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Inside the Beltway: Tea party takes on the IRS

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Party like it's 2009? Fourteen Republican lawmakers, media mavens and liberty-minded activists will crowd onto the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Wednesday, ready to rumble as they did four years ago when the tea party first crackled to life.

The bodacious group will assemble for the "Audit the IRS" rally organized by the Tea Party Patriots, which is intent on reminding the nation that the federal agency paid excruciatingly close attention to conservative groups in recent years. Yes, C-SPAN will be there, with coverage from noon to 3 p.m.

Among the lawmakers who will have their say: Sens. Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Rand Paul and Michele Bachmann, plus Reps. Jim Bridenstine, Dave Camp, John Fleming, Louie Gohmert, Tom Graves, Tim Huelskamp, Mike Kelly, Steve King, Tom Price and Matt Salmon.

Also at the podium: Glenn Beck, filmmaker Stephen Bannon and Sonnie Johnson of Breitbart News, radio host Dana Loesch, "Gateway Pundit" Jim Hoft and constitutional lawyer Jordan Sekulow, among many other speakers. Sixteen folks who were personally caught up in the IRS matter also will be on hand to share their experiences before grass-roots groups that hail from Illinois, South Carolina, Ohio, Iowa, New Mexico, Texas, Virginia, Mississippi, Wisconsin and Tennessee — among other states.

Organizers are fierce with their message, telling folks in advance, "we will survive and we will return the civic authority to the hands of our people, not unelected government thugs." But practical decorum and civility are also factors. They also advise: "Please be courteous and remember to throw away your trash. Do not leave empty water bottles on the Capitol grounds."

FINER POINTS OF IMMIGRATION

Meanwhile, has Sen. Marco Rubio betrayed the tea party via the immigration bill? That is what Talk Radio Network host Andrea Tantaros asked Sen. Jeff Sessions on Tuesday.

The Alabama Republican was reluctant to fault the Florida Republican. But he was not shy about faulting the legislation itself, noting it was more than 1,000 pages long, extremely difficult to read and similar in scope to Obamacare.

"Marco is in error about this legislation. It is nowhere close to what Americans really want. He's attempting to deal with an important problem. But you have to at some point get away from what the legislation sponsors say, and read the words of the bill. The power is in the language of the legislation, and the legislation does not accomplish what the sponsors say it does," Mr. Sessions said.

He also noted that the bill should place "enforcement first, amnesty second. And we've got it backwards in this legislation, and that is the problem."

The senator added that the bill "dramatically" increases legal immigration, which ultimately "diminishes the middle class of America, making it harder for them to get jobs and good wages, and eroding the rule of law."

TASTEFUL MOMENTS

Democrats and Republicans favor their own eateries in the nation's capital, and between the two parties dropped $7.7 million at assorted spots around town last year — this according to a painstaking study by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Throughout the 2012 election cycle, Democratic candidates and party committees spent about $3.1 million at their 10 most popular restaurants and hotels that included the National Democratic Club, Charlie Palmer Steak and Liaison Capitol Hill.

The Grand Old Party was a tad more grand than their rivals. Republican candidates and committees spent almost $4.6 million, dallying over dinner at the Capitol Hill Club, Bobby Van's Steakhouse and Grill and Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar.

"As all good fundraisers know, it takes money to make money," noted Adrian Vallens, a blogger for the watchdog group.

SECOND AMENDMENT LOGIC

"We can arm Al Qaeda in Syria sans background check but Americans here can't carry."

— Radio host Dana Loesch, in a tweet.

A TOAST TO MR. O'KEEFE

James O'Keefe, the intense videographer who revealed less than equitable practices at the poverty activism group Acorn and founded the citizen journalist group Project Veritas, has written a tell-all book of his experiences, titled "Breakthrough: Our Guerrilla War to Expose Fraud and Save Democracy." Because Mr. O'Keefe is not a typical journalist, his book release party will not be typical either. He'll be feted Friday at a rooftop bar in the nation's capital "with world-class specialty cocktails and hors d'oeuvres off the woodfire grill," and as a separate course, perhaps, Mr. O'Keefe is promising to reveal what he knows about "Obama phones," according to a source..

"James — who was recently released from federal probation and promises to release his new investigation into the federal government this month — will be signing copies of his book and celebrating his 29th birthday and newly minted freedom," says the organizers, who also note that guests will "chat with James, dance, catch up with friends, and enjoy summer solstice outside with great company."

POLL DU JOUR

54 percent of Americans say the U.S. government should pursue a criminal case against NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden; 59 percent of Republicans and 59 percent of Democrats agree.

53 percent overall say government collection of phone data has helped prevent terrorist attacks; 52 percent of Republicans and 59 percent of Democrats agree.

49 percent overall say the release of the classified NSA data "serves the public interest"; 49 percent of Republicans and 50 percent of Democrats agree.

44 percent overall say the release "harms the public interest"; 45 percent of Republicans and 44 percent of Democrats agree.

38 percent overall say the government should not pursue a criminal case against Mr. Snowden; 37 percent of Republicans and 35 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center poll of 1,532 U.S. adults conducted June 12-16.

Hoots, hollers and ballyhoo to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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