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Posts tagged ‘Political action committee’

Peter King Warns of Grave Terrorist Threats.


Image: Peter King Warns of Grave Terrorist Threats

By Drew MacKenzie

Rep. Peter King is warning that the United States is in greater danger from terrorists than ever before.

The New York Republican, who is reportedly interested in a presidential bid, said during a fund-raising swing through New Hampshire that the biggest threat comes from off-shoots of the terrorist organization al-Qaida, according to the Concord Patch.

King, a member of both House committees on Homeland Security and Intelligence, said al-Qaida has “morphed and metastasized and we have now have eight or nine different components around the world.”

He also fears “lone wolves” in the U.S. affiliated with international terrorist organizations.

The outspoken congressman, who revealed in July that he’s seriously mulling over a run for the White House, said that “in many ways” the threat is more grave than before September 11 crisis, and that 15 potential attacks on New York alone since that day have been stopped.

“I see the threats from the inside out and the outside in,” he said about his briefings on both committees. “And this is a constant level of danger we are at.

King was using his trip to New Hampshire, an early voting state, to announce the formation of a Political Action Committee called American Leadership Now, which will be aimed at supporting moderate Republicans like himself, as opposed to what he perceives as extreme conservatives who are hurting the party. He lumps tea party-affiliated Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul in that group.

“I want to create a presence for those like myself who feel Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are out of touch with the American people,” King told ABC News. “This is highlighted by the government shutdown, which was one of the worst political disasters we’ve ever had.”

King, who calls Republicans like himself “blue collar conservatives,” has previously voiced his concerns about the GOP becoming “too isolationist and extreme.”

His new PAC is being seen as another indication that he plans to run in 2016.

“I believe we need candidates who are not isolationists, who believe in a strong national defense, who don’t believe in shutting down the government,” King told ABC News.

King, making his fifth visit to New Hampshire this year, was headlining a fundraising event in Concord to help the GOP raise money to take back the Senate next year.

He blasted President Barack Obama for “constantly apologizing for American power” and declared that he “wasn’t telling the truth” on the troubled Affordable Care Act, Obama’s signature healthcare reform law, according to the Patch.

“The plan itself is bad enough,” he said. “The program itself is bad enough. But to have a president mislead the American people the way he did is absolutely inexcusable.”

King urged Republicans to reconnect with “rank-and-file people” while claiming that “the media and the so-called elites” would not be supporting Republicans in the future.

Before meeting with Republican activists in the state, King said he plans to decide on a White House bid within the next 18 months.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Obama Uses IRS to Eliminate His Enemies.


President Obama
President Obama

“The power to tax involves the power to destroy,” the Supreme Court wrote in 1819, shortly after America began.

Now in 2013, President Barack Obama is launching a frightening attack on free speech, using one of the most-feared agencies in all the federal government: the Internal Revenue Service.

One of the most roundly condemned aspects of Richard Nixon’s malfeasance in office was his use of the IRS to target his political enemies with audits. If people shudder at Nixon’s abuses with the IRS, what Obama is doing should drive them to convulsions.

Obama seeks to silence dissenting voices with unprecedented new regulations to curtail political speech by nonprofit organizations. These new rules would help silence conservative organizations and Obama’s critics and raise serious First Amendment concerns, as these rules look like the federal provisions struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in its famous Citizens United case.

Congress allows for various types of organizations to organize as nonprofit, revenue from which is not subject to corporate federal income tax. For example, fundamentally charitable or educational nonprofits—such as churches—are 501(c)(3) organizations, contributions to which are also tax-deductible by the donors.

Some groups are 501(c)(5) organizations. These are political action committees (PACs), which endorse candidates for office and devote their resources to advancing or defeating certain candidates.

Then there are 501(c)(4) organizations. These are social welfare organizations, dedicated to advancing certain issues or viewpoints they believe promote “the common good and general welfare.” These nonprofits can devote much of their resources to political activity, so long as politics is not the group’s “primary purpose.”

