Category: Politics

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?”

The Incredible Shrinking Merrick Garland

 

 

 

Below is my column in USA Today on the diminishing role of Attorney General Merrick Garland at the Justice Department after a series of controversies. As a well-known moderate, many of us had hoped that Garland could be a unifying presence at the Department; assuring a divided nation that justice would be pursued in an even-handed and apolitical fashion. Yet, in controversy after controversy, Garland has failed to take modest steps to make such assurances. After well documented cases of bias and false statements by FBI and DOJ officials in past investigations, there was a clear need for greater transparency and independence in investigations. Garland has consistently swatted away such options. This week, Garland stayed on that path and refused to release any part of the affidavit used as the basis for the search of Mar-a-Lago. This included the possible issuance of a redacted copy or even responses to specific concerns over the timing or basis for the search. While Trump has called for the release of the affidavit, Garland will not even release those sections dealing with the account of the prior discussions and agreements with the Team Trump. There is little proactive effort to anticipate or address such concerns as vividly shown in the last week.

Here is the column: Continue reading “The Incredible Shrinking Merrick Garland”

Why the Case Against Donald Trump Remains Incomplete

Below is my column in the Hill on the lingering questions concerning any prosecution of former President Donald Trump for the retention of classified or sensitive material. As previously discussed, the three referenced criminal provisions do not require classified status of documents to be the basis for prosecution. However, if the documents were declassified, it would make any prosecution very difficult, if not untenable, though the obstruction count could be based on affirmative false representations made to the government. The point is only that we still do not have sufficient information to judge the basis for the raid or the prospects for prosecution despite the often breathless coverage.  The affidavit remains key to ending this speculation and quelling conspiracy theories. That is why Attorney General Merrick Garland should call for its unsealing.

Nevertheless, figures like John Dean are saying that defenders of the former president will “have egg on their faces” when this case is done and presumably Trump is prosecuted. Perhaps, but what is clear is that there is no such risk in others claiming an array of proven crimes for six years that were never charged. Figures who pushed the debunked Russian collusion, incitement, or bizarre attempted murder claims are now claiming with the same certainty that conviction is finally at hand. Once again, before the eggs fly, the release of actual evidence would be useful.

Here is the column: Continue reading “Why the Case Against Donald Trump Remains Incomplete”

Five Lingering Questions In the Wake of the Mar-a-Lago Raid

Former President Donald Trump has waived any objections to the release of the warrant and property receipt after the filing of a motion by the Justice Department. The motion, however, did not seek the release of the most important document in this controversy: the supporting FBI affidavit. That is the document that would reveal what the FBI told the magistrate about the prior communications with the Trump team and the specific allegations of the status of the documents in question. Continue reading “Five Lingering Questions In the Wake of the Mar-a-Lago Raid”

Twitter Permanently Bans Paul Sperry After Posting on the Mar-A-Lago Raid

Twitter Logo

Twitter continued to crackdown on dissenting political views this week with the permanent suspension of columnist and commentator Paul Sperry.  The suspension came down after Sperry allegedly tweeted about the FBI’s raid on Mar-a-Lago. Sperry said that Twitter gave “No warning, no explanation, reason given.” That is a signature for the company, which has little transparency or ability to challenge such private censorship. Continue reading “Twitter Permanently Bans Paul Sperry After Posting on the Mar-A-Lago Raid”

The Mar-a-Lago Raid: Criminal Prosecution or Political Indemnification?

Below is my column in the Hill on the raid on Mar-a-Lago. Questions continue to grow over the necessity for the raid as opposed to the use of a subpoena or other means. According to the Trump counsel, the former president was given an earlier subpoena and complied with it and then voluntarily gave the FBI access to a storage area and agreed to add a specified lock on the room. It is not clear why a second subpoena would not have sufficed if there were other covered material under the Presidential Records Act.

There is also a report of a confidential informant or source used in the operation. The only thing clear is that, while the J6 Committee does not appear to have changed many minds, the raid has. Any possibility that Donald Trump might not run seems to be evaporated with any likely challengers in the wake of the raid. That could change as we learn more details but the raid has galvanized Trump’s supporters. Ironically, Newsweek reported that the FBI was hoping the raid with Trump out of town would be a “lower profile” option — a notion that borders on the delusional. The lower profile option is called a subpoena.

Here is the column:

Continue reading “The Mar-a-Lago Raid: Criminal Prosecution or Political Indemnification?”

