Perspectives; Thoughts; Comments; Opinions; Discussions

Posts tagged ‘The Hill’

Joe Biden: Why Are Reporters Asking Me Questions?


Joe Biden: Why Are Reporters Asking Me Questions?

Former Vice President Joe Biden isn’t used to getting real questions. On Friday, Biden appeared dumbfounded as to why a reporter was asking the projected Democratic presidential-elect a question as the press pool was being scurried away by staff.

“Mr. Biden, the COVID task force said it’s safe for students to be in class. Are you going to encourage unions to cooperate more to bring kids back to classrooms, sir?” asked CBS reporter Bo Erickson.

“Why are you the only guy that always shouts out questions?” Biden said.

It was a bizarre episode for the 78-year-old Democrat, who enjoyed the least amount of media scrutiny on the campaign trail of any modern candidate running for president. While serious revelations were emerging, revealing Biden’s role in his son’s potentially criminal overseas business dealings, reporters asked hard-hitting questions such as what kind of ice cream Biden purchased at a pit stop.

Erickson was also one of the few reporters to ask Biden about the scandals plaguing his campaign, bombshells suppressed by Big Tech and either ignored or dubiously delegitimized by other mainstream outlets. When pressed on the issue, Biden lashed out at the media. Erickson’s treatment of the former vice president Friday was the same treatment the media offered to President Donald Trump and his staff throughout the entire last four years, which was on full display again in the White House briefing room on the same day.

Meanwhile, one would be hard-pressed to find California Sen. Kamala Harris, Biden’s running mate, at any point throughout the entire general election campaign taking a single question from a reporter during a press conference.

The media gave a preview of how it would treat a Biden administration on Monday, when Biden began speaking with reporters, who lobbed him softball questions. Joe Concha, a media reporter for The Hill, dubbed the incoming presidential press corps “The new marshmallow media in the Biden era,” in a column published Thursday.

“Any press conference Biden has held since capturing the Democratic nomination has consisted mostly of questions about President Trump and very few questions about Biden’s own worldview, record, policy stances or perspective on important issues such as trade, foreign affairs, gun control, immigration, education, or taxation as it relates to repealing the Trump tax cuts,” Concha wrote. “Of the 12 questions Biden received Monday, there were zero follow-ups. Zero interruptions during answers. Zero questions about any of the issues above, which rank as among the top concerns on voters’ minds, along with the coronavirus.”

Tristan Justice is a staff writer at The Federalist focusing on the 2020 presidential campaigns. Follow him on Twitter at @JusticeTristan or contact him at Tristan@thefederalist.com.

Dems come to defense of Planned Parenthood


waving flagBy Sarah Ferris07/15/15

Congressional Democrats are coming to the defense of Planned Parenthood as Republicans launch investigations into the group’s use of fetal tissue from abortions. Multiple Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday dismissed a secretly recorded viral video that shows a Planned Parenthood executive detailing how the livers, lungs and hearts of fetuses are preserved during abortions for medical research. “It’s got a Benghazi feel to it, for me,” centrist Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) said. “They’ve been attacking Planned Parenthood for years,” said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), another prominent abortion rights supporter. “They’ve been calling for investigations for years.”Dismissive

Still, the footage, which was recorded by anti-abortion advocates posing as fetal tissue buyers from a research company, is putting Democrats in an uncomfortable spot. While Democrats have for years defended Planned Parenthood against GOP attacks, the graphic discussion about “fetal parts” in the video has energized conservative groups that say the reality of abortion is deliberately obscured by the media.

The remarks from Planned Parenthood’s chief medical director surfaced Tuesday in a nearly nine-minute video that was created by a new group, the Center for Medical Progress. Planned Parenthood, which receives federal funding that cannot be used for abortions, has acknowledged that the video does feature its top medical officer but says the footage is heavily edited and “grossly mischaracterizes” the organization’s practice of donating fetal tissue to research.Bull

At least one anti-abortion Democrat, Rep. Dan Lipinski (Ill.), said he supports the GOP for its planned investigations. Lipinski denounced the video in a press conference with several House Republicans on Wednesday and said he believes more of his colleagues in the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus will follow. “I’m hopeful that some of the pro-choice Democrats also come out in support of the investigation to find out what’s going on at these clinics,” he told The Hill. “I think everyone should be concerned about it, no matter what your position is on abortion.”

