Category: Congress

Congress Adds 87,000 new IRS Agents to Pursue $204 Billion in Tax Fraud While 500 IG Agents Struggle to Investigate $160 Billion in Covid Fraud?

The addition of 87,000 new IRS agents has been celebrated by many as a way to capture billions in revenue to pay for the new bill on climate change and other programs. The claim is that increasing audits of people making over $400,000 will capture additional billions in revenue. That math has been challenged as wildly overestimated unless these new agents turn (as expected) to middle income taxpayers. The respected Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has also directly contradicted claims made by President Biden and the sponsors on increasing the tax burden for middle income families. What is interesting, however, are reports that the government believes that as much as $160 billion in Covid relief fraud exists and the government does not have the personnel or ability to recover most of those funds (or to prosecute most of the culprits).  A fraction of those 87,000 new IRS agents would transform this effort, but documenting and prosecuting Covid relief fraud does not seem as much of a priority in Washington. Continue reading “Congress Adds 87,000 new IRS Agents to Pursue $204 Billion in Tax Fraud While 500 IG Agents Struggle to Investigate $160 Billion in Covid Fraud?”

Poll: The J6 Hearings Had Virtually No Impact on Changing the Public Views

For months, we have been discussing the heavy-handed, one-sided approach of the J6 Committee in the presentation of evidence and witnesses. Both sides blame each other for the absence of a single Republican-selected member. Yet, the Committee treated the lack of balance as a license to present a rigid and scripted account of events and actions, including editing out countervailing views or evidence. For those of us who welcomed the greater transparency on the events of that terrible day, it was a lost opportunity to have a truly historic investigation akin to Watergate or the Kennedy assassination. The result is now evident and unsurprising.  A Monmouth University poll shows that almost 90 percent of respondents report that the hearings have made no change in how they view the J6 riot.  Moreover, despite the overwhelming cooperation and support of the media with the Committee, the vast majority believe that the J6 Committee was a political rather than investigative exercise, focused on opposing Trump rather than disclosing the facts of January 6th. Continue reading “Poll: The J6 Hearings Had Virtually No Impact on Changing the Public Views”

Stay Tuned: Cheney Declares J6 Holding “Much More” Evidence of Possible Crimes

For weeks, critics of the J6 Committee have noted that the committee members promised to present compelling evidence to support criminal charges, but it has not yet presented that case after nine hearings. Even some Democratic figures, including former prosecutor and former Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), do not believe a strong case has been made for an indictment.  Now, Vice Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) is making the same claim that there is “much more” undisclosed evidence but says that the Committee will not release the evidence (including possible criminal referrals) until the Fall — just before the midterm elections. Continue reading “Stay Tuned: Cheney Declares J6 Holding “Much More” Evidence of Possible Crimes”

Is “Inconceivable” Provable? The Justice Department Needs More Than a Vizzini Charge to Prosecute Trump

Below is my column in the Hill on the ongoing federal grand jury investigation reportedly looking into January 6th and potential criminal charges against former president Donald Trump. If there is an indictment, it cannot be based on a Vizzini charge that it is simply “inconceivable” that anyone would believe that there was widespread election fraud. Notably, a new Harvard study has found that most people who went to the Capitol on January 6th did so in loyalty to Trump rather than to engage in insurrection. Millions continue to believe that the election was stolen. However, any case would likely be tried in Washington, D.C., which constitutes arguably the worst possible jury pool politically for the former president.

Here is the column:

Continue reading “Is “Inconceivable” Provable? The Justice Department Needs More Than a Vizzini Charge to Prosecute Trump”

Harvard Study: J6 Rioters Were Motivated by Loyalty to Trump, Not Insurrection

According to The Crimson, Harvard has completed what it calls the most comprehensive study of the motivations of those involved in the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot. Many will not be surprised to learn that most participated out of loyalty to former President Donald Trump. However, the study also found that only eight percent harbored “a desire to start a civil war.” That is inconsistent with the virtual mantra out of the J6 Committee and many in Congress that this was an insurrection rather than a riot. Some of us (including many in the public) have previously questioned that characterization. Yet, it reflects the relatively small number of seditious conspiracy charges brought by the Justice Department. Continue reading “Harvard Study: J6 Rioters Were Motivated by Loyalty to Trump, Not Insurrection”

“Statistically Indistinguishable from Zero”: Wharton Study Finds the Inflation Reduction Act Has No Impact on Inflation

The Hill was thrown into near chaos this week when Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) unveiled the Inflation Reduction Act. Republicans charged that Manchin misled them into supporting a $280 billion chips and science bill — a bill they would have otherwise opposed. Others criticized the name of the bill, which contains a significant number of climate change items long sought by the Democrats. Now, the respected Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania has found that the Inflation Reduction Act would actually have no impact on inflation. Continue reading ““Statistically Indistinguishable from Zero”: Wharton Study Finds the Inflation Reduction Act Has No Impact on Inflation”

“Rebalance the Bench”: Democrats Introduce Sweeping Changes for the Supreme Court

