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The House just voted to call on Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special counsel to investigate the "targeting" of Tea Party groups by the IRS.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, Republicans will not let go of the belief that they were uniquely targeted by the IRS for their political beliefs in a grand scheme designed by the president.

The IRS "scandal" was the result of the lack of clear criteria for evaluating acceptable political advocacy by 501(c)4, or "social welfare," organizations. The Republicans have consistently opposed efforts to develop such clear criteria.

The House passed a resolution, not a bill, and thus it has no legal import. It is little more than posturing.

Several Democrats criticized the effort as such:

"This hallowed institution must not be turned into a campaign arm of either political party. And that's what the House Republicans are exactly doing here," said Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.)

"This is the House of Representatives. Not a political circus," Levin said.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) said that House Republicans did not have to resort to a full House vote to request a special counsel.

"Rather than simply writing a letter to the attorney general asking him to appoint a special counsel, which is the time-honored way to do this, the House leadership has resorted to using a resolution that is subject to floor debate and of course C-SPAN coverage, but has no real legal effect," Jackson Lee said.


However, as should surprise no one, 26 conservative Democrats joined the GOP in passing the resolution.

Here are the 26:

Ron Barber (AZ-02)
John Barrow (GA-12)
Ami Bera (CA-07)
Julia Brownley (CA-26)
Cheri Bustos (IL-17)
Suzan DelBene (WA-01)
Elizabeth Esty (CT-05)
Bill Foster (IL-11)
Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02)
Joe Garcia (FL-26)
Ann Kuster (NH-02)
Dan Lipinski (IL-03)
David Loebsack (IA-2)
Dan Maffei (NY-24)
Jim Matheson (UT-04)
Mike McIntyre (NC-07)
Patrick Murphy (FL-18)
Bill Owens (NY-21)
Scott Peters (CA-52)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
Nick Rahall (WV-03)
Raul Ruiz (CA-36)
Brad Schneider (IL-10)
Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09)
Niki Tsongas (MA-03)
Tim Walz (MN-01)

The name that stands out the most here is Tulsi Gabbard. HI-02 is a D+21 district. It is bad enough when Democrats in purple districts think they have to pander to the Republican base. It's just bizarre when Democrats in deep blue districts think the same.

The House also passed a resolution calling Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress, the first time Congress has done so since the McCarthy era.

Six Democrats joined the GOP in passing the resolution:

Ron Barber (AZ-02)
John Barrow (GA-12)
Mike McIntyre (NC-07)
Patrick Murphy (FL-18)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
Nick Rahall (WV-03)

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Comment Preferences

  •  And ... (7+ / 0-)

    Here are the 26:

    Ron Barber (AZ-02)
    John Barrow (GA-12)
    Ami Bera (CA-07)
    Julia Brownley (CA-26)
    Cheri Bustos (IL-17)
    Suzan DelBene (WA-01)
    Elizabeth Esty (CT-05)
    Bill Foster (IL-11)
    Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02)
    Joe Garcia (FL-26)
    Ann Kuster (NH-02)
    Dan Lipinski (IL-03)
    David Loebsack (IA-2)
    Dan Maffei (NY-24)
    Jim Matheson (UT-04)
    Mike McIntyre (NC-07)
    Patrick Murphy (FL-18)
    Bill Owens (NY-21)
    Scott Peters (CA-52)
    Collin Peterson (MN-07)
    Nick Rahall (WV-03)
    Raul Ruiz (CA-36)
    Brad Schneider (IL-10)
    Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09)
    Niki Tsongas (MA-03)
    Tim Walz (MN-01)

    Can anyone tell me why anyone from CA would vote for this crap?  Also, Esty and Del Bene, really?  Grrr!!  The rest have proved themselves gross and disgusting

    •  Four from CA (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stude Dude, Mannie

      and a CT and a MA too.

      None from CO.

      “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

      by ban nock on Wed May 07, 2014 at 05:27:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Survival (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fishnleo

      Democrats want to believe that the liberal wing of the party needs to do what the tea party did to the Republicans - either purge the conservative democrats or force them to come to your side.

      But let's take those districts highlighted above. I don't know any of them well, but I've got to believe that constituents in those districts have conveyed that they don't trust the IRS, are very down on Obama, etc.  So yes, they are being typical politicians and taking stances they think will help get them re-elected.  

