership team’s inability to whip enough votes Thursday and the hardline stance of key conservatives. Their effort was aided by aggressive movement activists, the conservative media, and a national mood against President Barack Obama — which led many Americans to call their representatives demanding they come up with a solution to the ongoing crisis at the border.

And once the House GOP conference united on a plan, House Democrats went into overdrive Friday in an attempt to derail the new united GOP front.

It all started over a month ago, as the media and lawmakers sounded the alarm about an ongoing border crisis which found tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors illegally entering the United States, surrendering themselves to Border Patrol in hopes that their claims of a “credible fear” would end in them being allowed to stay in the U.S. legally.

Concerns about disease, gangs, and other safety threats spread like wildfire. President Obama avoided a trip to the border during a fundraising tour in Texas—despite pleas from Gov. Rick Perry and others that he visit.

 

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Posted in Immigration Policy/Border Security, Tea Party News | 1 Comment

Trey Gowdy Interrogates Democrat-Invited Law Prof on IRS Scandal

Posted in IRS | 1 Comment