It’s always been assumed that less than 50 percent would be devoted to pure politicking, but no one knows because the law does not specify. Also—conveniently—the tax code fails to define the term “political activity.”

On Nov. 26, the Treasury Department and IRS announced new regulations “regarding qualification requirements for tax-exemption as a social welfare organization,” that is, 501(c)(4) organizations. TheIRS then goes on to specify what sorts of activities will henceforth be regarded as political activity, including but not limited to:

  • Any message expressing approval/support or disapproval/opposition to any candidate for public office. For example, an ad saying, “Thank Senator Smith for supporting our troops.”
  • Within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary election, any mention by name of any candidate or showing his picture, even without expressing approval or disapproval.
  • Any money given by a 501(c)(4) to a 527 organization, which citizens may give, however much of their personal money they want to promote public issues they personally support.
  • Voter registration drives.
  • Voter guides that inform citizens of where politicians stand on various issues.
  • Any event within 60 days of an election at which a candidate makes an appearance.

The impact of such regulations would be far-reaching. Groups such as the National Rifle Association and its political affiliate, NRA-ILA, are 501(c)(4) organizations. Imagine if NRA-ILA could not spend much of its resources discussing issues and legislation or informing voters of where candidates stand on gun rights issues. Now imagine those restrictions imposed on the major organizations of every public issue in America.

Less than four years ago, in Citizens United v. FEC, the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional provisions of the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law that made it a crime for organizations to speak about candidates within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary. The Obama administration claimed the authority to ban even books, if a 600-page book mentioned a candidate even once on its pages.

The Court held that these restrictions violated the First Amendment. Yet these new IRS rules closely track those invalidated provisions.

In some respects, these restrictions go even further than the ones struck down by the court. Previous restrictions only applied to candidates for federal office. The new IRS rules would also apply to every candidate for state and local elections. Thus, criticizing your county dog catcher could land your organization in hot water with the IRS, even if the dog catcher election is vitally relevant to the social welfare interests of your nonprofit group, such as a group called Citizens for Safe Dog Catching.

In our 2010 book, The Blueprint, we discussed how free speech is the essential lifeblood of public debate, empowering voters to make a thoughtful and well-considered choice at the ballot box. We also warned that Obama might create laws to silence his political opponents, using the same Chicago-style political tactics he knew from his days as an Illinois politician, like a couple rough-looking thugs built like brick walls who muscle their way around your storefront to send you a message that you’d better quiet down if you know what’s good for you and your business.

The Supreme Court restored free speech for average citizens in Citizens United. Shortly thereafter, President Obama demeaned his high office by denouncing the Supreme Court to the justices’ faces during the 2010 State of the Union address on national television before a joint session of Congress. Obama later promised to find ways to get around the Citizens United decision.

That is what the IRS is doing here—limiting how much groups can speak about Obama’s policies or promote alternative policies about health care, free markets, traditional values or national defense. Obama and his supporters can use the enormous platform of their public offices to promote whatever they want without limit. If the president gives a speech, the media will cover it.

But if a group of citizens wants to pool their resources to express an opposing viewpoint before an election, that group can lose its tax-exempt status. Unlike the law struck down in 2010, it will not be a federal felony.

But while its bite isn’t as deep, the reach is much broader. It serves to choke off funding and impair the ability of those groups to participate in the democratic process.

The solution to political speech you don’t like is to offer opposing speech; the cure for bad speech or wrong speech is more speech, not less. That free exchange of ideas is the blood flowing through the veins of a free society, so that voters can fully hear both sides. When you stop that flow, you stop the beating heart of democracy.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

KEN BLACKWELL AND KEN KLUKOWSKI

Ken Blackwell is senior fellow of family empowerment, and Ken Klukowski is director of the Center for Religious Liberty at Family Research Council. This article appeared on Breitbart.com on Dec. 2, 2013.