      Do people honestly believe that Alan Grayson or Barbara Lee-types could win in those districts?  I would guess that the reason they end up with "conservadems" is the residents are probably, at best, moderates and maybe even a little center-right.  So it's either a conservative Democrat or no Democrat.

      •  If you believe (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DFKinch, JerryNA, acornweb

        that a politicians job is merely to reflect the ignorance of the public and not to CORRECT it, then you would be right.  But that's not the way the system is supposed to work.  In a representative democracy, the representative is actually supposed to espouse positions that work for the good of the community that he represents - and my judgment is that the positions of most, if not all of those people do not actually represent those interests.  

        This list is a list of "made" men (and women) and political opportunists, and little else.  There is no principle involved here other than rank self-interest.  So yes, they are surviving - but they are certainly not doing their job.

      •  Ami Berra (d) El Dorado (0+ / 0-)

        County. Was red for years. FINALLY a dem gets in and thinks he has to hang on? I sure don't have the answer.

    •  Apparently these morons (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JerryNA

      Are blissfully unaware that the original request for checking out Tea Party groups was done by Darrel Issa who is now blaming everyone except himself.

      •  Actually, flippancy, that's not accurate... (0+ / 0-)

        Issa didn't ask for Tea Party groups to be checked out.  

        Rather, he asked the IRS to provide him with a list of those conservative groups that the IRS had already checked out...when what he should have asked for was the entire list of groups that were checked out.

        And, of course, we all know what he claimed once he got that deliberately cherry-picked list...a list that was deliberately cherry-picked at his own request.

        So, while he most certainly should get blamed for much of this brouhaha, it's not for the reason you thought it was :-)

    •  Why did Loebsack (0+ / 0-)

      vote for this?

    •  Dems like these... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JerryNA

      Democrats like these are the reason I contribute to individual campaigns but NOT to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee or similar party organizations.

    •  Ami Berra (little d, looks like) is a new rep (0+ / 0-)

      next door to me. It used to be run by (that horrible) Dan Lungren (BIG R) so it was nice to see an MD and democrat win. I have no earthly idea why he would vote that way other than him being in "the red". Sad to see. He should have taken a clue from MY rep, Doris (BIG D) Matsui, Sacramento. She never lets me down. Nor President Obama.

  •  Wonderful! (14+ / 0-)

    I really hope some of the individuals mentioned above post on Daily Kos wanting contributions; the response won't be pretty.

    •  I am on the donor lists (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SherrieLudwig, hepette

      Of two on them, Ami Bera  and Cheri Bustos and will be requesting removal immediately.

    •  I am on Suzan Del Bene donor list from (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hepette

      Last campaign - her first. I just wrote a handwritten note requesting removal. It is one thing to endorse things on which there can be honest disagreement, like the pipeline, but another to support this crap which is purely political, aimed at your own party. Jeeesh!

    •  Tulsi Gabbard (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hepette, chancew

      I have just written to Tulsi asking for a detailed explanation for this infuriating vote.  She's having a Twitter-fest today, but I don't tweet----wish, for this one day, that I did. I hope many of her constituents react the way I did.  This IS a blue state, and she'd better not forget that!  I don't vote for wishy-washy Dems, and now she knows that in no uncertain terms.  I'll post her response, if I get one.

      Enjoying the Age of Aquarius so far?

      by sendtheasteroid on Thu May 08, 2014 at 12:47:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I used to live in IL... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chancew

      So I am still on the donor list for many IL Dems...  Bustos hits me up at least once or twice a week...  I will be sending a "remove" e-mail tonight & spelling out exactly why.

  •  Trying To Win Voters Who Will Never Vote For You (19+ / 0-)

    The never ending blue dog strategy. With this strategy you guarantee you will go down. As they say, if you give voters a choice between a Republican and A Republican, they will vote for the Republican every time. Go down like cowards. Especially on issues like the IRS that you can make the persuasive case that the GOP is full of shit.

  •  These defective people are unworthy of the (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, chancew, Mannie, Johnny Q

    institution they serve in.

  •  There is an IRS scandal to investigate... (7+ / 0-)

    all those flagrantly partisan "social welfare organizations" funded by right wing plutocrats got away with c3 status while concealing their donors.

    Don't hold your breath 'til the GOP investigates, or even alas the DOJ under the place-Holder who won't go after torturers or banksters who stole/squandered TRILLION$$$$ and used robo-forged documents to throw families out of their homes.