Some Democrats, like Rep. Diana DeGette (Colo.), the co-chairwoman of the House Pro-Choice Caucus, have been cautious in their response to the video. In a statement to The Hill, she expressed support for Planned Parenthood, though it fell far short of a sweeping defense. “Planned Parenthood has spoken clearly on the specific circumstances surrounding this video, and I will let their experts explain for themselves. Circumstances of this video aside, people need to understand the important research that specific tissue types contribute to,” she wrote in a statement.What did you say 06.jpg

The video, which is nearing 1.5 million views online, reverberated across Capitol Hill and the campaign trail on Wednesday. Less than 24 hours after it surfaced, lawmakers in the House had opened a pair of congressional investigations. Dozens of Republicans, including Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), have condemned the claims in the video as “inhumane” and “grotesque.”

GOP presidential hopefuls, including Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas) and Rand Paul (Ky.), are also raising the issue’s national profile. The remarks by Planned Parenthood’s medical director in the video are shockingly candid.

While sipping wine in a Los Angeles restaurant, she describes “crushing” the fetus in a way that preserves its organs for researchers. She also describes the growing demand for liver, lungs and “intact” hearts.

Democrats have said there’s no evidence that the group is violating federal laws from her remarks, though none of them told The Hill they had seen the video. “Planned Parenthood is actually allowed, is my understanding, for scientific research, to use fetal tissue, and that is not illegal,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), a member of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus who said she had spoken to Planned Parenthood leadership. When asked about Republicans’ planned investigations into Planned Parenthood, Schakowsky said she wanted an investigation into the Center for Medical Progress, which she called “a phony company.”

The issue of abortion has already caused trouble for members of Congress in both parties this year, from a bipartisan Senate bill to fight human trafficking to a House bill banning late-term abortions that drew objections over its language on rape.

Earlier this week, House leaders pulled a bipartisan bill from Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) that would have created a commemorative coin to help raise money for breast cancer research because some of that funding would have gone to Planned Parenthood. The bill was ultimately passed Wednesday with broad support from both parties. But Maloney hinted that the delay was, in part, because of the Planned Parenthood video. Asked if she thought the outrage over the video fueled sudden opposition to her bill, Maloney responded, “Yes. It is an unusual coincidence, shall we say.” 

Cristina Marcos contributed.

Party of Deciet and lies freedom combo 2

Obama administration won’t release IRS targeting documents


Researched and Posted By Bob Cusack – 02/10/15

URL of the Original Posting Site: http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/232249-feds-wont-release-irs-targeting-documents

obama-irs-300x204

The Obama administration is refusing to publicly release more than 500 documents on the IRS’s targeting of Tea Party groups. Twenty months after the IRS scandal broke, there are still many unanswered questions about who was spearheading the agency’s scrutiny of conservative-leaning organizations. The Hill sought access to government documents that might provide a glimpse of the decision-making through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The Hill asked for 2013 emails and other correspondence between the IRS and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). The request specifically sought emails from former IRS official Lois Lerner and Treasury officials, including Secretary Jack Lew, while the inspector general was working on its explosive May 2013 report that the IRS used “inappropriate criteria” to review the political activities of tax-exempt groups.

TIGTA opted not to release any of the 512 documents covered by the request, citing various exemptions in the law. The Hill recently appealed the FOIA decision, but TIGTA denied the appeal. TIGTA also declined to comment for this article. Obama's IRS Gestapo

Will anyone be charged?

In its written response to The Hill, TIGTA cited FOIA exemptions ranging from interagency communication to personal privacy. It also claimed it cannot release relevant documents “when interference with the law enforcement proceedings can be reasonably expected.” Yet, congressional Republicans say there is no evidence of any prosecution in the works, and media outlets have indicated that the Department of Justice and the FBI have already determined that no charges will be filed. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) notes that eight months after Lerner was held in contempt of Congress for not testifying at two hearings, the matter has not yet been referred to a grand jury. The contempt citation is in the hands of Ronald Machen, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia who was appointed by President Obama.

