Thursday, October 6, 2016


1. IRS Subjects Tea Party Groups to New Round of Scrutiny, Publicizes Tax Return Data - via The Washington Times
The IRS‘ battle against holdout tea party groups is heating up again, after the tax agency promised it would begin processing their long-delayed applications, but sent a new round of prodding questions demanding still more information. More jarringly, the IRS then publicly released one of the sets of questions it sent to the Texas Patriots Tea Party — a move the group’s lawyer says puts secret taxpayer return information, supposed to be protected, out in the public.

Tax experts say the IRS may be on safe legal ground, since the filing was made as part of a court case, and that’s one of the few narrow exceptions to strict IRS privacy laws.
Still, the move to release the information has inflamed an already tense class action legal battle between the IRS and tea party groups who feel the agency is still targeting them more than three years after it promised to cease. Read more here...
2. ObamaCare is Failing-And Hillary Clinton Doesn't Want to Talk About It - via Reason
On Friday, Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman became the second state insurance regulator in recent weeks to warn that their state's individual insurance market—which includes its health insurance exchange—is on the brink of collapse. In a press release, officials said that rates for the seven insurers operating in the state's individual insurance market would increase by between 50 and 67 percent. Those hikes were necessary to prevent a full-blown failure. "It's in an emergency situation—we worked hard and avoided a collapse," Rothman told Bloomberg News. Just a few weeks earlier, Tennessee Insurance Commissioner Julie McPeak declared that the state's Obamacare exchange was "very near collapse." The state allowed two insurers to re-file requests for rate increases, eventually approving hikes of more than 40 percent, which McPeak said was necessary in order to stave off a meltdown. Read more here...
3. Export-Import Bank Supporters Dealt Setback in Congress - via Competitive Enterprise Institute
The Export-Import Bank’s supporters and beneficiaries very nearly scored a major victory last week. Ex-Im, as it’s called for short, was shut down for about six months in 2014, is back up and running, but not at full strength. For those unfamiliar, Ex-Im gives loans and loan guarantees to foreign buyers of U.S.-made goods. Free-market types generally oppose the bank on grounds of corruption and cronyism; see my paper for more. Any transaction greater than $10 million must be approved by at least three Ex-Im board members. The trouble is Ex-Im only has two board members right now. As board members’ terms have expired, the Senate has refused to confirm new members, and likely won’t for some time. Since much of Ex-Im’s business goes to big-ticket items such as airplanes and satellites—Boeing alone usually claims 40 percent of Ex-Im’s largesse—the current situation has put quite a damper on Ex-Im’s activities. Read more here...
4. FreedomWorks' Congressman of the Month: Rep. Warren Davidson - by Emily Moore
Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) is FreedomWorks’ Congressman of the Month for October 2016 for his continued work on behalf of taxpayers and our veterans. Rep. Davidson demonstrated his dedication to the United States first by serving his country in uniform and now continuing his commitment to public service by representing his constituents in the halls of Congress. He has earned a FreedomWorks lifetime scorecard rating of 100 percent, as well as the trust and admiration of conservatives.
After winning the House seat held by former Speaker John Boehner, Rep. Davidson set out to work for limited government, better health care for veterans, and a balanced budget. He recently introduced H.R. 6005, the Lead by Example Act. This legislation would require that Members of Congress and congressional staff receive the same health care that veterans are provided through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), instead of care under the Federal Health Benefits Program or health care exchanges. Read more here...
5. Crime Is Still at Historic Lows - by Jason Pye & Nathan Leamer via The American Spectator
Some are playing up news stories or writing editorials with clickbait headlines featuring violent crimes as a way to stoke fear in the minds of Americans to achieve political goals, but the fact is that you’re safer walking down the street today than the early 1970s. Last week the Federal Bureau of Investigation released its annual Uniform Crime Report, which offered a look at crime in the United States in 2015. The data were gathered from state and local law enforcement agencies across the country. While the 2013 and 2014 reports showed that violent crime declined almost across the board, this year’s report shows that violent crime rates, including homicides, increased.
It won’t be long before the report is already being used as an excuse for why Congress should not pursue criminal justice reform this year, but this logic is incredibly short-sighted and looks past the bigger picture of what we know about crime in the United States. Read more here...

Jason Pye
Communications Director, FreedomWorks

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