Democratic members have continued their unrelenting attacks on the Supreme Court and its conservative majority. This week, Senate and House members have introduced a bill to impose term limits, regularized confirmation schedules, and other changes. In introducing the legislation, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.), Rep. Hank Johnson (D., Ga.), and others have left no question that this is just the latest effort to change the balance of the Court in favor of a liberal majority. Such comments make the bill seem like little more than legislative graffiti. Continue reading ““Rebalance the Bench”: Democrats Introduce Sweeping Changes for the Supreme Court”

Grassley: Whistleblowers Report That DOJ Downplayed Hunter Biden Evidence in 2020

My recent column explored whether time is running out for Hunter Biden. The answer may be “no” if Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is right about what whistleblowers are telling him about the investigation.  CBS is reporting that “highly credible” whistleblowers informed him that officials within the FBI and the Justice Department are downplaying or dismissing negative evidence on Hunter Biden. Given the documented bias of the FBI and DOJ during the Russian collusion investigation, such allegations must be considered seriously given the baffling refusal of Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint a Special Counsel. Continue reading “Grassley: Whistleblowers Report That DOJ Downplayed Hunter Biden Evidence in 2020”

Schiff: The Committee Could Subpoena Ginni Thomas About Justice Thomas

There was a telling exchange today on CBS’ Face the Nation when host Margaret Brennan asked J6 Committee member Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) about issuing a subpoena of Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.  I have previously written how the calls for Justice Thomas to resign or be impeached are wildly out of line with ethical and constitutional standards. What was interesting, however, was how Schiff justified such an unprecedented subpoena: to question her about one of Thomas’ opinions dealing with the authority of Congress to investigate what occurred on that day. Continue reading “Schiff: The Committee Could Subpoena Ginni Thomas About Justice Thomas”

Last-Chance Hearing: Jan. 6 Committee Has Yet To Establish A Criminal Case Against Trump

C-Span Screengrad

Below is my column in the Hill on today’s final scheduled hearing of the J6 Committee. While the Committee can continue to schedule new hearings, the eighth hearing highlights the fact a compelling criminal case against President Donald Trump has still not been made. Despite the prior promises of the members, the hearings have largely amplified what was previously known rather than introduce new “smoking gun” evidence. Even in the absence of a single dissenting member, the Committee has not been able to make the long-promised criminal case.

Here is the column:

Continue reading “Last-Chance Hearing: Jan. 6 Committee Has Yet To Establish A Criminal Case Against Trump”

“This Unchains the President”: Sen. Merkley Calls for Biden To Circumvent the Congress

When Madison described the essence of his constitutional vision of the separation of powers in Federalist 51, he declared “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition.” Madison believed that the three branches would preserve the balance of the Constitution by using the institutional interests of each branch to jealously protect their inherent powers. He clearly did not envision many of our current leaders in Congress who often call for presidents to circumvent their own institution when they are unable to prevail with legislation. The latest example is Sen. Jeff Merkley (D, Ore.). Continue reading ““This Unchains the President”: Sen. Merkley Calls for Biden To Circumvent the Congress”

Rep. Katie Porter Hit With Ethics Complaint Over Attack on Witness

Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts has filed an ethics complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics against Rep. Katie Porter (D., Cal.) after her allegation that a witness lied under oath in opposing gun laws three years ago in a hearing. In a hearing this month, she made the allegation against Heritage Foundation legal fellow and Second Amendment expert Amy Swearer. The exchange between Swearer and Porter went viral on the Internet with many liberals praising Porter for the exchange. A closer examination shows that the attack was unfair and unfounded. It is also an increasingly common part of congressional hearings as members seek to intimidate or abuse expert witnesses who hold opposing views. While these ethical complaints are difficult to maintain under the generous rules of the House, Porter’s conduct warrants condemnation. Continue reading “Rep. Katie Porter Hit With Ethics Complaint Over Attack on Witness”

The Parade of Horribles: A Democratic Talking Point on Dobbs is Dangerous Disinformation

Below is today’s column on common talking point among Democratic members and pundits on how the recent Dobbs decision will present a barrier to women seeking treatment for ectopic pregnancies. It is not only legally and medically false but it is dangerous if women actually believe what they are hearing or reading from these figures. There are ample grounds for pro-choice advocates to oppose the decision without spreading alarm over a danger that does not exist.

Here is the column:

Continue reading “The Parade of Horribles: A Democratic Talking Point on Dobbs is Dangerous Disinformation”

University of Delaware Continues Fight to Shield Biden Documents From Public Review

After a setback before the Delaware Supreme Court, the University of Delaware is continuing its dogged effort to prevent the public from seeing the senatorial papers of President Joe Biden. The continued litigation, at public cost, has been criticized as an effort to shield President Biden from potentially embarrassing material from being accessed by the media or public interest groups. For a research institution, it is a curious role to prevent access to documents but clearly a role supported by President Biden and his family. What is particularly troubling is the reason being claimed by the university. Continue reading “University of Delaware Continues Fight to Shield Biden Documents From Public Review”