    There's no such thing as a free market!

    by Albanius on Wed May 07, 2014 at 05:49:33 PM PDT

    •  I saw something on the news the other morning.. (0+ / 0-)

      They were talking to McCain of all people about campaign finance, and he was saying that it would take a major scandal before Congress does anything.  But in his opinion that sort of scandal is inevitable, and the example he cited was foreign money can be spent to influence our elections.

    •  Albanius - Specifically which ones were C3 (0+ / 0-)

      organizations? You cannot have political advocacy groups formed as C3s. Contributions to C3s are deductible so the IRS looks at those with much more care.  

      "let's talk about that" uid 92953

      by VClib on Wed May 07, 2014 at 07:54:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  One can run political advocacy as a C3 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib

        The best example of this is Media Matters which is a 501 (c)(3) and MM proudly displayed this fact at their website  see http://mediamatters.org/...

        Media Matters does an excellent job for Democrats and the left and they do it in a manner that their donors can take a tax deduction on their donation, unlike 501(c)(4)s, and the donors can be anonymous to the public.

        There are other entities of the left that do something similar.

        Another approach that some organizations take is to form a for profit entity organized as a pass through entity, such as an LLC, and take funding in the form of equity.  In addition the entity can pursue revenue as a media company giving shareholder/donors great efficiency.  To the extent the entity has losses, losses can be passed to shareholders as tax deduction.  As a private company owners can be anonymous and the organization may even succeed in building a business that can later be sold.

        The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

        by nextstep on Thu May 08, 2014 at 12:05:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Some examples of tax exempt 'social welfare' orgs (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kurt

        that don't disclose their donors but clearly operate as partisan campaign organizations are Rove's Crossroads groups and various Koch dark money entities.

        The Koch brothers are nothing if not innovators in the murky world of campaign finance, and their latest venture—a secret fund that quietly distributed $250 million to conservative groups during the 2012 election, as by revealed by Politico yesterday—is no exception. The group explores near-virgin territory in the tax code as the first in what could be a new class of weapons in the secret money arms race.

        On its face, Freedom Partners looks like any of the other dark-money groups that have proliferated in recent years. Those tax-exempt "social welfare" organizations, called 501(c)(4)s for their tax code designation, can raise unlimited amounts of money without disclosing their donors…

        But unlike those groups, Freedom Partners is organized under a different section of the tax code, 501(c)(6), which is typically reserved for chambers of commerce and trade groups … but Freedom Partners is plainly not a business association in the traditional sense; its roughly 200 donors are united by a common ideology, rather than a common industry.
        -- National Journal

        I am not an expert in this area, relied on memory, the big ones I found with a quick search are c4's and c6's rather than c3's.  But my main point stands: these groups exist for the purpose of intervening MASSIVELY in campaigns, they get away with tax exemptions, they hide their donors, and it is scandalous whether or not their activity is technically legal.  At very least it evades the intent of law, and Congress has a duty to investigate with a view to closing loopholes they have been driving Brinks trucks through.

        There's no such thing as a free market!

        by Albanius on Thu May 08, 2014 at 12:20:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Albanius - The difference is that contributions (0+ / 0-)

          to C3s are tax deductible so while you are not an expert be careful when you put a specific tax code in your comments that you get it right. If you don't understand the differences then don't use a specific tax code so you don't make mistakes and mislead people that the Koch's, and others, are making tax deductible contributions to these groups. If your primary point is that people and organizations can make contributions that don't have to be disclosed to the public (they are disclosed to the IRS) then just write that. When you make allegations that include false statements it diminishes your case, rather than helps to make your point.

          The issue of 501 C4s, and their political activity, is a complex one, and has more history and variables that people here know or write about, with a very few exceptions. The IRS has asked for public comments on this issue and is likely to change the rules in the next year. Congress could pass legislation and write some black letter IRS code, and the IRS has asked them to since the 1960s, but Congress has never addressed the issue.

          "let's talk about that" uid 92953

          by VClib on Thu May 08, 2014 at 06:30:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The National Journal article I cited said (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VClib

            "On its face, Freedom Partners looks like any of the other dark-money groups that have proliferated in recent years. Those tax-exempt 'social welfare' organizations, called 501(c)(4)s for their tax code designation, can raise unlimited amounts of money without disclosing their donors…"

            Wikipedia says:

            American Crossroads is a Super PAC, a 527 organization that raises funds from anonymous donors for the Republican Party. Former White House strategist Karl Rove was behind its formation.[1]… In June 2010, it established a spin-off 501(c)(4) group called Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies (Crossroads GPS). In 2012 it founded another Super PAC, Crossroads Generation, aimed at a younger audience….

             In the 2012 election campaign, American Crossroads spent about $105 million in independent expenditures, and Crossroads GPS spent $70.8 million.[5] The Center for Responsive Politics found that American Crossroads spent money for or against 20 federal candidates in 14 election contests….

            Crossroads GPS is a c4.

            and

            "A 527 organization or 527 group is a type of U.S. tax-exempt organization organized under Section 527 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. § 527). A 527 group is created primarily to influence the selection, nomination, election, appointment or defeat of candidates to federal, state or local public office."
            I agree we should be careful about factual assertions, even about complex matters; errors weaken a case even when opponents such as the Kochs lie shamelessly.  I did not make false statements; I made one assertion which I could not verify.

            There's no such thing as a free market!

            by Albanius on Thu May 08, 2014 at 08:42:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  What battle are you fighting? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib

    A legal one or a political one?  If the battle is political, it is useless, often self-defeating, to think of things legalistically.  This has some applicability here, but is a principle that I all too often see progressives fighting the wrong battle with the wrong weapons.  Mistaking political battles for legal ones is overwhelmingly the most common such error.  One should expect to lose if one fails to fight the actual battle, and here's a hint:  in politics, the battle is usually political.  

    Pay no attention to the upward redistribution of wealth!

    by ActivistGuy on Wed May 07, 2014 at 06:19:06 PM PDT

  •  They are also holding Lois Lerner (2+ / 0-)

    In contempt.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

    Don't get what they hope to achieve. I would like to hear the tea partiers whine about this waste of tax payer money.

    I love president Obama!!!

    by freakofsociety on Wed May 07, 2014 at 06:38:24 PM PDT

  •  Anyone brought to testify about (1+ / 0-)

    Benghazi should ask Issa questions about Republicans doctoring emails, and they should ask him uncomfortable questions about the IRS "scandal" too, but something tells me if they tried, Issa would throw his weight around and use the "I'm the Committee Chair, I'll ask the questions" tactic.

    liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

    by RockyMtnLib on Wed May 07, 2014 at 07:28:36 PM PDT

  •  Will anyone call on (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kurt, madronagal

    Holder to appoint a special counsel to investigate why the news is thick with reports of 'Tea Party' primaries, 'Tea Party' candidates and 'Tea Party' officeholders?

    ...y'know, that 'Tea Party' whose shameless spokespeople bleated piously to Clownmaster Darrell Issa that they were being targeted by IRS for applying for 501(c)(4) tax exemption? Just because they're exclusively involved in politics and political campaigns? Just because not a single fuckin' one of 'em can offer any proof of their mostly "social welfare" activities?

    Yeah... THAT 'Tea Party'™, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries!

    ... and the ultimate middle finger to the IRS is the one flipped by 'Americans For Prosperity', another Koch subsidiary, which managed to scam itself a 501(c)(4) exemption!

    Um, I think there's an elephant in the parlor. Someone send for the zookeeper... or another elephant to keep it company.

  •  my congressman is on that list. (1+ / 0-)

    Not all that surprised.

    Gondwana has always been at war with Laurasia.

    by AaronInSanDiego on Wed May 07, 2014 at 10:17:36 PM PDT

  •  Suzan Del Bene of Washington 1st (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hepette

    REALLY? She felt she had to join this witch hut? Although in an adjacent district, I have donated to her in the past but - of course - will not in the future. I don't know how she thinks she is pulling the wool over peoples' eyes on this, but she will no doubt lose a lot of Democratic support and gain none from the TPers.
    Being in a purple district does not excuse stupidity or duplicity.

  •  Dem turncoats (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hepette

    Let's call 'em what they are: Quislings!  After the Norwegian government official who sold out Norway to the Third Reich.  His fate after the war:  Tried, convicted, executed!  We will turn these folks off at the election.  Vow to NEVER vote for a Republican,in local or national elections, until that party returns to sanity (maybe never) If the Republican runs unopposed, leave that ballot slot blank.  Even if it means turning in a mostly blank ballot.

  •  MacIntyre. It figures. (0+ / 0-)

    He's in a barely-blue district, but he's not helping it get any bluer.

