Fitton: Obama IRS Scandal Continues – Judicial Watch Forces IRS to Disclose New Documents
We have no intention to allow the extra-legal activities of former President Obama’s administration to fade into the sunset now that he is out of office. Particularly egregious was his use of the might of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to target groups that disagreed with his political views.
And heel-dragging at the IRS continues.
Last week, Judicial Watch reported that the agency informed the U.S. District Court that it located “an additional 6,924 documents of potentially responsive records” relating to our 2015 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit regarding the Obama IRS targeting scandal.
The lawsuit at issue sought records about the IRS selection of individuals and organizations for audits based upon applications requesting non-profit tax status filed by Tea Party and other 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organizations (Judicial Watch v. Internal Revenue Service (No. 1:15-cv-00220)).
These newly identified records are presumably not the records contained in the so-called “Congressional Database,” which the IRS created in 2013 to house records responsive to congressional inquiries into the IRS scandal.
The IRS informed JW Monday that it is producing an additional 694 pages of documents and expects to produce an additional batch by March 24, 2017. However, at this time, the IRS still has not provided an estimate regarding when it will complete its review of the potentially responsive documents.
The corruption at the IRS is astounding. Our attorneys knew that there were more records to be searched, but the Obama IRS ignored this issue for years.
Remember that in July 2015, we released Obama IRS documents confirming that the agency used donor lists of tax-exempt organizations to target those donors for audits. The documents also show that IRS officials specifically highlighted how the U.S. Chamber of Commerce may come under “high scrutiny” from the IRS.
In September 2014, another JW FOIA lawsuit forced the release of documents detailing that the IRS sought, obtained, and maintained the names of donors to tea party and other conservative groups. IRS officials acknowledged in these documents that “such information was not needed.” The documents also show that the donor names were being used for a “secret research project.”
The Obama IRS scandal continues, and President Trump needs to clean house at the IRS as quickly as possible.
CONFIRMED: TREASURY SAYS OBAMA STOLE FROM FANNIE, FREDDIE INVESTORS TO FUND OBAMACARE
Docs reveal Obama defrauding mortgage investors
Mar 13, 2017 by Jerome Corsi
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A careful analysis of the Treasury Department’s “Agency Financial Report for Fiscal Year 2013” provides evidence the Obama administration stole from Fannie and Freddie investors to fund Obamacare.
Guided by a CPA, who worked for two years for a major U.S. accounting firm as an outside auditor for Freddie Mac, Infowars.com has documented in the Treasury Department’s 2013 financial reports how the Obama administration diverted into Obamacare billions of dollars that Treasury confiscated from Freddie and Fannie earnings.
On Aug. 17, 2012, the Obama administration finalized the amendment of the Treasury Department’s Senior Preferred Stock Agreements with Fannie and Freddie that deprived private and institutional investors of their legally due dividend payments.
This enabled the Obama Treasury Department to confiscate billions of dollars in Fannie and Freddie earnings, in what is known as the “Net Worth Sweep,” or NWS.
The analysis begins with a table entitled “Summary Financial Information,” presented on page 26 of the Treasury Department’s “Agency Financial Report for Fiscal Year 2013.”
Note the line item “GSEs Non-Entity Costs (Revenue)” that records the flow into Treasury of the funds confiscated by the Obama administration in the NWS: recorded in 2012 as a cost to the treasury of $5.3 billion.
This line item dramatically reverses in 2013 to reflect the NWS revenue inflow from the two Government Sponsored Entities, GSEs, amounting in 2013 to $126 billion.
Treasury also revised their 2013 internal estimate of GSE liabilities from a liability of $288.7 billion in 2012, to a much-reduced liability of $9 billion in 2013 — a difference explained entirely by the Net Worth Sweep.
The second paragraph of the “Financial Overview” below the chart leaves no doubt, reading as follows:
“Additionally, the Department amended its Senior Preferred Stock Purchase Agreements (SPSPAs) with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – two Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) – in 2012, which changed, among other things, the basis for determining quarterly dividends that are paid by the GSEs to the U.S. government commencing with the quarter ending March 31, 2013. As a result of the amended SPSPAs, coupled with the GSEs’ long-term financial forecasts within a specific time horizon, the Department reduced its contingent liability associated with the GSE program by $9.0 billion and $288.7 billion at the end of fiscal year 2013 and 2012, respectively, via a reduction in expense.”
The $126.6 billion that Treasury received from the Fannie and Freddie NWS is also noted in the “Consolidated Statements of Net Cost for the Fiscal Years Ended Sept. 30, 2013 and 2012” that the report publishes on page 50.