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”

“The Whole Enchilada”: Pundits Wrongly Claim the Mar-a-Lago Raid Could Disqualify Trump from Future Office

The FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago has unleashed a familiar euphoria among critics who have longed for–agents descending upon the President’s residence in a criminal operation. One MSNBC pundit declared that day of the “orange jumpsuit” may finally be at hand while another simply exclaimed “hallelujah.” It was a tad premature since we do not even know if classified material was found and, if so, whether there is a criminal case to be made from such a discovery. Continue reading ““The Whole Enchilada”: Pundits Wrongly Claim the Mar-a-Lago Raid Could Disqualify Trump from Future Office”

“An Attack on One is an Attack on All’: Time for a Red-State NATO-like Alliance on Boycotts

Below is my column on recent effort to boycott states over their abortion laws, a growing push for states to punish other states with measures like travel bans. While boycotts are an important expression of free speech by citizens, it raises more difficult questions when done by states seeking to coerce other states. It can create a morass of boycotts and tit-for-tat measures. This column suggests a way to end the practice through a simple deterrent measure based on Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. It would be to the benefit of all states (and our federalism system as a whole) to remove state-to-state boycotts from the political arena.

Here is the column:

Continue reading ““An Attack on One is an Attack on All’: Time for a Red-State NATO-like Alliance on Boycotts”

“What About His Son?”: CNN’s Stelter is Latest Media Figure to Suddenly Discover the Hunter Biden Scandal

C-Span/YouTube

I recently wrote a column on the sudden shift in coverage of the Hunter Biden scandal in the mainstream media, a shift that has coincided with widespread pieces pushing President Joe Biden to change his mind about running for reelection. As political and media figures fret about Joe Biden endangering Democratic control of Congress and the White House, there is now increased willingness to acknowledge the long buried scandal. Few are as striking as the shift of CNN’s media pundit Brian Stelter, who seems to have suddenly discovered that there are serious allegations of influence peddling by the Biden family.  After previously calling the Hunter Biden story “manufactured” and “whataboutism,” Brian Stelter is now saying that the story “is not just a right-wing media story” while asking “What about his son?” For those skeptical of the sudden media-wide conversion, it sounded more like “what about his father.” Continue reading ““What About His Son?”: CNN’s Stelter is Latest Media Figure to Suddenly Discover the Hunter Biden Scandal”

Rhodes Alumni Launch Campaign to Remove Justice Barrett from School’s Hall of Fame

Rhodes College

The petition by an alumni group at Rhodes College is seeking to remove Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett from the school’s “Hall of Fame” due to her vote in the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade. The petition accuses Barrett of violating the school’s honor code by testifying untruthfully in her confirmation hearing. In reality, the letter engages in gross misrepresentations of her testimony in the latest attack on her character and honesty. It is a letter that should be condemned by people regardless of their view of reproductive rights.  The letter also declares Justice Barrett to be a threat to democracy because she holds opposing views on constitutional interpretation. Continue reading “Rhodes Alumni Launch Campaign to Remove Justice Barrett from School’s Hall of Fame”

The Art of Scandal Implosion: The Political and Media Elite Prepare To Drop Hunter Biden in a “Controlled Demolition”

Below is my column in Fox News on the status of the Hunter Biden investigation and how it presents a challenge for many in Washington. Due to the continued work of a small number of media outlets like the New York Post, it is no longer possible to bury the story or continue the false claim that it is “Russian disinformation.” The hope now appears to be a “controlled demolition” where Hunter is indicted on limited grounds without causing collateral damage to the political and media establishment. Scandal implosion is as much an art as it is a science and could be the most brilliant achievement in this ongoing scandal.

Here is the column:

Continue reading “The Art of Scandal Implosion: The Political and Media Elite Prepare To Drop Hunter Biden in a “Controlled Demolition””

MSNBC Remains Silent After Elie Mystal Unleashes Racist Attack on Herschel Walker

One of the long-standing complaints of media critics has been the double standard applied to liberal and conservative figures voicing controversial viewpoints. For example, columnists celebrated the firing of former Sen. Rick Santorum at CNN for making insensitive or false comments about the influence of Native American culture on the United States. When racist statements, however, are made by those on the left, there is no such hue and cry. The latest example is MSNBC regular Elie Mystal, who launched into a racist diatribe against Republican Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker who is African American. Continue reading “MSNBC Remains Silent After Elie Mystal Unleashes Racist Attack on Herschel Walker”

Gallup: Supreme Court Overall Approval Slightly Improves After Recent Rulings

A new Gallup poll shows some interesting insights into the approval of the Supreme Court after its major rulings on abortion, guns, and other issues. The overall approval of the Supreme Court at 43 percent actually increased three points. While within the margin of error, it was up from last year’s 40% popularity. The poll comes after the surprising comments of Justice Elena Kagan that the Court may be losing legitimacy by bucking public opinion on issues like abortion. Continue reading “Gallup: Supreme Court Overall Approval Slightly Improves After Recent Rulings”

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”