Asked for comment on the administration’s FOIA response to The Hill, Jordan said, “It’s par for the course. We’ve had a difficult time getting information from the IRS and the Department of Justice.” Jordan, a senior member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has held numerous hearings on the IRS scandal.

Last week, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said the IRS recently delivered 86,000 pages of new documents to the panel. Hatch added, “These documents … were given to us without notice or explanation roughly twenty months after we made our initial document request [on the targeting].”obama-and-IRS

Republicans in both the House and Senate are stepping up their investigations of the IRS. They have criticized the IRS and TIGTA for not informing Congress about the Tea Party targeting before the 2012 presidential election. GOP lawmakers say the administration has largely stonewalled them, while Democrats have called the probes “a witch hunt.” Party of Deciet and lies

Who knew what when?

The crux of the GOP’s IRS targeting investigations is: Who knew what when? 

On Friday, May 10, 2013, Lerner famously planted a question at an American Bar Association (ABA) conference where she acknowledged “inappropriate” handling of tax-exempt applications in 2012. Lerner, who has since said she did nothing wrong, released the news before the TIGTA report came out the following week.

The Obama administration considered several other options on how to release the information, including an April conference at Georgetown University and an April 25, 2013, Ways and Means subcommittee hearing. Then-Treasury chief of staff Mark Patterson told Republican investigators that he informed the White House about the IRS plan to disclose the targeting “so that the White House wouldn’t be surprised by the news.” Soon after Lerner’s comments attracted national attention, White House officials acknowledged they knew about the report but didn’t tell Obama about it. Lew told Congress he first heard about the IRS matter at a “getting to know you” meeting with TIGTA chief J. Russell George in March 2013. But he said he didn’t learn the full extent of the findings until the media reported Lerner’s remarks at the ABA meeting. IRS-corruption

Lew served as White House chief of staff before succeeding Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in 2013. Republicans on Capitol Hill are considering asking Geithner questions later this year on what he knew about the IRS’s targeting. 

Weekly activity reports

TIGTA sends the Treasury secretary “weekly activity reports” on what it is working on. These reports, which are common in the executive branch and obtained through a FOIA request, serve as a “heads up” to Cabinet heads from inspectors general. They include categories such as “potential or expected press stories,” “upcoming hearings” and TIGTA reports that are awaiting public release. From January through early May 2013, TIGTA referenced 25 reports that were subsequently issued in the weekly activity reports to Lew. But the agency’s most explosive report was not included in any of these weekly memos. It is unclear why, though a government official pointed out that Lerner spoke about the targeting at the ABA conference before TIGTA released its report. Her comments likely accelerated the Treasury Department’s clearance process.Koskinen-2

Regardless, TIGTA officials briefed IRS and Treasury officials in 2012 and 2013, according to TIGTA memos provided to Congress. On May 30, 2012, TIGTA informed then-IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman and his deputies that criteria targeting Tea Party groups “were being used. …” Jordan said neither the IRS nor TIGTA informed the Congress at that time — less than six months before the 2012 elections. He also pointed out Shulman didn’t correct his March 22, 2012, testimony to the Ways and Means oversight subcommittee where he said “there is absolutely no targeting” of Tea Party groups.Party of Deciet and lies

TIGTA’s FOIA practices have come under criticism before. In the fall of last year, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia admonished the agency for its use of FOIA exemptions. Cause of Action, a nonprofit group that has sued TIGTA, announced in December that the agency declined to fork over more than 2,000 documents related to a FOIA request. Judicial Watch, another group that has sued the Obama administration on FOIA, said in December that the DOJ withheld 832 documents pertaining to meetings between the IRS and the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section and Election Crimes Division. Some of the documents that The Hill requested were released to Judicial Watch last year after a judge ruled in favor of the conservative group’s lawsuit.

Attorney General Eric Holder said last week that the DOJ will soon release a report on the IRS targeting that will include “some final recommendations.”Party of Deciet and lies

Lerner, who pleaded the Fifth Amendment before Congress, has given a lengthy interview to DOJ officials.

 Freedom with Prayer

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: