The Pronk Pops Show 1291, July 19, 2019, Part 1 of 2 — Story 1: Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Big Tech Censorship of Conservative Content — Dennis Praeger Testifies Before U.S. Senate Committee — Videos — Story 2: House of Representatives Bipartisan Vote of 332 to 94 Not To Impeach President Trump — Videos –Story 3: President Trump Rally in North Carolina — New Politically Correct Chant — Send Them All Home — Open Border or Citizenship for Illegal Alien Democrats, Republicans and All Illegal Aliens — All 30 to 60 Million Illegal Aliens In The United States — Videos

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Story 1: Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Big Tech Censorship of Conservative Content — Dennis Praeger Testifies Before U.S. Senate Committee — Videos —

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Ted Cruz Grills Top Google Exec on Censorship of PragerU

Dennis Prager Testifies Before the U.S. Senate on Big Tech Censorship

Big Tech Is Big Brother

The Ten Commandments: What You Should Know

What Happens When Google Disagrees With You?

Who Are the Racists?

Illegal Immigration: It’s About Power

Sen. Cruz Slams Google’s Monopoly, Calls It ‘Unprecedented’

Sen. Cruz Questions Victims of Censorship on Google’s Bias

Sen. Cruz Grills Google Executive on Alleged Censorship Bias

Behind PragerU’s fight against alleged Google censorship

Carolla and Prager ask: What if we all stopped apologizing?

GOOGLE CLASSIFIES CONSERVATIVE CONTENT AS PORNOGRAPHY, CLAIMS FOX NEWS GUEST DENNIS PRAGER

The founder of Prager University, an unaccredited conservative media organization, appeared on Fox & Friends Tuesday claiming Google equates conservative video content to pornography.

Right-wing radio host Dennis Prager appeared on Fox News Tuesday morning just hours before he is set to accuse Google of political bias in testimony before members of Congress in Washington. Prager claims the Silicon Valley tech giants, but specifically Google, are gaming their algorithms against conservative content. He said dozens of PragerU’s 5-minute videos on topics ranging from Abraham Lincoln to the founding of Israel have been banned by the search giant and YouTube parent company as “pornography.” Prager claimed the group’s 300-plus videos get more than one billion views annually, but that about 60 of the wide variety of right-wing, historical videos are on Google’s “restricted” list.

“That means, if you block pornography you cannot see a discussion of Lincoln’s address at Gettysburg,” Prager told the Fox & Friends hosts Tuesday morning as an example of a topic in which he will testify. “It’s beyond belief.”

“Google classifies that as porno?” co-host Steve Doocy asked.

“Yes, yes, that is correct,” Prager said. “Why?” replied a stunned Ainsley Earhardt.

“Because we’re conservative,” Prager replied.

Prager University is not an accredited academic institution and offers no diplomas or certifications. It is, despite its name, a non-profit organization that creates frequently provocative political videos and advertisements from a conservative viewpoint.

Prager said a video describing how “human beings are even more precious than animals” was also placed on Google’s restricted list. “If you block pornography in your home you can’t see my video on why human life is precious. I’m not even talking about abortion, although that obviously should be allowed as well,” he said.

Another video featuring Fox News contributor Alan Dershowitz on the founding of Israel is also on the restricted list, Prager added.

The 70-year-old Prager discussed freedom of speech more broadly, saying he is old enough to remember when “liberals were defending real Nazis,” citing the Supreme Court ruling between the heavily Jewish Illinois village of Skokie and the National Socialist Party of America in the 1970s. Prager said the U.S. is currently engaged in a “non-violent civil war … between the left and the rest of the country.”

“Liberals and the left have almost nothing in common but liberals are cowed by the left and that’s the tragedy,” he noted.

Fox & Friends co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade both predicted how they think this week’s Big Tech “conservative bias” hearings will go, with Kilmeade warning Prager they’re bringing out the “big guns” in terms of legal teams. Doocy predicted, “You know what they’re going to say: the algorithm.”

“That’s fine, then you have a terrible algorithm, I mean that is hilarious,” Prager replied. He then compared that defense to the driver of an automatic transmission vehicle running over children and blaming the car. “It’s an absurdity if they say it’s the algorithm, they created the algorithm let them reveal the algorithm to the public.”

dennis prager university google pornography
The founder of the conservative, unaccredited Prager University organization appeared on Fox & Friends Tuesday claiming Google equates conservative video content to pornography.SCREENSHOT: FOX NEWS

Ted Cruz Presses Executive on Why Google Disbanded Panel Rather Than Include Conservative Leader

vative Leader

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, wants Google to explain why it disbanded an advisory council after Google employees objected to including the president of The Heritage Foundation. Pictured: Cruz speaks Tuesday during his subcommittee hearing on Google and censorship. (Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, called out a Google vice president Tuesday afternoon for the tech giant’s decision to dissolve an advisory council on artificial intelligence after inviting Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James to join the panel.

Cruz asked Karan Bhatia, Google’s vice president of government affairs and public policy, about the worldwide internet company’s disbanding of the advisory council after Google employees objected to including the head of the leading conservative think tank.

“You worked at The Heritage Foundation, I believe you said,” Cruz told Bhatia during a hearing held by the Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution. “Do you consider The Heritage Foundation to be some fringe organization?”

Bhatia replied that he considered Heritage to be a conservative organization.

The liberal Left continue to push their radical agenda against American values. The good news is there is a solution. Find out more >>

“So 2,500 Google employees signed a petition to have Ms. James removed from the council and they said, quote, ‘By appointing James to the ATEAC, Google elevates and endorses her views implying that hers is a valid perspective worthy of its inclusion in this decision making, this is unacceptable,’” Cruz said.

The formal name of Google’s short-lived panel was the Advanced Technology External Advisory Council.

The petition accused James of being “vocally anti-trans, anti-LGBTQ, and anti-immigrant,” and said, “In selecting James, Google is making clear that its version of ‘ethics’ values proximity to power over the wellbeing of trans people, other LGBTQ people, and immigrants.”

“Google, in response to this, dissolved the entire committee,” Cruz said to Bhatia. “Do you understand when you see that kind of bias, saying, ‘A conservative African-American woman’s views are not valid and not worthy of inclusion,’ that the American people would say, ‘These guys are silencing voices they disagree with’?”

James, who is black, overcame racial discrimination in Virginia as a girl and eventually became an educator and top state and federal government official before being named president of The Heritage Foundation, where she had been a trustee for more than a decade.

Bhatia told Cruz, chairman of the subcommittee, that the 2,500 employees who objected to James did not make up a large percentage of the Google workforce.

“Senator, the 2,500 amounts to something around 2% of the Google employees,” Bhatia said.

“But Google acted on their recommendation. You dissolved the committee,” Cruz replied.

>>> Commentary: Google Caves to the Intolerant Left, Betraying Its Own Ideals

Bhatia disagreed.

“No, Senator, we did not,” he said. “What happened in that situation is that it’s a committee that consisted of a number of members; as time progressed, a number of members of the committee other than Ms. James decided to fall off the committee, to withdraw from the committee.”

Cruz continued to press the issue.

“Is this your testimony, Mr. Bhatia? Because I’m finding this difficult to credit. Is it your testimony that Google did not dissolve the committee because your employees were mad that anyone right of center was included?”

The Google vice president answered Cruz by saying the company pulled the plug on the advisory council because executives didn’t see it going anywhere.

“We dissolved the committee, Senator. I think we were clear at the end of the day that it was not going to be viable to continue the council given what we were seeing happen with other members of the committee,” Bhatia said.

Heritage’s James discussed the experience in an April op-ed for The Washington Post, writing that “the Google employees didn’t just attempt to remove me; they greeted the news of my appointment to the council with name-calling and character assassination.”

“They called me anti-immigrant and anti-LGBTQ and a bigot. That was an odd one, because I’m a 69-year-old black woman who grew up fighting segregation,” James added.

Referring to Google’s decision to end the panel, James wrote, “The company has given in to the mentality of a rage mob.”

Ted Cruz Presses Executive on Why Google Disbanded Panel Rather Than Include Conservative Leader

2 Senators Call for Investigation Into Big Tech’s Censorship

Two of the country’s staunchest big tech critics are asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate social media companies’ perceived censorship practices.

Facebook, Google, and Twitter exercise lots of influence on Americans and they also use their tools to censor some content while amplifying others, Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri wrote in a letter Monday to the Federal Trade Commission. They are asking the agency to open a public probe into the impact such policies have on people.

dailycallerlogo“Companies that are this big and that have the potential to threaten democracy this much should not be allowed to curate content entirely without any transparency,” they wrote. “These companies can greatly influence democratic outcomes, yet they have not accountability to voters.”

They added: “They are not even accountable to their own customers because nobody knows how these companies curate content.” Cruz and Hawley are two of the biggest Republican critics of Google and Facebook, both of which are consistently accused of discriminating against conservative content.

The liberal Left continue to push their radical agenda against American values. The good news is there is a solution. Find out more >>

Hawley, for his part, introduced the Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act in June that aims to amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which gives online companies immunity only if they can show they are politically neutral. Section 230 was passed in 1996, when the internet was in its infancy.

Other Republicans are taking a more critical stance against big tech companies as well. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, for one, is dinging Google for not doing enough to protect children.

“Things would change tomorrow if you could get sued,” Graham said during a congressional hearing on July 9 dealing with online dangers to kids. YouTube is under pressure to turn off its recommendation systems for videos featuring kids after reports showed potential predators were abusing the feature.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

 

Story 3: President Trump Rally in Greenville, North Carolina — New Improved Politically Correct Chant — “Send Them All Home” — Open Border or Citizenship for Illegal Alien Democrats, Republicans and All Illegal Aliens — All 30 to 60 Million Illegal Aliens In The United States — Videos

Speech: Donald Trump Holds a Political Rally in Greenville, North Carolina – July 17, 2019

FULL RALLY: President Trump Rally in Greenville, North Carolina

President Trump delivers remarks on immigration, “The Squad,” during campaign rally

President Trump Talks About Antifa & Andy Ngo at NC Rally

WATCH LIVE: Trump holds campaign rally in North Carolina amid racist tweets controversy

Trump disavows ‘send her back’ chant at North Carolina rally

Trump rally in Greenville comes amid controversy

[youtube3=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIDK7pwzTgE]

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1123, August 13, 2018, Story 1: FBI Finally Fires Peter Stzroyk — When Will Attorney General Sessions Appoint Second Special Counsel To Investigate and Prosecute The Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspirators? — Videos — Story 2: Joyriding Plane Ends In Crash and Death — Videos — Story 3: Big Google Is Watching Your Movements and So It Big Brother — Videos — Story 4: Alex Jones and Infowars More Popular Than Even Despite Corporate Censorship Conspiracy — Anti-American Leftist Great Purge of Pro Americans Viewpoints — Let The Lawsuits Begin — Videos —

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1123, August 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1122, August 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1121, August 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1120, August 6, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1119, August 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1118, August 1, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1117, July 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1116, July 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1115, July 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1114, July 25, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1113, July 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1112, July 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1111, July 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1110, July 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1109, July 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1108, July 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1107, July 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1106, July 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1105, July 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1104, July 9, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1103, July 5, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1102, JUly 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1101, July 2, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1100, June 28, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1099, June 26, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1098, June 25, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1097, June 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1096, June 20, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1095, June 19, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1094, June 18, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1093, June 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1092, June 13, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1091, June 12, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1090, June 11, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1089, June 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1088, June 6, 2018 

Pronk Pops Show 1087, June 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1086, May 31, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1085, May 30, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1084, May 29, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1083, May 24, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1082, May 23, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1081, May 22, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1080, May 21, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1079, May 17, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1078, May 16, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1077, May 15, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1076, May 14, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1075, May 10, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1073, May 8, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1072, May 7, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1071, May 4, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1070, May 3, 2018

Pronk Pops Show 1069, May 2, 2018

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See the source imageSee the source image

 

Story 1: FBI Finally Fires Peter Stzroyk — When Will Attorney General Sessions Appoint Second Special Counsel To Investigate and Prosecute The Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspirators — Videos

Tom Fitton on Strzok’s firing: ‘body blow’ to Mueller probe

FBI fires Special Agent Peter Strzok, who had been on Russia probe

Peter Strzok fired over anti-Trump text messages

Jim Jordan: It’s about time Strzok was fired

 

FBI fires Peter Strzok, months after anti-Trump texts revealed

FBI official Peter Strzok, who played a lead role in both the Russian meddling and Hillary Clinton email probes but became a political lightning rod after the revelation of anti-Trump text messages, has been fired.

Strzok attorney Aitan Goelman said in a statement Monday that his client, a 21-year FBI veteran, was fired Friday afternoon, claiming this was a departure from standard practice and politically motivated. Goelman said bureau Deputy Director David Bowdich “overruled” the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility to remove him.

“This decision should be deeply troubling to all Americans,” the attorney said.

Strzok appeared to launch a new Twitter account to fire back, saying he’s “deeply saddened” by the decision and linking to a GoFundMe page.

President Trump and his allies for months, though, have hammered the former FBI agent and cast him as the poster child for anti-Trump bias within the bureau and Justice Department.

Reacting to the firing, the president tweeted, “finally,” while asking whether the Russia case will now be dropped:

“Agent Peter Strzok was just fired from the FBI – finally. The list of bad players in the FBI & DOJ gets longer & longer. Based on the fact that Strzok was in charge of the Witch Hunt, will it be dropped? It is a total Hoax. No Collusion, No Obstruction – I just fight back!”

The president over the weekend had tweeted that Strzok and others have “badly damaged” the FBI’s reputation, referring to them as “clowns and losers!”

Strzok was removed from the special counsel probe last year after the discovery that he exchanged anti-Trump and other politically charged messages with colleague and lover Lisa Page.

FBI TEXTING SCANDAL EXPLAINED

In June, he was then escorted from his FBI office and lost his security clearance amid the release of a scathing DOJ inspector general report that largely dealt with the DOJ and FBI’s handling of the investigation into Clinton’s private email server but uncovered messages that “appeared to mix political opinion with discussions” about that probe — namely, between Strzok and Page.

Judicial Watch Director of Investigations Chris Farrell on how FBI official Peter Strzok requested that he retain his security clearance after being added to special counsel Robert Mueller's team.

The IG ultimately found no evidence that the bias among the several FBI agents impacted prosecutorial decisions in the Clinton email probe. But Republicans have repeatedly raised concerns that anti-Trump bias played a role in the start of the investigation into Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump associates in 2016.

One Strzok text in particular vowed to “stop” Trump from becoming president.

In an explosive congressional hearing last month, Strzok sought to clear his name and address the many controversial messages. He claimed his personal opinions did not affect his work. But Republicans tore into the FBI official, with House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy saying he exhibited “textbook bias.”

Trump’s allies cheered the former agent’s termination on Monday.

“Peter Strzok was fired from the FBI because of what his own written words plainly showed: he was willing to use his official FBI position to try and stop President Trump from getting elected. He tarnished the FBI’s sterling reputation and severely damaged public trust in an institution where trust is paramount. His conduct should deeply concern every American,” House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said in a statement to Fox News.

Strzok’s attorney, meanwhile, blasted the bureau on Monday, saying the deputy director “reversed the decision of the career FBI official responsible for employee discipline who concluded, through an independent review process, that a 60-day suspension and demotion from supervisory duties was the appropriate punishment.”

He added, “A lengthy investigation and multiple rounds of Congressional testimony failed to produce a shred of evidence that Special Agent Strzok’s personal views ever affected his work.”

The Justice Department and FBI declined to comment for this report.

Text messages first emerged last year, showing Strzok and Page discussing 2016 campaign politics and repeatedly blasting Trump. In one message, Strzok called Trump an “idiot.”

Messages continued to trickle out, including some reflecting apparent concern about being too tough on Clinton during the investigation into her private email system use.

The inspector general report, meanwhile, referred a total of five FBI employees for investigation in connection with politically charged texts, suggesting more disciplinary action could be considered for additional employees. Lisa Page left the bureau earlier this year.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/08/13/fbi-fires-peter-strzok-months-after-anti-trump-texts-revealed.html

Story 2: Joyriding Plane Ends In Crash and Death — Videos —

Extended audio: Horizon employee talks with air traffic control in cockpit

Horizon Air hijacking: ‘pilot’ performs stunts before crashing

Did Seattle baggage handler learn how to fly and do aerial stunts in a SIMULATOR? Expert gives his opinion on mystifying suicide of 29-year-old hijacker as devastated parents express their shock

  • Richard Russell, 29, was identified as the airport worker who hijacked an Alaska Airlines plane on Friday
  • His family said Saturday they were ‘stunned and heartbroken’ at death of ‘faithful husband and good friend’
  • Stole Horizon Air Q400 and did loop-the-loops while being pursued by two US Air Force F-15 fighter jets
  • Plunged into a heavily wooded area on the sparsely-populated Ketron Island and was engulfed by flames
  • Russell’s main role at the airport was to unload bags, and he had security clearance to be near aircraft
  • However, he did not have pilot’s licence so unclear how he managed to operate such a complex airplane
  • Former Horizon Airlines employee suggested he could have picked up his skills on a flight simulator
  • And investigator said it was ‘conceivable’ a ground service agent could start the airplane without a key  

The family of a suicidal baggage handler who hijacked an empty Alaska Airlines plane in Seattle on Friday night before taking it for a joyride and crashing to his death said on Saturday they feel ‘stunned and heartbroken’.

Richard Russell, a 29-year-old Horizon Air employee, was remembered in a family statement read out by friends at a news conference as a ‘faithful husband’ to his wife, Hannah, and a ‘good friend who was loved by everyone’.

‘It may seem difficult for those watching at home to believe, but Beebo was a warm, compassionate man,’ they wrote, referring to Russell’s nickname.

The family described his death as a ‘complete shock’, adding: ‘We are devastated by these events and Jesus is truly the only one holding this family together right now.’

They also referred to recordings of a conversation between Russell and air traffic controllers in which he said he ‘didn’t want to hurt anyone’ and apologized to his family for what he was about to do.

‘As the voice recordings show, Beebo’s intent was not to harm anyone and he was right in saying that there are so many people who love him,’ they wrote.

Russell, who was described as suicidal by investigators, hijacked the 76-seat plane at around 8pm on Friday after taking the aircraft from the maintenance area.

Although he had security clearance to be near planes, he did not have a pilot’s license and it is unclear how he learned how to fly. One expert said he could have picked up some skills by using a computer flight simulator.

SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEO

Richard Russell, a married 29-year-old Horizon Air employee, (seen with his wife, Hannah) was remembered in a family statement released at a news conference on Saturday as a 'faithful husband' and a 'good friend'

Russell in his baggage handler uniform

Richard Russell, a married 29-year-old Horizon Air employee, (seen with his wife, Hannah, left; and in his uniform, right) was remembered in a family statement released at a news conference on Saturday as a ‘faithful husband’ and a ‘good friend’

The family statement was read out by friends of Russell's family on Saturday. None of his family members are thought to have been present

The family statement was read out by friends of Russell’s family on Saturday. None of his family members are thought to have been present

The hijacked Horizon Air Q400, which took off from Seattle-Tacoma Airport before crashing 25 miles away in south Puget Sound

The crash site at south Puget Sound

These images show the hijacked Horizon Air Q400 which took off from Seattle-Tacoma Airport on Friday before crashing 25 miles away in south Puget Sound (left, in the air; right, after the crash)

Witnesses described seeing the plane performing barrel rolls and loop-the-loops as the military planes directed it away from highly-populated areas and towards Ketron Island, where it crashed into a ball of flame.

‘He did some aerobatics in the airplane that I was shocked to see,’ said Rick Christenson, a retired operational supervisor for Horizon Air.

‘And for him to do that I would think that he either played in a simulator or what. It looked pretty amazing to me. Maybe it was luck, I don’t know.’

During the hijacking, Russell joked with air traffic controllers about how he would be jailed for life for stealing the plane, before telling them he was a ‘broken man’ with ‘a few screws loose’.

‘He was a warm, compassionate man’: Full statement from the family of hijacker Richard Russell

On behalf of the family, we are stunned and heartbroken. It may seem difficult for those watching at home to believe, but Beebo was a warm, compassionate man. It is impossible to encompass who he was in a press release. He was a faithful husband, a loving son, and a good friend. A childhood friend remarked that Beebo was loved by everyone because he was kind and gentle to each person he met.

This is a complete shock to us. We are devastated by these events and Jesus is truly the only one holding this family together right now. Without Him we would be hopeless. As the voice recordings show, Beebo’s intent was not to harm anyone and he was right in saying that there are so many people who love him.

We would like to thank the authorities who have been both helpful and respectful, Alaska Air for their resources, the community, his friends and his family for their incredible support and compassion, and Jesus whose steadfast love endures. We’d also like to thank the media for their sensitivity and acknowledging this as the only statement that will be released by the family, and we request that we now be given space to mourn.

At this time the family is moving forward with the difficult task of processing our grief. We appreciate your prayers. Thank you

He may also have hinted at having used some form of flight simulator in the past in an exchange when he told the officials he did not need help because, ‘I’ve played some video games before’.

Meanwhile, Horizon Air CEO Gary Beck said he was baffled about how Russell picked up the flying skills. ‘We don’t know how he learned to do that,’ he said.

‘Commercial aircraft are complex machines. No idea how he achieved that experience.’

Russell had worked for Horizon Air at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport for nearly four years, according to his LinkedIn account, as a ground service agent and an operations agent.

Horizon Air COO Constance von Muehlen said in a video statement that ‘our hearts are with the family of the individual on board as well as all our Alaska Air and Horizon Air employees’.

Officials said during a press conference on Saturday that Russell used a push back tractor to rotate the plane 180 degrees before take off.

Debra Eckrote, of the National Transportation Safety Board, said it was conceivable that a ground service agent would be able to start an airplane.

‘They don’t necessarily use a key, so there’s switches that they use to start the aircraft,’ she said.

‘So if the person has basic understanding — from what I understand he was support personnel, ground personnel — they probably do have at least a basic understanding on how to start the aircraft.’

Russell was born in Key West, Florida and moved to Alaska when he was seven years old, according to a 2017 blog post. He met his wife, Hannah, in 2010 while they were both in school and married one year later. It doesn’t appear that they had any children.

According to Russell’s blog, he and Hannah opened a bakery called Hannah Marie’s Bakery in North Bend, Oregon and ran it for three years.

In 2015, the couple relocated to Seattle ‘because we were both so far removed from our families’, Russell wrote.

‘Failing to convince Hannah of Alaska’s greatness, we settled on Sumner because of its close proximity to her family,’ he posted.

While living in Seattle, Russell started working for Horizon Air writing that he enjoyed being able to travel to Alaska in his spare time. Russell, who was pursuing his bachelor’s degree for social sciences from Washington State University, said he wanted to move up in his company to one day work in a management position.

The Horizon Air worker, however, also had other dreams, writing on his blog that he was considering becoming a military officer.

