IRS 'Admission' a Nixon-Era PR Ploy; Tax Revenue Hits All-Time High

Sunday, 19 May 2013 02:48 PM

By Special From Newsmax's Most Informed Sources

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. What Triggered the IRS Targeting 'Admission'
2. Obamacare Opposition Propelled Mark Sanford's Election Win
3. Public University Presidents Earning Big Bucks
4. Tax Revenue Hit All-Time High in April
5. Immigrants a Majority in Just 6 of 472 Occupations
6. We Heard: Mitt Romney
 

1. What Triggered the IRS Targeting 'Admission'

The surprising admission by a high-ranking Internal Revenue Service official that the agency targeted tea party and other conservative groups could be seen as a tactical move designed to stave off a deeper investigation of the scandal.

Washington insiders said the Obama administration was engaged in a classic tactic called a "modified limited hangout" or MLH — a term that dates back to the Nixon presidency.

An MLH is a public relations or propaganda technique that involves the release of previously hidden information in hopes of ending a probe and preventing exposure of more important or damaging information.

The idea is to admit to some wrongdoing, but not all, in hopes of deflating press and public demands for more investigations.

During a March 1973 discussion between President Nixon and his top advisers, Nixon outlined to John Dean a report that Dean would create, offering a misleading view of the White House staff's role in events surrounding the Watergate burglary.

When Dean said, "It's a limited hangout," John Ehrlichman piped in: "It's a modified limited hangout."

The unfolding IRS scandal has all the earmarks of an MLH.

In March 2010, the IRS began targeting tea party and other conservative groups for closer scrutiny, demanding paperwork and other materials from the groups that delayed their application for tax-exempt status.

A congressional committee last year asked then-IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman about targeting allegations, but he told the committee the agency wasn't targeting conservative groups. He resigned in late 2012, and Steven Miller became acting IRS commissioner.

Then in early May of this year, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration released a report confirming the targeting to congressional investigators, but not to the public.

Apparently fearing the release of the upcoming Inspector General’s report, IRS officials decided to engage in an MLH.

On May 10, Lois Lerner, head of the IRS tax-exempt-status division, admitted that the targeting had been taking place, but asserted that it had not been centrally planned and was carried out by lower-level "front-line people" in the Cincinnati office.

But the move backfired — the admission by Lerner only served to spark public outrage and encourage investigators to dig deeper.

And, powerful evidence suggests the IRS activities involved high-ranking IRS officials in D.C., and hundreds of conservative organizations — not ones simply with "tea party" or "patriots" in their organization names.

On Tuesday, four days after Lerner's admission, respected elections attorney Cleta Mitchell came forward and claimed that the IRS scandal reaches to the White House.

She said she also is aware of nearly 100 other conservative groups that were being targeted by Washington.

"There were nearly 100 groups across the country that got the very egregious set of letters from the IRS that were almost identical and they came from offices all over the country, so I know of at least 85 to 90, maybe more, organizations," said Mitchell, who represents six groups that say they have been targeted.

She added that she had two clients whose groups’ purpose was to lobby against Obamacare, and both received extra IRS scrutiny.

Mitchell told Newsmax she doesn't believe the president or the White House was uninvolved in the IRS activities, as the administration has claimed.

"They may try to say it was low-level people," she said. "It was not low-level people. They weren't in Cincinnati. It was being directed out of Washington, and I have them on record saying that.

"We know the White House used the Department of Health and Human Services to try to silence critics about Obamacare. So if we know they used HHS, why wouldn't they also use the IRS or other federal agencies to try to silence political critics?"

The next day, Wednesday, May 15 — the day Commissioner Miller was forced to resign — the IRS reported that the Inspector General's office is launching a new investigation.

Insiders say expect more MLHs from the Obama administration.

Editor's Note:



2. Obamacare Opposition Propelled Mark Sanford's Election Win

Scandal-marred Republican Mark Sanford regained his seat in the House due in large part to voters' hopes that he can help repeal Obamacare.

That's the finding of a survey conducted the day after the May 7 special election in South Carolina by GEB International. The poll was commissioned by Independent Women's Voice (IWV), a group that spent about $250,000 to support Sanford's campaign.

In the survey, 19 percent of respondents said repealing Obamacare was the single biggest reason to vote for Sanford — the largest percentage of any reason cited.

And he won handily, defeating Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch by a margin of 54 percent to 45 percent.

Sanford previously held the seat in South Carolina's 1st Congressional District from 1995 to 2001, then served as governor from 2003 to 2011.

Sanford’s downfall began when he went AWOL for several days in 2009. He initially told his staff he was going hiking on the Appalachian Trail, but instead he secretly flew to Buenos Aires to visit his Argentine mistress — a woman who is now his fiancée.

Sanford's strategy in his recent campaign therefore was to move away from personal matters and focus on political issues, Real Clear Politics (RCP) observed.

Political ads sponsored by IWV focused on Busch's stance on several issues, including her refusal to sign a pledge to repeal Obamacare. She had an unfavorable rating of just 33 percent before the IWV ads began running, but that jumped to 41 percent among late-deciding voters while the ads were running in the last week of the campaign.

"Research conducted by IWV two weeks before the election showed Busch's position on major issues — Obamacare, unions, raising the debt ceiling — were well outside the mainstream" of the district's electorate, observed RCP, which called Obamacare the "silver bullet" that persuaded undecideds to vote for Sanford.