The explanation of the $126.6 billion in Treasury revenue received from the GSEs is further elaborated in the following paragraph that appears on page 29 of the report:
“GSE Non-Entity Revenue totaled $126.6 billion for 2013 compared to net cost of $5.3 billion for 2012. The revenue in 2013 was primarily driven by a $77.3 billion increase in preferred stock dividends, coupled with a $30.9 billion valuation gain on GSE investments in 2013 compared to a $42.3 billion loss in 2012. These increases primarily stemmed from federal income tax benefits and other improvements in the GSEs’ financial performance in 2013.”
On page 94, the report provides a chart detailing that the $126.6 billion in GSE revenue came from preferred stock dividends and from the market fair value gain on the preferred stock Treasury held in Fannie and Freddie, as seen here:
A table presented on page 113, entitled “Transfers to the General Fund and Other” makes clear Treasury transferred the NWS revenue from Fannie and Freddie to the Treasury “General Fund,” where the revenue was accounted as available for Treasury reallocation.
The analysis of how the Treasury Department spent the NWS receipts deposited into the General Fund derives from an analysis of the month-by-month analysis of “Table 9: Summary of Receipts by Source, and Outlays by Function of the U.S. Government,” found in the Monthly Treasury Statement of Receipts and Outlays of the U.S. Government.
With the assistance of the accounting expert mentioned above, Infowars.com constructed a spreadsheet to summarize findings from an analysis of the Table 9 entries for calendar year 2013.
As seen in the above excel spreadsheet, analysis of the line items in Table 9 for the months of calendar year 2013 revealed that the amounts Treasury received in GSE revenue corresponded to decreases in the “Commerce and Housing” line item, and to increases in the line items “Health” and “Medicare.”
This strongly suggests Treasury used the “Commerce and Housing” line item to record receipts in GSE revenue that were reallocated in subsequent months as debits out of “Commerce and Housing” that corresponded to increases in “Health” and increases in “Medicare.”
Note the first NWS payment was received by Treasury at the end of March 2013.
During that month, the Treasury accounting debited “Commerce and Housing” by $23.770 billion, establishing a pattern where the amounts credited to “Health” and to “Medicare” increased for each of the next two months.
This pattern was repeated with the NWS of $65.2 billion received by Treasury in June, the NWS of $14.6 billion in September, and the $39 billion in December.
With the exception of September, the amount debited out of “Commerce” corresponded closely (but not exactly) with the NWS received, and the amounts added to “Health” and “Medicare” increased for the two months following Treasury’s receipt of NWS funds from Fannie and Freddie.
The $133 billion in NWS Treasury receipts for 2013 correspond interestingly to a comment made by Joshua Rosner, managing director of the independent research firm Graham Fisher & Co.
Rosner is a widely-recognized authority on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, known for co-authoring with Pulitzer Prize-winning business reporter Gretchen Morgenson the 2011 best-selling book entitled Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon – an analysis of Fannie Mae’s role in the sub-prime mortgage crisis that led to the economic crisis of 2008/2009.
“In 2013 alone, Treasury swept over $130 billion dollars in GSE profits in the form of dividends via the Net Worth Sweep,” he wrote in a paper entitled “Former White House Officials Involved in GSE Scandal,” published May 23, 2016.
“To highlight the scale of these dollars, these are the same amounts recently at issue in a lawsuit over the cost of 10-years of ‘Obamacare’ reimbursements to insurers.”
That the Obama Treasury Department was diverting funds to pay the Section 4012 insurance subsidies under the Affordable Clear Act has been uncontested since May 12, 2016.
This is the day when U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer ruled against Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell, in the case U.S. House of Representatives v. Burwell, (130 F. Supp. 3d 53, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia).
In this case, Judge Collyer decided HHS Secretary Burwell had no constitutional authority to divert funds Congress appropriated to one section of the ACA, to fund Obamacare subsidy payments to insurers under another section of the ACA.
The section of the ACA that HHS was desperate to fund was Section 1402 – the clause defining the insurer subsidies.
The problem was that Congress specifically declined to appropriate any funds to Section 1402 to pay for the insurance subsidy the ACA required for low-income individuals and families to afford the insurance the ACA provided.
“Paying out Section 1402 reimbursements without an appropriation thus violates the Constitution,” Judge Collyer concluded. “Congress authorized reduced cost sharing but did not appropriate monies for it, in the Fiscal Year 2014 budget or since. Congress is the only source for such an appropriation, and no public money can be spent without one.”