Richard Russell

Richard Russell

Russell has worked for Horizon Air at Seattle-Tacoma Airport for nearly four years, according to his LinkedIn account, as a ground service agent and an operations agent

Russell, 29, married his wife Hannah in 2011 after meeting in school the year before. They are seen together in an undated photo

Russell, 29, married his wife Hannah in 2011 after meeting in school the year before. They are seen together in an undated photo

Richard and Hannah Russell

Russell posted several videos on his blog showing him and his wife (pictured) traveling around the globe

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Russell’s blog is filled with pictures of him and his wife traveling across the globe. The 29-year-old also shared pictures from his wedding day and several videos showcasing what he does at work.

In one video, apparently for a class project, Russell introduces himself as ‘Beebo Russell’ and says he ‘lifts a lot of bags’ at his job.

‘Like a lot of bags,’ he says. ‘So many bags.’

He went on to say that because of his job he’s been able to visit places like France, Idaho, Mexico, Ireland and Alaska. Russell ended the nearly two-minute long video by sharing photos of his family.

Seattle plane hijacker’s final YouTube post reveals his boredom with his ‘minimum wage’ job

The final YouTube video posted by a Seattle plane hijacker depicts a happily married man with a monotonous job that’s only silver lining was the travel opportunities it afforded him.

Richard Russell, 29, stole an Horizon Airlines jet from the Seattle-Tacoma Airport and took it for an hour-long joyride before crashing on an island in a ball of flames on Friday evening.

A video posted to Russell’s amateur travel blog in December 2017 provides an intimate view into his life as a grounds service agent for Horizon Airlines, a job that consisted primarily of loading and unloading luggage, paying only $13.75 per hour.

‘Hi, I’m Beebo Russell and I’m a grounds service agent. That means, I lift a lot of bags. Like, a lot of bags. So many bags,’ he narrates over back-to-back clips of suitcases being loaded on and off of airplanes as a lighthearted tune plays in the background.

‘Look at all them bags. Ooh, a purple one,’ he says cheekily.

After making the point about the monotony of Russell’s job through several drawn-out luggage clips, the video flashes a selfie of the 29-year-old working in the rain, followed by footage of a storm soaking the Sea-Tac tarmac.

‘I usually have to work outside in this,’ Russell says.

‘But, it allows me to do some pretty cool things, too.’

The second half of the two-minute video is devoted to Russell’s travels, featuring photos and videos from his different trips around the world.

Several of his adventures were in his wife’s home state of Alaska, including a plane tour of the Misty Fjords in Ketchikan and hiking trips at Hatcher Pass in Palmer and Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau.

He also shows off clips from a ski trip at Schweitzer Mountain in Sandpoint, Idaho, and a hiking trip at Precipice Trail in Maine’s Acadia National Park.

Outside of the US, one of Russell’s favorite locations appears to be France, where he’d toured everywhere from Alsace to Sisteron to the Lavender Field in Valensole.

Other international experiences shown in the video included a hurling match in Dublin, Ireland, and a guys’ weekend at Chichen Itza in Mexico.

Russell wraps up the video with several photos at gatherings with friends and family, saying: ‘Most importantly, I get to visit those I love most.’

Plane hijacker flies in loops and upside-down before crashing
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Russell said in a blog post that he and his wife met in Oregon and moved to Seattle in 2015

Russell said in a blog post that he and his wife met in Oregon and moved to Seattle in 2015

It does not appear that Russell and his wife had children. The couple are pictured together in a Facebook photo 

It does not appear that Russell and his wife had children. The couple are pictured together in a Facebook photo

Pictured above is Russell at what appears to be at a wedding. He posted the photo at the end of one of his YouTube videos 

Pictured above is Russell at what appears to be at a wedding. He posted the photo at the end of one of his YouTube videos

Rick Christenson, retired from Horizon Air, told the DailyMail.com that Russell was ‘quiet’ and ‘a nice kid’.

Christenson didn’t supervise Russell’s team, but said he saw the 29-year-old in passing while at work.

‘He always had a nice smile,’ he said. ‘He seemed quiet, and he always had a smile. The people that knew him said he was a nice guy.’

Christenson said he was sitting on his deck Friday night at his Tacoma home with his wife, his cousin and his cousin’s wife when he saw the Horizon Q400 fly over his house.

‘All of a sudden one of the Horizon Q400s came over the house at 500 feet, followed by two F-15s; one was high, one was low,’ Christenson said, adding that he knew something was wrong because the plane was flying way too low.

He added in a separate interview: ‘Everybody’s stunned… that something like this would happen. How could it? Everybody’s been through background checks.’

The former supervisor said he grabbed a pair of binoculars to watch the aircraft, admitting that he was ‘scared’ and ‘concerned’ because he didn’t know what was going on.

‘He was doing a lot of weird flying, weird turns,’ he said, ‘but he was coming back towards us, towards our way.’

Christenson said while the plane was over the water it did a 360 degree roll ‘and went into a steep dive’.

‘He brought the one wing up and the whole airplane rolled and as it rolled it went into a dive. It looked control,’ he said, adding that the plane pulled up with less than 50 feet between the nose of the aircraft and the water.

Christenson said two minutes later there was ‘big plume of black smoke’, indicating the plane had crashed.

Two F-15 fighter jets scrambled from Portland 'minutes later' to intercept it, according to Pierce County Sheriff's Office. Pictured is the hijacked plane, top, and one of the F-15s beneath it

Two F-15 fighter jets scrambled from Portland ‘minutes later’ to intercept it, according to Pierce County Sheriff’s Office. Pictured is the hijacked plane, top, and one of the F-15s beneath it

Smoke and an orange glow are seen on Ketron Island in Washington state, where the plane eventually crash landed

Smoke and an orange glow are seen on Ketron Island in Washington state, where the plane eventually crash landed

The retired Horizon Air worker also said he doesn’t understand how Russell was able to back the aircraft onto the taxiway by himself, although he said it is possible.

‘It’s not the procedure,’ he said, explaining that usually a two-person crew moves aircraft.

Christenson said under normal circumstances one worker is in the cockpit communicating with with the tower, and a second person is on the tractor used to push the plane.

Authorities have said that Russell was in the aircraft alone, but don’t know how he moved the plane and took off undetected.

Russell’s main role as a ground service agent was to load and unload bags, direct aircraft for takeoff, and de-ice planes in the winter.

According to a job posting, ground service agents are paid roughly $13.75 an hour and as a full-time employee they receive benefits, travel privileges for themselves and family members and are eligible for a bonus program.

Nowhere in the job description does it mention that ground service agents are permitted to fly planes.

Police officers standing at a staging ground at the ferry terminal in Steilacoom. Questions will now be asked about security at the airport and how an unqualified worker was given access to the plane

Police officers standing at a staging ground at the ferry terminal in Steilacoom. Questions will now be asked about security at the airport and how an unqualified worker was given access to the plane

Emergency services vehicles at the ferry terminal in Steilacoom, Washington, on Friday evening, near by the suspected crash site

‘I don’t need that much help. I’ve played some video games before’: Suicidal airport employee speaks to air traffic control before crash

Shortly after the plane took off, traffic controllers were heard on an Internet livestream speaking to a man identified as ‘Rich’.

‘There is the runway just off your right side in about a mile, do you see that?’ the traffic controller said.

‘Oh those guys will try to rough me up if I try land there…,’ Rich replied. ‘I think I might mess something up there too. I wouldn’t want to do that. Oh they probably have got anti-aircraft.’

‘They don’t have any of that stuff, we are just trying to find you a place to land safely.’

‘Yeah, not quite ready to bring it down just yet, but holy smokes I need to stop looking at the fuel ‘cos it’s going down quick.’

‘OK, Rich, if you could, could you start a left-hand turn and we’ll take you down to the south-east.’

‘This is probably jail time for life, huh? I would hope it is for a guy like me. ‘  

Rich: I’ve got a lot of people that care about me. It’s going to disappoint them to hear that I did this.

I would like to apologize to each and every one of them. Just a broken guy, got a few screws loose I guess. Never really knew it, until now

Rich: I’m down to 2,100, I started at like 30-something.

Air traffic control: Rich, you said you had 2,100 pounds of fuel left?

Rich: Yeah, I don’t know what the burnage, burnout? Is like on a takeoff, but yeah, it’s burned quite a bit faster than I expected.

Air traffic control: Right now he’s just flying around, and he just needs some help controlling the aircraft.

Rich: Nah I mean, I don’t need that much help. I’ve played some video games before. I would like to figure out how to get this… make it pressurized or something so I’m not lightheaded.

Rich: Ah minimum wage. We’ll chalk it up to that. Maybe that will grease the gears a little bit with the higher-ups

Rich: Damnit Andrew, people’s lives are at stake here.

Air traffic control: Ah Rich, don’t say stuff like that.

Rich: I don’t want to hurt anyone, I just want you to whisper sweet nothings into my ear.

Rich: Hey do you think if I land this successfully Alaska will give me a job as a pilot?

Air traffic control: You know, I think they would give you a job doing anything if you could pull this off.

Rich: Yeah right! Nah, I’m a white guy

Air traffic control: If you wanted to land, probably your best bet is that runway just ahead and to your left. Again, that’s McCourt (sic) Field.

If you wanted to try, that might be the best way to set up and see if you can land there. Or just like the pilot’s suggestion, the other option might be over Puget Sound, into the water.

Rich: Dang, did you talk to McCourt, cause I don’t know if I’d be happy with you telling me I could land like that, cause I could really mess some stuff up.

Air traffic control: Well Rich I already talked to ’em. Just like me, what we want to see is you not get hurt, or anyone else get hurt. So if you want to try to land, that’s the way to go.

Rich: Hey I want the coordinates of that orca, you know, the mama orca with the baby. I want to see that guy.

Rich: Hey, is that pilot on? I want to know what this weather is going to be like in the Olympics (mountains).

Air traffic control: Well, if you can see the Olympics, the weather’s good. I can see the Olympics from my window, and it looks pretty good over there.

Rich: Alright, ’cause I felt some, what felt like turbulence around Rainer, but there was no clouds hardly.

Air traffic control: Oh, that’s just the wind blowing over all over the bumpy surfaces there.

Captain Bill: Alright Rich, this is Captain Bill. Congratulations, you did that, now let’s try to land that airplane safely and not hurt anyone on the ground.

Rich: Alright, damnit, I don’t know man, I don’t know. I don’t want to… I was kind of hoping that would be it, you know.

Rich: I’m gonna land it, in a safe kind of manner. I think I’m gonna try to do a barrel roll, and if that goes good, I’m just gonna nose down and call it a night.

Air traffic control: Well Rich, before you do that, let’s think about this. I’ve got another pilot coming up, pilot Joel, in just a minute here I hope. And we’ll be able to give you some advice on what to do next.

Rich: I feel like one of my engines is going out or something.

Air traffic control: OK Rich, if you could, you just want to keep that plane right over the water. Maybe keep the aircraft nice and low.

Rich: Just kind of lightheaded, dizzy. Man, the sights went by so fast. I was thinking, like, I’m going to have this moment of serenity, take in all the sights. There’s a lot of pretty stuff, but they’re prettier in a different context.

Air traffic control: Do you have any idea of how much fuel you have left?

Rich: Oh man, not enough. Not enough to get by. Like, uh, 760? 760 pounds?

Air traffic control: Just flying around the plane, you seem comfortable with that?

Rich: Oh hell yeah, it’s a blast. I’ve played video games before so I know what I’m doing a little bit.

Air traffic control: OK, and you can see all the terrain around you, you’ve got no issue with visibility or anything?

Rich: Naw, everything’s peachy, peachy clean. Just did a little circle around Rainer, it’s beautiful. I think I’ve got some gas to go check out the Olympics (mountains).

Rich: I wouldn’t know how to land it, I wasn’t really planning on landing it.

Rich: Sorry, my mic came off, I threw up a little bit. I’m sorry about this, I hope this doesn’t ruin your day.

Rich: Man, have you been to the Olympics? These guys are gorgeous, holy smokes.

Air traffic control: Ya, I have been out there, it’s always a nice drive.

Rich: (inaudible)

Air traffic control: Hey I bet you do. I haven’t done much hiking over there. But if you could start a left turn, and back towards the east. I know you’re getting a good view there, but if you go too much farther in that direction I won’t be able to hear you anymore.

Rich: Hey pilot guy, can this thing do a backflip, you think?

Rich: I wouldn’t mind just shooting the s**t with you guys, but it’s all business, you know?

During a press conference on Saturday morning NTSB investigator Debra Eckrote said they are trying to determine ‘what his process was and where the aircraft was going’.

‘He’s ground support so, you know, they have access to aircraft,’ she said, adding that that we’re ‘very lucky’ the plane went down on a ‘very underpopulated island’.

She said the plane came to rest in a thick underbrush on Ketron Island, and first responders had to ‘blaze a trail’ to get to the wreckage.

Eckrote said the plane is ‘highly fragmented’ and the wings were torn off in the crash. She said responders could not identify a lot Friday night because there was a fire, but they were taking Saturday to ‘focus on the areas that we’re looking for’.

Eckrote called the incident ‘very usual’ and said the FBI were doing a background check on Russell to determine a motive.

‘Last night’s event is going to push us to learn what we can from this tragedy so that we can ensure this does not happen again at Alaska Air Group or at any other airline,’ said Brad Tilden, CEO of Alaska Airlines.

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said on Saturday morning that president Trump was briefed on the incident and was monitoring the situation. She also praised the response effort for its ‘swift action’ and ensuring public safety.

Ferry workers stand by as fire trucks are driven onto a ferry boat headed to Ketron Island, Friday, Aug. 10

Ferry workers stand by as fire trucks are driven onto a ferry boat headed to Ketron Island, Friday, Aug. 10

Alaska Airlines, which owns Horizon Air, confirmed that the plane had taken off without permission and later crashed on Ketron Island

Alaska Airlines, which owns Horizon Air, confirmed that the plane had taken off without permission and later crashed on Ketron Island

Police said the pilot was a 29-year-old employee from Pierce County, Washington. They said he was acting alone and was 'suicidal'. His name has not yet been released

Police said the pilot was a 29-year-old employee from Pierce County, Washington. They said he was acting alone and was ‘suicidal’. His name has not yet been released

The FBI released a statement just before midnight in Seattle that they did not anticipate any further details tonight

The FBI released a statement just before midnight in Seattle that they did not anticipate any further details tonight

A map showing Ketron Island, a heavily wooded area inhabited by 24 people, according to the 2000 census

At one point in the flight, Russell asked air traffic controllers: ‘Hey do you think if I land this successfully Alaska will give me a job as a pilot?’

The air traffic controller, trying to keep him on side, replied ‘you know, I think they would give you a job doing anything if you could pull this off’, to which Rich replied: ‘Yeah right! Nah, I’m a white guy.’

He was also heard telling traffic controllers he was ‘just a broken guy’ before telling them he was preparing to go jail.

‘This is probably jail time for life, huh? I would hope it is for a guy like me,’ he said.

Once again, traffic control tried to get Russell to land.

‘There is the runway just off your right side in about a mile, do you see that?’ the traffic controller said.

‘Oh those guys will try to rough me up if I try land there…,’ Russell replied. ‘I think I might mess something up there too. I wouldn’t want to do that. Oh they probably have got anti-aircraft.’

‘They don’t have any of that stuff, we are just trying to find you a place to land safely,’ the traffic controller responded.

Russell told the air traffic controller he wasn’t ‘quite ready’ to bring the plane down.

‘But holy smokes I need to stop looking at the fuel ‘cos it’s going down quick,’ he added.

‘OK, Rich, if you could, could you start a left-hand turn and we’ll take you down to the south-east,’ the traffic controller said.

Air Alaska passengers wait in the terminal following the hijacking incident, which grounded planes and led to several flights being delayed

Air Alaska passengers wait in the terminal following the hijacking incident, which grounded planes and led to several flights being delayed

A large Alaska Air aircraft maintenance building is viewed on takeoff from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in this undated file photo

A large Alaska Air aircraft maintenance building is viewed on takeoff from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in this undated file photo

Ketron Island, where the plane went down, is a densely wooded area home to 24 people, according to the 2000 census. None of the island’s residents were thought to have been harmed.

Royal King told The Seattle Times he was photographing a wedding when he saw the low-flying turboprop being chased by to F-15s. He said he didn’t see the crash but saw smoke.

‘It was unfathomable, it was something out of a movie,’ he told the newspaper. ‘The smoke lingered. You could still hear the F-15s, which were flying low.’

Horizon Air is part of Alaska Air Group and flies shorter routes throughout the U.S. West.

Sea-Tac is the ninth busiest airport in the US, and flew 46.9 million passengers and more than 425,800 metric tons of air cargo in 2017.

  • For confidential support in the US call the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255. 
  • For confidential support in the UK call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see http://www.samaritans.org for details.
  • For confidential support in Australia call the Lifeline 24-hour crisis support on 13 11 14.

HOW WAS SEATTLE AIRLINE EMPLOYEE ABLE TO HIJACK JET?

Investigators have been working to determine how Horizon Air employee Richard Russell was able to steal an empty turboprop plane from Sea-Tac Airport and take it for an hour-long joyride that ended in a fiery crash on an island in the Puget Sound.

The 29-year-old reportedly stole the Horizon Air Q400 jet from the maintenance area and took to the skies around 8pm Friday, despite not having any apparent flying experience.

It remains unclear how he was able to gain access to the aircraft and fly it out of the airport undetected.

‘We don’t know how he learned to do that,’ Horizon CEO Gary Beck told reporters when asked how Russell was able to perform loop-the-loop and barrels while flying the aircraft.

‘Commercial aircraft are complex machines. No idea how he achieved that experience.’

Russell has worked for Horizon Air at Seattle-Tacoma Airport for nearly four years, according to his LinkedIn account, as a ground service agent and an operations agent.

The bizarre incident involving a worker authorities said was suicidal points to one of the biggest potential perils for commercial air travel – airline or airport employees causing mayhem.

‘The greatest threat we have to aviation is the insider threat,’ Erroll Southers, a former FBI agent and transportation security expert, told AP.

‘Here we have an employee who was vetted to the level to have access to the aircraft and had a skill set proficient enough to take off with that plane.’

The Friday night crash happened because the 29-year-old man was ‘doing stunts in air or lack of flying skills,’ the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said. The man, who was believed killed, wasn’t immediately identified.

Video showed the Horizon Air Q400 doing large loops and other dangerous maneuvers as the sun set on Puget Sound. There were no passengers aboard.

The plane was pursued by military aircraft before it crashed on tiny Ketron Island, southwest of Tacoma, Washington. Video showed fiery flames amid trees on the island, which is sparsely populated and only accessible by ferry. No structures on the ground were damaged, Alaska Airlines said.

Authorities initially said Russell was a mechanic, but Alaska Airlines later said he was believed to be a ground service agent employed by Horizon. Those employees direct aircraft for takeoff and gate approach and de-ice planes.

Sheriff’s department officials said they were working with the FBI in investigating the man’s background and trying to determine his motive.

Investigators expect they will be able to recover both the cockpit voice recorder and the event data recorder from the plane.

Alaska Air Group CEO Brad Tilden said in a statement early Saturday morning that the airline was ‘working to find out everything we possibly can about what happened.’

The airline was coordinating with the Federal Aviation Administration, the FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board, he said.

“Suicidal” Airline Employee Steals Plane, Takes it for A Flight Before Crashing

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/08/suicidal-airline-employee-steals-plane-takes-it-for-a-joyride-before-crashing.html

 

Story 3: Big Google Is Watching Your Movements and So It Big Brother — Videos —

Google Tracks Your Movements, Like It Or Not

Google Could Be Tracking Your Movements

Google is tracking you. Even when you’re in Airplane Mode

Published on Feb 10, 2018

How the police use Google to track your every move

What Google Knows About You

 

AP Exclusive: Google tracks your movements, like it or not

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google wants to know where you go so badly that it records your movements even when you explicitly tell it not to.

An Associated Press investigation found that many Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even if you’ve used a privacy setting that says it will prevent Google from doing so.

Computer-science researchers at Princeton confirmed these findings at the AP’s request.

For the most part, Google is upfront about asking permission to use your location information. An app like Google Maps will remind you to allow access to location if you use it for navigating. If you agree to let it record your location over time, Google Maps will display that history for you in a “timeline” that maps out your daily movements.

Storing your minute-by-minute travels carries privacy risks and has been used by police to determine the location of suspects — such as a warrant that police in Raleigh, North Carolina, served on Google last year to find devices near a murder scene. So the company lets you “pause” a setting called Location History.

Google says that will prevent the company from remembering where you’ve been. Google’s support page on the subjectstates: “You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored.”

That isn’t true. Even with Location History paused, some Google apps automatically store time-stamped location data without asking. (It’s possible, although laborious, to delete it .)

For example, Google stores a snapshot of where you are when you merely open its Maps app. Automatic daily weather updates on Android phones pinpoint roughly where you are. And some searches that have nothing to do with location, like “chocolate chip cookies,” or “kids science kits,” pinpoint your precise latitude and longitude — accurate to the square foot — and save it to your Google account.

The privacy issue affects some two billion users of devices that run Google’s Android operating software and hundreds of millions of worldwide iPhone users who rely on Google for maps or search.

Storing location data in violation of a user’s preferences is wrong, said Jonathan Mayer, a Princeton computer scientist and former chief technologist for the Federal Communications Commission’s enforcement bureau. A researcher from Mayer’s lab confirmed the AP’s findings on multiple Android devices; the AP conducted its own tests on several iPhones that found the same behavior.

“If you’re going to allow users to turn off something called ‘Location History,’ then all the places where you maintain location history should be turned off,” Mayer said. “That seems like a pretty straightforward position to have.”

Google says it is being perfectly clear.

“There are a number of different ways that Google may use location to improve people’s experience, including: Location History, Web and App Activity, and through device-level Location Services,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement to the AP. “We provide clear descriptions of these tools, and robust controls so people can turn them on or off, and delete their histories at any time.”

Google’s explanation did not convince several lawmakers.

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia told the AP it is “frustratingly common” for technology companies “to have corporate practices that diverge wildly from the totally reasonable expectations of their users,” and urged policies that would give users more control of their data. Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey called for “comprehensive consumer privacy and data security legislation” in the wake of the AP report.

To stop Google from saving these location markers, the company says, users can turn off another setting, one that does not specifically reference location information. Called “Web and App Activity” and enabled by default, that setting stores a variety of information from Google apps and websites to your Google account.

When paused, it will prevent activity on any device from being saved to your account. But leaving “Web & App Activity” on and turning “Location History” off only prevents Google from adding your movements to the “timeline,” its visualization of your daily travels. It does not stop Google’s collection of other location markers.

You can delete these location markers by hand, but it’s a painstaking process since you have to select them individually, unless you want to delete all of your stored activity.

You can see the stored location markers on a page in your Google account at myactivity.google.com, although they’re typically scattered under several different headers, many of which are unrelated to location.

To demonstrate how powerful these other markers can be, the AP created a visual map of the movements of Princeton postdoctoral researcher Gunes Acar, who carried an Android phone with Location history off, and shared a record of his Google account.