Rove: IRS Rule Change Aimed at Gagging Conservatives.


Republican political strategist Karl Rove accused the Obama administration of “hypocrisy” Wednesday, charging that a proposed change in IRS rules regarding nonprofit organizations is aimed at gagging conservative activists.

“This is clearly an attempt by the administration to discourage conservative groups,” the former deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush said on “Fox & Friends.”

“I think it’s hypocrisy,” he said.

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Story continues below video.

The change in rules governing 501(c)(4) organizations proposed by the IRS and the Treasury Department seeks to prohibit these groups from “candidate-related political activity.”

Rove said Democratic and liberal groups had used the rule for decades, and it was only when conservative groups began to make use of it that the administration looked to make the change.

“It didn’t matter for decades when these groups, the 501(c)(4)s that were involved in politics, were primarily Democrat groups. It’s when conservatives began to mimic what Democrats and liberals were doing that it finally became a concern to the Democrats,” said Rove, who is also a Fox News contributor.

Rove heads the 501(c)(4) super-PAC Crossroads GPS, which raises millions of dollars to promote conservative positions on issues ranging from healthcare to taxes and spending. Currently, there are specific limits on what percentage of funds can be used by 501(c)(4) organizations for social welfare and political activity.

“The goal is to spend 60 percent or more on social welfare, and no more than 40 percent on politics. There are clear sets of rules in place right now,” he said.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Wanda Carruthers

Obama’s IRS Moves to Close Down Political Speech of Nonprofits.


Image: Obama's IRS Moves to Close Down Political Speech of Nonprofits

By Todd Beamon

The Obama administration moved on Tuesday to rein in the use of tax-exempt groups for political campaigning.

The effort is an attempt to reduce the role of such loosely regulated yet influential super PACS as Crossroads GPS, which was co-founded by GOP political strategist Karl Rove, and Priorities USA, which ran searing ads against rivals of President Barack Obama to support his re-election last year.

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The Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department proposed new rules that they said would prohibit such groups from using “candidate-related political activity” like running advertisements, registering voters or distributing campaign literature as activities that qualify them to be tax-exempt “social welfare” organizations.

“This proposed guidance is a first critical step toward creating clear-cut definitions of political activity by tax-exempt social welfare organizations,” said Mark Mazur, the Treasury’s assistant secretary for tax policy. “We are committed to getting this right before issuing final guidance that may affect a broad group of organizations.

“It will take time to work through the regulatory process and carefully consider all public feedback as we strive to ensure that the standards for tax-exemption are clear and can be applied consistently,” Mazur said.

The rules would become final after a lengthy comment period, the federal agencies said, giving the super PACS ample time to raise millions of dollars from anonymous donors before next year’s congressional elections.

Conservative groups bitterly attacked the proposed rules, charging that they represented yet another attack on free speech by the Obama White House.

“This is a feeble attempt by the Obama administration to justify its own wrongdoing with the IRS targeting of conservative and tea party groups,” Jay Sekulow, a lawyer representing more than three dozen of the groups in a federal lawsuit against the tax agency, told The New York Times.

The lawsuit stemmed from the IRS’ monitoring of tea party, conservative, and religious groups for extra scrutiny in their applications for tax-exempt statusA Treasury Department inspector general disclosed in May that the agency was doing the special screenings for those groups seeking 501(c)(4) status.

The status allows such organizations to keep their donors private.

The IRS screening had occurred between 2010 and through the 2012 presidential election. During the period, IRS agents had placed groups with words like “tea party and “patriot” in their names on a “be on the lookout” — or BOLO — list for additional screening of its applications for the tax-exempt status.

“Unfortunately, it appears that the same bureaucrats that attempted to suppress the speech of conservative groups in recent years has now put together new rules that apply to (c)4 groups but do not apply to liberal groups like labor unions,” Nick Ryan, founder of the American Future Fund, told the Times.