The U.S. District court in this ruling entered judgment in favor of the House of Representatives, enjoining HHS from using unappropriated money to pay insurers under Section 1402.
What was at issue in Section 1402 was the Obamacare provision that capped the amount low-income families would be required to pay for insurance purchased on state insurance exchanges.
The law provided that federal insurance subsidies under Section 1402 would pay the difference between the capped maximum a low-income family was required to pay and the amount the insurance cost.
On July 8, 2016, Thomas Miller, J.D., a resident fellow in health policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, submitted a statement before the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
In this statement, Miller added support for the conclusion that the Obama administration was desperate in its effort to identify funds that could be diverted to keep Obama care from collapsing.
“For the last six years, the Obama administration has been frustrated by its inability to get Congress to support more funding for a number of its less-popular objectives under the ACA,” Miller commented. “It keeps trying to stretch appropriations law and administrative guidance to spend money without necessary consent or authority.”
In a report issued in March 2016, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the cost for providing Section 1402 subsidies over the next ten years (2016-2026) was estimated to be $130 billion – the amount referenced by Rosner in the quotation above.
Judge Collyer’s decision specifically prohibited HHS to pay Section 1402 subsidies by diverting money Congress had appropriated for other ACA provisions.
Given this, the Obama administration faced the prospect the government could not pay the insurance subsidies required for low-income persons and families to buy insurance under Obamacare.
The only other alternative was to force insurance companies to absorb as a loss the amount the government had intended to pay as an insurance subsidy under the ACA.
In other words, Obamacare risked bankrupting participating insurance companies if the Obama administration could not find a way to circumvent the District Court’s decision U.S. House of Representatives v. Burwell to find a way to fund Section 1402 despite the fact Congress had refused to do so.
In July 2016, the Republican majority staff of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce together with the Republican majority staff of the House Committee on Ways and Means issued a “Joint Congressional Investigation into the Source of Funding for the ACA’s Cost Sharing Reduction Program.”
Page 10 of the joint committee’s final report noted the following: “Between April 10, 2013 and July 11, 2013, in an unusual move, the Administration informally withdrew its request for an annual appropriation for the cost sharing reduction program by calling the Senate Committee on Appropriations.”
The timing would suggest the Obama administration realized in March 2013 the $130 billion the Treasury expected to receive in 2013 as revenue from the Fannie and Freddie NWS could be reallocated to pay for a decade the anticipated shortfall in low-income insurance subsidies.
Having found this solution may explain why the Obama administration stopped trying to divert other funds Congress had appropriated to keep insurers solvent under ACA requirements to subsidize health insurance for low-income persons and families.
Mar 13, 2017 By Benjamin Wetmore
Part of Barack Obama’s legacy is his ability to steamroll his opposition. To many that power seemed to be rooted in his appeal to the media, which fawned over him despite his mistakes. Instead of negotiating with Republicans, he was typically able to cut through their meek opposition. The unseating of former House Speaker John Boehner was due, at least in part, to his inability to resist the administration during the debt hike crises.
Obama won those fights, and the media treated him like a sacred object of veneration. Yet it still does not explain why he prevailed against a caucus of congressmen who were not living within media markets or receptive to the kind of pressure the administration could exert. Indeed, if anything, the 2010 election results and anti-Obama sentiment should have made Republican resistance firmer, but instead it was shallow and weak.
Former Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) says this is partly because “the administration was abusing the Department of Justice to bankrupt, harass, and punish many of Obama’s political opponents.” At one point, Obama’s Department of Justice (DOJ) was actively investigating one-third of GOP governors. The Office of Congressional Ethics “investigated” 30 GOP congressmen, then DOJ investigated at least a dozen. Some familiar names were pushed out of office during this process that was costly, grueling, accusatory, and fraught with personal and professional peril.
A Cruel Form of Lawfare
The process was a quiet killer. A wildly inaccurate local news story would become the basis for an anonymous complaint to the Office of Congressional Ethics, or OCE, which was set up by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and is staffed by former federal prosecutors who then investigated, continually broadening the scope of their investigation. Those who cooperate give information that could justify witch hunts, and those who refuse are eventually bankrupted by legal fees.
This package of information is then referred to DOJ, which starts a completely new investigation into unrelated information, using the evidence OCE collected. Every email, phone call, campaign donation, and piece of data could be used to subpoena, harass, and intimidate donors, family members, and even the attorneys of members of Congress.