The map includes Acar’s train commute on two trips to New York and visits to The High Line park, Chelsea Market, Hell’s Kitchen, Central Park and Harlem. To protect his privacy, The AP didn’t plot the most telling and frequent marker — his home address.

Huge tech companies are under increasing scrutiny over their data practices, following a series of privacy scandals at Facebook and new data-privacy rules recently adopted by the European Union. Last year, the business news site Quartz found that Google was tracking Android users by collecting the addresses of nearby cellphone towers even if all location services were off. Google changed the practice and insisted it never recorded the data anyway.

Critics say Google’s insistence on tracking its users’ locations stems from its drive to boost advertising revenue.

“They build advertising information out of data,” said Peter Lenz, the senior geospatial analyst at Dstillery, a rival advertising technology company. “More data for them presumably means more profit.”

The AP learned of the issue from K. Shankari, a graduate researcher at UC Berkeley who studies the commuting patterns of volunteers in order to help urban planners. She noticed that her Android phone prompted her to rate a shopping trip to Kohl’s, even though she had turned Location History off.

“So how did Google Maps know where I was?” she asked in a blog post .

The AP wasn’t able to recreate Shankari’s experience exactly. But its attempts to do so revealed Google’s tracking. The findings disturbed her.

“I am not opposed to background location tracking in principle,” she said. “It just really bothers me that it is not explicitly stated.”

Google offers a more accurate description of how Location History actually works in a place you’d only see if you turn it off — a popup that appears when you “pause” Location History on your Google account webpage . There the company notes that “some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other Google services, like Search and Maps.”

Google offers additional information in a popup that appears if you re-activate the “Web & App Activity” setting — an uncommon action for many users, since this setting is on by default. That popup states that, when active, the setting “saves the things you do on Google sites, apps, and services … and associated information, like location.”

Warnings when you’re about to turn Location History off via Android and iPhone device settings are more difficult to interpret. On Android, the popup explains that “places you go with your devices will stop being added to your Location History map.” On the iPhone, it simply reads, “None of your Google apps will be able to store location data in Location History.”

The iPhone text is technically true if potentially misleading. With Location History off, Google Maps and other apps store your whereabouts in a section of your account called “My Activity,” not “Location History.”

Since 2014, Google has let advertisers track the effectiveness of online ads at driving foot traffic , a feature that Google has said relies on user location histories.

The company is pushing further into such location-aware tracking to drive ad revenue, which rose 20 percent last year to $95.4 billion. At a Google Marketing Live summit in July, Google executives unveiled a new tool called “local campaigns” that dynamically uses ads to boost in-person store visits. It says it can measure how well a campaign drove foot traffic with data pulled from Google users’ location histories.

Google also says location records stored in My Activity are used to target ads. Ad buyers can target ads to specific locations — say, a mile radius around a particular landmark — and typically have to pay more to reach this narrower audience.

While disabling “Web & App Activity” will stop Google from storing location markers, it also prevents Google from storing information generated by searches and other activity. That can limit the effectiveness of the Google Assistant, the company’s digital concierge.

Sean O’Brien, a Yale Privacy Lab researcher with whom the AP shared its findings, said it is “disingenuous” for Google to continuously record these locations even when users disable Location History. “To me, it’s something people should know,” he said.

https://apnews.com/828aefab64d4411bac257a07c1af0ecb/AP-Exclusive:-Google-tracks-your-movements,-like-it-or-not

 

Story 4: Alex Jones and Infowars More Popular Than Even Despite Corporate Censorship Conspiracy — Anti-American Leftist Great Purge of Pro Americans Viewpoints — Let The Lawsuits Begin — Videos

First, They Came For Alex Jones

THE SILENCING OF ALEX JONES

Alex Jones talks about being kick off all Socialist media platforms.

Twitter says Infowars’ Alex Jones hasn’t violated any rules

The free speech debate over Sarah Jeong and Alex Jones

Ingraham: Big tech and the new corporate censorship

Jordan Peterson Reacts to ALEX JONES Being DEPLATFORMED

Published on Aug 9, 2018
Jordan Peterson joins Steven Crowder to discuss Alex Jones/Info Wars being banned from various social media/tech sites and how it relates to the free speech issue.

Alex Jones Censored From Facebook, iTunes

First They Came For Alex Jones…

Roger Stone on Alex Jones Being Scrubbed From The Internet

ALEX JONES CENSORED

Alex Jones and Erasing Internet History

The REAL reason for the Alex Jones, InfoWars ban — and why more purges are coming

Michael Malice on Social Media, Alex Jones, and What’s Coming Next

Alex Jones Is My Hero (my reaction to Jones censorship)

‘Censorship’ is killing social media — but there is a new hope!

Double Standard? Try No Standard. Conservative Activist Suspended From Twitter for Schizoid Reason.

“If you don’t like America, you can GET OUT!”

Infowars Fires Back After Apple, Facebook, YouTube Remove Alex Jones Content

The Take Down of Alex Jones- Why This Is a Big Issue

Alex Jones BREAKS SILENCE on ban

 

Bans don’t seem to be lessening reach of Alex Jones, InfoWars

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The Pronk Pops Show 992, October 31, 2017, Breaking News — Story 1: Radical Islamic State Jihadist Terrorist Attack in New York City — 8 Killed and 11 Injured By Truck Driver, Sayfullo Saipov,  29-year-old Uzbek Male, running Over Bikers  on Bike Street Along West Side Highway — Fleeing Driver Shouted ‘ALLAHU AKBAR’ But Was Shot By Police Officer and Is In Custody — Videos –Story 2: Political Correctness or Silencing People With Different Views — Alive and Well in America — Silence of Snowflakes — Videos

Posted on October 31, 2017. Filed under: American History, Breaking News, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, First Amendment, Foreign Policy, Freedom of Speech, Government Spending, Hillary Clinton, History, Homicide, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Islam, Killing, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Middle East, National Interest, News, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Progressives, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Religion, Rule of Law, Scandals, Second Amendment, Security, Senate, Spying, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Terror, Terrorism, United States Constitution, United States of America, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Image result for jihad returns to new york city october 31, 2017 8 killed by New York motorist in 'cowardly act of terror'Image result for cartoons islamic terrorist attack with truckImage result for branco cartoonshate speech on campus

Story 1: Radical Islamic State Jihadist Terrorist Attack in New York City — 8 Killed and 11 Injured By Truck Driver, Sayfullo Saipov,  29-year-old Uzbek Male, running Over Bikers  on Bike Street Along West Side Highway — Fleeing Driver Shouted ‘ALLAHU AKBAR’ But Was Shot By Police Officer and Is In Custody — Videos —

Image result for Oct 31, 2017 terrorist attack in new york city terrorist attack bike pathImage result for jihad returns to new york city october 31, 2017

Suspect Sayfullo Saipov Came To The U.S. From Uzbekistan In 2010, Had Green Card – Ingraham Angle

Terrorist Kills Pedestrians On NYC Bike Path – Ingraham Angle

8 Killed In NYC Terror Attack – Tucker Carlson

New York City Terror Attacks : 8 people Dead 11 Injured, NYPD Press Conference

NYC Terrorist Attack – West Side Hwy, Houston St.

Witness describes what he saw in Lower Manhattan

Bloodbath in downtown NYC after driver runs over pedestrians, starts shooting

Up to six people were killed near Stuyvesant High School in lower Manhattan Tuesday afternoon in a wild incident that involved a truck ramming into victims on the West Side bike path, police sources said.

The mayhem happened at West Street and Chambers Street at 3:15 p.m. The suspect was shot and is in police custody, cops said.

Witnesses described a scene of terror, saying a man in a truck ran over two people before plowing into a school bus.

“Jesus! A car just ran over 2 people and then crashed into a school bus. I see two dead bodies and citibikes on the floor destroyed,” a Twitter user wrote.

The suspect then got out of his vehicle with two guns, another witness said.

“What happened was there was a car crash … he came out of one of the cars. He had two guns,” a 14-year-old Stuyvesant High School student said. “We thought it was a Halloween thing. He started running around the highway. There was another guy in a green shirt that was chasing him around.”

“I heard four to six gunshots — everybody starts running,” she added.

Video of the scene shows at least two people lying limp on the street. Photos show a smashed-up Home Depot rental truck and two mangled Citi Bikes.

Counter-terror police were searching the truck for explosives.

“Oh my god I just heard gun shots and ran with my dog. Downtown. F–k,” Josh Groban tweeted.

Police shut down the FDR Drive south of 34th Street to rush victims to Bellevue Hospital.

http://nypost.com/2017/10/31/several-people-shot-in-downtown-manhattan/

 

Eight people killed after terrorist shooter driving Home Depot truck rips through Lower Manhattan bike lane

At least eight people were killed Tuesday afternoon when a speeding Home Depot truck plowed down riders on a Lower Manhattan bike path in a terrorist attack, sources said.

Eyewitnesses told police the driver yelled “Allahu Akbar!” — Arabic for “God is great!” — after running down helpless riders from behind, their mangled bodies left scattered behind his runaway rental truck.

The Middle Eastern man was arrested after police shot him in the rear end following a Tribeca crash between the truck and a school bus. Sources said he was waving an air pistol and a BB gun when cops reached the scene.

The truck jumped the curb near Houston St. at 3:04 p.m. and began bearing down on the unsuspecting bicyclists, sources told the Daily News. Video showed crumpled two-wheelers and four bodies left in the vehicle’s deadly wake.

“I heard a truck, a car, something going down the bike path,” said eyewitness Eugene Duff, 44, who was waiting at a red light to walk across West St. “It was wrong.”

The off-duty chef watched in disbelief as the driver of the speeding truck ran down a pair of CitiBike riders about 50 feet apart, catching both from behind on the busy bike path alongside the Hudson River.

There were visible tire tracks on the bodies of the two victims as the truck continued to carve a path of carnage through the neighborhood, he said.

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi

Multiple dead after driver shoots and mows down pedestrians in Lower Manhattan

“I thought it was terrorism,” he said of the Tribeca attack. “That’s the first thing that crossed my mind.”

The arrest followed a crash involving the rented truck on West St. a few blocks north of the World Trade Center. Several eyewitnesses initially thought it was some sort of Halloween prank.

One person on the bus was critically injured and rushed to Bellevue Hospital. Authorities said five others on the bus were injured, with 15 injuries in all.

A horde of police vehicles and first responders descended on the scene as eyewitnesses reported hearing as many as 15 gunshots after the crash.

A police officer was apparently shot and suffered a minor injury. He was taken to Bellevue Hospital, according to sources.

“I thought it was a Halloween (prank) or something,” said witness Tawhid Kabir, 20, of Queens. “I saw the gun running in a circle and I realized it was serious.”

NYPD snipers took positions on the roof of the nearby City Vineyard restaurant as cops flooded the neighborhood.

“We thought the guns were fake and it was a Halloween prank,” said Stuyvesant High School student Laith Bahlouli, 14. “There was a car crash, and then he started to shoot.”

Classmate Alif Rahman, 14, said they heard “four to six gunshots” and then spied two bodies covered with blankets by the NYPD.

A child was seen sitting on the lap of an adult wearing a neck brace after the incident.

“We all heard the gunfire,” said witness Michael Corbin, who works at nearby District Council 37. “I heard distinctly five shots in quick succession.”

The truck was apparently rented from a Home Depot in Jersey City, N.J., making it likely the driver came through the Holland Tunnel.

Home Depot, in a statement, said they were cooperating fully with the mass killing investigation.

Witnesses reported seeing a gunman firing from inside the Home Depot tuck, and video showed a badly damaged truck from the home improvement store sitting on a median.

“He shot about 15 times toward the pier and down West St.” one witness told the Daily News.

The smell of gunpowder hung in the air as police shut down the West Side Highway mid-afternoon on Halloween.

Mayor de Blasio was briefed on the situation and confirmed there was no active threat. President Trump was also brought up to speed on the rampage.

Witness Frank Brito, 45, told The News he saw two trucks crash into each other and then a heavyset man get out of one in a blue tracksuit and chase someone, firing five or six times.

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/dead-gunman-home-depot-truck-runs-bikers-article-1.3602094

Story 2: Political Correctness or Silencing People With Different Views — Alive and Well in America — Silence of The Lambs — Videos

Robin Williams- Jihad

Robin Williams breaks down the last ten years of U.S politics

Robin Williams – How about today?

George Carlin – Political Correctness is fascism pretending to be Manners………………

George Carlin – Euphemisms & political correctness

The Best Of George Carlin

George Carlin’s Top 10 Rules For Success

Outspoken conservative Ben Shapiro says political correctness breeds insanity

America’s Many Divides Over Free Speech

PC Crazies Launch Jihad Against Free Speech

A Progressive’s Guide to Political Correctness

Jonathan Haidt analyzes Runaway Political Correctness & Social Justice Religion on Campus

How PC culture is affecting U.S. colleges

Political Correctness Running Amok on College Campuses

UT Students Trumped By Political Correctness

College Students’ Speech Censored- Banned Words ‘Lame’ ‘Politically Correct’ ‘Crazy’ ‘That’s Gay’

The War on Christmas (and Christians) on college campuses

Jerry Seinfeld Is Tired of Political Correctness – Late Night with Seth Meyers

Challenges to Freedom of Speech on College Campuses

Ben Shapiro Crushes Anti-Free Speech College Snowflakes Before Congress

Ben Shapiro on Free Speech, College Campuses, and The Regressive Left

ALL Of Ben Shapiro’s Answers When Testifying In Congress About Free Speech ☻Highlights

Do College Students Hate Free Speech? Let’s Ask Them

Students Condemn Free Speech On Video!

REAL CONVERSATIONS: Hate Speech Isn’t Real | Change My Mind

The Dark Side Of Political Correctness

Political Correctness on Campus

Nothing left to talk about: New poll shows 71 per cent of Americans think political correctness has silenced discussions and 58 per cent have political views they’re too afraid to share

  • The findings were published in the Cato Institute’s 2017 Free Speech and Tolerance Survey

 

The usual political arguments at Thanksgiving dinner may be silenced this year thanks to America’s polarizing political climate.

A new survey by the Cato Institute shows that most Americans no longer feel comfortable talking abut their political beliefs.

According to the survey, 71 per cent of Americans ‘believe that political correctness has silenced important discussions our society needs to have.’

 The Cato Institute recently published the 2017 Free Speech and Tolerance Survey. It found that liberals are more likely than conservatives to speak out about their beliefs (above) 

The Cato Institute recently published the 2017 Free Speech and Tolerance Survey. It found that liberals are more likely than conservatives to speak out about their beliefs (above)

The survey also shows that liberals are more likely than conservatives to think certain types of speech is offensive

The survey also shows that liberals are more likely than conservatives to think certain types of speech is offensive

Meanwhile, 58 per cent of Americans believe the ‘political climate prevents them from sharing their political beliefs’.

The survey found that Democrats are more open with their political views than Republicans.

A slim majority, 53 per cent, said they do not feel the need to self-censor. The majority of Republicans and Independents on the other hand (73 per cent and 58 per cent respectively) said ‘they keep some of their political beliefs to themselves’.

Cato’s 2017 Free Speech and Tolerance Survey posed their questions to 2,300 adults across the country.

While the survey found that Americans were less willing to talk out their issues, most Americans were in agreement that these issues had a place in the classroom.

Sixty-five per cent of Americans said it was important for colleges to expose students to different viewpoints, even if those viewpoints are offensive.

According to the survey, liberals are also more likely than conservatives to say certain types of speech is offensive. Examples include people who say homosexuality is a sin and people who say Islam is taking over Europe.

It also found that 61 per cent of Hillary Clinton voters found it ‘hard’ to be friends with Trump voters. The majority of Trump supporters (64 per cent ) however, said that it wasn’t hard to be friends with people who voted for Clinton.

Clinton supporters found it harder to be friends with Trump supporters than vice versa, the survey shows 

Clinton supporters found it harder to be friends with Trump supporters than vice versa, the survey shows

Most Americans agree that colleges need to teach students different viewpoints, even if they are offensive

Most Americans agree that colleges need to teach students different viewpoints, even if they are offensive.

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5036723/71-Political-correctness-silenced-discussions.html#ixzz4x7cLrZiQ

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 808, December 6, 2016, Story 1: Which Political Party Is A Greater Threat To The First Amendment of The U.S. Constitution? The Democratic Party Together With Big Lie Media — Videos

Posted on December 6, 2016. Filed under: Banking System, Budgetary Policy, Communications, Congress, Corruption, Countries, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Fiscal Policy, Freedom of Speech, Hate Speech, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Clinton, House of Representatives, News, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Rule of Law, Senate, Tax Policy, Ted Cruz, Terror, Terrorism, United States Constitution, United States of America, United States Supreme Court, Videos, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: Which Political Party Is A Greater Threat To The First Amendment of The U.S. Constitution? The Democratic Party Together With Big Lie Media — Videos

Image result for free speech congress should make no lawImage result for the facts about citizens united vs fecImage result for hillary the movieImage result for the facts about citizens united vs fec

TIME WARNER CEO: The ‘real threat’ to the First Amendment came from Democrats, not Trump

Time Warner CEO Thinks Democrats Are Worse For First Amendment Than Trump

What You Probably Haven’t Heard About Citizens United

Does Citizens United Protect Your Freedom of Speech? – Learn Liberty

Undoing Citizens United – Yea or Nay?

What Citizens United Didn’t Say

Justice Scalia on Citizens United (C-SPAN)

Richard Epstein on Citizens United

Sen. Rand Paul on Citizens United

Does Free Speech Offend You?

Why We’re Losing Liberty

A Progressive’s Guide to Political Correctness

Trump’s First Amendment Threat: Leftist Fearmongering

Goodbye To The First Amendment

Democrats Call For Banning InfoWars

Ted Cruz: “Democrats Vote to Repeal First Amendment”

Sen. Cruz Speaks in Opposition to Repealing First Amendment Free-Speech Protections

Sen. Elizabeth Warren Calls for Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

Free Speech Is Threatened on Campus

The Story of Citizens United v. FEC

Story of Citizens United v. FEC, The Critique ‌‌ – Lee Doren

Campaign Finance Reform and the Citizens United Supreme Court Decision

Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission- With Credits

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Generation Zero Full Documentary | Citizens United – Documentaries

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Oral Arguments

Campaign Finance: Lawyers’ Citizens United v. FEC U.S. Supreme Court Arguments (2009)

Hillary Clinton The Movie Banned by the Courts in 2008

Published on May 9, 2015

‘Hillary, the Movie’ case to be reheard
http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2009/06/2…
WASHINGTON, June 29 (UPI) — The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday it wants a case involving federal election law and an attack “documentary” on Hillary Clinton reheard next September.

The justices said new argument should address two key Supreme Court precedents upholding federal election law and whether the high court should “overrule either or both.”

At stake in the case is a provision of a 2002 federal campaign law that bans “election communications” funded by corporations or unions close to an election.

The justices heard argument earlier this term, with former U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson representing the producers of “Hillary, the Movie.” The film’s backers wanted to make it available as an “on demand” movie on cable television during the 2008 race for the presidency.

But federal courts ruled the movie, financed partly with funds from unnamed corporations, violated the 2002 McCain-Feingold law.

Deputy U.S. Solicitor General Malcolm Stewart, defending the law, suggested the Constitution not only allows the restriction of the “documentary” message when offered “on demand,” but also on the Internet, on a DVD or in a book, even at a public library.

(Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, No. 08-205.)

Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes Says Democrats Were Bigger First Amendment Threat Than Trump

Francois G. Durand/Getty Images
Jeff Bewkes

“The threat to the First Amendment came from the Democratic side more,” he says, arguing that journalists viewed a Democratic plank “overly charitably” as campaign finance reform.

When it comes to politicians trampling free speech and free press, Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes said Tuesday that he doesn’t fear president-elect Donald Trump as much as he does his rivals on the other side of the aisle.

“The threat to the First Amendment came from the Democratic side,” Bewkes said during a conversation with Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget at a conference in New York in a session that was webcast.

Bewkes made the comment after Blodget noted that Trump had criticized CNN for allegedly unfair coverage, and even threatened some sort of regulation in retaliation against CNN, owned by Time Warner.

Robert Thomson

News Corp. CEO on Fake News Sites: “We’ve Gone From the Year of ‘Mad Men’ to Mad Metrics”

“I don’t think that’s a serious thing,” Bewkes told Blodget at the Ignition: Future of Digital conference. “If anybody is going to change the First Amendment — remember, the Democratic party had a campaign plank to change the First Amendment, and they were doing it in the guise of campaign finance reform.”

The CEO, continuing his theme, even acknowledged that the news media does, indeed, lean left, as conservatives have long complained.

“That was worrying me more, because the press tends to miss that because they tend to lean that way, and therefore they were supporting what they were viewing, I think overly charitably, as something in cleaning up money in politics when in fact what it would do is restrain multiple voices,” Bewkes argued. “So, I thought the threat to the First Amendment came from the Democratic side more. I think there won’t be a serious effort on the Republican side.”

Bewkes wasn’t specific, though Trump’s Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton promised many times to overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court decision that allowed the conservative group to promote its anti-Hillary movie. The decision gave corporations rights, similar to those of unions and individuals, to fund political speech.

Bewkes also said Trump wasn’t the only Republican candidate to complain of unfair coverage, as Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush and others also weren’t happy with CNN and the press. “That’s more about the nature of change in that party right now,” he said. “I think we’re going to see it on the Democratic side, too.”

Lowell McAdam

Verizon CEO Talks AT&T-Time Warner, Content Strategy

Bewkes also said he isn’t worried that Trump has said he’d like to prevent AT&T’s $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner, suggesting that maybe politicians who initially spoke against the merger confused Time Warner with Time Warner Cable, which would have been a tougher sale to regulators, given AT&T already owns pay-TV giant DirecTV.

“We were still before the election and we know some of the strains of populism in that election on both sides,” he said. “I’m not saying whether everybody thought it was the cable company merging with a phone company — they’re different competitive issues — but it isn’t that, and I think when it becomes clear what we’re doing it will become clear to everyone that it will be pro-competitive, pro-consumer and improve competition in advertising.”

After the BusinessInsider event, Bewkes headed to the UBS Global Media & Communications Conference for further discussion about CNN.

“CNN had a killer year,” he said. “We could say this has been an unusual year in world events, but it’s actually not true. Every year is … if you go back three or four years ago, everybody would be saying you’d have to have a political slant,” he said, suggesting that CNN is thriving yet unbiased.

When the conversation turned to digital distribution of Time Warner’s cable networks, Bewkes noted that DirecTV Now launched for $35 a month for 100 channels but $5 extra for HBO, and he suggested he’s open to more such deals for the premium channel. “We welcome distributors making aggressive price offerings,” he said.

He boasted of “a pretty hefty budget, a couple of billion dollars” at HBO, adding: “We’re not spending our programming money on library product, we’re doing original shows … We’ve been increasing it and we’ll keep increasing it.”