Female voters were more likely than men to cite Obamacare as the main reason for voting for Sanford, RCP writer Bill Pascoe pointed out, adding: "In virtually every congressional district in the nation, female voters outnumber male voters; pro-repeal candidates would be wise to seek female support by highlighting their opposition to Obamacare."

Editor's Note:



3. Public University Presidents Earning Big Bucks

Many U.S. public university systems may be strapped for cash due to tight state budgets, but four public university presidents received compensation of more than $1 million in fiscal 2011-12 — and two took in more than $2.5 million.

According to the annual compensation report by The Chronicle of Higher Education obtained by The New York Times, the highest paid public university president in 2011-12 was Graham Spanier of Pennsylvania State University, who received $2.9 million in total compensation.

Spanier was forced out in November 2011 over his handling of a child sex abuse scandal involving a football coach, and his compensation included $1.2 million in severance pay and $1.2 million in deferred compensation.

Jay Gogue of Auburn University was second in compensation, at $2.542 million.

Next was E. Gordon Gee of Ohio State University, at $1.899 million — including a base salary of $830,439, the highest among the 212 chief executives in the Chronicle report. His perks include a rent-free mansion with an elevator, a pool, and a tennis court, plus flights on private jets, The Times reported.

Alan G. Merten of George Mason University also topped the $1 million mark at $1.869 million.

According to the report, the median total compensation for the presidents of public research universities was $441,392, up 4.7 percent from the previous year.

Other public university executives receiving at least $815,562 in compensation include the heads of Ball State University, the University of Michigan system, Virginia Tech, the University of California system, the University of Florida, and the University of Texas system.

Editor's Note:



4. Tax Revenue Hit All-Time High in April

Amid calls from some for tax increases to deal with the deficit, the federal government collected $406.72 billion in April — the all-time noninflation-adjusted high for a single month.

Overall federal tax receipts in April were up 28 percent from April of last year, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement from the U.S. Treasury.

April is almost always the peak month for tax revenue, since tax returns — and payments of taxes owed — are due on April 15.

The previous monthly high was $403.8 billion in April 2008.

The Treasury collected $240.2 billion in individual income taxes in April, about 36 percent more than the $178.5 billion collected in April 2012.

Other revenue included about $96 billion in employment and general retirement taxes, $36 billion in corporate taxes, $9.8 billion in unemployment insurance taxes, $6.9 billion in excise taxes, $5.8 billion in estate and gift taxes, and $2.5 billion in customs duties.

Due to the record tax revenue, the federal government ran a surplus of $112.9 billion in April. But in the first seven months of fiscal 2013, October through April, the government has run a deficit of $487.6 billion.

Outlays totaled $293.8 billion in April. The largest amount went to the Department of Health and Human Services, which administers Medicare — $75.3 billion.

Next were the Social Security Administration ($71.7 billion), Department of Defense-Military Programs ($46.5 billion), and Interest on Treasury Debt Securities ($35.9 billion).

Interest on the debt is expected to cost taxpayers more than $420 billion this fiscal year.

Editor's Note:



5. Immigrants a Majority in Just 6 of 472 Occupations

A new report refutes the oft-heard contention that the United States needs a steady supply of immigrants because there are certain jobs that native-born Americans won't do.

If that contention were true, "There should be occupations comprised entirely or almost entirely of immigrants (legal and illegal)," states the report from the Center for Immigration Studies.

"But Census Bureau data collected from 2009 to 2011, which allows for detailed analysis of all 472 separate occupations, shows that there were only a handful of majority-immigrant occupations. Thus, there really are no jobs that Americans won't do."

Among the findings: Of the 472 civilian occupations, only six are majority immigrant — legal and illegal — including plasterers, sewing machine operators, and agricultural sorters. These six account for just 1 percent of the total U.S. workforce. And native-born Americans still comprise 46 percent of workers even in these occupations.

Many jobs often thought to be filled overwhelmingly by immigrants are in fact majority native-born, including:

  • Maids and housekeepers: 51 percent native-born
  • Taxi drivers and chauffeurs: 58 percent
  • Roofers: 60 percent
  • Butchers and meat processors: 63 percent
  • Grounds maintenance workers: 64 percent
  • Construction laborers: 66 percent
  • Porters, bellhops, and concierges: 72 percent
  • Janitors: 73 percent

The report points out that there are 67 occupations in which at least 25 percent of workers are immigrants, and there were 2.6 million unemployed native-born Americans in those high-immigrant occupations.

"The American economy is dynamic, and it would be a mistake to think that every job taken by an immigrant is a job lost by a native," write report authors Steven A. Camarota, director of research, and Karen Zeigler, a demographer at the Center for Immigration Studies.

"Many factors impact employment and wages. But it would also be a mistake to assume that dramatically increasing the number of workers in these occupations as a result of immigration policy has no impact on the employment prospects or wages of natives."

The two occupations where only 1 percent of workers are immigrants: emergency management directors and funeral directors.

Editor's Note:



6. We Heard...

THAT Mitt Romney is building a new home near Salt Lake City for a return to Utah.

Two of the former Massachusetts governor and 2012 GOP presidential candidate's five sons live in Utah, and Romney plans to live near the new home site while the house is being built, the Deseret News in Utah reported.

Romney also owns a home in La Jolla, Calif., a lakeside home in New Hampshire, and an apartment in Boston.

Romney owned a home in Utah where he stayed while running the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, but he sold the home in 2009.

As for any chance Romney may run for office in Utah, a friend told The News: "Don't give it a second thought. He's done."

Note: Newsmax magazine is now available on the iPad. Find us in the App Store.

Editor's Note:



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