The organization spent at least $25 million on political advertising last year, according to the Times.

“I wish I could say I am surprised,” Ryan added, “but I am not.”

As 501(c)(4) organizations, the groups can raise millions of dollars to influence elections.
They can, however, also be small-scale tea party groups — many had contended that the were singled out by the IRS.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp questioned the White House’s decision.

“There continues to be an ongoing investigation, with many documents yet to be uncovered, into how the IRS systematically targeted and abused conservative-leaning groups,” the Michigan Republican said. “This smacks of the administration trying to shut down potential critics.”

In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court in its Citizens United decision lifted the limits on donations by labor unions and companies to 501(c)(4) groups. This allowed Crossroads, the largest of them, to raise large sums outside the limits that apply to candidates’ campaigns and traditional party committees.

“Enormous abuses have taken place under the current rules, which have allowed groups largely devoted to campaign activities to operate as nonprofit groups in order to keep secret the donors funding their campaign activities,” said Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, which advocates limits on money in politics.

Under current rules, “social welfare” groups may conduct some political work as long as it does not remain their primary activity. The proposed rules would block such activities as running ads that “expressly advocate for a clearly identified political candidate or candidates of a political party” as fulfilling their tax-exempt mission.

In addition, spots that simply mention a politician in urging a certain way to vote — for instance — could not be run 60 days before a general election or 30 days before a primary.

The rules also would limit voter drives and voter registration efforts and the distribution of literature.

According to the federal agencies, the new rules seek to solidify the current regulations, which are confusing and prone to abuse.

“Depending on the details, this could be dramatic,” Marcus Owens, a former chief of the IRS’ exempt organizations division, told the Times.

Treasury and the IRS do not yet have a proposal about what specific proportion of a 501(c)(4) group’s activities must promote social welfare and are soliciting input. Essentially, they do not have a recommendation as to what percentage of a group’s time and money can be spent on politics.

Representatives of both Crossroads and Priorities USA declined to comment to the Times on the proposed rules. The groups, however, are expected to weigh as the process moves forward.

Any changes to the regulations likely would not affect the 2014 elections because of legal challenges, but the rule changes could shape the next presidential election, said Kenneth Gross, a campaign finance attorney and former head of enforcement for the Federal Election Commission.

“Brightening what are now blurred lines — what is political activity — is not only useful but necessary to have some kind of clarity to a vehicle that has been used to the tune of millions and millions of dollars,” he said.

But Gross cautioned that “this is a long and winding road before anything is in ink.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Dick Cheney: I Thought I Was Dying.


Former vice-president Dick Cheney has revealed how he was so close to death he said goodbye to his family and made plans for his own funeral.

“If this is dying, I remember thinking, it’s not all that bad. I believed I was approaching the end of my days, but that didn’t frighten me. I was pain free and at peace, and I had led a remarkable life,” he reveals in his new book, “Heart: An American Medical Odyssey.”

The New York Times describes the book, due out next Tuesday, as surprisingly revealing, coming from a politician who kept his 35-year-long struggle with coronary disease generally private.

By the summer of 2010, Cheney, then aged 70, was in the final stages of heart failure. “My world was getting smaller and smaller,” he wrote. After a 20-month wait, his life was saved by a heart transplant in 2012 that has also renewed his stamina.

Cheney had his first heart attack in 1978 when he was just 37. Two more followed in 1984 and 1988 and a fourth in November 2000 at the time the Florida recount that would elevate him to the vice presidency was still ongoing.

The need for secrecy was so great that he was booked into the hospital under the pseudonym Red Adair.

He crashed his car in 2009 after losing consciousness and soon after suffered the fifth heart attack that led to his transplant.

The book is written with his daughter Liz and cardiologist Dr. Jonathan Reiner. It reveals that on Sept. 11, 2001 while he was overseeing the White House response to the terrorist attacks, physicians received blood test results — which later proved flawed — that indicated he was in imminent risk of a heart attack.