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/time-warner-ceo-jeffrey-bewkes-says-democrats-were-bigger-first-amendment-threat-trump-953267

Citizens United v. FEC

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Citizens United” redirects here. For the political organization, see Citizens United (organization). For other uses, see Citizens United (disambiguation).
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg

Argued March 24, 2009
Reargued September 9, 2009
Decided January 21, 2010
Full case name Citizens United, Appellant v. Federal Election Commission
Docket nos. 08-205
Citations 558 U.S. 310 (more)

130 S.Ct. 876
Argument Oral argument
Reargument Reargument
Opinion announcement Opinion announcement
Prior history denied appellants motion for a preliminary injunction 530 F. Supp. 2d 274 (D.D.C. 2008)[1] probable jurisdiction noted 128 S. Ct. 1471 (2008).
Holding
The Freedom of the Speech Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the government from restricting independent political expenditures by a nonprofit corporation. And the provision of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act prohibiting unions, corporations and not-for-profit organizations from broadcasting electioneering communications within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary election violates the clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. United States District Court for the District of Columbia reversed.
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority Kennedy, joined by Roberts, Scalia, Alito; Thomas (all but Part IV); Stevens, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor (only as to Part IV)
Concurrence Roberts, joined by Alito
Concurrence Scalia, joined by Alito; Thomas (in part)
Concur/dissent Stevens, joined by Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor
Concur/dissent Thomas
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amend. I, Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act
This case overturned a previous ruling or rulings
McConnell v. FEC (in part)

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission is a U.S. constitutional law and corporate law case dealing with the regulation of campaign spending by organizations. The United States Supreme Court held (5–4) on 21 January 2010 that freedom of speech prohibited the government from restricting independent political expenditures by a nonprofit corporation. The principles articulated by the Supreme Court in the case have also been extended to for-profit corporations, labor unions and other associations.[2][3]

In the case, the conservative non-profit organization Citizens United wanted to air a film critical of Hillary Clinton and to advertise the film during television broadcasts shortly before the 2008 Democratic primary election in which Clinton was running for U.S. President. This would violate a federal statute prohibiting certain electioneering communications near an election. The court found the provisions of the law that prohibited corporations and unions from making such electioneering communications to conflict with the U.S. Constitution.

The court, however, upheld requirements for public disclosure by sponsors of advertisements. The case did not affect the federal ban on direct contributions from corporations or unions to candidate campaigns or political parties.

Case summary

In the case, No. 08-205, 558 U.S. 310 (2010), the conservative non-profit organization Citizens United wanted to air a film critical of Hillary Clinton and to advertise the film during television broadcasts, which was a violation of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, commonly known as the McCain–Feingold Act or “BCRA”.[4] Section 203 of BCRA defined an “electioneering communication” as a broadcast, cable, or satellite communication that mentioned a candidate within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary, and prohibited such expenditures by corporations and unions. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia held that §203 of BCRA applied and prohibited Citizens United from advertising the film Hillary: The Movie in broadcasts or paying to have it shown on television within 30 days of the 2008 Democratic primaries.[1][5] The Supreme Court reversed this decision, striking down those provisions of BCRA that prohibited corporations (including nonprofit corporations) and unions from making independent expenditures and “electioneering communications”.[4] The majority decision overruled Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce (1990) and partially overruled McConnell v. Federal Election Commission (2003).[6] The Court, however, upheld requirements for public disclosure by sponsors of advertisements (BCRA §201 and §311). The case did not involve the federal ban on direct contributions from corporations or unions to candidate campaigns or political parties, which remain illegal in races for federal office.[7]

Background

The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (known as BCRA or McCain–Feingold Act) – specifically §203, which modified the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, 2 U.S.C. § 441b – prohibited corporations and unions from using their general treasury to fund “electioneering communications” (broadcast advertisements mentioning a candidate) within 30 days before a primary or 60 days before a general election. During the 2004 presidential campaign, a conservative nonprofit 501(c)(4) organization named Citizens United filed a complaint before the Federal Election Commission (FEC) charging that advertisements for Michael Moore’s film Fahrenheit 9/11, a docudrama critical of the Bush administration’s response to the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, constituted political advertising and thus could not be aired within the 30 days before a primary election or 60 days before a general election. The FEC dismissed the complaint after finding no evidence that broadcast advertisements for the film and featuring a candidate within the proscribed time limits had actually been made.[8] The FEC later dismissed a second complaint which argued that the movie itself constituted illegal corporate spending advocating the election or defeat of a candidate, which was illegal under the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 and the Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments of 1974. In dismissing that complaint, the FEC found that:

The complainant alleged that the release and distribution of FAHRENHEIT 9/11 constituted an independent expenditure because the film expressly advocated the defeat of President Bush and that by being fully or partially responsible for the film’s release, Michael Moore and other entities associated with the film made excessive and/or prohibited contributions to unidentified candidates. The Commission found no reason to believe the respondents violated the Act because the film, associated trailers and website represented bona fide commercial activity, not “contributions” or “expenditures” as defined by the Federal Election Campaign Act.[9]

In the wake of these decisions, Citizens United sought to establish itself as a bona fide commercial film maker, producing several documentary films between 2005 and 2007. By early 2008, it sought to run television commercials to promote its political documentary Hillary: The Movie and to air the movie on DirecTV.[10]

In the District Court

In December 2007 Citizens United filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the constitutionality of several statutory provisions governing “electioneering communications”.[11] It asked the court to declare that the corporate and union funding restrictions were unconstitutional both on its face and as applied to Hillary: The Movie, and to enjoin the Federal Election Commission from enforcing its regulations. Citizens United also argued that the Commission’s disclosure and disclaimer requirements were unconstitutional as applied to the movie pursuant to the Supreme Court decision in Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc.. It also sought to enjoin the funding, disclosure, and disclaimer requirements as applied to Citizens United’s intended ads for the movie.

In accordance with special rules in section 403 of the BCRA, a three-judge court was convened to hear the case. On January 15, 2008, the court denied Citizens United’s motion for a preliminary injunction, finding that the suit had little chance of success because the movie had no reasonable interpretation other than as an appeal to vote against Senator Clinton, that it was therefore express advocacy, not entitled to exemption from the ban on corporate funding of electioneering communications, and that television advertisements for the movie within 30 days of a primary violated the BCRA restrictions on “electioneering communications”.[12] The court held that the Supreme Court in McConnell v. FEC (2003) had found the disclosure requirements constitutional as to all electioneering communications, and Wisconsin RTL did not disturb this holding because the only issue of that case was whether speech that did not constitute the functional equivalent of express advocacy could be banned during the relevant pre-election period.

On July 18, 2008, the District Court granted summary judgement to the Federal Election Commission. In accordance with the special rules in the BCRA, Citizens United appealed to the Supreme Court which docketed the case on August 18, 2008 and granted certiorari on November 14, 2008.[13]

The Supreme Court heard oral argument on March 24, 2009[10][14][15] and then asked for further briefs on June 29; the re-argument was heard on September 9, 2009.[13]

Before the Supreme Court

During the original oral argument, Deputy Solicitor General Malcolm L. Stewart (representing the FEC) argued that under Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, the government would have the power to ban books if those books contained even one sentence expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate and were published or distributed by a corporation or labor union.[16] In response to this line of questioning, Stewart further argued that under Austin the government could ban the digital distribution of political books over the Amazon Kindle or prevent a union from hiring an author to write a political book.[17]

According to a 2012 article in The New Yorker by Jeffrey Toobin, the Court expected after oral argument to rule on the narrow question that had originally been presented: could Citizens United show the film? At the subsequent conference among the justices after oral argument, the vote was 5–4 in favor of Citizens United being allowed to show the film. The justices voted the same as they had in Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc., a similar 2007 case, with Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas and Alito in the majority.[18]

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the initial opinion of the Court, holding that the BCRA allowed the showing of the film. A draft concurring opinion by Justice Kennedy argued that the court could and should have gone much further. The other justices in the majority began agreeing with Kennedy, and convinced Roberts to reassign the writing and allow Kennedy’s concurrence to become the majority opinion.[18]

On the other side, John Paul Stevens, the most senior justice in the minority, assigned the dissent to David Souter, who announced his retirement from the Court while he was working on it. The final draft went beyond critiquing the majority. Toobin described it as “air[ing] some of the Court’s dirty laundry,” writing that Souter’s dissent accused Roberts of having manipulated Court procedures to reach his desired result – an expansive decision that, Souter claimed, changed decades of election law and ruled on issues neither party to the litigation had presented.[18]

According to Toobin, Roberts was concerned that Souter’s dissent, likely to be his last opinion for the Court, could “damage the Court’s credibility.” He agreed with the minority to withdraw the opinion and schedule the case for reargument. However, when he did, the “Questions Presented” to the parties were more expansive, touching on the issues Kennedy had identified. According to Toobin, the eventual result was therefore a foregone conclusion from that point on.[18] Toobin’s account has been criticized for drawing conclusions unsupported by the evidence in his article.[19]

On June 29, 2009, the last day of the term, the Court issued an order directing the parties to re-argue the case on September 9 after briefing whether it might be necessary to overrule Austin and/or McConnell v. Federal Election Commission to decide the case.[20] Justice Stevens noted in his dissent that in its prior motion for summary judgment Citizens United had abandoned its facial challenge of BCRA §203, with the parties agreeing to the dismissal of the claim.[21]

Justice Sotomayor sat on the bench for the first time during the second round of oral arguments. This was the first case argued by then-Solicitor General and future Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. Former Bush Solicitor General Ted Olson and First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams argued for Citizens United, and former Clinton Solicitor General Seth Waxman defended the statute on behalf of various supporters.[22] Legal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky called it “one of the most important First Amendment cases in years”.[23]

Opinions of the Court

Majority opinion

Justice Kennedy, the author of the Court’s opinion.

Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion[24] found that the BCRA §203 prohibition of all independent expenditures by corporations and unions violated the First Amendment’s protection of free speech. The majority wrote, “If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech.”[25]

Justice Kennedy’s opinion also noted that because the First Amendment does not distinguish between media and other corporations, the BCRA restrictions improperly allowed Congress to suppress political speech in newspapers, books, television, and blogs.[4] The Court overruled Austin, which had held that a state law that prohibited corporations from using treasury money to support or oppose candidates in elections did not violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The Court also overruled that portion of McConnell that upheld BCRA’s restriction of corporate spending on “electioneering communications”. The Court’s ruling effectively freed corporations and unions to spend money both on “electioneering communications” and to directly advocate for the election or defeat of candidates (although not to contribute directly to candidates or political parties).

The majority ruled that the Freedom of the Press clause of the First Amendment protects associations of individuals in addition to individual speakers, and further that the First Amendment does not allow prohibitions of speech based on the identity of the speaker. Corporations, as associations of individuals therefore, have free speech rights under the First Amendment. Because spending money is essential to disseminating speech, as established in Buckley v. Valeo, limiting a corporation’s ability to spend money is unconstitutional because it limits the ability of its members to associate effectively and to speak on political issues.

The decision overruled Austin because that decision allowed different restrictions on speech-related spending based on corporate identity. Additionally, the decision said that Austin was based on an “equality” rationale – trying to equalize speech between different speakers – that the Court had previously rejected as illegitimate under the First Amendment in Buckley. The Michigan statute at issue in Austin had distinguished between corporate and union spending, prohibiting the former while allowing the latter. The Austin Court, over the dissent by Justices Scalia, Kennedy, and O’Connor, had held that such distinctions were within the legislature’s prerogative. In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, however, the majority argued that the First Amendment purposefully keeps the government from interfering in the “marketplace of ideas” and “rationing” speech, and it is not up to the legislatures or the courts to create a sense of “fairness” by restricting speech.[24]

The majority also criticized Austin’s reasoning that the “distorting effect” of large corporate expenditures constituted a risk of corruption or the appearance of corruption. Rather, the majority argued that the government had no place in determining whether large expenditures distorted an audience’s perceptions, and that the type of “corruption” that might justify government controls on spending for speech had to relate to some form of “quid pro quo” transaction: “There is no such thing as too much speech.”[24] The public has a right to have access to all information and to determine the reliability and importance of the information. Additionally, the majority did not believe that reliable evidence substantiated the risk of corruption or the appearance of corruption, and so this rationale did not satisfy strict scrutiny.

The Court’s opinion relied heavily on the reasoning and principles of the landmark campaign finance case of Buckley and First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, in which the Court struck down a broad prohibition against independent expenditures by corporations in ballot initiatives and referenda.[24] Specifically, the Court echoed Bellotti’s rejection of categories based on a corporation’s purpose. The majority argued that to grant Freedom of the Press protections to media corporations, but not others, presented a host of problems; and so all corporations should be equally protected from expenditure restrictions.

The Court found that BCRA §§201 and 311, provisions requiring disclosure of the funder, were valid as applied to the movie advertisements and to the movie itself.[24] The majority ruled for the disclosure of the sources of campaign contributions, saying that

…prompt disclosure of expenditures can provide shareholders and citizens with the information needed to hold corporations and elected officials accountable for their positions and supporters. Shareholders can determine whether their corporation’s political speech advances the corporation’s interest in making profits, and citizens can see whether elected officials are “in the pocket” of so-called moneyed interests…This transparency enables the electorate to make informed decisions and give proper weight to different speakers and messages.[26][27]

Concurrences

Chief Justice Roberts, with whom Justice Alito joined, wrote separately “to address the important principles of judicial restraint and stare decisis implicated in this case”.[28]

Roberts wrote to further explain and defend the Court’s statement that “there is a difference between judicial restraint and judicial abdication.” Roberts explained why the Court must sometimes overrule prior decisions. Had prior Courts never gone against stare decisis, for example, “segregation would be legal, minimum wage laws would be unconstitutional, and the Government could wiretap ordinary criminal suspects without first obtaining warrants”. Roberts’ concurrence recited a plethora of case law in which the court had ruled against precedent. Ultimately, Roberts argued that “stare decisis…counsels deference to past mistakes, but provides no justification for making new ones”.[28]

Justice Scalia joined the opinion of the Court, and wrote a concurring opinion joined by Justice Alito in full and by Justice Thomas in part. Scalia addressed Justice Stevens‘ dissent, specifically with regard to the original understanding of the First Amendment. Scalia said Stevens’ dissent was “in splendid isolation from the text of the First Amendment…It never shows why ‘the freedom of speech’ that was the right of Englishmen did not include the freedom to speak in association with other individuals, including association in the corporate form.” He further considered the dissent’s exploration of the Framers’ views about the “role of corporations in society” to be misleading, and even if valid, irrelevant to the text. Scalia principally argued that the First Amendment was written in “terms of speech, not speakers” and that “Its text offers no foothold for excluding any category of speaker.”[29]Scalia argued that the Free Press clause was originally intended to protect the distribution of written materials and did not only apply to the media specifically. This understanding supported the majority’s contention that the Constitution does not allow the Court to separate corporations into media and non-media categories.[24]

Justice Thomas wrote a separate opinion concurring in all but the upholding of the disclosure provisions. In order to protect the anonymity of contributors to organizations exercising free speech, Thomas would have struck down the reporting requirements of BCRA §201 and §311 as well, rather than allowing them to be challenged only on a case-specific basis. Thomas’s primary argument was that anonymous free speech is protected and that making contributor lists public makes the contributors vulnerable to retaliation, citing instances of retaliation against contributors to both sides of a then recent California voter initiative. Thomas also expressed concern that such retaliation could extend to retaliation by elected officials. Thomas did not consider “as-applied challenges” to be sufficient to protect against the threat of retaliation.[30]

Dissent

Justice Stevens, the author of the dissenting opinion.

A dissenting opinion by Justice Stevens[31] was joined by Justice Ginsburg, Justice Breyer, and Justice Sotomayor. To emphasize his unhappiness with the majority, Stevens read part of his 90-page dissent from the bench.[32] Stevens concurred in the Court’s decision to sustain BCRA’s disclosure provisions, but dissented from the principal holding of the Court. He argued that the Court’s ruling “threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation. The path it has taken to reach its outcome will, I fear, do damage to this institution.” He added: “A democracy cannot function effectively when its constituent members believe laws are being bought and sold.”[33]

Stevens also argued that the Court addressed a question not raised by the litigants when it found BCRA §203 to be facially unconstitutional, and that the majority “changed the case to give themselves an opportunity to change the law”.[24] He argued that the majority had expanded the scope beyond the questions presented by the appellant and that therefore a sufficient record for judging the case did not exist. Stevens argued that at a minimum the Court should have remanded the case for a fact-finding hearing, and that the majority did not consider other compilations of data, such as the Congressional record for justifying BCRA §203.

Stevens referenced a number of major cases to argue that the Court had long recognized that to deny Congress the power to safeguard against “the improper use of money to influence the result [of an election] is to deny to the nation in a vital particular the power of self protection”.[34] After recognizing that in Buckley v. Valeo the Court had struck down portions of a broad prohibition of independent expenditures from any sources, Stevens argued that nevertheless Buckley recognized the legitimacy of “prophylactic” measures for limiting campaign spending and found the prevention of “corruption” to be a reasonable goal for legislation. Consequently, Stevens argued that Buckley left the door open for carefully tailored future regulation.[24] Although the majority echoed many of the arguments in First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, Stevens argued that the majority opinion contradicted the reasoning of other campaign finance cases – in particular, Austin v. Michigan State Chamber of Commerce and McConnell v. Federal Election Commission – and found it telling that the majority, when citing such cases, referenced mainly dissenting opinions.

Stevens’ dissent specifically sought to address a number of the majority’s central arguments:

First, Stevens argued that the majority failed to recognize the possibility for corruption outside strict quid pro quo exchanges. He referenced facts from a previous BCRA challenge to argue that, even if the exchange of votes for expenditures could not be shown, contributors gain favorable political access from such expenditures.[24] The majority considered access to be insufficient justification for limiting speech rights.

Stevens, however, argued that in the past, even when striking down a ban on corporate independent expenditures, the Court “never suggested that such quid pro quo debts must take the form of outright vote buying or bribes” (Bellotti). Buckley, he said, also acknowledged that large independent expenditures present the same dangers as quid pro quo arrangements, although Buckley struck down limits on such independent expenditures. Using the record from a previous BCRA §203 challenge, he argued that independent expenditures were sometimes a factor in gaining political access and concluded that large independent expenditures generate more influence than direct campaign contributions.[24] Furthermore, Stevens argued that corporations could threaten Representatives and Senators with negative advertising to gain unprecedented leverage. Stevens supported his argument by citing Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co.,[35] where the Court held that $3 million in independent expenditures in a judicial race raised sufficient questions about a judge’s impartiality to require the judge to recuse himself in a future case involving the spender. Stevens argued that it was contradictory for the majority to ignore the same risks in legislative and executive elections, and argued that the majority opinion would exacerbate the problem presented in Caperton because of the number of states with judicial elections and increased spending in judicial races.

Second, Stevens argued that the majority did not place enough emphasis on the need to prevent the “appearance of corruption” in elections. Earlier cases, including Buckley and Bellotti, recognized the importance of public confidence in democracy. Stevens cited recent data indicating that 80% of the public view corporate independent expenditures as a method used to gain unfair legislative access.[24] Stevens predicted that if the public believes that corporations dominate elections, disaffected voters will stop participating.

Third, Stevens argued that the majority’s decision failed to recognize the dangers of the corporate form. Austin held that the prevention of corruption, including the distorting influence of a dominant funding source, was a sufficient reason for regulating corporate independent expenditures. In defending Austin, Stevens argued that the unique qualities of corporations and other artificial legal entities made them dangerous to democratic elections. These legal entities, he argued, have perpetual life, the ability to amass large sums of money, limited liability, no ability to vote, no morality, no purpose outside profit-making, and no loyalty. Therefore, he argued, the courts should permit legislatures to regulate corporate participation in the political process.

Legal entities, Stevens wrote, are not “We the People” for whom our Constitution was established.[24] Therefore, he argued, they should not be given speech protections under the First Amendment. The First Amendment, he argued, protects individual self-expression, self-realization and the communication of ideas. Corporate spending is the “furthest from the core of political expression” protected by the Constitution, he argued, citing Federal Election Commission v. Beaumont,[36] and corporate spending on politics should be viewed as a business transaction designed by the officers or the boards of directors for no purpose other than profit-making. Stevens called corporate spending “more transactional than ideological”. Stevens also pointed out that any member of a corporation may spend personal money on promoting a campaign because BCRA only prohibited the use of general treasury money.

Fourth, Stevens attacked the majority’s central argument: that the prohibition of spending guards free speech and allows the general public to receive all available information. Relying on Austin, Stevens argued that corporations “unfairly influence” the electoral process with vast sums of money that few individuals can match, which distorts the public debate. Because a typical voter can only absorb so much information during a relevant election period, Stevens described “unfair corporate influence” as the potential to outspend others, to push others out of prime broadcasting spots and to dominate the “marketplace of ideas”.[24] This process, he argued, puts disproportionate focus on this speech and gives the impression of widespread support regardless of actual support. Thus, this process marginalizes the speech of other individuals and groups.

Stevens referred to the majority’s argument that “there is no such thing as too much speech” as “facile” and a “straw man” argument. He called it an incorrect statement of First Amendment law because the Court recognizes numerous exceptions to free speech, such as fighting words, obscenity restrictions, time, place and manner restrictions, etc. Throughout his dissent, Stevens said that the majority’s “slogan” ignored the possibility that too much speech from one source could “drown out” other points of view.

Fifth, Stevens criticized the majority’s fear that the government could use BCRA §203 to censor the media. The focus placed on this hypothetical fear made no sense to him because it did not relate to the facts of this case – if the government actually attempted to apply BCRA §203 to the media (and assuming that Citizens United could not constitute “media”), the Court could deal with the problem at that time. Stevens described the majority’s supposed protection of the media as nothing more than posturing. According to him, it was the majority’s new rule, announced in this case, that prohibited a law from distinguishing between “speakers” or funding sources. This new rule would be the only reason why media corporations could not be exempted from BCRA §203. In this, Stevens and the majority conceptualize the First Amendment’s protection of “the press” quite differently. Stevens argues that the “Press” is an entity, which can be distinguished from other persons and entities which are not “press”. The majority opinion viewed “freedom of the press” as an activity, applicable to all citizens or groups of citizens seeking to publish views.

Sixth, Stevens claimed that the majority failed to give proper deference to the legislature. Stevens predicted that this ruling would restrict the ability of the states to experiment with different methods for decreasing corruption in elections. According to Stevens, this ruling virtually ended those efforts, “declaring by fiat” that people will not “lose faith in our democracy”.[24] Stevens argued that the majority’s view of a self-serving legislature, passing campaign-spending laws to gain an advantage in retaining a seat, coupled with “strict scrutiny” of laws, would make it difficult for any campaign finance regulation to be upheld in future cases.