I know, because I was one of the attorneys swept into this dragnet of abuse. I received a subpoena that asked for 6.5 years of all documents related to 27 different entities and clients, including all emails, and even commanding me to recollect every conversation and word uttered in private, in confidence, across these years and entities. The subpoena covered things spoken to a legal client by his or her attorney.
One might naively think courts would refuse to sanction such abuses. One would be wrong. Populated by former prosecutors and obsequious to federal authority in ways that would make Stalin blush, judges often sign whatever is put in front of them. They defer to whatever rabbit hole prosecutors want to go down, and appellate courts reject appeals faster than it takes to even read your brief and arguments. It’s not justice, it’s “just us.”
Using the Justice System to Undermine Political Enemies
This abuse brought enormous pressure upon congressmen who dared to defy the Obama administration. Up and coming party leaders were clearly targeted. Governors who were potential national leaders were neutered. Conservatives were the target, and whatever institutions we think might stand up and protect the right to dissent were notably silent.
The advice most of these people received, it’s also worth noting, was from federal criminal defense attorneys who are usually former federal prosecutors. The entire judicial system is composed to an overwhelming extent by people who were cultivated in a prosecution mindset. So they think everyone is guilty of everything, and your rights and privileges under the Constitution are inconvenient impediments to their work.
The legal process is often its own punishment, and the prosecutors clearly know it. They win either way. Subpoenas can go out to donors, friends, staffers, and campaign volunteers, and it sends a powerful message even if a defendant prevails. Prosecutors can make these “investigations” drag on for years. One federal lawyer described it as a “gigantic Inquisition machine.” Just on campaign finance issues alone, prosecutions could last years since few who fill out such forms fully understand them, the accounting terms used, and the legal consequences of small mistakes.
This led to such paranoia among people who were law-abiding and innocent that I saw businessmen offer to confess to things they didn’t do. I spoke with grown men who broke down in tears at trying to comply with abusive subpoenas, people too poor to afford an hour of attorney’s time while detained by the FBI and brought in to explain themselves to multiple DOJ attorneys over a single line in a single email from four years previous. The process was months, and in some cases years, of emotional and psychological abuse about entirely trivial matters, such as one form filled out wrong or one donation. There was no perspective, proportion, or sanity from federal authorities.
If You Don’t Like It, You Can Resign
During the investigation I was involved with personally, you could see on the faces of the FBI agents assigned to pursue these political vendettas that they’d rather be doing anything else. They knew what was going on and didn’t support it, but still did what they were told in the best imitation possible of James Comey. On the faces of the Justice lawyers was nothing but coldness and cynicism worthy of ambitious little Soviets.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton was brought up on silly federal issues related to Securities and Exchange Commission filings. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has suffered for years about three days of lane closures. Virginia’s former governor Bob McDonnell set Supreme Court precedent because he received gifts from someone for whom he did nothing special in return. Michele Bachmann retired from Congress; perhaps it was tied to the years of Obama investigations she suffered. Rep. Robert Pittinger was targeted, and so were staffers for Sen. Rand Paul, Georgia’s Paul Broun, Stockman, and many others.
The elected leaders were also often forced to raise funds for their legal defense in a separate committee from donors, still subject to campaign finance contribution limits. It’s a system that rewards the rich, and forces leaders with modest means to risk it all to prove their innocence. So no wonder many would rather resign, or at least fall into line under threat of investigation.
The scope of this abuse is daunting, and represents a distinct legacy of the Obama years that indicts not just the federal prosecutors, who should be imprisoned for what they’ve done, but includes a judiciary that signed off on it, and a media infrastructure that went out of its way to avoid covering it. I offered the story to several mainstream outlets, only to see their interest wane when the subjects were named.
Let the Counter-Prosecutions Begin
New U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said recently that he’s open to having an outside prosecutor look into certain known abuses of the Obama Justice Department, including giving guns to Mexican drug cartels as part of Fast and Furious, and the well-known Internal Revenue Service intimidation of conservative groups. But many more scandals have been unreported, and are often hidden behind the silence of defendants who did nothing wrong but worry about the presumption of guilt that comes with complaining about such outrage.
Conservatives in Congress who stood their ground and spoke truth to power during the dark years of the Obama administration and its reign of terror deserve our gratitude and respect. The best way to demonstrate that respect is if the decision-makers and federal prosecutors who pursued these political cases are brought into the light, and those who broke the law and violated the Constitution are brought to justice and imprisoned.
If Sessions needs a list of whom within DOJ to start investigating, I’ve got one, as do dozens of current and former conservative congressmen. There’s a lot more internal corruption at Justice than what is already known.