    I'll believe corporations are people when one comes home from Afghanistan in a body bag.

    by mojo11 on Thu May 08, 2014 at 12:18:07 PM PDT

  •  Infiltrating the Democratic party... (0+ / 0-)

    ...is only one of the tactics.  No one checks candidates ideology when they apply.  I've actually seen Dems. switch parties after being elected.  The GOP, on the other hand, fully vets each of their candidates and probably makes them sign loyalty oaths.  

  •  A Special Council would be a godsend to Democrats (0+ / 0-)

    if only Holder had an ounce of political sense.

    He is not required to follow the wishes of the Republithugs and only investigate possible teahadist targeting within the IRA.

    He GETS TO CHOOSE the SC.

    That means he could choose one very friendly to the Administration, and the Republithugs would have no right to complain.

    Gone are the days when an independent body chose a SC.

    It's no longer possible that a Kennith Starr type could be appointed.

    Well almost impossible. Holder has so little political common sense, he could very well choose an out and out enemy of the administration to prove himself above the fray.

    Were Holder to have an epiphany on how this could work for the Administration, he'd appoint a SC  to investigate the entire process and who exactly what put on the list, and WHICH GROUPS were put through the ringer the most.

    From what I've read it turns out that Liberal groups, like Occupy this or that were #1 in terms of getting a second look, while virtually none of the teahadist groups actually were denied or hassled.

    They just said they were. Lying about something to make a point is a Republican habit of course.

    If only Holder had any political sense, he would have done this after a month or two of Republithug whining, albeit with a SC with the task of proving how Liberal groups were denied far more than teahadist groups.

    But no. Holder runs his office like he is oblivious to the elements of his job that are necessarily political, and in doing so gives the Administration's opponents a huge advantage when playing idiot politics like this.

    In fact the best thing he could do would be to appoint one not only for this bogus nonsense, but for the Benghazi nonsense as well.

    Since there is absolutely nothing to either of them, they could easily end just before the Nov. 2014 elections giving the Administration an all clear on both and a big boost just before the polls.

    Perhaps that is why so many Democrats voted for the measure, and Pelosi did nothing to stop them, because they know there is nothing to fear, and quite a bit to gain provided Holder appoint a friendly SC. Again he chooses who he wants. He doesn't have to choose a Kennith Starr type.

  •  Recall (0+ / 0-)

    Any Dummocrap siding with the Rethuglicans needs to be replaced by a Progressive Democrat. There is no room for stupidity. The 26 Dums need to lose their jobs. If these idiots are the new Blue Dog Dems, they should be labeled "Glue dogs" and sent the way of the glue factory.

  •  *Despise* Dan Maffei (NY)... (0+ / 0-)

    He was an idiot the first time he sat in the House; he's still an idiot.  I do not believe his district - part of central NY including Syracuse area and LOTS of rural area - benefits from the policy positions he supports. I believe that many who voted for him in the past thought he was an actual Democrat - but he certainly does not act like one.

  •  To quote George Carlin... (0+ / 0-)

    This country's finished.

    I've been told, "Oh no, no, no. We don't want a "purity" test for Democrats." But without one we get conservatives calling themselves Democrats. That's no way to counter the Republican strategy.

    Hey Blue Dogs; the Republicans are laughing at you.

  •  And I donated to several of these people! (0+ / 0-)

    Act Blue needs to do a better job of vetting these creeps before endorsing them. Not one cent more from me, you turncoats!

  •  I wonder... (0+ / 0-)

    ...if they're just enabling the Republicans to continue their self destructive habits.  Let's face it, the best way to humiliate a Republican is to give him or her a microphone and stand back.

    Just considering the possibility.  I live in Mississippi so my choices have always been Democrats who act like Republicans and Republicans who act like Republicans.  Believe me, I understand the anger at watching a Democrat winking across the aisle at the Republicans every time an important vote comes up.

  •  Number one priority of these democrats... (0+ / 0-)

    is to get reelected. Governing wisely and judiciously is not even in the mix. You also have to keep your sugar daddies and mommies happy.

  •  So what about all the past Republican admin. that (0+ / 0-)

    have not only use the IRS, but also the National Guard to deny people to free assembly, and right to protest?

  •  Ami Bera is a new rep (0+ / 0-)

    next door taking that dreadful Dan Lungren's place, so he is in a semi-red district, but to see him agreeing with this? Something Doris Matsui  (MY rep, lol) would never think of doing. He shouldn't of ought of done this. Its embarrassing.

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