Seventh, Stevens argued that the majority opinion ignored the rights of shareholders. A series of cases protects individuals from legally compelled payment of union dues to support political speech.[37] Because shareholders invest money in corporations, Stevens argued that the law should likewise help to protect shareholders from funding speech that they oppose. The majority, however, argued that ownership of corporate stock was voluntary, and that unhappy shareholders could simply sell off their shares if they did not agree with the corporation’s speech. Stevens also argued that Political Action Committees (PACs), which allow individual members of a corporation to invest money in a separate fund, are an adequate substitute for general corporate speech and better protect shareholder rights. The majority, by contrast, had argued that most corporations are too small and lack the resources and raw number of shareholders and management staff necessary to cover the compliance, accounting, and administrative costs of maintaining a PAC. In this dispute, the opposing views essentially discussed differing types of entities: Stevens focused his argument on large, publicly held corporations, while the justices in the majority, and particularly Justice Scalia’s concurring opinion, placed an emphasis on small, closely held corporations and non-profits.

Stevens called the majority’s faith in “corporate democracy” an unrealistic method for a shareholder to oppose political funding. A derivative suit is slow, inefficient, risky and potentially expensive. Likewise, shareholder meetings only happen a few times a year, not prior to every decision or transaction. Rather, the officers and boards control the day-to-day spending, including political spending. According to Stevens, the shareholders have few options, giving them “virtually nonexistent” recourse for opposing a corporation’s political spending.[24] Furthermore, most shareholders use investment intermediaries, such as mutual funds or pensions, and by the time a shareholder may find out about a corporation’s political spending and try to object, the damage is done and the shareholder has funded disfavored speech.

Stevens concluded his dissent:

At bottom, the Court’s opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt. It is a strange time to repudiate that common sense. While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.[25]

Subsequent developments

There was a wide range of reactions to the case from politicians, academics, attorneys, advocacy groups and journalists.

Support

Politicians

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a plaintiff in the earlier related decision McConnell v. FEC, said:[38][39]

For too long, some in this country have been deprived of full participation in the political process. With today’s monumental decision, the Supreme Court took an important step in the direction of restoring the First Amendment rights of these groups by ruling that the Constitution protects their right to express themselves about political candidates and issues up until Election Day. By previously denying this right, the government was picking winners and losers. Our democracy depends upon free speech, not just for some but for all.

Republican campaign consultant Ed Rollins opined that the decision adds transparency to the election process and will make it more competitive.[40]

Advocacy groups

Citizens United, the group filing the lawsuit, said, “Today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing Citizens United to air its documentary films and advertisements is a tremendous victory, not only for Citizens United but for every American who desires to participate in the political process.”[41] During litigation, Citizens United had support from the United States Chamber of Commerce and the National Rifle Association.[42]

Campaign finance attorney Cleta Mitchell, who had filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of two advocacy organizations opposing the ban, wrote that “The Supreme Court has correctly eliminated a constitutionally flawed system that allowed media corporations (e.g., The Washington Post Co.) to freely disseminate their opinions about candidates using corporate treasury funds, while denying that constitutional privilege to Susie’s Flower Shop Inc. … The real victims of the corporate expenditure ban have been nonprofit advocacy organizations across the political spectrum.”[43]

Heritage Foundation fellow Hans A. von Spakovsky, a former Republican member of the Federal Election Commission, said “The Supreme Court has restored a part of the First Amendment that had been unfortunately stolen by Congress and a previously wrongly-decided ruling of the court.”[44]

Libertarian Cato Institute analysts John Samples and Ilya Shapiro wrote that restrictions on advertising were based on the idea “that corporations had so much money that their spending would create vast inequalities in speech that would undermine democracy”. However, “to make campaign spending equal or nearly so, the government would have to force some people or groups to spend less than they wished. And equality of speech is inherently contrary to protecting speech from government restraint, which is ultimately the heart of American conceptions of free speech.”[45]

The American Civil Liberties Union filed an amicus brief that supported the decision,[46] saying that “section 203 should now be struck down as facially unconstitutional”, though membership was split over the implications of the ruling and its board sent the issue to its special committee on campaign finance for further consideration.[47] On March 27, 2012, the ACLU reaffirmed its stance in support of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling.[48]

Academics and attorneys

Bradley A. Smith, professor of law at Capital University Law School, former chairman of the FEC, founder of the Center for Competitive Politics and a leading proponent of deregulation of campaign finance, wrote that the major opponents of political free speech are “incumbent politicians” who “are keen to maintain a chokehold on such speech”. Empowering “small and midsize corporations – and every incorporated mom-and-pop falafel joint, local firefighters’ union, and environmental group – to make its voice heard” frightens them.[49] In response to statements by President Obama and others that the ruling would allow foreign entities to gain political influence through U.S. subsidiaries, Smith pointed out that the decision did not overturn the ban on political donations by foreign corporations and the prohibition on any involvement by foreign nationals in decisions regarding political spending by U.S. subsidiaries, which are covered by other parts of the law.[50]

Campaign finance expert Jan Baran, a member of the Commission on Federal Ethics Law Reform, agreed with the decision, writing that “The history of campaign finance reform is the history of incumbent politicians seeking to muzzle speakers, any speakers, particularly those who might publicly criticize them and their legislation. It is a lot easier to legislate against unions, gun owners, ‘fat cat’ bankers, health insurance companies and any other industry or ‘special interest’ group when they can’t talk back.” Baran further noted that in general conservatives and libertarians praised the ruling’s preservation of the First Amendment and freedom of speech, but that liberalsand campaign finance reformers criticized it as greatly expanding the role of corporate money in politics.[51]

Attorney Kenneth Gross, former associate general counsel of the FEC, wrote that corporations relied more on the development of long-term relationships, political action committees and personal contributions, which were not affected by the decision. He held that while trade associations might seek to raise funds and support candidates, corporations which have “signed on to transparency agreements regarding political spending” may not be eager to give.[43]

The New York Times asked seven academics to opine on how corporate money would reshape politics as a result of the court’s decision.[52] Three of the seven wrote that the effects would be minimal or positive: Christopher Cotton, a University of Miami School of Business assistant professor of economics, wrote that “There may be very little difference between seeing eight ads or seeing nine ads (compared to seeing one ad or two). And, voters recognize that richer candidates are not necessarily the better candidates, and in some cases, the benefit of running more ads is offset by the negative signal that spending a lot of money creates.[52] Eugene Volokh, a professor of law at UCLA, stated that the “most influential actors in most political campaigns” are media corporations which “overtly editorialize for and against candidates, and also influence elections by choosing what to cover and how to cover it”. Holding that corporations like Exxon would fear alienating voters by supporting candidates, the decision really meant that voters would hear “more messages from more sources”.[52] Joel Gora, a professor at Brooklyn Law School who had previously argued the case of Buckley v. Valeo on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union, said that the decision represented “a great day for the First Amendment” writing that the Court had “dismantled the First Amendment ‘caste system’ in election speech”.[52]

Journalists

The Editorial Board of the San Antonio Express-News criticized McCain–Feingold’s exception for media corporations from the ban on corporate electioneering, writing that it “makes no sense” that the paper could make endorsements up until the day of the election but advocacy groups could not. “While the influence of money on the political process is troubling and sometimes corrupting, abridging political speech is the wrong way to counterbalance that influence.”[53]

Anthony Dick in National Review countered a number of arguments against the decision, asking rhetorically, “is there something uniquely harmful and/or unworthy of protection about political messages that come from corporations and unions, as opposed to, say, rich individuals, persuasive writers, or charismatic demagogues?” He noted that “a recent Gallup poll shows that a majority of the public actually agrees with the Court that corporations and unions should be treated just like individuals in terms of their political-expenditure rights”.[54] A Gallup poll taken in October 2009 and released soon after the decision showed 57 percent of those surveyed agreed that contributions to political candidates are a form of free speech and 55 percent agreed that the same rules should apply to individuals, corporations and unions. Sixty-four percent of Democrats and Republicans believed campaign donations are a form of free speech.[55]

Chicago Tribune editorial board member Steve Chapman wrote “If corporate advocacy may be forbidden as it was under the law in question, it’s not just Exxon Mobil and Citigroup that are rendered mute. Nonprofit corporations set up merely to advance goals shared by citizens, such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Rifle Association, also have to put a sock in it. So much for the First Amendment goal of fostering debate about public policy.”[56]

Opposition

Politicians

President Barack Obama stated that the decision “gives the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington – while undermining the influence of average Americans who make small contributions to support their preferred candidates”.[57] Obama later elaborated in his weekly radio address saying, “this ruling strikes at our democracy itself” and “I can’t think of anything more devastating to the public interest”.[58] On January 27, 2010, Obama further condemned the decision during the 2010 State of the Union Address, stating that, “Last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law[59] to open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign corporations – to spend without limit in our elections. Well I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities.” On television, the camera shifted to a shot of the SCOTUS judges in the front row directly in front of the President while he was making this statement, and Justice Samuel Alito was frowning, shaking his head side to side while mouthing the words “Not true”.[60][61][62][63][64][65]

Democratic Senator Russ Feingold, a lead sponsor of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, stated “This decision was a terrible mistake. Presented with a relatively narrow legal issue, the Supreme Court chose to roll back laws that have limited the role of corporate money in federal elections since Teddy Roosevelt was president.”[66] Representative Alan Grayson, a Democrat, stated that it was “the worst Supreme Court decision since the Dred Scott case, and that the court had opened the door to political bribery and corruption in elections to come.[67] Democratic congresswoman Donna Edwards, along with constitutional law professor and Maryland Democratic State Senator Jamie Raskin, have advocated petitions to reverse the decision by means of constitutional amendment.[68] Rep. Leonard Boswell introduced legislation to amend the constitution.[69] Senator John Kerry also called for an Amendment to overrule the decision.[70] On December 8, 2011, Senator Bernie Sanders proposed the Saving American Democracy Amendment, which would reverse the court’s ruling.[71][72]

Republican Senator John McCain, co-crafter of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act and the party’s 2008 presidential nominee, said “there’s going to be, over time, a backlash … when you see the amounts of union and corporate money that’s going to go into political campaigns”.[73] McCain was “disappointed by the decision of the Supreme Court and the lifting of the limits on corporate and union contributions” but not surprised by the decision, saying that “It was clear that Justice Roberts, Alito and Scalia, by their very skeptical and even sarcastic comments, were very much opposed to BCRA.”[66] Republican Senator Olympia Snowe opined that “Today’s decision was a serious disservice to our country.”[74]

Although federal law after Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission still prohibited corporate contributions to all political parties, Sanda Everette, co-chair of the Green Party, stated that “The ruling especially hurts the ability of parties that don’t accept corporate contributions, like the Green Party, to compete.” Another Green Party officer, Rich Whitney, stated “In a transparently political decision, a majority of the US Supreme Court overturned its own recent precedent and paid tribute to the giant corporate interests that already wield tremendous power over our political process and political speech.”

Ralph Nader condemned the ruling,[75] saying that “With this decision, corporations can now directly pour vast amounts of corporate money, through independent expenditures, into the electoral swamp already flooded with corporate campaign PAC contribution dollars.” He called for shareholder resolutions asking company directors to pledge not to use company money to favor or oppose electoral candidates.[76] Pat Choate, former Reform Partycandidate for Vice President, stated, “The court has, in effect, legalized foreign governments and foreign corporations to participate in our electoral politics.”[77]

Senator Bernie Sanders, a contender in the 2016 Democratic Primary, has filed a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s Decision.[78] Further, both Sanders and Hillary Clinton have said that, if elected, they will only appoint Supreme Court Justices who are committed to the repeal of Citizens United.[79] In September 2015, Sanders said that “the foundations of American Democracy are being undermined” and called for sweeping campaign finance reform.[80]

International

Ambassador Janez Lenarčič, speaking for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe‘s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (which has overseen over 150 elections) said the ruling may adversely affect the organization’s two commitments of “giving voters a genuine choice and giving candidates a fair chance” in that “it threatens to further marginalize candidates without strong financial backing or extensive personal resources, thereby in effect narrowing the political arena”.[81]

Academics and attorneys

Money isn’t speech and corporations aren’t people
— David Kairys[82]

The constitutional law scholar Laurence H. Tribe wrote that the decision “marks a major upheaval in First Amendment law and signals the end of whatever legitimate claim could otherwise have been made by the Roberts Court to an incremental and minimalist approach to constitutional adjudication, to a modest view of the judicial role vis-à-vis the political branches, or to a genuine concern with adherence to precedent” and pointed out, “Talking about a business corporation as merely another way that individuals might choose to organize their association with one another to pursue their common expressive aims is worse than unrealistic; it obscures the very real injustice and distortion entailed in the phenomenon of some people using other people’s money to support candidates they have made no decision to support, or to oppose candidates they have made no decision to oppose.”[83]

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, whose opinions had changed from dissenting in Austin v. Michigan State Chamber of Commerce to co-authoring (with Stevens) the majority opinion in McConnell v. Federal Election Commission twelve years later, criticized the decision only obliquely, but warned, “In invalidating some of the existing checks on campaign spending, the majority in Citizens United has signaled that the problem of campaign contributions in judicial elections might get considerably worse and quite soon.”[84]

Richard L. Hasen, professor of election law at Loyola Law School, argued that the ruling “is activist, it increases the dangers of corruption in our political system and it ignores the strong tradition of American political equality”. He also described Justice Kennedy’s “specter of blog censorship” as sounding more like “the rantings of a right-wing talk show host than the rational view of a justice with a sense of political realism”.[85]

Kathleen M. Sullivan, professor at Stanford Law School and Steven J. Andre, adjunct professor at Lincoln Law School, argued that two different visions of freedom of speech exist and clashed in the case. An egalitarian vision skeptical of the power of large agglomerations of wealth to skew the political process conflicted with a libertarian vision skeptical of government being placed in the role of determining what speech people should or should not hear.[86][87] Wayne Batchis, Professor at the University of Delaware, in contrast, argues that the Citizens United decision represents a misguided interpretation of the non-textual freedom of association.[88]

The four other scholars of the seven writing in the aforementioned New York Times article were critical.[52] Richard L. Hasen, Distinguished Professor of election law at Loyola Law School argued differently from his Slate article above, concentrating on the “inherent risk of corruption that comes when someone spends independently to try to influence the outcome of judicial elections”, since judges are less publicly accountable than elected officials. Heather K. Gerken, Professor of Law at Yale Law School wrote that “The court has done real damage to the cause of reform, but that damage mostly came earlier, with decisions that made less of a splash.” Michael Waldman, director of the Brennan Center for Justice at N.Y.U. School of Law, opined that the decision “matches or exceeds Bush v. Gore in ideological or partisan overreaching by the court”, explaining how “Exxon or any other firm could spend Bloomberg-level sums in any congressional district in the country against, say, any congressman who supports climate change legislation, or health care, etc.” and Fred Wertheimer, founder and president of Democracy 21 considered that “Chief Justice Roberts has abandoned the illusory public commitments he made to ‘judicial modesty’ and ‘respect for precedent’ to cast the deciding vote for a radical decision that profoundly undermines our democracy,” and that “Congress and presidents past have recognized this danger and signed numerous laws over the years to prevent this kind of corruption of our government.”[52]

Journalists

The New York Times stated in an editorial, “The Supreme Court has handed lobbyists a new weapon. A lobbyist can now tell any elected official: if you vote wrong, my company, labor union or interest group will spend unlimited sums explicitly advertising against your re-election.”[89] Jonathan Alter called it the “most serious threat to American democracy in a generation”.[90] The Christian Science Monitor wrote that the Court had declared “outright that corporate expenditures cannot corrupt elected officials, that influence over lawmakers is not corruption, and that appearance of influence will not undermine public faith in our democracy”.[91]

Business leader

 Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, founded Stamp Stampede, a sustained protest to demonstrate widespread support for a proposed constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. The campaign encourages people to rubber stamp messages such as “Not To Be Used for Bribing Politicians” on paper currency. In 2014, Cohen told Salon, “As long as the Supreme Court rules money is speech, corporations and the wealthy are using it by giving piles of it to politicians to pass or not pass laws that they want. Now, the rest of the people, [those] who don’t have that money, can actually make their voice heard by using money to stamp a message out.”[92]

Media coverage

Political blogs

Most blogs avoided the theoretical aspects of the decision and focused on more personal and dramatic elements, including the Barack ObamaSamuel Alito face-off during the President’s State of the Union address.[93] There, President Obama argued that the decision “reversed a century of law” (the federal ban on corporate contributions dates back to the 1907 Tillman Act, and the ban on union and corporate expenditures dates from 1947) and that it would allow “foreign corporations to spend without limits in our elections”, during which Justice Alito, in the audience, perceptibly mouthed the words “not true”. This event received extensive comment from political bloggers, with a substantial amount of the coverage concentrated on whether or not foreign corporations would be able to make substantial political contributions in US elections. In the opinion, the Court had specifically indicated it was not overturning the ban on foreign contributions.

Opinion poll

ABC-Washington Post poll results.

An ABC–Washington Post poll conducted February 4–8, 2010, showed that 80% of those surveyed opposed (and 65% strongly opposed) the Citizens United ruling, which the poll described as saying “corporations and unions can spend as much money as they want to help political candidates win elections”. Additionally, 72% supported “an effort by Congress to reinstate limits on corporate and union spending on election campaigns”. The poll showed large majority support from Democrats, Republicans and independents.[94][95][96]

A Gallup Poll conducted in October 2009, after oral argument, but released after the Supreme Court released its opinion, found that 57 percent of those surveyed “agreed that money given to political candidates is a form of free speech” and 55 percent agreed that the “same rules should apply to individuals, corporations and unions”. However, in the same poll respondents by 52% to 41% prioritized limits on campaign contributions over protecting rights to support campaigns and 76% thought the government should be able to place limits on corporation or union donations.[97][98]

Separate polls by various conservative organizations, including the plaintiff Citizens United and the Center for Competitive Politics, found support for the decision.[99] In particular, the Center for Competitive Politics poll[100] found that 51% of respondents believed that Citizens United should have a right to air ads promoting Hillary: The Movie. The poll also found that only 22 percent had heard of the case.

Further court rulings

SpeechNow v. FEC

Main article: SpeechNOW v. FEC

SpeechNow is a nonprofit, unincorporated association organized as a section 527 entity under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code. The organization was formed by individuals who seek to pool their resources to make independent expenditures expressly advocating the election or defeat of federal candidates. SpeechNow planned to accept contributions only from individuals, not corporations or other sources prohibited under the Federal Election Campaign Act. On February 14, 2008, SpeechNow and several individual plaintiffs filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the constitutionality of the Federal Election Campaign Act provisions governing political committee registration, contribution limits and disclosure. The plaintiffs contended that the Act unconstitutionally restricts their association guaranteed under the First Amendment. By requiring registration as a political committee and limiting the monetary amount that an individual may contribute to a political committee, SpeechNow and the other plaintiffs asserted that the Act unconstitutionally restricted the individuals’ freedom of speech by limiting the amount that an individual can contribute to SpeechNow and thus the amount the organization may spend. SpeechNow also argued that the reporting required of political committees is unconstitutionally burdensome.[101]

On March 26, 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in SpeechNow.org. v. FEC that the contribution limits of 2 U.S.C. §441a were unconstitutional as applied to individuals’ contributions to SpeechNow. The court also ruled that the reporting requirements of 2 U.S.C. §§432, 433 and 434(a) and the organizational requirements of 2 U.S.C. §431(4) and §431(8) can be constitutionally applied to SpeechNow.[101] A unanimous nine-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals[102] struck down the federal limits on contributions to federal political committees that make only independent expenditures and do not contribute to candidates or political parties. This type of “independent expenditure committee” is inherently non-corruptive, the Court reasoned, and therefore contributions to such a committee can not be limited based on the government’s interest in preventing political corruption.[103] In light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC, in which the Supreme Court held that the government has no anti-corruption interest in limiting independent expenditures, the appeals court ruled that “contributions to groups that make only independent expenditures cannot corrupt or create the appearance of corruption.” As a result, the court of appeals held that the government has no anti-corruption interest in limiting contributions to an independent group such as SpeechNow. Contribution limits as applied to SpeechNow “violate the First Amendment by preventing [individuals] from donating to SpeechNow in excess of the limits and by prohibiting SpeechNow from accepting donations in excess of the limits.” The court noted that its holding does not affect direct contributions to candidates, but rather contributions to a group that makes only independent expenditures.[101] The appeals court held that, while disclosure and reporting requirements do impose a burden on First Amendment interests, they “‘impose no ceiling on campaign related activities'” and “‘do not prevent anyone from speaking.'” Furthermore, the court held that the additional reporting requirements that the Commission would impose on SpeechNow if it were organized as a political committee are minimal, “given the relative simplicity with which SpeechNow intends to operate.” Since SpeechNow already had a number of “planned contributions” from individuals, the court ruled that SpeechNow could not compare itself to “ad hoc groups that want to create themselves on the spur of the moment.” Since the public has an interest in knowing who is speaking about a candidate and who is funding that speech, the court held that requiring such disclosure and organization as a political committee are sufficiently important governmental interests to justify the additional reporting and registration burdens on SpeechNow.[101]

Public electoral financing

Main article: McComish v. Bennett

On June 27, 2011, ruling in the consolidated cases of Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett (No. 10-238) and McComish v. Bennett (No. 10-239), the Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional an Arizona law that provided extra taxpayer-funded support for office seekers who have been outspent by privately funded opponents or by independent political groups. A conservative 5–4 majority of justices said the law violated free speech, concluding the state was impermissibly trying to “level the playing field” through a public finance system. Arizona lawmakers had argued there was a compelling state interest in equalizing resources among competing candidates and interest groups.[104] Opponents said the law violated free-speech rights of the privately financed candidates and their contributors, inhibiting fundraising and spending, discouraging participation in campaigns and limiting what voters hear about politics.[105] Chief Justice John Roberts said in the court’s majority opinion that the law substantially burdened political speech and was not sufficiently justified to survive First Amendment scrutiny.[105]

As a consequence of the decision, states and municipalities are blocked from using a method of public financing that is simultaneously likely to attract candidates fearful that they will be vastly outspent and sensitive to avoiding needless government expense. “The government can still use taxpayer funds to subsidize political campaigns, but it can only do that in a manner that provides an alternative to private financing” said William R. Maurer, a lawyer with the Institute for Justice, which represented several challengers of the law. “It cannot create disincentives.”[106] The ruling meant the end of similar matching-fund programs in Connecticut, Maine and a few other places according to David Primo, a political science professor at the University of Rochester who was an expert witness for the law’s challengers.[107]

State campaign-spending limits

Despite the Citizens United ruling, In December 2011, the Montana Supreme Court, in Western Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Attorney General of Montana, upheld that state’s law limiting corporate contributions. Examining the history of corporate interference in Montana government that led to the Corrupt Practices Law, the majority decided that the state still had a compelling reason to maintain the restrictions. It ruled that these restrictions on speech were narrowly tailored and withstood strict scrutiny and thus did not contradict Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

While granting permission to file a Certiorari petition, the US Supreme Court agreed to stay the Montana ruling, although Justices Ginsburg and Breyer wrote a short statement urging the Court “to consider whether, in light of the huge sums of money currently deployed to buy candidate’s allegiance, Citizens United should continue to hold sway”.[108] In June 2012, over the dissent of the same four judges who dissented in Citizens United, the Court simultaneously granted certiorari and summarily reversed the decision in American Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Bullock, 567, U.S. __ (2012).[109] The Supreme Court majority rejected the Montana Supreme Court arguments in a two paragraph, twenty line per curiam opinion, stating that these arguments “either were already rejected in Citizens United, or fail to meaningfully distinguish that case.”[110] The ruling makes clear that states cannot bar corporate and union political expenditures in state elections.[111]

McCutcheon v. FECMain article: McCutcheon v. FEC

In addition to limiting the size of donations to individual candidates and parties, the Federal Election Campaign Act also includes aggregate caps on the total amount that an individual may give to all candidates and parties. In 2012, Shaun McCutcheon, a Republican Party activist,[112][113] sought to donate more than was allowed by the federal aggregate limit on federal candidates.[114] McCutcheon et al filed suit against the Federal Election Commission (FEC).[115] In 2014, the US Supreme Court reversed a ruling of the DC District Court‘s dismissal of McCutcheon v. FEC and struck down the aggregate limits. The plurality opinion invalidated only the aggregate contribution limits, not limits on giving to any one candidate or party. The decisive fifth vote for McCutcheon came from Justice Thomas, who concurred in the judgment on the grounds that all contribution limits are unconstitutional.[116]

Legislative responses

Legislative impact

The New York Times reported that 24 states with laws prohibiting or limiting independent expenditures by unions and corporations would have to change their campaign finance laws because of the ruling.[117]

After Citizens United and SpeechNow.org numerous state legislatures raised their limits on contributions to candidates and parties.[118] At the federal level, lawmakers substantially increased contribution limits to political parties as part of the 2014 budget bill.[119] Such changes are widely perceived as efforts to place candidates and parties on something closer to equal footing with organizations making independent expenditures.[119]

While many states and the federal government have raised contribution limits in response to Citizens United, proposals aimed at discouraging political spending, or providing for public financing of campaigns, have been less successful.

Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) proposed that candidates who sign up small donors receive $900,000 in public money, but the proposal has not been acted on by Congress. Others proposed that laws on corporate governance be amended to assure that shareholders vote on political expenditures.[90]

In February 2010, Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, immediate past Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, outlined legislation aimed at undoing the decision.[120] In April 2010, they introduced such legislation in the Senate and House, respectively.[121] On June 24, 2010, H.R.5175 (The DISCLOSE Act) passed in the House of Representatives but failed in the Senate. It would have required additional disclosure by corporations of their campaign expenditures. The law, if passed, would also have prohibited political spending by U.S. companies with twenty percent or more foreign ownership, and by most government contractors.[122] The DISCLOSE Act included exemptions to its rules given to certain special interests such as the National Rifle Association and the American Association of Retired Persons. These gaps within the proposal attracted criticism from lawmakers on both political parties. “They are auctioning off pieces of the First Amendment in this bill… The bigger you are, the stronger you are, the less disclosure you have,” said Republican Congressman Dan Lungren of California. Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California commented, “I wish there had been no carve-outs”.[123] The bill was criticized as prohibiting much activity that was legal before Citizens United.[124]

The DISCLOSE Act twice failed to pass the U.S. Senate in the 111th Congress, in both instances reaching only 59 of the 60 votes required to overcome a unified Republican filibuster.[125][126] A scaled down version of the DISCLOSE Act was reintroduced in both the House and Senate in 2012 but did not pass.[citation needed]

Some have argued for a constitutional amendment to overturn the decision. Although the decision does not address “corporate personhood,” a long-established judicial and constitutional concept,[127] much attention has focused on that issue. Move to Amend, a coalition formed in response to the ruling,[128] seeks to amend the Constitution to abolish corporate personhood, thus stripping corporations of all rights under the Constitution.[129][130] In an online chat with web community Reddit, President Obama endorsed further consideration of a constitutional amendment and stated “Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court Doesn’t revisit it)”.[131] He further elaborated that “Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight on the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change.”[131]

Legislative reactions by state and local lawmakers

Members of 16 state legislatures have called for a constitutional amendment to reverse the court’s decision: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia.[132][133]

Most of these are non-binding resolutions. However, three states – Vermont, California, and Illinois – called for an Article V Convention to draft and propose a federal constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.[134] In Minnesota, the Minnesota Senate passed a similar resolution, “Senate File No. 17,” on May 2, 2013, but the House of Representatives returned the measure to the General Calendar (meaning the measure did not pass) on May 15, 2013.[135] Thirty-four states are needed to call an Article V convention.

On a local level, Washington D.C. and 400 other municipalities passed resolutions requesting a federal constitutional amendment.[136]

Since Citizens United, however, 13 states have actually raised their contribution limits.[118]

Political impact

The Citizens United ruling “opened the door” for unlimited election spending by corporations, but most of this spending has “ended up being funneled through the groups that have become known as super PACs”.[137] While critics predicted that the ruling would “bring about a new era of corporate influence in politics” allowing companies and businesspeople to “buy elections” to promote their financial interests, as of 2016, in fact large corporations still play a “negligible role” in presidential election spending. Instead large expenditures, usually through “Super PACS,” have come from “a small group of billionaires”, based largely on ideology. This has shifted power “away from the political parties and toward the … donors themselves. In part, this explains the large number and variety of candidates fielded by the Republicans in 2016.”[137] The ability of individuals to spend unlimited sums was first affirmed by the Supreme Court, however, not in Citizens United, but in Buckley v. Valeo, decided in 1976.

Super PACs

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission has often been credited for the creation of “super PACs“, political action committees which make no financial contributions to candidates or parties, and so can accept unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations and unions. Certainly, the holding in Citizens United helped affirm the legal basis for super PACs by deciding that, for purposes of establishing a “compelling government interest” of corruption sufficient to justify government limitations on political speech, “independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption”.[138]

However, it took another decision, by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Speechnow.org v. Federal Election Commission, to actually authorize the creation of super PACs. While Citizens United held that corporations and unions could make independent expenditures, a separate provision of the Federal Election Campaign Act, at least as long interpreted by the Federal Election Commission, held that individuals could not contribute to a common fund without it becoming a PAC. PACs, in turn, were not allowed to accept corporate or union contributions of any size or to accept individual contributions in excess of $5,000. In Speechnow.org, the D.C. Circuit, sitting en banc, held 9–0 that in light of Citizens United, such restrictions on the sources and size of contributions could not apply to an organization that made only independent expenditures in support of or opposition to a candidate but not contributions to a candidate’s campaign.

Citizens United and SpeechNOW left their imprint on the 2012 United States presidential election, in which single individuals contributed large sums to “super PACs” supporting particular candidates. Sheldon Adelson, the gambling entrepreneur, gave approximately fifteen million dollars to support Newt Gingrich. Foster Friess, a Wyoming financier, donated almost two million dollars to Rick Santorum’s super PAC. Karl Rove organized super PACs that spent over $300 million in support of Republicans during the 2012 elections.[139]

In addition to indirectly providing support for the creation of super PACs, Citizens United allowed incorporated 501(c)(4) public advocacy groups (such as the National Rifle Association, the Sierra Club, and the group Citizens United itself) and trade associations to make expenditures in political races. Such groups may not, under the tax code, have a primary purpose of engaging in electoral advocacy. These organizations must disclose their expenditures, but unlike super PACs they do not have to include the names of their donors in their FEC filings. A number of partisan organizations such as Karl Rove‘s influential conservative Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies and the liberal 21st Century Colorado have since registered as tax-exempt 501(c)(4) groups (defined as groups promoting “social welfare”) and engaged in substantial political spending.[140][141] This has led to claims[142][143][144] of large secret donations, and questions about whether such groups should be required to disclose their donors. Historically, such non-profits have not been required to disclose their donors or names of members. See National Association for the Advancement of Colored People v. Alabama.

In an August 2015 essay in Der Spiegel, Markus Feldkirchen wrote that the Citizens United decision was “now becoming visible for the first time” in federal elections as the super-rich have “radically” increased donations to support their candidates and positions via super PACs. Feldkirchen also said in the first six months of 2015 the candidates and their super PACs received close to $400 million: “far more than in the entire previous campaign.” He opined that super-rich donating more than ever before to individual campaigns plus the “enormous” chasm in wealth has given the super-rich the power to steer the economic and political direction of the United States and undermine its democracy.[145] In October 2015, the New York Times observed that just 158 super-rich families each contributed $250,000 or more, while an additional 200 families gave more than $100,000 for the 2016 presidential election. Both groups contributed almost half of the “early money” for candidates in the 2016 presidential election as of June 30, 2015 through channels like super PACs legalized by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.[146][147]

See also

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens_United_v._FEC

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 599-607

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 590-598

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 585- 589

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 575-584

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 565-574

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 556-564

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 546-555

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 538-545

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 532-537

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 526-531

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 490-499

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 473-479

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 464-472

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 422-430

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 414-421

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 408-413

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 400-407

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 391-399

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 383-390

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 376-382

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 369-375

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 360-368

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 354-359

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 346-353

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 338-345

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 328-337

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 319-327

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 307-318

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 296-306

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 287-295

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 277-286

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 264-276

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 250-263

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 236-249

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 222-235

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 211-221

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 202-210

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 194-201

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 184-193

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 174-183

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 165-173

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 158-164

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows151-157

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 143-150

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 135-142

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 131-134

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 124-130

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 121-123

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 118-120

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 113 -117

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 112

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 108-111

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 106-108

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 104-105

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 101-103

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 98-100

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 94-97

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 93

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 92

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 91

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 88-90

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 84-87

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 79-83

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 74-78

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 71-73

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 65-67

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 62-64

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 58-61

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 55-57

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 52-54

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 49-51

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 45-48

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 27-29

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 17-26

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The Pronk Pops Show 620, February 9, Story 1: Trump Endorsed By James Bond and Pussy Galore At Trump Rally — I Must Be Dreaming — Trump Should Win New Hampshire With Twice The Number of Votes Than Whoever Comes in Second — Cruz, Bush, Kasich, Rubio — Make America Great Again Movement — Unbelievable — Videos

Posted on February 9, 2016. Filed under: 2016 Presidential Campaign, 2016 Presidential Candidates, American History, Banking System, Ben Carson, Benghazi, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Business, College, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Defense Spending, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Free Trade, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, Hillary Clinton, History, House of Representatives, Illegal Immigration, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Jeb Bush, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Marco Rubio, Media, Medicare, Monetary Policy, Movies, Music, News, Obama, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Barack Obama, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Scandals, Security, Senate, Social Security, Success, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Ted Cruz, Ted Cruz, Terror, Terrorism, U.S. Negotiations with Islamic Republic of Iran, Unemployment, United States of America, Videos, Wall Street Journal, War, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 620: February 9, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 619: February 8, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 618: February 5, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 617: February 4, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 616: February 3, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 615: February 1, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 614: January 29, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 613: January 28, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 612: January 27, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 611: January 26, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 610: January 25, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 609: January 22, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 608: January 21, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 607: January 20, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 606: January 19, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 605: January 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 604: January 14, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 603: January 13, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 602: January 12, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 601: January 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 600: January 8, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 599: January 6, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 598: January 5, 2016

Pronk Pops Show 597: December 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 596: December 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 595: December 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 594: December 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 593: December 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 592: December 14, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 591: December 11, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 590: December 10, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 589: December 9, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 588: December 7, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 587: December 4, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 586: December 3, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 585: December 2, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 584: December 1, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 583: November 30, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 582: November 25, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 581: November 24, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 580: November 23, 2015  

Pronk Pops Show 579: November 20, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 578: November 19, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 577: November 18, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 576: November 17, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 575: November 16, 2015  (more…)

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The Pronk Pops Show 422, February 25, 2015, Story 1: Obama’s Non-Transparent Federal Communications Commission Chairman Wheeler Refuses To Testify Before Congress or Publish Online The Proposed Draft Internet Regulations Pertaining To Net Neutrality (332 Page Final Draft) Before Voting on Thursday, February 26, 2015 — Government Bureaucrats Messing With The Internet and Freedom of Speech — Time To Abolish The FCC — It Is All About Money and Power — Videos

Posted on February 25, 2015. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Books, Budgetary Policy, Business, Communications, Computers, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Economics, Elections, Employment, European History, Fiscal Policy, Government, Government Spending, History, Language, Law, Media, News, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Radio, Regulation, Scandals, Security, Success, Tax Policy, Taxation, Technology, Unemployment, United States Constitution, Videos, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 422: February 25, 2015 

Pronk Pops Show 421: February 20, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 420: February 19, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 419: February 18, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 418: February 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 417: February 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 416: February 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 415: February 11, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 414: February 10, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 413: February 9, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 412: February 6, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 411: February 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 410: February 4, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 409: February 3, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 408: February 2, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 407: January 30, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 406: January 29, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 405: January 28, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 404: January 27, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 403: January 26, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 402: January 23, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 401: January 22, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 400: January 21, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 399: January 16, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 398: January 15, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 397: January 14, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 396: January 13, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 395: January 12, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 394: January 7, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 393: January 5, 2015

Pronk Pops Show 392: December 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 391: December 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 390: December 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 389: December 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 388: December 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 387: December 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 386: December 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 385: December 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 384: December 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 383: December 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 382: December 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 381: December 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 380: December 1, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 379: November 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 378: November 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 377: November 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 376: November 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 375: November 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 374: November 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 373: November 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 372: November 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 371: November 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 370: November 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 369: November 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 368: November 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 367: November 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 366: November 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 365: November 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 364: November 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 363: November 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 362: November 3, 2014

Story 1: Obama’s Non-Transparent Federal Communications Commission Chairman Wheeler Refuses To Testify Before Congress or Publish Online The Proposed Draft Internet Regulations Pertaining To  Net Neutrality (332 Page Final Draft) Before Voting on Thursday, February 26, 2015 — Government Bureaucrats Messing With The Internet and Freedom of Speech — Time To Abolish The FCC — It Is All About Money and Power — Videos

obama-dictator-uniformobama_dictatorobama-dictator

fcc-tom-wheelerfcc-board-members voted for government takeover of internet

Three Democrats Voted For Government Regulation, Taxation and Control of Internet

obama_plans_net_grab

FCC’s Ajit Pai: Net Neutrality is a “Solution That Won’t Work to a Problem That Doesn’t Exist”

Internet Rejoices as FCC Imposes Strict Net Neutrality Rules

Sources: Wheeler Tweaks Net Neutrality Plan After Google Push

GOP Leader Slams FCC Ahead of Net Neutrality Vote

Sen. John Thune hammered the Federal Communications Commission ahead of a vote on net neutrality rules Thursday, which the South Dakota Republican termed a “partisan-line vote.”

“This will be the first time … where the Internet is going to be subject to the heavy-hand of regulation as opposed to the light touch that’s been utilized for so long up until this point,” Thune said. “And I hope that Feb. 26 doesn’t go down in history as the time when the Internet moved from something that was driven by free-market innovation to something that’s driven by bureaucratic decision making.”

The Truth About ‘Net Neutrality’ – FCC Rules Tomorrow. Please watch, & please circulate!

Net Neutrality will destroy the internet

The Truth About Net Neutrality

Limbaugh on “Net Neutrality”: Obama Exploits Ignorance of Young People to Seize Control of Internet

FCC Chairman Details His Net Neutrality Proposal

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler’s plan would apply to ISPs and wireless carriers. It will go to a full vote later this month.

FCC Chairman Signals New Net Neutrality Rules – IGN News

President Obama’s Statement on Keeping the Internet Open and Free

President Obama Makes Strong Pro Net Neutrality Statement…But Why?

Net Neutrality Explained. Simply and Accurately!

HOUSE CHAIR DEMANDS FCC NET NEUTRALITY GAG ORDER LIFTED

Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) demanded yesterday that the Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler make public the details of the proposed net neutrality regulations that will regulate the Internet under the same rules as the old AT&T monopoly.

Chaffetz also asked the FCC Chair to appear and answer questions at the House Oversight hearing Wednesday, prior to the planned Agency vote on the draft rules now scheduled for Thursday.

The 332-page final draft FCC order was only delivered to the four other FCC commissioners three weeks ago. When Wheeler delivered the document, he took the unusual step of issuing a “gag order” to prevent its release before the FCC vote.

The FCC was forced to revisit “net neutrality” rules because the agency’s egregious 2010 effort at writing “Open Internet Rules” was thrown out in January 2014 by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Verizon v. FCC. Although the appeals court agreed the FCC had the authority to regulate broadband services, they rejected the FCC’s potentially biased micro-managing of the Internet.

Chairman Wheeler tried to ramrod President Obama’s net neutrality proposal through the FCC on May 15, 2014. It was understood at the time that Wheeler was trying to maximize FCC breadth for the new rules by basing the legal authority of his proposal on parts of both Title II of the Communications Act of 1934 and the Telecommunications Act of 1996. But the day before the meeting, his fellow Democratic Commissioners, Jessica Rosenworcel and Mignon Clyburn, pushed back on the rush to regulate after being bombarded by consumers who wanted to preserve an open Internet.

In a blog post at the time, Commissioner Clyburn noted, “over 100,000 Americans have spoken” via email, calls and letters. Commissioner Rosenworcel added that she also wanted the FCC to delay consideration of the rules after the torrent of public response.

Breitbart reported on February 9 in “Republican FCC Member Warns Net Neutrality is Not Neutral” that Ajit Pai, as one of two Republican Commissioners on the FCC, tweeted, “I wish the public could see what’s inside.” Pai included a selfie of himself holding the huge document in front of a picture of Obama. The posture of the photo was clearly meant to depict the president as George Orwell’s “Big Brother.”

Pai later released a statement: “President Obama’s plan marks a monumental shift toward government control of the Internet. It gives the FCC the power to micromanage virtually every aspect of how the Internet works,” he said. “The plan explicitly opens the door to billions of dollars in new taxes on broadband… These new taxes will mean higher prices for consumers and more hidden fees that they have to pay.”

The Breitbart article generated over 4,600 comments and set off a firestorm on the Drudge Report as the public realized that the FCC process seemed fundamentally biased due to a lack of transparency and full disclosure prior to such an important regulatory vote. The public was also incensed that the free-for-all Internet was about to be subject to up to $16 billion a year in FCC user taxes and fees.

Congressman Chaffetz also sent Wheeler a letter questioning whether the FCC had been “independent, fair and transparent” in fashioning the rules to supposedly protect Internet content. “Although arguably one of the most sweeping new rules in the commission’s history, the process was conducted without using many of the tools at the chairman’s disposal to ensure transparency and public review,” Chaffetz added.

Representative Chaffetz included in the letter that there is a precedent for the FCC Chairman to make rules public before a vote. In 2007, Chairman Kevin Martin released to the public new media ownership rules, and the entire FCC testified in a House hearing prior to the final vote.

An elected official who supported the FCC postponement in 2007, Chaffetz notes, was Senator Barack Obama. “He specifically noted while a certain proposal ‘may pass the muster of a federal court, Congress and the public have the right to review any specific proposal and decide whether or not it constitutes sound policy. And the commission has the responsibility to defend any new proposal in public discourse and debate.”

With political fireworks going off yesterday, Republican FCC commissioners Michael O’Rielly and Ajit Pai late in the day asked Wheeler to postpone Thursday’s vote and release the draft Internet regulatory proposal for a 30 day public comment period.

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/02/24/house-chair-demands-fcc-net-neutrality-gag-order-lifted/

Dear FCC: Rethink The Vague “General Conduct” Rule

 BY CORYNNE MCSHERRY

For many months, EFF has been working with a broad coalition of advocates to persuade the Federal Communications Commission to adopt new Open Internet rules that would survive legal scrutiny and actually help protect the Open Internet. Our message has been clear from the beginning: the FCC has a role to play, but its role must be firmly bounded.

Two weeks ago, we learned that we had likely managed the first goal—the FCC is going to do the right thing and reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service, giving it the ability to make new, meaningful Open Internet rules.  But we are deeply concerned that the FCC’s new rules will include a provision that sounds like a recipe for overreach and confusion: the so-called “general conduct rule.”

According to the FCC’s own “Fact Sheet,” the proposed rule will allow the FCC to review (and presumably punish) non-neutral practices that may “harm” consumers or edge providers. Late last week, as the window for public comment was closing, EFF filed a letter with the FCC urging it to clarify and sharply limit the scope of any “general conduct” provision:

[T]he Commission should use its Title II authority to engage in light-touch regulation, taking great care to adhere to clear, targeted, and transparent rules. A “general conduct rule,” applied on a case-by- case basis with the only touchstone being whether a given practice “harms” consumers or edge providers, may lead to years of expensive litigation to determine the meaning of “harm” (for those who can afford to engage in it). What is worse, it could be abused by a future Commission to target legitimate practices that offer significant benefits to the public . . .

Accordingly, if the Commission intends to adopt a “general conduct rule” it should spell out, in advance, the contours and limits of that rule, and clarify that the rule shall be applied only in specific circumstances.

Unfortunately, if a recent report from Reuters is correct, the general conduct rule will be anything but clear. The FCC will evaluate “harm” based on consideration of seven factors: impact on competition; impact on innovation; impact on free expression; impact on broadband deployment and investments; whether the actions in question are specific to some applications and not others; whether they comply with industry best standards and practices; and whether they take place without the awareness of the end-user, the Internet subscriber.

There are several problems with this approach.  First, it suggests that the FCC believes it has broad authority to pursue any number of practices—hardly the narrow, light-touch approach we need to protect the open Internet. Second, we worry that this rule will be extremely expensive in practice, because anyone wanting to bring a complaint will be hard-pressed to predict whether they will succeed. For example, how will the Commission determine “industry best standards and practices”? As a practical matter, it is likely that only companies that can afford years of litigation to answer these questions will be able to rely on the rule at all. Third, a multi-factor test gives the FCC an awful lot of discretion, potentially giving an unfair advantage to parties with insider influence.

We are days away from a final vote, and it appears that many of the proposed rules will make sense for the Internet. Based on what we know so far, however, the general conduct proposal may not. The FCC should rethink this one.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/02/dear-fcc-rethink-those-vague-general-conduct-rules

FCC Chair Refuses to Testify before Congress ahead of Net Neutrality Vote

by ANDREW JOHNSON February 25, 2015 10:19 AM

Two prominent House committee chairs are “deeply disappointed” in Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler for refusing to testify before Congress as “the future of the Internet is at stake.”

Wheeler’s refusal to go before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday comes on the eve of the FCC’s vote on new Internet regulations pertaining to net neutrality. The committee’s chairman, Representative Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah), and Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Fred Upton (R., Mich.) criticized Wheeler and the administration for lacking transparency on the issue.

“So long as the chairman continues to insist on secrecy, we will continue calling for more transparency and accountability at the commission,” Chaffetz and Upton said in a statement. “Chairman Wheeler and the FCC are not above Congress.”

The vote on the new Internet regulations is scheduled for Thursday. The FCC’s two Republican commissioners have asked Wheeler to delay the vote to allow more time for review. The changes would allow the commission to regulate the Internet like a public utility, setting new standards that require the provision of equal access to all online content.