Cheney credits his survival to American medicine. In a clear swipe at the provisions of Obamacare, he writes, “The health care system that produced such rapid development and has driven the dramatic reduction in the incidence of death from heart disease over the past 40 years is a national treasure and deserves to be preserved and protected.”

He depicts his heart transplant in nearly spiritual terms.

“Well, if that’s true,” the photographer David Hume Kennerly, who is a friend asked, “are you now a Democrat?”

“It wasn’t that spiritual,” Cheney answered.

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Conservative Super-PAC Ad Hits Liz Cheney on Gay Marriage

Reversing Heart Disease

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Conservative Super-PAC Ad Hits Liz Cheney on Gay Marriage.


American Principles Fund, a conservative super-PAC, unleashed a TV ad in Wyoming on Monday attacking GOP Senate candidate Liz Cheney, saying she is insufficiently opposed to gay marriage.

Cheney, who is challenging incumbent Sen. Mike Enzi in the Republican primary, issued a statement this summer saying she was “not pro-gay marriage,” Politico reports.

But the ad shows Cheney saying on MSNBC in 2009 that she applauded the U.S. State Department’s decision to provide benefits to same-sex partners.

Story continues below video.

“In Wyoming, Cheney campaigns as a conservative,” the ad’s narrator says. “In Washington, she appears on MSNBC to campaign against a marriage amendment and support government benefits for gay couples.”

Liz Cheney’s younger sister Mary is gay and married to her partner. Liz and Mary’s father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, has voiced support for same-sex marriage.

Liz Cheney’s campaign struck back at the ad.

“This is a dishonest smear by an out-of-state super-PAC,” spokeswoman Kara Ahern said, according to Politico. “The people of Wyoming deserve better.”

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Liz Cheney’s Senate Campaign Hit by ‘Dirty Tricks’ Poll

Sister Says Liz Cheney’s Opposition to Gay Marriage ‘Dead Wrong’

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Dan Weil

‘Ready for Hillary’ PAC Taking Role in Midterm Elections.


Image: 'Ready for Hillary' PAC Taking Role in Midterm Elections

By Matthew Auerbach

Ready for Hillary, the super PAC whose main objective is to propel Hillary Clinton into the White House in 2016, has decided to come to the aid of her down-ballot supporters in various campaigns leading into the midterm elections next year, the Hill Reports.

But the first Democrat to benefit from this decision will be longtime Clinton insider Terry McAuliffe, who is running for governor in Virginia this year.

“We have identified a large group of Hillary supporters in Virginia,” said Ready for Hillary executive director Adam Parkhomenko.

“There’s a very important election this November, and we’re absolutely going to make sure our supporters are aware of that election.

Any way our organization can help, within the legal limits, is something we’ll do.”

Though the super PAC will use its influence to mobilize supporters for Democrats such as McAuliffe, it is still Clinton herself who will dictate the moves of the organization through her endorsements of candidates. Once she gives the nod, Ready For Hillary plans to use all its resources to guarantee success.

The organization is also planning to act somewhat independently for certain candidates in 2014.

“That’s something we’re talking about — You’re going to see the PAC start to get involved in the midterms,” Parkhomenko says.

One high-profile backer of Ready For Hillary, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, said the super PAC will be relentless in its efforts to ensure Democratic success next year because regaining a majority in Congress is the key for Clinton or any Democrat running for president to be successful.

“Whoever the next Democratic president is, they don’t want to be saddled with the same congress that President Obama has — you don’t want a presidency where you’re playing defense the whole time,” Granholm said.

“It’s important for the Democratic Party that people get out there and change the dynamics so you don’t have a paralyzed congress.”

After its high-profile launch in January, Ready for Hillary has been relatively quiet in recent months, staffing up and planning for the fall when the focus will turn to fundraising, with more than a dozen events being set up across the country including in New York, Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

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