Monthly Notes

Briefly Noted: May 2014


Cincinnati-area members of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network (NAN) made headlines when they embraced one of their own: serial vote fraud felon Melowese Richardson. At a “voting rights” rally, Richardson was called to the stage and given a hero’s welcome after NAN campaigned to free her less than a year into her five-year prison term. The group argued that she received an inappropriately harsh sentence because she is black. At the event Sharpton accused Republicans of trying to suppress the vote, saying it “is all a scheme to disempower and disenfranchise the vote in Ohio.” The MSNBC bloviator said, “Nobody gave us the right to vote and nobody is going to give it to us now. We fought for it and we’re going to fight for our right to keep it.”

Sharpton himself was recently outed as an FBI informant (he claims his life was threatened by gangsters) by The Smoking Gun website. Sharpton was referred to in FBI documents as “C1-7”—short for confidential informant #7—in secret court filings. “In those documents, investigators vouched for him as a reliable, productive, and accurate source of information about underworld figures,” the website reports.

Judicial Watch released internal IRS documents revealing that former IRS official Lois Lerner communicated with the Department of Justice (DoJ) about whether it was possible to criminally prosecute certain conservative and Tea Party tax-exempt entities. The documents were obtained as a result of an October 2013 Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that Judicial Watch filed against the IRS after the agency refused to respond to four FoIA requests dating back to May 2013.

Maryland-based blogger Jeff Quinton reports that Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), who has been defending the IRS throughout the Lerner saga, is a federal tax deadbeat. In the mid-1990s, the IRS filed court papers declaring that Cummings was legally obliged to pay more than $30,000 in back taxes. Years later he paid up. Cummings also allegedly violated campaign finance law by having a donor co-sign a loan that supplied $15,000 for his first House campaign.

Left-wing groups are targeting the more conservative members of the U.S. Supreme Court in hopes of forcing them to limit corporations’ First Amendment rights to express themselves politically. One of the groups, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, is running class warfare-oriented ads encouraging supporters to back legislation that would fund political candidates with tax dollars, a “reform” it says is necessary because the Supreme Court recently overturned some campaign donation limits. “With those [campaign donation] limits gone, it will be even harder for everyday people to have their voices heard in Washington,” the ads say. PCCC favors the proposed “Government by the People Act,” which would match small-dollar donations with public funds. “The Left clearly tried to work the refs on the Affordable Care Act,” Georgetown University Law Center professor Randy Barnett says, using a sports analogy. “They worked the refs after Citizens United, which helped set things up for the Affordable Care Act challenge.… It’s unfortunate, I think, that they’ve been encouraged in this behavior by its apparent success.”

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s decision to include an acknowledged socialist on one of its boards has enraged conservatives. An official from the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute says the pick shows how the agency selects people who “echo its own viewpoints.” Ron Ehrenreich, a 1988 vice presidential candidate for the Socialist Party USA and currently CEO of the Syracuse Cooperative Federal Credit Union, is part of the bureau’s Credit Union Advisory Council. Cato’s director of financial regulation studies, Mark Calabria, is concerned that the CFPB has “gone out of its way” to create an echo chamber. “To me, I think it really speaks to very deep-seated groupthink over there that consumers are being exploited, and markets are bad, and if you don’t have lots of government regulations and lawyers, then people are going to be taken advantage of.”

Matthew Vadum

The author of Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers (WND Books, 2011), Vadum writes and speaks widely on ACORN and other radical advocacy…
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