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/414380/fcc-chair-refuses-testify-congress-ahead-net-neutrality-vote-andrew-johnson

 

President Obama Urges FCC to Implement Stronger Net Neutrality Rules

President Obama today asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take up the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality, the principle that says Internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all internet traffic equally.

The President has been a strong and consistent advocate of net neutrality since his first presidential campaign.

President Obama’s plan would reclassify consumer broadband services under what’s known as Title II of the Telecommunications Act. It would serve as a “basic acknowledgement of the services ISPs provide to American homes and businesses, and the straightforward obligations necessary to ensure the network works for everyone – not just one or two companies.”

The plan involves four commonsense steps that some service providers already observe:

No blocking. If a consumer requests access to a website or service, and the content is legal, your ISP should not be permitted to block it. That way, every player—not just those commercially affiliated with an ISP — gets a fair shot at your business.

No throttling. Nor should ISPs be able to intentionally slow down some content or speed up others — through a process often called “throttling”—based on the type of service or your ISP’s preferences.

Increased transparency. The connection between consumers and ISPs — the so-called “last mile” — is not the only place some sites might get special treatment. So, I am also asking the FCC to make full use of the transparency authorities the court recently upheld, and if necessary to apply net neutrality rules to points of interconnection between the ISP and the rest of the Internet.

No paid prioritization. Simply put: No service should be stuck in a “slow lane” because it does not pay a fee. That kind of gatekeeping would undermine the level playing field essential to the Internet’s growth. So, as I have before, I am asking for an explicit ban on paid prioritization and any other restriction that has a similar effect.

Ultimately, the FCC is an independent agency and the decision is theirs alone. But President Obama believes his plan is the best way to safeguard the incredible resource the Internet has become for all of us — so that an entrepreneur’s fledgling company has the same chance to succeed as established corporation’s, and so that access to a high school student’s blog isn’t unfairly slowed down to make way for advertisers with more money.

Nearly 4 million public comments were submitted to the FCC as part of the latest comment period, with overwhelming support for the principles the President is calling for.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2014/11/10/president-obama-urges-fcc-implement-stronger-net-neutrality-rules

The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts Portfolio

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 422 

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 414-421

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 408-413

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 400-407

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 391-399

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 383-390

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 376-382

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 369-375

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 360-368

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 354-359

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 346-353

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 338-345

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 328-337

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 319-327

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 307-318

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 296-306

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 287-295

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 277-286

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 264-276

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 250-263

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 236-249

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 222-235

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 211-221

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 202-210

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 194-201

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 184-193

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 174-183

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 165-173

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 158-164

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 151-157

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 143-150

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 135-142

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 131-134

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 124-130

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 121-123

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 118-120

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 113 -117

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Show 112

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 108-111

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 106-108

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 104-105

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 101-103

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 98-100

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 94-97

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 93

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 92

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Pronk Pops Show 111, May 31, 2013: Segment 0: The Dirty Dozen aka Soros, Obama, Jarrett, Shulman, Kelley, Hall, Lerner, Paz, Thomas, Seok, IRS Agents: White House–IRS Collectivist Conspiracy Targets Pro Israel, Pro Life, Tea Party and Conservative Movement Groups To Suppress Voter Turnout! — Civil Rights Violations — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 111: May 31, 2013

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Segment 0: The Dirty Dozen aka Soros, Obama, Jarrett, Shulman, Kelley, Hall, Lerner, Paz, Thomas, Seck, IRS Agents: White House–IRS Collectivist Conspiracy Targets Pro Israel, Pro Life, Tea Party and Conservative Movement Groups To Suppress Voter Turnout! — Videos

George-Soros

902px-Barack_Obama_and_Valerie_Jarrett_in_the_West_Wing_corridor_cropped

Douglas_ShulmanWhithouse_Visits_Douglas_Shulman

shulman_lerner

colleen_Kelley_NTEU

Sarah-Hall-Ingram-IRS

Lois_Lerner

IRS Subject Matter Expert
Holly Paz Holly Paz
Manager
Exempt Organizations Guidance

Holly is a manager in Exempt Organizations’ Guidance office, which is responsible for drafting notices, announcements, revenue procedures, and other guidance on exempt organization matters. Holly’s work often involves coordination with the Office of Chief Counsel and the Treasury Department on legislative and technical issues, as well as providing information to the tax writing committees of Congress.

Before coming to Exempt Organizations, Holly served as an attorney-advisor in the Taxpayer Advocate Service, an independent organization within the Internal Revenue Service that helps taxpayers resolve problems with the IRS. She also worked for eight years as an attorney in private practice focusing on exempt organizations issues. She earned her juris doctor from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

tax-exempt-chart

IRS-org_chartIRS_Scandal_names

ObmaCare-IRS

The Dirty Dozen Movie Trailer

Dirty Dozen (1967) – General Inspection

Movie of the Week: Dirty Dozen – Lee Marvin Review by Best Movies By Farr

cartoon

Glenn Beck » IRS, ObamaCare, And The White House

 George Soros Exposed – Puppet master Glenn Beck

George Soros and the economy – GBTV

The Shadow Party – GBTV

Obama Admin Evolution Of A Scandal – IRS Enemies List – Hannity

Reality Check: IRS Scandal Exclusive

Heads are starting to roll at the IRS. Ben is following a story that is going in many directions. With many who are distancing themselves. In fact, He first told

you on March 1, 2012 that Tea Party and Liberty Groups in seven states claimed they were being targeted by the IRS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Sit-….

In this Reality Check compilation, Ben goes in-depth on the IRS vs. Tea Party, Liberty groups, and religious organizations.

The IRS apologized. The white House decries the unacceptable actions and any connection to the current administration.

Ben has tracked the chain of command through the Cincinnati office and is going to show you how this situation transitions into the Washington D.C. office, and possibly beyond.

Obama Admin IRS Scandal & Congress Dealing With Scandals – Krauthammer On O’Reilly

IRS Worker At Center Of Targeting Scandal Gets Promoted -RPT – Cavuto – Wake Up America

Goldberg on IRS Scandal on IRS

Stein on IRS Scandal

IRS – May 6th Letter To Conservative Group Suggest Targeting Is Not Over Cavuto

Tea Party Groups Protests The IRS

The Blaze TV “The IRS Tax Scandal” Matt Kibbe & Adam Brandon 5/29/13

Part II – The Blaze TV “The IRS Tax Scandal” Matt Kibbe & Adam Brandon 5/29/13

Tea Party Groups To Sue IRS Over Targeting Of Conservatives – Megyn Kelly -Wake Up America

Katie Pavlich on Shulman’s 159 Visits to WH – IRS Scandal with Neil Cavuto – Fox Business – 5-30-13

IRS Scandal, How High Does It Go? Catastrophic Failure! – Greta On The Record

FreedomWorks VP: IRS Scandal Just Beginning [The Christian Broadcasting Network]

IRS Scandal – New Information On IRS Chain Of Command – Missing Link Cindy Thomas? – Megyn Kelly

IRS Targeting Scandal Sarah Hall Inram Now Running Obamacare Office & Benghazi Update

Glenn Beck » IRS, ObamaCare, And The White House

You are a conspiracy theorist if you blame Obama

Peakaboo Politics: The IRS Scandal — A Timeline of Confusing Statements

IRS Lois Lerner Pleads The Fifth, Dismissed From Scandal Hearing

IRS 5-22-2013 House Oversight Committee 4

TRIFECTA — Targeting Tea: Obama’s IRS Singles Out Conservative Groups

Mark Levin on Hannity: Obama Said Only Learned About IRS Story on Friday

The IRS and Sarah Hall Ingram

The IRS And ObamaCare

Former IRS Commish Shulman cites Easter Egg Roll for visiting White House 118 times

U.S. Treasury Knew About I.R.S. Partisanship

Why IRS Scandal Could Haunt Obama

FTN: NTEU urges political contributions

Why I Serve: Colleen Kelley, National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU)

Myth About Federal Workers

2013 NTEU Legislative Conference – Press Conference

Glenn Beck – IRS targeted conservatives

Obama to “rule” as president

Who is Valerie Jarret?

Fall of America: G. Edward Griffin on Conspiracy Theories

G. Edward Griffin – The Collectivist Conspiracy

PJTV: Obama IRS Scandal Uncovers the Ugly Side of Income Taxes

IRS scandal: GOP looks to seize election opportunity, CBS News Video 5-30-2013

FreedomWorks On Tap “The IRS Tax Terror” 5-16-13

Obama’s Big Oil Scandal with Socialism, Soros and Organized Crime Part 1

“Obama administrations corruption is taking America into socialism just as FDR did. George Soros has had direct financial ties to the gulf oil disaster and media matters in owned by George Soros defending his corrupt socialist agenda. Obama’s Crime Inc is now a network of thieves and it can be traced. To get in office, Socialist Progressives who control and run the Democrat party, always say one thing about being for average person to get elected without any specifics, then once in power, they increase the size of government to create a class system and network where their rich and powerful supporters are given special favors for supporting a socialist regime in America with TAXPAYER DOLLARS. Socialist Progressives are the ones who create the winners and loser in our American economy and have always made it their priority to collapse the US Economy while taking away every American citizens freedoms, except any freedom that in lockstep with destroying the American Culture, the American traditional family, the next generation, and keeping the American people utterly clueless and apathetic. George Soros is to Darth Sidious as Barack Obama is to Darth Vader over our hijacked Democratic Republic called America.”

Obama’s Big Oil Scandal with Socialism, Soros and Organized Crime Part 2

Obama’s Big Oil Scandal with Socialism, Soros and Organized Crime Part 3

Former IRS Chief’s Wife Works for Leftist Campaign Finance Reform Group

On Friday, reports broke that Former IRS chief Doug Shulman’s wife works with a liberal lobbying group, Public Campaign, where she is the senior program advisor. Public Campaign is an “organization dedicated to sweeping campaign reform that aims to dramatically reduce the role of big special interest money in American politics.”

The goal of Public Campaign is to target political groups like the conservative non-profits at issue in the IRS scandal. The Campaign says it “is laying the foundation for reform by working with a broad range of organizations, including local community groups, around the country that are fighting for change and national organizations whose members are not fairly represented under the current campaign finance system.”

CEO of Public Campaign Nick Nyhart has offered words of support for the IRS’ targeting: “There are legitimate questions to be asked about political groups that are hiding behind a 501(c)4 status. It’s unfortunate a few bad apples at the IRS will make it harder for those questions to be asked without claims of bias.”

Public Campaign gets its cash from labor unions like AFL-CIO, AFSCME, SEIU, and Move On.

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/05/31/former-IRS-chief-Public-Campiagn

George Soros Gives $1 Million To Barack Obama Super PAC

The Huffington Post | By Paul Blumenthal

The Democrats heavy-hitters are finally coming out of the dugout to play ball in the brave new world of unlimited contributions and super PACs.

A spokesperson for Priorities USA Action, the super PAC backing President Barack Obama’s reelection, confirmed to The Huffington Post Thursday that billionaire investor George Soros has committed $1 million to the PAC. A spokesman for House Majority PAC also confirmed to HuffPost that Soros had given a combined $500,000 to House Majority PAC and the Senate Majority PAC in September.

The New York Times’ Nick Confessore was first to publish the news about the Soros donations. According to Confessore, Soros’ political adviser Michael Vachon announced the contributions at a meeting of the liberal donor group, Democracy Alliance where former President Bill Clinton, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) were urging donors — most of whom have refused until now — to give to super PACs. Aside from the Soros donations, another $10 million was promised by donors attending the meeting.

Confessore writes that Soros, who did not attend the meeting, sent an email to Democracy Alliance members explaining his contributions:

“I fully support the re-election of President Obama,” Mr. Soros said in the email. He had not contributed until now, he wrote, because he opposed the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010, which paved the way for super PACs and unlimited money in politics. But since then, Mr. Soros wrote, he had become “appalled by the Romney campaign which is openly soliciting the money of the rich to starve the state of the money it needs to provide social services.”

It’s a sharp contrast to where Soros stood shortly after the 2010 midterm elections, when he expressed criticism of the Obama administration before a group of donors at a private meeting and suggested they pledge their money elsewhere.

Soros already has given $1.275 million to super PACs, the majority of which went to the Democratic opposition research hub American Bridge. His announced contributions this election still come nowhere near the amount that he gave to try to unseat President George W. Bush in 2004. Soros donated more than $30 million in that election — a record sum until international casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson dropped more than $70 million this year into a host of super PACs and non-disclosing non-profits.

George Soros: His Influence on the Media and the IRS Scandal

Soros’ Hand in the IRS Scandal

By Russ Jones

New details regarding the IRS scandal that found the nation’s top tax office intentionally targeting conservative groups are surfacing. Like, for example, the fact that George Soros-funded organizations sent letters encouraging the IRS to investigate conservative organizations.

According to findings reported by the Media Research Center (MRC), Soros gave $6.1 million to liberal groups who urged the Internal Revenue Service to investigate conservative non-profit organizations, including various tea party and Christian groups.

Dan Gainor, vice president of business and culture for MRC, says the scandal could be traced to a series of letters that two liberal groups — Campaign Legal Center (CLC) and Democracy 21 — sent to the IRS in 2010 and 2011 asking for an “investigation” of political consultant Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS.

“What they need to focus on is this timeline,” Gainor suggests. “We actually carry the timeline here, and the timeline is when these lefty operations sent their letters to the IRS and what the IRS did soon after.”

Pro Publica, The Huffington Post and Mother Jones were just a few of the accomplices that helped instigate IRS investigations. But as of 2010, Pro Publica received a two-year contribution of $125,000 each year from George Soros’ Open Society Foundations.

“It is a who’s who of far-left organizations,” the MRC spokesman offers. “Remember — this is George Soros, who has given $8.5 billion to charity. Of that … that we could track, $550 million has gone to liberal operations here in the United States.”

Applications of nine organizations applying for tax-exempt status that had yet to be approved were sent to Pro Publica. Unapproved applications are not supposed to be made public.

SOURCE: http://www.onenewsnow.com/politics-govt/2013/05/20/soros-hand-in-the-irs-scandal

Soros Gave $6.1 Million to Groups Linked to Pressure on IRS to Target Conservative Nonprofits

By Mike Ciandella (CNS News), May 15, 2013 •

As IRS efforts targeting politically-conservative groups gained momentum, George Soros-funded liberal groups repeatedly called on the IRS to investigate conservative nonprofit organizations.

While the first reported instances of extra IRS scrutiny for conservative groups began in Cincinnati in March of 2010, the attacks began to pick up steam on a national level soon after Soros-funded groups began firing off letters to the IRS in October of that year – following the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling.

The talking points of these groups then bounced around a carefully created progressive “echo chamber,” until they eventually made their way into established media outlets. Key IRS policy changes about how it investigated conservative groups took place soon after it received three separate letters sent by Soros-funded liberal organizations.

Several Soros-funded groups including the Campaign Legal Center, Democracy 21, the Center for Public Integrity, Mother Jones and Alternet have worked to pressure the IRS to target conservative nonprofit groups. The subsequent IRS investigation flagged more than 100 tea party-related applications for higher scrutiny, including applications that included the words “Tea Party” and “patriot.”

The IRS scandal can be traced back to a series of letters that the liberal groups Campaign Legal Center (CLC) and Democracy 21 sent to the IRS back in 2010 and 2011. Both groups were funded by George’s Soros’s Open Society Foundations. The CLC received $677,000 and Democracy 21 got $365,000 from the Soros-backed foundation, according to the Foundation’s 990 tax forms.

The letters specifically targeted conservative Super PACs like Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, asking the IRS to scrutinize them more thoroughly to determine whether or not they should retain their tax-exempt status.

On Oct. 5, 2010, when the first letter was sent to the IRS, calling specifically for the agency to “investigate” Crossroads GPS. The letter claimed Crossroads was “impermissibly using its tax status to spend tens of millions of dollars in the 2010 congressional races while hiding the donors funding these expenditures from the American people.” Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer wrote a blog post for the liberal Huffington Post to promote it, and the effort to get the media to notice the anti-conservative campaign began.

On June 27, 2011, a second letter by the CLC and Democracy 21 complained about enforcement of 501(c)(4) tax regulations, asking “that the IRS issue new regulations that better enforce the law.” Two days later, an IRS senior agency official was briefed on a new policy targeting groups which “criticize how the country is being run,” according to a Washington Post story. According to the Post, this policy was later revised.

A third letter by the CLC and Democracy 21, on Sept 28, 2011, got media traction. The letter showed the escalation of the left’s complaint about 501(c)(4) groups. It challenged “the eligibility of four organizations engaged in campaign activity to be treated as 501(c)(4) tax exempt organizations.” The four organizations included Crossroads GPS, Priorities USA, American Action Network and Americans Elect.

The Soros-funded Center for Public Integrity ($2,716,328) published a “study” on 501(c)(4) groups, on October 31, which drew heavily from, and referenced, the CLC and Democracy 21. The Center for Public Integrity has strong media connections and boasts an advisory board that includes Ben Sherwood, president of ABC News, and Michele Norris, an NPR host, as well as a board of directors with such prominent names as Huffington Post CEO Arianna Huffington, Steve Kroft of CBS News’s 60 Minutes and Craig Newmark (founder of Craigslist).

This study then led to a Mother Jones article about a month later, on November 18, which was reposted on the left-wing blog Alternet on November 21. By December of 2011, the topic had been picked up in a New York Times editorial, and then began receiving other media coverage. That editorial called for “the Internal Revenue Service to crack down on the secret political money already flooding the 2012 campaign from partisan operatives ludicrously claiming to be ‘social welfare’ activists.”

On Jan. 15, 2012, the IRS targeted groups focused on limiting government or educating people about the Constitution and Bill of Rights

Alternet and Mother Jones are both members of The Media Consortium, which is designed to do exactly what happened here. The Media Consortium was created to be a progressive “echo chamber,” where 63 separate left-wing media outlets can network and share ideas, as well as cross-promote stories. Other members of the Consortium include such liberal outlets as The Nation, Democracy Now! and The American Prospect. The consortium has also received $675,000 in Soros funds since 2000. Alternet ($285,000) and Mother Jones ($485,000) have both also received individual funding from Soros’s Open Society Foundations.

This isn’t the only time the IRS has targeted conservative groups recently, nor is it the only connection between the IRS and Soros-funded groups. The IRS gave the left-wing journalism site ProPublica the applications for nine conservative groups pending tax-exempt status.

The IRS also released the confidential donor lists of the National Organization for Marriage to the liberal Human Rights Campaign. Both the Human Rights Campaign ($2,716,328) and ProPublica ($300,000) are also Soros-funded. Despite its blatant liberal leanings, ProPublica boasts a staff of well-known journalists, including veterans of The New York Times and The Wall Street journal, as well as of liberal operations like the Center for American Progress and The Nation, and has even won two Pulitzer Prizes.

Timeline Shows Influence of Soros-Funded Groups:

March 1-17, 2010: First ten reported cases of targeting by the IRS against groups that had ties to the “tea party or similar organizations.”

Sept. 16, 2010: TIME article “The New GOP Money Stampede” quotes Wertheimer;

Sept. 23, 2010: DISCLOSE act, a campaign finance disclosure act specifically targeting a Tea Party group, in the writing of which the CLC participated, fails in the Senate;

Sept. 28, 2010: Democrat Senator Max Baucus writes a letter to the IRS, citing the TIME article;

Oct. 5, 2010: Democracy 21 and Campaign Legal Center petition IRS, Wertheimer writes HuffPo article;

Oct. 7, 2010: Legal brief from HoltzmanVogel PLLC against the Democracy 21 petition;

Oct. 14, 2010: Dick Durbin asks IRS to investigate American Crossroads, HuffPo coverage;

June 27, 2011: Second petition to the IRS by CLC and Democracy 21;

June 29, 2011: IRS senior agency official Lois Lerner briefed on efforts to target groups which “criticize how the country is being run”;

Sept. 28, 2011: CLC and Democracy 21 petition IRS again, this time about four conservative groups;

Oct. 31, 2011: CPI “investigation”;

Nov. 18, 2011: Mother Jones article;

Nov. 21, 2011: Alternet repost of Mother Jones Article;

Dec. 29, 2011: New York Times oped;

Jan. 15, 2012: IRS targeted groups focusing on limiting government or educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights;

February 2012: First articles promoting this issue appear in New York Times, Washington Post and LA Times.

$6.1 Million in Soros Funding Since 2000

  • Center for Public Integrity: $2,716,328
  • Campaign Legal Center: $677,000
  • Media Consortium: $675,000
  • Mother Jones: $485,000
  • Democracy 21: $365,000
  • ProPublica: $300,000
  • Alternet: $285,000
  • Human Rights Campaign: $600,000

SOURCE: http://cnsnews.com/blog/mike-ciandella/soros-gave-61-million-groups-linked-pressure-irs-target-conservative-nonprofits

IRS Chain of Command Suggests Scandal Not Limited to ‘Low-Level Employees’

By MARK HEMINGWAY

After the IRS revealed it had wrongly targeted hundreds of conservative and Tea Party groups, the agency claimed that the misconduct was limited to “low-level employees” in its Cincinnati office. Yesterday, the attorney for Lois Lerner, the head of the IRS’s tax-exempt organizations division, told the House Oversight Committee she would invoke her Fifth Amendment rights, making that explanation much less credible.

Now the local Cincinnati Fox affiliate, FOX19, has done some digging and uncovered information suggesting that top officials at the IRS weren’t too far removed from the six low-level employees identified as making unjustified inquiries. Fox19 has not only identified all six IRS agents in question, it turns out that they all have only one supervisor in common:

When an application for tax exempt status comes into the IRS, agents have 270 days to work through that application. If the application is not processed within those 270 days it automatically triggers flags in the system. When that happens, individual agents are required to input a status update on that individual case once a month, every month until the case is resolved. …

So who in the chain of command would have received all these flags? The answer, according to the IRS directory, one woman in Cincinnati, Cindy Thomas, the Program Manager of the Tax Exempt Division. Because all six of our IRS workers have different individual and territory managers, Cindy Thomas is one manager they all have common.

Cindy Thomas’s name is significant, because Thomas is the woman who leaked nine tax documents to the journalism outlet ProPublica last year. The leaking of pending tax documents is a clear violation of the law. After having uncovered the nature of Thomas’s involvement, FOX19 looks at her place in the IRS chain of command:

Former Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller… retires

Joseph Grant, Commissioner of Tax Exempt and Government Entities… retires.

Lois Lerner, Head of Exempt Organization…says she will invoke her 5th amendment right to not incriminate herself when called before Congress on Wednesday.

Holly Paz, Director of Exempt Organizations, subpoenaed to Washington to be interviewed by members of Congress.

All of this IRS leadership, in Washington D.C.

Then one level down is Cindy Thomas, the highest ranking employee in Cincinnati in this Tax Exempt and Government Entities Department that no one in Congress is talking to… yet.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/irs-chain-command-suggests-scandal-not-limited-low-level-employees_728777.html

Cracks Widen In The IRS Scandal Stonewall

Scandal Watch: New evidence makes it clear that the Internal Revenue Service campaign against conservatives wasn’t the result of two “rogue” agents, but was directed from higher up. The question is, how high up?

The claim that a couple of workers in the bowels of an IRS office in Cincinnati managed to block tax-exempt applications from conservative groups for more than two years, while subjecting them to outrageous, intrusive and improper requests for information, started falling apart days ago.

Last weekend, the Washington Post quoted a staffer saying that “everything comes from the top” at the IRS.

As Colleen Kelley, president of the union that represents IRS agents, told the Associated Press, “No processes or procedures or anything like that would ever be done just by frontline employees without any management involvement.”

And the New York Times reported that IRS accountants got a “directive from their manager” in early 2010 to “be on the lookout” for Tea Party-type groups.

This week, NBC News quoted a former manager of that Cincinnati office who explained how various internal checks and balances would have prevented workers from carrying out such a scheme on their own.

And Cincinnati’s Fox 19 News, which has done more solid reporting on this story than most of the major news outlets, looks to have put the final nail in the “rogue agent” story.

The local news station found that there were six agents — not two as former IRS head Steven Miller insisted just last week — who worked on these tax-exempt applications. These agents, Fox 19 learned, all had different direct managers, who in turn had different territory managers.

That means any directive applying to all these workers would had to have come from at least three levels up the management chain.

That manager turns out to be Cindy Thomas — who the IRS says oversees “exempt organization determinations” nationwide. She also happens to be the same person who ProPublica said signed off on releasing nine confidential tax-exempt applications from conservative groups to that liberal-leaning news website.

So if Thomas ordered the targeting, why? And if someone told her to get it done, who was that?

Fox 19 also learned all these managers would have known that Tea Party applications were being blocked long ago. IRS agents must handle tax-exempt applications within 270 days, after which the system automatically sends out an alert, making the agent provide a status update each month until the case is resolved.

Since the IRS started blocking Tea Party-type applications in April 2010 and didn’t approve a single one for more than two years, “thousands of red flags would have been generated.” Given the 270-day schedule, the first alerts would have hit back in December 2010.

Given all this, it’s not surprising that one top IRS official is now pleading the Fifth, and that the IRS is stonewalling congressional requests for communications relating to the targeting, including crucial emails.

Every new tidbit of information only makes the scandal look worse.

IRS Union Chief Stonewalls

By Jeffrey Lord

Yesterday I asked in this space, among other questions about the IRS scandal, this:

What was the subject of the Obama-Kelley March 31, 2010 meeting?

I received the following response to my question from the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) — the union for IRS employees headed by ex-14 year agent Colleen Kelley. The response came from union spokesperson Dina Long. It reads, in its entirety, this:

Statement of NTEU

On March 31, 2010, NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley attended the White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility at the Old Executive Office Building. The forum was attended by approximately 200 attendees including business leaders, workers, policy experts and labor representatives discussing telework and worklife balance issues. Attendees were broken into five groups to discuss workplace issues. The president made opening remarks. President Kelley did not have any direct contact with the president or the first lady. President Kelley has never discussed the tea party with the president.

Below is a description of the March 2010 forum from the White House web site:

On March 31, 2010, President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and the White House Council on Women and Girls hosted the White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility. The Forum brought together small business owners, corporate leaders, workers, policy experts, and labor leaders to explore the importance of creating workplace practices that allow America’s working men and women to meet the demands of their jobs without sacrificing the needs of their families. Building on the momentum coming out of that forum, the Administration is hosting follow-up forums around the country and encourages others to convene events in their communities to engage in dialogue and take action on this important issue.”

Sounds reasonable, yes?

Read again. Let’s see how the Washington game is played.

Over here, in a story by the Daily Caller’s Caroline May, the NTEU responded to Ms. May with the exact same statement that was sent to me.

With one difference. This interesting sentence:

President Kelley has never discussed the tea party with the president.

The folks over at the Daily Caller, Tucker Carlson’s site, are no dummies. If that sentence had been included in the otherwise identical response they received from the NTEU, they would have reported it.

So why was that one particular sentence tacked on to the otherwise identical statement from the NTEU? In a response to me?

Because in fact it is an answer — a disturbingly partial answer — to but one question of eight questions that I asked of Ms. Kelley. Let me share with you the exact email I sent to the NTEU for Colleen Kelley:

Hi…

This is Jeff Lord from the American Spectator.

I am the author of today’s article Obama and the IRS: The Smoking Gun? http://spectator.org/archives/2013/05/20/obama-and-the-irs-the-smoking which mentions NTEU president Colleen Kelley.

US News reports today the March 31, 2010 meeting mentioned in the article was a ” ‘Workplace Flexibility Forum,’ a March 2010 event that was about the state of flexible work arrangements.” I realize there are a number of questions here, but under the circumstances of this IRS controversy I want to make sure that Ms. Kelley has the opportunity to answer. I will be happy to publish her answers verbatim in The American Spectator.

Thanks,
Jeff Lord
The American Spectator

US News mentions that it has received no comment from Ms. Kelley. I would like to get a response from Ms. Kelley to the following questions:

• Did the President himself ever, at any time, discuss the Tea Party with Ms. Kelley?

• Did the President ever communicate his thoughts on the Tea Party to Kelley – in any fashion other than a face-to-face conversation such as e-mail, text or by phone?

• Was the Tea Party or any other group opposing the President’s agenda discussed at the March 31st meeting, or before or after that meeting?

• Will Ms. Kelley be asking the White House to release any e-mails, text or phone records that detail Kelley’s contacts with not only Mr. Obama but his staff? Will Ms. Kelley release any of these communications that are in the files of NTEU?

• Will Ms. Kelley ask the IRS to release all e-mail, text or phone records between Kelley or any other leader of the NTEU with IRS employees? With the Oversight Board? IRS employees are federal employees paid with taxpayer dollars.

• Has Ms. Kelley ever been given access to IRS records of Tea Party cases? Has she ever discussed the Tea Party or any conservative organization with IRS employees at any level?

• What did Ms. Kelley discuss with the President or any White House or government official at the December 3, 2009 White House Christmas Party that she attended?

• What role did Executive Order 13522 play in the IRS investigations of the Tea Party and all these other conservative groups?

That would be eight questions for “President Kelley,” as she was called in the NTEU response.

The very first question was:

Did the President himself ever, at any time, discuss the Tea Party with Ms. Kelley?

To which the NTEU responded by simply tacking on the following single sentence to their boilerplate reply to the media:

President Kelley has never discussed the tea party with the president.

But the rest of it? The answers to questions two through eight?

Silence.

Silence from the official NTEU spokesperson Dina Long. Silence from Colleen Kelley herself.

There was no “I’ll get back to you further.” There was no “Give us some time, what’s your deadline?” There was just….silence.

Note as well that when contacted by the Washington Post last week, the NTEU’s Kelley was, in the words of the Post headline, “mum.” Wrote the Post:

So far, the National Treasury Employees Union, which generally is not shy with public comment, has next to nothing to say about that or anything else.

NTEU is working to get the facts but does not have any specifics at this time. Moreover, IRS employees are not permitted to discuss taxpayer cases. We cannot comment further at this time,” NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley said via e-mail.

A call to the NTEU office in Cincinnati resulted in a similar response: “We’ve been directed by national office. We have no comment.”

So what do we have here?

This.

A powerful labor union — the union that represents IRS employees — is displaying a pattern of refusing to answer questions. Other than the solitary statement to The American Spectator that “President Kelley has never discussed the tea party with the president.”

Beyond a generic, boilerplate answer to media inquiries, there is silence.

No answers about releasing union e-mails or phone records to or from the White House, the IRS or the IRS Oversight Board (on which board sits a former NTEU president) and no answers on all the rest.

But over here at the Washington Post, we have, buried in a story about the Cincinnati office of the IRS, this key phrase:

“Everything comes from the top. We don’t have any authority to make those decisions without someone signing off on them. There has to be a directive.”

Got that?

“Everything comes from the top.”

The top is where Colleen Kelley, the head of all those unionized IRS workers in Cincinnati, operates.

The top is the White House, the IRS offices in Washington, D.C., and the IRS Oversight Board.

The top is what makes it possible for the IRS union to have the run of the IRS, to get an Executive Order (# 13522) from the President to “allow employee and unions to have pre-decisional involvement in all workplace matters….”

The top is where Colleen Kelley goes to a White House Christmas party as the guest of President and Mrs. Obama — six days before that Executive Order 13522 is issued.

The top is where Colleen Kelley can be the head of the IRS union that gets its dues, its very survival money, from employees being paid by taxpayer dollars — and not have to answer questions about the details of her “collaboration” with the White House, the Obama-run IRS and the IRS Oversight Board.

And being at the top is what gives Ms. Kelley the belief that she can head an IRS public employees union — and do the old Nixon stonewall.

She isn’t the only one at the top busy stonewalling right now.

And as with Watergate, the place to get to the bottom of the top is Congress.

Where a new version of an old question should be asked:

What did the IRS union president know — and when did she know it?

http://spectator.org/archives/2013/05/21/irs-union-chief-stonewalls/

The Liberal Union Behind the IRSBy Jeffrey Lord

“My question is who is going to jail?”
House Speaker John Boehner on the IRS Scandal

The President couldn’t even bring himself to breathe a word of the truth.

He could fire some hapless Acting Commissioner, but last night Mr. Obama never came close to discussing that which must never be discussed.

The IRS?

It’s about a union: the National Treasury Employees Union. The NTEU. A left-wing union representing 150,000 employees in 31 separate government agencies, including the IRS. A union that not only endorsed President Obama for election and re-election, but a union whose current president, Colleen Kelly, was a 14-year IRS agent and now is both union president and Obama administration appointee (of which more in a moment).

It’s about 94% of NTEU union contributions going to Democrats in the Senate and House in 2012 — candidates who campaigned as vociferous opponents of the Tea Party.

And the recently released report from the Treasury Inspector General? You will not find a single reference to the NTEU. Whose members are both player and referee in the exploding controversy over the IRS targeting of conservative groups.

Which raises the obvious question: how many NTEU members were involved in the writing of the Inspector General’s report?

Even more to the point, what contact — what coordination — has the Obama White House had with their allies in the NTEU leadership as both the White House and the NTEU race to get on top of a scandal that is rapidly engulfing both?

Did I mention that the NTEU has no comment on all of this? And that when President Obama went in front of cameras to make his statement on the IRS scandal — he never once mentioned his very powerful union buddies that have the run of the IRS? Right down to the control of who gets a Blackberry? Literally.

Let’s first see how the IRS/NTEU game with the Tea Party and conservatives is played, shall we?

In the 2012 election cycle, the IRS union gave its money this way:

For the U.S. Senate:
Total to Democrats: $156,750
Total to Republicans: $1,000

For the U.S. House:
Total to Democrats: $391,062
Total to Republicans: $23,000

And the candidates on the receiving end of those IRS employee dollars? Yes indeed. They were candidates who were running flat out against the Tea Party, depicting Tea Party-supported candidates as dangerous, extremists, and crazies. Exhibiting exactly the anti-Tea Party antipathy on the campaign trail that has been revealed to be permeating the IRS.

No wonder. These Senate and House races were fueled in part by money donated by IRS employees.

Let’s take a look at specific races where the IRS employee money was involved.

Wisconsin: One of those IRS employee-backed Senate candidates was Democrat Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, who in fact won her Senate race over ex-Republican Governor Tommy Thompson.

The NTEU, the union representing IRS employees, gave Baldwin $8,500. And what was Baldwin’s view of the Tea Party? If you check over here at the Midwest Values PAC, a left-wing political action committee set up by liberal Senator Al Franken of Minnesota, you will find this headline:

National Memo: Tammy Baldwin Runs Straight At The Tea Party

The story begins this way, and I have put the key sentence in bold print:

Wisconsin Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin wants to be the first openly gay candidate elected to the United States Senate. In an exclusive interview with The National Memo over the weekend, she made clear how she means to go about doing it: running straight at the Tea Party.

Indiana: In the Indiana Senate race, the Democrats’ candidate was Joe Donnelly, who used his $5,000 contribution to run a winning anti-Tea Party race against Republican Richard Mourdock. Donnelly’s campaign website, presumably financed in part with the money contributed by IRS employees, has this headline attacking the Tea Party:

FACT CHECK: Mourdock Trying to Change Subject from Extreme TEA Party Views

The text of the Donnelly press release begins this way, with a direct attack on the Tea Party:

Indianapolis, Ind.—Today, Joe Donnelly’s campaign responded to Richard Mourdock’s latest ad trying to change the subject from his pattern of extreme TEA Party views.

“Hoosier voters are rejecting Richard Mourdock’s pattern of TEA Party extreme positions, so he is desperate to change the subject,” said Paul Tencher, campaign manager. “In fact, Indiana voters are responding to Joe’s message of working with both parties to get things done for middle class families. The only person playing politics in this race is Mr. Mourdock, as he tries to distract voters from his extreme views that are out of the mainstream.”

Missouri: Over in the Missouri Senate race between Democrat Claire McCaskill and Republican Todd Akin, the IRS employee money — in the form of a $10,000 contribution to McCaskill — was used by the McCaskill campaign to help send this e-mail to supporters that bluntly attacked the Tea Party as “dangerous”:

Akin’s Rap Sheet Makes It Clear: Tea Party Congressman’s Outside Of The Mainstream Views, Dangerous Policies Are Wrong for Missouri, From his record to his rhetoric, everything about Todd Akin’s Tea Party policies are outside of the mainstream and dangerous for Missouri families.

When Missouri Republicans nominated him last night, they pinned their Senate hopes on a far right, Tea Party Congressman whose candidacy diminishes the party’s prospects for November.

And over in House races? At the very top of the high dollar list were two vividly anti-Tea Party candidates who each received a $10,000 contribution of IRS employee dollars.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi: Pelosi’s strategy was made plain in this interview with liberal columnist Eleanor Clift of the Daily Beast:

Stung by the debt-deal loss, the minority leader plans to get Democrats back on their jobs message and hammer Tea Party lawmakers as extremists who want to destroy government.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer: Hoyer famously attacked the Tea Party this way, as seen with this headline:

Hoyer: Tea Party People Come From Unhappy Families

There are a whole lot of people in the Tea Party that I see in these polls who don’t want any compromise. My presumption is they have unhappy families.

Understanding all of this — that IRS employees themselves are paying, through their union the NTEU, for the election of anti-Tea Party candidates — the absence of any mention whatsoever of the connection between the IRS and the NTEU puts the IG report in a very different light.

For example.

The IG report says — and I will bold print the key phrases — the following:

The IRS used inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status based upon their names or policy positions instead of indications of potential political campaign intervention. Ineffective management: 1) allowed inappropriate criteria to be developed and stay in place for more than 18 months, 2) resulted in substantial delays in processing certain applications, and 3) allowed unnecessary potentially involving information requests to be issued.

Although the processing of some applications with potential significant political campaign

intervention was started soon after receipt, no work was completed on the majority of these

applications for 13 months. This was due to delays in receiving assistance from the Exempt Organizations function Headquarters office. For the 296 total political campaign intervention applications TIGTA reviewed as of December 17, 2012, 108 had been approved, 28 were withdrawn by the applicant, none had been denied, and 160 were open from 206 to1,138 calendar days (some for more than three years and crossing two election cycles).

More than 20 months after the initial case was identified, processing the cases began in earnest. ….IRS officials stated that any donor information received in response to a request from its Determinations Unit was later destroyed.

Just in these opening statements of the IG report there is one very significant and glaring omission.

Where is the NTEU?

Note the phrases in bold print:

“The IRS”
“identified for review Tea Party and other organizations”
“Ineffective management”
“the processing”
“delays in receiving assistance from”
“approved”
“IRS officials stated”
“request from its Determinations Unit”

In each and every case these phrases identify actions taken by people — by IRS employees. IRS employees are members of the NTEU. The NTEU that is using money from these very same IRS employees to fund the campaigns of anti-Tea Party candidates like Baldwin, Donnelly, McCaskill, Pelosi and Hoyer. Not to mention all the rest of the Democrats who got a piece of the IRS employee money action.

As one would suspect, given the enormous clout of the liberal IRS union, it’s all about the politics. Liberal politics and the financing of the liberal welfare state. A federal version, if you will, of the recent famous struggle between Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and state employee unions.

How powerful is the NTEU within the IRS?

Look no further than this IG report from back in January of this year that discusses the role the union has inside the IRS bureaucracy in the minutia of which IRS employees get to carry a Blackberry. The report notes:

In June 2010, the IRS and the NTEU signed an agreement to standardize IRS policy regarding which IRS employees would be allowed (referred to as a “profiled” position in the agreement) to receive certain information technology equipment, including aircards and BlackBerry® smartphones.

Notice: the NTEU, which gave 94% of its campaign money to anti-Tea Party candidates, has the clout within the IRS to demand a say in who can and cannot carry a Blackberry and receive other high tech communications equipment. The report goes on to say:

Initially, IRS policy limited the assignment of BlackBerry® smartphones to executives and senior/departmental managers. However, the agreement between the IRS and the NTEU expanded availability to employees below the executive and senior/departmental level.

This doesn’t even mention the power the NTEU has inside the IRS to decide everything from promotion rules to size of employee workspaces and on and on.

So the obvious.

If you are working in the IRS, and you are an NTEU member, and you know your union leadership is funneling your union dues to anti-Tea Party candidates, and your union has so much raw power within the IRS that they even control whether you, an IRS employee, can get even such mundane tech gear as a Blackberry — what attitude are you going to display as you review Tea Party applications that must, by law, come in to the IRS for approval?

You already know what to do. And inside the IRS, that’s exactly what was done. The Tea Party, in the vernacular, was screwed. By IRS bureaucrats whose union money is being used to attack the Tea Party. Of course these IRS employees know what to do — most probably without even being asked. There is no need to ask. And if they don’t follow the union program — and want a Blackberry — tough luck.

And what of the NTEU president, Ms. Kelly? The one-time IRS agent also doubles as an Obama appointee (announced here by the Obama White House) to the Federal Salary Council. Identified in the Washington Post as:

…a panel obscure to most Washingtonians but one that performs a vital role in recommending raises for most federal employees.

Got that? The President of the NTEU — a union that has gone out of its way to use IRS employee money to defeat the Tea Party — has a “vital role in recommending raises for most federal employees” — which includes, of course, IRS employees.

As if IRS employees don’t have enough incentive to go after the Tea Party, their anti-Tea Party president has a say in whether they get not just a Blackberry but a raise as well.

Can you say: “conflict of interest”?

Let’s stop here and take a look at a famous incident with the IRS that has made news in the last few days: the Articles of Impeachment filed against President Richard Nixon.

By now, all manner of people have been reminded that President Nixon’s resignation was prompted by the House Judiciary Committee passing Articles of Impeachment, with Article 2, Section One specifically saying:

He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavored to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposed not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.

But there’s something missing in this recall of the tale of Nixon and the IRS.

In the early 1970s, President Nixon bypassed Congress and postponed salary increases for General Schedule federal employees. This included, of course, the IRS. The NTEU was furious with Nixon and took the President to court in a case called NTEU v. Nixon. The union won, and the federal government was forced to pay $533 million in back pay to federal employees.

So far, so normal in the world of Washington and relationships between a president and federal employees. Right?

Wrong.

Two years later, in 1974, the year the Watergate scandal reached high tide and Nixon was forced to resign, his abuse of the IRS cited in Article 2 as one of the reasons, there was another story out there involving the IRS and Richard Nixon.

As the liberal drive to get Nixon increased to the force of a political hurricane, reporter Jack White of Rhode Island’s Providence Journal-Evening Bulletin received an illegal leak — from the IRS. Specifically, an illegal leak from someone inside the IRS — an IRS employee — that leaked Richard Nixon’s 1970 and 1971 taxes. There was an immediate uproar — not about the leak or the identity of the leaker — but over the accusation that Nixon had underpaid his taxes. The House Judiciary Committee took the information and ran with it, opening an entire line of inquiry about Nixon’s tax deductions. So public was this it resulted in Nixon famously answering a question at a press conference this way:

People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook. I’ve earned everything I’ve got.

And while people are remembering Nixon in the current furor over the IRS because of his own abuse of the IRS and Article 2, there was another Article —Article 4 — that was based on the leaked information from the still-unknown IRS employee to reporter Jack White. Read Article 4:

He knowingly and fraudulently failed to report certain income and claimed deductions in the year 1969, 1970, 1971, and 1972 on his Federal income tax returns which were not authorized by law, including deductions for a gift of papers to the United States valued at approximately $576,000.

Nixon vigorously disputed this, of course. But it didn’t matter. He was out the door, forced to resign. A leak from the IRS to the media about Nixon’s taxes one big no-never-mind.

And what happened to reporter Jack White? The man who received the illegal leak of Nixon’s tax returns — a violation of law — and published them?

Jack White was rewarded by his liberal media peers with the 1974 Pulitzer Prize in Journalism for National Reporting.

So.

What’s really going on with the IRS?

The Internal Revenue Service , with all of its mighty taxing and police powers, is in the hands of anti-Tea Party, anti-conservative, political activists. Liberal political activists from the NTEU masquerading as neutral career bureaucrats. The money of IRS employees used to fuel the National Treasury Employees Union’s open and expensive assault on the Tea Party and conservatives.

And comment on all this from the NTEU? Here’s this from the Washington Post:

So far, the National Treasury Employees Union, which generally is not shy with public comment, has next to nothing to say about that or anything else.

“NTEU is working to get the facts but does not have any specifics at this time. Moreover, IRS employees are not permitted to discuss taxpayer cases. We cannot comment further at this time,” NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley said via e-mail.

A call to the NTEU office in Cincinnati resulted in a similar response: “We’ve been directed by national office. We have no comment.”

No comment? No wonder.

IRS employees are not permitted to discuss taxpayer cases”??!! What a joke.

Here in the Wall Street Journal is author James Bovard with a short history of the political manipulation of the IRS by various presidents, and Bovard notes that: “With the current IRS scandal, we may have seen only the tip of the iceberg.”

Aside from Nixon they include FDR, JFK, and Bill Clinton. The difference is the latter three weren’t forced to resign because of it — and Clinton’s abuse of the IRS was not include in the Articles of Impeachment that focused on his lying to a grand jury over that liberal favorite — sexual harassment.

The real question now?

With the IRS assuming serious police powers of Obamacare, in effect the members of one left-wing labor union will have access to the private health care records of every single American.

And notes the Wall Street Journal, again the bold print for emphasis:

This March the IRS Inspector General reiterated that ObamaCare’s 47 major changes to the revenue code “represent the largest set of tax law changes the IRS has had to implement in more than 20 years.” Thus the IRS is playing Thelma to the Health and Human Service Department’s Louise. The tax agency has requested funding for 1,954 full-time equivalent employees for its Affordable Care Act office in 2014.

Got that? The real meaning here is that the NTEU is asking for 1,954 more union members whose union dues will be put to use to “hammer the Tea Party” in the words of Nancy Pelosi.

As James Taranto also noted over in the Wall S